Laura Bambrey Books

It's all about the books... News. Reviews. Interviews

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Blogtour: Review: Summer at the Little Wedding Shop by Jane Linfoot

I’m thrilled to be the first stop on the fabulous blog tour for  Summer at the Little Wedding Shop (The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Book 3)- and what a joy of a book it is.

Lilly is back  home in Cornwall- her high-flying job has disappeared and she finds herself back where it all started- at Brides by the Sea. Jess and her team are thrilled to have her back and have big plans for Lilly’s future- which would be great if only Lilly planned on staying put for longer than the summer.

Lilly is struggling enough with life- but add in a newly engaged nightmare of a mother, her new role as wedding stylist that puts her slap-bang in the middle of the wedding wars between two local venues as well as between one of her best friends and her most challenging client- and it’s confetti at dawn.

This might be book three in the series, but it works perfectly as a stand-alone story, and having enjoyed it so much, I’ll definitely be delving back into the first two instalments of the series.

Jane Linfoot’s writing is laugh-out-loud funny, and she places her characters into some brilliantly impossible positions. Oozing romance and possibility, this book is a must-read for any wedding-addict’s summer suitcase.

Grab your copy here:

Kindle:                         Paperback:

The Blurb:

When the owner of Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, offers Lily a job as their new wedding stylist, her first thought is – can she possibly pull it off?

Before she’s even sourced a fairy light or tasted a cupcake, Kip Penryn hires her services – but he’s opened an exclusive wedding venue in direct competition to her friend Poppy!

Lily feels like a traitor working for Kip, only everyone knows Penryn men are gorgeous but unreliable. All she has to do is sit back and watch him mess it up…doesn’t she?

Love is in the Cornish sea breeze this summer as the girls tackle their busiest wedding season yet. There’s plenty of bunting, bubbly and baking – but who is going to catch the bouquet?

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Blogtour: Guestpost: Why a Girl's Best Friend is a Man with a Dog by Zara Stoneley

I'm thrilled to welcome Zara Stoneley to the blog today with a guest post as part of her publication blogtour for Summer With The Country Village Vet - which was released on the 26th May.

Why a Girl's Best Friend is a Man with a Dog by Zara Stoneley

Dogs don’t love everybody, they have standards. You know that if a dog loves his master, then the
guy is doing something right. Whether he’s the strong silent type, or as lively as a basket of spaniels, there’s a good chance you can rely on him.

A man with a dog understands rewards – he’ll bring you chocolate, or flowers. He understands that the little gestures are important, that a relationship is about give and take.

He’ll be patient, and used to putting somebody else’s needs first. A man with a dog isn’t all about ‘me, me, me’ he’s not selfish, and he knows what it’s like to be in love.

He’ll let you put your feet up on the sofa, or his knee, if the dog hasn’t got there first. He won’t be so house-proud you’ll be scared of making a mess (though if you do drop crumbs, he’s got a four-legged hoover on hand to eat the evidence), and he won’t spend more time in front of the mirror and ironing his clothes than you do.

He won’t be a couch potato. It’s a fact that having a dog reduces cardiac stress, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. So he’ll be healthy, and fit, in all senses of the word.

If a man has a dog, you know he understands commitment and responsibility. He can take care of himself, and his four-legged friend, and a whole lot more.

He’s not going to be a workaholic – unless he works at home, or takes the dog into the office. A man with a dog likes to spend time with his best friend.

And last but far from least…there’s a very good chance he’s got a soppy, silly side. He likes hugs, he likes kisses, he’s not afraid to let his feelings show, and he’ll be kind. And however bad your day has been, your heart will melt when you watch him enjoy doggy cuddles.

Summer With the Country Village Vet: Blurb

Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley.

When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she's determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.

Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy's idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge.

But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…

Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.

But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?

A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.

Grab your copy here:

Kindle:                              Paperback:

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Blogtour: Review: Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell

I’m excited to be today’s blogtour stop for Leigh Russell’s Deadly Alibi, which is due for paperback release tomorrow. This is the first of Russell’s books that I’ve read, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing my review ever since I finished the last page.

Deadly Alibi is a book that didn’t let up its pace for even a second- it has you desperately trying to solve the murders alongside DI Steel and her team- whilst practically jumping up and down when you think you seen something that they haven’t. Russell is an incredibly clever author- packing in suspects, red herrings, extra plot and complications- without once making you feel like you’ve been left behind. As a reader you’re in on every single bit of the action- gasping for breath- enjoying the ride. A relaxing read this certainly isn’t!

