A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

Blog Tour

The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…

For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).

When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.

Chells and Books Review:

I would like to thank Avon for asking me to review this book and to ask me to be apart of the blog tour.

Here we have a delightful story that melts the heart.

Set in the amazing idyllic setting of Cornwall in the village of Porthmellow we meet Sam. Sam is still coping with the past hurt in her family and by running herself into the ground with work. The community are all behind her in organising a food festival which started out to safe this beautiful Cornish village from being lost from all the tourist maps, like forever and that cannot happen. Defiantly not, by the sound of the gorgeous descriptions that Phillipa Ashley writes describing the location of her story. Sam also works for herself baking and selling pies and does not have time for love, especially after being heartbroken in the past.

However, is all that about to change? In walks Gabe a famous handsome chef who is here to save this years food festival. His arrival is not all together smooth and he is in need of some real smooth talk and action if he wants to make up for the past.

A brilliant read and one I was so excited to get my hands on.

Phillipa Ashley has created a beautiful love story set on the idyllic Cornish coast. One not to be missed.!   


Gloved Heart by Charlotte Brentwood

Can she ever trust again?

Amy Miller is struggling to come to terms with her new life as a mother, while being a reluctant guest in a rigid gentry household. A victim of abuse, she is determined to never trust a man again.

Henry Russell has loved Amy for as long as he can remember, but his family want nothing to do with her. A chance encounter with Amy rekindles a friendship which might save both of them.

The discovery of a secret which holds the key to Amy’s past will change them forever, and jeopardise any chance they have for happiness. Can Henry show Amy that true love will give her everything she could ever need?

Chells and Books Review:

I was delighted to have the chance to review this regency romance. So thank you Charlotte for emailing me and asking me to review.

Gloved Heart is not a difficult book to get into, it had me hooked by the first few pages needing to find out where the story was going. Amy has had a troubled start to motherhood but it is lovely to see her blossom as she discovers motherhood despite all of the set ways of the times trying to stop her. There is something truly lovely about a regency romance and Henry Russell loves Amy with all his heart and we see that by Charlotte Brentwood giving us his view point in her writing as this story is written from both Amy’s and Henry’s viewpoints. While reading you can often see moments when they should have had the courage to say things to each other but the politeness of the times gets in the way, but it makes for a brilliant love story.

This lovely romance set in regency times is perfect for fans of this genre. I adored this story.

If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

Angie has always wanted to travel. But at twenty-seven, she has barely stepped outside the small mining town where she was born. Instead, she discovers the world through stories told to her by passing travellers, dreaming that one day she’ll see it all for herself.

When her grandmother passes away, leaving Angie with no remaining family, she is ready to start her own adventures. Then she finds a letter revealing the address of the father she never knew, and realises instantly where her journey must begin: Italy.

As Angie sets out to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will mysterious and reckless Italian Alessandro help guide the way?

What others think:

‘Heart-warming, wistful and full of joy . . . Paige Toon tugs on the heartstrings like no other; this is a beautiful book about someone searching for her place in the world and finding herself along the way’  LINDSEY KELK

‘Family secrets, new horizons and a gorgeous continent-crossing romance . . . prepare to be swept away! LUCY DIAMOND

‘Warm, inspiring, like a holiday mood in book form’  MHAIRI MCFARLANE

Chells and Books Review:

I would like to thank the team at Simon and Schuster for allowing me to have a proof copy for one of my all time favourite authors.

If You Could Go Anywhere is just another example of why Paige Toon is one of the top authors around at the moment. A brilliant thought out plot, strong unforgettable characters and amazing settings. Her writing style is warm and takes you under its wing for the journey as you discover the trails and tribulations of our main characters and discover love.

Angie is a brilliant heroine, setting of to discover her family even though she has never left the comfort of Australia before. Upon reaching Italy where her journey begins we discover the rather hot sounding Alessandro and in hoping she has a friend and companion as she settles in, Angie is quite unsettled when attraction flutters its wings.

