13 Nov 2017

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Book Review / Secrets in Death by JD Robb


A new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series: Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…


Published:     5th September 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 45, In Death
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher





MY REVIEW

What I love about this series is the fact that you don't have to read them in order.  Now, I do have to admit that this goes against almost everything I do.  I like order.  I like starting at 1 and ending at 10 and so on.  I usually don't pick up things halfway through.  This is the exception.  There are 45 books in this series.  To be able to read this series in order and read this one, I would have to read 44 other books in the series.  This is something I am definitely going to plan to do, maybe for 2018, but for now I just wanted to experience this story.  With this series, you do not have a to pick them up in order.  You can pick up any one you want and get reading.  I have read a few of these now in this way, there is a 'bigger picture' that would be better experienced probably if you started at book 1.

What I liked the most about this story, honestly, was the ending.  Don't get me wrong, the build up was really good but the ending I was not expecting and threw me completely.  I loved it! 


Continue reading Book Review / Secrets in Death by JD Robb

9 Nov 2017

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Book Review / Perfect by Cecelia Ahern


You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.


Published:     6th April 2017
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Flawed
Source:  Bought



MY REVIEW

I loved the first book in this duology and could not wait any longer to find out what happens next.  Since it had been a little while since I had read the first book, Flawed, I did wonder whether I should re-read the first book before digging into this one but I decided not to.  A true test of a good next book in a series/duology is whether it goes a good job with reminding the reader what happened before.

As I had anticipated, Cecelia Ahern does a marvellous job reminding me what had happened in book 1, it was just as if I had just read it before picking up this one!  Good pacing, action and a few twists and turns along the way, my favourite combination.  There was not one moment in this story where I felt I was bored or the story was going nowhere.  The ending, as well, was perfect (excuse the pun!).

What I loved the most about this book and the duology as a whole is the message it gives that you don't have to be perfect.  You can be flawed and still be a valued member of the community.  A great message to send out everywhere... 



Continue reading Book Review / Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

6 Nov 2017

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Book Review / Rabbit by Patricia Williams


You want to know about the struggle of growing up poor, black and female? Ask any girl from any hood. You want to know what it takes to rise above your circumstances when all the cards are stacked against you? Ask me.

Comedian Patricia Williams, who for years went by her street-name "Rabbit," was born and raised in Atlanta’s most troubled neighborhood at the height of the crack epidemic.

One of five children, Pat watched as her alcoholic mother struggled to get by on charity, cons and petty crimes. At seven Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At 12, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior; by 13 she was pregnant. By 15 Pat was a mother of two.

Alone at 16, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive.

Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor that offers a rare glimpse into the harrowing reality of life on America’s margins, resilience, determination, and the transformative power of love.


Published:     22nd August 2017
Publisher:  Dey Street Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone, Non-Fiction
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

I don't usually pick up and read non-fiction.  That's not because I don't like them or anything like that, its just that I naturally gravitate towards fiction rather than non-fiction.  I have to be honest and say that I had not heard of Patricia Williams but the description alone piqued my interest and I wanted to find out more about her. 

I hadn't realised that this book would be quite as shocking as it was, purely for the level of abuse experienced from a very young age.  It appeared to me that there was a severe lack of any responsible adult about with the exception of an incredibly wonderful teacher who helped her at school.  

Following Patricia's story, I quickly discovered what a strong character Patricia is.  With all that she has gone through, she should be! 

A truly inspirational autobiography that I am so glad that I picked up and learned more. 










Continue reading Book Review / Rabbit by Patricia Williams

2 Nov 2017

Blog Tour / Author Interview - Fair of Face by Christina James

A double murder is discovered in Spalding some days after it takes place.

The victims are Tina Brackenbury, the foster mother of Grace Winter, a ten-year-old who escapes the killer because she is staying her friend Chloe Hebblewhite's house at the time, and Tina's infant daughter. Enquiries by the police and social services reveal that some four years previously Grace was the sole survivor of the horrific massacre of her mother, grandparents and sister at Brocklesby Farm in North Lincolnshire, a crime for which her uncle Tristram Arkwright is currently serving a whole-life tariff.

