#BookReview #2021reads Beneath Cornish Skies @KateRyder_Books

Firstly I am back after my festive blogging break and I would like to wish all of you a happy and healthy 2021. I have some amazing stuff lined up for my blog this year. Lots of fab books to be reviewed, loads of funny writing tales, some inspiring guest bloggers, and news of my next book 😯 More details to follow so watch this space.

Secondly, I will be posting a writing related post on here tomorrow.

Thirdly I am back with a FABULOUS read for you – ❤️ this book from Kate Ryder. If this isn’t on your 2021 to be read pile – get it on there!

Here’s the blurb:

Beneath Cornish Skies


To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw’s life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn’t do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.

Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dog walker, cook and all-round ‘Superhuman’ for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.

As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?

A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.

Here’s my review:

Wow – what a read!

This book is breathtaking in terms of setting and atmosphere. Kate Ryder does an amazing job in whisking you, the reader, away to the beautiful northern coast of Cornwall and the stunning Sussex Downs. if you are struggling with lockdown and need fictional escapism – read this. I felt like I was there.

I loved this book because it had all the ingredients for a great story, one heroine who needed to reclaim herself, one troubled and mysterious potential love interest a large serving of gorgeous scenery, a spoonful of romance and a sprinkling of Cornish magic.

Cassie is the heroine and her experiences at the hands of her controlling partner, David, tugged at my heartstrings. I loved her journey of self discovery which started after she replied to a magazine ad.

The romance is slow burn but I think that was needed as this story was more about Cassie finding her authentic self again after years of David’s controlling ways.

There are a few twists and turns in the story which kept my interest too.

This was just the sort of inspiring book I wanted to read.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/364FTKy

Author Bio –
Kate Ryder is an award-winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true-to-life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.

Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. In 2017, she signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).

Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of #2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.

‘Secrets of the Mist’, a mysterious timeslip romance, not only achieved #1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached #49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self-published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.

Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.

Social Media Links –
Author website: http://www.kateryder.me
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateRyder_Books
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kateryder.author
Instagram: @kateryder_author

Don’t miss tomorrow’s writing post – it is a cracker!

#BookReview That Night in Paris #romance @sandybarker

I loved Sandy’s first book, One Summer in Santorini and I didn’t think she’d beat that in terms of reader enjoyment but…I was wrong. Oh my goodness – That Night in Paris is now my favourite (sorry Sandy x).

On this blog I like to create new lingo so I think the phrase – ‘I’m going to do a Cat Parsons’ – should be what we say when we want to run away from the problems in our life and go wild. Cat Parsons is our inspirational figure as she went on a fabulous holiday, made some new friends along the way, drank beautiful wine, ate wonderful food, laughed a lot and had a spot of romance in a gorgeous destination.

This is how I see this new exciting phrase being used (post lockdown obviously):

Friend 1: ‘what are you doing this weekend?’

Friend 2: ‘Well, I need to get away from my life right now so I’m going to…do a Cat Parsons.’

Friend 1: *Gasp* ‘Nooooooooo! You’re going to do a Cat Parsons?”

Friend 2: *Nodding* ‘Yes, I think everyone should do a Cat Parsons in their life.’

Friend 1: ‘Gosh I’m so envious.’

Friend 2: ‘I know you are!’ *Squeal*

Here’s the blurb

Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.

Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.

A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.

Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?

Discover the beauty of Europe’s most romantic cities in this uplifting and laugh-out-loud novel for fans of Samantha Parks, Alex Brown and Mandy Baggot.

Here’s my review:

I thought the romance and travel plots were great but for me the standout was the way this book brings to life Cat’s relationship with her new friends on the coach trip. Sandy writes female friendships really well and I loved how each bus bestie had a backstory and a reason for taking this life changing coach journey; Lou and her divorce, Jaelee and the love for her best friend who had just got married and Danielle whose best friend did not invite her to her wedding. I loved the bond these women forged, how they didn’t try to put each other down and how they were like a rock for each other. I also loved Mama Lou‘s hugs What took this book to the next level was that each of these women learnt something about themselves during this coach trip. It wasn’t just Cat who had a life changing experience.

The surprise meeting with friend from childhood Jean-Luc, who was an exchange student and stayed with her family in Australia, was brilliant. He’s grown into a really gorgeous man and YES I had feelings for him. At one point I wanted to move Cat out of the way and ask whether he fancied spending a fictional night in Paris with me instead.

The travel plot was fabulous and it does make you want to go see some of these places. Sandy weaves in so much detail with each place her characters visit and at times you do wonder whether Sandy should host a TV travel show.

This book was brilliant escapism!

Have you ever done a Cat Parsons? 🤣

Click here to find out more about That Night in Paris.

Sandy has kindly done a quick Q&A if you fancy getting to know her better:

Author Photo Sandy Barker

When and where do you prefer to write?

I work fulltime, so I tend to get up early (between 5am and 6am) to get in a couple of hours of author biz before work. A lot of the time that will be writing or editing, but it also includes engaging with other authors and social media―both of which are an important part of being an author.

And I am very fortunate to have my own writing space, a study with my desk and a little couch in case I need a break. It’s also where we keep the wine fridge, though I assure you, that’s just a coincidence.

Do you have a certain ritual?

I tend to check emails and social media sites before I get to writing―although, this can be dangerous as it is a wonderful distraction, especially when I’m in the editing stages.

Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Tea! I consume two or three giant mugs of tea as I work in the mornings. I should dedicate my next book to tea.