If You Could Go Anywhere has a great message about following your dreams and making them come true as you never know what might happen along the way. A truly inspiring story and one I totally loved.

About the Author:

Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America, following her racing driver father around the globe. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film and women’s magazines, before ending up at Heat magazine as Reviews Editor. Paige is married, has two small children and lives in Cambridge.

The Teashop Girls by Elaine Everest

Blog Tour Review and Interview

It is early 1940 and World War Two has already taken a hold on the country. Rose Neville works as a Lyon’s Teashop Nippy on the Kent coast alongside her childhood friends, the ambitious Lily and Katie, whose fiancé is about to be posted overseas in the navy. As war creates havoc in Europe, Rose relies on the close friendship of her friends and her family.

When Capt. Benjamin Hargreaves enters the teashop one day, Rose is immediately drawn to him. But as Lyon’s forbids courting between staff and customers, she tries to put the handsome officer out of her mind.

In increasingly dark and dangerous times, Rose fears there may not be time to waste. But is the dashing captain what he seems?

What others think:

‘Heartwarming . . . a must read’ – Woman’s Own

‘A warm, tender tale of friendship and love’ – Milly Johnson

‘A lovely read’ – Bella

Before I write my review I would like to welcome Elaine Everest to Chellsandbooks which I am very excited about being one of the authors I have been wanting to do a QnA with for some time and here she is!

The amazing Elaine Everest

Please, tell us a little about The Teashop Girls and the idea behind the story?

The Teashop Girls is the first in my new series of World War Two sagas and is set in the Kent seaside town of Ramsgate and Margate where Rose, Lily and Katie work as Nippies in one of Joe Lyon’s teashops. Rose meets and falls in love with a handsome army Captain but there are misunderstandings as the path of true love twist and turns. Her childhood friends also have problems with Katie wishing to marry her sailor fiancé and Lily finding herself in terrible trouble. Rose’s mother, Flora runs the Sea View guest house which is a haven for locals as well as the mysterious Anya.

Characters in your stories often become like family to readers. How much pre-planning do you do regarding your characters? 

I have to get to know my main characters long before I write my first words. They have to be different so as not to confuse my readers – or me! I like to see them and know how they would act under any circumstance and then, when I know them, I decide how to throw their lives into turmoil eventually giving them an ending I feel they deserve. Sometimes a character surprises me. One such lady is Mildred, who lives at Sea View guest house. She was only supposed to walk into the kitchen with a packet of fish, but she stepped into the girls lives and became a true friend.

Historical fiction research must be fascinating, what research was needed for The Teashop Girls? 

My first task was to make sure I knew enough about the Lyons empire of which the teashops is just a small part. The life of a Nippy, her training and her working day. What about rationing in the teashops during 1940 and also that of the people of Ramsgate. The first part of !940 was very much a phoney war but rumours and planning for what might happen was very much in the forefront of people’s minds on the Home Front.  I was able to delve into local history of the time, reading newspapers and non-fiction books of the period. Along with writer friends I visited second hand bookshops in Kent and found so many gems that gave me extra ideas.
I know Ramsgate well because it was where my parents took me and my siblings for our annual holiday back in the early 1960s. It was a thrill to be able to set my story in a place of which I hold such wonderful memories. I visited the Ramsgate Tunnels a while ago and just knew that when I was able, they would feature in my books. If you ever visit Ramsgate, then please take a tour to find out how these tunnels saved hundreds of lives during the height of the war. Then of course there are the Little Ships and the big part they played in bringing our lads home from the beaches of Dunkirk. I’ve studied this momentous event before, but it was a joy to revisit and recall how great our country was when people pulled together.

Do you have a certain place where you like to write and tell us a little about your writing process?

