Blog Tour Q & A and Review of The Once In A Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin

Synopsis

Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.
 
Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.
 
As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?
 
Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

Q & A with Cressida

1. Could you give us your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
 
• Believe in yourself, love your writing and don’t let anyone put you off. Constructive criticism is one thing, and is very useful, but don’t listen to other people’s negativity. If you want to do it, then go for it.
• Write first, edit later. Get the words written first and worry about improving them later – you can’t edit a blank page.
• Write a story that you’re passionate about. Don’t think too much about trends in the publishing world, because by the time your book is ready to be published everything will have moved on anyway. You have to love your story first, and then other people will be more likely to fall in love with it.
 
2. Have you ever been stuck while writing one of your books? How did you get over it?
 
I definitely get stuck days, and I find the best thing to do is step away from the words and engage my brain in something else – cooking or hoovering or going for a long walk. Usually, whatever writing knots I’m trying to untangle will work themselves out while I’m not thinking about them, and by the time I sit back down at my desk I’m able to get going again.
 
3. Are you currently reading anything you would like to recommend?
 
As well as romantic fiction, I’m a huge sucker for a good crime novel, and especially a series where the recurring characters – police, forensic experts etc. – are as compelling as the crimes they’re investigating. I’ve recently finished Perfect Remains by Helen Fields, which is a crime thriller set in Edinburgh. It’s gruesome but very gripping, and has two wonderful detectives at its core that I already care deeply about. I’m waiting eagerly for the second book, which is out at the end of July, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes their crime stories dark, sexy and unputdownable.
 
4. What’s next for you?
 
At the moment I’m writing a two-part Christmas novella – which is proving a bit of a challenge when it’s this hot and sunny outside. It’s going to be called The Canal Boat Café Christmas, and is the next part of Summer and Mason’s story. I hope readers are looking forward to finding out what happens next!
 
Then I’m on to my fourth novel, which is all planned out and which I’m really, really excited about writing. It’s going to have lots of romance and drama in it, a very picturesque setting and also quite a bit of wildlife . . . watch this space!
 
Thank you Cressida! 

Review

I’ve not read any of Cressida’s novel’s before now, but know I have needed to read them for a while now. When I saw this one, I just knew it was the one I was going have to start with, since it’s set by the sea, a favourite place of mine. Even better is that it’s set about 30 miles away from me, which made it all the more special, as me and my parents used to visit that area a lot when I was a child.
 
It was easy to know I was going to enjoy the book, when not even all the way through the first chapter I realised I loved the setting, loved Robin and trusted that the story was going to be as amazing as the first few pages promised. The writing is the perfect blend of descriptive scenery, inner monologue and conversations between the characters who are all wonderful. The guesthouse is cosy at first, but maybe a bit dated. However when Robin gets her hands on it it remains cosy, but has a chic stylish feel to the room as well, making her stand out from the Bed and Breakfasts that are close by. Rarely have I wanted to jump into a book more than when Robin was planning ideas for the rooms, I was almost writing down notes as to what she could do myself, the world was that absorbing, proven again when I was jealous of some walnut bedside tables Robin bought for a room, when I’ve been looking for a pair I like for 10 years. YES, I envied a fictional character’s furniture, I’m beyond help now.
 
Robin is hurting, that much is clear, but her resolve to stay strong and put everything she has into all that she does. Her creativity was fantastic and the care she put into everything was a move and beyond.. She clearly deserves to succeed.
 
I almost loved Will from the moment he appeared. His tale of how he adopted his dog, Darcy was enough to melt my heart (despite being a cat person). There were some reservations initially, he was quite stand offish when it was suggested that he may have made up facts on his stately home tours, even though it was clearly said in jest as gentle teasing, which was at odds to how he was every other time he spent time with Robin. Well, we can forgive minor flaws in this case, he was clearly perfect in every other department.
 
All the neighbours seemed really friendly adding a great community feel to the whole book, they were clearly great friends to help, and it did fit into the cosy nostalgia I feel whenever I think about staying by the seaside and all the people I have met while there. They are clearly happy to go out of their way to help people. I loved Paige, for her age she was really mature (well., most of the time). She was great working for Robin, and it was good to have a side story that focused on a different age range to the lead character.
 
This book is just perfect of the summer, it completely makes me nostalgic. It is funny, especially when Molly and Robin get together, or when Maggie is involved. Also it has plenty of moments filled with emotion. A great blend of all the things that is essential for a summer read.
 
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Published by: HarperCollins
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 

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Thank you to Cressida and HarperCollins for letting me participate in this fantastic blog
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We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

wewereonabreakSynopsis

Is it a break? Or is it a blip?
 
‘You’ve just had a holiday,’ I pointed out, trying not to yawn. ‘Wasn’t that enough of a break?’
‘I don’t mean that kind of break.’
 
There’s nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out.
 
Friends and family all think they’re crazy; Liv throws herself into work – animals are so much simpler than humans – and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he’s dug.
 
