Monday, 4 July 2022

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett


Boldwood Books

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to the blog tour

Midwife Izzy is devastated to learn that her beloved grandmother is dying. Abandoned as a baby by her own mother, her grandparents have been the only family Izzy has ever known and she wants to spend every last precious moment with them.

New locum vicar, Noah, is a wonderful support – kind, considerate and always there for Izzy whenever she needs a shoulder to cry on. But secretly Noah is battling his own doubts about his faith – how can he offer Izzy comfort if he doesn’t truly believe his own words?

When Izzy and Noah are brought together to support grieving parents, Noah reaches breaking point. He can't stay in Port Agnes and live a lie. But Izzy is adamant it’s the only place she can be….

Will love find a way or will Izzy's hopes of a future be dashed?

πŸ“– My Review ...

This series just gets better and better and as I finish each story I think...ooh, that was my favourite, but this time I really do think that A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife is quite special as it made me laugh, and cry, in equal measure.

We first met the lovely midwife, Izzy, in the previous book but in A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife we really get to know so much more about her and her lovely grandparents, who are renting a houseboat in Port Agnes, especially as Izzy's  beloved Nonna Eileen wants to experience the beauty of the seaside in the final few months of her life. The friendliness of this cosy community, the midwives who run the small maternity hospital, and particularly, Noah, the new locum vicar at St Jude's,  all combine to make this such a delightful read.

The story covers a whole range of hard hitting topics, from homelessness, to terminal illness, stillbirth and heart rending grief, but does so in a lovely compassionate way so that whilst the sadness is very realistic there is still hope and a measure of joy. Everything is done with such fine attention to detail and having worked as both a midwife and a palliative care professional I can vouch that the medical details are sensitively, and accurately, depicted.

The author has invested so much love into these stories, which are so beautifully written, that the series has power to just run and run. I can't see the Cornish Midwives ever getting stale as there is still so much to explore especially as new midwives join the practice and the established ones continue to live their lives with partners and families. 

Whilst it's perfectly possible to read A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife as a standalone, it does make sense to start at the beginning and get to know the Cornish midwives, the magical coastal town of Port Agnes and all the lovely characters who call this little Cornish town their home.

πŸͺ Best Read with .. Frankie's salted caramel brownies.

About the Author

Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of over nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Her first title for Boldwood is The Cornish Midwife – part of a twelve-book deal.

Twitter @J_B_Writer #ALeapOfFaithForTheCornishMidwife

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@BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic #BoldwoodBloggers



Sunday, 3 July 2022

☀ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Victoria Wilson Crane


Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic

Summertime is here

 I'm delighted to welcome Victoria Wilson Crane to our Summer picnic 

Welcome, Victoria. Which favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

I’m bringing veggies and dips, tzatziki, guacamole, hummus etc. I quite like small bites like samosas or spring rolls etc. too. And lots of strawberries and cream!

What would you like to drink? We have white wine spritzers, locally brewed beer, traditional Pimms, sparkling elderflower cordial or a thermos of tea or coffee?

Pimms would be lovely please! I’m really enjoying English Garden by Anon at the minute – it’s a kind of non-alcoholic ‘Pimms’

Where shall we sit, by the pool, on a beach, in the garden or in the countryside?

Garden, with lots of flowers and insects – I like and appreciate insects, they’re so industrious

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?

A hamper would be nice but I really don’t mind – as long as there’s plenty to go round and a bag to take home our rubbish, please!

Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?

Probably Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye and also the character Leo from L. P. Hartley’s The Go Between. And maybe Bridget Jones would turn up late, for the fun of it.

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

In reality, I’ve got fond memories of simply heading to our local park for a picnic when our daughter was younger. It was at her request. We had our very well-behaved dog with us but you had to keep your eye on your snacks at all times in his company, so not quite the relaxing experience you might imagine. I like being by the sea so my second favourite would be to take a picnic to the sand dunes on a warm Spring day – too hot and busy in summer, nice to get there before everyone else does.

Do you have a summer music playlist? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

I quite like indie and rock music, and a song from days in clubs in the 1990s would have to be Morning Glory from Oasis “another sunny afternoon..” being one of the lyrics. That song says summer to me.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

I’m currently reading Heartstopper Volume 1 (a graphic novel) and that feels like a summer read, certainly.

