Friday, 2 December 2016

Blog tour: Christmas At The Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

I'm very excited about this blog tour today! Christmas At a The Cornish Cafe is such a Christmasey read and I've got a fab extract to share with you today! First off, here's what it's all about...

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

This second novel in the bestselling Cornish Cafe series is the perfect book to curl up with this Christmas.

Chapter Four

Coffee machine: on.

Air conditioning: on.

Ovens: on.

Sunshine: off, for now, but judging by the pale-blue patches peeking through the clouds, it’s clearing up, which is just what we want to tempt customers out onto the coastal path and into the cafe for our opening day.

I repeat the words again, because I don’t believe them: It’s opening day at Demelza’s. Opening day at my cafe. Six months ago I had no job, no home and no prospects and now look at me: manager of my own tiny empire.

Nina shouts from the side door. ‘Demi! Demi! Come quick. Mitch has done something terrible!’

I run after her to the rear of the cafe, picturing Mitch with his teeth sunk into a toddler. The white fishmonger’s van is parked outside. Harry, the driver, is cursing and shaking his fist at Mitch, who’s chomping his way through a pack of fish from a safe distance.

‘There goes your smoked mackerel order,’ Harry says. ‘Only turned away for a minute to get the shellfish out of the van for Nina and the crafty hound had the polystyrene off the packs and was wolfing them down.’

Plastic wrappers and polystyrene snow litter the grass. Mitch licks his chops and looks up at us as if to say, ‘You have a problem?’

‘I tried to grab them off him but he was too quick for me,’ Nina wails. ‘I’m sorry, Demi. Shall I tell everyone that the Fisherman’s Lunch is off? We’ve got bit of smoked salmon, but that won’t last long.’

‘Leave it on until we run out of the salmon, then tell everyone we’ve sold out. I don’t want to take something off the menu on our first day.’

I glare at Mitch, though, from the way Nina shouted, I’m relieved that his antics are nothing worse. ‘Mitch, you’re in trouble when I get hold of you. You can forget coming anywhere near my bed tonight. Your breath will stink for a week!’

Harry carries the rest of the order into the back of the cafe. We can’t afford to waste expensive food, but I guess if Mitch guzzling the mackerel is the worst thing that happens on opening day, we’ll be doing OK. With my nostrils closed, I tether Mitch in the shade by the back door with a bowl of water and his rope chew. I’ll ask Robyn to take him when she turns up. I go back inside the cafe with a smile that says I’m cool about ‘little mishaps’ like losing a small fortune’s worth of smoked mackerel.

The team is buzzing about in the cafe, servery and kitchen, preparing for our first day. My breath catches at the sight that greets me. They all look super smart in their teal-blueDemelza’s Cafe aprons – and Jez the chef, who’s in whites. His charcoal-coloured ponytail dangles from the back of his teal chef’s cap. He’s pushing forty, but still a lean, mean type who lives to surf. He also happens to be a very good chef. We were lucky to get him, but the part-time hours enable him to make the most of the gnarly surfing conditions and quiet beaches during the autumn and winter.

Nina’s back behind the server, checking the operation of the till for the umpteenth time. I met her when we both worked as waitresses at a ball earlier this year. She’s the same age as me and helps her mum run a kennels and dog rescue centre over the moor from Kilhallon. With all the dog walking and her triathlon training, she’s super fit. Her spiky orange hair reminds me of a pixie.

Shamia, currently filling the condiment area, is my order taker. She’s wearing a teal-blue headscarf to match her apron. She looks the most confident of anyone, to be honest. She’s a former dinner lady and now a food blogger. She will be lending us a hand on weekdays while her little boy goes to nursery school, and at the weekends when her husband can babysit

My official title is Cafe Manager, but I’m also the general dogsbody, greeting people, clearing tables and helping out on the counter. I love the baking and cooking, but I’ve had to leave most of the hot food prep to Jez.

