Book Review | The Second Chance Tea Shop – Fay Keenan

Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes, in this heart-warming novel. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.

The second chance tea shop

Rating: 4 out of 5

I seem to read a lot of shops about tea shops, or perhaps I just read a lot of books and tea shops are popular to write about. If I ever wrote a book there would probably be a tea shop, or at least some kind of cafe in there. And a dog of course. Maybe even more than one dog!

This was a debut novel from author Fay Keenan which made it even more exciting to read. Writing a book is like baring your soul in a way and I’ve always imagined the first one is the hardest. Fay is so beautifully descriptive I felt as if I was right there with Anna, seeing and feeling everything she did. It was a lovely story overall – there was just one part (I won’t give spoilers but anyone reading it will understand!) that was like a punch in the gut and changed my view for a while on what the ending should have been. The characters were lovely – especially Merry! She was so friendly and light the whole way through I wish I could know her in real life!

If you fancy something that’s a little deeper than the average romance but still light-hearted enough to be an easy read, this is the one to pick up! Thank you to Netgalley and Aria for the chance to read and review this book!

You can get a copy here

Roxy xx

 

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Instagram!

instagram

Okay so I’ve had Instagram for a little while now but I’ve never really been too sure how it worked. I kept it on my phone and occasionally put up a photo (marvelling at how the filters worked may I add!) but that’s about it. So I’m happy to report that since creating an Instagram for my blog I’ve figured it out! Yes that’s right, I know what a tag is now – whoop! I believe a good term to describe me right now is ‘down with the kids‘ haha! I’ve had a lot of fun this weekend finding people to follow, putting up some photo’s and gaining new followers.

If you have Instagram too I’d love to follow you – leave your username in the comments below! Mine is _roxystarr
Do you use Instagram much? What kind of pictures do you like to see? What do you normally post? Let me know!

Love Roxy xx

 

10 Things To Do If You Hate Your Job

  1. Steal anything you can from the stationary cupboard. Maybe start small and take a pen or two. Then get a little more confident and go for a notebook – you know, the really nice ones that they hide in the corner. Once you’re a pro at these the blu-tac, post it notes and scissors are all yours!
  2. Start a business on the side to distract you from how much you hate work. Hey, how about an online stationery store??
  3. Fly paper airplanes across the room and when someone looks your way, feign ignorance. “What, that airplane? I think that was John from Marketing”.
  4. Throw bits of paper at the back of your colleagues heads. Again, blame John from Marketing.
  5. Spend as much time as possible in the toilet. 5 minutes of each hour and that’s quite a chunk of your day gone! Plus no one likes to ask about toilet habits, so it’s a pretty safe bet.
  6. Stage an office Olympics. See who can race their chair across the room the fastest. Who can cross the room without touching the floor? Of course this can only work with fun colleagues – if you don’t have these you could try it yourself, but be ready for some weird looks and perhaps a telling off.
  7. If the job is that bad you might spend all your time analysing your life. How did I end up here? Where do I want to go? You can have hours of fun here. Let’s write a list of life goals!
  8. Consider every possible way to get out of this job. Look at recruitment apps when no one is looking. Consider becoming a webcam agent and selling used underwear online. Dream about the least painful illness that would get you out of work for a while and then wonder how you can get it.
  9. Develop a slighty annoying habit and see how long you can get away with it for. Perhaps you feel the need to cough every time someone starts talking? Maybe you’ve started pronouncing your bosses name slightly weirdly? Oh the endless fun.
  10.  Spend hours perfecting your resignation letter… And one day get fed up enough that you actually hand it in!

office

Roxy xx

*I can’t be held accountable for any readers who do any of the above points and get in trouble and/or fired!!* 😉

Book Review | Spring At Blueberry Bay – Holly Martin

Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner…

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman.

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?

A gorgeously romantic and heartwarming story to completely lose yourself in. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jane Costello and Miranda Dickinson.

Spring at blueberry bay

Rating: 4 out of 5

I absolutely adore the title and the cover of this book! Blueberry Bay sounds gorgeous and I instantly wish I could visit myself. I follow author Holly Martin on twitter and I’ve spent a few weeks reading tweets about this new release so I was super excited when Netgalley and Bookouture sent it to me to review.

Kind-hearted Bella finds a homeless man outside her doorstep one evening and invites him in for food and shelter for the night, oblivious to the fact the ‘homeless man’ is actually CEO of the company she’s got an interview for. Isaac makes a point of visiting potential employees before the interview to see how they actually act towards the homeless and Bella passes the test with flying colours. Unfortunately they get along like a house on fire and that’s where things get tricky. We follow their journey to see if a relationship can develop through Isaac’s lie, Bella’s past and heap of other things getting in their way.