When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

I think it’s important, as a writer, to keep reading; when writing a book like mine, it’s been difficult not to immerse myself in books similar to mine, however. I’m working my way through ‘Me and White Supremacy’ How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World by Layla F. Saad. The book I’ve not read yet that I need to make time for is: Dean Burnett’s The Idiot Brain.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

I’ve not yet written a novel but I have written a memoir, and the inspiration for that was after people “didn’t know what to say” when my young niece died suddenly. So I’ve written a book, Sixteen Days, part memoir, part self-help; it aims to ensure people feel more confident when talking about death and dying.

Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?

Much easier in the winter! I like to be out in the garden so it’s a really wrench to be working in the early mornings or evenings when it’s so light. It’s great when it’s dark!

When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?

I am only distracted in the sense that I’ve got a full-time, busy job and a family – as many writers do – but I do try to carve out time for writing in the same way as anyone does – you find time for other things you want to do and want to achieve.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

You don’t need much kit, obviously useful to have a computer and word processing packages etc. but if all you have is a notepad and pen, that’s a great start. My ‘items’ would more be tools in my mental-health toolbox that I try to work on, as having strength in these areas means I will achieve my aims. So tenacity, focus, confidence and drive are four things that I think authors all need at certain times.

What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?

My work-in-progress is a follow-up, expanded version of Sixteen Days which includes some interviews with other people who have their own stories to tell, both of their experiences of deaths of those around them, and also their experiences of the times I describe in Sixteen Days. This came about as so many people contacted me having read my book to share their stories – and these stories need to be out there.

January 2020. Her sudden, unexpected and unexplained death.

She’s 22.

Everyone wants to help. Few know what to say and do

Sad, funny, honest accounts. All true.

How we were supported, what worked for us, and what experts say.

Read Sixteen Days

By Certified Grief Recovery Specialist,

Victoria Wilson-Crane, Ph.D.

Be confident supporting others in shock and grief.

More about Victoria

Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist, Dr Victoria Wilson-Crane supports adults grieving life losses. Her memoir and self-help book Sixteen Days, published in January 2022, provides advice for those supporting others in shock and grief following sudden death.

Vic lives in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England, with her author husband, Roger, their daughter Holly Mae and their exuberant, unique, yet typically bonkers flat-coated retriever, Ted Hastings.

Victoria ,where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @victoriacrane

Instagram vicwilsoncrane

Thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today.

Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Half year round up ~ Six in Six

Here's a round up of the books which have made an impact on my first six months of my reading year...

Six authors who were new to me:

  1. Lisa Hobman - Wishing Under a Starlit Sky
  2. Annabel Abs - The Language of Food
  3. Fay Keenan - New Beginnings at Roseford Hall
  4. Julie Shackman - A Scottish Highland Surprise
  5. Jayne Cowie - After Dark
  6. Eliza Knight - The Mayfair Bookshop

πŸ“– Six authors I have read before:

  1. Rachael English - The Letter Home 
  2. Jane Lovering - A Cottage Full of Secrets
  3. Jennifer Bohnet - Villa of Second Chances
  4. Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls - Nancy Revell
  5. Eva Glyn - An Island of Secrets
  6. Kathryn Freeman - The Italian Job

πŸ“– Six books from authors I know will never let me down:

  1. The Key in the Lock - Beth Underdown
  2. Nicola Pryce - The Cornish Captive
  3. Anna Mazola - The Clockwork Girl
  4. Susanna Kearsley - The Winter Sea
  5. Alison Weir - Elizabeth of York
  6. Louise Beech - Nothing Else

πŸ“– Six books that led me into a life of crime:

  1. I know What You've Done - Dorothy Koomson
  2. Sapphire - Heather Burnside
  3. The Patient - Tim Sullivan
  4. Breakneck Point - T Orr Munro
  5. Dog Leap Stairs - Barbara Scott Emmett
  6. Fiona Barton - Local Gone Missing

πŸ“– Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past:

  1. The Lost Apothecary - Sarah Penner
  2. The Queen's Lady - Joanna Hickson
  3. Conversos - V E H Masters
  4. Traitor in the Ice - K J Maitland
  5. Treason - Michael E Wills
  6. The Missing Girls of Alardyce House - Heather Atkinson

