Friday, 25 August 2017

Extract - Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

Today I have an extract for you from a truly delightful book as part of the blog tour for Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne. My full review of this book will be coming very soon, but be assured that I absolutely loved it and hope that you will enjoy this extract as much as I enjoyed the entire book!


‘So why didn’t you say something right then, at that moment?’ asked Beth, the irritation obvious in her tone as she tried to balance the phone between her ear and shoulder. ‘That was the perfect opportunity to raise the whole marriage question.’

Carly was pulling faces on the other end of the line. ‘I know, but then the bill arrived and the moment was gone and you can’t go back to a conversation later on, it doesn’t work.’ She’d been worrying about it all night and, thanks to fitful sleep, she felt wretched.

‘Yes, you can. How about saying, “I’ve been thinking about what you said in the restaurant and … ” then you start talking about it again.’

‘Oh, that is rather clever,’ said Carly, ‘but still it was yesterday, he might not remember what he said.’

‘Then remind him. Jeez, you do make things hard sometimes, Carls.’ Beth was simultaneously unpacking what she’d bought from the DIY store.

Carly pondered her mixed emotions. ‘The thing is, I’m kippered either way because if I say I want to get married and he says he doesn’t, then …’

‘Then at least you’ll know … drop it, drop it now!’

‘What?’ Carly was shocked by Beth’s scolding.

‘Not you, sorry, Doris. Drop the mop, Doris. Good dog. Sorry, I’m dog-sitting.’

‘Dog-sitting? I didn’t know you even liked dogs,’ said Carly.

‘I’m not sure I do. It’s a long story. Anyway, carry on.’

‘Well, it’s even worse if Fergus says he does want to get married because he might just be saying it because I’ve said it and then he’ll only be asking me because I prompted him to and, worse still, he might opt for the “shall we get married then?” type of proposal which isn’t a proposal at all.’ Carly puffed out her cheeks. It was a conundrum and it weighed heavy on her.

‘Then I think you have to explain to him about your dream proposal.’

‘How do I do that without looking slightly mad and obsessive?’ She knew she wouldn’t be able to discuss it with Fergus without gushing or getting overexcited; in fact, it was very likely she might even cry. And she couldn’t show him her scrapbook of all the articles she’d collected over the years, he’d think she was proper crackers then. She was even starting to wonder it herself.

‘I’m afraid I don’t know,’ admitted Beth after a short pause. ‘Sorry, got to go. Doris has found the laundry bin. Bye, Carls … Drop my pants! Doris, pants! Drop them now!’

The phone went click before Carly could say bye. She cradled the phone in her hands. She was back in that uncertain space where she wasn’t sure where their relationship was going next and she had no idea what to do. So she’d just take a deep breath, carry on and keep hoping that everyone would be okay.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Review - Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove by Sarah Bennett

Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove is the second book in a series written by Sarah Bennett. Having not read anything by the author previously, I had very little idea what to expect but have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. It really was such a beautiful little gem of a novel that really cheered me up and put a smile on my face on a dull and overcast summer’s day in England!

In Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove, Kiki Jackson’s marriage is falling to pieces and being so desperate to escape there’s only one place for her to go - her sister’s guesthouse in Butterfly Cove.  With her sister busy planning her wedding, Kiki knows that turning up on her doorstep along with her two children isn’t ideal. But Kiki needn’t have worried as soon after arriving at Butterfly Cove she meets the gorgeous Aaron who offers her a place to stay. As Kiki gets to know Aaron and he discovers more about her, is there a chance that they might become more than just friends?

I absolutely loved reading about the lives of and getting to know all of the characters that were present throughout Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove. Kiki in particular, who this story focused on the most, was such a wonderful character who I felt so much for after all she had experienced during what was clearly an awful marriage. Despite it all she was an amazing mother to her children and I loved the fact that she was surrounded and supported by so many other incredible characters. I particularly enjoyed reading of her relationship with Aaron, one which didn’t feel at all false but real and believable. 

With Sarah’s brilliant way of telling a story and providing the reader with ample information, Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove is definitely a book that can be read as a standalone novel. However, I really wish I’d had the opportunity to read the first book in the series before as I feel certain that I must have missed out on a wonderful story that would have allowed me to appreciate Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove even more than I already did. 

