Wednesday, 27 July 2016

We'll Always Have Paris - Sue Watson

We'll Always Have Paris
by Sue Watson

Is it ever too late for a second chance at first love?
About the book...
A charming, moving second-chance love story for fans of Thursdays in the Park, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Last Tango in Halifax.
Does first love deserve a second chance?
When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‘what if’ . . .
Told with warmth, wit and humour, We’ll Always Have Paris is a charming, moving and uplifting novel about two people; the choices they make, the lives they lead and the love they share.
About the author...
Sue Watson was a journalist on women's magazines and national newspapers before working in a career in TV where she was a producer with the BBC. She has published six novels, her most well-known being Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives in the Midlands and writes full time.
Author Links:-



My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the We'll Always Have Paris Blog Tour organised by Sue Watson's publisher.  

Where to begin?  It's no secret how much I love Sue Watson and her writing - she has characters that are engaging and so very true to life. Stories that provide the perfect amount of escapism but you don't have to totally suspend belief - they're realistic, touching and heart warming with a generous helping of fun and laughter to counter balance the more serious aspects.

We'll Always Have Paris is a story packed tightly with love, family. friendship, and hope.  It's about a family drifting through each day without a rudder to guide them.  Mike, husband to Rosie, father to daughters Anna and Isobel passed away, taken by the dreadful curse that is cancer; just six short weeks after diagnosis.  

Married for over forty years Rosie is struggling to get back to normal.  A year has passed and she realises that she has to start to regain some normality in her life, to do things for herself and begin living again.  She goes back to work in the florist shop she owns and runs with her daughters.  She finds just being out of the house is a big enough step for her to begin with - the thought of facing everyones sympathy face to face is too much so she takes a role in the background preparing the flowers for a big wedding.

A chance meeting whilst accompanying Anna to deliver the wedding flowers with a man, who as a teenager was the love of her life literally knocks Rosie for six. Peter is equally reeling, they haven't seen each other for over 40 years.

I can only imagine the tug of love played out in Rosie's mind as she was drawn to Peter and the 'perfect' memories of teenage love, then the heart stopping guilt because she feels she shouldn't be happy because the man she married is dead.  After all she's a widow and is still grieving.  Feeling immense guilt because she loved Mike, but he wasn't the love of her life. That was Peter, something Mike always knew but he still loved and cherished her all the same.  

The more I read of this book the more entranced I became.  Through this book Sue demonstrates how grief and grieving is a process.  There isn't a rule book and it can also be a positive thing.  Somehow, grief can empower people, giving purpose, focus as a result of reflection - this was certainly the case for Rosie.  

Grief affects us in different ways and takes differing amounts of time for people to come to terms with their loss. The wanting and needing to move on versus the guilt for being the one left behind enjoying life is all too apparent as Rosie struggles with her inner self.  At the same time she also has to consider the feelings of her daughters.   They're so busy looking out for their mother their own grief is on hold.  It's a complete role reversal that though well meant, in the end comes across as patronising - they have become the parent and she Rosie, the child.  

Through Rosie Sue demonstrates how we often look back at life through rose tinted glasses, remembering the good bits and erasing from our memories the worst bits.  It's easy to forget that young people have fewer commitments and don't often look beyond the here and now so everything was perfect then. Peter's re-arrival in Rosie's life is the catalyst, the turning point for Rosie.  When shrouded in grief she could only see herself as a widow.  With Peter back in her life, a friend to share happy memories with she finds the strength and begins the process of taking control of her life, stepping back into the shoes of her other roles.  That of Mother, grandmother and daughter. Connecting with her daughters on a much closer level, sharing her past and the events in her life that have shaped her. 

We'll Always Have Paris has a strong storyline that each and everyone of us can relate to.  It has family at the heart of it, led by a mother who always has her children's best interest at heart. The connection and understanding between mothers and daughters not always evident until they too become parents and face the same challenges - loving and protecting them, making decisions based upon experience. The older characters were perfect for this story about reflection, the dynamics of family life and taking second chances - with age comes maturity and understanding.  We all, I'm sure, can remember a time when we couldn't understand our parents reasoning and thought they was just being deliberately mean or awkward but as mature adults, perhaps as parents ourselves suddenly 'see the light' and get it.  It's a book that highlights the need to take chances, to live your dreams as we only have one life after all - life is too short and we shouldn't lose sight of our own hopes and aspirations whilst nurturing those of the people closest to us - it is still possible to achieve them whilst helping others achieve their own. Grief shouldn't be, but is often is the thing that gives us a kick up the bum to live our lives a little fuller.