πŸ“– Six debut authors:

  1. Carole Johnstone - Mirrorland
  2. Susan Stokes- Chapman - Pandora 
  3. Tricia Cresswell - The Midwife
  4. Sally Page - The Keeper of Stories
  5. Mel Giedroyc - The Best Things
  6. Sophie Irwin - A Lady's Guide to Fortune Hunting 

Huge thanks to these fabulous authors for sharing the gift of your imagination with Jaffareadstoo


Monday, 27 June 2022

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Nothing Else by Louise Beech


23 June 2022

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for the invitation to the blog tour

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet. But Harriet is gone ... she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again. When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night ... coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

πŸ“– My Review...

There a few authors whose work I will read without even looking at the blurb and who I have in my literary armoury of 'books I know I will love'. Louise Beech is one of those authors who takes you by the hand and doesn't let go until the story is told. 

Heather Harris takes a job on board the cruise ship Queen of the Seas where she is booked as the resident pianist for the duration of the voyage. Immersing herself in music has always been of great comfort to Heather especially as her childhood was filled with trauma so deep it has left a lasting scar. Now in her late forties, and at something of a crossroads in her life, Heather needs to face the demons of her troubled past, but as painful memories of Harriet, the little sister she once shared piano lessons with starts to emerge so Heather must begin to peel back the layers of hurt which she has carried within her for so long.

The power of music in all its different genres is very evident and there is a definite soundtrack running throughout the narrative, which is helped enormously by listening to the Spotify soundtrack mentioned at the start of the novel but even without this it is very easy to become immersed in the way Heather uses her connection to music in order to tell us a powerful story. Childhood trauma is never an easy subject and all credit to this talented writer for giving us Heather and Harriet's story in such a sensitive but very powerful way.

Nothing Else is one of those wonderful stories which just absolutely fits the moment. Beautifully written, and sensitively described, I was carried along on every step of Heather's journey, from the quiet times on board the Queen of the Seas when she is lost in her music, to the utter joy when life finally gives her, and the one person she loves most in the world, something to celebrate.

🍷Best Read with...a glass of chilled wine and the Nothing Else playlist gently playing 

I'm delighted to have Nothing Else as my Featured Book of the Month in July

About the Author

All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull.

Twitter @louisewriter #NothingElse

@OrendaBooks #BlogTour #JubiliantJune


Sunday, 26 June 2022

☀ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Helga Jensen

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic

Summertime is here

I'm delighted to welcome Helga Jensen to our Summer picnic 

Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Helga. Which favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

There have to be sausage rolls at any picnic, so they are first on my list. I love good old-fashioned British food as you’d have at a birthday party growing up. There would be crisps and fairy cakes, but I may also add a touch of extravagance with some smoked salmon sandwiches.

What would you like to drink? We have white wine spritzers, locally brewed beer, traditional Pimms, sparkling elderflower cordial or a thermos of tea or coffee?

Ooh, this is a hard one. For a summer picnic, Pimms is a must. I often make my own pitcher of Pimms for parties and think of it as my speciality. However, a white-wine spritzer on a hot summer's day is tempting too.

Where shall we sit, by the pool, on a beach, in the garden or in the countryside?

By the pool with the sun shining would be perfect. However, the countryside would be beautiful for a picnic. I’m not such a beach person. I wouldn’t want sand getting into my salmon sandwich!

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?

Definitely a wicker hamper. A Fortnum and Mason one, if possible.

Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?

It would have to be Enid Blyton. Can you imagine having a picnic in the countryside with your wicker hamper, drinking Pimms and chatting to Enid? Now that would be the perfect picnic.

Do you have a favourite place to have a summer picnic?

Yes, sometimes we cycle to a woodland area and have a picnic there. I have a bicycle with a basket on the front (just like the one in my latest novel, A Scandinavian Summer), and I pop the food in the basket, and we take our bikes down to the woodland area. The problem is that after all those sausage rolls, cycling back is hard work!

Do you have a summer music playlist? And if so, will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

There is a very old song called Airport by The Motors. It makes me feel happy as it is all about jetting off somewhere.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

Anything by Julie Caplin. I absolutely adore every book she has written.

