Wednesday 31 March 2021

Book Review - The Lake House by Christie Barlow

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Amazon UK

Title: The Lake House
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 31st December 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

There’s a newcomer to the village of Heartcross and she’s never been more in need of a friend.

As the new manager of local bistro, The Lake House, Ella is ready to start afresh ––and that could mean there’s love on the horizon in the form of the gorgeous Roman, the local water taxi driver. Every day Roman is there to ferry Ella to the restaurant on the other side of the lake and every night he makes sure she gets home safe. But Roman has secrets of his own…

Can the Love Heart Lane community offer Ella a chance of a new life? Or will the ghosts of her past catch up with her?

It is always good to be back in Heartcross, and this was no exception.  Christie Barlow has once again penned a tale that I couldn't put down and loved every second of. 

But yet although I was interested in Ella's story, really loved Roman on first sight, it is Dolores who is without a doubt the star of this book. 

Well that and The Lake House restaurant itself is rather key to the whole story too, and as always it was lovely to catch up with all the familiar faces from the previous books in the series. But don't worry if you haven't read them, this is an all new story and can easily be read as a standalone. 

Ella moves to Heartcross when she needs a fresh start and from the moment she arrives is shocked how welcoming and friendly everyone is.  She also very quickly gets to know her neighbour Dolores who  although I've said she is the star of the book, I really don't want to discuss as her story is on the whole so joyous,  you may as well enjoy it fresh! 

Oh and Roman, our gorgeous boatman, who Ella senses isn't being entirely open initially, but whether you will piece it together before finding out the answer is another matter. 

And if you want a villain, then the man which has caused Ella to retreat to Heartcross is certainly someone you can enjoy hating! 

I just love this fabulous sense of community, I felt right at home within pages of starting the book, and could barely put it down over the afternoon I read it in.  It's just Christie Barlow writing another brilliant book, what more could a girl want, other than the next book already! 

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Book Review - Married at First Swipe by Claire Frost

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Amazon UK

Title: Married at First Swipe
Author: Claire Frost
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 4th April 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

Hannah lives life on the edge. Never one to pass up on a new adventure, she has truly been living her best life. But once the adrenaline wears off, she wishes she had someone to spend the quieter moments with too. Learning that her best friend’s online dating business has taken a hit, she comes up with an idea that just might solve both of their problems...
Jess has been with her husband for twenty years. They have a stable marriage, great kids and run their own businesses. But what looks like a perfect life from the outside has its own problems within, and with her business on the brink Jess can’t help but wonder where the spark has gone in her life, and whether settling down is all it’s cracked up to be.
When Hannah embarks upon her latest scheme: finding a man using Jess’s dating app and meeting him for the first time at the altar, both women start to realise the grass isn't always greener. Can Hannah help her friend save her failing business or will Jess stop her from making what could be the biggest mistake of her life?
In the modern tech-fuelled world of dating, is it possible to find true love? 

Would you be brave enough to marry someone without having ever seen or spoken to them first? It is the ultimate in blind dates, and yet that is just what Hannah proposes she do,  in part because she is sick of bad dates, and in part as a big publicity stunt to help save the app, her best friend Jess set up. 

The story is told from alternating perspectives of both Hannah and Jess, and Jess' story will be familiar to most parents I would think, or at least they would easily be able to relate to her. 

I loved the first half the book, the discovering just who Jess will pick for Hannah to marry, the pair getting to know each other through a series of public blog posts written to each other, which I really felt added a lot to the book. 

I also loved the ending of the book and how everything was resolved, but the bit between half way and towards the end just didn't quite grip me in the same way.  Don't get me wrong it was still good, but I just found myself so frustrated with both of our main ladies, that I was getting a bit infuriated, with their lack of seeing the bigger picture and also lack of communication. 

This though is a highly enjoyable second novel from Claire Frost, and the concept was fabulous. I'm not sure I could have done what Hannah did, and I also enjoyed getting to know their friends and families as well as our mystery man. 

