The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke / #BlogTour + #Extract

Hi guys! Hope you’re all doing well. Today we have a wonderful spring – finally! – the sun is shining and the sky is blue, and really, this extract that I’m going to post right now is from a book that fits this weather absolutely – it’s my part on Karen Clarke’s blog tour for her new release “The Cafe at Seashell Cove” and it’s a story with a lot of sunshine. Enjoy the extract, guys!

37612808

Extract from Chapter 1 of The Café at Seashell Cove

I’d known my early return would come as a surprise to my parents.

What I hadn’t anticipated, on stepping into the brightly lit living room,

was the sight of my mother’s breasts in all their naked glory.

‘Cassie!’ She goggled at me over the back of the sofa, as guilty as a

teenager, while I tried to snap my jaw shut.

‘What… are you… please tell me you’re having a hot flush and

that’s why you’ve taken your top off.’ I clamped a hand over my eyes

to block out the sight of her rumpled hair and fiery cheeks. Not to

mention her naked breasts.

‘I’m not menopausal,’ she huffed, as if I’d just returned from a

longish walk and interrupted her favourite TV programme.

‘Of course you are. You’re fifty-eight,’ I argued. ‘It’s simple biology.’

She gave an exasperated tut, which wasn’t the sound I’d imagined

her making on seeing her beloved daughter return to the fold. On the

journey down, I’d shaped a scene where tears of joy and perhaps a bit

of crying featured, considering she hadn’t seen me for nearly a year.

(Skyping didn’t count.)

‘We weren’t expecting you until tomorrow, love.’ Dad’s voice was

accompanied by the sound of a zipper, and I let out a quiet moan.

Glancing through my fingers, I was treated to an eyeful of his greying

chest hair, as well as his receding head hair.

 ‘For god’s sake, you two.’ I turned my back, reaching for the dimmer

switch to reduce the overhead glare, listening to them scrabble about

for discarded clothing. It was bad enough that they’d copulated twice

before, to conceive my brother and me, but faced with the evidence that

they were still ‘at it’, nearly thirty years later, was a bit much on an

empty stomach. ‘It’s barely seven thirty,’ I grumbled.

‘You should have phoned.’ Mum sounded reasonable, and I turned,

relieved to see she’d put her top back on. ‘We would have postponed

our lovemaking—’

‘LA-LA-LA-LA-LA LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA,’ I sang, childishly

jamming my fingers in my ears, while my parents exchanged coy smiles,

and Dad pulled on his ancient Garfield T-shirt, flattening his hair to

his scalp. He’d started going grey in his thirties, and at fifty-nine was

a shade that Mum called Silver Fox.

‘You should be pleased your parents still find each other physically

attractive and like a cuddle before dinner,’ he said, when I’d unblocked

my ears, with the merry twinkle that made people instantly warm to

him. ‘Shouldn’t she, Lydia?’

‘I’ve no objection to you cuddling,’ I said. ‘It’s’—I flapped my

hand—‘the groping I can’t cope with.’

In response, Dad lunged for Mum while making kissy noises,

causing her to let out a girlish squeal. ‘Stop it, Ed!’ She pretended to

bat him away, and I wondered whether I’d fallen asleep on the train

from London to Devon and was, in fact, dreaming.

It would explain the slightly surreal feel the day had taken on, which

had begun with me standing on a packed Tube train that morning,

sleep-deprived after another uncomfortable night on Nina’s sofa bed,

reminded of a different morning, two months earlier: the morning I’d

met Adam Conway. Finding myself sardined against a tall, dark-haired

man, who’d smelt like the interior of a leather-seated car, I’d taken the

unusual step of acting on Nina’s advice to ‘be more proactive in the

man department’, by slipping a business card into his jacket pocket

with a pithy ‘Call me, some time’, accompanied by a flirty eye-twinkle

(which might have come across like a nervous tic, because of being tired

and rubbish at flirting). Unfortunately, my watch strap had snagged on

his pocket flap, causing his head to jerk down and his dark-chocolate

eyes to rest on me with a glimmer of amusement.

‘Are you trying to distract me while you steal my wallet?’ he’d

queried, his gaze sweeping over my unremarkable work suit, carefully

made-up face (copied from a popular beauty guru on YouTube), and

strands of hair escaping my never-perfected topknot. ‘Because I don’t

carry a wallet in my pocket.’

‘Only old men carry wallets,’ I’d managed, my cheeks hotter than

molten lava, before freeing myself and leaving the train two stops too

early, wondering why I couldn’t have apologised like a normal person

instead of blurting out something that probably wasn’t true. What did

I know about wallets?

