Sunday, 9 August 2020

Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Kate Frost



☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼ 


Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!


☼ Summer time is here ☼ 







☼ I'm delighted to welcome author, Kate Frost to our picnic ☼





What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic? 

An orzo salad with sundried tomatoes and olives, homemade spanakopita, a creamy potato salad with finely chopped red onions, parsley and gherkins, chipolatas from my local butcher, and Eton mess for pudding - basically lots of Mediterranean summer flavours inspired by my Greek husband and his family. 


Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial? 

Ooh, Pimms sounds lovely, thank you. 


Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside? 

It has to be by the sea, but somewhere wild and backed by countryside, I don’t like anywhere too busy. A beach on the north Norfolk coast like Holkham with its sand dunes or the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea lined by colourful beach huts and woodland would be perfect. 


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

Something in-between – a picnic rucksack with plenty of space for food, plus a chilled compartment for that Pimms… 


Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic? 

I have lovely memories of picnics beneath the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. 


Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today? 

Uhtred of Bebbanburg from Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series (although to be honest, I actually prefer the Netflix series over the books…), Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, and having been immersed in children’s books recently (from reading with my six-year-old and co-founding a children’s book festival), I’d add The BFG into the mix too. However, none of these literary heroes would make for a relaxing picnic… 


Which summer read are you bringing with you today? 

I adore the cover of Lucy Coleman’s Summer in Provence, which screams summer, so I quite fancy dipping into that. 


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Boldwood Books


What is your earliest summer memory? 

Being on my grandparents’ farm in north Norfolk – sunshine, hay and the rumble of a combine harvester. 


Do you have a favourite summer hideaway? 

My grandparents’ farmhouse (which was left to my mum) on the edge of a village close to the north Norfolk coast. The garden looks out over a field of horses. I love it there. 


Do you have a summer music playlist for reading / writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel summery? 

I like it quiet when I read, but I do sometimes listen to music when I’m writing as long as it’s not too distracting. Theme playlists on Amazon Prime are fun to write along to – chilled, happy, dance, acoustic, something for every mood. Not that I can listen to it and write at the same time, but “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi immediately makes me think of summer. 


Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer? 

A little, but only because I’d find it odd to read a book set at Christmas in the summer, although in the depths of winter there’s something rather nice reading about sunnier climes and exotic locations. 


Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter? 

I try to stick to a writing routine so I make myself write whether I feel like it or not! I am probably more productive in the winter though. 


Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress? 

I’m working on a Romantic Escape series. The first book, Tanzania-set The Baobab Beach Retreat was published a couple of years ago and the next standalone book, A Starlit Summer was published in July. It’s set in Cornwall and the story revolves around a film set. I’m currently editing the next book, The Greek Heart, which is mainly set on the Greek islands of Santorini and Paros. 



  



Kate, where can we follow you on social media? 


Twitter @katefrostauthor 



Kate Frost is the author of character-driven women’s fiction and romances set in the UK, Greece and Tanzania, plus an award winning time travel adventure trilogy for children called Time Shifters. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa university and is the co-founder of Storytale Festival, a new citywide children’s book festival in her hometown of Bristol.



☼ Thank you for coming to our picnic ☼ 


Follow on Twitter


#SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo




Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Patricia M Osborne ☼




☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼ 


Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!


☼ Summer time is here ☼ 






 I'm delighted to welcome author,  Patricia M Osborne to our picnic ☼






What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic? 

Hi Jo, thanks for inviting me on the summer picnic. Hmm, let me think. What should I bring to the picnic? Well I think it will have to be avocado and hummus wraps with baby plum tomatoes and cucumber, vegetable spring rolls and samosas, cheese and onion crisps, twiglets, red Leicester cheese, chopped Galia melon and satsumas. I think that should do us. 


Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial?

Definitely a flute of Prosecco, please. I love Prosecco. But I’d like still water too. 


Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside? 

That’s a tricky one as I love being in the countryside where I can hear birdsong but then I love being down the seaside watching and listening to the waves and I love the idea of being by the pool. Let’s opt for the pool and pack our swimming costumes. That way I can jump in the water if I get too hot. 


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

Well as I’m normally likely to have the supermarket carrier bag, I think I’d like the whole works. Wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery please. 


Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic? 