Plenty to both smile at and also roll your eyes at. Personally I'd have loved far more detail of the honeymoon but that would have just been due to my wanderlust and loving to read about stunning locations! An entertaining story from an author who is clearly going to be force to be reckoned with. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday 29 March 2021

Book Review - Opposites Attract by Camilla Isley

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Title: Opposites Attract
Author: Camilla Isley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 25th February 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

First law of magnetism: opposite poles attract.

Single mom Vivian has been burned by love once before, and her job as a divorce lawyer has presented enough evidence to convince her there are no good men left in New York City.

The worst offender is her new neighbor: Dr. Lucas Keller, a couple’s therapist whose piercing blue eyes and flawless dark hair are just as annoying as his bad temper.

But when Luke starts poaching Vivian’s clients by saving their marriages, she makes it her mission to force him out of the building to save her practice. But it’s Luke who gives her the perfect opportunity when he proposes an unexpected bet.

With their offices at stake, Vivian and Luke play the field of love in a fierce battle of wits that quickly turns hot and personal, especially when Vivian’s daughter gets involved. Now, taking down Luke has become more than business for Vivian. It’s become a pleasure—and soon, Vivian and Luke will realize how pointless it is to fight the laws of attraction.

Never has the phrase opposites been so completely apt.  We have the divorce lawyer and the couples counseller, and their outlooks on almost everything seem to differ at least on the surface. 

From their initial meeting which is rather amusing, this keeps up at a pace with them butting heads at every opportunity.  They end up in offices next to each other, it turns out their best friends have just got engaged and are wanting to matchmake. 

In fact they persuade Vivian and Lucas to join the dating agency they used and we are treated to all manner of hideous dates that were of course rather entertaining to the outside observer, or reader! 

The story is told from alternating viewpoints, so we really get to know our two protaganists, and I absolutely loved both of them. And Vivian's teenage daughter Tegan who is rather key to the story and in getting Vivian to see past her first impressions of Lucas. 

This is Camilla Isley at her very best, its funny, its touching, it has threads of a tricky storyline, and the banter and chemistry between to the two leads is rather evident from the beginning and there is even an unusual epilogue! 

It's just a sheer pleasure to read, and like I find with all of this authors books, its a very quick and easy book to read, and I read it in two sittings, and the only time I was parted from it, was while I was asleep! (The hazards of starting a book at 2am).   

This is just so entertaining and I loved it a lot. 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday 26 March 2021

Book Review - Second Chances in Chianti by T. A. Williams

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Amazon UK

Title: Second Chances in Chianti
Author: T. A. Williams
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 22nd February 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Alice thought her future was set in stone, until her past came knocking...
Alice Butler starred in a successful US sitcom until tensions in the cast and crew caused the show to be cancelled. Now, five years later and working towards her dream job in art history, she’s called back for a revival of the show. It can only end in disaster, surely?

Flown to a villa in Chianti to meet with the rest of the cast, Alice must decide where her future lies – with her boyfriend, David, who laps up the Hollywood company, or with the mysterious Matt, who shies away from public attention?

A beautiful romance for fans of Lucy Coleman and Trisha Ashley.

What an enchanting tale, with all the elements you have come to expect from a T. A. Williams novel, all present and correct. 

Stunning Location - We are in Tuscany, in Chianti, and it features a vineyard, a huge villa, and a small town that Alice spends some extended time in. 

Black Labrador - Ah Guinness, I loved him so much and all the funniest moments of the book involved Guinness and his new found love of Alice.  And his own Matt is rather great too. 

Romance - Lucky Alice seems to be swimming with potential love interests in this book, there is David who is her current boyfriend, and travels to Tuscany with Alice.  There is Rich her ex back from her acting days and he still seems to be interested. Then there is Matt, who is the handsome stranger with the gorgeous dog! 

Italian History and Art - It is becoming rather apparent to me the more of T. A. Williams' wonderful books that I read, that he has a passion for all things Italy, history and art. They seem to be common occurrences in his books, and Alice funnily enough has just completed her studies to become an art historian. 

