Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Blog Tour - Summer In The Orchard

Publication date 3rd January 2019
About the book 
Sophie Henderson loves her job at Carter's Cider in the picturesque Somerset village of Little Somerby, but with summer dawning before yet another picking and pressing season, and her boss David showing no signs of wanting to hang up his cider jug, perhaps it is time to move on.
She's all set to hand in her notice when Alex Fraser, an intern from Vancouver, comes to Little Somerby to learn everything he can about the cider business. With Sophie as his mentor, attraction between them starts to grow alongside the apples.
For Alex, however, being in Little Somerby is about more than cider, and as the summer grows warmer, and his relationship with Sophie blossoms, can he find the courage to tell her the truth before it's too late?
Fay Keenan's charming, funny and deliciously romantic Little Somerby novels are sure to delight all fans of Jilly Cooper, Fern Britton and Katie Fforde.
'Moving, funny, thoughtful and romantic. Bring on the next one!' JENNY KANE.

About the author
Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.

Follow Fay:
Twitter: @faykeenan
Facebook: @faykeenanauthor

Buy links

Follow Aria
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

My Review

I have absolutely adored the previous two Little Somerby books so I was so excited for this part and oh wow it did not disappoint it was fabulous.

I just love the characters and it was so nice to be introduced to the new characters has well as having the previous characters featuring heavy in it.

A really beautiful read, one that just captures your heart.

‘So, what brings you to Carter’s Cider?’ Sophie asked as the three of them walked back to where she had been mixing. ‘It’s a long way to come for a minimum wage internship!’
Alex smiled. ‘I’ve just bought a cider business in a town outside Vancouver, and before I can really get going, I wanted to learn how best to get it on its feet. Carter’s came up as the place to learn about English apples, since they’re the best in the world for cider. I’ve learnt a lot about the native Canadian varieties, but I want to produce an original Anglo-Canadian blend that would be a real selling point back home.’
Sophie smiled. ‘What about French varieties? We’ve got one or two from across the Channel that we incorporate into our blends, and surely there must be plenty that came over to Canada with the French settlers?’
‘Oh, of course,’ Alex said hurriedly. ‘But they’re mostly used in Quebec, where conditions are a little different. I’m really looking for something English that I can use that’s robust enough to withstand a Vancouver winter.’
‘Well, you’ve come to the right place,’ Sophie said. She could already hear the enthusiasm in Alex’s voice for his project. She knew that artisan cideries were springing up all over the place, so she wasn’t surprised that Carter’s Cider was getting international interest; they were one of the biggest brands in the UK, after all. ‘If you’re going to learn about English apples, this is definitely the place to be. It’s just a shame Jack Carter’s no longer with us – Matthew and Jonathan Carter’s dad. He knew absolutely everything there was to know about growing apples.’
‘So I’ve heard,’ Alex said. His tone was light, but Sophie noticed he bit his lip as he replied; he must be pretty nervous about being here and want to make a good impression.
‘There’ll be a lot to take in,’ she continued, ‘so don’t be surprised if your head is spinning by the end of the day!’
The two began to walk over to the exit of the filtration floor, towards the main yard where the apple baths were housed. ‘Have you always been into cider?’ Sophie asked as they walked, before bursting out laughing. ‘I’m sorry, that was a stupid way to put it. I mean, what makes you want to run a cidery?’
‘I wanted a change of direction,’ Alex said as they emerged blinking into the strong early summer sunlight. ‘I am… I mean, I was, a lawyer before making this change, but I’ve always wanted to do something more creative. When the orchard came up for sale near to where my parents lived, I thought it was a great chance to change direction.’
‘And what do they think about it? Your parents?’ Sophie asked.
Alex paused for a split second before replying. ‘My mom died at the end of last year, but I think she’d have really liked the idea. My stepdad’s been really supportive but he’s not in great health himself.’
Sophie’s heart lurched. ‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ she said.
‘Thanks.’ Alex shook his head and then smiled slightly. ‘Mom was really fond of the area where she lived, so I think she’d like it that I’m making a go of something new there. But if I am going to make it work, I need a crash course in cider blending! There’s quite a difference between producing a few bottles at home and scaling that up, or so I’m led to believe, so I’m looking forward to learning a lot from Carter’s – and you.’
‘We can guarantee you that here.’ Sophie replied, relieved that the conversation was moving on. ‘You’ll have plenty of ideas to take back with you.’ She glanced at her schedule for the day on her iPad. At this time of year, when the cider business was gearing up for the first pressings at the end of the summer, it was all about planning ahead. ‘Shall we get started?’
‘Sure,’ Alex replied. He seemed to hold her gaze a little too long, and Sophie felt her cheeks growing warm. She made it a rule never to fancy anyone at work, and for ten years she had stuck to it; workplace romances were just too awkward, in her opinion. She’d seen Laura’s devastation when she’d split up with her last boyfriend, who still worked in the cannery, and she didn’t want to get involved with someone she’d be forced to see every day if things went wrong. After her heartache over Mark, too, she was on her guard even more. There was no doubting that Alex was attractive, though.
Banishing the thought from her mind, Sophie started by showing Alex the cider vat floor, where the forty-eight enormous steel vats stood, ready to be filled with the apple mixture that turned, like magic, into the bestselling varieties of Carter’s cider through its own process of natural fermentation. This truly was the industrial arm of the business, and as Sophie explained about the thousands of litres of cider that were produced here every day she saw Alex shaking his head in mild disbelief.
‘These steel vats are from Germany,’ she said as they looked twenty-five feet upwards at the solid, shining, implacable units that lined the fermenting room. ‘Every time one needs replacing, it’s brought in on the back of a flatbed truck with a crane, and then winched through the roof into place. The roof slides back, and we need to make sure that it’s a dry day when we do it or it gets very messy in here.’
Moving on, Sophie showed Alex her favourite part of the farm, where the oak vats were kept. Pushing open the door to the barn, she paused, inhaling the scent of oak and age. The vats exuded a sense of timelessness, dark and mysterious in their presence. They were the jewel in the crown of the business. ‘These go back to the very start of things,’ she said, as she pushed open the door further to admit Alex. ‘They’re what most people think of when they think of cider, although they tend to only hold the speciality varieties these days – Eloise, of course, and the Vintage years, as well as the seriously strong Somerset Sprite.’ Walking through to where the first vat stood, she rested a hand briefly on the side of it. Thirty-four feet high, and fifteen feet in diameter, made of oak that once housed the finest Scotch whisky, their slats were roughened and darkened by decades of use. It was as if they were still living, still breathing, still watching.
Alex circled the vat, craning his neck upwards to take in the sheer height of them. ‘They’re beautiful,’ he murmured. ‘Breathtaking.’ Following Sophie’s lead, he placed a hand on the side of the nearest vat, feeling its rough texture under his palm.
‘They’re stunning, aren’t they?’ Sophie agreed. She couldn’t help herself; her eyes drifted from Alex’s face to where his hand, fingers splayed on the side of the barrel, rested, back to his lips and then down his body. He seemed completely lost in the moment, and she felt a jolt of something that felt very definitely like attraction. His eyes were wide, lips slightly parted; he was clearly entranced by the sight, sound, scent and touch of the ancient wooden structures that gave the barn its name. Get a grip, she thought. No relationships at work, remember?
Coming back to the moment, Alex dropped his hand. ‘I wish I could afford something like this for Adelaide’s,’ he said, ‘but I’m not sure I could house something on this scale.’
‘There are a couple of smaller ones in the shop.’ Sophie smiled. ‘I’m sure you’ll have plenty of chance to see them and taste it all over the next few weeks, too. Although I’d bear in mind that some of our varieties can give you quite a sore head if you have too much of a good thing!’ Sophie remembered quite a few of her own nights lost to Somerset Sprite, back when she was a teenager.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Blog Tour - Moonlight on the Thames