Any National Trust property makes a fabulous place for a summer picnic. After walking around the vast grounds it is always a welcome rest to sit down and enjoy a picnic. 


Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today

Barbara Taylor Bradford can join us because my novels have been likened to hers by many readers, but I’d also like to invite my hero, Bernard Cornwell because his books always grip me from the first page. I particularly loved his The Last Kingdom series featuring Uhtred of Bebbenburg, and I’d better not forget an invitation for Margaret Atwood. 


Which summer read are you bringing with you today? 

Probably not what most readers would choose for a summer read but I’ve selected Bernard Cornwell’s Book 5 in the Last Kingdom series, The Burning Land. I can’t wait. 

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Harper Collins

What is your earliest summer memory? 

My mum taking me and my younger sister to Sefton Park in Liverpool to watch my elder sister perform in her school concert. I remember lots of chairs being set out ready for everyone to sit in front of the stage which I think must have been the bandstand. I was only about two or three at the time. 


Do you have a favourite summer hideaway? 

Not a hideaway as such, and not just in the summer, but my favourite place is my local lake which is within walking distance from home. 


Do you have a summer music playlist for reading / writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel summery? 

When I’m writing I like to listen to classical music and have one CD that I particularly love called ‘Smooth Classics.’ My favourite track is ‘The Lark Ascending’ (Vaughan Williams). If I’m out and about then I think I’ll choose Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ as it takes me back in time and I love to reminisce. 


Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer? 

No, not really. If it’s a good book then I’ll enjoy reading it outside in the garden in the summer, or tucked up in bed during wintertime. 


Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter? 

Again, the time of the year doesn’t make any difference to my writing. I don’t have a problem with writing anytime, it is usually more the case of fitting it in. 


Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress? 

The Coal Miner’s Son has recently been released and is the second book in the ‘House of Grace’ trilogy where the reader steps back to the 60s. The story makes use of two narrators, nine-year-old George, and his estranged aunt Elizabeth. 


The Coal Miner’s Son is the second book in the House of Grace trilogy. 

George is caught up in a web of treachery and deceit. He grows up believing his mother sold him and wants to make her pay. The reader follows George as he struggles with bereavement, rejection and a kidnapping that changes his life forever. 

Older readers are able to enjoy reminiscing the retro while the younger generation love learning how things were back in that decade. 


Patricia, where can we follow you on social media? 


 Twitter  @PMOsborneWriter 






Patricia M Osborne is married with grown-up children and grandchildren. She was born in Liverpool but now lives in West Sussex. In 2019 she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing (University of Brighton). 

Patricia writes novels, poetry and short fiction, and has been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. Her first poetry pamphlet ‘Taxus Baccata’ is to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in Spring 2020. 

She has a successful blog at Patriciamosbornewriter.com where she features other writers and poets. When Patricia isn’t working on her own writing, she enjoys sharing her knowledge, acting as a mentor to fellow writers and as an online poetry tutor with Writers’ Bureau. 




☼ Thank you for coming to our picnic ☼ 


Thank you for inviting me. 


Follow on Twitter


#SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo




Saturday, 8 August 2020

Blog Tour ~ A Walk along the Beach by Debbie Macomber ☼



 Delighted to host today's summery Blog Tour Stop 



Arrow
6 August 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my ecopy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour.




A heart-warming tale of the love of sisters and finding inner strength you didn’t know you had from bestseller Debbie Macomber

Sisters Willa and Harper mean the world to each other.

Inseparable since the loss of their mother as teenagers, the Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. Quiet, demure Willa has always admired Harper's sense of adventure. She enjoys her peaceful routine as a café owner in their coastal hometown of Oceanside.

When a handsome customer shows interest in Willa, Harper urges her sister to take a chance on love. Then Harper receives crushing news that threatens to bring everything to a halt.

Only by supporting each other will the sisters be able to face the trials to come. And though the time ahead may be tough, Willa and Harper will discover that the darkest times can lead to the most beautiful rewards.


What did I think about it..

A Walk along the Beach sees a welcome return to Oceanside in the Pacific North West, back to the small coastal town we first discovered in Cottage by the Sea. I liked the fleeting glimpses of those characters we met previously in Cottage by the Sea, especially Doctor Annie and her husband Keaton, but of course, it is Willa, Harper, Sean, Bandit the dog  and Snowball the cat who stole my heart in A Walk along the Beach.