However Alice is torn between her love of Art, and also the sitcom that she used to star in, and that they are thinking of reviving which leads to her other main dilemma of the book, just what direction to take her career in. 

Hard to put down - I was enjoying myself so much with this book I never wanted to be a part from it. In fact my kindle was found to be reading ahead, it was enjoying it so much, while I was asleep  (Ok, that may also be a sign I need a new kindle cover and I have ordered one), But well if it had managed to transport the words into my mind while it giving me a new starting location, then I would have bene happy as I'd have been continuing sooner.   

I just wanted to transport myself to Chianti and to be Alice.  Yes she has big decisions to make, but her life is awesome and I would love to be living it myself! 

This is a much needed trip to Italy from my armchair, and it was glorious to be immersed in such a sunny environment, in the midst of a dingy UK winter lockdown. 

Thank you to Canelo and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Thursday 25 March 2021

Book Review - Make or Break at the Lighthouse B&B by Portia MacIntosh

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Amazon UK

Title: Make or Break at the Lighthouse B&B
Author: Portia MacIntosh
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 14th February 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Thirty-one-year-old matchmaker Lola James had it all – until she broke her leg at a wedding and discovered that her so-called ‘best friend’ was suddenly too busy to call, her flat had far too many steps, and her boyfriend replaced her quicker than you can say ‘crutches’.

And so she’s back at her parents’ B&B, sleeping in the living room (she can’t get upstairs) and having her hair washed by her mum (she can’t get in the shower).

Freshly single and with a lot of time on her hands, Lola is only too pleased to run into gorgeous Dr Will, an old friend who has definitely improved with age… And then there’s Dean, a divorcĂ© who’s convinced he’s better off alone – no matter how lonely he is.
Can Will help mend Lola’s broken heart as well as her leg? Can she help Dean find love? As a wise man once said, sometimes the one for you is right under your nose, all along…

An uplifting, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Holly Martin and Jo Watson.

It was lovely to be back on Hope Island and in Marram Bay.  If you haven't read any of Portia MacIntosh's books set in this stunning location before then not to worry this stands completely alone, but if you have there is something rather familiar about the place, even with all new characters. 

I loved the way Lola managed to break her leg, it was so mundane and yet showstopping as such, with accusations of her attention seeking.  It's in the aftermath of this accident where Lola realises she will have to move back to Hope Island with her parents as none of her friends, or even boyfriend want anything to do with her while she is in pain and in a wheelchair.  And from this she starts to realise that maybe her London life isn't all she thought it was. 

For once she stopped feeling like a helpless child and her mum co-erces her into using her matchmaking prowess on a group a locals, or at least help them to be able to date on their own accord, that her days start to have a purpose again, and she involves herself in the lives of the group. 

There are a couple of potential love interest for Lola,  the dishy doctor and the kind hearted policeman,  one of which was my favourite from the outset and I was hoping that would be the direction the story took. 

I loved the dynamics of the group of people all who would like to meet the loves of their lives.  It is a great varied group and the scenes they are in are really entertaining.  Then there is also drama involving Lola's parents, and their new chef is coming up with some delicious sounding food. 

It's just all round a really enjoyable story, and I had a great time reading it. 

Thank you to HQ Digital and Netgalley and for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Book Review - My One True North by Milly Johnson

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Amazon UK

Title: My One True North
Author: Milly Johnson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 5th March 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Laurie and Pete should never have met.
But fate has pushed them together for a reason.
Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners.
Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other.
From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning. 
Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories.
Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything.
But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.
My One True North is a story of friendship and what love means, of secrets uncovered, teashops on corners and the northern lights.

As a massive fan of Milly Johnson, I can't quite put into words how happy  I was to see her recurring newspaper the Daily Trumpet had made a re-appearance.  I knew no matter what else was between the covers, that there would be hilarity! 

And the small Daily Trumpet snippets almost every time had my snorting with laughter out loud, they are the funniest they have ever been and added much appreciated levity to the story. 

Especially as the story itself is about two people who are struggling with grief.   And although I was sure I had figured something out quite early on, I wasn't quite right although it was hinted at more strongly a bit further on, which pointed me in the right direction but there were still gasp out loud moment s that I hadn't guessed. 

Laurie and Pete, are mourning the deaths of Alex and Tara their almost fiancee and not known until afterward pregnant wife.  Both died in car accidents, and both are recommended the same small support group, set in the Cafe of one of Millie's previous books, which is where they meet. 

Both have unanswered questions about their deceased loved ones and the are a multitude of parallels in their stories which we are given alternatingly. 

Through the way the story is revealed, we get to know their friends and families rather well, in addition to family members of the dearly departed ones families.  There are all manner of topics covered in this, both in Laurie and Pete's stories. 

I also enjoyed Molly's support group meetings, and the other people in attendance, of whom we also get to know quite well, and spend an enjoyable amount of time with. Oh and there are even moments in this book which has a cynic like me almost believing in the impossible! 

Actually there is just a tremendous amount packed into this story, which really is an uplifting read. It is Milly Johnson as her very best, and is a standout book.  I was hooked rather quickly and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Book Review - A Brush With Death by Fiona Leitch

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Amazon UK

Title: A Brush With Death
Author: Fiona Leitch
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter 
Publication Date: 12th February 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker is back!
When a body turned up at her last catering gig it certainly put people off the hor d'oeuvres. So with a reputation to salvage, Jodie’s determined that her next job for the village’s festival will go without a hitch.

But when chaos breaks out, Jodie Parker somehow always finds herself in the picture.

The body of a writer from the festival is discovered at the bottom of a cliff, and the prime suspect is the guest of honour, the esteemed painter Duncan Stovall. With her background in the Met police, Jodie has got solving cases down to a fine art and she knows things are rarely as they seem.

Can she find the killer before the village faces another brush with death?

Well this was rather unpredictable but having seen the resolution in full, I'd also say it felt far more complicated than anticipated too! 

It was lovely to be back with Jodie Parker, in Penstowan, Cornwall, and I loved the various male admirers she clearly has even if she isn't quite ready to admit to them, or pick between them! 

I found the start of the book felt a bit slow to me, in that I kept expecting a dead body and disappointed it hadn't happened yet.  The build up though was needed, and all my guesses as to who was going to be killed were incorrect, and that's before you even try to solve the murder. 

It was the dynamic between Jodie, who is ex-police and current detective for the town Tony, and how they are both trying to look into this death, even though Jodie isn't a PI, as you may half expect from this sort of book.  Tony is starting to exchange information with Jodie and listen to her theories and it's starting to feel like they could be a team to be reckoned with, even if Jodie is helping in some sort of voluntary role. 

Set amongst an arts  and literary festival, there are plenty of familiar faces from the first book but equally this could easily be read as a standalone,   I love that in Jodie's role as a caterer she is able to be invited to these various events and possibly blend into the background, so she can get to hear things she may not otherwise. 

It's an enjoyable second book in the series and I'm certainly keen to read the next one to see how the regular characters develop further, and to see just what will happen next! 

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday 22 March 2021

Book Review - Sign of Evil by M. A. Comley

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Amazon UK

Title: Sign of Evil
Author: M. A. Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 18th February 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

The love of money can be deadly...
And evil has an agenda.

DI Sara Ramsey is tasked with trying to solve yet another missing person case. This one is far more perplexing than any she’s dealt with before.

Amber Rowse was on a path of self-improvement which unfortunately led to her downfall. She's the first but it's not long before other girls end up on the missing list.

Can Sara and her intrepid team conquer the evil which confronts them, to save Amber and the other girls before their terrifying fate is revealed?

Have  I mentioned recently how much I love this DI Sara Ramsey series, and how much of a genius I think M. A. Comley is?  Just in case I'd like to reiterate that now, for this is yet another cracking story that had me on the edge of my seat. 