When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

In between my writing, I am doing a Creative Writing PhD. I haven’t long finished my MA, so reading has had to be centred around the books I have been studying recently. I would like a bit more time to read the books I want to, though. I have a few on Net Galley at the moment that I can’t wait to get started on. I have two very different books I am about to start. One is a rom-com called My Big Fat Italian Break-Up, and another is a crime called The Carmarthen Murders by John Nicholl. As you can see, my reading can be rather eclectic!

Boldwood Books
July 2022

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

For my first book, Twice in a Lifetime, something happened to me in New York which made me think up the plot. From a tiny seed I thought, what if? My latest novel, A Scandinavian Summer, is fiction but based on my favourite Danish island.

Have you a favourite place to settle down to write, and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?

I do wish I could only write in winter as I love being outdoors in the summer. However, I tend to have a new book out every summer, and the deadline is usually around September the year before. So, the summer months are hectic for me. I wish I could sit in the sun with a laptop and write, but I need complete quiet. So, I only work upstairs in my study out of everyone’s way!

When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?

I tend to be quite good. As a journalist, I work to deadlines all the time. When the pressure is on, I tend to work better as I know there is no time to procrastinate. Ooh, look, Twitter…

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

Tenacity, don’t ever give up. A writer really needs to keep writing no matter what setbacks occur.

A quiet space or a suitable space. Everyone works differently. However, I believe that you need that familiar space to write, whether a cafΓ© you visit regularly or the garden shed, having a dedicated space for writing is essential.

A thesaurus. Mine really is my best friend, and having written for over 17 years, it is now in bits. However, I refuse to replace it as no other thesaurus would be the same!

Chocolate. After a long day of writing, there is nothing like a treat. Get that target word count done, and then indulge yourself with whatever you enjoy. It can also be wine! Of course, none of this is good for the waistline, though.

What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?

My latest novel, A Scandinavian Summer, is due out this week, June 30th. It is a summer read set on a stunning Danish island with thatched cottages and cobbled streets. I only write about protagonists over forty as I believe there are enough books out there with twenty to thirty-year-olds. So this is the story of fifty-year-old Martha, who tries to pick up the pieces after the death of her husband and gets some surprises. I recently signed a new two-book publishing contract, so I am now busy working on my current work in progress, which is very exciting and set in Wales and Paris.

It's the right time for love, but is it the wrong place?

After the tragic, premature death of her husband Anthony, Martha has spent all her time focused on her teenage daughter Rosie in their small Welsh village.

But with Rosie leaving the nest, and Martha's own job on the line, it feels that life is passing her by.

Inspired by her love for Scandi-noir dramas, Martha impulsively books a trip to Denmark, determined to push herself out of her comfort zone - even if the thought terrifies her...

Her trip to the tiny island of Fano becomes something much more: in the form of a handsome stranger, Lars. Can Martha find love under the Scandinavian skies... but more importantly, can she find herself?

More about Helga

Helga Jensen is a freelance journalist and award-winning author. In 2020 Helga secured her first two-book publishing contract with Hera books. Her debut, Twice in a Lifetime, was published in June 2021, and A Scandinavian Summer was published the following summer. A further two-book publishing contract was signed with Hera Books in 2022 and Helga is now working on her third novel.

Helga has a BA Hons in English Literature and Creative Writing through the Open University and a Creative Writing MA from Bath Spa University. Helga is currently studying for a Creative Writing PhD.

Helga, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @HelgajensenF

Thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today

Follow u on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Hist Fic Saturday ~ The Royal Station Master's Daughters by Ellee Seymour

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to... 1915

Bonnier Books

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

A heartwarming World War I saga of family, secrets and royalty.

It's 1915 and Ada, Jessie and Beatrice Saward live in a small Norfolk village with their parents. Their father, Harry, is the station master at Wolferton, the local stop for the Sandringham Estate. With members of the royal family and their guests passing through the train station on their way to Sandringham, the Saward family have a unique position within their small community.

But despite the privileged position the village and the family is in, and the excitement a visit from the royals always brings, it's World War I and the community is suffering. The men are away fighting, rationing is hard and they all need to work together to get through the tough times.

When the Saward sisters' destitute cousin Maria arrives in Wolferton, everything is turned on its head. Young Maria Saward and her siblings have never enjoyed the comforts of family life. As products of Willie Saward's second marriage to a much younger woman, they were shunned by their extended family, and left in poverty after Willie's death. Will the Saward family be able to help Maria and her siblings and what could this do to the balance of their happy family life?

My Review.. 

In this first book of a proposed historical trilogy we meet the Saward family who live in the Station Master's house at Wolferton railway station. This is no ordinary place to live and the station master's daughters, Ada, Jessie and Beatrice are well used to seeing members of the royal family alight at the tiny station on their way to their country home at Sandringham.

The girls live something of a genteel life, their place in the village is comfortable, and their mother and father are well respected. However, in the summer of 1915, their lives are about to be changed when an unwelcome guest arrives to disturb this settled way of life. Add into the mix the continuation of the First World War and the catastrophic effect this will have on the local community and you have all the right ingredients for an interesting historical saga. I enjoyed getting to know the villagers who make the hamlet of Wolferton their home, some are more likeable than others, which adds an interesting dynamic.

The Royal Station Master's Daughters is a lovely start to the trilogy and brings both time and place alive so that anyone who enjoys this genre of historical fiction will have great pleasure in learning about the way of life in Wolferton in 1915. Parts of the story are based on the real life Saward family who lived in the Station Master's house and although the events in this story are fictional by using the details of those who actually lived during this time in history helps to create a good sense of authenticity.

Best read with...One of Betty Fitch's Rock Buns and a nice cup of Rosie Lee

About the Author

Ellee Seymour is a journalist and PR professional living near Cambridge. The Royal Station Master's Daughters is her debut novel. Ellee was inspired to write it after meeting Brian Heath, the great grandson of Harry Saward, who was the royal station master at Wolferton for forty years from 1884 to 1924 and who the novel is based on.

The second book in the series The Station Master's Daughters at War will be published later in 2022.

Twitter @elleeseymour


Friday, 24 June 2022

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh


23 June 2022

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book and the invitation to the blog tour

Emma was quite certain she'd never fall in love again. But then she met an obituary writer, Leo, and within months, they were engaged. Seven years later came Ruby, their daughter, and then John Keats, their rescue dog. Now Emma, a marine biologist, has her perfect little ecosystem. They are happy, crammed into the tiny house her grandmother left her.

Leo was adopted as a baby, and this noisy, joyous little family is the first place he has ever felt he belongs. In fact, everything would be just perfect if Emma was who she said she was. If Emma was even her real name...

Because of Emma's preeminence in her field, Leo is asked to write his own wife's obituary while she is still alive. That's when he finds that the woman he thinks he knows doesn't really exist. As Leo starts to unravel the truth about the stranger in his bed, Emma's old life breaks out of the carefully cultivated shell she created, threatening to wash away everything she has worked so hard to build.

When the very darkest moments of Emma's past finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was.

But first, she must tell him about the love of her other life.

πŸ“– My Review..

Marine biologist, Emma and newspaper obituary writer, Leo have a happy marriage, and a beautiful daughter called Ruby. However, when serious illness affects Emma, Leo, starts to pre-prepare, just in case, her obituary, only to find that there are gaps in Emma's life that he can't fill. With Emma's settled life imploding around her, she knows it's time to tell Leo about her past, something which is easier said than done. 

In many respects this is a well crafted love story, certainly the sensitive issues around Emma and Leo's marriage are handled well but I think it is in the serious issues around mental health and the disintegration of Emma's peace of mind where the story starts to come alive. The characters who flit into and out of the story add depth, with some being slightly more intriguing than others, but collectively everything adds up to a complex story with many possible outcomes. In individual chapters we get to hear both Leo and Emma's voices which, when added together, shines the spotlight on lives which are made up of secrets, lies and heart break.

The Love of my Life is a beautifully written study about the secrets which threaten a marriage and the way in which life events can be manipulated, and stretched, until you don't know where the truth ends and the lies begin. 

🍜 Best Read with.. a bowl of cereal in the garden

About the Author

Rosie Walsh has lived and travelled all over the world,working as a documentary producer and writer, The Love of my Life is her second novel under her own name; The Man Who Didn't Call, which was her first, sold over a million copies worldwide. She lives in Devon with her partner and two children.

Twitter @TheRosieWalsh #TheLoveofMyLife