In this visit to Oceanside we meet sisters, Willa and Harper Lakey. Willa runs Bean There, a thriving coffee shop, whilst Harper teaches yoga and fitness classes at the Oceanside Fitness Centre. Both women are extremely supportive of each other and their love shines through, especially as Willa has always looked after her younger sister. Harper is determined to set Willa up with a suitable date, and Willa is equally determined not to be pulled into any of Harper’s scheming ideas, but then fate has a nasty way of interfering and both Willa and Harper have some life challenges ahead of them.

This is a lovely story, desperately sad in places, I definitely needed a whole box of tissues, but throughout the book, the message that we should cherish those who are important to us comes across loud and clear. In any other writer’s hands this story could come across as mawkish and sentimental, but this is just so beautifully written that even the sad bits were totally enjoyable. 

A Walk along the Beach is a love story, between siblings, boyfriend and girlfriend, fathers and daughters but mostly it’s about sisters, supporting, arguing, being there for each other, and the ultimate sadness of having to let go of someone when with every ounce of strength you want to hold them forever in your heart ♡

There’s something about reading a Debbie Macomber book that is exactly like taking your favourite fluffy blanket, a family size packet of chocolate biscuits and retreating to your most comfortable armchair. There is never a moment when the warmth of the story doesn’t pull you into a make believe world which is always totally believable. 

Despite the tears, I closed the book with a massive sigh of pleasure ♡






Debbie Macomber is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of over 100 books, and one of today’s most popular writers. In addition to fiction, Debbie has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; and two acclaimed children’s books. The beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove series became Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, and was ranked as the top program on US cable TV when it debuted in summer 2013. Debbie also owns her own tearoom and a yarn store, A Good Yarn, named after the shop featured in her popular Blossom Street novels. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.


Twitter @debbiemacomber #AWalkAlongTheBeach


@arrowpublishing







Friday, 7 August 2020

Blog Tour ~ One White Lie by Leah Konen

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Penguin
25 June 2020

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


Imagine you've finally escaped the worst relationship of your life, running away with only a suitcase and a black eye.

Imagine your new next-door neighbours are the friends you so desperately needed - fun, kind, empathetic, very much in love.

Imagine they're in trouble. That someone is telling lies about them, threatening their livelihoods - and even their lives.

Imagine your ex is coming for you.

If your new best friends needed you to tell one small lie, and all of these problems would disappear, you'd do it, wouldn't you?


What did I think about it..

Lucy King escapes from an abusive relationship and takes shelter in a small cottage on the appropriately named Shadow Creek Road in the small community of Woodstock in the Catskills area of New York State. Despite her understandable apprehension about strangers Lucy is befriended by her neighbours, Vera and John, an odd couple whose very presence in Lucy's life gave me a scary feeling right from the start. When they make an unusual request of Lucy the tension certainly cranks up another notch on the creepy scale.

What then follows is an interesting psychological thriller which has the necessary elements of surprise whilst at the same time revealing more about Lucy's reasons for leaving behind her life and the dilemma she faces for not always telling the truth. There are twists and turns aplenty with lots to discover as you race through the pages. I enjoyed the the author's easy style of writing as she does this type of domestic thriller very well and maintains the necessary tension with sharp focus. It feels a very modern story with a set of characters who are not always very likeable, but who are believable and who lead you on a convoluted journey until the dramatic conclusion.

Most of the psychological thrillers I have read this year seem to be set in the UK so it's been a refreshing change to travel across the Atlantic to the altogether different scenario of rural Woodstock and hiking in the Catskills with Lucy, Vera and John. I was interested to discover that One White Lie is the author's debut in this genre being more known for her young adult fiction.

Just to point out that One White Lie is also know in the US as All The Broken People.





Leah Konen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and English literature. She is the author of several YA novels - One White Lie is her first psychological thriller. She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY, with her husband, their daughter, Eleanor, and their dog, Farley.

