Friday, 23 June 2017

The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper.




Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…
But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.
Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she's in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she's worked so hard for.
Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…





I'm so delighted to be reviewing this book which is published today on kindle. I have been following Roxie on Twitter (@toodletinkbaby) for a long time now. Whenever there was a courtroom scene in a soap or tv drama we could always ask Roxie if it was portrayed accurately or taken with a pinch of salt. Roxie is a barrister,yes really! So there is no one more qualified to write about a young girl's experiences during her last year before qualifying for the bar. 
Roxie did say she was writing a book but I had no idea what it was about I remember wondering how she managed to find the time to write a book with such a demanding job. 
When I heard she had not only finished her book but found a publisher I was so happy for her, so look out writers there's a new kid on the block and she's good.


At first glance  you would expect this book to be Chick Lit, and I suppose it is. It's an easy read mainly because you are eager to find out what happens. 

Amanda's childhood has not been one any one of us would wish to have. As a result of this she made a decision when she was fifteen years old. She was sure she had made the right one but other people had to suffer he consequences of this decision and that prayed on her mind even years later. 

Nine years on and Amanada has to obtain a pupilage at a law firm to complete her final year in order to become a barrister. She has entered a very competitive profession where it's every man and woman for themselves.
The characters in this book are very well drawn. Marty, who wants to be the one the law firm keeps on is a smarmy vile individual who you just want to see falling flat on his face throughout the book. 
Heidi, Amanda's best friend is supportive and is the one person she can trust with the secrets of her past. Sid is, well ...swoon...he's lovely! 

As we follow Amanda through her final year we learn that bullying happens everywhere and that if you can hold your head high and stand up to them it makes them weak. 
Amanda is overwhelmed at first by her fellow workers who have been brought up in a privileged background where money talks, where it matters how well known your family is and where you come from. She cannot compete with that but she has came through too much in her life to let those people stop her from reaching her goal.

I enjoyed this book so much. I don't want to go into too much of the story as I'm sure it would spoil your enjoyment. It's always good to find new authors and I hear that Roxie is writing her second novel right now. She has also written a post for you to read. 

If anyone reading this has ever thought they would love to write a book,Roxie gives us really good advice here, it's well worth reading.
Thank you for the post Roxie.

The Law of Attraction 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Law-Attraction-Roxie-Cooper-ebook/dp/B06ZY1DF39/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8




Losing The B-Plot…

Back in 2009 when I first started writing my debut novel, The Law of Attraction, I had absolutely no idea how to write a book.  I had a great idea for one, involving a working-class blonde bombshell becoming a barrister, but no idea about story arcs, characterisation, sub-plots or any of that.  I wrote the first three chapters of this book and didn’t do anything else on it until 2014.

In that time, I researched how to write novels.  I made some absolutely amazing author friends on Twitter who gave me advice, guidance and lots of laughs (usually involving Grease 2 gifs, but we don’t need to go there).  If it wasn’t for them, this book wouldn’t be getting published, I can tell you that right now.  It took me years, and lots of brightly coloured, intricately planned diagrams of how my book would be plotted before I started writing it again.  

Amanda Bentley, the protagonist, goes on ‘a journey’ over the course of the novel, which spans 12 months.  She’s a different person at the end of the novel to who she was at the beginning. She goes from A to B.  Yep, got all that.  Brilliant.  That’s how all novels go, right?  Well, yes…but it was all justa bit, you know…2D.  

I’d already planted a bit of a foundation for a B-story, or sub-plot, in the first draft of the novel, but not fully committed to it.  “Oh, well that’s a bit interesting,” I thought.  “But it’s maybe a bit too dark to explore further and I’m too scared to develop it.”  Even when I finished the novel and submitted to agents, I felt confident about the book, but the sub-plot issue niggled at me.  It just wasn’t quite right.  When my dream agent, Sarah Manning, requested the full manuscript after a few hours of sending the first three chapters to her, I was beside myself with excitement – even more so when she read the entire thing after two days and said she wanted to speak to me on the phone.

