#BlogTour! #Recipe from #AFeastOfSerendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj (@mamohanraj) @RaRaResources

Today I have a recipe from Mary Anne Mohanraj’s Sri Lankan cookbook, ‘A Feast of Serendib’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for asking me to be involved. Before I share the recipe with you all, here is a little bit more about the book and the all important purchase links. Enjoy!

Dark roasted curry powder, a fine attention to the balance of salty-sour-sweet, wholesome red rice and toasted curry leaves, plenty of coconut milk and chili heat. These are the flavors of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was a cross roads in the sea routes of the East. Three waves of colonization—Portuguese, Dutch and British—and the Chinese laborers who came with them, left their culinary imprint on Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan cooking with its many vegetarian dishes gives testimony to the presence of a multi-ethnic and multi -religious population.

Everyday classics like beef smoore and Jaffna crab curry are joined by luxurious feast dishes, such as nargisi kofta and green mango curry, once served to King Kasyapa in his 5th century sky palace of Sigiriya.

Vegetable dishes include cashew curry, jackfruit curry, asparagus poriyal, tempered lentils, broccoli varai and lime-masala mushrooms. There are appetizers of chili-mango cashews, prawn lentil patties, fried mutton rolls, and ribbon tea sandwiches. Deviled chili eggs bring the heat, yet ginger-garlic chicken is mild enough for a small child. Desserts include Sir Lankan favorites: love cake, mango fluff, milk toffee and vattalappam, a richly-spiced coconut custard.

In A Feast of Serendib, Mary Anne Mohanraj introduces her mother’s cooking and her own Americanizations, providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Lankan American cooking, straightforward enough for a beginner, and nuanced enough to capture the flavor of Sri Lankan cooking.

Buy now.

Recipe:

Hoppers / Appam

If I had to pick the perfect Sri Lankan meal, this would be it. There’s nothing like breaking off a crisp piece of hopper, dipping it into broken egg, and scooping up some curry and a bit of seeni sambol. Delectable.

These rice flour pancakes have a unique shape; fermented batter is swirled in a special small hemispherical pan, so you end up with a soft, spongy center, and lacey, crispy sides – that contrast is the true glory of the hopper. (You can buy instant hopper mix, available online, and just add water, which will work fine, and doesn’t require overnight planning ahead. Many diasporic Sri Lankans I know use that option regularly.) Typically you’d make one egg hopper per person, plus another plain hopper or two, and maybe a sweet hopper to finish up.

If you don’t have a hopper pan, you can make hoppers in a regular frying pan; you just won’t get quite as much of the crispy sides. It’s a little time-consuming to make hoppers, since each one must be individually steamed for a few minutes, but with practice, you can have four hopper pans going on a stove at once. I’d recommend starting with just one pan at a time, though! Serve with curry and seeni sambol.

2 cups South Asian rice flour (or a mix of rice and wheat flour)

1 tsp sugar

pinch of baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups coconut milk

eggs for egg hoppers

extra coconut milk and jaggery for sweet hoppers

1. Mix first five ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, cover, and set in a warm, turned-off oven to ferment overnight. (In a cold climate, fermentation may not occur without a little help – I turn my oven on to 250 degrees, and when it’s reached temperature, turn it off and put the covered bowl in the oven to stay warm.)

2. Mix again, adding water if necessary to make a quite thin, pourable batter.

3. Heat pan (grease if not non-stick) on medium, and when it’s hot, pour about 1/3 cup batter into the center. Pick up the pan immediately and swirl the batter around, coating the cooking surface. The sides of the hopper should end up with holes in them: thin, lacy, and crisp – if the batter is coating the pan more thickly, mix in some hot water to thin it down. Cover and let cook for 2-4 minutes – you’ll know it’s ready when the sides have started to brown and the center is thoroughly cooked. A silicone spatula will help with getting the hopper out of the pan.

4. For egg hoppers, after swirling, crack an egg in the center before covering. The egg will cook as the hopper does, finishing in about 3-4 minutes.

5. For sweet hoppers, after swirling, add a tablespoon of coconut milk and a teaspoon of jaggery to the center of the pan, then cook as usual.