I have a lovely room that holds my books and all my memorabilia from my research as well as my desk. One day it will be straight and there won’t be boxes piled high with ‘things’ I need for my work. Often you will find me working in the kitchen on our large table, again with piles of books and notes and everything required to help me with my latest work in progress.
My writing process is one of thinking, planning an outline, visiting archives, listing required research which gradually gels to the point I can start to write. I’m a planner although my plans are fluid and often change as a write. I work seven days a week but if it happens that I need to be sociable, or I have an appointment, I simply stop work and resume when I return home. The joy of working for oneself means being able to down tools and have a day out if I please. On a daily basis I first go through my emails and post to see if there is any writing related business to complete before I start to write. At the moment I follow the Pomodoro method of writing whereby I set a timer for 25 minutes and write then take a five-minute break. I do this four times and, depending on the number of words written, or how close I am to a deadline I will have another session.

As a teacher of creative writing, what advice would you give to any budding writers? (My dream is to be published, so this is a question I am very interested in)

My advice is first not to expect success with the first thing you write. Read all the time and read as much of the genre you wish to write yourself – especially the bestselling authors. After that just keep writing. You have to love writing and reading and the writing world. Don’t be afraid to fail and try to write any genre that interests you. Good luck!

You are having a tea party and can invite three characters from any of your books, who would you invite? (I know for me 3 invitees would not be enough)

I love a tea party- any excuse for cake! First I would invite Johnny Johnson from The Butlins Girls. Who wouldn’t like a handsome matinee idol to gaze at over the tea table? I do think Ruby from The Woolworths Girls would enjoy a tea party as she so often feeds her family and friends it would be a treat for her to not have to make a cake. Finally, I’d invite Anya from The Teashop Girls. Coming from Poland she could tell us about her home country and give us her views on English cuisine. Anya if a very forthright character so it could be an entertaining meal.

An era in history that I would love to experiences is the Tudor period, as an historical writer is there a period of history you would like to go back and experience.

I would love to experience the first half of the 20th century. The house where Ruby from The Woolworths Girls lives is the house I owned when first married.  Built in 1902 that solid bay fronted, three-bedroom terraced house has survived two world wars and so many changes. For twenty years I heard stories of the past residents of Alexandra Road and the town of Erith and it would be great to go back and see it for real. I even know when a bomb dropped making a wall a tad wonky so I could take cover in the air raid shelter!

What are your future projects?

I’m currently finishing another Woolworths book to be published in the Spring of 2020 which has been fun as I get to move on to 1947 and 1948 and see what the girls are up to now that the war is over. After that I will be writing another Teashop book and the ideas are already buzzing around in my head.

Thank you again for appearing on my blog and taking the time to answer these questions? It means the world to me as one of my favourite authors. My Grandma sends her love, she has been quite unwell and struggling to read, so hasn’t managed to read the last Woolworths Girls but I will still be buying her this and will be reading to her, although she falls asleep so often these days. We have had so many chats about the characters in Woolworth girls and Grandma has related it to her life experiences from the war, so I sit there with a note pad and jot a few things down inspiration for my writing and also just to spend time with Grandma and have this great connection. Thank you!

Chells and Books Review:

Firstly, I would like to thank all at Ellen and Bethan from EDPR for organising the blog tour and Elaine for answering my questions, I cannot tell you how exciting it is to have you on my blog.

The Teashop Girls is just as good as I thought it would be if not even better. Elaine’s writing style is just perfect it truly is like a comfort blanket wrapping me up ready for a cosy journey into the 1940s. As for the characters well they are just as good as all of Elaine’s other characters from her other books such as The Woolworth Girls, strong women who become friends that you welcome into you home again and again. Very glad this is to be a new series.

The setting for this book is Ramsgate and it has really grabbed my attention, so much so that I have booked a holiday to visit the sites this very weekend coming.