There’s only one person missing.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Guest Review: Christmas at the Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

It's Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne - a time for family, friends and feasting. When Polly's not creating delicious treats in the Little Beach Street bakery, she's cuddled up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. But when a storm cuts the village off from the mainland, can the villagers work together to save Christmas for everybody?

Review: As a great fan of Jenny Colgan's writing, and of her Little Beach Street Bakery tales in particular, I was really looking forward to reading this book. I have really enjoyed following the earlier books in the series, but to have one set at Christmas was an added bonus. 

In this story, we return to Mount Polbearne, the little village cut off from the mainland except when the tides are right and the causeway is open. All the characters from previous stories are there, including the one that I am sure fans will agree is the star - Neil the puffin. Polly Waterford, owner of the Little Beach Street Bakery, and creator of such wonderful mouthwatering delicacies, has been working hard and is looking forward to a lovely quiet Christmas with fiancĂ© Huckle in their lighthouse home. Of course that is hardly likely to happen. As well as being dragged into various Christmas activities, Polly is struggling with herself, wondering where her life should be going next. 

Although the book centres around Polly and Huckle, there is plenty going on with the other characters as well. In particular, Polly's best friend, Kerensa is having a crisis and forcing Polly to keep a secret that is testing Polly's friendship and loyalty. There are also fears about the future of the island village. They have previously resisted plans to build a bridge to make connection with the outside world 'easier' but will this work against them when they campaign to reopen the village school? 

Although this is the third book in the series, you wouldn't have had to read the others to follow the plot of this one. On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone reading this wouldn't want to go back and find out how it all began. It is lovely to follow Polly's journey from when we first met her to this present time. I think this book is a festive delight, filled with romance, humour and drama, and would be a great addition to anyone's Christmas stocking, or ebook collection. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Give As Gifts 29/11/16

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Ooo I like this one! Obviously you know from my reviews whether I would recommend a book or not, but there are some books which would very much be acquired tastes and then there are those that would make amazing gifts for anyone so I'll make some suggestions here of books that I have or would give as gifts and you can have and idea of what has/will work for me!

1. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

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2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison

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3. The Humans by Matt Haig

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4. Wonder by RJ Palacio

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5. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

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6. Any Bill Bryson book (They're all fab and funny!)

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7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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8. Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

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9. One Day by David Nicolls

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10. Two Weddings and a Baby by Scarlett Bailey (becuase I'm in it so it would make a good present from me!)

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Friday, 25 November 2016

I'm getting married tomorrow!

So this is just another quick post (sorry for the lack of very bookish posts this week!) to let you know that I've been a little quiet this week because I'm getting married tomorrow!

Today I will fly to Vegas with my fiancee and both of our parents and then tomorrow at 11am pacific (7pm GMT) we will be getting married at the Chapel of The Flowers in Las Vegas where we will get married.

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In case you missed it, I proposed on leap day this year, he said and yes and then we planned this wedding to co-incide with our first thanksgiving the states. This will also be our first visit to las Vegas and so we are doing it right with the wedding I feel!

If you would like to watch the wedding live, or be able to see it for up to two weeks afterwards, just go here!

I Hope you do watch and please do let me know on here, on twitter, on the website or on snapchat that you watched just so we know that you were there with us!

I will try and do a post in the next couple of weeks letting you know how it went and hopefully I should be able to link the video here too as we get a DVD copy included in our ceremony package! Of course I will also let you know what books I read on the way there and the way back!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you celebrate it or not, this is my first thanksgiving living in the states and both of our parents are here so we're cooking (not that different to Christmas dinner right?Image result for thanksgiving

I'm very thankful to all of you that read this blog and all of you I have connected with on Twitter or IRL!

This thanksgiving is special for so many reasons and I have so many things to be thankful for. I don't want to miss them all in case I miss any so I'll just wish you a happy thanksgiving and let you be on your way!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Guest Review: Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall - from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos - she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…

Review: Another triumph from Cathy Bramley to add to my ever growing collection. I waited in anticipation for this book to be published and wolfed it down in quick time. As you may gather, I'm quite a fan of Cathy's work, and this latest story did not disappoint. It was originally published as a four-part e-serial, but is now available as a complete package.

