Search

Darcie Boleyn

Heartwarming Romance

#bookreview – The Arrangement – by Sonya Lalli @saskinthecity #the arrangement @orionbooks

What a funny, heart-warming, sparkling rollercoaster of a debut novel!

The ArrangementUnknown-2.jpeg is absolutely delightful and it has made me laugh out loud and cry along the way.

The heroine, Raina, has her hands full with her interfering – yet adorable – Nani, her gorgeous (yet absent) ex Dev, her best friend Shay, her unfulfilling job and her close community. Add in a difficult relationship with her biological mother and Raina’s life is turbulent to say the least.

Families, communities and dating are complicated and Ms Lalli doesn’t shy away from this; she shows the ups and downs unflinchingly. What single woman approaching thirty hasn’t been asked about when she’ll settle down and start a family, then been viewed as unusual if she still isn’t quite sure what she wants? This is Raina’s plight as her Nani tries to set her up with a variety of eligible bachelors, while Raina battles her own remaining feelings for her first true love, Dev. Then along comes handsome teacher Asher…

The Arrangement really is a five star read and I look forward to reading more by this talented author.

#bookreview – The Silent Wife – by Kerry Fisher @KerryFSwayne @bookouture

Unknown-1.jpegKerry Fisher’s writing always draws me in from the first page and grips me until the last. I need to clear my schedule before starting one of her books because I know I won’t want to put it down.

The Silent Wife is absolutely fabulous! It’s about families and the complicated webs that exist within them, about how people lie to protect themselves and others. I loved the way that Ms Fisher slowly revealed the family’s secrets and how she created such real and raw emotion along the way. The female characters are strong and individual, yet bound together by the men in their lives and by their children. There is a clear sense of how dynamics shift when another woman enters a family and how the matriarch is not always who you expect.

This novel is gripping, exciting, page turning and addictive and I loved every page.

 

FIVE STARS FROM ME 

 

Unknown.jpeg

#coverreveal – Christmas at the Dancing Duck – by @daisyjamesbooks

Today I am delighted to take part in Daisy James’s cover reveal for Christmas at the Dancing Duck!

Look at the beautiful festive cover…

Christmas at the Dancing Duck

And here’s the blurb:

A wonderfully festive romantic read to curl up with this Christmas.

The most wonderful time of the year!

Kirstie Harrison is finally coming home for the holidays. Ever since tragedy struck a few years ago, Christmas hasn’t felt the same – but she’s determined that this year will be different…

And staying at the family pub, The Dancing Duck, means it’s impossible not to get caught up in the little village of Cranbury’s festive traditions. And it’s equally impossible to avoid her ex, Josh Turner!

Kirstie is torn between making this the best Christmas yet and knowing that she can’t stay forever. Maybe it’s time to make a holiday wish of her own…?

#bookreview – Cocktails and Dreams – by @ALMichael_ @canelo_co

Unknown-1.jpeg

Cocktails and Dreams has everything you need from a heart-warming, emotional and fulfilling read this summer.

The story is raw, funny and real, and I lurched from laughing out loud to blinking away tears. A.L.Michael writes so beautifully, that Cocktails and Dreams completely won my heart.

Firstly, there is the beautiful story of Savannah, a young woman once abandoned by her rock star mother. Who wouldn’t be hurt and damaged by this? Savvy is so loveable, sweet, funny and strong that I rooted for her all the way through. Savvy goes through a journey in the novel and thanks to the fabulous writing, I was right there with her.

Secondly, there is the gorgeous bartender Milo. He’s honest, funny and perfect for Savvy, but can she allow herself to love him, because, you know, the girl has plans… But OH, the scenes where she realises that he’s a special guy!

Thirdly, the relationships in the novel between Savvy and her aunt, her father and her mother are so realistic and relatable. I devoured the family dynamics and laughed and cried along with them.

Finally, there are the cocktails and the food Savvy cooks… WOW! A.L.Michael’s descriptions of the cocktails are mouth-watering, sensual and evocative. I wanted to try every one!

This is a story about friendship, families, attraction, personal growth and acceptance. I LOVED every page!

And I can’t finish this review without saying this… wombletoff dickbag is up there with the best insults ever!!!