Deadly Alibi is book 9 of Russell’s hugely popular DI Geraldine Steel series – for which I’m very grateful as it’s one of those books you come to the end of and instantly want to read more about these brilliant characters. I’ll be delving straight back into the rest of the series- though I have to say that Deadly Alibi worked perfectly as a standalone novel- and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything having jumped straight in so far through the series.

If you like your crime peppered with some seriously disturbing suspects, a good dollop of police procedural, a fantastic Detective Inspector with a story to tell and some fantastically plotted nastiness- I recommend you pick up Deadly Alibi.

Grab your copy:

The Blurb:

The ninth novel in the DI Geraldine Steel series
A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt... Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life.

When her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, her problems threaten to make Geraldine's life turn toxic in more ways than one.

About Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell has sold over a million crime fiction novels, and writes full time. Published in English
and in translation throughout Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, and reached #1 on kindle. Leigh's work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with major television production company Avalon Television.

Leigh writes the Lucy Hall mystery series published by Thomas and Mercer.

Find out more about Leigh on her website http://www.leighrussell.co.uk where news, reviews and interviews are posted, with a schedule of Leigh's appearances.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Blogtour: Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn

Good morning my lovelies- long time no news!

I have the pleasure of being today’s tour stop for a very special book- Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn – but I have to admit that today is a bit of a first for me and I need to explain a bit about it before telling you more about the book.

So, you might have noticed that I’ve been AWOL from the blog for a couple of weeks. I hit a complete reading desert. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying reading- more that I haven’t been reading at all. For some people, I guess not picking ing a book for a couple of weeks or even a month isn’t a source of worry. For me, where I’m used to devouring four or five books a week, it’s a bit of a shock to the system- and the fear sets in - what if this is it... what if I don't get it back? I’ve seen various other bloggers talk about burn-out where they become overwhelmed and disenchanted by the amount they have been reading and posting. I guess that this has been my form of burnout.

I have experienced this a couple of times before, and oddly, it seems to hit around the same time of year. Whether it’s an up-swing in real-life business or the weather or the change in light- I just stop wanting to read for about a month. I try not to let it worry me and ride the wave and tell myself that I know I’ll get back to reading sooner or later- and I try not to let the guilt of not posting here from kicking my bum (I’m very good at guilt!) It's almost like I've eaten too much and need to take the time to digest all of those stories and characters before I can add any more.

The thing is, it takes a really special book to lift me out of the reading desert, and this time around, my book-saviour is Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn.

As I mentioned above- this blog tour is a first for me. Obviously, as a blogger you sign-up for a tour weeks or even months in advance- when you have no clue that the dreaded blogger-drought is going to hit again. I promised a review but I’m not going to be able to deliver- not yet. You see I haven’t finished reading the book yet. I’m at about 60% and every page is like a gift. I absolutely refuse to rush this gem of a book- this gorgeous piece of writing which is- word by word- putting my world to rights, reigniting my passion for fiction and letting me fall in love with characters all over again.

Selfish? Maybe. But right now, that’s possibly the most glowing accolade I could give to any book- I want to continue to savour the story and allow it to work its magic on me. I want to give Eve and Jack and Gabe the time they deserve. I don't know how else to put it other than... slowing down enough to show how much you love something. I think Eve would understand.

If you’re looking for a beautiful, funny read that will make you believe that anything is possible, no matter how dark your days have been – this is the one for you. Thank you Darcie for bringing reading back to life for me. I’ll have a full review up later in the week.

Grab your copy here:

The Blurb:

In a gorgeous Cornish village, two brokenhearted people fall head over heels. But can the magic of Conwenna Cove heal the hurt of the past? A feel-good summer romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Phillipa Ashley and Jenny Hale.

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fear aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove is an emotional and heart-warming holiday read about being brave enough to take a chance on love.

About Darcie Boleyn:

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never
fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Friday, 12 May 2017

#Friday5: Interview With Fallen Author Lauren Kate

Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for taking part in this week’s #Friday5. Huge congratulations on the DVD release of Fallen here in the UK – the film is beautiful and it was really exciting to watch your characters brought to life. So… now to pick your brain a little…

1. Can you tell us a bit about how much involvement you had in the creation of the film version of Fallen, and what this experience has been like for you as the author?