She LOVED the book (LOTS of OMGs).  However, she said in order to represent me, I’d need to develop the sub-plot, confirming the gut feeling I’d felt all along.  She completely ‘got’ the novel and what needed to be done with it.  Over the next six weeks I shed the fears I had about the B-story and revised the entire thing.  Thankfully, Sarah loved it and said I’d “worked magic” on it.
I learned a valuable lesson.  It’s all well and good getting a character from A to B, but if you don’t have a vehicle to get them there, it’s all a bit pointless…and that vehicle is usually the B-story/sub-plot.  A relevant B-story connects the character to the action and provides a link to their journey.  It turns a story from 2D into 3D; from black and white into full-blown technicolor.  Whether it’s a love story, backstory, something which exposes or brings out the motivation or insecurity of the main character – it makes the story real.

In my case, the sub-plot fleshed out Amanda’s character and explained her motivations and why she was the way she was.  Without that, it was just a story about a girl becoming a barrister.  Fun, yes – but you root for her as a character much more when you understand what her background is.  My agent gave me the courage to develop my sub-plot, and I’m so glad she did.   The book is much better for it.  The foundations were there, screaming to jump out and be explored.  

When I started planning my second novel, the sub-plot was one of the first things I thought about.  When I read other novels, it’s one of the first things I look out for.  I immediately start thinking ‘what will the main character get from this?’, ‘what is relevant here?’ and ‘what does the author want us to see?’.  In a novel I read recently, I actually found the sub-plot more fascinating than the main plot.  The character’s background and motivations were so interesting, I found myself more interested in that than the action in the novel.

We all have stories behind us, making us the way we are.  Characters in novels are no exception.  They are complex, real, messy and flawed.  That’s what makes them fascinating and real.  I really enjoyed creating the character of Amanda Bentley; she made me laugh, cry and cringe, for all these reasons.  In Latin, ‘Amanda’ means ‘this girl must be loved’ and by the end of the book, I’d like to think that she is.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve





Hot breath on Grace's face. Claire is screaming, and Grace is on her feet. As she lifts her daughter, a wall of fire fills the window. Perhaps a quarter of a mile back, if even that. Where's Gene? Didn't he come home?
1947. Fires are racing along the coast of Maine after a summer-long drought, ravaging thousands of acres, causing unprecedented confusion and fear. 
Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her difficult and unpredictable husband Gene joins the volunteers fighting to bring the fire under control. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, the women watch in horror as their houses go up in flames, then walk into the ocean as a last resort. They spend the night frantically trying to save their children. When dawn comes, they have miraculously survived, but their lives are forever changed: homeless, penniless, and left to face an uncertain future.
As Grace awaits news of her husband's fate, she is thrust into a new world in which she must make a life on her own, beginning with absolutely nothing; she must find work, a home, a way to provide for her children. In the midst of devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms - joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain - and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens, and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.





The background to this story is true. There was a great fire in Maime in 1947, 1,100 homes were burned down.

This book held my attention the whole way through. Grace with two young children finds herself pregnant again just when her husband Gene is becoming harder to understand and live with. When the fires come  Grace Is left alone  with her children as Gene helps to fire fight. Rosie too is alone with her children and the two friends try to help each other.

This part of the story was so frightening reading about people fleeing their homes, unsure at times if it was best to stay and fight the fire or leave. My heart was in my mouth at what lengths Grace and Rosie have to go to to save themselves and their children.

Rosie's life has changed forever and just as she's picking up the threads she receives a shock which is set to change her life once more.

Oh my heart went out to Grace. I loved how she just got on with things and dealt with the hand she was given. The book had good ending but I thought that Gene's story was tied up too easily and perhaps a bit unbelievable considering what kind of man he was.