In The Teashop Girls we meet Rose and her friends Lily and Katie who are all Nippies who work for the famous tea shop Lyons. I would have loved to have been around to visit one in the 1940s but Elaine captures it perfectly in her story, you can almost taste the tea cakes and sausage rolls. The girls along with their families and friends have to endure the hardship of the beginning of the war, coping with loved ones away fighting and running to the air raid shelters at the drop of a hat. What with all that and the secrets that they are keeping from each other, this is one eventful read that will keep you gripped right until the end.

I adore Elaine’s writing and her books are amazing if you love sagas then this is most defiantly one for you.

The Girl In The Pink Raincoat by Alrene Hughes

In wartime it takes courage to follow your heart.

Manchester, 1939.

Everyone hated the heat and the deafening noise, but for Gracie the worst thing was the smell of chemicals that turned her stomach every morning when she arrived at the Rosenberg Raincoats factory.

Gracie is a girl on the factory floor. Jacob is the boss’s charismatic nephew. When they fall in love, it seems as if the whole world is against them – especially Charlie Nuttall, who also works at the factory and has always wanted Gracie for himself.

But worse is to come when Jacob disappears and Gracie is devastated, vowing to find him. Can she solve the mystery of his whereabouts? Gracie will need all her strength and courage to find a happy ending.

Chells and Books Review:

First, I would like to thank Head of Zeus for asking me to review this wonderful book. I hadn’t read anything by Alrene Hughes before but I love a romance set in war time and this was amazing. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I adore Gracie who has much more courage than she realises. She goes through so much but yet comes out the other side as a much stronger person. Her romance with Jacob is so amazing to read and how it blossoms brings a smile to your face but there is sadness to for them but this makes it much more real and it has such a lovely positive message. Romeo and Juliet set in war time England. I adore the plot and how the message comes about but I cannot say anything here as it would ruin the reading experience. The characters in this story are so real and the situation they find themselves in due to the war is something I had heard about but had not read about in a story. The Italian and German Jews who had made England their home before the war and were then took away to camps, it added real depth to the romance.

This is such a well written story full of friendship, love and hope. I wen through so many emotions. A must read for all romance fans this is truly a story that will stay with me.

About the author:

Alrene Hughes grew up in Belfast and has lived in Manchester for most of her adult life. She worked for British Telecom and the BBC before training as an English teacher. After teaching for twenty years, she retired and now writes full-time.

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

Blog Tour Review and Interview

Step inside Rachel’s farmhouse Pudding Pantry, a place where love, laughter and scrumptious bakes bring everyone together.

Primrose Farm is Rachel’s very own slice of heaven. Come rain or shine there’s always a pot of tea brewing by the Aga, the delicious aroma of freshly baked puddings, and a chorus of happy memories drifting through the kitchen.

But the farm is in a spot of trouble. As the daffodils spring, Rachel must plant the seeds of change if she wants to keep the farm afloat, and it’s all resting on a crazy plan. She’ll need one family cook book, her Mum Jill’s baking magic – and a reason to avoid her distractingly gorgeous neighbour, Tom . . .

Swapping their wellies for aprons, can Rachel and Jill bake their way into a brighter future? The proof will be in the pudding!

What others think:

‘Cosy and uplifting – a real treat!’ Debbie Johnson

‘Family, friendships, farming and fabulous food. The Pudding Pantry is perfect!’ Sunday Times bestseller Heidi Swain

Chells and Books Review:

Firstly, I would like to thank Harper Collins and Emilie Chambeyron for all her hard work organising the blog tour and amazing treats that came with the book proof. I would also like to thank the amazing Caroline Roberts who I have been lucky to have an interview with for this blog tour, since reading her tea shop in the castle series I have been hooked and she is a firm favourite author of mine.

Rachel’s’ Pudding Pantry is an unbelievable read and one you will really want to devour all in one go, if books had an actual taste to them then this book would be pure heaven. It is quite literally full to the brim with tasty treats and puddings.