I'm an executive producer and have worked closely on the movie. I've loved collaborating with Scott Hicks on bringing the story to the screen. I worked on the script (and wrote the voice over for the opening scene of the movie, with Miss Sophia's introduction to the world), and spent time on set with the cast and crew. It's been a beautiful experience and I'm proud that we ended up with a beautiful movie.

2. I’ve seen on your blog that Cam is the only Fallen character based on someone in real-life – your husband. What was it like choosing an actor for this role and seeing Cam come to life on the screen?

I was most nervous to cast Cam. I can't express my fondness and gratitude to Harrison for being as thoughtful, devoted, inquisitive, and damn hot as he is. He's perfect and he makes the movie, in my opinion.

3. What about the other characters? Though they’re not based on individual real-life people, you’ve known them for more than 7 years. Do you have a favourite character / actor match-up?

Addison is so rawly talented. I have a deep appreciation to her for bringing Luce to life on screen.
She cares about the character, the story, and the love as much as I do, as much as Fallen's greatest readers do. And she's hilarious and extremely cool. She has an intuition about people that I think makes her so good at what she does. The whole cast is truly great, but I also must give a shout out to Lola Kirke for stealing scenes.

4. Having seen the film last week, I thought that some of the design elements were stunning- and for me, the depiction of the angel’s wings was absolutely beautiful. Luce running her fingers through the feathers is one of those images that will stay with me for life! It must have been an incredibly tough job translating such mythical elements of your books into visuals. Do you have any favourite moments from the film that you feel captured everything you imagined as you were writing?

I completely agree with you. The wings moment is breathtaking, perfect. It could have gone so badly, but it's one of the film's greatest achievements.

5. Having worked closely on the film of Fallen and seen the finished product- will the experience creatively influence the way you write your future books?

I don't think so. I've loved working on this movie, but writing the books is its own thing. I do, however, keep in mind my readers. It has shaped the way I write some to know the people who are waiting to read my books. They inspire me all the time.

Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time to join me on the blog today!

Book Blurb:


Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar . . .

The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can't shake the feeling that she has . . . and with him - a boy she doesn't remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her - or destroy her?

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic. Fallen is a thrilling story about forbidden love.

Kindle:                          Paperback                  DVD

Friday, 21 April 2017

CassaStar, CassaDawn, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Non-Romantic Love Stories

In yesterday’s review of the lovely The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson, I touched on the fact that the relationship between Andrea and Louis was one of the most moving testaments to the different forms of true love that I’ve come across in a book. Despite being in a completely platonic relationship, Andrea is Louis’ love of a lifetime. And that got me to thinking about other books that have showcased true love that exists in forms other romantic love.

The one that instantly springs to mind actually comes from a genre that sits outside of my usual comfort zone. Cassa Star by Alex J. Cavanaugh is pure sci-fi, but it’s a book that I have now re-read over half a dozen times for the central relationship  - the friendship of the young pilot, Byron, and the older, more experienced navigator, Bassa. Cavanaugh crafts their story in such a way that, although they may be training and fighting in the far reaches of the galaxy, their friendship develops like a classic romance. And every single time I’ve read it, it has reduced me to an emotional, sobbing wreck.

Cassa Star is the first in a trilogy – all fantastic reads, but it will always be my favourite. The great news is, Cavanaugh has released a prequel to the series in the form of a 5000 word short story, which is currently free to download on Amazon here – so if you fancy a little introduction to his fantastic writing and Byron’s world- I highly recommend you delve into this space-opera this weekend. I warn you- if you pick up CassaStar- you’re going to need the Kleenex!

How about you? What’s your favourite fictional non-romantic love story / relationship? Have you read and fallen head-over-heels for a book in a genre that stretches your comfort zone recently?

Have a wonderful weekend,
Laura x

Grab your copies here:

As mentioned above:
Book 1:                     Prequel

Also in the series:
Book 2                         Book 3

The Blurb for CassaStar:

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard. 

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

About Alex J. Cavanaugh:

ALEX J. CAVANAUGH works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is Ninja Captain Alex and founder of the Insecure Writer's Support Group and website. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson

Today is publication day for one of my strongest contenders for Book of 2017 so far- The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson. 

At its heart, The A to Z of Everything has a broken family. Poppy and Rose may have been close as kids, but the sisters are now estranged following one epic mistake which tore their little family unit of three apart

Now the sisters have both learned to live with this, their lives continuing, both of them… happy. But Andrea, their mother, still feels the gaping hole that the loss of her tight-knit family has left in her heart. Knowing that her time is short, Andrea isn’t about to give up on her last wish- of seeing her daughters reconciled- and leaves a gift to both of them. The A to Z of Everything.

