#Review of A Pug Like Percy by Fiona Harrison (@Fionajourno) @HQStories @PuglikePercy

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Blurb.

A furry festive miracle who’s there for you with a helping paw. Percy definitely isn’t just for Christmas…

Percy is homeless, abandoned by his owner at an animal rescue centre on a cold winter’s night. So when he finds a loving new home with Gail and her family, his deepest wish is that this time, it’s forever.

Gail hopes that Percy will be the little miracle that her family so desperately needs. Her young daughter, Jenny, is in and out of hospital and she’s only just holding things together with her husband, Simon.

With the family at breaking point, and Christmas just around the corner, is Percy the furry friend they’ve all been waiting for?

What does TWG think?

This Christmas, there seems to be an influx of novels with animals as the main character, in the ‘voice’ of the animal. I have seen reviews of those books, even this one, where people say ‘how silly’ it is to have a dog ‘talking’ to the readers. WELL! Some of you say silly, I say GIVE ME MORE! I’ll be honest, I did originally think that these books were aimed at children or young adults, purely because of the covers and general assumption. However, once I actually opened the book and started reading, I quickly discovered that these books are in fact novels for adults yet they could suit young adults also.

‘A Pug Like Percy’ has such a gentle, yet bold looking cover, which will no doubt get many fans cooing over Percy’s cuteness! I did expect the book to be rather sweet and sickly, but oh my goodness, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We meet Percy in an animal rescue centre where he is scared, lonely and worried that nobody will come and give him his forever home. Soon enough, Percy’s worries go out the window when he meets Gail, a lady who falls in love with him straight away. But, for poor Percy, things aren’t as they seem and it looks like the little pug will be doing more than just being a dog this Christmas..

Just like Gail, I fell in love with Percy straight away! He has got such a loveable personality which is laced with cheekiness. Some of the things that Percy got up to had me in absolute stitches, especially when we got to read his thoughts about certain situations. Felt a little powerful if I’m honest, I got to read Percy’s mind! No wonder he’s a smug pug!

Gail’s family situation is rather heart-breaking as her daughter, Jenny, is very poorly yet spends most of her time worrying about her parents constant arguing. The fact that Gail and Simon couldn’t put their issues aside during Jenny’s time of need, irked me. I know that in stressful situations people say and do things that are out of character, but I did find it to be a little selfish of them. However, Percy got to have a little fun with it and tried his best to fix things with his doggy pals, especially Peg.

Do not, under any circumstance, judge this book by its cover thinking that it is for children, as you will be missing an absolute treat of a book. With ‘A Pug Like Percy’, the storyline speaks volumes by highlighting exactly how much love pets have for their owners. I adored this story from start to finish; it had me smiling, laughing and going ‘aww’ as the storyline tugged at my heart-strings on more than one occasion.

Fiona has written such a cosy and heart warming read, bringing the loveable Percy into our hearts this Christmas. Such a cleverly written novel which will leave you feeling snuggly and full of love, trust me, it happened to me. Merry Christmas Percy, you loveable pug, you.

Thank you Fiona & HQ.

A Pug Like Percy is available to buy now from most supermarkets AND Amazon UK. The perfect stocking filler this Christmas.

#Review of Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by @HJRolfe @RNATweets #tuesnews #RNA

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Blurb.

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.
Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.
When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

What does TWG think?

Have you ever fallen so in love with book that you feel a loss when it ends? Have you ever fallen so in love with a book that the entire thing just felt…right? I have. I was really excited to read Helen’s new book even before it was released (I will explain why shortly), so when I had the added bonus of falling in love with the storyline and the characters, I just knew I had to shout loud and proud about this one.

To Cleo, The Little Knitting Box is everything. It’s her safety net, her lifeline and the place where she can fill her heart with memories of her family as she works. Just as Cleo feels settled, something is about to threaten The Little Knitting Box’s livelihood..

One of the reasons why I was bouncing around like a lunatic before the book was released, was because Helen had created a character…with MY name! Oh yes folks, The Little Knitting Box has a character in it called Kaisha! Even though I knew my name would crop up, I still felt quite emotional seeing it in black and white. Absolutely surreal. I was already beginning to feel involved in Cleo’s life myself, then my character doppelgänger turned up and was also involved in Cleo’s life! Yes, the character has my name, but despite that, the way that she was written into the storyline with such feistiness and bolshiness, Kaisha quickly became one of my favourites.