Rachel, her mum Jill and daughter Maisy live on Primrose Farm. The descriptions of the location in this story are perfect. You can really tell that Caroline loves this part of the world, which she talks about in her interview alongside some photos. I really felt like I was riding along on the back of the quad bike wellies on or sitting enjoying a picnic in the sunshine with the hills rolling out in front of me. You could quite literally hear the squeals of fun from Maisy mixed with the barks from Moss their farm dog.

There have been some hard times on the farm for the family and they are in need of an income boost. When a gem of an idea begins to take hold in Rachel’s head she just knows that she cannot let this one go, it has to work. The Pudding Pantry is born, along with a few added lambs to enjoy this spring. With the local community, even the unsuspecting grumpy ones, and her family and friends, including the handsome Tom, behind her Rachel starts a new adventure and a tasty one too, and I am not just talking about the puddings here. I can just imagine Rachel blushing at this point while her friend Eve asks if she has had any crumble recently. Can the farm survive? You will jut have to read and find out!

Caroline has a special way with words. She is able to create a special moment in time when you open the pages to her book. One where you can completely escape to and when you surface you feel you have woken from a very pleasant dream. I can still now remember the way I felt reading The Cosy Tea Shop series, warm and cosy and like I had just stepped into a perfect world full of hope, love and friendship and this is exactly what Rachel’s Pudding Pantry has done.

This is a read that is not to be missed. It is simple a perfect calorie free treat.

About the Author:

Caroline Roberts lives in the wonderful Northumberland countryside with her husband and credits the sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her as inspiration for her writing. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of love, loss and family, which explore how beautiful and sometimes complex love can be. A slice of cake, glass of bubbly and a cup of tea would make her day – preferably served with friends! She believes in striving for your dreams, which led her to a publishing deal after many years of writing.

Interview with Caroline Roberts:

Can you please tell us a bit about your new novel, Rachel’s Pudding Pantry?

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry is set on a farm in the rolling valleys of the Cheviot Hills in rural Northumberland. It’s about three generations of women working together to keep the farm going after the sad death of Rachel’s father. It’s about love, loss, family, friendship, the joy of baking, and finding a silver lining in the darkest of times.

Northumberland farm view

Did you have to undertake any research for Rachel’s Pudding Pantry? If so, please could you tell us a little bit about it?

Here in my home county of Northumberland, I met Susan Green, who has built a very successful pudding-making business called The Proof of the Pudding. I visited her farmhouse, from where the business runs, and interviewed her. She showed me where the puddings are made and welcomed me for a cup of tea in her country kitchen. I even got to taste (and take home) her delightful Sticky Toffee and Ginger Puddings. Research is so hard at times!! That certainly provided inspiration for the novel.

Puddings by Proof of the Pudding

As the story is set on a working sheep farm, which also has a small herd of cattle, I did some research into farming, which I really enjoyed. As Primrose Farm in the book is now run by the women of the family, I wanted to find out about the role and experiences of women in farming in particular. Fortunately, I have some good farming friends who let me pick their brains – a big thank you goes to Helen Renner and Jane Ord. I chatted with them in their farmhouse kitchens over coffee, looked around their farms and met some of the animals. There were even some last-minute texts banded about, asking for clarification on farming facts in emergency editing situations!

Hands on with the cattle

I really loved being hands on out on the farm, and enjoyed holding and feeding a very cute pet lamb at Chatton Park Farm – who inspired the storyline about Maisy’s favourite little lamb, Petie! And Macduff really is named after a huge black bull I met, called Macduff, at Bellshill Farm.

Caroline and pet lamb

We can tell from your writing how much you love Northumberland, and it works beautifully as a setting for Rachel’s Pudding Pantry. What are some of your favourite aspects of your home county?

The rolling farmland and countryside around the Cheviot Hills may not be as well-known as the Northumberland coastline, but is as stunning in its own way. This is my home patch and I love walking my dog in the beautiful valleys and hills, woodland and moorland here.