The four key characters in A to Z are truly brilliant. Andrea’s larger than life character makes for a fantastic, ultimately tragic, ringleader. I cried buckets over Andrea. I completely fell in love with her- and through her- with her daughters too.

Louis, as Andrea’s very best friend and confidante, is exquisite in his grief. His viewpoint adds an unbiased and not always favourable take on the sisters and their past behaviour. A dose of reality which plays a useful counterpoint to Andrea’s never-ending, unconditional love for her girls.  Andrea and Louis’s story is the most beautiful testament the different faces of love- and where true love can be found in your life.

And then we come to Poppy and Rose. So far estranged that being in the same room is so painful that it’s almost impossible. Poppy, who has locked down all emotion and softness from her life. Rose, who is a mother herself. Who can’t value herself. Who is still clinging to the past. Both sisters go through intense personal journeys throughout the book and emerge as completely different characters. Two voyages of re-discovery.

I finished the last page of The A to Z of Everything and instantly called my family– you know– made the connections that I might have been putting off for whatever reason. I love fiction that is so powerful that it pushes you to make changes in your own behaviour and real life- and The A to Z of Everything is one of the strongest examples of this. Debbie Johnson is a genius.

Stunning – a truly gorgeous book that I know I’ll be reading again and again.

Grab your copy here:

Paperback:                     Kindle:

The Blurb:

P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.

Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.

Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

About Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson is an award-winning author who lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her
time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework. She writes romance, fantasy and crime - which is as confusing as it sounds!

Her best-selling books for HarperCollins include The Birthday That Changed Everything, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, Cold Feet at Christmas, Pippa's Cornish Dream and Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper. Debbie's next title is The A-Z of Everything, released on April 20.

You can find her supernatural crime thriller, Fear No Evil, featuring Liverpool PI Jayne McCartney, on Amazon, published by Maze/Avon Books.

Debbie also writes urban fantasy, set in modern day Liverpool. Dark Vision and the follow-up Dark Touch are published by Del Rey UK, and earned her the title 'a Liverpudlian Charlaine Harris' from The Guardian.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Guest Post: Author Sue Shepherd: What If?

I'm thrilled to welcome Sue Shepherd to the blog today for a guest post. Sue is the author of Love Them and Leave Them - a story that explores the consequences a snap decision can have on your life, and the lives of your friends and family. One decision- two very different outcomes... You can find my review of Love Them and Leave Them here. Over to Sue...

The first film I remember watching that explored the ‘what if?’ theme was ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’

I doubt I need to explain the premise to you, but, just in case you’re that one person who’s never settled down to watch it during the festive season, here goes – it was directed and produced by Frank Capra in 1946, and it’s the story of a man named George Bailey, who is faultlessly played by James Stewart.

George, mistakenly believes he’s led an unimportant existence, and, after a series of ill-fated events, in a moment of absolute despair, considers ending his life. At this point, Clarence the angel arrives, to change his mind. He does this by giving George a glimpse into how the town of Bedford Falls would’ve fared, if George had never existed.

Clarence shows George all the people he cares about and how different their lives would’ve turned out without his input. Not only are the lives of his friends and family poorer without him, but there are also knock on effects.

For example, the part I found most moving was when Clarence takes George to see a row of gravestones. He reminds George that his brother, Harry, performed a heroic act during World War II, which saved many lives and earned him the Medal of Honor. However, because George never existed to save Harry, when, as a child, he fell through the ice, Harry wasn’t there to save the soldiers.
I absolutely couldn’t get that scene out of my head. I remember my dad coming to see why I was crying later that night. There I was in my little top bunk, sobbing for the men whose lives had been lost. I still can’t watch the film without crying, and it remains a firm favourite of mine.

Despite all the tears, it’s an amazing, uplifting movie and one everyone ought to watch at least once. If you ever think that maybe things are a little mundane and you’ve not achieved much in your life so far, stop for a moment and consider all your loved ones, your friends and your colleagues. Then remove yourself from the picture, and see how they’re all getting on without you. There you go!

Since my childhood, I’ve gone on to enjoy films such as Family Man, Sliding Doors, The Butterfly Effect and Back to the Future II. All movies that delve into the what if things had been different? question. I’m fascinated to explore the possibilities of choice.