 

Unknown.jpeg

Bringing Up Bravo – Adopting A Greyhound – by Jon Trew #greyhound #rescuedog

01c3182ee8a15476167125899f55099c85113f4cdf

Strangers often ask how do I tell my two black greyhounds apart.  Renee ( the girl) and Bravo (the boy) are both about the same size and have similar white patches, they are even distant cousins. However almost everything about Bravo’s personality is different to Renee’s. The first lesson we learnt when we adopted our boy was, what worked with Renee didn’t work at all with Bravo. The cuddles and the kisses that Renee loved and the attention from strangers she loved, sent Bravo into a terrified panic.  All our training tips went out the window. It was back to the drawing board.

IMG_2817I think the most important thing to understand about Bravo AKA Mr B and other nervous dogs like him, is the importance of taking your time.  If you force the pace it can have the opposite effect that you want.  Bravo though scared of his own shadow, can be a very stubborn dog, so forcing him can just entrench his fears and reinforce his behaviour. Let your fearful dog come to you. Just go about your normal life and let the animal get used to your routines. Dogs are pack animals, so there is a natural urge for her to bond with you and join your pack. Just let this happen. Be quiet and calm.

At first Bravo liked to stay in the dining room, while we sat in the lounge. He obviously wanted to be with us but found it difficult to let himself trust us.  He really wanted to but his hyper fearfulness kept stopping him. He would walk down the hall and look into the lounge, look at us, then go back to the front room. Encouraging him didn’t help.  We tried food, treats toys and kind words but none worked. Ignoring him was a better strategy.  One day he walked down the hall and popped his head into the lounge seventeen times, until on the eighteenth he struck up enough confidence to come in and lie on the floor with my wife and I. Allow your girl to have somewhere to go where she can hide and let her come to you.  Don’t force her into a corner, we did this by accident one day with Bravo, he wet himself with fear.  It was pitiful.

Treats didn’t work with Bravo. Though he loves his food and will steal anything edible left around, the stress and fear hormones that flood his body turn off his appetite and the ability to eat. So even if I have the most juicy snack, Bravo is physically unable to eat it.  Imagine trying to eat just before an exam, or going on stage.  Having permanent stage fright or exam nerves is what life had been like all the time for Bravo. Paula Evans from the rescue team who has worked with hundreds of rescued greys, described him as the most frightened dog she had ever come across. She told me the first time she saw him, Bravo even got up onto his hind legs in order to press himself more tightly into a corner of his  pen and try to climb up the wall to get away.

Bravo didn’t like loud noises or sudden movements, so we found that being quiet, calm and gentle was the key. Even plumping up the cushions on the sofa would scare him. However we decided that while we would avoid making loud bangs and crashes it was not a good idea to make a fuss over him when he was scared by normal sounds   We wanted him to see from our reactions that there was nothing to fear.  I don’t know if this is scientific but we felt it was best to ignore Bravo’s over reaction to normal noises and act as if there was nothing to be scared of.  Dogs are very sensitive to our body language and emotions and pick up on them easily.  I’ve worked with children with behavioural problems and one of the techniques I’ve used when they are upset or challenging, is to distract and divert.  So if I see a problem coming up such as a group of loud children, or a man with a walking stick (all triggers for panics reactions from Bravo) I will start to talk to him, or break into a jog, or take a different path, or do something where he has to look at me.

Bravo was very keen to go out for walks. He would stand by the front door when I picked up the leads and wag his tail. He willingly jumped into the back of the car but once we got to the park he was often too afraid to get out of the car.  I discovered that if I opened the boot and Renee jumped out Bravo would jump too, however if there was a delay Bravo would lose his nerve and I would have to lift him out. I noticed after a while that he much preferred places that were secluded, particularly woodland paths.  Big open spaces such as the sports fields made him on edge and unable to relax.  He was forever scanning the horizon for new threats.  Even dogs three football fields away could make him nervous.  Bravo’s favourite walk was the Mill Wood.  It was quiet wooded area and the paths through the trees and bushes made sure that strangers could only appear from one direction. This made him far more comfortable.  Unlike Renee who wanted to be off the lead as soon as possible sniffing bushes, Bravo liked to be on the lead. The lead gave him confidence that I was in charge and was protecting him. The Mill wood became our regular haunt and after a week or two Bravo started to jump out of the car when we arrived at the Wood keen for his walk.
dsc1737.jpgHaving super confident Renee has been a big help to Bravo. She is a brilliant role model and her confidence is infectious. Whatever happened, Bravo would immediately follow Renee.  If I opened the door so Renee could have a wee, Bravo would follow her out. Though I had to remember not to stand by the door, otherwise Bravo would not run past me. In the winter this became a bit of a problem as I had to open the door to the garden then walk away, leaving it open so Bravo could go outside and again when he ran back in again.  Sometimes I even had to go out into the garden and get behind Bravo so he would run away from me but back into the house.

