Monday, 26 June 2017

Review - Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

Despite not having read the first book in the Starlight Diner series by Helen Cox, Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner was a book that I couldn’t wait to get started with. Going into the book with absolutely no idea what to expect, I was left feeling mightily impressed by just how engaging and absorbing it turned out to be. With twists and turns galore from beginning to end this was a truly surprising novel and my biggest regret is not having read the first instalment prior to it - I feel certain that I must have missed something very special. 

Within Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner we meet Bonnie Brooks who is on the run from Atlantic City where she witnessed a murder take place, knowing that she is the murderer’s next target. With very few people to turn to as a person who is estranged from her family, Bonnie soon finds herself at the Starlight Diner in New York where her dear friend Esther Knight works. However, upon arriving at the diner, Bonnie discovers that Esther is out of town for the night and finds herself faced with the prospect of spending the night on the streets in the middle of winter. That is until diner regular Jimmy Boyle makes her an offer she can’t refuse, a man whose help Bonnie finds herself in desperate need of as the story progresses. 

Having done so myself, one thing that can definitely be said is that it is possible to read Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner as a standalone novel. I did so with much ease, never feeling like I had missed out on any vital information about anything that had happened historically in the lives of the characters. All of these characters were absolutely wonderful and I really enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them, particularly those who worked in the Starlight Diner who all seemed like one big, happy and very supportive family. 

Throughout the entirety of the book, I was thoroughly impressed by Helen’s way of writing and the talent she has for telling an incredible story. As she wastes no time in throwing the reader straight into the midst of the action, I found that there was always plenty to think about and lots to keep me on my toes. As we saw Bonnie try to escape her past, I loved the sense of tension that was present throughout the book and the way that you could never quite predict what would happen next. 

Whilst this may have been the first of Helen’s books that I’ve ever read, I can certainly say that it won’t be the last. With so much to love about it, there really is something for everyone within Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner. I’m really looking forward to being reunited with Helen’s writing in the near future and reading what she writes next. 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Extract - Confetti at the Cornish Cafe

Today I'm absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour for Confetti at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley. I found this to be a truly wonderful, heartwarming read and one that I really would highly recommend. My full review of this book will be up in the very near future but for now I shall leave you in peace to read and enjoy the extract that I'm lucky enough to be able to share with you all today!


Lily takes a deep breath, just like she did when she stepped into Demelza’s. 
‘It’s an amazing view. I love the view from Ben’s parents’ house over Mounts Bay but the north west is so wild.’
‘It’s hard to decide which is better,’ I say, aware of Ben standing next to us, not that he seems too bothered as he’s still scrolling through his phone. 
‘Is there a signal up here?’ he says, holding the handset up.
‘It’s patchy,’ I admit. ‘But there’s Wi-Fi in the cafe and cottages. We plan to offer Wi-Fi all over the glamping field and events area before your wedding.’
He doesn’t answer me but hmmphs and shoves his phone in his jacket. He joins Lily who has walked the few yards from our land to the coastal path. It’s still windy but I think she’ll be OK.
‘This looks like a scene from The French Lieutenant’s Woman, doesn’t it, Ben?’
‘Yeah,’ he says, standing behind her with his arms around her waist.
‘I haven’t heard of that,’ I say.
‘It’s a book and it was a film before I was born. Isla wants to do a remake but it’s set in Lyme Regis not Cornwall. There’s a scene where the heroine stands in a howling gale almost being blown off the Cobb. I’m hoping Ben will play the hero in it.’
Wow. I think Ben may have actually smiled. Maybe his grouchiness is from pre-wedding nerves or the pressure of his job. I wouldn’t want to live my life under the microscope like they do, even though they’re meant to live for the publicity. I bet they have to do a lot of things they don’t want to as well.
The publisher of our canine cookbook wants my co-author, Eva Spero, and me to do some radio and TV appearances when it comes out later this year. To be honest, the idea makes me go weak at the knees but I guess I’ll get used to it. Cal and I still haven’t quite got over being featured in a Sunday lifestyle magazine last autumn, thanks to Eva who was impressed by our set-up when she turned up to Kilhallon’s launch party last year.
‘Shall we move on to the wedding glade? It’s more sheltered down there,’ I ask, seeing Ben shivering in the wind blowing off the sea.
Lily slots her arm through his. ‘Are you cold?’ 
‘Freezing my rocks off,’ Ben mutters. 
‘Let’s get out of the wind,’ I say, wishing Ben had come equipped for the weather.
On our way to the glade, Harry walks to the left and a little behind, checking around him at intervals. Maybe he thinks an assassin might be hiding behind the cafe bins or the high-banked hedges that protect the camping field from the worst of the Atlantic wind.
Clumps of snowdrops nod their delicate heads in the breeze and early primroses dot the banks that line the lane to the cottages and the edge of the copse. I love the first signs of spring. When I spent a stint sleeping rough, all I cared about was a warm place to stay, but now I’m lucky enough to appreciate the seasons changing from a warm bed and home.
A boy waving a plastic cutlass shoots out of the copse next to us onto the path.
‘Wooo hoooo! Watch out! I’m a pirate!’
‘Jesus! What the—’ Ben steadies Lily as the boy clips her arm.
‘Sorry!’ the boy shouts but races off down the slope towards the yurt field, waving his sword cutlass. He’s wearing a pirate hat and an eye patch but I’m sure I know him.
‘Are you OK, baby?’ Ben asks Lily.-
Lily smiles. ‘I’m fine. I’m fine.’
‘Quick! Blackbeard’s after us!’ A little girl in pirate gear shoots out of the copse and clips Ben. He tries to stay upright but slips on the damp turf and lands smack on his bum in a puddle.