So, it’s no surprise that when I came to write my second novel, ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ I was thinking about parallel lives. I’d recently read about a woman who’d swerved to avoid a bird in the road and tragically collided with a telegraph pole.  Her life was changed in an instant, and I felt terrible for her. I couldn’t help thinking that if I were her, I’d wish I could go back and take the other option and hit the bird. From this thought, a story formed in my head about a man who has to make a similar decision, and the affect both choices would have on his loved ones, in particular, his twenty-something daughter.

Knowing that my first film love was It’s a Wonderful Life, surely, it’s no co-incidence that my debut novel was about guardian angels and my second is a ‘What If?’

Hmmm … it would seem I have much to thank Frank Capra and James Stewart for.

About the author:

Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour.

Her debut novel 'Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret?' was published by Corazon Books in March 2015.  It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon.UK in November 2015. 

Sue’s second novel ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ was published in September 2016.

Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle.  Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years.  Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you'll give her the heebie-jeebies and she'd prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

Website: www.sueshepherdwrites.co.uk
Twitter: @thatsueshepherd
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SueShepherdWrites

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Weekly Series: Doomed Date Diaries: Part 18

Ladies and gents- I hope you've all really enjoyed reading Bethany Quinn's hilarious Doomed Date Diaries over the past few months. Today is the last instalment- though you can catch up with the full series here. Here's part 18... thanks for reading!

Part 18

Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn

44. Zak

It was a great photograph- if I say so myself- perfectly capturing the moment when the bride's tightly clenched fist connected with her sister-in-law's chin. They had been officially related for less than an hour. In the background, slightly out of focus, you could see a surprised looking bridesmaid being thrown headlong into the cake. She was still holding a champagne flute. I had a large print hanging on the wall of my tiny office-cum-spare bedroom- to remind me that life is full of such magical, fleeting moments.

I don't get invited to many weddings- for obvious reasons- but Suzie was an ex client, who had finally decided- despite my best efforts- to get hitched to Geoff, not ditch him. I'd always found her kind of ineffectual- but she certainly knew how to start a fight.
Apparently though, it wasn't the worst wedding my stand-in date, Zak, had ever been to.

'A quick tip,' he said. 'Never try the "seared scallops with a piquant salsa verde" unless you're absolutely sure they're fresh. Especially if the reception is being held in a marquee, in a large field miles from anywhere with only one chemical toilet, few hedges and no running water.'
'Why not?' I said- already guessing the answer.
'Have you any idea how hard it is to be violently ill in a bridesmaids outfit without ruining your shoes?'

I shook my head. Thankfully I didn't.

'Or how many people it takes to get a bride into a portaloo wearing a wedding dress? Or that it takes even more to get her out again?'

I didn't expect to laugh so much- not after Matt let me down at the last minute. Zak was a great substitute. Pity he was to be magical and fleeting too.

Yup, it was a solid right hook alright. Not easy in a tight looking, silk chiffon dress with a corseted back, large organza bows and several acres of cascading tulle.

'You look beautiful darling,' Geoff had said as they posed for photos outside the church together.

I thought the bride looked like an upturned mushroom.

I think there were five arrests after the reception, including Suzie, the groom's mother- and the vicar- who rather foolishly tried to step in and calm everyone down- and got a black eye and 300 hours of community service for his troubles.

Who says weddings are boring?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Weekly Series: doomed Date Diaries: Part 17

Part 17

Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn

26. Trevor

'You've got a beard,' I said.
'Yes,' he said.
'Is it itchy?' I said.
'Sometimes,' he said.
'Do you ever find things living in it?' I said. It was more of a joke really.
He thought about it for a moment. 'Not recently,' he said.
'Uh-huh,' I said.

Trevor was a tap dance instructor, but he didn't exactly look like one. Not the way I'd pictured him anyway. For a start- I don't remember Fred Astaire having a goatee. I was also a smidge disappointed that he hadn't turned up wearing a top hat and tails- and didn't snap his fingers at the barman and order champagne or a Martini with a green olive in it. He had a cranberry juice and some cheese and onion crisps instead. My 1920s fuelled, black and white film fantasy was falling apart at the seams and I'd barely sat down.

I get this a lot. I'm notoriously bad at guessing what people will be like in the flesh. I'm a dreamer. Always have been. In my over-active, rose-tinted mind, Trevor should have been brought up in Paris before moving to New York as a teenager to be taught by one of the last remaining greats of tap- Sore Toes Murphy. In his nineties now and almost blind but still as light on his feet as an angel. The old man and his young student would tippety-tap, tippety-tap, tippety-tippety-tippety-tap away on the rooftops of Harlem to the applause of the locals, hanging out of their windows in the sultry heat of summer.

