Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe - Phillipa Ashley

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe
by Phillipa Ashley

About the book...
Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

This second novel in the bestselling Cornish Cafe series is the perfect book to curl up with this Christmas.

December 22nd, morning
‘The coastal communities of West Cornwall are bracing themselves for a miserable Christmas as spring tides and high winds combine to create a storm surge that will threaten the north and west of the county. Mayor of St Trenyan, Kerren St Minver, is advising all residents and businesses within half a mile of the harbour to take action immediately as the “hundred-year” storm is set to reach its peak in the early hours of tomorrow. Stay tuned for bulletins and information …’
‘I don’t like the sound of that at all.’ Polly turns the radio down in the kitchen of the farmhouse. ‘Though it doesn’t surprise me. It’s been working itself up to a hell of a storm for the past few days.’
‘You don’t think Greg Stennack is exaggerating? You know what Radio St Trenyan’s like. They love to make a mountain out of a molehill.’
‘He could be, I suppose, but as I say, I’ve lived here a long time and I have a very bad feeling about this.’
Cal walks in from the yard, rain running off his waxed hat. ‘What are they saying?’ he asks, as Polly gives him a withering glare for dripping on the tiles.
‘That it’s going to be bad,’ I say.
‘I thought as much. Well, all we can do is be prepared. I’ve serviced the generator and we’ve plenty of diesel for it, in case the power goes off. We should be able to power the farmhouse and guest cottages, but we’d better go round and warn everyone of what to expect.’
But what should they expect? I’ve seen storms and high tides before, and one of them brought a tree down on the house in the summer, but a hundred-year storm sounds very scary.
‘At least we won’t be flooded out up here. Apart from possible power cuts, we’ll be OK with a bit of luck,’ Cal says. ‘It’s the poor buggers down in St Trenyan I pity.’
‘There was a very high tide combined with terrible gales a few years back, one February when you were away,’ Polly says grimly. ‘And I wouldn’t want to go through that worry again.’
‘I remember that, but I was working and living in Truro then, so we missed the worst of the flooding,’ I say.
‘That tide damaged a couple of properties round here, but we escaped a lot better than people further up the coast. There were homes destroyed and flooded out right into Devon. But I do recall a proper storm surge when I was a little girl. I couldn’t have been more than four or five, but I’ve never forgotten it. Waves as big as houses breaking over the harbour, there were. The harbourmaster’s office was wrecked and hundreds of people were out of their homes for weeks and some for months. God knows, I hope we don’t have that again.’
I shudder and hope Polly’s memory has exaggerated how bad the weather was in her youth. I think of Sheila and her cafe, slap bang on the beach front. Tamsin’s Spa is in the back streets, a little higher up, so it should be OK. We’re all in trouble if the water gets that high.
Cal sits down at the table. ‘Let’s hope so. We’ll just have to wait and see,’ he says firmly. ‘Demi – are you opening today?’
‘Yes, and tomorrow if we can, even if only for a couple of hours. There are already guests arriving for the Christmas week and they’ll want a cosy place to hang out in this weather.’
‘OK. You go ahead and do what you need to, but be careful on the cliff top, the wind’s very strong so make your own judgement about whether it’s safe to have people walking around up there so close to the edge. Shall we muck in and speak to the guests? There’s no need to alarm them,’ he says firmly, directing his comment at Polly, ‘but forewarned is forearmed’. 

About the author...
Phillipa Ashley is the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. She just loves writing feelgood romantic fiction! As Pippa Croft, she also wrote the steamy Oxford Blue series published by Penguin Books.

Her brand new Penwith series is out now. Book 1 –Summer at the Cornish Cafe was a 2016 summer best seller and the sequel Christmas at the Cornish Cafe is available from October 13th. They’re both comforting reads with lots of twists and turns – perfect for when you want to escape at any time of year.