You can climb a hill and be surrounded by moorland with hardy sheep scattered about you, then as you turn, you can see the stunning view rolling away to the inky-blue of the North Sea in the distance. There are small villages and character-filled towns. There’s lots of wide-open space, patchworks of green fields, and the famous Northumbrian ‘big skies’. Primrose Farm and The Pudding Pantry are set in this wonderful landscape.

The people are so friendly here in Northumberland, and life is still quite traditional. I hope I have If any of your readers are thinking of visiting Northumberland, when would you recommend that they go and why? And any tips on what they should do while they’re there?

All the seasons are lovely here in Northumberland, but Spring and early Summer are particularly gorgeous when the weather is getting a little warmer, as you’ll probably want to be outside strolling the hills and the beaches. Inland, there’s the small town of Wooler at the foot of the Cheviots, which is the inspiration behind Kirkton in the book, Chillingham Castle is nearby which inspired The Cosy Teashop books, and go and discover historic Alnwick and Rothbury. My favourite place on the coast is Bamburgh, with its glorious castle, long sandy beach and quaint village, and I also love the bay at Low Newton by the Sea with the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh castle in the distance. Craster harbour is pretty and interesting too. Honestly, there are so many places, come and see for yourself and find your own delightful favourites.

Dusk in the Cheviot Valley

Who would be your dream actors to play Rachel and Tom on screen?

Ooh, I love this question, and I hadn’t considered it until now, but I do think Aiden Turner, aka Ross Poldark, would make a great Tom (so if you’re free, Aiden …?) and if he was busy, then Richard Madden would make a very pleasant alternative too. And for Rachel, mid-twenties, brunette wavy hair, down to earth … I’m thinking Jennifer Lawrence but with her hair dark, and a calm and determined strength of character, like she was in The Hunger Games.

Thank you so much for these great questions and for having me on your blog!

The Little Guesthouse of New Beginnings by Donna Ashcroft

Blog Tour

The Sunshine Hideaway, with its big bay windows and stunning view of Sunflower Island’s golden beaches, is the only place Madison Skylar has ever truly thought of as home. Could returning to the island be the second chance she needs?

When twenty-three-year-old Madison arrives at The Sunshine Hideaway, she discovers the beautiful little guesthouse is falling into disrepair. With the help of old friends Amy and Connor, Madison throws herself into creating a gorgeous wellness retreat, introducing yoga sessions, adventure walks and ice-cream sundaes with a delicious twist. But will it be enough to save her childhood home?

Handsome and mysterious Connor has lived on Sunflower Island his whole life. He works hard as a builder, with his faithful dog Jaws by his side, but something is missing and he dreams of bigger things. As Connor helps to revamp The Sunshine Hideaway, this could be his opportunity to tell the woman he’s secretly been in love with for years how he really feels…

As spontaneous and fun-loving Madison settles into life on the close-knit island, sparks fly between her and shy Connor as they clash on the reinvention of the guesthouse. Are the they too different to make things work or will Madison and Connor finally find true love this year?

Chells and Books Review:

I would like to thank Bookouture for asking me to review this book and to be apart of the blog tour.

The cover for this book is just lovely. It is so inviting. I adore Donna Ashcroft’s books and this was is amazing.

Madison has been travelling the the world and trying to escape some feelings she has that are linked to her past. She arrives home wanting a change but not sure how or where she fits in in her local community. Her aunt and uncle have put their guesthouse up for sale, Madison who does not no this does realise it needs help and decides this is what she can do to help her aunt and uncle, although it is not easy. Madison had feelings for Connor from when she was younger and their past is not a great one with some misunderstood opinions of each other.

As the story unfolds a lovely romance plays out in a beautiful setting. I just loved the Sunflowers, our wedding flower, so that element really spoke to my heart and made the location just that little bit more magical.

Highly recommended.

Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager. 

Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017.
Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.