About the author.

Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and thirteen other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. The Stars Change was a finalist for the Lambda, Rainbow, and Bisexual Book Awards.
Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine, Strange Horizons, and also founded Jaggery, a S. Asian & S. Asian diaspora literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and The Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). She serves on the futurist boards of the XPrize and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, with her husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. Recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series, stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies. 2017-2018 titles include Survivor (a SF/F anthology), Perennial, Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim C. Hines), and Vegan Serendib.

Website

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#BlogTour! #Review – To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley (@CamillaIsley) @RaRaResources

Second RaRaResources blog tour of the day is for a review of ‘To the Stars and Back’ by Camilla Isley. Many thanks to Rachel for the blog tour invite and ARC.

When Hollywood’s sexiest bachelor meets the girl next door their relationship doesn’t follow the script…

On-screen, Christian Slade is America’s favorite heartthrob. Off-screen, letting romance into his life isn’t as easy. The women he dates all seem to want a piece of his glamorous life rather than his heart, and trust doesn’t come easy for him.

Then along comes Lana. A beautiful rocket scientist who’s also sweet, smart, sexy, and has absolutely no idea who he is. But what will happen when she finds out?

Will their worlds prove too far apart or could love really be like in the movies?

What does TWG think?

What would you do if the guy you started dating was in fact a top Hollywood actor, but he didn’t tell you? Would you be mad? Would you feel deceived? Lana, after being betrayed by her best friend, found herself in that exact position and she doesn’t quite know how she feels about it.

Like, Lana is an engineer, not someone who spends her time keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends, or has money to burn like Christian Slade does. Two people, two completely different lifestyles. Chalk and cheese or a match made in heaven?

This was such a fun story to read, and one I was able to lose myself in very quickly. The premise of the book isn’t too taxing, and the pace is ideal if you’re just wanting a book to cruise along with, without the addition of too emotional events and what not.

I love how Camilla Isley has included characters from other books in the series so seamlessly, as if they were meant to be there all along. Don’t be panicking though – this book is part of a series but each book can be read as a standalone with no issues.

If you’re into highly romantic, boy meets girl type of novels, ‘To the Stars and Back’ would be right up your street. I’m not a romantic, yet I could still appreciate the attention to detail in the characters relationships and how their lives came together throughout the book.

Another fun, humourous, and enjoyable read from the very more-ish, Camilla Isley.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green (@Rosie_Green1988) @RaRaResources

TWG is back visiting the Little Duck Pond cafe today, huge thanks to RaRaResources and the author for having me! Here is my review of Rosie Green’s latest installment to her serial:

Wedding fever is in the air in the village of Sunnybrook.

With Ellie and Zak’s Big Day on the horizon, the sun is shining brightly on the Little Duck Pond Cafe community. But when dark clouds begin to roll in from more than one direction, several close relationships look to be under threat.

Will the wedding of the year actually take place at all?

What does TWG think?

I was NOT expecting to be getting into a tizzy whilst visiting the Little Duck Pond Cafe. Not at all! But I did and, whilst I would love to sit and have a natter about what made me stressed up to the eyeballs, it may be considered a spoiler. It literally came from nowhere and certainly put the characters to a test regarding their relationships and best laid plans.

‘Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’ IS part of a series, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do read the books in order so that you are more aware of how the characters got where they are now, who they are, and why they are (if they are) involved in any ruckus’ with anyone else.

I love this series, especially as it just gets better and better with every new story. I must admit that I found Ellie quite annoying this time around as she just seemed in a rush to tick boxes regarding her wedding without thinking about the logistics behind it, especially seeing as other people were involved and it wasn’t all about Ellie. For someone who has always taken time to think about her actions and how they affected others, she couldn’t have been further from that person if she tried.

That said, the story wasn’t all romance and confetti, there was a lot more to this novella than I had anticipated and I thought that it did the book wonders in terms of depth and atmosphere.

Rosie Green, once again, has left me with a massive smile on my face thanks to this heartwarming and more-ish addition to the Little Duck Pond Cafe series. A wonderful, wonderful story which was an pleasure to devour.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#CoverReveal! The Secret – Violet’s Story by Eliza.J.Scott (@elizajscott1) @RaRaResources

Cover reveal time!!

I am so looking forward to reading this one, and I hope you will be too once you’ve seen the cover!

Ready?

It’s been two years since glamorous and ambitious Violet Smith fell head-over-heels in love with blacksmith Jimby Fairfax, and moved back home to the North Yorkshire village of Lytell Stangdale to be with him.

Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Their romance is blooming and Romantique – the business she set up with Jimby’s sister Kitty, designing luxurious underwear and burlesque costumes with the odd wedding dress throw in – is thriving.

But on a romantic weekend break, a face from her past triggers a series of events which send Violet into turmoil. She finds herself with no alternative but to reveal a secret she’s buried deep for the past sixteen years. A secret she hasn’t shared with anyone, not even her best friends, Kitty and Molly, and they share everything.

With the revelation forcing a wedge between herself and Jimby, heartbroken Violet fears that he won’t ever be able to think of her in the same way again and won’t want anything more to do with her.

As ever, Kitty and Molly rally round, offering their advice and support but Vi is worried that keeping her secret was just a step too far for Jimby.

Will she succeed in showing him their love is strong enough to overcome it?

The Secret – Violet’s Story is book 3 in the Life on the Moors Series.

So, what do you think?! ‘The Secret – Violet’s Story’ is due to be published on the 8th July, and can be pre ordered now from Amazon UK and Amazon US. Cannot wait!!

#BlogTour! #Review – One Summer in Little Penhaven by Angela Britnell (@AngelaBritnell) @RaRaResources @choclituk

Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, here is my review for my stop on Angela Britnell’s blog tour. Huge thanks to the publisher for the ARC too.

Could one summer change your life?

When high-flying American lawyer Samantha Muir finds out she’s lost her partnership whilst on an assignment in London, she has a dramatic reaction.

Rather than returning home, she resigns, leaves her business suits behind and jumps on the first train to Cornwall at the encouragement of a friendly stranger.

The village of Little Penhaven, where Samantha eventually ends up, is a world away from her life in Knoxville, Tennessee – and local farmer Cadan Day is certainly a world away from any man she has met before. But could the Cornish village and Cadan play a part in Samantha’s summer of self-discovery?

What does TWG think?

Little Penhaven may be classed as ‘little’, but its certainly a village with a rather big personality!

When Sam’s promotion ends up falling through her fingers at the last hurdle, she went from being a lawyer in America, to an unemployed American on a spur of the moment holiday.

I really enjoy reading fiction novels because the storylines can be so farfetched at times, and this was one of those times!! I couldn’t quite believe Sam’s spontaneity, and what happened afterwards just seemed very convenient. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing at all, yet it definitely pushed the ‘unbelievable’ a lot of times.

I really enjoy Angela Britnell’s storytelling, especially the way she conveys the romance between her characters. The passion just oozes off the pages, and it ends up being very hard not to get lost in the lust and fairytalesque situations.

I would have to say that, whilst the overall storyline was very promising, I found the inner details of the book to be a bit one dimensional. I enjoyed watching Cadan’s personality flourish throughout the book, and like I say, the tender moments made for such heartfelt reading. I just felt as though something was missing.

All in all, ‘One Summer in Little Penhaven’ is a pleasant, touching ready which will put the fire back in your belly.

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

#BlogTour! #Review – Passport to Happiness by Carrie Stone (@CarrieStoneUK) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources

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I am dodging this dreary weather today by jetting off with ‘Passport to Happiness’ by Carrie Stone. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Harper Impulse for the ARC. Here is my review:

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Will the trip of her dreams…

Everly Carter is bored. With her job, with her single status and with the never ending line of rubbish men on Tinder. Tired of going through the motions of seeming happy, Everly wants to be happy! So, in a spontaneous moment of bravery (perhaps spurred on by a few cocktails) Everly books a holiday. Time away, alone, to find out what she really wants from life. Become the journey of her lifetime?