But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? Most importantly, do they want to?
 
What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

Review

Firstly this book deserves extra brownie points on using one of the most famous quotes from friends, especially as I loved Ross and Rachel! Also the cover uses two of my favourite colours, so pretty much fell in love with this book before I even peeked inside.
 
This book is actually written from both Adam and Liv’s point of view, this means you get the views of exactly what happens rather than just Liv’s point of view like I was expecting. This gave a more balanced view of the couple, otherwise I am sure I wouldn’t have fell in love with Adam as much as I did.
 
However, In the nicest possible way, they are both idiots. This book was one long moment of wanting to bang the couple’s heads together, as if they just sat down and talked to one another rather than presuming they know what the other person means they would be all the better for it, though this would mean that this would be a very short book. However it didn’t annoy me, on the contrary, Lindsey writes incredibly enjoyable books that I never want to end and this one was no different.
 
Due to the storyline, we only see the best of Liv and Adam when they are a couple. They both bounce off each other, and were clearly made for eachother. The first chapter is hilarious, and shows Liv’s sense of humour off to a tea, and contains one of my favourite quotes of all time about  boyfriends proposing on holiday.
 
Once they decide to take a break, they naturally aren’t happy and we get to know them, but other than a small glimpses of fun light heartedness, we see their despair and sadness at the way things turn out. That’s not to say this book is sad, it isn’t but I would love a whole book with Adam and Liv just spending time together, as they are the cutest couple ever!
 
I felt quite sorry for Adam, as Liv had several friends to support her and help her through, but Adam only seemed to have his older brother, Chris, who was a complete arse. He was mean spirited and spiteful, just awful.
 
This book is another absolutely great read from Lindsey Kelk. Fun and completely addictive reading!
  
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Published by: HarperCollins
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
Released 6th October
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Sunday Catchup – 20th June – 3rd July

Once again I have had a poor couple of weeks of reading, so I have wrapped the two weeks into one. I really hope I can find my groove again, if only to at least reach my goodreads goal, which was only to equal last years total!!

Read This Week:

 
After witnessing the fallout of her parent’s divorce, love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. The only man in her life is her friend Matt–but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…
 
Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, has always played it cool. Until he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever, and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer.
 
Matt knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can he persuade her to kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?
 
I liked this book, however it was a surprise how much I disliked Eadlyn, and while this didn’t ruin the book for me as I still enjoyed it, I was somewhat shocked as I loved her mother America in the first three books.

The Crown by Keira Cass

**Warning**
The synopsis and review will contain spoilers for the first four books in the series

crown

Synopsis

In ‘The Heir’ a new era dawned in the world of The Selection. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own.
 
Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.
 
 

Review

I absolutely adore the cover to this book, and infact all of the covers in the series are stunning, but this one was purple, my favourite colour so is extra beautiful in my opinion. I also loved the first three novels and, for the most part loved ‘The Heir’ (more on that later), so was really looking forward to find out what happened.
 
As I expected the writing is as engaging as the other books, making for some addictive reading. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters more, not just the suitors introduced in ‘The Heir’ but also hearing from characters that I remember from the first three books and how their lives are now they’re much older. It was really great reading the selection process from the other side to the first three books. A few of books have the same story told but from the other person’s perspective, and while I think that can be done really well, it can also be very repetitive. However since ‘The Heir’ is the daughter of America and Maxon from the first three books, we have the perspective from the royal who needs to choose someone to marry, so you hear what it’s like to be royal and have many people trying to win your heart, but still not know what’s going to happen.
 
This book picks up straight from ‘The Heir’, which ended on quite an emotional note, and it’s here where you really see Eadlyn start to grow. I mentioned I had small issues with ‘The Heir’ and Eadlyn was it. I found her brattish, spoilt, stand-offish with a superiority complex. Yes I realise she’s the princess but a small amount of modesty and something that people could relate to would go a long way. She was clearly meant to come across this way in that book, and I still wanted to know what happened, which is why it was only a small issue for me. This book made me do a 180 in regards to my feelings about her, obviously she goes through a more stressful time than she could ever have imagined and this forces her, basically, to grow up. That and the final push Ahren gave her (despite his many attempts) finally got her to become a better person. More likeable by far, and she still manages to maintain a strong determined mind. The weight that lifted off of my shoulders when I realised this was immense, I finally cared who she chose as her prince consort, rather than just enjoying the antics that happened.
 
Now onto the men, loved Kile, Henri, Hale and Fox. While they aren’t the only ones left, they were my favourites going into this book, and remained that way. I would have to say my ultimate favourite was Kile, who is a true friend, you can see how much you can trust him, despite not being friendly with Eadlyn before the selection, he clearly grows to care for her, despite not really seeming a potential contender when he was announced.
 
This book was a great conclusion to the series, the journey Eadlyn made throughout this book was great to read. Definitely read this book, and if you haven’t and fancy a nice easy read series, make sure to pick the others in the series up.
 
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Published by: HarperCollins
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository