#BlogTour! #Review of The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke (@karenclarke123) @bookouture

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Chocolate fudge, butterscotch and raspberry bonbons… treat yourself to some sugary treats, a big slice of friendship and a sprinkling of romance at The Beachside Sweet Shop.

When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help. 

Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop. 


Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate. 


And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish? 


A deliciously heartwarming read about family, friends and handmade coconut ice. Perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Debbie Johnson, and Tilly Tennant.

What does TWG think?

Ahhh do you remember the good ol’ days, usually a Saturday, when you were given pocket-money from your parents and there was only ONE place that was guaranteed your ‘hard earned’ change? Every Saturday, my mum used to give my brother and I anything from 50p-£1 to spend on sweets, and we always went to the same place; Churchills. The sort of sweet shop where, in the mid-nineties, 50p would get you a heck load of sherbet pips! As soon as I saw the title of Karen Clarke’s novel, it brought back so many childhood memories which were all centred around that one particular sweet shop. It didn’t even matter whether you dabbled in the sugary treats every so often, or whether you inhaled them as though they were the last sweets on Earth (every.single.week), you just had to visit your local sweet shop.

Marnie Appleton is under a lot of pressure (pressure which she has put on herself no less), as she tries to keep her grandfather’s memory alive by keeping his bricked ‘baby’, aka his heart and soul open; The Beachside Sweet Shop. After Marnie’s grandfather passed away, most of the family seemed more willing to eat the liquorice and bon-bons themselves, rather than serve the residents of Shipley those treats. Marnie didn’t want to let her late grandfather down and was determined to keep the shop going in a way she knew that he would approve of. However, the best laid plans don’t always go the way you want them to.

As I mentioned near the beginning of this review, Karen Clarke’s tantalizing novel brought back so many memories for me, it was lovely to be able to reminisce about things with people you don’t even know; the characters. I felt as though Marnie had bitten off more than she could chew and part of me wondered whether her heart was truly IN the sweet shop, or that she wasn’t taking it over because people expected her to. Karen’s descriptions of the shop’s interior, the sweets and even smaller things like the paper bags that they were put in, was beautifully written. She didn’t rush over the items in the shop, she took her time in letting the reader know everything about the sweet shop as if she was describing it to one of her good friends. I warmed to the storyline even more so because of that.

Even though Karen Clarke’s novel seems to be centred around one thing in particular, there is a lot more to the storyline that meets the eye. At first I thought I was going to get an insane sugar rush from the book and its contents, but what I actually got was a clever, in depth storyline which contained a lot of depth and giggles. The Beachside Sweet Shop really is an enjoyable place to visit, and, thanks to Karen Clarke, the storyline tickled my taste buds in more ways than one. It wasn’t just school children and sweeties, it was more about who had your back….whilst eating sweets. Make sense?

The Beachside Sweet Shop is a really enjoyable, fun and sweet read, full of good friendships, lost memories, good intentions and finding the right recipe to move forward. For me, some of the characters weren’t as memorable as I would have liked them to be, it didn’t stop me from having fun with this book.

The Beachside Sweet Shop really is the ideal read for just letting go and distracting yourself from the outside word.

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

Huge thank you to Bookouture for asking me to be involved in the blog tour for The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke! We have now come to the end of the tour, so I really hope you haven’t stuffed your faces with too much sugar. If you haven’t, here are all of the blogs which were involved in this tour (in case you wish to dabble)!

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About the author
 

After giving up her job as a library assistant, Karen now writes full-time. She’s had over 300 stories published in women’s magazines in the UK and abroad, and has written three paranormal romantic comedies, published by Little, Brown/Corsair. When she’s not writing she reads avidly, walks dogs at her local rescue centre, and is eagerly awaiting the next season of The Walking Dead. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

Website

https://www.facebook.com/karen.clarke.5682

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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