As Helen was describing The Knitting Box interior with such attention to detail, I felt like I was walking around the shop myself. Every feature she described, I could see it. Every smell she described, I began to smell it. Everything. That may sound daft but it is true. Such beautiful descriptions of such memorable features; if this was an actual shop in my town, I would be living in it, mark my words!

The storyline goes between Cleo’s life, and Dylan’s life. Unfortunately, we meet Dylan at a very sad time in his life, and people around him seem to be using that to his advantage. His naivety was a little questionable at times, but it was a joy to see Dylan grow as a character throughout the book. By the end of the story, my opinion had changed as I had gotten to see a different side of him and get to know him much better. The only way that I can describe Dylan would be; ‘teddy bear’, you’ll see why in the story!

It’s not often I say this but I really would love to see this storyline carry on into another book. Whilst the ending wasn’t left unfinished, it still has been left with room to expand due to where the characters are in their lives at the end of the book. For me, the book just stopped. I wanted to know more and I am really hoping that Helen does make it into a series because it is such a beautiful book. Every single thing was…perfect. I felt like I was opening a present as I turned each page and read the magically words in front of me.

Christmas at The Little Knitting Box has gotten under my skin in ways I never thought were possible. I feel like have lost something due to finishing the book, crazy huh?
Helen Rolfe has written such a warm and cosy read, which will fill your heart with sheer joy from first page to the last. I ended the book feeling as though I had gained a lot of new friends, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will feel that too.

Beautiful, magical and incredibly moving; Christmas at The Little Knitting Box is a book that keeps on giving. Easily one of my favourite books, ever.

You too can buy a piece of Christmas magic from Amazon UK, enjoy!

Review of Jenny Hale’s (@jhauthor) ‘All I Want For Christmas’ @bookouture

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Blurb.


Snowflakes are falling, there’s carol singing on every corner, and Leah Evans is preparing for a family Christmas at her grandmother’s majestic plantation house in Virginia. It won’t be the same now that her beloved Nan is gone, but when Leah discovers she has inherited the mansion, she knows she can give her daughter Sadie the childhood of her dreams.

But there’s a catch. Leah must split the house with a man called David Forester. Leah hasn’t heard that name in a long time. Not since they were kids, when Davey was always there to catch her.

Now David is all grown up. He’s gorgeous, successful, and certain of one thing: Leah should sell him her half of the house.

They can’t agree, but as they share memories over wine by the log fire, Leah notices a fluttering in her stomach. And by the look in his eyes, he’s starting to feel it too.

Will it be Leah or David who must give up their dreams? Or, with a little bit of Christmas magic, will they finally understand Nan’s advice to them both about living life without regrets … and take a chance on true love?


What does TWG think?


I’m not going to lie, as soon as I read the title of the book, TWG became Mariah Carey. Found my inner diva, not that it was hard mind you. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMASSSSS ISSSSS YOUUUUUUUUUUU.
Uncanny resemblance I know.

Due to the fact that I an additional two words to the title in my head, I automatically thought that the book was going to have the lovey dovey, see a man in the distance, fall madly in love then realise he’s a snowman, type feel to it. How wrong could I have been. There were no snowmen, just uncertain and familiar males.

It’s the festive season and Leah is trying to give her daughter the best Christmas, despite barely being able to make ends meet. Leah’s daughter, Sadie, has a wise head on young shoulders so she understands that her mum tries her best and will give her what she can for Christmas. However, one of Sadie’s Christmas wishes looks as though it may stay just that, a wish. Will Leah be able to work out what her Nan means in the letter that she left for her? Or will Leah’s Nan’s legacy no longer be kept in the family?

It didn’t take me long to work out that this Christmas book wasn’t going to be the fluffy type of read as by the end of the first chapter, I was well and truly gripped by the events that were unfolding before my very eyes. The fact that everything was well and truly up in the air, obviously, made me eager to find out more. I wanted to know what the hell was happening with her Nan’s old business and what secrets were being kept. Incredibly mysterious and very unexpected.

My heart went out to Leah several times throughout the story as I could feel the emotion and fear that she was carrying around with her. She was trying to do her best for her daughter’s future, but it seemed as though all she has ever known was being taken away from her by one single name. I found Leah’s friend, Roz, such a hoot to read about. She had the air of someone who couldn’t give a flying mince pie what anyone thought of her, unless you messed with the ones she loved. Her humour and sarcastic remarks were brilliant, definitely added another dimension to the storyline.