Twitter @leahkonen #OneWhiteLie

@MichaelJBooks








Thursday, 6 August 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele ☼



☼ Delighted to host today's blog tour stop on Publication Day 


Headline Review
6 August 2020

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour


To unravel the story of that long-lost summer, she had to follow the thread... Florence Connelly is broken-hearted; her beloved grandmother has just died and her marriage has collapsed. But things change when she opens a box of vintage 1960s dress patterns, discovered inside her grandmother's wardrobe. Inside each pattern packet is a fabric swatch, a postcard from Europe and a faded photograph of a young woman wearing the hand-made dress. Why did Flo's grandmother never speak of this mysterious woman - Nancy Moon? Her life in tatters, Flo decides to remake Nancy's dresses, and to head across to the Continent to recreate Nancy's Grand Tour of 1962. As she follows the thread, Flo begins to unravel an untold story of love and loss in her family's past. And perhaps to stitch the pieces of her own life back together...



What did I think about it..

"Some goodbyes last merely a few hours, but some will have to last a lifetime"

Thus starts the story of the search for the eponymous Nancy Moon in a story that takes us on a fascinating journey into the Europe of the 1960s and the hedonistic pleasure places where champagne flowed and golden sunshine made everything shimmer with light and promise.

When Peggy, Florence’s beloved grandmother dies, she discovers amongst her possessions, hidden away at the back of the wardrobe, a set of vintage dress patterns and tucked inside the packets are tantalising clues to a woman who Florence has never heard of and who, it seems, had mysterious connections to Peggy, and her friends, in the 1960s. What then evolves is a wonderful dual time story which follows Florence in the present as she begins a journey, which takes her from London and Paris, to the beautiful island of Capri, and then on into Italy to discover more about the mysterious Nancy Moon.

I just loved this story from the beginning, it’s one of those immersive sort of reads which wraps itself around you so comfortably that you stop wondering where reality ends and the story begins. I travelled every step of the modern day journey with Florence, delighting when she recreated Nancy’s beautifully chic fashions and rejoicing when she discovered another small clue into what happened to Nancy. I enjoyed very much the delightful way the dual time element blended seamlessly so that when Flo’s chapters take a rest, Nancy’s story is allowed time to unfold in beautiful detail, and it’s all done with a lovely light touch and a clever eye for picking out the small nuances which make the characters such a pleasure to get to know.

The author’s passion for story telling shines through with every well written word. No small detail is left unexplored, from the imagery of 1960s fashion, to the painstaking attention to detail as Florence recreates the beautiful fashion items handmade by Nancy from McCall’s and Butterick’s dressmaking patterns. These are brands I know well as my late mother, herself a dressmaker, would use similar patterns in the sixties, laying the paper pieces on the floor in order to cut out and create for herself, or for me, wonderful clothes from pretty cottons and crisp linens. 

It’s been an absolute delight in this lockdown summer to be able to travel to continental Europe on the train from Waterloo station with Nancy and to alight at the Gare du Nord in Paris with Flo. Family secrets, hidden heartbreak, love, loss and friendship all combine to make The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon into something very special indeed and one of my favourite stories this year.




About the Author


©Eoin Schmidt-Martin


Sarah Steele trained as a classical pianist and violinist in London, before joining the world of publishing as assistant at Hodder and Stoughton. She was then for many years a freelance editor. She now lives in Stroud and in 2018 was the director of Wordfest at Gloucester Cathedral, which culminated in a suffragette march led by Helen Pankhurst. The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon is her debut novel.


Twitter @sarah_l_steele #FollowNancyMoon

@headlinepg




Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Beach Hut Surprise : Six Authors Beyond the Comfort Horizon ☼



I am thrilled to welcome this bunch of talented authors onto the blog today
 

Beach Hut Surprise: Six Authors Beyond the Comfort Horizon 






Sophie Weston tells us how it all started 😊





As I remember, it started in winter. A group of romantic novelists got together round my dinner table. Wine flowed. Conversation drifted. We found ourselves talking summer memories—warm days, short hot nights. Laughter. Travel. Magical gardens in the twilight…. 

And what we read on our holidays. 

I think I said that I often took along a collection of short stories. For those afternoons when I wanted to sit under a tree and let the mind wander. For when my companions were surfing, or rock climbing or sitting up a tree waiting for an olivaceous warbler to pop out and say hello. I didn't want a full-length book. Nothing to keep me still turning the pages when the time came for sangria, guitar music and stars. I wanted a story that gave me the full roller-coaster ride in one brief hour or so. 

"Oh, I'd love to write a story like that," said someone. 

"Beach Hut story time," said someone else. 