Completely different, but still a very evil villain, who is determined to make things very difficult for the police. 

From the sections highlighting what was going on with the bad guy, I can say I have nothing but contempt and disgust, while at the same time being grudgingly impressed with just how they were acquiring the girls that have gone missing. 

DI Sara Ramsay and her team are left almost scratching their heads at points, and I loved seeing how they tried to solve this one. 

Due to a side plot involving Carla that I feel is going to be dealt with more in a future book, we got to see a bit more of Craig from the team when he went out as Sara's partner a few times during this case, and I enjoyed seeing their dynamic and getting to know another team member that little bit more. 

All I know is this was fantastic, kept me hooked throughout and I was thinking about it even when not reading, I read the last 60% ish in one sitting, and I'm already craving more from this series! 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday 20 March 2021

Book Review - Just The Way I Am by Jo Watson - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK

Title: Just The Way I Am 
Author: Jo Watson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Publication Date: 16th March 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Has Fate given her a second chance?

'Zoe' is having a very bad day. As if getting trapped in a faulty elevator wasn't bad enough, losing her memory has made it much worse. If there's one piece of luck, it's that the paramedic on the scene, Noah, is both kind and a handsome distraction...

Now a completely blank canvas, with the help of Noah, 'Zoe' is excited to fill her world with colour, creativity and sweet and spicy food. She just knows from the tips of her toes, right to her fleek brows, that these things were all part of her make-up.

But when her identity is traced, the life 'Zoe' was living before the accident bears no resemblance to that of the person she's convinced she is. What happened to make her world so narrow and colourless?

And now she has the chance to start over, is it time to let the real Zoe out?

I've known for some time that Jo Watson is a fabulous author, but I have a feeling her writing has gone up another level with this book. 

I am sitting here open mouthed at how it turned out, but that is all I'm going to say about the ending other than it's amazing how often you can be surprised during one book. 

It is not often I start a book with a character that has been in an elevator accident, and has in fact lost her memory completely.  She can't remember her name but seems to know loads of random facts, can understand a language she wasn't even aware of, and basically needs to learn about her self all over again. 

Well while hoping her memory comes back.  There are all manner of feelings she has towards certain situations that she can't initially explain but she is drawn, perhaps as he was the paramedic on duty, to Noah and feels safe around him. 

What I can't imagine anyone would guess, is when we discover he true identity, just how different the reality is to what she believes she might be like.  And when you eventually discover the reasoning for it, my heart tore in two. 

Noah is absolutely fabulous throughout this book, and if I ever found myself in a similar situation it is him I would want!  There is so much I want to say about Noah but I don't really want to spoil the book either, suffice to say he is a rare breed of man, caring, considerate, sexy and copes admirably when a woman he has only met once turns up on his doorstep, as she literally has no idea of anyone else in her life. 

One of the messages from this book is sometimes things are just meant to be, fated for reason, even if you aren't aware of it at the time.  And it feels so true, as at the point I learnt I had been approved for this book on Netgalley, I was slightly despairing, hadn't been keen on the previous book I'd finished, and then gave up on another, and just couldn't work out what on earth to read next. But the second I saw the email with this book I just knew it had to be my next read, and that there was no way Jo Watson would let me down.   It just felt right to read it instantly and I'm so glad I listened to my intuition as it has reinvigorated me. 

Without a doubt Jo Watson's best book so far, and I've almost read all of them. There is far more to this story than may first meet the eye and I was impressed with just how much was fitted in, and how the pacing seemed spot on and so perfect. 

Just a wonderful book from a talented author. 

Thank you to Headline Eternal and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Please do follow along with the rest of the blog tour. 

Friday 19 March 2021

Book Review - The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

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Amazon UK

Title: The Castaways
Author: Lucy Clarke
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 18th March 2021
Rating: 5 Stars



‘We’re tipping it as one of 2021’s best reads’ Marie Claire
‘Totally addictive, clever and atmospheric’ Erin Kelly
‘Tense, unnerving and emotional’ C. L. Taylor
‘Packed full of intrigue’ Heidi Perks
‘Wow… Beautifully paced, tense and twisty’ B A Paris

It should be like any other holiday.