I haven’t read anything else by Holly Martin but I’ll make sure to change that soon! This was a sweet and romantic story which left me smiling. It was also laugh out loud funny and had not one, but two dogs! How could you not like something that had dogs in right? Thank you Netgalley and Bookouture for the chance to read and review this book – I can’t wait to read the next!

Roxy xx

Another Easter Weekend Post!

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to all my lovely followers! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time whatever you’ve been doing this weekend – hopefully it involved chocolate, or some kind of treat at least! 🙂 At the moment I live in Plymouth (the one in England, not the one in Massachusetts!) which is a really beautiful place. As I’m sure many of you know, when you live somewhere you often forget to appreciate it. So because of this I dragged my boyfriend out for a bank holiday walk (he got ice cream so he was happy!). I thought I’d share some photo’s of the trip with you as it’s always nice to see a new place!

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I’d love to hear a bit more about where you’re from!
Roxy xx

Easter Cocktails!

I know we don’t tend to associate Easter with alcohol but I love cocktails so it’s time that we started! I get super excited about anything that can be themed so I was thinking that Easter cocktails should so become a thing. I spent a little time lot of time on Pinterest hunting down a few of my favourites – I can’t wait to try them!

Peeps cocktail

This peeps inspired cocktail is from Love Bakes Good Cakes – we don’t actually have peeps here in the UK which is sad because I love them! Well, I love them in the way that I know they’re awful for me but I eat them anyway haha. I always buy a ton when I’m in the States and they last me a while. This cocktail uses cherry vodka which sounds amazing – I love flavoured vodka!

Cocktail 2

This Chocolate Martini comes from Olivia’s Cuisine and should take about 10 minutes to prepare. It’s fairly simple and Olivia uses chocolate ganache but you could substitute this for chocolate liqueur if you preferred.

Cocktail 3

This is a Mini Egg Martini which I actually made the other night! This was delicious – I substituted a little less vodka for more Baileys but it depends on what your preference is. You could easily substitute the mini eggs for another kind of chocolate too – maybe flake would work well? This recipe is from BBC Good Food and only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

cocktail 4

This one here is from 10th Kitchen and she’s named it Frank the Rabbit cocktail. I’m using here because of the obvious Easter -carrot-rabbit theme but it’s actual a cocktail made from Bourbon and carrot juice. It’s definitely an interesting concept and I’d love to give it a try.

cocktail 5

I know – another Martini! But who doesn’t love Martini’s?! This one is adorable – I love marshmallows and coconut – combined with alcohol and I think I’m in heaven. This is from Inspired By Charm and I recommend going to check this blog out – it’s a great read and the photo’s are all so perfect!

I hope you all have a lovely Easter, no matter how you decide to spend it!

Roxy xx

 

Karen Clarke – The Beachside Flower Stall (Beachside Bay #2)

Roses for romance, daisies for hope, daffodils for unrequited love… Drop by The Beachside Flower Stall for friendship, family and a beautiful bouquet.

Carrie Dashwood fled Dorset when her best friend Megan stole her first love, Tom Hudson. Now ten years later, Carrie is back to help run her aunt Ruby’s flower stall in the beautiful seaside town of Shipley.

Ruby’s Blooms is a gorgeous little haven bursting with character, but Carrie is in for a real shock. The stall is also arranging the flowers for Megan and Tom’s wedding.

Determined to keep her emotions in check, Carrie finds herself going to great lengths to avoid the happy couple. Soon she’s crawling under the stall to hide and ‘accidentally’ inventing an imaginary boyfriend…But how long can she keep it up before she comes face to face with the boy who broke her heart?

Can Carrie keep her cool, save the stall, and find her very own happy ever after?

beachside flower

Rating: 4 out of 5

Some of you may remember a little while ago I posted a review of The Beachside Sweet Shop which is the first in the Beachside Bay series. I was lucky enough to be sent the sequel to review also – woohoo! I love reading sequels. It’s so good to begin a book when you’re already connected with the characters.

A couple of characters from the Beachside Sweet Shop do appear in this book too but it’s more passing comments to remind us that we’re in the same town. This story focuses on Carrie who comes to Shipley from Manchester to help out on her Aunt’s flower stall.  Fleeing to Manchester ten years previous after a disastrous night saw her lose the boy she loved and her best friend, she wasn’t particularly excited to return.