Out now for kindle and hardback and paperback. Although this is a good read and I really enjoyed it I think it's a bit pricey for kindle and paperback.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stars-are-Fire-Anita-Shreve-ebook/dp/B01LX8O13O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497988595&sr=8-1&keywords=The+stars+are+fire

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Behind The Lie by Amanda James







Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.
Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.
Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.




I love Amanda Jame's books. This one will keep you on the end of your seat hoping that good will prevail over evil. One of Holly's much long for twins has died. Her husband,a surgeon had already told her that one of them was so small that this might happen. She never saw her son,she was given a photograph of him instead. Holly feels her baby is alive,call it a mother's instinct but who will believe her?

This story definitely took me on a journey. I believed Holly completely, but how would she get from where she was to finding her son without the people close to her thinking she was going mad.

Who can Holly trust? Who is telling the truth and who is lying? 
The final 15% of this book was so fast paced I couldn't put it down. At times I thought Holly would never survive to the end and there was no chance of her finding and re-claiming her son.  Did she? You'll have to read it to find out.
Another great read from Amanda James.

Out right now for kindle 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-Lie-gripping-suspense-thriller-ebook/dp/B06XKCP4L6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1497885148&sr=1-1&keywords=Behind+the+lie

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Faring to France on a Shoe by Valerie Poore






A travellogue about a dream come true. After seven years of owning their barge, Hennie-Ha, seven years involving catastrophe and crisis, Val and her partner finally go 'faring' to France for the first time. This travelogue is about the places they visit and the people they meet along the canals on their route from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into northern France. It tells a gentle story about how they experience their life on board during the four weeks they spend cruising. Written as a journal, the reader joins them on their travels through rain and shine and reveals how day by day, Val learns to cast aside the stresses and demands of the real world and to appreciate life's simplest of pleasures to the full. 



I love it when Valerie Poore publishes a new book of her travels. What a change it makes from reading fiction. I read this book at a time when I received some bad news. I had to escape from it but every book I picked up was either sad or complicated. This one fitted the bill.

From previous books I feel as if I know Val and her partner Koos well. They make a great team.
Koos spent his childhood as the son of a bargie so he lived on a working barge. Val, although she has lived on a barge for many years now still seems to be in awe of the lifestyle and you can feel her excitement on every page.

This is a holiday ( they call it going faring) Val has always wanted to take. Koos wasn't too keen as he's probably done this route many times but Val persuaded him and he enjoyed it.
Sailing through the Netherlands, Belguim and France, the names of the towns and villages the  Hennie Ha passed through didn't mean much to me but that didn't matter. Every place was different with different challenges. I'm thinking of one day in particular when Val set off in her little folding bike to find somewhere to purchase some food. She ended up on a busy dual carriageway which was also uphill all the way. Sensibly she dumped her bike and walked although not before falling into stinging nettles. She never found a food shop!
 There was also her daily battle to have a hot shower with a special bag of water heated by solar power,but what happens when the sun doesn't shine? 

I was impressed at the way Val handled the locks they had to pass through. Some were easy and they certainly got easier the further into their journey as she learns from her mistakes but the sheer strength and courage it took to handle some of them made Val a hero of mine.

The book is peppered with Val's sense of humour. If you've read any of her other books including her fiction ones you will understand what I mean. Val's humour is accidental, she doesn't set out to be funny she just gets herself into so many scrapes that you can't help laughing. 
I enjoyed reading about their long summer nights sitting on the deck of the barge sipping wine and reading or talking,my kind of night. 
They met lots of people on their journey,some were old friends, some they have passed by and waved hello to in the past and some strangers who they still had a good chinwag with.

Val and Koos bought the Hennie Ha because of her size and their desire to sail her through the waterways to Poland. That will be a story I'm looking forward to reading too. I'm hoping they might make that journey this summer.
And why does the title say they sailed on "a shoe" ? You'll have to read the book to find out ! 


