Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Food & Drink Month: Q&A with Caroline Roberts

Sadly there's just over a week left for this Food and Drink feature week but I'm pleased to say that I still have some fantastic guest features to share with you this month.  Next up I'm delighted to welcome Caroline Roberts back to the blog for a Q&A about her new Tea Shop series, The Cosy Tea Shop in the Castle (which I'm still hoping to review before the month is over) was published earlier this year and the follow up The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop is due out in October.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey? 
Hi Sharon, I love writing and reading, and I have wanted to be a novelist for years. It took me several years to get published, and I had to persevere through lots of submission rejections on the way. I finally got my break with Harper Collins in 2015 with my debut novel, The Torn Up Marriage. I’m a normal (my friends might argue with that!) mum with two grown-up children, a dog who I love to walk, and I’m lucky to live in Northumberland, a beautiful part of the world; its stunning countryside, golden sandy beaches, historic castles, and wild moorland inspire my writing.

If you had to do an elevator pitch for The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, what would it be? 
Star-baker Ellie risks it all for her dream of running her own teashop. With a slice of castle life and a cast of show-stopping characters including the truly scrumptious castle manager, Joe, this is a fabulous, heart-warming read – simply irresistible.

Was the teashop in Claverham Castle inspired by a real teashop? 
Yes, my friend ran the tea rooms at Chillingham Castle for many years. It’s near to my home in Northumberland. It’s a beautiful, old stone castle set in the most gorgeous countryside, and is such an amazing, quirky, historic place. I even worked “undercover” as a waitress for a day when I was writing the book, so I really knew what it would be like.

I could imagine a Teashop Dream coming true there, and a beautiful love story too.

Ellie's love of baking was influenced by her Nanna, did you have a similar role model?
There is often someone special in your life who influences you. For Ellie, it was her Nanna, who had sadly died. I lived a long way away from my two Nan’s when I was growing up in Cornwall (they lived in London), so I think the grandmother character in my book was aspirational. My Little Nan was a really good baker though – I remember her lemon meringue pie being delicious. 

Describe Ellie in three words.
Friendly, warm, brave.

What can we expect from you next?
I have just finished writing The Cosy Christmas Teashop – a poignant, funny and festive sequel to The Cosy Teashop in the Castle. Expect to see more of Ellie and Joe’s romance and the ups and downs of castle life, as well as some fun and fabulous wedding scenes, with tinsel, baubles, mince pies, and mulled wine a plenty. Not long to wait, as it’s going to be published in October 2016! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Emma's Review: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

'My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.'

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must - because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants ...

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Monday, 22 August 2016

Emma's Review: The House on Sunset Lake by Tasmina Perry

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Casa D'Or, the mysterious plantation house on Sunset Lake, has been in the Wyatt family for over fifty years. Jennifer Wyatt returns there from university full of hope, as summer by the lake stretches ahead of her. Yet by the time it is over her heart will be broken, her family in tatters, her dreams long gone.

Twenty years later, Casa D'Or stands neglected, a victim of tragic events. Jennifer has closed the door on her past. Then Jim, the man she met and fell in love with that magical summer, comes back into her life, with a plan to return Casa D'Or to its former glory. Their reunion will stir up old ghosts for both of them, and reveal the dark secrets the house still holds close...

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Food & Drink Month Giveaway: Win this Retro bundle from Iconic Brands

Today's Food & Drink giveaway is for this selection of goodies from iconic names in the Food and Drink industry. 

The giveaway was originally just going to be for the Walls Classics notebook which I found on offer in a local shop but then I saw a few of the other items which gave me the idea of doing a giveaway for a selection of items from iconic brands. Bundle includes:

  • Pair of Tetley Tea Towels
  • Nescafe Mug
  • Marmite Fridge Magnet
  • Cadburys Fridge Magnet
  • Coca Cola Money Box
  • Walls Classics Notebook

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Books Read & Giveaway: Wildflower Bay by Rachael Lucas

This little island has some big secrets...

Isla's got her dream job as head stylist at the most exclusive salon in Edinburgh. The fact that she's been so single-minded in her career that she's forgotten to have a life has completely passed her by - until disaster strikes.

Out of options, she heads to the remote island of Auchenmor to help out her aunt who is in desperate need of an extra pair of scissors at her salon.

A native to the island, Finn is thirty-five and reality has just hit him hard. His best friends are about to have a baby and everything is changing. When into his life walks Isla ... 

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Food & Drink Month Giveaway: Win a copy of The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson

One of the things I have loved since I started blogging is the camaraderie of the book and blogging community, whether you are having a good day or a bad one there is always someone on hand to support you and I have made some good friends for life.  One such friend is Louise who has very generously donated today's giveaway prize, a copy of The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson, which will be ordered from Amazon or Book Depository to be posted direct to the winner but that's not all as Louise has also bought a few small items to send as a happymail surprise to the winner as well. 

'I'm looking for that perfect blend of flavours; the taste that used to be you.'

It's been 18 months since my husband was murdered and I've decided to finish writing The Flavours of Love, the cookbook he started before he died. Everyone thinks I'm coping so well without him - they have no idea what I've been hiding or what I did back then to protect my family. But now that my 14-year-old daughter has confessed a devastating secret, and my husband's killer, who was never caught, has started to write to me, I know it's only a matter of time before the truth about me and what I've done will be revealed.

My name is Saffron Mackleroy and this is my story.