Thursday, 27 April 2017

REVIEW-The Second Chance Teashop by Fay Keenan

Fellow Aria author, Fay Keenan has brought out her debut novel, perfect to pack in your suitcase for your summer holiday

Publisher's Blurb

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it's time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.


An easy to read story where the main character, Anna, is getting over a sad loss but appears to have got her life sorted out and onto a new path to success – she has even met a handsome new man. I thought I knew where the story was going, however as it progressed there was a great deal more to the storyline which made it unputdownable.

This is the perfect light-hearted romance designed for a sunny day on a lounger with a cool drink, or   read curled up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate. A surprisingly well crafted debut novel, which tells me there will be more to look forward to from this author. The prose flows beautifully and the portrait of the village of Little Somerby, its characters and the celebration of blessing the apple trees is brilliantly authentic.

Anna and Matthew have a shaky start to their relationship, but instead of the misunderstanding/split scenario, what follows is a charming love story which takes a few bends and bumps but is always interesting and turns which keep you engaged throughout. I was delighted to see a sequel is in the mix and look forward to re-visiting this setting, in the hope of reading more about Anna, Matthew, Meredith and Ellie.

Fay's Website
Twitter @faykeenan

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Sticks, Stones and Bad Reviews

Negative reviews carry a sting which lingers whether an author likes to admit it or not.  A few sharp comments rushed off online can nullify months, even years of work as savaging an author takes little skill and a lot of venom - and to what purpose? To deliberately injure a writer they have never met simply because they can?

We have all read books we have hated - a character we didn't take to, a storyline we thought unbelievable and over simplified, or a plot which didn't work. However most of us choose not to air our views public at the expense of an author.

Trashing a book with scathing personal criticism or hyperbole against an author says more about the reviewer than the reviewed. It's also instinctive for a writer to respond to a bad review with an answering tirade but it’s best to remember that reviews are a single person's opinion and nothing more. Most of us have read an author’s response which have turned into online back and forth rant between attacker and attacked, and neither of them come out of it particularly well. 

We all read different things into books. They either touch us or they don't and what is one persons 'OMG best book ever' is another's 'This is rubbish'. And are they all bad? A negative review amongst a page of five star ones has piqued my curiosity on occasion and made me buy the book.  Authors cannot control a reader's expectation of a novel, so liking or disliking a book is often a question of personal taste.  

I don't claim to be a literary giant writing award winning books that carve a niche in society and touch souls. I write light-hearted stories with a beginning, middle and an end where the good triumph and the bad get their just desserts - mostly. I do know that anyone who has ever written a book is unlikely to deliberately and cruelly trash anyone else's work - we know too well what goes into producing one.

Therefore I take the stance that if readers don't like my books - don't read them. I can live with that. 

Here are some interesting links to some famous books which attracted unfavourable reviews. One from The Saturday Review which says of Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

'Miss Lee's problem has been to tell the story she wants to tell and yet to stay within the consciousness of a child, and she hasn't consistently solved it.'

Even Classics Get Trashed

Shockingly Bad Reviews