Out on Amazon for kindle or paperback. 
Kindle copy is less than the price of a fancy coffee. In fact you could buy the download and read it with a fancy coffee and still have change from a fiver! 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06WWQ1YX4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496735259&sr=8-1&keywords=Valerie+Poore 

This is the link to Val's Amazon page where you can find links to all her books.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Valerie-Poore/e/B008LSV6CE/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Monday, 5 June 2017

Before the Rains by Dinah Jeffries




1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.
But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . .







I always enjoy Dinah Jefferie's books. The sights and sounds of India are brought into your front room through her words. 
Eliza had witnessed the death of father when she was living in India as a child. He was killed during a protest when a bomb was thrown into a procession he was part of. Eliza and her mother returned to England but now as an adult and after the death of her husband she is offered the chance to return to India to work as a photographer taking photos of the Indian royal family. 

No one seems to really want her there as she is working for the British government and they feel she could also be spying on them. 
Eliza has no thoughts of falling in love as she likes being on her own with no one telling her what to do. 
A forbidden love in a foreign country is not the best way to ingratiate herself with her hosts but Eliza can't help how she feels.

As always there is much more to this story than just a love affair. We see the poverty of the people and the unfairness of the British ruling a country which is not their own.
I enjoyed the book  but I must admit that I did find the conclusion a bit Hollywood movie drama and doubt that it could ever happen in real life but I'm willing to be proved wrong.
Looking forward to Dinah's next book.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-Rains-Dinah-Jefferies-ebook/dp/B01H83ZDLM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496421059&sr=8-1&keywords=Before+the+rains



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh




Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.
But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently. 
Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?







I could feel Rachel's euphoria at being back on African soil,the land of her birth. Six years ago when she was twelve her father sent her to a boarding school in England after her mother died. 
Bereft for the loss of her mother,never seeing her father and being away from her beloved Africa Rachel has longed for the day she could return home even if it is against her father's wishes.

Her father's new partner Sara is not welcoming and she is the opposite of Rachel's mother especially in the way she talks to the African servants. Her father has changed too he is very distant and tries too hard to please Sarah. 

It's 1952 and Africa is in a state of unrest. The Mau Mau are raiding Bristish owned farms and slaughtering the landowners. Many Africans are also being killed by them if they refuse to take an oath promising to kill the British. The cruelty was hard to read about. Slaughtering by the Mau Mau farm by farm, village by village continued to escalate through the book. In retaliation the British soldiers were every bit as cruel and inhumane towards the Africans who were treated as sub human.

I was so scared for Rachel,I wanted her to run back to England and safety. I felt the injustice of the African people, living in squalor and being exploited by the British.
The life that Rachel remembers is no more and it's only a matter of time before her family will be in grave danger. 
Halfway through the book the tension was so great I just couldn't put it down. So much was happening that I was always leaving it on a cliffhanger. This will definitely be one of my books of this year.
The sights,sounds and smells of Africa as described in the book could only come from someone who knows and loves the country. I was transported there by every page. I was worried for Rahel as she wandered around the farm and fished in the river. Were the lions, buffalo or leopards watching her? Was she safe? Actually she had more to worry about from her fellow man and woman than any wild animal as you will find out in the book.
This book came to be because of a suitcase given to the author by a friend of her father. It was old and dusty and contained letters,documents and photographs from Kenya in the 1950's. Jennifer knew these were important to the owner and knew she had to do something with them and hence the story started taking root and growing in her head. I for one know that she has done great justice to the contents of that suitcase. Don't miss this book.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leopard-at-Door-Jennifer-McVeigh-ebook/dp/B01N0GXJ2K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495992058&sr=1-1&keywords=Leopard+at+the+door

Monday, 29 May 2017

Step by Step by June Francis




Will their friendship survive against all odds?
In the early 1900s two girls see each other through good times and bad. But can their friendship endure when an dreadful act of violence sees their families turn against one another?
Hannah Kirk and Alice Moran have been friends since childhood. Growing up in the back streets of Chester, they support each other through hard times. But when Alice’s mother dies in childbirth, the girls both must take on great burdens.
Alice’s violent father attacks Hannah’s mother and the friends are separated when Alice is forced to flee with her father while Hannah cares for her bedridden mother and the rest of the family. As Hannah struggles to cope and suffers awful mistreatment at the hands of her devious older brother, she questions whether Alice is her friend – or the cause of all her troubles. Will Hannah and Alice reconcile, or are the wrongs of the past impossible to make right? 