Oh dear. See what I mean? I get completely carried away.

Trevor was actually from Brighton where his mother managed a small hotel that was dog friendly and had distant sea views- if you were willing to view them from the top of a wardrobe or swinging precariously from a light fitting.

In lots of ways I preferred my version. Maybe that's why I'm still single?

Despite the face furniture, Trevor seemed like a nice enough guy. The way he incessantly drummed his fingers on the table was only vaguely annoying now, but I could see it being a major stumbling block in the future. Not that we had a future. Apparently I wasn't what he had imagined either.

'I thought you'd be taller,' he said.
'No,' I said.
'Oh,' he said.
And we left it at that.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Blogtour: Guest post: The Little Clock House on the Green by Eve Devon

I'm delighted to welcome Eve Devon the the blog today as a part of her blog tour for The Little Clock House on the Green...

The Little Clock House on the Green – Quick, to the Writing Cave

Hello and thank you so much for stopping by to see my Bat Cave (Writing Cave). This is mostly where the ‘magic’ (Kermit-flailing, tea-drinking, muttering and procrastination) happens. At Chez Devon, we refer to it as The Garret – a nice technical term for the teeny-tiny room at the top of our stairs.

I deliberately write with my back to the window to avoid distraction and when I can’t write because I need a distraction I plod downstairs to write at the dining-room table. There I have a wonderful view of all the jobs I haven’t got around to doing in the garden.

At first, my writing cave was the only place I felt I could create, but out of necessity over the years I’ve had to learn to write anywhere (trains, hotels, coffee shops and hospitals).

If you’re anything like me, and hate drawing attention to yourself, the thought of sitting in a coffee-shop to write will be enough to bring on an attack of the vapours! It’s true that the first time I had to dig out my trusty laptop and pop it on a wobbly cafĂ© table I really thought I might faint before I could finish paying for my coffee and croissant. Note: choosing a croissant to eat while you work isn’t the best choice – choose something you can eat with a fork. Sticky keyboard is so not a nice thing!

Anyway, despite liking to pretend I’m completely invisible if I’m out in public writing…here’s the weird thing…I actually find it quite liberating. Working from home can be quite isolating. Sure, with social media, you can chat online and there’s always music or the TV. But, there’s nothing like getting out of your comfort-zone and shaking things up a little (at least that’s what I tell my characters if they’re being particularly shy).

And, actually, working in a new space can awaken the creativity. The background noise of phones ringing, people chatting and typing away can not only soothe, but act as a great way of putting you into a ‘work’ frame of mind so that you feel connected to your work but also anchored in the real world.

When I was dreaming about all the different businesses I could open up in The Little Clock House on the Green, I suddenly realised I knew quite a few people who use (and love) co-working office space.
All over the world, gorgeous office space that you can pop along to and do a spot of work, is opening up. These spaces allow you to book a desk, an office, a meeting room or a suite of offices. They’re great for freelancers and people sick of working from home. They’re great for workers needing a creative area to collaborate and they’re great for small startups not in a position to afford sky-high leases.

The more I thought about the varied co-working spaces some of my friends had worked in or been to meetings or events in – the more I knew that this was exactly the sort of business my character, Daniel Westlake, was in a position to start.

When Daniel winds up in Whispers Wood, he quickly sees the potential of the gorgeous Georgian building on the green that’s for sale. The Clock House is the perfect premises to provide creative and luxurious co-working space at affordable prices.

There’s only one sexy problem…and her name is Kate Somersby!

Blurb: The Little Clock House on the Green

An absolute must-read for fans of Gilmore Girls!
Welcome to Whispers Wood, a cosy little village in the heart of the English countryside, where everybody knows everybody and rumours are spread thicker than jam on a scone…

When a rival village is awarded Best in Bloom, the residents of Whispers Wood are determined to regain their former glory – and with Old Man Isaac finally selling the clock house on the village green, with two potential buyers, operation ‘Summer Fete’ is on!

For Kate Somersby, the very bricks that make up the clock house hold precious memories of her childhood. Now she’s finally returned home after years of running away, she’s here to make Isaac an offer and ensure her and her beloved sister’s dreams come true. Only entrepreneur Daniel Westlake is standing in her way.

