The House Beneath the Cliffs by Sharon Gosling

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts about this debut adult fiction novel by Sharon Gosling. Thanks to Sara-Jade at Books and The City for this gorgeous proof copy, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. The book is due to be published by Simon and Schuster in the UK on 29th April 2021.

Synopsis:

A remote yet beautiful village. A tiny kitchen lunch club. The perfect place to start again.

Anna moves to Crovie, a tiny fishing village on the Moray Firth, for a fresh start. But when she arrives, she realises her new home is really no more than a shed, and the village itself sits beneath a cliff right on the edge of the sea, in constant danger of storms and landslides. Has she made a terrible mistake?

Yet as she begins to learn about the Scottish coast and its people, something she thought she’d lost reawakens in her. She rediscovers her love of cooking, and turns her kitchen into a pop-up lunch club. But not all the locals are delighted about her arrival, and some are keen to see her plans fail.

Will Anna really be able to put down roots in this remote and wild village? Or will her fragile new beginning start to crumble with the cliffs . . . ?

Beautiful, moving and utterly absorbing, The House Beneath the Cliffs is a novel of friendship and food, storms and secrets, and the beauty of second chances 

My thoughts:

Anna has finally left behind the dreadful Geoff, and has bought herself a ‘house’ in the village of Crovie, to escape from her previous life, where her dreams and ambitions were ignored by the person who should have helped her the most.

This book was a much needed escape from the start of 2021, as we were back in Lockdown again in the UK. Sharon brought the village of Crovie, on the coast of Scotland to life, the smells and sound of the sea and the taste of the food. This is not a book to reading whilst dieting, because the food that Anna prepares for her new friends and customers sounded delicious.

The story follows Anna in her first few months in Crovie, making good friends (so many great characters in this book) and the occasional enemy (Douglas McKean), as she decides what to do next with her life. Through a number of adventures/opportunities, Anna quickly becomes part of the local area, boosting tourist numbers and helping when the summer storm threatens to destroy everything. But will she stay or will she go?

This is a lovely book to read, a timely reminder of why friendship and community are important, especially in times of trouble or illness. Also it is a reminder that it is never too late to change a job or area if it means we can find (or reignite) a passion for something we enjoy. My favourite character was Young Robbie, who was determined to protect the local dolphin pod from danger. I look forward to reading more by Sharon in the future.

Author Bio:

Sharon Gosling began her career in entertainment journalism, writing for magazines in the science fiction and fantasy genre, before moving on to write tie-in books for TV shows such as Stargate and the ‘re-imagined’ Battlestar Galactica. She has also written, produced and directed audio dramas based in the same genre. 

She lives in London with her husband and a cantankerous cat, surrounded by books and daleks.

A Hogmanay Kiss by Elsie McArthur

Today I’m sharing my final book review for 2020. Thank you to everyone who has read, liked and/or shared my book reviews this year. After being furloughed from work in April, being able to get lost in books and then share my thoughts on here has been a positive activity in a strange year.

I discovered Elsie McArthur’s books back in June, when I read and reviewed The Back Up Plan (https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/21/the-back-up-plan-by-elsie-mcarthur/), then I enjoyed reading and reviewing Love, on the Rocks in August (https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/08/21/love-on-the-rocks-elsie-mcarthur/). Elsie kindly sent me a digital review copy of A Hogmanay Kiss, the follow up novella to The Back Up Plan. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis:

Marsaili and Will’s happily ever after isn’t turning out exactly like they planned…

Eighteen months after getting back together, and struggling to find a forever home in their small Highland community, they’re still living in the upstairs bedroom of Marsaili’s parents’ croft. A chance to get away from it all for a romantic Christmas break is just what they need – Marsaili’s brother is getting married, and they’re going to spend two weeks in Edinburgh for the celebrations.

But when wedding mishaps, a flirtatious bridesmaid and past insecurities threaten to derail their plans, the idyllic festive getaway Marsaili and Will have been dreaming of could make them… or break them.

Reunite with all your favourite characters for a Christmas holiday they’ll never forget, in this fun, feel-good, festive sequel to The Back Up Plan.

My thoughts:

It was lovely to catch up with Marsaili and Will again, to see how their romance had progressed. In a year when many weddings were cancelled, it was lovely to read about the preparations for the wedding and the celebrations on the big day.

