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The Lido


Book blurb 

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.

Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

The Lido is an uplifting novel about the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.

Available here 

My review

As an all-year-round sea swimmer I was interested to see what the writer made of such an addictive hobby. Just like with The Lido, our local (sea water) Bathing Pools came under threat, not from builders but disuse and disrepair and, just like the story, it was only through the hard work of the locals that it is useable again. This is a pleasant light read that ticks all the boxes. It’s nice to see the friendship developing between Kate and Rosemary, one young and one old. If you liked last year’s Chilbury Ladies Choir you’ll love this. 

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The Wedding Date 

Book Blurb 

One ex.

One wedding.

One little white lie.

When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems…

1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man.

2) His new girlfriend is pregnant.

3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above)

So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job.

Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out.
But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen!
As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore…
Available to buy here 

My review

So I wasn’t going to watch the wedding. I had too many other things to do which was why, two hours later, I was still glued to the screen and in need of an additional wedding fix. 2 minutes on Amazon and I walked away with The Wedding Date, a LOL Romcom by Zara Stonely. This has all the elements I like for a romance novel. An ordinary heroine with problem hair and low self-esteem. A drop dead gorgeous bloke and a situation that would do Jane Austen proud. Throw in a disfunctional dog, obnoxious ex and a Scottish setting and I’m in book paradise. I read this pretty much in one sitting and am delighted to see it racing up the Amazon charts. 

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Ten tips for writers

There’s been a few post I’ve spotted recently about advice for writers so I thought I’d join the party. However my tips may be a little different to the read everything, write everyday sort of thing…

1, The most useful and the way to get away from all those irritating post-it notes.

2, The first draft. Throwing words on the page any old how. The second, stripping them back to something worth reading.

3, Writing can be the unhealthiest of professions. Move, anyway you like…

4, If your muse disappears clear your mind and go and do something different. You’ll find the words will come back all on their own. 

5, Employ an editor. It may be something you don’t want to hear but, if you’re serious about writing, it’s a must. 

6, Write the same but different. That’s what publishers are looking for. A new take on an old idea. Now that’s all your getting because if I had any more I’d write the book myself. 

7, Before you write a word create a social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

8, Every so often save a back-up copy any way you like. Laptops break. Viruses attack, coffee gets spilt.

9, Roget’s Thesaurus is your new best friend. Never use two words when one will do. 

10, I’ve said this before on another post. You’re writing a book not a doorstop. Know the length of other comparable works in the same genre and use that word count as a guide. 

11, And just because I can… tip number 11 ( Thanks to Deborah Carr for this one). When it’s sunny and you can’t see your screen change your page colour to black and your word colour to white – it really does work. 

Happy writing 

Jenny x

On Amazon here 

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Guernsey Mâche (Not a typo) 

If you’re a Guern you’ll have heard of Gâche, an enriched yeast cake laden with fruit and Guernsey butter. You’ll also have heard of Gâche Melée, a totally different apple pudding, traditionally full of suet. They are both a delight and are frequently on our table. Both are calorie-filled so I thought I’d try something different. A fusion of Gâche and Gâche Melée to come up with something a little more healthy = Guernsey Mâche. 

So what’s different? 

I still have a yeast cake filled with dried fruit but instead of all that butter I’ve substituted puréed apple… and the result? 


The recipe

Dried yeast mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar and 100 mls warm milk, leave until yeast activates.

Add to 500gms bread flour. Add puréed Apple (2 medium cooking apples, skinned, chopped and cooked in a little water) and 50 gm fat (marg or butter, preferably Guernsey). Add 1/2 mug mixed fruit. Knead, leave to prove. Place in prepared loaf tin, leave to prove again. Bake in hot (210 C) oven for 30 minutes.

I didn’t add any spices (it’s just not done 😉) but a little cinnamon and nutmeg would be lovely. 

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The Little Cornish Kitchen, Jane Linfoot 

Book Blurb 

With an exiting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’ – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen.

My review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is I think the fifth book I’ve read by Jane, although I may be falling foul of losing count 😂. I loved her last book so much, the wrap up to the Little Wedding Series, which I can heartily recommend. 

There’s always a risk, of course, when a writer says goodbye to such well-loved characters. Will the next book be as good? Will the next group of characters hit the right reader spot? 