To prove they have the village’s interests at heart and in turn become the proud new owner of the clock house, Kate and Daniel must compete to raise funds for the Whispers Wood Summer Fete.

Over one glorious English summer, friendships are forged, secrets are revealed and romance delightfully bursts into bloom.

AMAZON                  GOOGLE PLAY                  iTUNES                  KOBO                                    NOOK/Barnes&Noble                 

My name’s Eve Devon and I write sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters…

I kind of secretly believe it’s not too late for me to train as a professional dancer, MMA expert, or win an Oscar. I know! This is why writing fiction is for me!

Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me a taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals.

When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucket-load, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucket-load, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!

Where you can find me:
WEBSITE                        TWITTER                        FACEBOOK                        GOODREADS

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Blogtour: Extract: When We Danced at the End of the Pier by Sandy Taylor

I'm excited to be one of today's stops on the blog tour for Sandy Taylor’s When We Danced at the End of the Pier, which was published by Bookouture on Friday. So, without further ado, I've got a treat for you... start reading right here!...


Chapter One
Brighton, 1930

I wasn’t sure how long I’d been sitting in the tree – I think it was a long time cos my leg was going numb from trying to balance on the branch. I wriggled about a bit and peered through the leaves; the boy was still there. He was concentrating very hard on lining up the tin soldiers. A line of green and a line of blue, opposite each other, ready for battle. His hair was yellow like margarine. Every now and again he would brush it out of his eyes and the sun would catch it, making it dazzle. I didn’t think much of boys, most of them were scruffy and smelly and they laughed too loud and called you mean names when you walked down the street. I knew this boy wouldn’t be smelly or loud, this boy would smell of strawberry jam and lemons and nice things. I wanted to stay there for ever watching the boy. He was wearing a blue jumper and grey shorts. I just knew that if he turned around, his eyes would be as blue as his jumper. He looked older than me but it was hard to tell as I couldn’t see his face. Just then my younger sister Brenda came running down the garden.
‘Maureen,’ she shouted. ‘Daddy says for you to come indoors.’
I put my finger to my lips and beckoned her over. Brenda was six, two years younger than me. ‘Tuck your dress into your knickers,’ I whispered. She did as she was told and I reached down and helped her up into the tree.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked, settling herself on a branch.
‘Shush,’ I said. ‘I’m looking at him.’ I parted the leaves so she could see into next door’s garden.
‘I like him.’
‘Daddy’s made a stew,’ she whispered. 
Just then, a woman came out of the house next door. ‘Jack,’ she shouted down the garden. ‘Nelson’s here.’
I tried the name out. ‘Jack,’ I said.
‘Jack,’ said Brenda softly.
I watched the boy run down the garden towards Jack and kneel on the grass beside him. Nelson’s hair was brown, in fact everything about him was brown, including his jumper. Nelson was an ordinary boy. He wasn’t a bit like Jack. He wouldn’t smell of strawberry jam and lemons, Nelson would smell of boy. Anyway, who calls their kid Nelson?
‘And we’ve got bread for dipping,’ said Brenda. ‘Dada told me to fetch you in.’
I ignored her and carried on watching the two boys. They were making noises like guns going off. ‘Bang, bang, bang,’ they went.
‘Surrender or die!’ cried Jack.
‘Surrender yourself!’ shouted Nelson.
I watched as Jack jumped on him and they started rolling around on the grass.
‘The stew smells lovely,’ said Brenda. 
‘Go and eat it then,’ I snapped. ‘No one’s stopping you.’
Brenda didn’t move.
Just at that minute Jack’s mum shouted from the back door. ‘Lunch is ready, boys.’ 
I watched as they left the soldiers and ran into the house, jostling each other and throwing punches. It felt as if the sun had gone out. I felt as abandoned as the toy soldiers lying in the mud. 
            ‘Now, where are my girls?’ It was Daddy come looking for us. 
We giggled.
‘Is that two little birds up in that tree or is it my angels?’
Brenda started climbing down. ‘It’s not birds, Dada, it’s me and Maureen.’
‘Well, so it is,’ he said, scooping her up into his arms.
I jumped down and ran to him.
‘Daddy,’ I whispered. 
He crouched down so that he was on my level. ‘What is it, darlin’?’
I cupped my hands around his ear. His cheek felt warm and bristly and he smelled of Senior Service and the margarine he smoothed on his hair to make it shine. 
‘He’s wonderful,’ I whispered into his ear.
‘And who would that be?’ 
‘It’s the boy,’ said Brenda, very seriously. ‘Maureen likes watching the boy.’
‘A boy, eh? Aren’t you going to be your daddy’s sweet face any more?’
‘His name’s Jack, Daddy.’
Daddy nodded. ‘Well, I hope he’s got good prospects.’
‘What’s prospects?’
‘Well, I hope he’s got a good job and he can support you properly.’
‘He’s just a boy, Daddy. I don’t think he’s got a job,’ I said.

