Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s reviews) is about sharing all of the books you have received in the past week whether they are physical books or ebooks.
Books I have bought
ARCs I have received
Books I have borrowed
Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s reviews) is about sharing all of the books you have received in the past week whether they are physical books or ebooks.
Blurb: Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.
Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.
When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…
Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.
Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.
She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?
Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.
Review: Having read the first two books in the White Cliff Bay series I was really looking forward to this one and it exceeded all of my expectations. This is not to suggest that the first two books were not great, they were, nor is it meant to imply that my expectations were low, as they were definitely not, but this book is in my opinion the best one yet. While the first two books have great stories for me this one had more depth to it. I love the romance in the previous books and was rooting for things to work out well but the extra twists and surprises in this book are what makes it stand out for me. As with the previous books I got a feel for the town and the surrounding area, the relaxed and friendly nature of it and its residents really comes through and the desire of them to include Riley in the community is just how you want living in a close knit town to be.
While Riley is clearly a significant character in the book, this story is really about Darcy who comes to White Cliff Bay to try and have a fresh start away from her parents who disapprove of the choices she has made in life. Having visited the town during summer holidays when she was a child it makes sense for her to return there when she is looking for somewhere to move to. Soon she is getting to know the town and its residents and then she discovers that the lighthouse is under threat and cannot stop herself becoming involved in trying to save that too.
Although this is the third in the series it can easily be read as a stand-alone. There are however, some characters from the previous two books who appear in it and it was lovely to meet them again and, in meeting them, remember their stories and how they got to where they are now. All of the characters are well-written and realistic and i could easily see myself meeting people like them on a street somewhere although I have to say my favourites were Geri and Anne. I want to be like them when I’m their age, embarrassing younger people and being inappropriate. They were great fun even though they were only in it briefly. There are so many things I could say about this book, some of which would be giving away too much and others need to be discovered rather than read about in a review so I will simply say that I loved this book. I went through about every emotion there is while I was reading it, I got frustrated when people were being stupid, annoyed at some people’s behaviour, really happy when things worked out, I almost cheered on one or two occasions. There were a couple of times when I completely identified with Darcy and times when I didn’t understand her at all. There were some twists and surprises that I didn’t see coming and one or two that I suspected were going to happen but even when they did they were handled in such a way that they didn’t feel predictable at all.
All in all this is an excellent book whether you have read the previous two books in the series or not. As the blurb suggest this is a book to be read in the sun with some ice cream (it doesn’t have to be strawberry!) but the book works equally well on a cold April evening with hot chocolate. Whatever you choose to eat/drink to accompany it you will soon find yourself lost in the dramas and dilemmas of Darcy’s new life in White Cliff Bay.
Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for letting me have a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
As a bit of a change from what I usually do, for my stop on this tour I’m posting an extract from the book. Thanks to Neverland Blog Tours for letting me take part. There’s also a competition as part of the blog tour which you’ll find further down this post. Good luck!
Blurb: Escape to the south of France with the irresistibly compelling new story from Karen Aldous – the only book you’ll need this summer!
Nothing will ever be the same again…
Evie Grant has spent two years hidden away in a quiet French village, longing to escape her beautiful villa with its blue-shuttered windows. Maybe this summer, the father of her child will keep his broken promises and return to whisk her away to another life. One way or another, Evie’s determined to stop feeling like his dirty little secret…
Yet when a mysterious stranger almost knocks Evie off her bicycle early one morning, her world begins to change in ways she never expected. Embarking on a painful journey of self-discovery, Evie begins to face her darkest fears and shatter her fragile dreams. But can she ever truly break free from her gilded cage and learn to love again?
Excerpt: Evie tucked her hands under her knees and stared into her lap. ‘You think I trapped you, don’t you?’