Why did Amy Winter, Grace's adoptive mother, send her to live with a foster parent? Is it a coincidence that both of Grace's families have now been brutally killed? And is it possible that Grace's uncle, a notorious con-man, has found a way to contact her from his maximum security cell?

DI Yates and his team face a series of apparently impenetrable conundrums.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I’m not clear about how collaborative authoring works. Writing has always seemed to me to be a very solitary activity. But I’d love to be able to share my MSs with another writer sympathetic to my work who could offer advice on how to improve it. Ours would be a reciprocal arrangement: I’d want to help them, too. If it was another crime writer, I’d probably choose Donna Leon: I much admire her work, and would value her advice, and although I wouldn’t be able to translate her novels, I might be able to suggest a few alternatives to some of the phrases her translators use. If it could be anyone at all, I’d opt for Sebastian Faulks – who, although he isn’t generally thought of as a crime writer, as the creator of Enderby has written one of the finest crime novels I’ve ever read. But I’m not sure how he’d react to me!

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I mostly write in my office, because my day job is based at home, so that’s where I usually am. However, I travel frequently, and I like writing on trains and planes. I often visit London, and when I’m there I sometimes visit the British Library to write between meetings. I also always choose somewhere quiet for my main annual holiday, so that I can spend my mornings writing – often devoting this time to working on the outline of a new novel. I’ve just returned from two weeks in the Dordogne, where I wrote for several hours each day. I try to write every day wherever I am – at least 1000 words. But often the day job, or some other aspect of daily life, intrudes and I don’t manage it!
What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Sticking to a daily routine, as I’ve just said.

When and why did you first start writing?
Like many authors, I’ve more or less been writing for ever. I started with a children’s book while I was still at primary school. When I was in my twenties I wrote a very literary novel, which was sent to Liz Calder, who was then and is still a famous editor (Jonathan Cape and Bloomsbury). She told me I could write but that I needed more plot. I persevered with the literary fiction for a while – I’ve written three novels which will never see print – but I took her point. I thought that focusing on crime fiction would help me to develop my plot-building skills. That’s when I started writing the DI Yates series.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Each of the Yates novels is a psychological thriller (I don’t do blood and guts) and each one is, I hope, quite different from the others. The plot and main character of Fair of Face was one that I’d been thinking about for some time. I’m not going to say too much about it, as this will almost certainly result in a ‘spoiler’. It’s about a very sensitive subject. Like all the Yates novels, it’s partly set in Spalding, in South Lincolnshire. One extraordinary thing about it is that after I’d started writing, a crime very similar to the one in the novel actually happened there. This is the second time that a major ‘real life’ event has mirrored something I’ve already written about. I’m not superstitious, but it is spooky!

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I’m a huge reader! The Booksellers Association’s definition of a ‘heavy book buyer’ is someone who buys 12 books a year; I’ve reached my quota well before the end of January each year. I read history, biography, current affairs and popular science as well as fiction, and I usually have several books on the go. At present I’m reading A Social History of England 900 – 1200, edited by Julia Crick and Elisabeth Van Houts, and Incarnations: A History of India in 50 Lives, by Sunil Khilnani (the latter to prepare myself for an upcoming visit to India). Fiction-wise, I’ve just finished reading The Squeeze, by Lesley Glaister, and I’m about to start 4321, by Paul Auster.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Revise, revise, revise is my mantra: but by this I don’t mean embroider your work. The trick is to pare it down, so that the prose is as elegant, timeless and spare as you can make it. Much easier said than done!






Continue reading Blog Tour / Author Interview - Fair of Face by Christina James

31 Oct 2017

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Book Review / 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter



Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

Published:     24th August 2017
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher





MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...   I particularly enjoyed following the story of Maggie who is an ageing widow who has a lot to tell about her past and it was very interesting to find out more.  Maggie's story centres around the first girl's disappearance. I won't give any more details away but her story was the most interesting for me. 

What I didn't like about this story...   The one thing I always look for in a thriller/crime novel and that is suspense.  Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be a great deal of that in this story.  With great suspense in a novel like this, it would have made me turn the pages quicker and enjoy the story a little bit more.  Instead, it made the story very slow to read and, to be honest, a bit boring in places. 


In summary... A very interesting story split between two different disappearances.  Slow paced but does have a very good twist ending...




Continue reading Book Review / 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

25 Oct 2017

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Book Review / A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting - he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd - whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself - Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.


Published:     27th September 2011
Publisher:  Walker Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library



MY REVIEW


What I loved about this story...  What an emotional read this turned out to be!  I had heard that this was a very heart felt story but I hadn't realised how much.  At the beginning, you have the comical relationship between Connor and his mother, where they have eaten curry and ending up farting!    I really can't imagine having to go through what Connor has to go through in this book and I was very surprised at how mature he seemed to be and that he had a very good sense of right and wrong.  If I was being picky, I would have liked to have learned more about his father and why he was not around.

If you have not read this book yet, I have found the best way to go into this book is not to know a great deal about it.   Go into reading this story with no expectation and no hint of what is to come, that was you can enjoy all the emotion that Patrick Ness throws at you.





Continue reading Book Review / A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

24 Oct 2017

Blog Tour Book Extract / Shadows by Paul Finch

As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.

When Lucy's patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.

Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water…










Extract 4 from Chapter 5, pp.45-46
 


The offender was basically a mugger, but the West Midlands press had named him ‘the Creep’ because of his crazy fixed grin, which owed possibly to a mask or heavy make-up. A Joker lookalike, then; a comic-book madman. But there hadn’t been much to laugh about for his victims, who’d not just lost wads of cash but, even when they’d complied, had been slashed with what appeared to be an old-fashioned but well-honed cavalry sabre. Invariably it had inflicted gruesome wounds, and in the case of the most recent victim, had proved fatal.

She leaned forward. ‘How’ve you heard about this, Jerry?’
Now, my dear . . . as you know, I never divulge such things. But as you also know, my sources are impeccable.’
What’s the Creep’s name? I mean his real name.’
This I cannot tell.’
Cannot, or will not?’
Cannot.’
So where will I find him?’
Alas, I have no answer for that either.’

Jerry . . .’ she leaned closer to his ear, ‘you seriously think you’re going to get paid for this? Passing on an unfounded rumour that this guy may be in Crowley . . . may be? And giving us nothing else whatsoever?’

I suspected you’d be hostile. Ignorance, as always, breeds contempt. I imagine I will only get paid if you apprehend this scoundrel . . . as per our usual arrangement. How you make that happen is beyond my control.’
Do you have anything else on him at all?’
It is my belief that he will have come here to work.’
Work?’
To continue his bloody reign.’

Seriously?’ Lucy wondered if he was winding her up. ‘You think this bloke’s on the run from a murder charge, and a few weeks later he’s just going to blow all that by starting again only an hour up the railway line?’

McGlaglen shook his head. ‘I know no more about this case than you, Miss Clayburn, but I have read sufficient disgusting detail to form an opinion that for this malefactor it is as much about the swordplay as it is the money. I appreciate that sudden fear has driven him to change towns. But really . . . how long can such a depraved individual resist temptation?’



Continue reading Blog Tour Book Extract / Shadows by Paul Finch

21 Oct 2017

Blog Tour / The Note by Zoe Folbigg



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since
freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. This is her debut novel.

Follow Zoe

Twitter: @zolington
Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

About the book

As featured on ITV's 'This Morning'...
Based on Zoë Folbigg's true story comes an unforgettable romance about how a little note can change everything...

One very ordinary day,
Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London, and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably, that he is The One.

But the
beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though, inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note asking him out for a drink. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen?
And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness where you least expect it.
The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change everything…
Available on NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2xk8jzq

Buy links:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hkpXwt

Follow Aria

Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction


Continue reading Blog Tour / The Note by Zoe Folbigg

19 Oct 2017

Blog Tour / Upstairs, Downstairs by Olivia Hart



Secrets on your doorstep don’t stay secret for long… A romantic comedy perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.
When
Daniele Bracci – a musician at Rome’s Opera Theatre arrives at his new apartment, he is surprised by the warm welcome he receives from his neighbours. Giovanna however, is more preoccupied with introducing him to her daughter Anita. But what she doesn’t know is that for the last two years, Anita has been secretly seeing someone else.