As I read further into the story, it became clear that I was feeling an incredibly strong hidden message, and it is one that goes rather unnoticed. Some people might think that Christmas means loads of gifts, expensive ones at that, or even going to a different country just because. If that’s what you do, then good for you. However, Jenny Hale has unearthed what often goes unappreciated; family. Leah wanted to recreate her family Christmas like the ones she had with her Nan, whilst keeping the magic there for Sadie. I believe that Jenny pulled that off for her main character for sure. The rawness that was unwrapped on Christmas morning within the story, was emotional unnerving. Tears were pricking my eyes over such a minor detail of the book, yet the meaning behind it was larger than life.

The powerful moments didn’t stop there as every situation flowed naturally into another one, every character gelled like old friends, and intense emotions were heightened. Extremely heightened, (for me anyway), I finished the book crying my eyes out. The intensity of Jenny’s words were extremely overwhelming, and very enriching. I felt as though the book just walked into my soul, set up camp and read ‘All I Want For Christmas’ to me.

Jenny writes with such ease and authenticity that her words usually stop me in my tracks. She has THAT edge. Whilst Jenny’s other books are brilliant, she has outdone herself with her latest as this is now my favourite book of hers.

All I Want For Christmas is a soul hugging, emotional and poignant read that highlights the true magic of Christmas, and family. An undeniably joyful yet emotional read that will stay in my heart for a very, very long time.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for my unbiased views.

‘All I Want For Christmas’ by Jenny Hale, published by Bookouture, is available to buy from today! Happy publication day to Jenny & Bookouture!
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

It’s TWG’s turn on a very special tour for a very loved author. #TommyVcancer!

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I have been staring at my computer screen for the last ten minutes, trying to find the right words on how I can start this particular blog post. I mean, how can my words help? Honestly? They can’t do much except help spread awareness. TWG is part of a very special blog tour that has been organised for a very brave man named Tommy Donbavand, and his family. Tommy was diagnosed with throat cancer in March of this year, so this tour is to raise awareness for Tommy, his family, and the battle he is up against. Several of the tour stops are hosting giveaways and at the end of the tour on the 30th June between 8pm-9pm, Vivenne and Chelley will be hosting a Twitter chat. To get involved in any of the Tommy chat and discussions use the hashtag #tommyvcancer!

You’re probably wondering right now how you can help, yes? Well here is how:
Paypal Link.
Patreon Link.
Tommyvcancer Website.

About Tommy.
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Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum).
In theatre, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films). As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister. Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.
Visit Tommy’s Website here.
Follow Tommy on Twitter here.

Another reason for the blog tour is to shout very loudly about Tommy’s books because, as mentioned above, he has written a number of books for the YA/child audience and I am about to tell you about just one of them! It was incredibly hard to choose a book to review for this tour as Tommy has written so many incredible books.

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Buy Tommy’s books here.
‘ “AAAYYYOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW!” Stunned awake by piercing screeches from next door, Jamie, newly arrived in the neighbourhood, is certainly experiencing the scream in Scream Street. Favel has an infected tooth and Dr Skully fears the worst – the young banshee needs medicine, and fast! With the help of Luke, Resus and Cleo, Jamie must track down the ingredients for a life-saving remedy. But the four friends are dicing with death: if they’re not careful, Favel won’t be the only one biting the dust…’

I will hang my head in shame for a few seconds because I hadn’t read any of Tommy’s books until this tour! However, I had heard of them over the years, especially with the TV shows. I think ‘Scream Street: Wail of the Banshee’ has got a fantastic amount of detail with enough events throughout the story to keep young minds entertained! What is even better, is that this book is part of the Scream Street series, so once any YA/adults have finished reading this particular book, there is many more to choose from!Scream Street: Wail of the Banshee’ has excitement and mystery running right the way through it. Nothing too scary but enough to make the mind wander. I may be 26 but it certainly made my mind wonder!
Tommy’s writing captures the essence of the story and the magic that is there in front of you if you look hard enough, and believe. The enthusiasm that he has incorporated through his own words, into the story, is mind-blowing. Because the book is intended for younger minds, although many adults will enjoy it I’m sure, Tommy has still managed to create a flurry of light-hearted fear within the story. If i’m honest, I never thought that was possible to do, but it is. The story even has skeletons, but he makes them funny skeletons. I am in awe of this man’s talent and I urge you to buy several of these books for your own children, or for any child that you know. If your child isn’t a bit reader, I am sure that will change once these books are read!