Publication date 4th September 2018
About the book
Worlds collide when two strangers meet at Waterloo station. It's a moment they'll never forget. Perfect for the fans of Milly Johnson.
Christmas is a joyous time, but not everyone is merry and bright.
Nicola is a rising star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has lost its allure, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is just about the last straw...
Dmitri loves conducting his pop-up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist.
Can their hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?
Purchase  Links
Amazon: goo.gl/oUbgYf
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2LX8DY9
Ibooks: Moonlight on the Thames
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2LUeoG9
About the Author
Lauren Westwood writes romantic women's fiction, and is also an award-winning children's writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters.
Social Media Links
Facebook: @Lwestwoodbooks;
Twitter: @lwestwoodwriter;
Website: www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com
Instagram: @lwestwoodwriter;
Goodreads: Lauren Westwood;
Booktrail: https://www.thebooktrail.com/book-trails/moonlight-on-the-thames/  (this is a third-party site).
Playlist (music plays a big part in the book): http://www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com/playlist 
My Review
This is a different sort of Christmas book to the ones I normally read but I am glad I read this as it was a really great read. I really liked the characters in this and their storylines, Nicola and Dmitri they both have had a tough time of it and I really enjoyed reading more about them and I felt that spark between them from the minute they first meet.
Some parts are difficult to read and brought a tear to my eye but this was just a small part of the book. From the minute I read this book I had to keep reading I was really intrigued to what was going to happen. Also the music throughout which is referenced was fantastic.
Win 2 x Signed copies of Moonlight On The Thames (UK Only)
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