Everly’s search for happiness takes her to picturesque Swiss villages and the sunsets of glamorous Bermuda. But with every new stamp in her passport, Everly still feels as though something is missing…

Could it be that true happiness is hard to find, until she finds herself?

What does TWG think?

If you’re looking for a novel which points you in the direction of looking at the bigger picture; ‘Passport to Happiness’ is definitely the one to choose. Everly feels a bit….stuck. Her life feels like one monotonous roundabout, and she no longer feels happy with what her life throws at her. With Tinder spitting out dates which find Everly running for the hills instead of their bedroom, the only ties she has is with her job, and her sister.

I could see why Everly wanted a bit more action in her life, and I could understand her reasons for wanting her life to change. I thought her spontaneity was very endearing and clearly worked for her in regards to learning to find herself, however, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit irritated by the character herself.

Firstly, after her spontaneous visits to Switzerland and Bermuda, Everly was extremely worried about her finances. She had checked how much money she had to her name and knew she had to curb her spending and earn a bit more. What does she do? She goes and books an impulsive flight to Bali on her way back to London from Bermuda. Am I missing something? Hell, if I had money in my pocket to burn, I would be impulsive as well, however she clearly admitted she needed to be careful, and I know for a fact that flights to Bali do not cost mere pocket money!

Secondly, for someone who wanted to give back to the communities she visited, she was quite a selfish person. I know she needed to find herself, and I know that she needed to heal from the heartbreak which came her way back in London, and whilst she was on her travels, but I honestly didn’t realise that it would be Everly’s way or the highway. At least, that was the impression I gave.

By the way, all the above is my opinion on the character and not my opinion of the authors story telling….just wanted to clarify that before anyone thought I was being rude. I’m not!

Aside from my irks with Everly, I enjoyed the concept of the storyline and the true friendships she formed on her travels. I thought that Carrie Stone delivered the importance of being at one with yourself, in a very poignant manner. It certainly made me think of my own outlook to certain situations, I must admit.

At times I did feel as though the overall storyline was a bit patchy, as though the story had jumped ahead and I had missed bits. I hadn’t, but one minute Everly was in Bali, in her new accommodation, and then the next she was getting ready for an interview which just came out of nowhere. Good on her though for grabbing life by the you know what’s!

As for the descriptions about Bali and Bermuda – wow, wow, wow! I felt as though I was standing at the top of the trek, looking out at the view. Beautiful writing. I was definitely under the spell of the story then!

‘Passport to Happiness’ is a fun, lighthearted read with characters you will be remembering for a while. Personally, my favourite has got to be Panda – how could it not? Absolute legend.

Buy now!

About the author.

Carrie was born and raised in London, but her love for travel and adventure has seen her spend the last fourteen years living and working internationally.She is currently based in Spain alongside her husband, young daughter and adopted Indonesian dog, Bali.Carrie is a traditionally published author with Harper Impulse, as well as an independently published author. When not writing, she works as a Psychic Medium & Spiritual Coach (www.carriebattley.com). To find out more about her Twitter @CarrieStoneUK

#BlogTour! #Review – The Dinner in the Sky by Anne John-Ligali (@AnneJohnLigali) @RaRaResources

Happy publication day to Anne John-Ligali and ‘The Dinner in the Sky’, I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour today with a review. Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part and for the ARC.

After a shocking confrontation with an unexpected encounter, Constance tries to piece her life back together and is on a mission to finally move on.

The thought of having her friends near is comforting as they take time out of their busy online lives and meet up at their favourite place, A Cupful of Dreams Café. Everyone seems happy enough until cracks begin to show and all is not as good as it seems. Constance tries desperately to keep positive as there’s so much to look forward to: shopping for posh frocks, dinner at The Shard and a movie premiere.

As things start to look rosy, a few odd tweets begin to pop up from nowhere. At first, they seem innocent, but as the weeks go by and premier night draws near, not only do the tweets increase but they become more obnoxious.

By the time Constance and her chums arrive on the red carpet, she’s determined to work out who the troll could be and to keep them from spoiling her evening. However as Constance soon learns, the troll wants to destroy far more than that!