‘I wasn’t ready. It was a big blow. Look, I know it’s hard for you at the moment but I honestly don’t know what I can do to put it right. I’m doing my best. When I’m not focusing on writing the songs, I have to focus on performing, rehearsing, until every song on an album is the best it can be. The music and musicians, the mixing – they have to be spot on for recording, and then again for the stage. So many people rely on me. You’ve no idea of the pressure of being on the stage – when you’re waiting for the audience to engage, to like you, and to not spot when you mess up. Look, I don’t expect you to understand the mechanics, just the pressures, the travelling, the demands. I’m a product like any other. I’m like a toy, to be enjoyed for a while, then brushed aside. I rely on myself to keep my music fresh, to capture new audiences, to maintain the interest of the older ones, and to keep the manager and the team together, to keep the wheels turning for all our sakes. I bought this so that you and Charlotte will always have a home. If it all went belly up tomorrow, you could downsize and hopefully still have some sort of income.’ He pulled her shoulders back, gripping her chin and kissed her on the lips. ‘I love you, I want what’s best for my two beauties.’ It’s just that most of my time is in the US or UK. We’re stuck with it for now.’
Instantly flinching, Evie jumped up and clutched both hands on her waist. ‘Stuck with it. Stuck with Charlotte? Seb, she’s your daughter. You spent more time with me when we first met. You found the time then. Even when she was a baby, you spent several weeks here. I really thought you cared, despite your reaction. I thought we had something special. Now… now it seems you just don’t know what to do with us. Like a puppy you got for Christmas and you can’t be bothered with. God, I was so naïve.’
Seb leaped up and put his arm around her. ‘Neither of us meant for this to happen. Let’s just make the most of it. Try and find somewhere you and Charlotte can go where she can make friends and you have some company.’ He kissed her hair and lowered his head, smiling into her eyes. ‘You both mean the world to me.’
Reluctantly, Evie met his gaze, wishing to believe him. ‘I can’t live in a cage like you expect. I’m turning into a hermit. I need something else to do. Some normal existence.’
She peered vacantly at the floor, trying to comprehend. Seb took her hand and led her back to the sofa, then sat down beside her. With one hand stroking her arm, he picked up the remote with the other.
‘You must get lonely. I understand.’ Seb said, flicking through TV channels and adding the sound.
Feeling like she’d been given a dummy to pacify her, Evie drew her legs up and tucked them underneath her. Seeing her book tucked down in the cushion, she picked it up. ‘I do, especially in the winter months when it’s dark. TV is boring. It’s lucky I have my books.’ Noticing Seb had hit the sports channel and was distracted by a Formula One racing driver interview, she continued. ‘Charlotte’s just finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy and is running out of material.’ She paused, when he failed to respond, and sat back. ‘There’s just not enough for two-year-olds. I thought she might like Fifty Shades next.’
He stared at her blankly, missing her irony entirely. He squeezed the mute button. ‘Sorry, I was listening to the TV.’
‘I said it might be useful if we had a computer,’ she said, now having his attention. ‘We could find things to do like games or learning apps. Could you get one? Just a second-hand one will be fine.’
‘Not necessary. She has lots of toys. She is definitely too young for a computer.’
‘Well I’d find one useful. I could…’
‘This house alone costs a fortune to run. Evie, you have your books. I promise to try and get back more.’ He kissed her lightly on the lips and turned again to the screen, clicking it off mute.
‘Seb, I need to do more. I need something to occupy me. ‘If I had more to do… A job maybe, to get me out.’
He sat slumped, engrossed in the screen. He was obviously bored and had switched off. Was she just going to continue sitting around, waiting for him to fulfil his music career? She could be old and grey and yet still waiting for him to step back from his first love – his fame – and still Charlotte wouldn’t know her father, or anyone else come to that. Seb cricked his neck. Evie sensed either he wasn’t comfortable with the idea or wasn’t listening. He was difficult to read and she needed to know. She took another sip of wine and crossed her legs while he scratched his chin and surveyed his empty glass. ‘Why? You’ve got everything you need. Anyway, you enjoy reading.’