"A Tale of Two Beach Huts…" 

"Beach Hut Encounter…" 

"Let's talk about this." 

"Better open another bottle first…" 

The die was cast. 

Someone started to take notes. Ideas flew. Some were frankly surreal. Beach Hut on Broadway conjured up a determined little shed shouldering its way down the Great White Way. The Bridegroom in the Beach Hut had definite story possibilities, though. Biggles in the Beach Hut less so, maybe. By the end of the evening we had a list of twenty-odd story ideas that weren't completely impossible. And all our ribs ached with laughing. 

We decided three things: 

1. That the perfect afternoon delight would be 15,000–20,000 words. 

2. Which author got which idea from the list. (None of those above made it.) 

3. That these stories would all be out of our comfort zone. This would be a holiday adventure for us as writers as well as for our readers. 

We had a Project. 


Beach Hut Surprise


Libertà Books
June 2020



I'll let this talented bunch of authors introduce their stories to you


Sarah Mallory




Having agreed on The Project, we then had to go away and write our short story. "Easy," I hear you cry. "You are all experienced novelists, the stories write themselves." True, up to a point - this collaboration was a chance to try something different, to spread our creative wings a little. BUT we had decided we would set all our stories around the fictional town of Little Piddling. With beach huts. Do you know how many different types of beach huts there are? We discussed foundations (boardwalk, stilts?) decoration, electricity, furniture…. Then there was the town itself. Did it have sandy or pebble beach? A pier, theatre, promenade…. Much discussion following via emails and, later, zoom, to sort out the details. 

As a writer of historical novels my comfort zone is Georgian and Regency. I have made forays into the medieval world and contemporary settings but never the Edwardian Era, which was what came to mind for my light-hearted tale beside the seaside: a stroll along the prom, prom, prom and the brass band playing tiddly-om pom, pom….. And the Prisoner of Zenda, something that crept in from that very first dinner party. I blame the wine. 

Sarah's Edwardian Entertainment, Grand Designs for Little Piddling, opens the anthology 




Sophie Weston




I'm mostly known for short contemporary romance. I did dip my toe in alternative history—went down the other trouser leg of time, as the Blessed Terry Pratchett would say, and wrote about a contemporary British Royal Family, just not this one. That was fun. I also have drafts of mystery, family sagas, wartime adventure and sub-Wodehouse comedy that have never been offered to the general reader. So finding a genre that was completely out of my theoretical comfort zone was a challenge. In the end, Selsis Brown, my leading character, took me by the hand and said, "This is who I am. I'm alone and sad and a bit scared. And mostly it's my own fault. Over to you." 

And, oh boy, was I in deep water! Not a comfort zone in sight. 

Sophie's story Going Home? is #2 in the anthology 







Lesley Cookman




I've written short stories but 15,000-20,000 words was rather outside my comfort zone. I write what is commonly called “cosy” crime, but I prefer to call “mystery”. I have a long running series about a middle aged amateur sleuth and her friend, whom I decided to use when I was invited to join the anthology. 

I tried to write romance years ago, in the mistaken belief that it would be easy. I was soon put right. The ladies who write in this genre are very, very clever, and I was very flattered to be asked to join them in this venture. 

I have also written a series about a concert party, set at the seaside in the Edwardian era. There’s a thought for a future visit to Little Piddling. 

Lesley's mystery The Body at Satis House is #3 in the anthology 




Liz Fielding




I started my writing career with the much loved children's picture paper, Twinkle (Rosie Posie Piglet, Five Little Kittens, Nurse Nancy) and Listen With Mother. It was enormous fun, but no way to make a living. 

Having read an article about Mills and Boon authors, Charlotte Lamb and Anne Hampson, I set my sights on joining them in tax exile and wrote my first romance. It was, along with efforts two and three, rejected. But kindly. Then I won a Writers News short story competition, which gave me some confidence and very soon after that I finally made it with Mills and Boon. That was in 1992 and I've been writing contemporary romance ever since, although I've never made it as a tax exile. 

That night, when the idea for an anthology of novellas set around the beach huts of Little Piddling had us all crying with laughter, I saw the opportunity to write something a little different. Did I mention that the short story that gave my confidence a boost was a ghost story? 

