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Book News – The Mother Of All Christmases By Milly Johnson

The Mother Of All ChristmasesI’m delighted to see that Milly Johnson is back in 2018 with a delicious new Christmas book called ‘The Mother Of All Christmases’ and it’s a lovely return to some of her old characters from ‘A Winter Flame’.

What the back cover says –

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them …

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable.

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Perfectly Imperfect Woman; a gorgeous read full of love, life, laughter – and crackers!

You can pre-order The Mother of All Christmases from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 15th November 2018.

Five Years From Now By Paige Toon

Five Years From Now‘Five Years From Now’ is the latest book by Paige Toon.

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart. Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate. For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

Paige Toon is back with another rollercoaster of a story that tugs at the heartstrings as one couple battle against all odds to be together.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Nell, a young woman who reflects back on her life as her one big love called Van is constantly taken away from her.

Nell first met Van when their parents started dating and moved in together. As the years pass, they become close friends but when Van’s mother is tragically killed in a car accident, Van then moves to Australia to live with his father and so begins the couple’s turbulent relationship.

At fifteen, Van returns home and that’s when the couple’s feeling develop towards each other, moving from friends to potentially boyfriend and girlfriend, they struggle with guilt and secrecy, especially Nell as everyone thinks of the two of them like brother and sister.

As the story progresses, we regularly see the pair of them get close to the being a couple but with Van living in Australia and Nell living in the United Kingdom, there’s always so many complications and distance between the two of them.

I genuinely loved this story. Both Nell and Van are sweet and heartwarming characters, I really wanted them to get their happy ever afters and found it so frustrating that so many things stood between them and everytime they thought that they were getting somewhere, it would all be harshly snatched away. Their stolen moments together make for bittersweet reading, that it was hard not to also fall in love with the young couple

Like Paige’s previous novels, nothing is ever straight forward and there are many emotional rollercoasters along the way. Sweetly written and quite the heartbreaker of a story from the start, ‘Five Years From Now’ is a poignant and tender story about love, soulmates and the heartbreaking difficulties of finding love at the wrong time.

You can buy Five Years From Now from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Family Recipe Book Tour

A Family RecipeOn the book tour for Veronica Henry’s new book called ‘A Family Recipe’, Vervonica shares some of her own favourite recipes.

On my kitchen shelf is a tiny metal box full of index cards, stuffed with recipes from my grandmothers, my parents and me, that I now have in my care. I’ve used many of them throughout my life, as well as adding to the collection. Many of the recipes are reminiscent of important family occasions.

And that was where the idea for A FAMILY RECIPE came from: a little box that holds recipes that relate to the life-changing events of the residents of 11 Lark Hill in Bath, from the war to the present day. Laura finds the box at a difficult time in her life, and uses it to help her move forward.

For this blog tour I am sharing some of my favourite recipes from my own box.

CROQUEMBOUCHE

Birthday cakes have always been important to me – a demonstration of love, but also recognition of a person and what they represent.

When my children were small it was a labour of love to produce something spectacular that didn’t involve huge amounts of skill – I am not in the least bit artistic or crafty, so intricate icing was always going to be out. My eldest son’s first birthday cake was a big round chocolate cake covered in plastic zoo animals: I can still remember buying a bag full from the local toy shop and planting their feet in the sticky icing. I followed that method religiously for years afterwards: making the biggest cake I could manage, then topping it with Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends, Biker Mice, Mutant Hero Turtles … Another favourite was a cake smothered in the contents of a huge bag of pick ‘n’ mix – lurid, additive-laden but a joy to a horde of small boys.

I used plain Victoria sponge, or the miracle that is Coca Cola cake – ruinously sweet but the most forgiving concoction that works every time and is light, fluffy and squidgy.

Now the boys are bigger they have rather grown out of statement birthday cakes. But I’ve had several friends with landmark birthdays recently, and have discovered the joy of a croquembouche. There is nothing guaranteed to bring a bigger gasp of admiration than these gravity-defying towers, and they are surprisingly easy to assemble.

Profiteroles themselves are quite easy to make – use a recipe from your preferred chef of choice (you can’t go wrong with Delia or Nigella) or you can buy them plain from most supermarkets. I like to fill mine with beaten double cream flavoured with Cointreau and a little icing sugar to thicken it up a bit – poke a hole in the bottom of each profiterole and pipe the cream in until its nearly full.