‘He’ll have to get one at once then, won’t he? Perhaps we should send him down the mines.’
I started giggling. ‘You’re a silly-billy.’
‘My name’s not Billy. Is my name Billy, Brenda?’
‘No, Dada, your name’s Dada.’
‘Go to the top of the class, Brenda O’Connell. Or you can jump on my back.’
Brenda jumped up onto his back and I held his hand as we walked towards the house.
I could smell the stew as he opened the back door and my mouth watered.
‘There’s bread for dipping, Maureen. Isn’t there, Dada? There’s bread for dipping!’
‘Big doorsteps of it. I made it this morning, just for my girls.’
I giggled. ‘No you didn’t, Daddy, you got it from the baker’s shop.’
‘Whoops, you caught me out! You should be a detective.’
Brenda was looking at him, wide-eyed. ‘Can I be a detective too, Dada?’
‘Of course you can, my love.’
‘What’s a detective?’ she asked.
He ruffled her hair. ‘A bit like a policeman.’
‘I don’t want to be a policeman.’
‘Then you won’t be. Now, let’s eat our stew on the back step, eh?’
I didn’t want to eat my stew on the back step – I didn’t want the boy to see me dipping my bread.
I crossed my fingers behind my back. ‘I’m cold, Daddy, can I eat my stew in the kitchen?’
Daddy put his hand on my head. ‘Are you sick, love?’
‘No, just a bit cold.’
‘Then we’ll all eat our stew in the kitchen.’
Actually I was quite hot. The late morning sun streaming through the kitchen window and the stew were making me feel even hotter.
‘You’ve got a red face,’ said Brenda, dribbling gravy down her chin.
Daddy felt my head again. ‘I think that you should stay indoors for the afternoon.’
‘Oh no, Daddy, I’m not sick, really I’m not.’
‘Are you sure?’
I jumped around the kitchen a bit to prove I was OK. ‘See, Daddy, I’m not sick at all.’
‘Well, as long as you’re sure but I think your mum would have kept you in.’
‘But you won’t, Daddy, will you? You won’t keep me in.’
‘You have me wrapped around your little finger.’
            I sat back down at the table and spooned the stew into my mouth. I loved my daddy’s stew, it was thick and tasty and lovely. It had bits of meat in it that got stuck between your teeth and big chunks of carrot; blobs of white fat floated on the top. I took a big piece of bread and dipped it into the gravy. Then I watched as the bread turned soft and brown.
‘I like this house, Daddy. Do you like this house?’
‘It’s a fine house, Maureen, and tonight you and Brenda can have a lovely bath in a proper bathroom. Isn’t that just the best thing?’
‘Oh yes, Daddy, it’s the best thing.’
‘Now, why don’t you two eat up your stew and go and explore your new surroundings?’
Me and Brenda scraped our bowls clean with the bread and ran outside. I climbed the tree and looked into the garden next door but the boy wasn’t there. Maybe he was playing in the street.
I jumped down. ‘Come on, Brenda, let’s explore.’

Grab your copy here:

Kindle:                             Paperback:

The Blurb:

Brighton 1930: Maureen O’Connell is a carefree girl, but her family is on the brink of tragedy, war is looming and life will never be the same again. 

Jack and Nelson have always been dear friends to Maureen. Despite their different backgrounds, they’ve seen each other through thick and thin. 

As Maureen blossoms from a little girl into a young woman, the candle she’s always held for Jack burns bright. But just as she’s found love, war wrenches them apart. The man she cherishes with all her heart is leaving. 

When the bombs start to fall, Maureen and her family find themselves living in the most dangerous of times. With Jack no longer by her side and Nelson at war, Maureen has never felt more alone. Can she look to a brighter future? And will she find the true happiness she’s dreamt of? 

An utterly gripping and heart-wrenching story about the enduring power of love, hope and friendship during the darkest of days. Perfect for fans of Pam Jenoff, Nadine Dorries and Diney Costeloe.

About the author

Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.