I’d almost fainted when he called to ask me out to dinner, certain I

was punching way above my weight. But although his job in investment

banking was as far as you could get from the frivolous world of event

planning, I felt like I’d managed to impress him. It had been a shame

that our hectic work schedules meant we’d only been on a handful of

dates before I was fired, and that I’d probably never see him again…

If you have enjoyed this extract from Chapter One of Karen Clarke’s A Café at Seashell Cove,
Grab your copy here: myBook.to/TCASCSocial

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

thumbnail_the-cafecc81-at-seashell-cove-blog-tour

 

The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

 

The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

51yy1qrnjslPublisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 2nd March 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 267

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

Chocolate fudge, butterscotch and raspberry bonbons… treat yourself to some sugary treats, a big slice of friendship and a sprinkling of romance at The Beachside Sweet Shop.

When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help.

Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop.

Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate.

And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish?

A deliciously heartwarming read about family, friends and handmade coconut ice. Perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Debbie Johnson, and Tilly Tennant.

Rating: 4/5

As soon as I spotted “The Beachside Sweet Shop” on NetGalley I was immediately drawn to it – this cover is adorably gorgeous and even though I am more a chocolate girl myself only looking at this glass filled with candies makes my mouth water. Yes, I had some doubts before I started reading it as I was scared that it’s going to be the next in the popular formula of books set at the seaside and in a sweet shop with nothing more to offer, but no worries, guys – it turned out to be a hilarious, light – hearted, wonderfully enjoyable story that will allow you to put your mind to rest.

There is a lot going on in Marnie’s life, especially when the shop is considered. Winning the prize (because the shop has won a prize for the best local business!), instead of bringing joy, brings commotion and troubles, as one of the new neighbours, ex – model, starts a campaign against sweet shop and sugar in general. Then Marnie looks after her grandmother who has broken her leg, and this accident has actually made Marnie to break up with her boyfriend Alex, but our Marnie – of course – still has feelings to Alex. But did Alex move on in New York or is he still waiting for Marnie? Then there are troubles with the regular supplier of the sweets, and Marnie’s best friend Beth, who also helps at the shop is heavily pregnant so she is in a need for a substitute, and then suddenly the gorgeous Josh appears, and does Marnie feel attracted to him? You see what I mean, right? Not a single flat moment, and this all topped with brilliant one – liners and fantastic sense of humour.

The characters were larger than life and so colourful, and it was so easy to fell in love with them. Josh is not only a skateboarding sexy god but he also does magic, ha! There is also Doris Day, a wannabe detective, neighbour of Marnie’s grandmother and she is really the one that knows everything, but not in this bad, prying way. The weakest character was, I think, Isobel – the way she acted just didn’t sit with me, you couldn’t take her and her reasoning seriously. Marnie herself was not too bad. However, her best friend Beth was the most colourful, engaging character of all, I think. She was shining through the pages and I so want a book about Beth! Actually, those were the scenes with Beth that made me laugh out loud, especially the ones when she got into labour. Hilarious!

Now, guys. I would be myself if I haven’t had some issues, right? There were some things that didn’t sit with me about Marnie, as much as I loved her, her indecision made me feel so, so frustrated! I was thinking she’s only looking for excuses because if she was so desperate to leave Shipley then nothing would keep her, and the only thing she did was moaning how much she wants to leave and making a martyr of herself when staying because of her grandmother breaking a leg or nobody from the family wanting to take care of the shop. I also didn’t get the issue with Alex. Why did she tell him in the first place he should go to America? Again, to feel like a martyr? Then, the thing with Isobel and her campaign to close the sweet shop. I was like, what, closing one little sweet shop will solve all the problems? And who the hell did she think she is to decide she has the power to do what she wants? Because she’s a yummy – mummy?

The Beachside Sweet Shop itself reminded me of the old – school sweet shops, painted in pastels, with black and white photos on the walls and yellow awning. The novel was mostly set there and it’s only a pity that there was not more about its interior and that it took Marnie so long to change it. However, I liked that it had its own group of customers and that it had a history and that people appreciated it as much as the sweets themselves. I think the shop just reminded those people of their own childhood and Marnie did her best to stock all kind of candies possible. But not the willies (ha! Read for yourself! Hilarious!).

“The Beachside Sweet Shop” is the first book in the series and I am already looking forward to “The Beachside Flower Stall”. It was light – hearted and witty and it kept me entertained, and it was written in a way that kept me glued to the pages – I’ve finished this lovely novel about being unhappy in life but eventually changing it, taking control in your own hands in one day. It is not a story that is going to change lives but it is destined to make you feel happy and warm inside. Recommended!