As a book that packs so much into its pages, the one thing that really struck me was the important message that Sarah was conveying to her reader - the idea of never giving up, of making the most of each opporunity that life throws your way. Having enjoyed this book so much there’s no doubt in my mind that I will be picking up the third book in this series - Christmas in Butterfly Cove - when it is released later this year. I’m sure we’ll be in for another treat! 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Review - Cocktails and Dreams by A. L. Michael

Having loved Be My Baby, which was the third and final book in The House on Camden Square series, I couldn’t wait to start reading A. L. Michael’s latest release called Cocktails and Dreams. One thing I can definitely say from the start of this review is that this book was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. It more than lived up to my expectations and is my favourite book of the author’s so far to date. 

Savvy is the daughter of a rockstar who spent the first seven years of her life on the road with her mother, Persephone, before she was abandoned and sent to live with her aunt. Ever since then Savvy has craved a normal life but fast forward several years and life still isn’t exactly going to plan  as her longterm boyfriend sadly dumps her. Slowly but surely, with the encouragement of some very supportive friends we see Savvy start to make some much needed changes in her life, catching the eye of Milo the bartender in the process. Will this be a fresh start for Savvy and will things finally start to go right for her? 

From the very start of the book, Savvy seemed like an incredibly down to earth character and one who I really did find myself rooting for. With Savvy being such a likeable character who it was so easy to relate to, it was an absolute pleasure to be with her as she went on her journey of self discovery and learned to believe more in both herself and her dreams. In addition to creating a wonderful lead character in Savvy, A. L. Michael has managed to surround her with a whole cast of other fabulous characters and I loved reading about the individual relationships that Savvy had with each and every one of them. 

Just as I thought and hoped it would be, A. L. Michael’s fabulous writing style that I adored during Be My Baby was present throughout the entirety of Cocktails and Dreams. As a book that contained many hilarious and heartwarming moments, there was very little not to like about it, and I loved the perfect level of detail and description that had gone into making this book as wonderful as it was.

Cocktails and Dreams is the first book in a new series and all I can say is that I’m so glad that I discovered it when I did. Although the next books in the series won’t be with us until next year, I’m already really looking forward to them and being reunited with A. L. Michael’s beautiful writing once again. If you haven’t yet read anything by A. L. Michael why not make Cocktails and Dreams the book you start with? You certainly won’t regret it! 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Review and Extract - Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath

Just when you think psychological thriller fiction can’t get any better, one comes along that proves it definitely can. That was most certainly the case with Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath which surpassed all my expectations. Once I had started this book, I found that I was completely unable to put it down and raced through it in just a few hours. I absolutely loved it! 

Despite being happily married to Tom and with one beautiful daughter named Freya, the one thing Cat Lupo desperately wants in life is another child. However, after her first pregnancy left her suffering from severe psychosis she is wary about falling pregnant again. One night, the peace of an otherwise quiet house is disturbed by the doorbell ringing and they are shocked to find the police on their doorstep with a young child, Ruby. Although Tom doesn’t at first know it, Ruby is his daughter and following the death of her mother she is now his responsibility. As both Cat and Tom come to terms with this news and decide to take Ruby into their house her behaviour concerns Cat who is determined to discover the truth about the girl. 

Cat was a wonderful character who thanks to Mel taking the time to introduce and explain her thoughts and feelings to us became very real. As Cat found herself under a huge amount of pressure within Give Me the Child and we learnt of her previous mental health issues, we saw how everyone was very quick to judge her and presume that she would relapse again. As other characters in the book questioned her reliability which in turn leads us to question whether we could really trust what she says, Cat’s story is one that is utterly compelling. 

Mel has told an incredible story within Give Me the Child that includes a huge number of unexpected twists and turns to keep readers on their toes. Whilst reading the book I had absolutely no idea which direction the book was going to take and, with each chapter ending in a cliffhanger, I found myself desperately turning out the pages to find out just what would happen next. As a book that deals with a number of challenging themes, with mental health being just one of them, I feel that Mel should be commended for how she dealt with them in a very sensitive manner. 

As a book that has a unique premise and one in which the author has clearly done her research, I predict great things for this spectacular book. A powerful story that will keep you guessing for hours, this book is everything that a good psychological thriller should be. I’d certainly be interested in reading more by this author in the future.