#Blog Tour #Review: The Oddest Little Chocolate Shop and The Oddest Little Cornish Tea Shop by Beth Good. @BethGoodWriter @rararesources

Today I’m taking part in a blog tour with a difference. I’m reviewing two of the five books in this series, The Oddest Little Chocolate Shop and The Oddest Little Cornish Tea Shop.

Blurb:

The Oddest Little Chocolate Shop

Treat yourself to something delicious . . .

‘I love Beth Good’s quirky style!’ – bestselling author Katie Fforde

When Clementine discovers that Monsieur Ravel’s beloved chocolaterie is about to close, she rushes to rescue it – without thinking through the consequences.

A lost Persian cat, a depressed but utterly gorgeous French chocolatier, an allergic shop assistant in search of true love, the oddest little chocolate shop Clementine has ever seen . . .

Can Clementine save them all, or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

A delicious, feel-good novella set in the world of chocolate-making from popular romantic comedy writer Beth Good.

Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oddest-Little-Chocolate-Shop-feel-good-ebook/dp/B07D2FSQ7M

My Review: This is a lovely, quirky story which, isn’t actually set in the countryside as the cover picture suggests. However, that aside, this is a lovely quirky read that will fill your senses with chocolate and have you wishing this chocolate shop was just round the corner from you. 

Despite being a novella, the characters are all really well written. There’s a few that appear only for a few pages and even they are incredibly realistic. It’s one of those books where you get the sense that what happens in it genuinely could be happening somewhere, you just don’t know about it. 

If you want a shorter read and/or to escape from life for a while then this book would be perfect for you. 

Blurb:

The Oddest Little Cornish Tea Shop

It’s a big day for Charlie Bell – the grand reopening of her Aunt Pansy’s long-closed tea rooms in Tremevissey, a quaint Cornish seaside resort. But not everyone is happy for Charlie. The locals say the tea rooms are cursed. For Pansy was cruelly jilted by her lover, and walked out into the ocean, never to return.

Charlie dismisses the ‘curse’ as superstitious nonsense, but by the end of the first day, her world is in tatters, and she’s not even sure the tea rooms can open again. 

Then in walks a rugged, taciturn man with a sexy smile and everything he owns on his back, looking for a summer job . . .

Is Gideon Petherick an angel in disguise? Or is history about to repeat itself?  The latest novella in Beth Good’s quirky and popular ‘Oddest Little Shop’ romcom series.

Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oddest-Little-Cornish-Tea-Shop-ebook/dp/B07D2FR32B/

My Review: As with The Oddest Little Chocolate Shop I really enjoyed this book. It’s a lovely, easy read but one which has you caring about the characters and hoping that, in this case, the tea rooms survive. Being novellas there is a lot crammed into a short number of chapters. It doesn’t feel forced but things move quicker in the stories than they would in real life. Having said that it does mean you get the satisfaction of an ending which doesn’t leave you hanging (I really don’t like it when that happens!). 

This one is set in a village in Cornwall. It’s a place I’ve not yet been but I got a real sense of it from the writing. The characters were as well written as I’ve mentioned in the above review but in this story there were quite a few emotions and they came across really well too. 

This is another short but perfectly formed story which is ideal for escaping from the real world for a while and, although I haven’t read the other three books in the series I expect they will also be perfect escapist reads. 

About the author:

Born and raised in Essex, England, Beth Good was whisked away to an island tax haven at the age of eleven to attend an exclusive public school and rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Sadly, she never became rich or famous herself, so had to settle for infamy as a writer of dubious novels. She writes under several different names, mainly to avoid confusing her readers – and herself! As Beth Good she writes romantic comedy and feel-good fiction. She also writes thrillers as Jane Holland, historicals as Victoria Lamb and Elizabeth Moss, and feel-good fiction as Hannah Coates.  Beth currently lives in the West Country where she spends a great deal of time thinking romantic thoughts while staring out of her window at sheep. (These two actions are unrelated.)   You can find her most days on Twitter as @BethGoodWriter where she occasionally indulges in pointless banter about chocolate making and the Great British Bake Off. Due to a basic inability to say no, she has too many children and not enough money, which means she needs as many readers as she can get.

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BethGoodAuthor

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/BethGoodWriter


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#Blog Tour #Extract : The Spy’s Gamble by Howard Kaplan. @kaplanhow @LoveBooksGroup #TheSpysGamble 

Today I am taking part in the blog tour for The Spy’s Gamble and have an extract for you. Many thanks to LoveBooksGroupTours for having me as part of this tour.

Blurb:  When the Israeli Prime Minister boards a new stealth submarine in Norfolk, Virginia intending a celebratory ride and the sub vanishes, it sets in motion a suspenseful story that intertwines the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a story of what could be.

Shai Shaham—an Israeli intelligence officer—contacts old friend and adversary Ramzy Awwad—a former PLO intelligence officer and one of the great writers of his people—for help in locating the missing prime minister. But can they trust each other? Can their friendship withstand the turbulent political landscape?

Eli Bardin—an agent who is feeling the strain of being away from his wife and children for so long in the field—is also tasked to contact Ramzy for the help in finding the missing sub. It seems the Russian have great interest in the technology, and he must locate the prime minister…because losing him is a national calamity that threatens to upset a delicate political balance in the most terrifying ways.

Starkly depicting the excesses of both sides and moving through actual events, THE SPY’S GAMBLE relies on in-depth research to weave a thrilling tale of suspense of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. 

Buy Link: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spys-Gamble-Jerusalem-Spy-ebook/dp/B07DF86VDS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532875846&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Spy%27s+Gamble 

Extract:

CHAPTER 1

          

Khaled Fahmy sat at the far end of the bar in Washington, DC, listening to the two young men speaking Hebrew at the table behind him, wondering if they were soldiers. Though in civilian clothes they still looked military, maybe twenty, close-cropped hair, muscular beneath their short sleeved shirts despite the winter cold, two jackets casually tossed on an empty chair, one blonde, one dark haired.  Fahmy had been born in 1992, the twenty-fifth year of the Israeli occupation of tFhe West Bank, not long before these Israeli boys, he guessed. He had known nothing other than heartache under Israeli military rule, a vice on the neck of their daily life.  Next spring, June 10, 2017 would mark fifty years of the Israeli occupation.

 “My Mashakit Tash got me a pass to go see my mother before we left,” the blonde Israeli said. “I’m completely crazy for her.”

            Khaled knew each military unit had their own Mashakit tash, a girl social worker their age from the unit who underwent a few months training for the post. Each solider was assigned to one.

  “She’s incredible,” the blond continued. “Those legs, tall. In tight, white Navy pants they go on forever, and you know exactly how they look when you pull off the pants.”

            They dove into talking about girls. Khaled thought about his sister, Sumaya, dead at sixteen years old. Seeking the glory of martyrdom, she had thrust one of their mother’s old bent kitchen knives into a border guard at the Qalandia Checkpoint, a large crossing at the concrete and barbed wire topped Separation Wall between the West Bank and Jerusalem. Privately, Khaled thought she’d done it both for the cause and to escape the monotony and despair of the occupation.

            Four hundred and forty miles long, the Separation Wall ran mostly along the Green Line, the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice border, but some Palestinian towns were nearly encircled, cut off from the rest of the Palestinian Territories.  Called the “security fence” by Israelis, the wall went up in 2003 in response to three years of consistent suicide bombings. Widely touted as an impenetrable success, the Separation Wall kept few out. At night, even a few meters from Qalandia, Palestinians hoisted ladders, snipped the barbed wire at the crown and shimmied down ropes dropped twenty-five feet into Israel. They found work with corrupt Israeli builders who let them sleep on worksites and paid below minimum wages, still far better than the pervasive unemployment in the West Bank. The Israeli military did not even bother to repair the barbed wire, knowing how easily it would be cut again. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot estimated that fifty to sixty thousand West Bank Palestinians snuck into Israel each day. Fahmy believed the barrier was the long-persecuted Jews’ way of erasing their domination of the Palestinians; out of sight, out of mind.

The dark-haired Israeli was smiling at two college girls seated at the next table, both in towering high heel boots. The blonde with curls smiled back.

            “It’s so free here,” the Israeli said in Hebrew to his mate. “Nobody checking bags at the door. Girls back home are so full of themselves, won’t even let you buy them a drink cause they know what you want.” 

 “It’s wonderful,” his friend said. “Same game but these American girls have fun playing it.”

            The dark-haired soldier stood abruptly and walked over to the coeds’ table, his mate in tow. He stood over the curly blonde and spoke in heavily accented English. “Are you Jewish? Cause you is-raeli hot!”

She gave him half a smile. Across the table, her friend rolled her eyes. “I’ve heard about Israeli guys.”

            “What did you hear of us?”  

            “That I should never do business with an Israeli.”

            “Ah, maybe that is true but I promise you we are not in this bar for business.”    Without asking, both noisily pulled out chairs, startling the curly blonde as they sat at their table.

The second Israeli called to the bartender. “We are buying these girls another what they’re drinking.” He turned to the girls. “My people invented circumcision; you’re welcome.”

Despite herself, the curly blonde laughed. Her friend lifted her half-full Scotch rocks and said, “Indeed, a very old procedure.” She drained her glass. “Which means I can see the results easily anywhere.”


#Blog Tour #Review : Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies. @bookouture @EmDaviesAuthor 

I am thrilled today to have for you a review of Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Bookouture for letting me be part of this tour. 

Blurb:   The climb up the hill takes her past sweet-smelling pink roses in full bloom and leads her to an utterly breathtaking view. Megan is happy to be home at last, but will her relationship have survived the journey? 

It has been a difficult few years for thirty-year-old Megan Forrester, completing her apprenticeship and trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with her gorgeous boyfriend, Liam.

She’s returned home to compete in a local craft competition. The prize is the chance to design beautiful new gates for the estate at the bottom of the hill, a job which could secure her future in the village forever.

As the contest gets underway, Megan is devastated when a rival design turns out to be almost identical to hers. Someone in the close-knit community must have leaked her sketches, but who? Is it the same person spreading heartbreaking rumours about Liam?

Down to the last few left in the competition, Megan throws her heart and soul into a show-stopping final piece… but will winning even matter when the truth about Liam is finally revealed?

Do you adore feel-good stories that leave you with a smile on your face? This heart-warming romance is a perfect escape for readers who flew through novels by Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson. 

My Review: This is the third book in the Little Cottage series which revolves around the cottage, garden and business at Joy’s Acre. This does work as a stand alone so you can enjoy this book ithout having read the previous two. 

I really enjoyed this story. Although it’s meant to be about Megan trying to make a name for herself in the world of blacksmithing I felt she wasn’t in the story a much as the occupants of Joy’s Acre were. I also would have liked more detail about the blacksmithing, perhaps more of the process that Megan was using, to give more of a sense that she was actually creating something made of metal and the amount of effort and skill that requires. 

Having said that, as stated previously, I did enjoy the story. There was a real sense of support and warmth in the group of people at Joy’s Acre. They worked together really well and when they had troubles, as everyone does at some point, they felt real and genuine. This story has a bit of everything in it, romance, fame, prejudice, betrayal, theft, reminiscence, bereavement and aging. It’s such an unusual mixture that you could easily think that it won’t work but it does. The main over-riding aspects are friendship and romance and they hold everything together.

There is a sense of place and peacefullness that pervades the whole story despite all the goings-on that take place. It’s a story that you can read fairly quickly but can still remember weeks later, and the strongest memory from it is of that peace and calm that oozed from the pages. If Joy’s Acre was a real place it would be fully booked for years in advance with the number of people who would want to go simply to relax. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t exist but you can gain the same sense of calm, and escapism, by reading the book instead. 

If you want something that will transport you from all of your troubles and cares and wrap you in a warm, comforting hug then this book is exactly what you’re looking for. 

About the author:

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea.

Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook.



#BlogTour #Review : Nevertheless She Persisted by Jon Walter. @annecater @DFB_storyhouse

Today I am delighted on the blog tour for this book and have a review. Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of this tour.

Blurb:   1914.  Two  sisters  on opposing sides  of  the  Suffragette movement.  One,  an  up-and-coming prison  warden  responsible  for overseeing  the  force-feeding  of  hunger strikers. The  other,  swept up  in  the deeds  of  the  cause.  A  poignant  look  at the  struggle from both  viewpoints. Making  the  hardest  decisions  in  life takes astonishing  courage.  Making  a stand  for justice.  Realising  that following  your  heart  can  mean  the loss  of  your  freedom. 

My Review:  Clara and Nancy are sisters. They’ve not had an easy life, aside from the obvious lack of money there have been other things they’ve had to deal with at a realitively young age. These have made Clara, the eldest, want to defy convention and not marry but have a career instead. She has a good job with the possibility of promotion in the future. Her sister is not doing as well, she’s quiet and timid and doesn’t know what to do with her life, or it seems, how to do anything. Clara decides Nancy needs a job and gets her an interview at the prison where she works. Once there Nancy meets some of the suffragettes that Clara works with and that’s when everything starts to change for both sisters. 

I hate spoilers in book reviews but this book is so good that I just want to tell everyone what happened and how it ends, because how it ends is not what youd expect from the beginning. It’s a brilliantly told story of two sisters on separate sides of the same cause. The Suffragette movement affects them both differently but also has life-changing consequences for them too. We see how the suffragettes ideas and deeds impact the sisters and how they react to them. It’s actually really tricky to review this without accidentally giving something away. 

I really enjoyed this book, it was one of those quietly engrossing reads where I’d pick it up after work and then a couple of hours later have read half of it and look up, momentarily confused by where I was. The characters were entirely relatable even though I’ve never been in any of the circumstances they found themselves in. The descriptions and sense of place were spot on too. I’ve visited a prison through volunteering I’ve done and the sound the doors and locks make was perfectly described as was the feeling you get when a door shuts behind you, even though you know you can leave shortly. There was a suffragette march in the book and there were a lot of people and, as can happen, the character there got caught up in it and squashed between people as opposing sides clashed. Again, I’ve never been in that situation either but I could hear all the noises and feel the fear of being crushed and potentially injured or even trampled on if I fell over. There’s so much drama in the story because of the suffragette connection, blowing up of post boxes for example, but at the same time it’s a realatively calm read. I can’t explain that but it is. 

I would highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you have a previous interest in the suffragettes or not. At it’s heart this book is about what can happen to someone when they discover a world outside their own and what impact their decisions can have on them and others and it’s a fascinating read. 
About the author:

A  former  photojournalist,  Jon  Walter  is  the  acclaimed  author  of Close  to  the  Wind  and  My Name  Is  Not  Friday.  He  was  inspired  to write  NEVERTHELESS,  SHE  PERSISTED  after  reading Sylvia Pankhurst’s  biography  and  being  gripped  by  one  question:  when  is it  right  to  break  the rules?  Jon  Walter  is  available  for  interview and  write  features  on  a  variety  of  themes,  including: being  an advocate  of  protest;  his  personal  experience  of  being  arrested;  and writing  beyond his own experience.