OMG I loved this. Jane has a talent to get right down to the funny bone almost right from the start of any of her novels and I was helpless with laughter over the mermaid sketch. Clemmy is a delight and the fact she lived in Paris an added twist. In fact, there’s a sliver of Rachel Khoo and The Little Paris Kitchen here, one of my favourite TV cookery programmes from a few years ago. This added with romance is pure genius. Charlie is the ideal male lead; surly but with the dark brooding look that a romantic hero demands. But more importantly I want a cat called Pancake. There’s lots here for everyone and I think Jane has dug deeper with this work. There’s a new depth here. Lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing in a will he, won’t he sort of way. 

I have, probably erroneously, a view of Jane baking in her country kitchen, Aga on the side, with animals scattered about as she hums her way through the housework before settling down to a little bit of writing. This homely, country loving feel is what I get from each of her books; the country idyll that quite a few of us strive for in between the mad rush of work, kids, food shopping and other interruptions. The perfect life…

Available to pre-order all over the place… 

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The Lost Letters of William Woolf ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Lost Letters of William Woolf, pre-order here


Book blurb

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simplyto ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?
William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

My review

Okay, so I didn’t know what to expect before I read this. The cover caught my eye and then the title. I’ve read books about missing, found letters but I was interested in this take on a popular trope. I was drawn in from the first page; the characters, the words, the colour and I read in two sittings.

The writing is strong and fluid. The idea well-plotted and the characters chiselled to the bone. I loved that the novel spanned both England and Dublin, my home town. It was delicious having a mental walk, back down memory lane as we follow William on his quest. This is a book primarily about relationships, a tricky subject at the best of times and William is having the worst time of his life. 

An easy 5 🌟 and in competition for my best read of 2018.

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Valerie Keogh, the latest addition to Bookouture’s stable


I’ve known Valerie for years and count her as a close friend so when I heard of her long awaited success with Bookouture I  wouldn’t wait, pen at the ready, to interview her for my little blog. I’m hoping this will be the first interview of many for such a lovely lady. 

Over to Valerie…

About submitting to Bookouture 

I’d submitted to Bookouture when I was going through a tough time in work and never really expected to get anywhere. You get used to rejection after a while. So, when they contacted me and said they loved my writing but didn’t want to take on what was obviously part of a series and asked was I working on anything else, I was stunned. I had actually started a novel so I mentioned it, they thought it sounded interesting and asked to see what I’d already written – only about 3 chapters. And they loved it.

They asked to see it when it was finished. Of course, I worried then that they wouldn’t like the finished novel but they did. A contract was mentioned but they wanted an outline for a second book which I did and two weeks later I signed a two-book deal.

It wasn’t until the official announcement came that I stopped pinching myself. Now, I’m hard at work on the second novel and waiting to start the editing process on the first. After being self-published for so long, it’s strange to be having input from different people. The Bookouture team seem to be really helpful and friendly. I’ve already been invited to a Summer Afternoon Tea Party in June.

I’m excited to see what this huge change will lead to and look forward to my first novel coming out in November. Provisionally named Twin, it’s the story of two sisters, identical to look at but with completely different lives. When their lives become tangled, trouble starts. Can one of them have it all?

 20 things we don’t know about Valerie, actually it’s not quite 20 as I took the editorial decision to remove one as I didn’t want to upset Santa 🙂 

I’ve always made up stories in my head, I thought it was normal until I was in my thirties!

Since watching the movie Hotel, many years ago, I have a slight fear of lifts. If anyone remembers, the lift collapsed in Hotel. I stand in the lift and wonder if I should try to jump upward if it suddenly starts to drop.

The first LP I ever bought was Gene Pitney’s Best Hits.

My first crush was on Daniel Boone and my next was on John Wayne.

I discovered, while on a mule ride in the Grand Canyon, that I’m a coward. If it hadn’t been for the very young child on the mule in front of me I’d have cried to be let down. As it was, all I saw the whole ride, was the back of the mule’s neck.

My first boyfriend was Swedish.

I was over 40 when I met my husband. He told me later that he wouldn’t have asked me out if he’d known I was so old – he is all of 4 years younger than me!