Breathtaking views of London.

Posh frocks and Paparazzi

But there’s definitely trouble in the air …

What does TWG think?

Constance and friends are back! ‘The Dinner in the Sky’ is the third book in the series and, even though the author gives readers the low down on what has happened in the previous two books, I would recommend reading the books in order as all three storylines are very closely linked.

Constance’s love for her little boy, Charlie, just makes my heart melt, and the fact that there were several idiots who couldn’t see just how special the little guy was, really irked me. Hes just a little boy – theres no need for people to be so horrible!

Anyway, there is a lot of drama in this installment which definitely fits in with some of the characters personalities for sure. I would say that, for me personally, ‘The Dinner in the Sky’ isn’t my most favourite of the three books because I felt that the drama was never ending, and at times just there for the sake of it.

That said, I thought it was a very fun read and the friendships between people who couldn’t have been more different, was incredibly heartwarming to read.

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and found of Books and Authors UK, a website that features author interviews, cover reveals, blog posts, features and reviews. She loves all things books, going to book events and meeting other book worms. She has written her first series and is currently writing her first novel.

When Anne is not writing she is likely to be playing with her kids, going for walks in the park, watching Netflix or thinking up more stories. Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London she studies graphic design at the University of Arts and held a number of IT jobs in the city. Anne continues to write romantic comedies, women’s fiction, and has the desire to write a non-fiction book and a few children’s books.

Author Social Media Links –

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#BlogTour! #Review – Edie Browne’s Cottage by the Sea by Jane Linfoot (@JaneLinfoot) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources

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I am very excited to be taking part in the blog tour today for “Edie Browne’s Cottage by the Sea’ by Jane Linfoot. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:27Z1rHxQ

Those who don’t jump will never fly...

Hurtling through the sky was supposed to be Edie Browne’s flight of independence. But when she falls head over champagne bucket while celebrating her successful landing, her life is changed in an instant. But starting over has its benefits, and as Edie relearns the basics under the watchful eye of her Aunty Josie and an entire Cornish village of new friends and neighbours, she finds love and joy she never could have imagined in theunlikeliest of places…

Come home to St Aidan and Periwinkle Cottage for a romance full of love, laughter and friends for life.

What does TWG think?

I….erm….wow. Someone help me? If I’m not too careful, my eyes will start leaking again and my review would end up being a mixture of unfinished sentences, ‘umm’ and ‘wows’. Hell, I have a feeling it might be like that anyway, so I apologise in advance! The reason why I say all of that is because I have no idea how to write a review for this book without bursting into tears. Don’t worry your pretty little head, I’m not crying because it’s bad, I’m crying because I was so moved by Edie’s story, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I read the last chapter of the book through misty eyes because I was sobbing my heart out.

I’m not even being overdramatic, I was literally covering the sleeve of my dressing gown in tears and snot, which then prompted my dog to put his arms around my neck to give me a hug.

You’re probably wondering why, this beautiful looking book, made me sob my heart out, right? Well, do not be fooled by the pretty exterior as ‘Edie Browne’s Cottage by the Sea’ has a lot more going for it than the cover suggests.

Edie’s life changed dramatically overnight when her health took a nosedive and left her having to start again. Reading simple words was no longer a walk in the park. Counting became impossible, and remembering details felt like Edie was doing a degree every time she spoke. She was afraid of the uncertain path before her and had everything crossed that Cornwall was going to help her.

The fact that this storyline tells the story of a character who is living with an invisible condition, makes me feel emotional all over again. As someone who lives with 8 chronic illnesses which make day to day life such a challenge both mentally and physically, watching Edie on her own journey hit home big time. The way that the character opened up about grieving for the person she once was, completely hit the nail on the head. It’s something that people cant understand unless they have been through it themselves, and unfortunately for me, I completely understood where she was coming from as I continue to grieve for the person I once was.

If i had my own pom poms, i would be cheerleading Edie until my throat was raw. She is such a beautiful character who deserves bucketfuls of happiness. She doesn’t deserve to go through life as though shes walking on eggshells. The friendships she made in Cornwall had me in hysterics, and her new found friendship with six year old, Cam, made me overcome with emotion yet again. For such a young boy, Cam had been through his own fair share of heartache – it wasn’t fair, but I was so glad that he had Barney in his corner.

I know I keep going on about the emotion in this storyline, but I really can’t help it, for me it was a large part of the storyline due to how much I was able to resonate with it on a personal level. ‘Edie Browne’s Cottage by the Sea’ had me in hysterics thanks to the brilliant humour of the residents in St.Aidan. I loved the addition of the dogs, Robert and Dustin as well – they both added to the overall vibe of the storyline in their own little way.

It’s safe to say that I absolutely fell in love with Jane Linfoot’s new book. The beautiful storytelling alongside the heartwarming premise and humourous characters, was such a delight to read and definitely one of a kind. This storyline isn’t a typical storyline, nor is it a predictable one. In fact, it couldn’t be more different if it tried. I feel sorry for the author now though as she has set the bar extremely high for herself, and her next book.

I may have finished the book sobbing my heart out, but Edie’s journey filled my heart with such joy and made me feel as though I finally belonged somewhere. Thank you, Jane Linfoot, for being the voice for invisible conditions, and the voice for people who are too afraid to be their true selves in fear of judgement.

‘Edie Browne’s Cottage by the Sea’ is one of my all time favourite reads and is practically perfect in every way. A poignant, emotional read which hit home in a way I never thought it would. I loved it.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a muddy cottage, up a steep hill in Derbyshire, with her family, their pets, and an astonishing number of spiders. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket.

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea, and wrote her first book by accident, while working as an architect, and renovating country houses. While she loves to write feelgood books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines.

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her latest books include a series of stand alone novels, based around a seaside wedding shop in Cornwall. Cupcakes and Confetti – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Sequins and Snowflakes – Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, and Bunting and Bouquets – Summer at the Little Wedding Shop, and most recently, The Little Cornish Kitchen. These are all published by Harper Impulse, an imprint of Harper Collins.

#BlogTour! #Review – A Bakery at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green (@Rosie_Green1988) @RaRaResources

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Second blog tour of the day is for ‘A Bakery at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’ by Rosie Green. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC, here is my review:

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Ellie’s dreams of opening a bakery in Sunnybrook are finally coming true and best friends Fen and Jaz are happily rallying round, helping her to plan a fabulous grand opening day. Everything in their garden seems to be rosy –until the arrival of a newcomer brings chaos to the village and tests relationships to the limit. Can the bakery succeed in the face of such upheaval? And more importantly, can firm friendships survive?

What does TWG think?

How are we on the 5th book in the series already?! The absolute beauty of these books is that each one can be read perfectly well as a standalone. Now, whilst that is good if you want to read the books out of order, as they’re all utterly brilliant, I wholeheartedly suggest that you binge read the other books anyway. You know, just because you can!

Katja, thanks to her unusual name, hasn’t had it easy. For many years she has been at the brunt of people’s idiocy, thus feeling as though she has to hide her true self from other people due to fear. Just like she does when she goes for a job in Sunnybrook. Instead of introducing herself as Katja, she fills out her application form with the name ‘Kate Baker’. Apt for the job, I won’t lie, but it was such a shame that she felt as though she had no other option but to hide her true heritage.

As someone with an unusual name (Kaisha, for those who aren’t aware), I have wished, at times, that I had a name that wouldn’t constantly get mispronounced. Or a name that would be more fitting to the country I live in (I have an Indian name). However, the older I get, the more I refuse to shy away from my name. Yes, it still aggravates me when it gets mispronounced, even when you’ve corrected someone on how to say it, and yes, it does irk me when I gets misspelt, especially online because it’s right in front of people. Sorry, I have gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but I just wanted to explain how I could see where Katja was coming from and how it affected me.

Anyway, back to the book. Katja wasn’t the only new addition to the bakery, she had a new flatmate called Madison. I’m sorry to say that I absolutely detested that character. I don’t get why, when things get a little heated near the end of the book, Madison’s revelation goes unnoticed and Katja is the one feeling as though she is in the wrong? Madison is a sneaky, sneaky devil. I don’t care whether she turned out ‘fine’. Nobody should treat others like the way she did, even if she felt as though she was doing it for Katja’s own benefit. No.

Maisie, once again, stole the show, and so did Little Maisie. I just wanted to scoop up that little girl and give her a big hug as it was obvious that she was struggling with things. I could not stop the grin from appearing on my face when Little Maisie made herself known…again. What a beautiful, beautiful piece of writing that was. Between you and me, my eyes may have stung just a teeny bit….

I love how wholesome Rosie Green’s storytelling is, and the way that she brings her characters and their lives to life in such a humorous yet relatable way. Sunnybrook is a place that I can get lost in time and time again – keep the books coming is what I say!!

‘A Bakery at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’ isn’t just a tale about tantalising treats and fractured relationships, it’s also a tale about mistaken identity and learning to love yourself despite the differences. It’s about being true to yourself and taking that time to appreciate your own unique traits. Most importantly, it’s about living life in the way that is true to your own beliefs, and not because you’re living it due to guilt and the past.

A tender, emotive read – can I have a hug? Not from Madison though, obvs….

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US


About the author.

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café.Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe will be the sixth in the series.

Breaking News -Coming Soon –Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Café

With Ellie and Zak’s Big Day on the horizon, the sun is shining brightly on the Little Duck Pond Café community. But as dark clouds begin to roll in, threatening more than one close relationship, will the wedding of the year take place at all?

Follow Rosie Green on Amazon to hear when its published and available for purchase –click here.

#BlogTour! #Review – Jay Jay and His Island Adventure by Sue Wickstead (@JayJayBus) @RaRaResources

Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite for Jay Jay and His Island Adventure, and thank you to the author for the ARC. Here is my review:

Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus is not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey. He is a Playbus. Find out what happens when he is invited to an island where the children have never seen a double-decker bus – and certainly not one full of toys!

Behind the story:

‘Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure’, was originally written for a Scottish book bus.

‘Play,Talk, Read’ was the project which visited remote areas if Scotland to encourage reading in the very young. It was a great success and the bus even visited the Shetland Islands travelling on a very small ferry.

The children had never seen a double-decker on their island before and certainly not one to play on.

However, the Scottish project was too busy with referendums and with the book ready and edited I changed the name of the bus from Benji, sending Jay-Jay instead.

The island on the cover of the book was based on a piece of mainland Spain which I have visited many times.

Cap D’Or is the promentory near to a little village of Moraira.

The villagers in Moraira invited me to read this book in their library and local schools.

The people in this little village were surprised to find that Jay-Jay was a real bus.

(Jay-Jay may not have got to Spain in reality but in my imagination he did and now all of the books are in the local library in both Teulada and Moraira.)

What does TWG think?

The idea of a play bus which takes books to children, is definitely a magnificent idea – Jay Jay is no exception.

My daughter was giggling at the fact that Jay Jay had hurt his ‘bottom’, despite trying to work out where a bus’ bottom was! She was so enthralled by the different activities on the bus, including digging for treasure in the sandpit. It really made the whole island adventure theme come alive.

From an adult point of view, I am delighted that the story was enjoyed by my little girl as she is a huge bus fan. However I would have liked the story to contain more details around what the children got up to, what books they read etc, as I felt that we read more about Jay Jay travelling to and from the island, than the actual play bus activities themselves.

All in all, Jay Jay and His Island Adventure is a colourful and fun read which gives children the gift of books.

Buy now.

About the author.

I am a teacher and an author and have currently written six children’s picture books with a bus theme.
For over 20 years, alongside my teaching career, I worked with a Children’s Charity, The Bewbush Playbus Association, which led me to write a photographic history book about it.

I soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. I decided to write a fictional tale about the bus, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original bus and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continued.

This story has now been followed by five more picture books.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share the story. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

The story has been read in many schools in the south-East of England, where I teach as a cover teacher, it is always well received and certainly different.

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