When
Anita is introduced to the new tenant, she has the shock of her life – Daniele was Anita’s first love at high school. Can she come to terms with the terrible way things ended between them?
Anita isn't the only one with something to hide… and none of these secrets go unnoticed by Pina, the apartment gossip who writes everything down in her secret diary...

Available on NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2xtoDNo

Buy links:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2fEKqIL

Follow Aria

Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivia Hart is a collective group of authors who met five years ago on a writing course and then could no longer do without each other's company. They decided to write a novel that would bind them forever.

Follow Olivia





Continue reading Blog Tour / Upstairs, Downstairs by Olivia Hart

18 Oct 2017

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Book Review / When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


Published:     30th May 2017
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...    Right from the very start, the dynamic between Dimple and Rishi made me laugh.  From the first time they met, when Rishi made the mistake of introducing himself to Dimple a bit to friendly in which her reply was to throw her drink on him!  I did find the interaction between the two main characters very entertaining! 

What I didn't like about this story...  Firstly, I am not entirely sure whether she is meant to come off this way I did find Dimple to have a very spoilt and childish manner about her.  She will do what she wants to do and not think of anything else.  Of course, that is fair enough when she is thinking about her own future but that bothered me a bit.  Next, I also felt there was a bit too much insta-friendship etc in this book, everything seemed to happen far too quickly and, for me, it felt unrealistic.  Lastly, I had wished there would be more of a plot than just a boy meets girl type situation.  With just this happening throughout the book, I was bored.

In summary...  This book has been hyped up so much since its release I did wonder whether it was the right time for me to give this a go.  If a book is hyped up, I do tend to set my expectations rather high.  Unfortunately, that was the case with this book.  I found the main character to be annoying, too much insta-friendship and insta-love and not enough plot to keep me interested.  I did, however, read the entire book, which I think was purely because I enjoyed the writing.   I am intrigued to follow this author to see what comes out next but I won't be picking up this book again. 




Continue reading Book Review / When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Book Extract / Blog Tour - Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley




Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.

For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas.

 
Extract Fourteen from Chapter Eight, pp 52-53

‘The thing is, I met Greg while I was at low point. One of the regulars at the Fingle was a volunteer at one of the youth centres where I’d rocked up – forced to by my probation officer. He saw something in me, God knows what, and he told Greg about me. Greg and Judy took me on as a pot washer in the bar. They gave me a chance.’ He smiled. ‘Many, many chances until I finally realised how bloody lucky I was and got my act together and decided to live a pure and sin-free life henceforth.’

‘Pure and sin-free? That sounds boring,’ Maisie joked.

Patrick laughed. ‘Not as boring as staring at four walls for twenty hours a day, or waking up in a pool of your own vomit.’

She winced, then it clicked. ‘Ah. The Coke. You’re teetotal, aren’t you?’

‘I am. Does that put you off taking me on as bar staff?’

‘On the contrary, I consider it an asset.’

Maisie blew out a breath, trying to take in the story she’d heard. Patrick was so blasé about his terrible childhood and youth. Breezing through a tragic tale as if he were talking about an exciting rugby match. Maisie was certain that there was a lot more to discover about Patrick McKinnon, but how much did she want to know? His smiling eyes hid so much, she thought. As did her gobby, sassy façade. ‘Interesting way of trying to impress your new boss,’ she said. ‘“Shitty weather and whingeing moaners”, eh?’

Patrick gave a wry smile. ‘With some exceptions, of course. Gull Island’s not too shabby, when the sun’s out . . .
He left the sentence hanging, tantalisingly. Left her waiting for the line about the Driftwood and its owner: her.

But nothing.

‘You made a reference to “my new boss”,’ he added instead of a compliment to Maisie. She wasn’t sure if she was disappointed or relieved he hadn’t tried to flatter her. She really had no idea how she felt about taking on Patrick McKinnon. ‘So, does that mean you’re not put off by my history?’
‘Well, there’s been nothing I need to know about since your spell in prison, has there?’
‘So I’m hired?’

She had a feeling she might be making the biggest mistake of her life . . . Maisie smiled and held out her hand. Patrick grasped it firmly but without trying to prove some point by mashing her bones. ‘Subject to your references checking out, yes. Congratulations and welcome to the Driftwood. Now, let me show you the staff accommodation.’





Continue reading Book Extract / Blog Tour - Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley