Book Review: Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

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Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Catching Lightning, by Katie Stephens

Is there ever a right time and place for love?
Can one ever tell when or where it will strike?
Can the love of a man win over the loathing of his country?

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You never know where or when lightning will strike, but when it happens on a trip back to Kenya to bury your parents you know the timing isn’t great.

Mel has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she had come to hate, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kamuti for her parents’ funeral, forcing her to face her fear of flying and hatred for the place which has now stolen her parents from her for good. But meeting the people who meant so much to her parents and above all the gorgeous, England-educated Sam was not part of the plan.

Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she has had things wrong all these years.

Will taking the trip help her find her answers? Will visiting the most beautiful and memorable locations of the land make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?

When Mel discovers the ultimate painful secret about her past and loses her job as a teacher at a posh girls’ school, she has one final choice to make – as they say lightening only strikes once.

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Rebecca Raisin Valentines Interview

Rebecca Raisin is joining me today for a love-themed interview as part of my Valentines celebrations! Rebecca’s Gingerbread Cafe books are some of the loveliest, sweetest books I read last year, and I can’t wait for her to release Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm next month!

  • What’s your dream date?
    Hmmm, good question! I adore Paris, so when I think of a dream date it would have to be there! A stroll along the cobbled streets, a meander around the iconic bookshop Shakespeare and Co, before dinner somewhere romantic, and maybe a show? Just being in Paris would be gorgeous!
  • What’s the worst/most embarrassing date you’ve ever been on?
    When Ashley met me at a hotel in the City I stepped out of the elevator and strode to the busy bar where he was waiting. As I walked in, the skirt I was wearing, sort of a fancy sarong, came untied so I was standing with just my knickers on. Not cool. Not cool at all!
  • What’s your favourite Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?
    A memorable one was Ash coming home with some gorgeous presents, and said to get dressed up because we were going out for dinner. Once I was all ready to go I walked outside to find a sparkly silver limousine parked there! We were driven up to King’s Park where you can see the view of the city at night-time and of course there was some nice cold bubbles on hand to toast with! It was a great night!
  • What’s your favourite thing about love?
    My favourite thing is having that one person who knows everything about you. They’re the first person you run to when you’re happy, sad, and everything in between. I love that, especially now that I’ve had children, to share that kind of love, like we’re a team, is really special.
  • Can you describe what love means to you in three words?
    Love is everything.
  • What is your favourite memory of your wedding day OR what would be a detail of your dream wedding?
    We’re happily living in sin, but my dream wedding would be in Vegas, being either married by Dolly Parton herself or an impersonator! I heart Dolly! And it would be so much fun!
  • What is your favourite romance novel?
    Chocolat by Joanne Harris…Roux, oh God I loved him!
  • Who is your favourite romance author?
    Kristan Higgins
  • What is your favourite romantic film?
    Love Actually
  • What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
    The happy ever after! I adore that we can write about a world where we get what we want, and while there are ups and downs, love always wins!

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Secrets at the maple syrup farm

Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm is out next month, and you can pre-order now!

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Secrets…we all have them.

Clay’s inheritance of Maple Syrup Farm came at the perfect time. Leaving city life behind he headed for maple-tree surrounded Ashford, Connecticut. Getting the farm in working order again might be back breaking work – but it seems to be the only way for Clay to finally forget about the girl who once broke his heart…

Lucy’s had enough of rules and the stress of planning her life down to the very last detail. Looking for an adventure she stumbles upon Maple Syrup Farm and its gorgeously gruff owner. This could be the perfect place to hide out…!

But the tranquillity and warmth of Maple Tree Farm is enough to heal even the most battered of hearts. There are very few problems in life that can’t be cheered up by maple syrup!

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rebecca raisin

Rebecca writes romantic comedies for Carina UK.

Connect With Rebecca

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Blog Tour Book Review: My So-Called Love Life, by A.L. Michael

Meet Tigerlily James: romance cynic, North Londoner and die-hard margarita fan.
My So Called Final

Tigerlily James has been a member of the Young and Bitter Club ever since she was dumped on Valentine’s day. By her fiancé.

Surviving on a diet of cynicism and margarita-fuelled ‘Misery Dinners’ with her best friends, she’s become a romance free zone…and that’s the way she likes it. Until an invitation for The Ex’s wedding arrives. Suddenly in need of a plus one, Tig has little choice but to bin the takeaways, ditch the greying underwear collection…and start pretending to view the opposite sex as something other than target practise.

Then, she meets Ollie – ie. the perfect solution. No sex. No strings. Fake boyfriend. The only catch is that she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for three whole months.

Dating without the heartbreak: the best idea Tig’s ever had, right? Wrong!

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Fiona Gibson Valentines Interview

Avon UK have SPOILED us by releasing 10 gorgeous short story’s for Valentines Day!

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I’m very excited to welcome Fiona Gibson onto the blog today. Fiona is one of Avon’s lovely romance authors, who wrote their Love…Maybe? story ‘The Valentine-Free Zone,’ The Funny One.

  • What’s your dream date?
    I was madly in love with the Brat Pack actor Andrew McCarthy all through my late teens and twenties and I still have a thing about him now. A date with Andrew would make my life complete!
  • What’s the worst/most embarrassing date you’ve ever been on?
    It was an early date with Jimmy, my husband, who I’ve been with for 20 years. I thought I’d wear foxy hold-up stockings instead of tights. We were in the pub, and I was up at the bar getting our drinks when I realised the stockings had flumped down to my ankles. Turned out they weren’t hold-ups at all – they had no elasticky bits at the tops. They were just normal stockings and I spent all night holding them up!
  • What’s your favourite Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?
    Gorgeous lingerie, a book of love poetry, a necklace of tiny pink crystals… it’s impossible to choose!
  • What’s your favourite thing about love?
    Sharing my life with a wonderful person
  • Can you describe what love means to you in one sentence?
    Feeling warm, fuzzy and crazily happy
  • What is your favourite memory of your wedding day?
    One of our rather sozzled guests climbing over a wall into a graveyard, and curling up on a gravestone for a little nap.
  • What is your favourite romance novel?
    I loved One Day and Us, both by David Nicholls. Not strictly romance but completely moving and brilliant.
  • Who is your favourite romance author?
    I’m not sure she’d class herself as a romance author – but Lisa Jewell.
  • What is your favourite romantic film?
    Brief Encounter.
  • What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
    I’m fascinated by how people relate, and the inner workings of relationships. I’m quite an emotional person and the whole, bonkers thing of falling (and staying) in love fascinates me.

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    the valentine-free zone

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    fiona gibsonFiona’s Bio

    Fiona is an author and journalist who has written for many UK publications including The Observer, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Red, New Woman, Top Sante and Elle. She writes a monthly column for Sainsbury’s magazine and is a Contributing Editor at Red magazine.

    Fiona lives in Scotland with her husband, their twin sons and daughter. She likes to draw, run 10k races, play her saxophone and lie in the bath with a big glass of wine, although not all at once.

    Connect With Fiona

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Amelia Thorne Valentines Feature

A big, warm welcome to Amelia Thorne who is joining me on the Book Nook for Valentines Day – an extra special day for Amelia as it also sees the release of her new book, Tied Up With Love. Today she’s written an interview with Izzy and Ethan, the lead characters. This interview takes place after the book, so it’s a bit of a spoiler interview, but I think we already know when to expect a happy ending in chick lit!

Love, Always magazine interviews Ethan Chase and Izzy Franklin

How did you two meet?
Both look at each other and laugh
Izzy: Well, Ethan kidnapped me.
Ethan: Technically, I didn’t kidnap you, my brothers did.
Izzy: It’s your company, you need to take responsibility for your actions.
Ethan, laughing and shaking his head: My company kidnapped her by mistake. We offer a kidnapping service to couples who want to spice up their sex life. Izzy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Izzy: And once he explained his error I then blackmailed him into giving me a job.

Sounds like you two didn’t have the most conventional start to a relationship?
Ethan: Nothing about our relationship was conventional, we never dated, I never bought her gifts…
Izzy: That’s not true, you bought me a kitten after my cat died.
Ethan: That’s true, I wanted to make you smile, but we weren’t in a relationship then.
Izzy: We danced in a rooftop bar under the stars. That was very romantic.
Ethan: Yes, one of my favourite moments, but we weren’t even together then.
Izzy: And you looked after me when I was sick.
Ethan: I just wanted to make sure you were ok.

So there was some romance in the early days of your relationship, was it love at first sight?
Izzy: No
Ethan: Yes.
Izzy, laughing. You’re such a liar, you couldn’t stand me when I first started working for you.
Ethan: I was in love with you but I didn’t want to be, I may have been a bit difficult to work with at the start when I tried to push you away.
Izzy: He was grumpy, moody, found fault in everything I did.
Ethan: Don’t tell me you weren’t in love with me. She declared her undying love for me two days after we first got together.
Izzy: I fell in love with you after one day of working with you, despite all the grumpiness.
Ethan: One day? (Smiles and takes her hand)
Izzy: Yes, I think when you showed me round the house, I knew then that I was falling for you.
Ethan: That night, when you came to my house for dinner, I think I fell for you too.