This year she’s celebrating a decade since her debut novel, Decent Exposure, was published. It was made into a Lifetime TV movie called 12 Men of Christmas starring Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins. Read more about it here.

Check out her blog to find out what – and who – is distracting her from her work today.
For the very latest news, follow her on Twitter @phillipaashley or visit her Facebook page.

Visit amazon for her latest book and read more about her others.

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Girl Who Had No Fear - Marnie Riches

The Girl Who Had No Fear
by Marnie Riches

She’s back. George McKenzie is back, and this time, 
she has #NoFear.

About the book...
The fourth gripping thriller in the Georgina McKenzie series.

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

About the author...
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. Previously a children's author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women's fiction.

Marnie Riches is the author of The Girl Who Wouldn't Die - the first installment of the George McKenzie crime thriller series, published by Maze and Avon at Harper Collins.

In her spare time, Marnie likes to run (more of a long distance shuffle, really) travel, drink and eat all the things (especially if combined with travel) paint portraits, sniff expensive leather shoes (what woman doesn't?) and renovate old houses. She also adores flowers.

My thoughts...
Marine Riches certainly knows how to push you out of your comfort zone, often uncomfortably - taking the reader to dark places most of us have never even heard of - thankfully. But, has given us criminologist Georgina Mackenzie to hold our hands and guide us through the twisted, dark places - bringing us breathlessly out the other side.  A brilliant series of books that will hook you in and leave you breathlessly panting for more. If you haven't read the first book in the series - read my review here.

Guest Post...

Drugs: Rollercoaster ride or freefall to the bottom of the barrel? 
by Marnie Riches
The Girl Who Had No Fear has at its core a discussion about drugs-manufacture, -dealing and -abuse. I decided to write about that topic, in part because I had been to Mexico twice on holiday and was fascinated by its standing as a tourist idyll, whilst at the same time being a notorious centre for the manufacture of Crystal Meth. Naturally, I have watched the incredibly well-written and well-acted TV series, Breaking Bad with a mixture of delight and wide-eyed horror. The show sowed creative seeds within me that have germinated over time…
More recently, a friend of mine told me about some of the extreme drug misuse that goes on on the gay sex-party scene. His concern was that young men are ruining their lives and dying on the back of the trend in taking an easily available cocktail of chemical drugs in order to service days of non-stop sexual hedonism – all of which has seen a surge in popularity since the advent of online hook-up sites like Grindr. 
Fortuitously, those germinating seeds of interest in Mexico’s illicit role as a centre for drug manufacture, the George McKenzie series’ overarching theme of trafficking and my friend’s concerns flourished into a story about the dizzying highs and crashing lows of chemical drugs - The Girl Who Had No Fear
In terms of research I have read forums where drug users chatted openly about using Crystal Meth and Mephedrone. I looked up the website, “Talk to Frank” about drug use and the effects of certain drugs. The Terrence Higgins Trust’s website had some excellent information on Crystal Meth, Mephedrone and G or Gina. Then, I read several academic articles on the use of Central American countries as transit routes for the cocaine industry. They spoke of poverty, lack of opportunity and the violence of cartels. I also read about the rise in popularity of Crystal Meth – a drug that has been around since before WWII and which can be manufactured anywhere, with higher purity than most cocaine that comes through from South America. 
What surprised me most from having read around the subject is that Crystal Meth was actually used by the Czech army to fuel its soldiers. Manufacture of the drug and its precursor chemicals was big trade in the old Soviet Union. Now, the Czech Republic is a European epicentre for meth production. Interestingly, another friend drew my attention to a book that was recently published, discussing how Nazi Germany was hooked on and fuelled by Meth. Even breastfeeding mothers were given it. It was prescribed as a general pick-me-up and inserted into chocolates! 

There are always complex social issues surrounding drug manufacture, traffick and abuse, and I hope I’ve encapsulated some of that complexity in The Girl Who Had No Fear – George’s biggest adventure yet!

Get your copy or the series from amazon now!