My father died when I was five. I have only 3 clear memories of being with him, I don’t take them out very often, almost as if I’m afraid I’ll wear them out.

I wet the bed until I was about six.

My first memory is of being able to open the door by myself!

I remember being delighted the first time I got homework. That didn’t last.

 Finally, tell us what your favourite book is? 

There are so many so I’ll go for ones I’ve read several times. E.F.Benson’s amazingly wonderful Mapp and Lucia books. If you haven’t read them, give them a go, I bet you’ll be hooked and buy all six. Everyone I’ve recommended them to has done so.

Finally…finally… 

Whilst we do have to wait awhile for Valerie’s next book there’s plenty to choose from over on Amazon here, I love Garda West and as for the psychopathic murdering nurse…😂 
 

 

 

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A writer’s life

What a funny old day. Saturdays as a writer follow an expected path. A swim – a must. It has to be sea water (no wetsuit), something I’ve been doing all winter. That’s usually followed by an emergency shop (bread, milk, loo roll). An emergency house clean (floors, dishwasher, washing machine) closely followed by as much writing as I can squeeze in-between. 

Today was different…

As a user of the Guernsey Bathing Pools (as featured in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society) I have a responsibility to help maintain what I use so I spent the morning cleaning up weed and rocks. Did I do any writing? No.

After, I was dragged to the Guernsey Boat show to look at all the boats we couldn’t afford. Did I write? No. 

The cupboard’s bare which necessitated a mercy dash to the Coop. Did I write? No.

We have a problem at home, a huge problem that is covered in feathers ( Hamish, the seagull)  and seems to like sitting on our chimney, just under my car so an urgent visit to the car wash was called for. Did I write? Too right. In the five minutes while the washers were working their magic I filled four sides with my own form of illegible hand writing. 

I’ve reaches the 20% mark on my current WIP, a psychological thriller and my second in this genre. The first is with a very special book publisher but there’s no point in getting my hopes up too much. While I wait I’ll carry on writing and carry on selling books. In this vein ENGLISHWOMAN IN PARIS is free this weekend. Here’s the link 

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Little Pink Taxi, review


Book Blurb

Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline. 

Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too. 
On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …
My review

Sometimes all I feel like doing is curling up with a good book and, after a pretty traumatic week that’s just what I’ve been doing.

The cover of the Little Pink Taxi, along with the amazing title drew me in but the fact that the writer is French made it a done deal. Rosalie, and her pink taxi are the heart of the remote Scottish village but when French stranger, Marc, arrives with his cold, aloof manner and worrying briefcase, things go down hill rapidly. Strange things happen both to the taxi and the isolated castle inhabited by more than one ghost. 

I loved this. It’s more than a straightforward romance. It’s a cross between a suspense, an historical and a ghost story and takes the reader from Scotland, Paris and finally Denmark. A writer to watch…

Available from Amazon here 

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Writers can be star-struck too

 

So today was just one of those days. The stars aligned and I got to meet Lily James and Tom Courteney. It was by complete accident and, while everyone was preparing for the Guernsey Red Carpet event, I was just taking my daughter sea swimming in the Bathing Pools. What a delightful woman Lily is. Okay, so I know she’s tall and stunning but actually it was her personality that did it for me. She’s got this effervescence to her and not only that… She was kind to my daughter, Freya, giving the thumbs up when I mouthed could we get a photo. She even took the time to comment on her choice of clothing. As a nurse I know more than most that it’s the little things that count and Freya will have a beautiful memory to draw on forever… As a little Whovian the only thing that could have bested it would have been if she’d brought Matt along but maybe next time 😉. Thank you, Lily. I’m hoping you get an Oscar nom 👍🏻


I also got to finish the most amazing book. So there’s no secret to writing an Amazon number one bestseller like the very talented, Sue Moorcroft.  Just write a book as good as One Summer in Italy… This is currently available to pre-order for only £2.99 here. I just count myself lucky that I’m a book reviewer, amongst other things and got to read an ARC. And the photo – of course, if you’re me and you have a book to read set in Italy you take it to France.

And finally, the icing on the cake although topping meeting a box office sensation like Lily and reading a book by a writer like Sue is hard to top. I’ve had the first feedback from my latest project, a Psychological Thriller and my first in this genre. Apparently it’s fab – phew…