Thank you to Viv at Serendipity Reviews and Faye Rogers for allowing me to be involved in such a special tour. Thank you to all of The Writing Garnet’s readers for reading this post and supporting Tommy and his family at such a difficult time in their lives.
I will leave you with one more thing. TOMMY KICK CANCER’S BUTT. #TOMMYVCANCER!

 

 

A #bookreview of – When Stars Collide by Tammy Robinson.

When Stars Collide by Tammy Robinson.
Published: 20th September 2013.
Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle and paperback formats.

‘When Ivy meets Walt at a party she sees past the corny pick up lines (a dare from his friends, or so he tells her) and his t-shirt featuring the immortal slogan, ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful – hate me because I have big boobs!’ and they fall in love. Not only is he Ivy’s first love, he’s also her first lover, and she’s sure nothing could ever come between them. Their love is simple yet magical, and they delight in the happiness they have created. But when tragedy strikes, their future is thrown into turmoil, and Ivy goes searching for answers. Will she find them? Or will she forever be searching for something which just isn’t there.’

Remember finding your first love, and the excitement that came with it? Remember not wanting to be apart from them and your family realising that you were growing up before their very eyes? Aw, a love story! A love story of Ivy and Walt to be precise. Two people falling head over heels in love with each other, excited for their future and being together…if only it was that simple. If only things were as straight forward as being in love and being allowed to get on with it. Never is, is it? It’s always very calm…..before the storm….
Yet again I read this book without reading the blurb, and once again I am glad that I did it that way. I wanted to see the story unfold without knowing a thing, which is exactly what’s going to happen in this review! Usually I write general things about a book without spoilers (obviously), just to give readers a rough idea before they read it. But this time, I’m not going to because I feel that it is a story you need to find out for yourself, just like I did. Why? Because the book is a work of art. I will tell you what I thought of it though, naturally. I absolutely loved it, from start to finish. The amount of raw and powerful emotion that escapes into the story is incredible. As it’s already known, you do get to remember the love story of a first love and experience how Ivy felt. But then everything changed. The dynamics in the book changed. I was sitting bolt up right in my bed with my hand covering my mouth. No, I’m not being dramatic, it is THAT powerful.
Every event within the story is backed with a very realistic description; to the point where I felt that I was looking through Ivy’s eyes to what she saw. It made me feel that I was Ivy, walking the same path has her, realising that love comes in multiple forms, and that it’s not just reserved for that special someone. Friends, family, pets…you catch my drift. As I’ve said already, ‘When Stars Collide’ isn’t a simple love story, not by miles. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried multiple times. All of the emotional parts of the story came through in different ways. It wasn’t upset for one particular part or chapter, it was various things within the whole book. Does that make sense?
The story made me realise that you need to grab things with both hands. Love with all your might. Make the effort with those you love and don’t pay attention to those you don’t love or care for. When Stars Collide may also teach you other lessons, such as, helping you to realise that people deal with things in different ways and just because you don’t agree with it, doesn’t make it wrong. It might even teach you that you don’t need to justify how you feel to anybody, but others need to respect how you feel. Why do I think you might get taught a few things? Because I did. I had never read such a powerful, poignant, emotional and raw book…until I read this one. I just had to keep reading it…which is why I finished the book in little over an hour. People have said to me before ‘why do you read books that make you cry?’ and my answer to that is this; you don’t tell yourself that you will cry at a story, it’s not something that you know will happen. But when you get a book such as this, that has such power over you to the point of you getting emotionally involved in the characters lives, it’s extremely hard not to get upset. Especially when the characters you have gotten to know throughout the story are faced with tragedies, uncertainty, and even themselves.
Tammy Robinson, you are incredible at what you do and I am in awe of you and your work. Such a talented and humble individual, yet can produce such powerful writing. Amazing.

Bella’s Christmas Bake off by Sue Watson

Bella’s Christmas Bake off by Sue Watson.
ISBN: 1910751618
Published: 20th October 2015 by Bookouture.
Available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle and paperback format.