Warning! This book has a couple of despicable characters who will make your skin crawl and possibly make you want to dispose of them in a gruesome way.
Alice's father Mal is a wife beater, a man only his mother could love and I doubt very much if she did. He had a lovely wife and Holden but only thought of himself.
Her friend Hannah didn't have it easy either with her brother Bert and his warped sense of what was decent. When Hannah's mother has an accident and Alice's mother dies the lives of the two friends will change forever.
This is a story of friendship against the odds. Each girl had plenty of troubles of their own to put up with but could always rely on each other. I read this book in a day,I didn't want to put it down. 
This is the first book in a series of five titled The Victoria Cresant Sagas. These books are not follow ups but all different stories and all out now. Here is the Amazon link for Step by Step only 99p.
If you click on the title of the saga below Step by Step on Amazon the other titles will come up,they all sound good.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Step-Victoria-Crescent-Sagas-Book-ebook/dp/B06XWX1CDR/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495996681&sr=1-3&keywords=Step+by+step




Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Escape by C.L.Taylor



Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.
The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.






As always C.L. Taylor has written a book that you can't put down. I was clenching my teeth and gripping the seat as at every turn Jo seemed to be in more and more trouble. Who could she trust? Even I didn't know who to believe. I read this book in two sittings it was so good. I'm not going to say Amy more about the story and plot because that would only spoil it for you. 
If You haven't read any books by this author then you're in for a treat and I think this may be her best one to date.


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-C-L-Taylor-ebook/dp/B01M4KB9E5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494941084&sr=8-1&keywords=The+escape

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Cover Reveal!

Great news! This is a cover reveal for Tracy Buchanan's new book, Her Last Breath. What a great cover ,looks like we have a good read coming to us in June. I hope to be reviewing it soon.



When fifteen-year-old Poppy O’Farrell goes missing a media frenzy ensues. None of this has anything to do with lifestyle blogger Estelle Forster – so why would someone send her a picture of the missing girl and a note, claiming to know Estelle’s secrets? To find out, Estelle must return to her coastal hometown and the shameful past she thought was long behind her. A dangerous game is being played, and the answers lie in the impenetrable community Estelle once called her own. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, C.L. Taylor and Clare Mackintosh, this addictive, twisting, emotionally powerful book will have you hooked until the very last page.

 




Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Midnight Blue by Simone Van Der Vlugt. Blog tour with Afterword.





I'm so pleased to be today's stop on the blog tour for this book. The publishers have sent me the afterward of the book to post. This gives you bit of historical background to the story and the characters and the history of delft pottery. 

Amsterdam 1654: a dangerous secret threatens to destroy a young widow’s new life.
Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East.
When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to Delft. There, her painting talent earns her a chance as a pottery painter. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival the coveted Chinese porcelain – and Delft Blue is born. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin has a hard choice to make.


I thought this book might be a bit hard going to read as it is set in Amsterdam in 1654 and translated into English. I needn't have worried as I found it quite an easy read. I was awful at History I school ,I found it very boring but books like this set around historical events always awaken my interest.
Poor Catrin, married to a brute of a man who beats her for no reason,it is no wonder when he dies she can only feel relief. Catrin has a secret and before anyone finds out she has to leave her home and family. Secrets have a way of catching up on you and Catrin flees further than she intends to and ends up in Amsterdam. Everything is settled for a while but once again Catrin has to move and this time to Delft. This is where Catrin finds her niche in life, painting China and we hear the story of how Delft Blue porcelain began. 
I loved the descriptions of old Amsterdam and Delft. The excitement of traveling through the waterways on any kind of craft which was usually carrying goods for trading. The horror of the plague as it spread through the towns and villages and the fear held by everyone.
Catrin experienced hardship along the way but her meeting of each of three brothers and their friends helped her to live,love and find peace with her past.
This was a good read and there was never a dull moment throught the story. I don't think you have to love historical books to enjoy this,it's not too heavy on the history.