What is your favourite book?

This is such a hard question as I imagine it is for any author. I love To Kill a Mockingbird. When I was an English teacher, I taught it many times and found something new with every read. But I also write contemporary romance, so I’ll choose the book that sparked something in me and made me want to write, which was Lindsey Kelk’s first book, I Heart New York. Reading it was a catalyst for my own writing career (thank you, Lindsey!)

Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?

Yes! I am in early talks with another author about pairing up to write a dark contemporary drama/thriller.

Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?

I do! Many of my characters are inspired by people I know. The main character in That Night in Paris is inspired by my sister, Victoria. And many characters I write are a composite of people I know.

Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?

I should! If I get a great idea while I’m out and about, I will type a note into my phone.

Which genre do you not like at all?

This is also a tricky question for me, because I read broadly. As well as romantic fiction, I love crime thrillers, contemporary fiction, (some) literary fiction, SciFi, historical fiction, and even biography or autobiography. I suppose I don’t read much fantasy, though I never say never, because there are some incredibly written fantasy stories out there.

If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?

Fiona Leitch. She writes these incredibly funny crime thrillers and I’m hoping our idea to write something darker (for both of us) will pan out.

If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?

I write travel fiction, so travelling and research are important to my work―I only write about places I’ve been to. I have a trip to Scotland planned in July as my 5th book is set partially in Edinburgh. I loved our trip there in 2018 and want to refresh my memories before I write that part of the book―such a great city!

Many thanks for having me!

Thank you Sandy and I am honoured to be part of such a great book blog tour.

That Night In Paris Full Tour Banner

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Mr Make Believe’ by @beezymarsh. Includes Unforgettable Movie Star Character ❤️, Motherhood Chaos & Much Hilarity

You find me in what I call, ‘Book Recovery’ mode (lying in state on the sofa, a cold compress over my forehead, a concerned dog sat watching me and an electric fan blowing cool air over me).

I know this is controversial but I believe romance readers have a harder time getting over a good book than readers of other genres. This is where all the crime readers, who read my blog, start shouting about how they have to recover from grizzly murder scenes etc and all the historical fiction readers moan about how they have to adjust to modern-day living after hanging out in another time period for a few weeks, but I don’t agree. With romance novels we have to wait for our emotions to settle down before starting another book, we can feel churned up for weeks and we have to GET OVER our character crushes. I often fall for the male characters of romance novels and it’s not easy forcing myself to stop loving my fictional love interest.

The reason why I am in ‘book recovery mode‘ is due to a male character in Beezy Marsh’s ‘Mr Make Believe’ who is quite simply – divine. For me the sign of a good romance novel is a strong character who draws me to them like a magnet.

This one is called Maddox Wolfe. He’s the main character’s movie star crush and he is over 6ft, lean, hunky and features heavily in her (and my own) fantasies throughout the book.

Moving on swiftly, let’s get on with the review of ‘Mr Make Believe’ by Beezy Marsh.

What did you think of the blurb?

The blurb talked about Marnie, a struggling, stay at home mum, whose life revolved around sock matching, the ironing pile, having fantasies about her movie star crush and wondering why her life had not gone to plan.

In a moment of madness Marnie starts a blog and becomes the voice of imperfect mums everywhere. Not only this but she comes into real life contact with her favourite film actor and things get chaotic.

The blurb was certainly enticing and as a frazzled mummy myself I could relate to Marnie’s situation. My blog is the voice of imperfect writers and after a chance meeting with Brad Pitt my life could also get chaotic.

What did you think of the main female character?

I loved Marnie. She enjoys wearing baggy sweatshirts, furry slipper socks and hasn’t shaved her legs for awhile. There is a clothing mountain, languishing in a wicker basket in the corner of her bedroom, the nearest thing to exercise she does is lifting coffee cups to her lips and she describes her chest as possessing a massive mono-boob.

Marnie is hilarious. At the start of the book she’s deep in the trenches of motherhood, questioning her marriage and reading a saucy novel, ‘Harsh Winter’ based on Maddox Wolfe’s on screen character. The opening chapters are so funny.

Her children are young and demanding which is realistic and they provide some good conflict.

The blog Marnie creates is great and through it she does start to change.

I think Marnie is a great character and by the end of the book I was proud of what she’d achieved.

What did you think of the other characters?

Marnie is a failed food columinst for a newspaper. She starts to do freelance work for the newspaper again as the book progresses and her editor, Barker, is a really funny character. Some of the things he says to Marnie during her moments of chaos are fab.

I didn’t warm to Marnie’s husband, Matt, at the start of the book but I think this was what the author wanted.

Maddox Wolfe is an unforgettable male character. I know I am making him sound like a perfect male character, he isn’t, he has issues in the book which I liked. No one wants a perfect male character. I just loved how the author painted this picture of an older movie star, a bit rough round the edges and combined this with his flirty, almost cheeky dialogue. Sigh…

Were there any naughty bits?

Yes, there were naughty bits and they were written very well. They were not too naughty but saucy enough if you know what I mean. Oh my goodness, Maddox Wolfe, you made me turn on my electric fan to full power at one point!

Overall what did you think?

I really enjoyed this book. You can’t get better romantic escapism than reading about a frazzled stay at mum, who becomes a successful blogger and catches the attention of a famous movie star. It is well worth a read and I will warn you, Maddox Wolfe will leave you feeling churned up.

You can find the book by clicking here.

Take it easy readers.

Have a great day.