This is a feel good, heart-warming story guaranteed to cheer anyone up. I laughed, cried and wanted the book to continue once I’d reached the end. Another great book from Karen Clarke (which I actually enjoyed more than the first one!) – I’m hoping that we haven’t heard the last from Shipley. I’m sure there are a lot more stories that can come out of this seaside town – and I want to find out what happens to the characters we’ve already met!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the chance to read and review this! 🙂

This title has been released today and you can get a copy here!

Roxy xx

 

Carole Matthews – Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

BOOK REVIEW

Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents’ summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie’s flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it’s not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn – one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It’s all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie’s world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.

paper-hearts-and-summer-kisses

4 out of 5 stars

Release Date: 20th April 2017
Published By: Sphere
Length: 432 pages (paperback)

I love Carole Matthews – I know when I pick up one of her books that I will be able to just sit down, relax and enjoy. Normally with a glass of wine and some chocolate of course. This story follows the life of Christie Chapman, a PA working in London but with a 2 hour commute home each way. She’s a single mum to a teenage boy, Finn, and lives near enough her parents to see them most days. Christie loves to craft and juggles this alongside her ‘real-life’ job. When a crafting opportunity comes her way – at the same time as a family emergency – Christie finds herself stretched to breaking point. We read her struggling to do everything – what will she have to give up?

I love that this book is so relatable – having to work a job you don’t necessarily enjoy just to pay the bills, with limited time with your family and your hobbies? I think that a lot of people are able to understand that – me included! I found it quite difficult to put the book down and ended up reading it in a day (I have the whole week off work – woohoo!!). It was so easy to imagine that I was there, sitting in the garden and crafting with them. I was itching to know what happened next, and if she got the ending I wanted her to have!

You don’t have to enjoy crafts to read this book – although it’s fairly detailed at points (papercrafters will be in their element), it won’t take anything away from the story if you don’t know what a die cut is! This is just a warm, happy and easy to read book. Perfect if you want something that isn’t too heavy to read, but still hits at some serious issues. Another great one from Carole Matthews, and as always I can’t wait to read another.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sphere for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

April Competition!

Good morning everyone! In celebration of the nicer weather, and the bank holiday weekend it’s competition time again! This time I’m giving away a copy of Amanda’s Wedding by Jenny Colgan (yes, I know, she’s brilliant).

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to follow my blog and leave a comment to say you have done so!

Amanda's Weddin

The competition will end on Sunday 30th April at 5pm. Good luck!!

Roxy xx

New Releases: 10th – 16th April 2017

This post is a day late – I know, I’m sorry! I was back home with my family all weekend so just didn’t get the chance. I did have a fantastic time though! Anyway, better late than never – here are some of the fabulous looking books that are being released this week!

Treasure In Paradise (TJ Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery #7) – Kathi Daley

Tj Jensen and her family head to Turtle Cove Resort for summer vacation, but their plans for rest and relaxation are thwarted when they find a dead treasure hunter in the attic of Book 1the resort’s main house. Initially vowing not to get involved, Tj quickly changes her tune when the Gull Island deputy on the case closes it after a bare bones investigation.

All evidence points to foul play, and Tj’s determined to uncover what the deputy wants to keep hidden. With the help of her best friend and a chatty parrot, Tj digs up a centuries old legend, a hidden map, and secrets buried deeper than a pirate’s treasure.

Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: Henery Press
Length: 252 pages
Get a copy here

Once In a Blue Moon Lodge – Lorna Landvik

Set adrift when her mother sells the salon which has been a neighborhood institution for decades, Nora Rolvaag takes a camping trip, intending to do nothing more taxing than roast marshmallows over an open fire and under a starry sky. Two chance encounters, however, will have enormous consequences and her get-a-way turns out to be more of a retreat from her daily life than she ever imagined. But Nora is the do-or-die-trying daughter of Patty Jane, who now must embrace the House of Curl’s slogan: ‘Expect the Unexpected.’

Book 4With her trademark wit and warmth Lorna Landvik follows Nora and an ever-growing cast of characters between city and wooded retreat, Minnesota and Norway, a past that’s secret and a future that’s promising, but uncertain. Responding to a mysterious letter with a Norwegian postmark, Nora’s grandmother Ione travels to her native land to tend to a dying cousin and her husband–two people who played a painful, pivotal role in her past. Nora, accompanying her, is surprised by her grandmother’s long-ago love story—but even more surprised by the beginning of her own.