You can buy a croquembouche cone or make one from cardboard. I use melted white chocolate to stick each profiterole to the cone, starting from the bottom and building them up on top of each other in circles. The beauty of a croquembouche is that it doesn’t have to look perfect – a higgledy-piggedly-ness adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. Remember to make it on the plate or board you are going to serve it on – it’s very dangerous to try and move it after assembly! Stick it in the fridge to harden the chocolate and strengthen the structure.

Once the tower is complete you can customise them to your heart’s content, depending on whether you are understated and have the nerve to leave them quite plain with just a drizzling of caramel, or if like me you have to throw everything at it! Sugared almonds are a traditional decoration, inserted randomly into the gaps – either gold or silver, or the pretty pastel ones in pink, white and yellow. I dip random profiteroles in white chocolate and roll them in dried flowers, which looks very rustic and pretty – or you could try crushed raspberries. I also highlight the occasional profiterole with edible gold leaf which looks stunning. There are so many pretty edible decorations available – you can go as rococco and over the top as you like. Traditionally they are covered in a web of spun sugar, but I’m way too scared for that …. For birthdays I stick in half a dozen mini sparklers to mark the occasion, or a single one of those fountain candles would be suitably dramatic and showy.

You can pre-order A Family Recipe from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

Adele Parks Reveals New Book – I Invited Her In

I Invited Her InWonderful news as Adele Parks has revealed her second book of 2018 called ‘I Invited Her In’ which is her first book with her new publishers, HQ part of Harper Collins

What the back cover says –

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from ‘Sunday Times’ bestseller Adele Parks.

You can pre-order I Invited Her In from Amazon and will be available to buy from 20th September 2018.

Trisha Ashley

“TrishaTrisha Ashley’s ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, and ‘Every Woman for Herself’ was nominated by readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.’The House Of Hopes And Dreams’ is her latest book.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    From being a little girl I knew I wanted to be a writer and painter and by my late teens had moved on from poetry, little plays and short stories to writing novels…very bad novels.

    Since I thought that all you needed to do to be a novelist was live your life, read a lot and keep writing (true), I went off to Art College to study fine art – but quickly transferred to the architectural glass department instead. Like Angel, the heroine of ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’, painting with light added another dimension.

    I kept writing and sending off my novels over the next few years, settling down to write dark domestic satire. After many rejections (some of them including very helpful and encouraging advice), and various ups and downs, I was introduced to my agent, Judith Murdoch, who persuaded me to run a strand of romantic comedy through my novels – which I did. The first to be published was ‘Good Husband Material’ and I haven’t looked back since.

  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’
    Carey and Angel have been best friends since childhood, so when Carey inherits a run-down Arts and Crafts house and Angel loses her long term partner and her happy, productive life in his stained glass studio, it seems meant to be that she and Carey should move into Mossby together and turn the old house into a home.

    Of course, the house does have a tragic past and more than one mystery to solve…

  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I can’t imagine starting a book club, where you all decide on one book to read and discuss – these days, if the writing hasn’t grabbed me by chapter three then, to quote Douglas Adams, it’s ‘Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.’ Life’s to short to waste trudging through stuff you find dreary, pretentious, bleakly sordid, or just plain boring, even if it’s been hyped to the skies, garlanded with bay leaves and won some prestigious literary award.

    I do like a really challenging read from time to time – but it needs to be good writing and well worth the journey.

  4. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Pressing the ‘send’ button and seeing it vanish into the ether, while the ideas for the next novel sneak in by the back door and stand shuffling their feet, like guests who’ve arrived way too early for the party.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “All this happened, more or less…”. ‘From Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut.
  6. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Probably the indomitable Victorian archaeologist Amelia Peabody, heroine of Elizabeth Peter’s novels set in Egypt.
  7. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I don’t think so: it was a long, tough journey, but being forged in the fire makes you stronger. And everything, good or bad, that has happened in my life has been composted down and used to grow something else, so nothing has been wasted.
  8. The House Of Hopes And Dreams

  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘The Hawk in the Rain’ by Ted Hughes, ‘Naked Once More’ by Elizabeth Peters… and maybe ‘Smoke Signalling for Dummies’.
  10. From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
    More of a gloriously cheesy Bollywood reinterpretation than an adaptation, I adore ‘Bride and Prejudice’, it always lifts my spirits.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Read very widely, but especially current bestsellers in the genre you’re writing for. Ask yourself what their novels are giving the reader that yours doesn’t.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A good cup of coffee.
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I am at work on a new novel…but I never like to talk about the next book until I’ve written at least the first draft, because otherwise the magic just flies right out of it.
    Follow Trisha Ashley on Twitter Trisha Ashley for updates.

    You can buy the The House of Hopes and Dreams from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.