I just loved this book, it's taken me three hours to try to put into words how much I loved it and I'm still not happy, I haven't done it justice.   It's such a thought provoking, reflective story told from the heart.  I smiled and savoured the raspberry macaroons - thank you Sue! Whilst at the same time laughing to myself as I thought about the many texts I receive off my daughter on a weekly basis, checking up on me - asking me where I am, what time I'll be home and telling me to ring when I arrive somewhere.  I'm not quite sure when I became the child and my daughter the mother but it has slowly happened in this house too!

Follow the rest of the tour :)


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Melody Bittersweet and the Ghostbusting Girls - Kitty French

Melody Bittersweet and the 
Girls Ghostbusting Agency 
by Kitty French

MELODY BITTERSWEET AND THE GIRLS’ GHOSTBUSTING AGENCY by Kitty French 
OUT 14TH JULY 2016
About the book...
An absolutely hilarious, totally entertaining, spookily sexy read that you won't be able to put down!

Life’s tricky for Melody Bittersweet. She’s single, she's addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers and ... she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder? 
Waking up lonely on her twenty-seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change. 

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency – kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her sexy enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat. 

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there are the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job… 

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night. 

About the author...
Kitty French lives in the Black Country with her husband, two young sons and two crazy cats. She’s a lover of all things romantic - songs, music, and most of all, books. 

Her USA Today best-selling Lucien Knight series topped the erotic chart on both sides of the pond, and she also writes romantic comedy as Kat French for Avon, HarperCollins. She's over the moon to join Bookouture with her brand new paranormal romantic comedy series, Melody Bittersweet and the Girls Ghostbusting Agency.

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Kim at Bookouture, Kitty French's publishers, in exchange for a review on the final day of Kitty's Blog Tour.  Where to begin, Kim told me way back she'd read an absolutely amazing book and I should read it 'you'll love it' she said.  Love isn't a strong enough word!  This book was an absolute delight - I found myself laughing out loud and sitting with a stupid grin on my face from the very first page.

Melody Bittersweet was born into a 'different' family to say the least - her grandmother, mother and herself all live and work together with dead people - they all have the gift? Affliction? of seeing ghosts.  

Melody is single, addicted to chocolate and cakes and reaches a crossroads in her life on her twenty seventh birthday - time to flee the coop and strike out on her own setting up her own business.  Her mother and grandmother need ghosts to pass on messages, find lost items and generally comfort people.  Melody decides she's going to be a modern day ghostbuster - getting rid of unwanted ghosts and desperately seeks the blessing of her family.   

And so begins Melody Bittersweet and the Ghostbusting Girls - well girls and one boy! Melody is joined in business by a whole host of characters that can only be described as a bag of revels - each one completely different - love them or not they compliment each other perfectly.  There's best friend Marina, Glenda part-time office manager to herself and her mother, Babs the company vehicle with more than a little character and Artie - the member of staff she didn't know she needed until she had a message from his dead father. 

This has got to be one of the best feel good books I've read in a long time.  Different to anything else I've read with colourful, vibrant characters that play off each other.  Each and every chapter is filled with humour, fun and laughter alongside a murder mystery with a difference and a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure.  Kitty French really has used artistic licence in writing this book and to find out it's part of a series is just brilliant.  Doctors should prescribe this book as the perfect, tongue in cheek tonic that wouldn't fail to lift even the lowest spirits - no pun intended :D.  

Until the next time...... thank you Kitty.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Plumbery School of Cookery - Cathy Bramley

The Plumbery School of Cookery 
by Cathy Bramley

About the book...
The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Verity Bloom hasn't been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.

But an opportunity to help a friend lands her right back in the heart of the kitchen. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks' time and needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up. And with new friendships bubbling and a sprinkling of romance in the mix, Verity finally begins to feel like she's home.

But when tragedy strikes at the very heart of the cookery school, can Verity find the magic ingredient for Plumberry while still writing her own recipe for happiness?

About the author...
After four years of flinging herself round the dancefloors of Nottingham's nightspots, British author Cathy Bramley somehow managed to get an honours degree in business.
She then plunged herself into the corporate world of marketing, working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker water guns and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears until deciding in 1995 to set up her own marketing agency.


She now lives in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Pearl.


It's my absolute pleasure to be part of the Blog Tour for The Plumbery School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley.  She's one of my all time favourite authors and her books never fail to bring a smile to my face.  Cathy was recently interviewed by fellow blogger Zarina @zarinatweets.  I have one of the questions she was asked below and you'll find the full interview at http://www.pagetostagereviews.com

What about the food in Plumberry?