Liz's ghost story, Past Echoes, is #4 in the anthology 






Joanna Maitland




I wrote Regency historicals for Mills & Boon for over ten years. More recently, I've published Regency and Victorian timeslip and (under a pseudonym) thrillers. For some reason—possibly to do with laughter and Sophie's flowing wine—the vampire theme called to me. 

Can't imagine why. I knew almost nothing about vampires. I'd read Terry Pratchett and watched the odd episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with half an eye, but that was it. Luckily, a very good friend who reads loads of fantasy was visiting over Christmas. In return for food and wine, he answered all my questions about what vampires could and could not do. I have reams of notes. And the upshot? There aren't many rules at all. My subconscious had a pretty free rein. 

Then a cheeky little urchin called William [aka Just William] appeared from nowhere and bearded my vampire in his beach hut. That was when realised I was out of my comfort zone twice over: I was writing a vampire comedy. The "romance with bite" came along later. 

Joanna's story I, Vampire: Romance with Bite is #5 in the anthology 




Louise Allen




My comfort zone is the period 1780-1820—the ‘long’ Regency—where I write both romance and non-fiction. Recently I’ve been working on a series of time travel romance/mysteries between the Regency and the present day, so I was interested to explore writing about more modern times in a different way. Twentieth century or the 2020s—where to set my story? I waited until the characters came along and politely informed me that it was contemporary, but with a twist and rather a lot of alcohol. (I cannot imagine where that came from…) The Edwardian background was already becoming clear when I began, filled by Sarah with some marvellous characters I rather wanted to borrow. I wasn’t quite sure which though, until he arrived, rather wetly, and so my beach hut—and Jac, my heroine—acquired their surprise 

Louise's story, Grapes and Ale, concludes the anthology 




 You will find out more about the authors by clicking on the individual links to their websites


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Huge thanks to Sarah, Sophie, Lesley, Liz, Joanna and Louise for being such fabulous guests today and for telling us all about their Beach Hut Surprise..






Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Blog Tour ~ The House Party by Mary Grand

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Boldwood Books
21 July 2020

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


At the intimate house-warming party for her glorious ‘grand design’, Kathleen confides in her best friend Beth that she is terrified of one of their close friends, but daren’t reveal which one. The guests are a tight-knit group, but Kathleen is convinced one of them is dangerous.

The next day Kathleen’s body is found at the foot of a cliff and Beth must face the sickening truth that she may have been killed by one of their trusted friends. With little help from the police, Beth’s decides to seek answers.

All the friends have secrets they are desperate to hide, but only one of them is ready to kill to keep theirs safe…






What did I think about it..

At the house-warming party of Kathleeen's spectacular new coastal home on the Isle of Wight, she confides to her friend, Beth that she is very frightened of one of her guests but she doesn't go into detail and won't tell Beth anything more about why she is so terrified. Early the following morning Kathleen's body is found at the foot of a cliff and whilst the evidence could indicate a dreadful accident,  it could also point towards something far more suspicious. Beth is determined to do all she can to get to the truth of the matter.

The House Party is a delicately plotted suspense story which looks at the minutiae of the lives of those close friends and family who attended Kathleen's house-warming party. As the story progresses it becomes obvious that all these guests have something to hide and I enjoyed following in Beth's footsteps as she does her best to deal with her own grief at losing a close friend whilst at the same time questioning everything she once thought was true about her relationship with the other house party guests. I enjoyed observing how this small fictional town, with its share of do-gooders and gossipmongers, starts to reveal its closely held secrets. 

The story is something of a slow mover, which I think is quite deliberate, as it allows an introspective look at all those characters who could have wanted to do Kathleen harm. The tension builds gradually and there are some interesting layers of suspicion so that for a while I really had no idea who, or what, was responsible for Kathleen's untimely demise.  

Part psychological suspense and part cosy crime mystery, The House Party is an interesting debut novel. I look forward to seeing just what this emerging author does next 😊






Mary Grand is the author of five novels and writes gripping, page turning suspense,with a dark and often murderous underside. She grew up in Wales, was for many years a teacher of deaf children and now lives on the Isle of Wight where her new novel, 

The House Party, is published by Boldwood in July 2020 and is set on the Isle of Wight. Insular, claustrophobic, and with nowhere to run. Mary Grand has written a heart stopping novel of secrets, betrayal and desire, perfect for fans of Louise Candlish and Lucy Foley.


Twitter @authormaryg