With an early arrival, an unkind bridesmaid and many misunderstandings, the ‘holiday’ in Edinburgh had plenty of drama to keep this reader turning the pages. Elsie has created characters you care about and I devoured the book in one sitting. Thank you Elsie for another great virtual visit to Scotland. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Author Bio (from Goodreads):

Elsie McArthur is an independent author of women’s fiction. After studying law at university, and then re-training as a primary school teacher, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland with her husband, two kids, a couple of badly behaved dogs and a cat with a superiority complex. As well as continuing to work part time as a teacher, she is now indulging in her first love of writing. Her first book, ‘The Back Up Plan’, was released in January 2020. 

One More for Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Today I’m sharing a mini review for my weekend read. Thank you HQ for a digital review copy via NetGalley. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free copy.

Synopsis:

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

My thoughts:

As usual, Sarah Morgan has produced a fabulous festive read for readers. There is plenty of family drama for the two families, as the mothers and their adult children learn to communicate their feelings. The story is full of festive treats, including reindeer, sleigh rides, tree decorating and a very excited young child desperate to see Santa.

I enjoyed how the story developed, as the main characters came together to rekindle and improve old relationships or to start new ones. The story covers loss so isn’t all light and fluffy, but is written in a way that you are rooting for the characters and feel uplifted at the end of the book. I would love to spend time in Scotland baking with Mary and meeting the reindeer. A lovely book to escape into.

Author bio:

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of romance and women’s fiction. She has sold over 18 million copies of her books and her work has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist.

Sarah lives near London, England with her family and when she isn’t writing or reading, she likes to spend time outdoors hiking or riding her mountain bike.  

Join Sarah’s mailing list at http://www.sarahmorgan.com for all book news. For more insight into her writing life follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook/AuthorSarahMorgan and on Instagram at @sarahmorganwrites Contact Sarah at sarah@sarahmorgan.com

The Last Blast of the Trumpet by Marie Macpherson @PenmorePress1 @scotscriever @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #bookblitz

Blurb: The Last Blast of the Trumpet

Conflict, Chaos and Corruption in Reformation Scotland

He wants to reform Scotland, but his enemies will stop at nothing to prevent him.

Scotland 1559: Fiery reformer John Knox returns to a Scotland on the brink of civil war. Victorious, he feels confident of his place leading the reform until the charismatic young widow, Mary Queen of Scots returns to claim her throne. She challenges his position and initiates a ferocious battle of wills as they strive to win the hearts and minds of the Scots. But the treachery and jealousy that surrounds them both as they make critical choices in their public and private lives has dangerous consequences that neither of them can imagine.

In this final instalment of the trilogy of the fiery reformer John Knox, Macpherson tells the story of a man and a queen at one of the most critical phases of Scottish history.

Author Bio

Scottish writer Marie Macpherson grew up in Musselburgh on the site of the Battle of Pinkie and within sight of Fa’side Castle where tales and legends haunted her imagination. She left the Honest Toun to study Russian at Strathclyde University and spent a year in the former Soviet Union to research her PhD thesis on the 19th century Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov, said to be descended from the Scottish poet and seer, Thomas the Rhymer. Though travelled widely, teaching languages and literature from Madrid to Moscow, she has never lost her enthusiasm for the rich history and culture of her native Scotland.

Writing historical fiction combines her academic’s love of research with a passion for storytelling. Exploring the personal relationships and often hidden motivations of historical characters drives her curiosity.

The Knox Trilogy is a fictional biography of the fiery reformer, John Knox, set during the 16th century Scottish Reformation. Prizes and awards include the Martha Hamilton Prize for Creative Writing from Edinburgh University and Writer of the Year 2011 awarded by Tyne & Esk Writers. She is a member of the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), the Historical Novel Society (HNS) and the Society of Authors (SoA).

Love on the Rocks – Elsie McArthur

I’m thrilled to be sharing my spoiler free review for the latest book by Elsie McArthur on my blog today. I enjoyed reading Elsie’s debut novel The Back Up Plan earlier this year (review can be found at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/21/the-back-up-plan-by-elsie-mcarthur/ ) so I was thrilled to be invited to join the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources and read the new book before publication.

Synopsis:

Escaping a difficult childhood, unhappy marriage and dead-end job, Rachel McIntyre has escaped to the tiny Hebridean island of Inniscreag in search of a new beginning.

Taking a job as the manager of the local distillery, she’s just settling into her new life when the elderly, eccentric owner dies, unexpectedly leaving her two hundred year old family legacy in Rachel’s inexperienced hands.

Can she keep the small, community business alive in the face of a takeover attempt from a major multinational corporation? And can she resist the charms of the flirtatious, attractive company lawyer who arrives on the island to persuade her to sell up?