‘Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…’

Amy’s Christmas memories as a child mainly involve baking with her mother and her childhood best friend, Bella. Unfortunately, Amy and Bella’s history isn’t all that straightforward, but ‘thanks’ to Bella’s Christmas television programme, Amy finds herself confronting her past. Amy manages to get herself onto Bella’s Christmas programme to finally put to bed the past, but can Amy make Bella see what is right under her nose?
Who said Christmas books were just meant to be read in December? Certainly not me! If anyone has said that, I’m going to ignore it and so should you because this needs to be read ANY month of the year! Remember your childhood Christmases’? The excitement surrounding Santa Claus and whether you had been good enough in the year to find presents when you got downstairs. Not forgetting Christmas dinner of course! Paper hats on heads eating mountains of food because it was Christmas, and that’s the law! Oh, it’s not? Oh! Home made mince pies! (Thanks mum!) Reading Bella’s Christmas Bake off will transport you to every Christmas you have ever had whilst reliving all the special memories and traditions. Although, you might find yourself laughing at the realisation that a ham could be seen in a sexual manner……
I will rephrase that, you WILL find yourself laughing at multiple things, and not just the ham! This book has been on my ‘to read’ list since last year and I never got round to reading it until last month!  I am extremely regretful that I didn’t read this book sooner because it is such a captivating and warming book. Within the first few pages of the book, one of the main characters; Amy is hit with drama, major drama considering it’s three weeks before Christmas and she finds herself husband-less. Her Christmas now in tatters, oh, and the cake she spent ages making. The cake decided to have its own Christmas venture…on the floor…outside…where a cake should not be. Oh my goodness I feel faint at the thought! Amy’s Christmas tradition as an adult was watching Bella’s perfect Christmas life on the television. Is it really that perfect though? Luckily for Amy, in a roundabout way, she gets the chance to confront Bella over many things, including her mother’s recipes.
As you can probably guess already, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. The humour within the story is witty, on point, and will make you spit out any liquid in your mouth due to uncontrollable laughter. Well, looks like my secret is out! FYI, it was tea! Not only does the book contain hilarity, it also contains festivity and, for me, several hidden messages. Now, this isn’t a spoiler because no two people will read a book in the same way as someone else. Bella’s Christmas Bake off had me crying because it makes you realise that you need to live your life because of what you want without having to worry about what anyone else is going to say about your choices. It also made me realise that Christmas doesn’t have to be all fancy, it just needs to have what you hold dear to your heart. Family, close friends, even memories. Every single one of us has our own special memories to do with Christmas. Memories are priceless and so are traditions, however, you can make those memories last by carrying on special traditions as an adult. I know I will be.
I really can’t praise this book enough because it exceeded any expectations that I had before I read it. Hilarious, witty and extremely magical.  A truly compelling story that has been written straight from the heart, with Santa’s sleigh bringing it straight to your heart.

What would Mary Berry do?

What would Mary Berry do? by Claire Sandy.
Published: 31st July 2014 by Panmacmillan.
ISBN: 978-1-4472-5349-5.
Available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.

‘Marie Dunwoody doesn’t want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. But her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits are rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.
Marie can’t ignore the disappointed looks anymore, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie’s had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow – to the letter – recipes from the Queen of Baking, and at all times ask, ‘What would Mary Berry do?’
Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget cuts and with redundancies on the horizon, he too puts on a pinny. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year old girls…
Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy’s sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?’

I must admit, I have asked the question ‘what would Mary Berry do?’ in my head multiple times, and not just for baking! What would she do? Maybe she is the sort of person that would go rock climbing! No, not rock cake climbing, actual rock walls. Oh never mind! Maybe I should tweet her and ask? Probably not a good idea. Don’t want Maz Bez to think I’m taking the mickey out of her buns…
Several readers over on my Facebook page: The Writing Garnet – Facebook Page. were curious about this book because of the cover. It’s cake, how can you NOT be curious about it. So I said that I would do them a humongous favour and read it for them! I’m nice like that.

Claire Sandy begins the book by introducing you to Marie’s fail-stopper….sorry, show-stopper. You got a rough idea from the blurb that Marie’s buns weren’t all that squishy, so she proves it in public, at the children’s school. Oh dear. Throughout the story you will meet characters from all walks of life in their cosy little neighbourhood. As always, not all neighbours get along with each other. Some things don’t sit quite right with a couple of the neighbours, they seem to be hiding something, but what is it?
Marie decides that it is time to actually use her kitchen and invites Mary Berry to join her. No, not the real Mary Berry; her cook book! Due to Marie’s nose being buried in copious amounts of flour and icing, she doesn’t notice that her husband and her son have their own personal anguish. Robert faces problems at his work and realises that it’s going to be make or bake…sorry, break, and he could face losing his job. Angus, her son, has his own trouble with the ‘clones’.  So out comes Mary Berry’s pal in book form, and fighting for the kitchen begins.  As you read more of the novel, you will find out the troubles that are under Marie’s nose. But is it too late for her to fix them all? Or should she just focus on fixing her buns?
Like my Facebook readers, this book had me curious straight away because of the cover and title. Everyone loves Mary Berry! Claire Sandy writes about a ‘typical’ mum in the kitchen, and I mean ‘typical’ in a good way because many of us have been standing cursing at our failed attempts in the kitchen. Just like Marie. Because she does curse, and so does Aileen. You will meet Aileen when you visit Marie’s work, you will love her. Just don’t have a drink in your hand when you read about her. She is probably one of my favourite characters in the book because she doesn’t give a donut! ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ is such a laugh out loud and warm book which tells the story of ‘friends’ coming together, and maybe soul mates being found. On more than one occasion I was laughing so hard (high pitched squealing sort of laughter), that I thought my house was surrounded by dogs. They respond to high pitched noises don’t they? Hilarious and modern (because of the swearing) it was an absolute treat to read. High praise for Claire Sandy because it’s BRILLIANT! From start to finish it had me hooked and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves Maz Bez and the GBBO. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read it again!
 

Meet me at the Cupcake Café.

Meet me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan.
Published: 14th April 2011 by Sphere.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4449-7.
Available on Amazon in multiple formats including paperback and kindle.

‘Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent.

When she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment. Armed with recipes from Grampa, and with her best friends and local bank manager fighting her corner, The Cupcake Café opens its doors. But Issy has absolutely no idea what she’s let herself in for. It will take all the courage – and confectionary – to avert disaster….’

Picking just one of Jenny Colgan’s novels to review first was incredibly difficult, especially as I have several to choose from. It reminded me of when I open my Cookie Monster biscuit tin and try to choose a biscuit; I have a collection of those too so I’m sure you can see the similarities….

I chose the book because it’s about cake, and I like cake…chocolate cake mmmm. Plus, I had the pleasure of reading a couple of Jenny’s books before I got to read this one, she is an incredible writer.

Time to meet Issy. Issy is passionate about all things baking, and thanks to watching her Grampa at work when she was a child; creating delicious treats is all that she has ever known. So instead of fulfilling her dream and following in her Grampa’s footsteps, she became an office worker. However, the city job comes to an end and Issy gets made redundant. Will this be the perfect opportunity for Issy to finally fulfil her dream, or does she come up against yet more obstacles?
After her redundancy, Issy spends time thinking and baking….constantly baking. To see if her dream is actually realistic, she does some research. Along the way she meets a lot of different personalities. Some of those people are more than willing to help her succeed, and the others are quite happy to put up a tent and block her path. Will her Grampa’s advice give her fire to go for it? Or will there be more tents blocking the path? (I’m sure there is a law against that though?)

Do not, under any circumstances, read this book when you’re hungry. Unless of course you have cake, obviously. The amount of delicious treats that Jenny has Issy making is unbelievable. I was salivating. Not on the book, that would be a sacrilege! As always, Jenny Colgan brings you a warm, laugh out loud book that by the end, will make you want to work in The Cupcake Café. Well, I did! Poor Issy goes through a rough time, some of it being quite emotional. You might even end up with something in your eye. Sniff. Despite the humour in the story, it is very heart warming and moving. A story of people joining together for someone they love. Moments of unity. For me personally, having that unity in a story as well as emotion, humour, and cake, it ticked the boxes. With Jenny’s style of writing, she captures the true essence of every individual character and their lives. Because of that, Jenny Colgan makes their lives somewhat relatable to your own life. I found myself getting lost in the book because I felt cosy reading it, and hopefully you will too. It is a brilliant read. Jenny Colgan, you have written yet another smashing novel. It is a pleasure to have you on my shelf! (I’ll give you a cushion, honestly!)