Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes by Lindsey Paley / Blog Tour

So there – today we have another Blog Tour for you, ha! I love such busy days 🙂 It is for Lindsey Paley’s festive novella “Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” which is the first in the Camille Carter series and it is a real heaven for food lovers! There is also a great giveaway (UK only, sorry guys), and you can win an e – copy of the book PLUS an ACTUAL CHRISTMAS CAKE! How great is it???

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes by Lindsey Paley

 

25758647Publisher: Purple Heather Publishing

Publishing Date: 15th June 2015

Series: Camille Carter #1

Source:  Received, in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 178

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.

The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it – she hates the snow, her freezing fingertips, and being forced to look like her Aunt Marjory in a mud-splattered wax jacket and wellies instead of her beloved shorts and sparkly sandals.

She plots her escape but ends up locking spatulas with the estate manager, Fergus McKenzie, who is forced to rescue her before she succumbs to a severe dose of hyperthermia. Things start to improve with the arrival of handsome Sam Morgan, fresh from the beaches and rum shacks of the Caribbean.

Can Millie accept her fate? And will Aisford sprinkle some of its seasonal magic on her troubles?

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is a festive story of love and friendship and reaching for the buttercream icing and edible glitter when life gets tough.

Rating: 3/5

“Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” is the first book in the Camille Carter series and I was very intrigued by the synopsis – I’ve no idea why but I like stories about such Scrooges because usually they end with them changing their mind totally, and it’s brilliant. Moreover, it mentions butter cream icings and something about being stranded because of snow, and so I thought, oh yes, it is for sure a story for me.

Our main character, Camille – or Millie – Carter much more prefers sun to snow, but she’s just landed herself a job running a cookery course in a manor house in England. There is the whole set of circumstances that led to this situation, including a cheating boyfriend, and a sister asking for a favour. But Millie was of course totally unprepared and she arrived in the middle of a snow storm, dressed in a cardigan, without a coat or winter boots. Promising beginning, no? But it is not the end of her troubles yet, oh no, it’s rather a beginning, as when she arrives she learns that because of the weather the course has been cancelled! And because of the weather she is stranded at the manor house for the weekend!

The author introduces us to a whole bunch of characters which, in a novella with 178 pages, could have been confusing, but this time Lindsey Paley has brilliantly managed it. I didn’t have any problems to recognize who is who and to whom they belong, and it’s really a big brownie point for the author. They are all well drawn and they all are so very different, which makes the story this tad more interesting and colourful, and all of them had their own stories, which they of course tell, and some of them are heart – breaking, some of them incredibly uplifting, and actually it requires a real talent to squeeze this all in a novella. Millie seems to be a tough cookie but she also has a softer side to herself. She also seems to be a very prone – accident girl, always ending in the wrong place, usually outside and freezing to death. We have many male characters in this story, some of them more pleasant, some of them less.

Millie is a chef, so there are some very delicious food descriptions and it’s like a real heaven for all the food lovers. But be aware – don’t read it when you’re hungry 🙂 When Millie is in rush she cooks and bakes and the food she creates looks and sounds incredibly mouth – watering.  I was waiting for some recipes at the end of the book, as it usually happens when there is so much cooking in the story but, sadly, not this time.

The author has for sure a great imagination and she can write some very descriptive scenes and yes, I like winter, but I do like summer more, but after reading this story I can’t wait for a real, white winter to come.

However, my own, biggest problem with the book was the fact that I had a feeling that the book itself doesn’t know what it wants to be – a romance, a nice story about a girl with delicious food in the background, a drama, crime… Because there was all of the above mentioned and somehow it just didn’t work together in my opinion. It started as a story about Millie, telling her history and showing how she adapts to the new – and very accidental place she found herself in – and it was OK, but then, suddenly, totally out of the blue there was this very unexpected and very too far – fetched ending including guns, shoots, police and drug smugglers. And I thought, WTF? How come? Why? I think it would much better work in a full – length novel, as here it looks like the author just didn’t have time and enough space to develop an idea or two of hers and nonetheless she added it to the story but for me it felt as if there were two different stories. I also had a small problem with the characters, especially with Millie at the beginning, and with Fergus – I just couldn’t understand their approach, as I didn’t see any reason for them, especially Fergus, to be so arrogant, so hot and cold blowing, and I also didn’t understand where this antipathy was coming from and why was he so – I don’t know: jealous? of Millie if he disliked her so obviously? Something just didn’t sit together here and made me feel a little too confused for my liking. The drama was also far too far – fetched for my liking and when Millie – again! – left the house in her rage I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

Altogether, it was a twisty and turny story with a great potential and I am very sorry that I didn’t love it as much as I hoped for. But there is a festive feeling to it, it has some funny moments, as well as some poignant ones and personally I am waiting to read the next book in the series.

GIVEAWAY:

To win an e – copy of “Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” AND an actual Christmas cake, enter here (UK only):

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Someone New by Zoe Miller – Guest Post/Blog Tour

Hi guys, and happy Monday! Today I have a real, real treat for you – I am absolutely delighted to be kicking off the Blog Tour for Zoe Miller’s newest release, “Someone New”. I love Zoe’s books and I love the sound of this one as well and I can’t wait to read this story! But today I have a guest post from the Author herself on the importance of following your dreams – because we all agree that it IS important, right? So put your feet high and enjoy! And thank you Zoe for stopping by!

SOMEONE NEW: Blog Tour Day 1

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Agi for kicking off the blog tour for Someone New and I’m delighted to be featured as a guest post on her blog, On My Bookshelf.

 Today’s post is all about the importance of following your dreams, as it’s one of themes in Someone New. But can we ever really follow our dreams? What gets in the way?

 Sometimes it’s ourselves and our unrealistic expectations.

 The first night Grace Bailey, the main character, meets Danny, he talks to her about her New Year resolutions. He asks her to think about how she intends to make the very best of the next twelve months, because he hopes she will have a wonderful year. He encourages her to work out what she really wants out of her life instead of just drifting through it. He puts up posters on her living room wall containing life affirming messages that make her feel happy, energised and glad to be alive when she gets up in the mornings, instead of merely going through the motions. One of these posters tells her to ‘Dream Big’.

 However, in a world where we need to pay the rent and the bills, how realistic is this? Is Danny being too simplistic or is the practical reality of following your dreams a lot different to what people might expect?

 We’d all love to take the advice doled out across social media in countless feel-good sound bites and uplifting quotes; ‘Follow your dreams’; ‘Live the life you imagine.’ How many of us imagine winning the euro millions so that we can turn our backs on the day  job, spend more time on a passionate hobby, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, see the Northern Lights, or travel the world first class?

 But if we all decided to ignore the day job and live the life we imagined, come Monday morning what would happen to the wheels of industry and commerce? What would happen to us? Winning the euro millions is on a par with the odds of winning The X factor – what if we didn’t have the money? You can’t live on fresh air.

 The idea of dropping everything to follow your dreams, while tantalisingly attractive, has to be grounded in a big, large dose of reality. On the one hand we have to be able to support ourselves, but on the other hand if we want to be successful at something we are passionate about, it can take a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Mountaineers will spend years in preparation, likewise Olympic medallists. Most writers are following their dreams of publication by squeezing in writing time while they hold down a day job to pay the bills. How many times have people been labelled an overnight success, when in reality it took them years to reach that pinnacle of achievement? Even X Factor finalists will speak of long and tiring days spent on practise and rehearsals.

 The heroes on our television screens and in our newspapers will tell us that they did not get where they are thanks to a magical twist of fate or a sprinkling of fairy dust, but in the way they decided to spend the ordinary moments that make up ordinary days. Our heroes follow their inner drum beat, using reserves of passion, confidence and dedication, single-minded discipline as well as bucket-loads of that four-letter word called ‘work’. They know that dreams take shape during long, often lonely hours spent in practice on cold early mornings, they are nourished late into the night, when time with family, friends and television and surfing the net and a social life is regularly sacrificed.

 In Someone New, Danny, despite his life-affirming, life-fulfilling encouragement, doesn’t suggest that Grace walks out of her job to chase her dreams, even though she’s put them on hold for three years. He gives her a timeline and encourages her to make a start, he suggests she puts aside some time every night and make them a priority.

 Can Grace do this? Even when her world falls apart in ways she never imagined?

Find out in Someone New.

Thank you Agi, for having me as a guest on your blog!

Zoë xx

About Someone New

In her heart, Grace knows the perfect, reliable, good-looking Gavin isn’t right for her. Then28963821 she meets Danny. Unpredictable and spontaneous, he turns her world upside down. All of a sudden, Grace is seeing life differently and doing things she never thought she’d do.

But tragedy strikes when Danny dies in a motorbike accident, shattering Grace’s world. As she struggles to come to terms with her loss, she becomes more and more convinced that she’s being followed – sighting a motorbike exactly like Danny’s everywhere she goes. And she starts to wonder if Danny’s death was really an accident.

When she finally voices her suspicions to her family and the police, though, no one seems willing to believe her.

Meanwhile Grace feels ever more under threat as sinister things begin happening to her. What was Danny hiding from her? And what kind of danger is she in now?

 

About the Author:

 Zoë Miller writes contemporary novels laced with suspense and intrigue. She was born on zoe-miller-image-2the south side of Dublin, where she still lives with her husband. She has two daughters and a son. As a child, Zoë was always the one with her head stuck in a book and she enjoyed reading so much that it compelled her to write. Someone New is Zoë’s eighth book to be published by Hachette Books Ireland, and Zoë fits in her writing between family time and the day job.

Website: www.zoemillerauthor.com

Twitter: @zoemillerauthor

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Someone-New-Zoe Miller/dp/1473607256/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476799874&sr=8-1&keywords=someone+new+zoe+miller

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