Beautiful beaches.
Golden sunsets.
Nothing for miles.

You’ll never want to leave.
Until you can’t…

Gripping, twisty and full of sun-soaked atmosphere, THE CASTAWAYS will whisk you far away to the island – and never let you go.

Omg that was one breath taking book, that had hold of me from the second I started it until I finished it barely letting me pause for breathe.  It is addictive and kept me guessing throughout. 

I kept trying to predict or second guess the outcome but I just couldn't wouldn't have come up with how it turned out, in a million years. 

Two years ago Lori's flight never arrived at its destination.  Her sister Erin was meant to be on the flight, but didn't take it.  Two years later Erin is still trying to discover the truth, and without any idea where the plane came down, no bodies she can't get any closure.  She is dogged in her pursuit of trying to find out just what happened. 

I can't work out though how to say anything else without potentially giving away spoilers.  It keeps you guessing continually and wanting to know various secrets including just why weren't' both sisters on the plane they were booked on, and that's just for starters. 

The book is split into past and present sections, and there are harrowing descriptions of what happened with the plane, the aftermath. Everything described so vividly that I felt as though I was there, and may end up dreaming about it tonight as a result. 

It's a story of survival, or not knowing what you are capable of until you are in that situation, of a wonderfully exotic backdrop, and a quest for the truth. And throughout the one thing you will feel is just how strong the bond between the sisters is, and just how much love they have for each other. 

This is an author who every time amazes me even more, this is her best book easily (and the rest are all fabulous too).  It was very hard to tear myself away from the story for things like sleeping and working, and even then my mind was on the story. 

Just amazing, if you love a twisty story with a backdrop that is far removed from everyday life, then this is definitely worth reading. 

Thank you to Harper and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily., 

Thursday 18 March 2021

Q&A - Would You Rather? with Christina Jones - Blog Tour

I have been a massive fan of Christina Jones for as many years as I can remember, having read the majority of her books.  So it is a great pleasure and privilege for me to be on the blog tour for Summer at Sandcastle Cottage, which is out today! 

A couple of years ago when it was first released I read the short story prequel Christmas at Sandcastle Cottage, and in a weird twist of fate I managed to re-purchase and then re-read it only a couple of weeks ago, so I'm primed to read Summer at Sandcastle Cottage  and eager to see more of these characters, as soon as I get a spare moment.  

But without further ado, let me hand over to Christina Jones, and her answers to my incredibly fun, but rarely used Q&A - Would You Rather?

Hello, Rachel – lovely to be here on your Random Reads – thank you so much for inviting me – and on publication day, too! And yes, this is all very random indeed… however, it does look like fun – so I’m in – and here we go! 

1) Would you rather live under the sea or in space?

Ooh, I’ve got no head for heights, so it’d have to be under the sea. I love swimming and I’ve got a lot of wayward hair, a rubbish singing voice, and chunky thighs – so I’m practically a mermaid anyway… 

2) Would you rather only read your genres you write in, or all other genres for the rest of your life?

*Whisper* I rarely read the genre I’m published in… I always think everyone does it better than me (I’m always years behind with trends and fashion and stuff like that so my poor heroines always have to be too broke or too hippie to care about such things) so I’d get disheartened, or, even worse, I might be tempted to copy… so, I’ll stick with crime and thrillers – neither of which I will EVER write.

3) Would you rather ride a camel or an elephant?

I’ve ridden both (my dad was a circus clown, it kind of went with the territory) but there are so many animal welfare issues here and this is not the place for them, so I’ll just say – neither now, ta.

4) Would you rather eat sweet or savoury food? 

Don’t! I torment myself with this sort of thing! I’m a vegetarian and just love both! It really comes down to could I live without chocolate? No. Could I live without cheese? No. So… basically, I’m a dinner and pudding girl in equal measure – and Don’t Make Me Choose!

*I'm full on belly laughing and evil laughing at that answer*

5) Would you rather pick all future books to read by their covers only, or their blurbs?

Blurbs. I’d be fine with blurbs. As long as I knew it wasn’t going to be too gory and the dog didn’t die, I’d be ok.

6) Would you rather go skiing or sit by a beach on holiday?

I LOVE the snow! However, I have no sense of balance whatsoever and again, no head for heights, so not skiing. I’ve never been and the music to Ski Sunday reminds me of long, boring afternoons and having to go to school/work the next day… So, a massive YES to beach holidays – I love the sea and the sand and everything about beach holidays – ideally in Jersey or Cyprus, but I wouldn’t say no to a week by the sea in Firefly Common, either.

7) Would you rather go to the cinema or the theatre?

The theatre every time. I‘m pretty rubbish even with films on the telly – I lose the thread and tend to drift off – I’m even worse in the cinema – I usually fall asleep – you know, it’s dark, warm, practically empty, comfy chairs, popcorn on tap - all sugar and carbs… But the theatre – all that spectacular live-as-you-watch/listen! Real people, real music, in real time! Wow! So exciting! No chance of me falling asleep in the theatre – ever. 

*Couldn't agree more with you there Christina, and I have to say in this current climate it has shocked me how much I rely on live theatre and entertainment to keep me feeling remotely normal. Bring back the theatre!*

8) Would you rather read e-books, audiobooks or physical books?

For ages I resisted having an e-reader. My husband bought me one for a Christmas ages ago and I was adamant I’d never use it; I was a traditionalist, I loved the sight, smell, feel of a paperback book… I wasn’t ever ever ever going to read from a screen… Then we went on holiday and I thought well, ok, it would make sense not to lug my usual half-a-suitcase full of books when I could load them onto the Kindle just for the holiday… And that was it! I’ve been an e-book addict ever since. I’ve worn out three Kindles since that first time. And, oh, the bliss of finishing a book in the middle of the night, finding nothing else in the house that takes your fancy, skimming through an online bookstore and clicking – and like magic – a book! Bliss!

9) Would you rather be rich but unhappy or poor and happy?

Poor and happy – I have been, am now, probably always will be – who knows…?

 10) Would you rather play or watch sports?

Oh, lordy – if you really knew me… I’m lazy. I can’t and won’t run. I’m not competitive. I’m the least sporty person in the entire world. I was in the orange team in the Mixed Infants. It was segregation, yes, but necessary. We in the orange team were completely incapable of anything even slightly athletic. Happily, the orange team mentality stayed with me throughout my school years. Joyously I was never picked for anything even slightly sporty.  I watch some sport – I love football, loathe tennis, don’t understand cricket or rugby but watch both, but will never, ever take part in Playing Games.

11) Would you rather always have to tell the truth, or always have to lie?

I’m such a rubbish liar – so it would have to be always tell the truth – which isn’t always kind or easy. But lying is not my forte – not really from a moral point of view but because I always go red and I always over-egg the lie so that it’s clear it’s a lie anyway…

12) Would you rather only be able to whisper the whole time, or shout the whole time?

Whisper! I’m not a shouty person. Nothing more to say – whisper - here.

13) Would you rather always be late or always be unprepared?

Eeek! I’m paranoid about never being late. I always make sure my husband thinks we should be somewhere at least an hour before we really need to be – he’s a shocking last-minuter – I’ll happily turn up ages early for things with every single eventuality (including earthquake and/or kidnap) prepared for.

14) Would you rather have your own luxury car, or private plane?

Ignoring the carbon footprint issue here – it would have to be a plane. I love flying! I think it’s magical – especially the bit when you burst through all the cotton wool clouds and up into the blue, blue sky… I passed my driving test when I was 17 but I haven’t owned or driven a car for years. My cars were only ever a means of getting around – I’m not a petrol-head or even remotely interested in whether cars are luxurious or not. But give me my own pretty Lear Jet with my own handsome pilot – and that’s a different story.