A book about making new beginnings out of old endings, Once in a Blue Moon Lodge invites readers to check in, set down their baggage and spend time with the kind of people who understand that while they can’t control all that life throws at them, they can at least control how they catch it. And as anyone who’s stopped in at Patty Jane’s House of Curl will tell you: you’re in for a rollicking good time with characters whose strengths, foibles and choices will have you laughing and crying. Hankerings for coffee and gingerbread cookies may also be experienced.

Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Length: 301 pages
Get a copy here

The Widow of Wall Street – Randy Susan Meyers

What’s real in a marriage built on sand and how do you abandon a man you’ve loved since the age of fifteen?

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

book 5When Phoebe learns—along with the rest of the world—that her husband’s triumphs are the result of an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Lies underpin her life and marriage. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Did she partner with her husband in hustling billions from pensioners, charities, and CEOs? Was she his accomplice in stealing from their family and neighbors?

Debate rages as to whether love and loyalty blinded her to his crimes or if she chose to live in denial. While Jake is trapped in the web of his own deceit, Phoebe is faced with an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning Jake, a man she’s known since childhood, feels cruel and impossible.

From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.

Release Date: 11th April 2017 (kindle edition)
Publisher: Atria Books
Length: 368 pages
Get a copy here

One Perfect Lie – Lisa Scottoline

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

book 6Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Length: 355 pages
Get a copy here

The Delight of Being Ordinary – Roland Mercullo

Roland Merullo’s playful, eloquent, and life-affirming novel finds the Pope and the Dalai Lama teaming up for an unsanctioned road trip through the Italian countryside to rediscover the everyday joys of life that can seem, even for the two holiest men in the world, unattainable.

book 7What happens when the Pope and the Dalai Lama decide they need an undercover vacation? During a highly publicized official visit at the Vatican, the Pope suggests an adventure so unexpected and appealing that neither man can resist. Before dawn, two of the most beloved and famous people on the planet don disguises, slip into a waiting car, and experience the countryside as regular people. Along for the ride are the Pope’s overwhelmed cousin Paolo and his estranged wife Rosa, an eccentric hairdresser with a lust for life who cannot resist the call to adventure—or the fun.

Against a landscape of good humor, exploration and spiritual delight, not to mention the sublime rolling hills of Italy, The Delight of Being Ordinary showcases the charming sensibilities of Roland Merullo (whose bestselling Breakfast with Buddha has sold over 200,000 copies), in a novel that makes us laugh as well as think about the demands of ordinary life, spiritual life, and the identities by which we all define ourselves.

Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: Doubleday
Length: 384 pages
Get a copy here

Nopalito – Gonzalo Guzman

book 8A collection of 100 recipes for anyone who wants to cook traditional Mexican food in all its surprising freshness and variety, ranging from the simplest dishes to more complex ones, and including both the classic and the lesser-known regional gems of this cuisine.

Nopalito provides a snapshot of regional Mexican cuisine from the perspective of Gonzalo Guzman, head chef at San Francisco’s popular restaurant of the same name. With recipes for 100 traditional Mexican dishes (but through a California lens) from Puebla, Mexico City, Michoacán, the Yucatán, and beyond–including many recipes from the author’s hometown of Veracruz–this beautifully photographed cookbook brings the warmth of Mexican cooking into the kitchens of home cooks. The book includes fundamental techniques of Mexican cuisine, insights into Mexican food and culture, and favorite recipes from Nopalito.

Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Length: 256 pages
Get a copy here

Simple Green Suppers – Susie Middleton

125 recipes for complete one-dish vegetarian suppers that pair pantry staples with fresh ingredients–perfect for nonvegetarians aspiring to eat a more plant-based diet.

Dbook 9iscover the pro-veggie, pro-flavor way to prepare fresh, healthy, high-quality plant-based recipes. Simplify dinner planning, and make flavorful dishes, by learning how to pair veggies with one other powerhouse pantry or fridge staple. The eight chapters here match veggies with eight different supper-building ingredients: Noodles, Grains, Beans, Leaves, Toast, Tortillas, Eggs, and Broth. The recipes here aren’t just vegetarian, they are veggie-forward, and designed to demonstrate how to prepare seasonal vegetables in satisfying, filling suppers by pairing them with staple ingredients of the omnivore world.

How you cook your veggies and how you combine them with other satisfying whole foods is the secret to delicious results. Full of vegetable cooking techniques, this book also offers tips on keeping an organized, well-stocked, flexible pantry, and provides a lot of good make-ahead and streamlining techniques that will make cooking delicious, easy vegetarian meals possible every night.

Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: Roost Books
Length: 272 pages
Get a copy here