AFTERWORD

Halfway through the seventeenth century, known to the Dutch as the Golden Age, Delft Blue stormed onto the market and became enormously popular within a very short time. Anyone who wanted to show he had both money and good taste bought some. The supply of original Chinese porcelain had been well-established in the period of 1620–47, thanks to the voyages of discovery and the VOC expeditions that followed, until a civil war in China put an end to it. From then on, a number of Dutch cities, including Delft, Haarlem and Amsterdam, tried making the beloved pottery themselves. They called it Dutch Porcelain; the name Delft Blue didn’t come until much later.

Between 1654 and 1690, the number of potteries in Delft exploded; by around 1700 there were almost forty. The craze for decorative ceramics reached its peak between 1680 and 1730. Delft Blue found an important ambassador in Princess Mary II, the English wife of the Dutch Stadtholder Prince Willem II (William III of England). Her fascination with Delftware and enthusiasm for collecting it led to more orders from the nobility and royalty.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the earthenware industry collapsed due to competition from English porcelain. There was a revival in the mid-nineteenth century, but after the Second World War much of the once so beloved tableware was put away in the attic for good. Delft Blue was deemed fussy, old-fashioned tat. The only place its popularity remained undiminished was abroad, primarily in Japan and America.

The last few years have seen the white-and-blue pottery gradually being rediscovered in the Netherlands. KLM flies in Delft Blue aircraft and the loyalty scheme where you could collect little Delft Blue houses if you flew business class sparked a craze. Today there’s no getting away from this centuries-old export. Everywhere, from the lifestyle section of the exclusive department store Bijenkorf to the shelves of bargain homeware chain Xenos, there is Delft Blue in the form of knick-knacks, oven gloves, duvet cushions, bike panniers and anything else you’d care to name.

The real Delft Blue is still an expensive porcelain that is much loved abroad. At The Porcelain Flask (De Porceleyne Fles) in Delft, the ceramics are still fired and painted by hand. It’s worth the trip to take a look around the factory, along with the many foreign tourists, and see the painters at work.
The Porcelain Flask began on the Oosteinde (East End) but is now located on Rotterdamseweg, a little outside the old town in Delft. During the last century, another three companies were set up: The Delft Peacock  (De Delftse Pauw), The Blue Tulip (De Blauwe Tulp) and The Chandelier (De Candelaer). The four of them brought the name of Delft Blue to the attention of tourists and other enthusiasts.

The characters of Quentin (Quentin) and Angelika (Engeltje) van Cleynhoven are historical figures. In 1655, Quentin and Wouter van Eenhoorn took over a pottery they named The Porcelain Flask. In a trench on the grounds of number 171 Oosteinde, where the business began, a hundred and twenty objects from the early period of the ceramics factory were recently found, including a platter with the inscription ‘Engeltie Kleijnoven, 1673’. This is probably a commemorative plate on the occasion of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. In the archive records, the name Cleynhoven is spelt with both a C and a K.
The Lotus Flower pottery never really existed. Nor did Catrin or Evert; they are figments of my imagination.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midnight-Blue-Simone-van-Vlugt-ebook/dp/B01M2YEQFQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1493746599&sr=8-3&keywords=Midnight+blue

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson. Blog Tour and guest postby the author.



What if your first love came back on the scene . . . 30 years later?
After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.
That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.
But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart . . . can she?




I'm delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for Fiona Gibson's latest book and to host a guest post written by the author herself especially for my readers. 