*Can I share your Lear Jet and / or just the pilot, please?!*

15) Would you rather be aged 10 or 30 forever?

I actually like growing older and all the changes and different people it brings into my life, so no, not for ever – not either of those ages – but I’d like the ability to go back to being 10 on a whim, whenever I felt like it, and for everyone I loved to still be alive and for the life and happiness and freedom and love I had in my childhood to be there. I had the best childhood and growing-up years. But 30 – not a chance! I was very ill when I was 30 – it took a long time to be well again. I hated being 30!

16) Would you rather look like a fish or smell like a fish?

Hahahaha – neither, obviously. But as this is a must choose one situation then I’d prefer to look like one. Preferably an attractive-ish one – tropical and colourful – like an angel fish or something – certainly not dead-eyed and pouty like a cod… (Sorry, cod!).

17) Would you rather be an only child or have siblings?

I’m an only child – but was never a lonely one. I never wanted siblings because, well, I had them next door. We lived in a row of council prefabs in a village – and every family was the same age, all the children were the same age – we all met as babies and for 17 years until the prefabs were demolished, we grew-up together – the boys next door were my “brothers” – stayed my brothers all through their lives (they both died far too young from cancer and broke my heart). We shared our lives – all of us. I grew up with the loveliest, gentlest parents – and a whole road of “siblings” – most of whom are still my friends today. It was blissful. I was very lucky.

18) Would you rather lose your keys or forget your mobile phone?

Oh goodness – not my keys! The cats would be locked in the house! They might starve in the time it took to a) find my keys b) my husband to get home c) my neighbour gives me back the spare key she keeps for me. I’d far, far rather lose my mobile – I never remember where it is anyway… I’m not in love with my phone. I still have my wind-up clockwork Nokia from aeons ago – and I use it! I do have a smart phone as well, I’m not a total dinosaur – but it has a mind of its own and I have sausage fingers and never seem to push the right buttons – haha – that’s the allegorical story of my life there! 

19) Would you rather have free books for life or free food for life?

Oh, books! Definitely books! And despite me being an e-book addict now, we have books everywhere in this house! Everywhere! I read all the time – I learned to read long before I started school and I’ve never stopped. Yes, I’m also a gannet but I think I’d be able to find someone else to feed me if I needed it – I couldn’t rely on anyone else to supply me with books.

20) Would you rather give up social media or alcohol?

Alcohol every time! I love social media and anyway *whisper* I don’t drink…. Well, very rarely… on holiday, at Christmas, out for a meal… that’s about it. I’m not tee-total or anti-booze – but I was a career barmaid for most of my life – and nothing, but nothing, puts you off alcohol more than chucking out time on a Saturday night when you’ve been on your feet for at least 8 hours, when everyone has told you they love you umpteen times in the last half an hour, and then when you call last orders there’s always a table of teachers who snaffle four pints each and you know you’ll be there until the small hours waiting to clear up and go home… 

I've been laughing my head off while reading these answers Christina.  A massive thank you for answering my completely random assortment of questions.  

And of course Happy Publication Day Day. 

If you have loved this insight into Christina Jones' then please take a look at the details of her new book coming up below and then also follow along with the rest of the blog tour too, where I'm sure there will be some reviews of this fabulous sounding book! 

Purchase From Amazon UK

After trials, tears and a torturous break-up, Kitty Appleby has finally found where she's meant to be. Tumbledown Sandcastle Cottage, in the delightful seaside village of Firefly Common, is home, and Kitty's eccentric band of friends and neighbours are enjoying a glorious summer.

There's just one tiny little problem. Sandcastle Cottage doesn't belong to them. And Mavis Mullholland, Kitty's landlord, is on her way home from her round-the-world cruise . . .

Kitty can't bear to lose the community that's welcomed her in. But secretly, she can't bear to leave Sandcastle Cottage without finding out more about the mysterious and enigmatic Vinny . . . Why can't she stop thinking about him, when she's faced with losing everything?

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