Join Rachel and the quirky inhabitants of Inniscreag – along with a couple of unexpected arrivals – in this funny, heartwarming tale about love, loss and having the courage to start over.

My thoughts:

This is another lovely book by Elsie McArthur. I enjoyed her debut novel, The Back Up Plan, but this one appealed to me even more.

Rachel is a great character, she has had more than her fair share of bad luck but still looks for the best in her friends and the workforce of the brewery. Inniscreag sounds like a lovely community – if only it were real!

I enjoyed Elsie’s storytelling immensely in this book of friendships, community spirit, secrets, romance and new beginnings. Rachel finds herself battling to protect the brewery from being taken over by a large company and also fighting to free herself from her selfish ex-husband. The arrival of the handsome, city boy Duncan Fraser adds the possibility of some romance into the mix too.

A 4.5 star read for me, a much needed escape from the global pandemic.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B089G71S4N

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089G71S4N

Elsie McArthur:

Elsie McArthur is an independent author of women’s fiction. After studying law at university, and then re-training as a primary school teacher, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland with her husband, two kids, a couple of badly behaved dogs and a cat with a superiority complex. As well as continuing to work part time as a teacher, she is now indulging in her first love of writing. Her first book, ‘The Back Up Plan’, was released in January 2020. Her second novel, ‘Love, on the Rocks’ – a tale of love, loss and starting over, set on the remote Scottish island of Inniscreag – is due for release in Summer 2020.

Social Media Links – 

Twitter – @ElsieMcarthur

Instagram – @elsiemcarthur.author

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElsieMcArthurAuthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19961166.Elsie_McArthur

The Back Up Plan by Elsie McArthur


Thank you to Elsie McArthur for a copy of her debut novel – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This is a 4.5 star read for me.

Synopsis:

That’s the question for thirty-something Marsaili McKenzie. Ten years after fleeing her tiny coastal village for dreams of fame and fortune in the big city, she finds herself on the brink of an existential crisis. Far from being the star actress she once imagined, she’s still working as a barmaid in a Glasgow theatre while all around her, her friends and family are getting engaged, pregnant or promoted. 

It’s all she can do to keep her head above water. But as a new year approaches, she resolves to give her acting dreams one last shot. That is, until a couple of unexpected distractions arrive on the scene. 

Will Hunter is undeniably handsome, as well as being aloof, socially awkward, posh and in the middle of a nasty divorce. And to make things even more complicated, he’s also her new boss. 

Local boy made good, soap star Euan Campbell, is the epitome of a charismatic leading man. His easy-going charm soon sweeps Marsaili off her feet, but is there more to him than meets the eye? 

To top it all off, Marsaili finds herself inexplicably drawn back to the simple, rural life she used to loathe. Can she finally figure out which dreams are worth pursuing, and would it really be so bad to resort to her back up career after all? 

Join Marsaili as she navigates the choppy seas of love, family, friendship and self-discovery. This heart-warming novel is full of romance, laughter and more than enough drama to keep you on the edge of your seat!

My thoughts:


Firstly, I need to mention the stunning cover which fits the story perfectly (although I may be biased because my daughter is a redhead too). As someone who lives in landlocked Wiltshire in the middle of the global pandemic, a glimpse of the sea was much appreciated.

Marsaili (rhymes with parsley) grew up in rural Scotland with a loving family but is living and working in Glasgow looking for a dream acting role. This book follows how her life starts to change after meeting her baby niece for the first time. There are some great comic moments, some romantic opportunities and plenty of drama, not just on the stage of the theatre.

I enjoyed the writing style of the story, full of detail to transport the reader to the theatre, a train, a wedding or a restaurant. The characters quickly became real and the story flowed over the pages. I was able to read the book over a quiet day at the weekend.

I love how Marsaili enjoys helping at her friend Isla’s Primary School – nice to see a positive story about helping/working in a school.

If you enjoy reading books about family, friendship and romance, and would like a virtual visit to Scotland, then please read a copy of the Back Up Plan. I’m looking forward to reading Elsie’s next book, which is released later this year.

Elsie McArthur:

Elsie McArthur is an independent author of women’s fiction. After studying law at university, and then re-training as a primary school teacher, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland with her husband, two kids, a couple of badly behaved dogs and a cat with a superiority complex. As well as continuing to work part time as a teacher, she is now indulging in her first love of writing. Her first book, ‘The Back Up Plan’, was released in January 2020. Her second novel, ‘Love, on the Rocks’ – a tale of love, loss and starting over set on the remote Scottish island of Inniscreag – is due for release in Summer 2020.

View all my reviews