First my review.

Lorrie is such a lovely character pushed into dating by her children who sign her up to an online dating app. As you might expect she meets some crazy people and despairs of ever finding love again until out of the blue her first love Antoine finds her on Facebook. She's not the young girl she was when they had a holiday romance in France she's thirty years older with two children and a lodger.

Stu, the lodger is her best friend. He has started a business called Parsley Force, where he is on call for people who have forgotten an ingredient for cooking. Parsley Force will find the ingredients that are missing and deliver them to the customer's door. How many times have you wished for such a service? If none exists I think the author has hit upon a great business idea.

There's a lot going on in this book,romance, a demanding mother who's getting married, a job that's not going very well and strange men on a dating site, all handled with Fiona Gibson's trademark humour which shines through from cover to cover.

It's great to reader a book about an older woman coping with everything life throws at her as well as trying to find her own personal happiness. 
I did predict what would happen but that made no difference to the story as the fun was finding out what everyone went through to get to their happy ending.
There is something really comforting in Fiona Gibson's  books,you just know they will cheer you up and leave you with a satisfied smile on your face.
Fiona is now going to tell us what to do if like Lorrie from the book a long lost boyfriend gets in touch.
Read on.......


WHAT TO DO IF AN OLD BOYFRIEND COMES BACK ON THE SCENE / FIONA GIBSON 

In The Woman Who Met Her Match, Lorries first love, Antoine - whom she met on a trip to France at age 16 - gets in touch out of the blue, and wants to meet. As its 30 years later, her life is very different… but why not have a drink, for old times’ sake? Never mind that she broke her teenage heart and left her devastated. 

Having a former love resurface like this would be hugely unsettling for most people - but sort of thrilling too, especially if it has that unfinished business’ aspect about it (Im talking about the reappearance of an alluring ex here: not the one with the teetering ashtray beside his bed, who happily wore the same pair of mustard Y-fronts flu days in a row). In fact, as social media makes it so easy to track down exes, its entirely possible that it could happen. So heres my guide to what to do. 

Donfreak out. His intention is probably not to storm back into your life in a any major way. People get in touch after a long hiatus for a variety of reasons - with simple curiosity generally topping the list. 

Do conduct a little research yourself before accepting an ex as a friend. Check him out on other social media platforms. Possible warning signs that you might be better leaving well alone: an over emphasis on him being a lonely single dad looking for love; being pictured with his mother - and no partners/friends, ever - in his holiday photos; a picture of him cradling a massive gun. 

Dont feel bad if you decide not to message back. I know it can be difficult; my generation (Im 52) tends to have that inbuilt politeness that belongs to the days of proper old-fashioned letters and RSVPs. My 17 year-old daughter thinks nothing of blocking a person - whereas, I view it as on a par with standing someone up outside the Odeon in the pouring rain. Block him,’ she commanded when a man - not an ex but a stranger - started posting slightly odd messages on my Instagram recently. But wont that upset him?’ I wittered. Hes probably a perfectly nice person…’ ‘BLOCK HIM!’ she insisted. The man was duly blocked (I still hope hes okay about that). 

Do, however, look at it positively. If your memories of being with your ex are mainly happy ones, then why not meet? That first boyfriend particularly is one you never forget. One friend of mine ended up back with her old college love, 15 years on, in her late thirties - another ten years later, they have two children and are blissfully happy. Another friend in her 40s has just hooked up with her first love - they hadnt seen each other since 1997. We were idiots then,’ she told me. Its so much better now were proper grown ups.’ 

Dont worry about looking older. Of course you do - and so does he. 

Do considering meeting up just for the laugh. If nothing else, youll be able to see for yourself what he looks like without that Adam Ant make-up, and with no hair - and have a top-class night reminiscing. 

Fionas new novel, The Woman Who met Her Match, is out now (Avon) 

Thank you Fiona for the advice. I think if that happened to me I'll take your daughters advice a just block,block,block. 


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