She grabbed the remote from his hand and pressed the mute. ‘Seb, listen to me,’ she demanded, surprised at her impulsive pluck. ‘If I worked, it would help our relationship too. I wouldn’t resent you being away so much if I had a job. I would be happier and Charlotte could go to a good crèche and make friends. Even if I worked two or three morning a week. In fact, I could help out financially too and pay for a computer myself.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous. Where are all these ideas coming from? You don’t need to work. You have more than enough income to live. I don’t know what’s got into you.’
‘But that’s just it. I exist. I want to live a little more. It would be nice to take Charlotte to the zoo or buy her a treat or a nice little dress. What spare cash I have, I save for her birthday, or Christmas.’
‘The income is so that you bring Charlotte up, not for luxury trips and flouncy dresses. I want you to bring her up, not some childminder who doesn’t even care about her. I won’t have you working, Evie. I won’t. Do you hear?’
She tentatively bit her lip. ‘You’re right Seb, but at least let me try and prove to you that I can work without it affecting our relationship. We could all benefit.’
‘Hey, Evie, listen to me.’ Seb pulled her to his chest. ‘You don’t need a job. You have one, looking after our daughter. You’ve got me wrong. Of course I want to be here. I want to see more of Charlotte, and you, and I want our relationship to work. It’s hard, that’s all. My head is in a different place much of the time. You have to understand.’ He squeezed her arm. ‘I’ll get you another drink. I bought some tasty Roquefort. Fancy some?’
Evie shook her head. ‘Just a small glass of wine, thank you,’ she said, biting her cheek and pulling long tendrils of hair to her chest as Seb stood up. That was too much. She could risk everything she and Charlotte had. She could push him too far and the last thing they needed was to be homeless with no funds at all. She had nowhere to go.
Seb returned with the wine and cheese, placing them down on the table. He sat beside her and pecked her gently again on her lips. ‘I’m sorry. It’s not easy, I’m sure. If I made millions, I would have you with me, but this business is tough.’ Twisting her mouth, she gave a reluctant nod. Lifting his hand, he gently cupped her chin. ‘Tell you what, I’ll increase your allowance a bit, how’s that?’ he said, planting a tender peck on her nose. Hugging herself, again she nestled deeper into the sofa. Leave it, she told herself. Perhaps she was being unreasonable and should count herself lucky. He had agreed to up her allowance, she couldn’t really argue… but then why did she feel he’d just reeled her in again?
About Karen Aldous: Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!
Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and the USA would be her favourites. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in ‘Karen’s World’. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!
This giveaway is for a £15 Amazon Voucher and a copy of the book as first prize and a copy of the book as second prize.
This is a short story I wrote for my creative writing course. I thought it was about time I shared some of my work and would love to know what you think. It’s a psychological/crime story with a little bit of violence in it.
It was, he reflected, quite surreal to hear the city’s early morning birdsong signalling a new day while he was ending someone’s life. He watched as the life drained, quite literally, from the man lying on the ground at his feet; the blood running in rivers between the cobbles from the wound in his chest. If only the man hadn’t betrayed him they both could still have been asleep but they hadn’t and had to accept the consequences. He was always very careful when he did jobs like this, it wouldn’t do for someone of his calibre to be caught by the police which was why he wiping off the knife he had used when there was a scuffling noise from the end of the narrow alley. Glancing up he saw a woman, dressed in running clothes wearing a look of sheer terror. A growl of frustration escaped his lips as he started to move towards her.
Lucy turned and ran as fast as she could up the street and round the corner, her breathe condensing in front of her in the cool early morning air. She ran through the old town in Edinburgh as if the hordes of hell were chasing her, and for all she knew they were. Admittedly one person does not a horde make but she knew the man had seen her and if all of the television programmes she had watched were even vaguely accurate, murderers didn’t usually want witnesses, and she was a witness. Conscious that her shoes were making a lot of noise on the tarmac road she waited until she was a few streets away and ducked into a disused doorway. Peering cautiously from her hiding space she looked back the way she had come but couldn’t see anyone following her. Lucy paused a little longer; although she was used to running on a daily basis this was quite different and her chest was heaving, sweat running down her back from the exertion. She took a swig from her water bottle and felt for the hidden pocket of her shorts, reassuring herself that the keys to her flat were there. Taking one last look down the street, she set off in the opposite direction, heading home and hoping she would make it there safely.
He ran along paved streets and round sharp bends, hoping the girl wasn’t too far ahead and hadn’t disappeared into a building passageway for he simply didn’t have the time to check them. When setting the meeting for 4.30am he had expected the streets would be completely empty but he hadn’t considered the strange breed of people who decide that that ungodly hour is a good time for exercise. He cursed himself for not thinking of it especially as he had been so careful in setting up the meeting somewhere secluded and away from any windows. His boss would be furious that he had been seen, which was why he was chasing the girl and hoping that he could stop her before she went to the police. He started running again, he had no choice, he had to find her.
Pausing to check behind her Lucy realised that footsteps she had heard were only those of a sharply dressed commuter walking to catch the early train to Glasgow. She wanted to stop so badly but was only a few streets from home so kept going, continuing to hydrate as she ran. She was so focused on heading home and listening out for anyone behind her that she failed to notice that between the buildings the sky was now streaked with the oranges and pinks that suggested it would be another sunny day. When she was nearly home she took off her gloves and got her keys from her pocket. Reaching the main door of her building hands shaking she unlocked the door, the key scraping on the edges of the lock a few times before she managed to get it to go in. Ducking inside she relaxed a little as she heard the satisfying thunk of the heavy glass door closing behind her. She darted up the three flights of carpeted stairs to her own flat, unlocking that door with more ease than the one downstairs. Stepping into the small entranceway she made sure her door was securely locked before resting her head against it breathing hard. On the way back Lucy had considered going to the police but realised that her descriptions would be vague at best. She had decided to wait and see if anything was reported in the news and then she would reassess her decision about reporting what she had seen. Slowly she peeled herself away from the door and walked into her lounge. It had a large south-east facing window and was above the entrance to the building.
Lucy was quite proud of this room as it was the first room she had decorated after moving in. The deep purple walls combined with thick rugs and squishy cream sofas made it feel cosy and welcoming. The familiarity of her surroundings calmed her which was just what she needed after that experience. Walking towards the window, still breathing heavily, she looked out of it trying to stay out of sight. The tension leached out of her shoulders, there was no one there save a few commuters and they definitely were not interested in her. She went into the kitchen, rinsed out the bottle she had been carrying and filled a glass with cold tap water. Being careful to not drink too quickly she walked back into the lounge and turned the television on, muting the sound while she waited for the headlines on the 24 hour news channel to come up.
He stopped at the corner of a road, cursing under his breath as he was sure he had lost her, but then a movement caught his eye. A mixture of joy and disbelief washed over him as he saw her across the street, her distinctive fluorescent yellow running top having drawn his attention. He watched carefully as she went into the building and up the stairs. Examining the front of the building he realised that there was no way to determine which floor she was on, and there would still be the issue of multiple doors on each floor to deal with as well. Taking the chance that she would be staying there for the next 10 minutes at least he retraced his steps to the small convenience store that he had just ran past.
Entering the shop he moved quickly to the snacks and grabbed a Mars bar and a bottle of water. He’d been awake for hours and was now slightly regretting his policy of never eating before a job. Having paid for his items he crossed the road and leaned against the building drinking some of the water before demolishing the Mars bar. He knew he was a little further away from her front door but this side of the road was in shadow and he knew that would be more useful to him than being a few meters closer. Adjusting his position slightly he settled down to watch the front of her building and develop a plan for dealing with the girl. He was a professional and there was no way he would let slip ups like this ruin his hard earned reputation.
Lucy had been checking the news and the street for the past twenty minutes. She’d also put subtitles on the television so that she could listen for any movement in the stairwell. When there had been sounds she had looked through the peep hole on her door only to see someone walking down the stairs presumably heading to work, though she was careful and had listened for the sound of them leaving the building just in case. Although Lucy was two floors up the main door was heavy and the noise of it closing echoed around the stairway, something she hated when people came in late at night just as she was falling asleep.
During this time she had also been watching the street as best she could, the placement of her window meant that there were areas that were just out of sight although the last thing she was going to do was open the window to get a better look. She was tired of watching and prowling around her own home and after her earlier run her clothes were now drying uncomfortably against her skin. Making one last check of her flat door and the street outside she concluded that she had lost the man chasing her and was going to have a shower and try to get on with her day. Walking back into the entranceway of her flat she grabbed her robe from the back of her bedroom door and headed through the opposite door into the bathroom. Turning the shower on she dumped her clothes in the laundry basket as she waited for the hot water to come through. Once the shower had reached the desired temperature she climbed in, closing the door as she did so. The water cascaded down her shoulders and back slowly easing any remaining tension from her body, grabbing her shower gel and a cloth she began to wash the dirt and dried sweat from her skin.
His patient observation of her building had paid off, twice he had spotted her looking out of the window so he now knew which floor she lived on and that her flat faced the road, so figuring out the actual door would be relatively a simple affair. Taking care to keep out of sight of her window he crossed the street and walked up to the front door. Studying the panel with flat numbers and buttons on it he chose a few at random, hoping that someone would be careless and let him in without checking. After a few attempts a tired voice came through the intercom. A brief conversation followed in which he managed to convince the person he had a delivery for them and then he heard a buzzing sound indicating he had gained entry to the building.
Pushing the door open he was careful to make sure it closed quietly before he headed up the stairs to the second floor. He kept the orientation of the building in his mind as he walked upstairs and when he reached the second floor he paused a moment before walking towards the door that was facing him. Stopping at the door he listened and heard the sound of water running and realised his target was in the bathroom. Looking around he tried to work out if he could enter the flat without alerting her to his presence and then he glanced up and smiled. Above the door was a pane of glass, not large but just large enough for him to squeeze through. It had been put there to let light into the flat from the stairs and he was glad the building designer had included it. Hoping the sound of the water would mask the noise of breaking glass he pulled his jumper over his head and held it with his teeth. Jumping up with as much force as he could manage he was able to grip the edge of the glass frame. Transferring his weight to one hand he wrapped the other in his jumper and ducked his head as he smashed the glass. Still hanging from the frame he swept his jumper covered hand round the edges to remove any small bits of glass that were left and then he let go, dropping to the ground as quietly as possible. He waited for a moment but all he could hear was the sound of running water so sticking both hands in the sleeves of the jumper he braced and jumped again, this time grabbing the edge and pulling himself up. Looking into the flat he could see no signs of movement so he quickly hauled himself up and into the space as quietly as possible. From his vantage point he could see that she had left her key in the door so he undid the extra locks and pulled the key out before dropping back into the stairwell. He put the key in the lock and turned it, the glass in the entranceway crunching under his feet as he entered her flat.
Lucy froze, she turned the shower off and listened to see if she could hear anything but it was quiet. Quickly drying herself off with a towel she wrapped the robe around her and left the bathroom. Immediately she knew something was different, the entranceway was colder but she didn’t know why. Walking carefully into her lounge she screamed as someone grabbed her from behind but her screams were muffled as a hand covered her mouth.
He grabbed her, one hand on her mouth, the other other round her waist holding her tight against him to restrict her movement. He walked her over to the sofas and shoved her down onto one of them making sure she was facing him, he liked to see the fear in people’s eyes when they realised what was about to happen. A hand still over her mouth he straddled her before wrapping his hands around her throat and squeezing. He had to give her credit for struggling and trying to get free but they both knew it was impossible. He watched as the light slowly faded from her eyes, her body going limp as her life ended.
After he was sure she was dead he released her and climbed off the sofa. Wiping down anything he thought he had touched he left the flat, closing and locking the door behind him and pocketing the key. His job was done here, now he was really hungry and breakfast awaited. Leaving the building he headed south, his mind already on the full Scottish fry-up he would have, his work always made him hungry and today was no exception.
While the killer was leaving the flat and walking down the stairs the news headlines were being broadcast on the television. The top story that morning was of a body that had been found stabbed in an alleyway and of the man that the police were looking for who had been seen fleeing the area on foot.
A LITTLE FAKE RELATIONSHIP NEVER HURT ANYONE . . .
Kate Massie has big dreams-they just haven’t worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she’s shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn’t where the surprises end . . .
James Abell needs a date to his sister’s wedding. So when Kate agrees, he’s relieved . . . until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn’t feel fake-not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real . . . but they just might fall for their own little white lie.
Review: This is a lovely, light and undemanding book that is perfect escapism from the real world and I really enjoyed reading it. The basic premise is nothing new and it is obvious after a short while what the ending will be but neither of these facts detracts from what is a lovely, well-written and, at times, funny story. I’m sure someone once said the path of true love does not run smoothly (or something like that) and those words are so accurate when it comes to Kate and James. Although Kate agrees to be his fake wedding date it becomes clear quite quickly that that may be a problem and there may be more to their pretend relationship than they are willing to admit. Add a domineering mother, lots of family members, a few ex’s and a troubled past for Kate and you have the makings of a fun story that will keep you turning the pages.
Light and undemanding though this was it was also written in such a way that was easy to read and perfect for unwinding with after a hard day. The characters were realistic and believable as were the situations that Kate and James found themselves dealing with as well as the way they handled them.
This is the sort of book that you have to curl up with a big mug of hot chocolate or a glass of wine, white or rose seems to fit best, while you read. So, what are you waiting for………..?
Blurb: Who said that only real heroes could be found in fiction?
Sarah Smith had an addiction – she was addicted to romance novels. The meet-cute, the passion, the drama and the gorgeous men! Now this wouldn’t have been such an issue if she hadn’t been the owner of the only bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut.
Ever since her close friend Lil, from The Gingerbread Café, had become engaged she had been yearning for a little love to turn up in her life. Except Sarah knew a good man was hard to find – especially in a tiny town like Ashford. That was until New York journalist, Ridge Warner stepped into her bookshop…
Love could be just around the corner for Sarah, but will she be able to truly believe that happy-ever-after can happen in real-life too!
Review: Having read The Little Bookshop on the Seine (review here) and Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe and loved them both this seemed like the ideal choice for me when I was experiencing a bit of a reading slump. Although I knew the characters a little bit from those other books it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read any of these books first as this also works as a stand alone.
This is a lovely story, my one complaint is that it wasn’t longer! Having said that there is a lot covered here. Sarah Smith loves her books. It seems like she spends almost every available minute in her bookshop or, when at home, reading books. Although she spends a lot of time with her books she does have a few friends, one of whom has recently become engaged which gets Sarah to wondering if she could ever have something like that herself. Into this burgeoning inner turmoil walks Ridge Warner, someone who suddenly irritates but fascinates Sarah in equal measure. If you want to know what happens next you’ll have to read it for yourself, to say anymore would give too much away and I don’t do spoilers.
This is another excellent story from Rebecca Raisin which is ideal for a lazy afternoon or duvet day with tea or coffee, or even gingerbread coffee if you can get some……….
The book can be bought from Amazon UK now.
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feel-good contemporary romance with humour and heart
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