The central character in the book, Holly Swift, has landed her dream job as assistant to the events' organiser at her local stately home, Wickham Hall, situated near to Stratford upon Avon. She lives in the nearby village with her mother, Lucy, but there is a bit of friction at home due to her mother's hoarding habit. Holly, however, is a very tidy and organised person, well suited to her professional role. Mum and daughter have visited the Hall regularly throughout Holly's life, so this is also an asset to her in her new job. Wickham Hall sounds a very grand place, with amazing grounds, but very busy with day visitors and events, making it a big job for Holly when the events' organiser leaves her in the lurch from her very first day in the job. When heir to the manor and budding artist Benedict returns to the Hall after living away for some time, life gets even more interesting for Holly. Other people we meet along the way include: the Hall's owners, Lord and Lady Fortescue; their grown daughter Zara; Holly's best friend and local boutique owner Esme; and various members of staff who work with Holly at the Hall and are an interesting group of characters in their own right.

This is a lovely feel-good story full of lovely characters. I really warmed to them all, even the slightly snobbish Lady Fortescue and the somewhat difficult to please gift shop manager. I loved Lord Fortescue's quiet tolerance of his wife's moods and his ability to hide away from his 'duties'. Most of all, I particularly liked Holly, with her amazing organisational skills and quick-thinking problem solving abilities, and the dishy and amusing Benedict. I would recommend this as a good addition to your reading list and a wonderful introduction to Cathy Bramley's work for those new to her books. 

If you like the sound of that click here to get it for yourself!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Top Ten Tuesday:Bookish things I am Thankful For 22/11/16

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Ok top ten this week will be bookish things I am thankful for. I know this is a bit of a mixed bag of a list but its going to make for a different post today!

1. Audiobooks, I've done posts and posts and posts about audiobooks, I love them and they are so helpful and if you want to find out some of my favourite audiobooks, just search for audiobooks on my blog and you'll find many posts!

2. Libraries. Right now I have literally just received my entire book collection. I don't have a job right now either and so I love my library! The library near where I live is massive and amazing and the whole library group is great because they have such a vast collection and they run events and reading groups as well as writing groups and film evenings-how cool!

3. Goodreads. I rely on goodreads to keep track of my reading. With the wedding coming up soon I have been fairly lax with my reading and so I have found this very helpful to keep me going and keep track of what I am reading and how.

4. E-books. Ebooks mean that I can still get hold of my favourite UK authors, even when they haven't had books released in the USA! Ebooks also mean that I can take like 300 books away with me and only have the weight of my Kindle to contend with at checkin!

5. Book blogs. I love reading other people's blogs! I like reading reviews but mostly I like posts like this that form some sort of discussion or are helpful regarding my book collection in some way. 

6. Twitter! The BEST place to chat books!

7. BookTube, responsible for so many of my book purchases, I've recently started making videos too and I just love it for watching videos about books. I think that book hauls, TBRs and readthon videos are my favourite!

8. Publishers, thank you to all the publishers that find the awesome stories and their authors and make then happen as books that go out into the world into my hands!

9. Authors! I love you all. It is hard work writing a book! I cannot believe how much effort it takes and I don't know how you all continually come up with original ideas, I am so lucky to have interacted with so many authors and read so many books by so many wonderful authors in my life so far!

10. Number 10 has to be the books doesn't it. The paper backs, the hardbacks, the dust jackets, the library books, the mini  hardbacks, the coffee table books, the travel guides, the memories, the I spy books, the proof copies, the  collector editions, the books on CD, books on tap, ebooks, audiobook sand books that have been read to you by a very kind teacher. They are all amazing and I just love them!

I Hope that list made sense to you, I know it is a lot to read but these are the bookish things I am thankful for, in no particular order. 

I would love to hear what you think of my list and I would love to hear what you are thankful for this thanksgiving. This will be my first thanksgiving in America and so I'd love to hear from you in the comments!