One of the key themes of my new book, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, is sharing a love of cooking and, of course, food. I enjoy collating my favourite recipes and those of my friends, family and colleagues at Transworld to include in the back of each book. I particularly love recipes which have been handed down through families.

Last year I had a bit of bad news when I found out that my beautician, Lauren had given up her beauty business, but I was immediately cheered when she said was opening a café in the next village instead!

Honestly, this woman can turn her hand to anything, so I got myself down to Rhubarb’s Café and Tea Room and commiserated the loss of my eyelash extensions with a slice of the most delicious cake. This, Lauren told me, was her granddad’s recipe.

I knew straight away that it deserved a place in The Plumberry School of Comfort Food and asked her to give me the recipe. So thank you, Lauren’s granddad, and I hope you enjoy making and eating it too!

Rhubarbs’ Fruit and Ale Cake

You will need…

170 ml ale something like Old Peculiar would work well
1kg mixed dried fruit and peel
125g glacé cherries
50g cranberries
255g softened butter
255g caster sugar
3 beaten eggs
255g plain flour
125g chopped walnuts
Some walnut halves to decorate top (optional)

Soak dried fruit and peel in the ale overnight if possible or for at least several hours. Cream the butter with the sugar until light and pale. Mix a spoonful of the flour into creamed mixture to prevent curdling, and gradually beat the eggs into the mixture. Stir in rest of the flour and finally add chopped walnuts and fruit and ale. Stir well together before putting into a greased and lined 8inch (20cm) square cake tin. Smooth over the top and place the walnut halves in a pattern over the surface if using. Bake in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 3, 170c (150c fan oven), for 3 hours, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Delicious with a cup of tea!



I so want to be eating this cake now, it sounds absolutely delicious!  Huge thanks to Transworld Cathy's publishers for inviting me to be part of the tour and sending my a copy of The Plumbery School of Comfort Food - a review of this delicious book will be heading on to my blog very soon.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Baby's Got Blue Eyes - L M Krier

Baby's Got Blue Eyes
By L M Krier

Genre: Crime thriller > serial killer
Release Date: Feb 2015
About the book...
Someone is dumping bodies on DI Ted Darling's patch and he's not happy. Ted's a good solid copper, in an old-fashioned way, with an excellent clear-up rate. He's not at all like your average cop and has his own unique way of dealing with any prejudice his differences bring him. No heavy drinking, no failed marriage, just a steady, long-term relationship. He and his partner have cats, not kids.

But this serial killer seems to be running effortless rings round Ted and his team. Every promising lead just takes them up another frustrating blind alley.

Then it starts to get personal … 
BUY LINK


About the author...
 
Retired journalist, freelance copywriter and copy editor Lesley Tither writes under various pen names for different genres. Already well known for travel memoirs as Tottie Limejuice, Lesley also writes crime fiction under the name L M Krier.
Lesley's first crime thriller, 'Baby's Got Blue Eyes', was published in February 2015, followed by 'Two Little Boys' in June 2015. Books 3 and 4 in the DI Ted Darling series, 'When I'm Old and Grey' and 'Shut Up and Drive' are now available and Book 5 in the series will appear later in 2016.

"Sell the Pig" is the first in a series of travel memoirs describing how Lesley, writing as Tottie Limejuice, decided to make the move from the UK to France to start a new life, taking with her an 89-year-old mother suffering from vascular dementia. The story continues in three further books, 'Is That Billinge Lump?', 'Mother, Was It Worth It?' and 'Biff the Useless Mention'. A fifth book in the 'Sell the Pig' series is scheduled for release later in 2016.

Her first children's fiction book, writing as L M Kay, will be published later in 2016. 'The Dog with the Golden Eyes' is an exciting children's crime thriller.

Lesley also writes under the collective pen name of Jilli Lime-Holt, together with authors Jill Pennington and Janet Holt. Their first joint book, Take Three Birds, was published in December 2014.
Lesley is a former journalist, working as both a criminal court and coroner's court reporter. She also worked as a case tracker for the Crown Prosecution Service, and for a firm investigating irregularities in offshore finance. Her other jobs have included owning and running a holiday riding centre and acting as a 'charity mugger', lying in wait to sign up shoppers for a wildlife charity.

Lesley's interests centre around nature and wildlife and encompass dogs, wild camping and organic gardening. She lives in the Auvergne region of Central France and holds dual French/British nationality. Her current dogs are two rescued border collies.


GIVEAWAY 
Signed first edition of Baby's Got Blue Eyes