Once you fell for each other, was it all plain sailing after that?
Izzy, laughing: He tied me up four, no five times before we got married.
Ethan, laughing: You make me sound really kinky, it was all to do with work, well most of them.
Izzy: He broke up with me twice.
Ethan: You’re not painting me in a good light here.
Izzy: He did rescue me from a real kidnapping.
Ethan: Yes I was very heroic.
Izzy giggles.

Sounds like it was quite an adventure?
Ethan: I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Izzy smiling: Me neither.

How long have you been married?
Ethan: A little over a year.

Can you tell us what you love about the other person?
Izzy leans into Ethan’s side and he puts his arm round her.
Ethan: I love that she fell in love with me even with all my faults, that she saw a good in me that I didn’t even see in myself. I love her feistiness. I love her kindness and that she loves my family almost as much as I do. I love her passion and her ideas to improve our company. She makes me smile, a lot and I love that. And her kisses, I love kissing her very much.
Izzy smiles. I love that he saw past my scars and fell in love with the person on the inside, I love how safe I feel with him. I love how much he makes me laugh. I love… making love to him. And I love how he is the father of my unborn child.

Ethan’s face drops: You’re pregnant?
Izzy nods: We’re pregnant.
Ethan grins: We’re going to be parents. I’m going to be a dad?
Izzy nods, smiling and crying.
Ethan: And you decide to tell me here?
Izzy, laughing: Why did you think I was so keen to come to the interview?
Ethan laughs and rests his hand on her stomach: We’re going to have a baby.
Ethan kisses her and our interviewer diplomatically leaves them to celebrate alone.

From everyone here at Love, Always magazine, Congratulations Ethan and Izzy xx

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Tied Up With Love is out today!

tied up with love

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Amelia’s Bio

Amelia is a writer of sexy chick lit with Carina. Her twitter profile mysteriously tells us she may have a secret identity. Intriguing!

Connect With Amelia

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My Favourite Romances & Valentines Giveaway!

Generally speaking, I can class my two favourite types of romances into two categories: the old classics, and the heart breakers. I absolutely love old-fashioned romances, and Jane Austen has been my firm favourite since I first discovered Pride & Prejudice at a young age. I’ve religiously read her 6 novels countless times, and so blossomed a love of regency romances. I’m also a sucker for punishment when it comes to love stories, and will judge how amazing a book is by how many tears I shed. The more the better, for my twisted love of heartache.

pride and preludice pbPride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen

A timeless classic, and one that I will never grow tired of reading over, and over, and over again. I love everything about this book, and about Austen’s writing. It will always be my go-to in times of comfort and need, and the film adaptations have provided equal solace in many desperate times. (Matthew Macfadyen or Colin Firth, I’m not picky!)

 

 

 

the time travelers wifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffeneggar

This falls into the second category of rip-my-hear-out-and-crush-it-between-your-pages kind of book. The first time I read it, I actually had to stop and put it down for about 15 minutes until my sobbing subsided, my eyes stopped stinging and I could finally breathe and see again. It is just beautiful, in the most agonising way.

 

 

 

me before you

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

Another one that shattered my heart into thousands of tiny pieces, and also one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read. I can’t even think about it without feeling my chest tighten. If you haven’t read this book, you simply must. It’s a game-changer.

 

 

 

if you could see me now

If You Could See Me Now, by Cecelia Ahern

It’s difficult to pick out my favourite Cecelia book, as I absolutely love them, and at least five would probaby be on this list in all honesty. PS I Love You, deserves a mention as the first of hers I read, which has started a long term love, but I just adored If You Could See Me Now. Infused with magic and the wonder of believing, this book just takes you on such a beautiful journey.

 

 

the fault in our starsThe Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

You probably don’t need telling which category this one falls into! John Green is an evil genius, who’s life mission appears to be breaking hearts across the globe. The film was wonderful, but it just can’t really touch on the beauty and pain found between the pages of the book. Warning: you will be reduced to a snivelling, disgusting mess. Curse you, John Green.

 

 

 

love me for me

Love Me For Me, by Jenny Hale

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I kinda love this book!! I think you’ve probably heard me say it enough times, so I won’t go on to much, but Love Me For Me is one of the loveliest, pure and simple romance stories I’ve ever read.

 

 

 

 

As a Valentines gift from me to you, I’m giving TWO lovely people the chance to win their choice of my favourite romances, listed above. Happy Valentines Day!

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