Things slowly began to change.  Bravo responded to the stability, repetition and routine we were able to offer him.  Slowly he began to join us in the lounge, then one day he decided at bedtime to run up the stairs and sleep in our bedroom.  Renee has always had a basket in our room and now Bravo decided that it was less scary being with us than it was downstairs on his own. Just being in the same room as us seemed to help.  After a few months we noticed Bravo had decided to sit on the sofa. One day I sat on the other end of the sofa and amazingly Bravo stayed put, then a few weeks after that he even climbed onto the sofa while I was sitting on it. My daughter Isabel unlike the rest of the family is not an animal lover.  She doesn’t dislike them, she simply goes about the house and acts as if they don’t exist.  She doesn’t stroke them, feed them, or talk to them.  It seemed strange to me that she was the first person in our family that Bravo chose to sit next to.  However this has been an important lesson. Don’t push or force your affections on your traumatised dog. Affection should be on their terms, not ours. Bravo does like affection but on his terms. I’ve found that it is best to start stroking Bravo just above his back legs and then slowly move the strokes forward along his back until I’m stroking his head and ears.  This gives him time to relax into it. If I go straight for he head, he flinches and moves away.
IMG_0927

Bravo has always preferred women to men and my wife took the lead with him in the first few weeks.  Perhaps it is her calmer quieter voice, or perhaps it is some bad memories of cruel men from his past.  We will never know.  He is also scared of children, particularly when they yell and scream.  His biggest phobia is small boys with sticks.  However, despite his fear of men, after a few months he began to trust me.  Small steps at first, a wagging tale when I came into the house, a sniff here and there and then some eye contact.  A few weeks later he started to really bond with me and follow me around the house, even into the shower and toilet. Bravo is now firmly my dog and trusts me enough to let me pick him up and carry him across the stepping stones at Ogmore without a single wriggle or panic. He wakes me up in the morning with a nuzzle to my face and wags his tail so vigorously when I come home that once he even damaged it.

Bravo will never be the super confident dog that Renee is.  He will always be timid and cautious but now I can walk with him without a lead in the countryside knowing he loves to be by my side.  And that his life today is a million times better that it was before.

13100716_10154245094543694_2027519167605434426_n

5* #bookreview – Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera by @jenniewriter #amreading

C2XQfyCXAAAbmdB.png

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet is a delightful read that transported me to a beautiful destination and involved me in the lives of the characters so deeply that I really cared about what happened to them.

This story has everything you want in a summer read: romance, conflict, family relationships, emotional revelations and uplifting moments. The descriptions of the food and wine are mouthwatering and I would love to visit Rosie’s cafe to enjoy one of the delicious meals on the beach and to sip champagne as the waves lap at the shore.
The story is about love and life, about how people can let you down or lift you up, and about how one summer can change your life.
This was a beautiful read and I highly recommend it!

 

AMAZON UK

 

Unknown.jpeg

Celebrating great news!!! @canelo_co @LBAamanda @LBABooks #author #agent

Darcie Boleyn

A few years ago, I dreamt of being a published author and of one day securing a literary agent. The last year in my writing world has been amazing because it seems that dreams really can come true!

After signing with fabulous publisher Canelo, my Christmas novel A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas did very well in the winter of 2016, and my May 2017 release, Summer at Conwenna Cove has been riding high in the Amazon Kindle charts and it even spent several weeks in the top 100. On top of this, my summer release Love at the Italian Lake is on Amazon for preorder and it has an absolutely beautiful cover.

I am feeling extremely lucky.

Today, I have even more good news to share. I have signed with the wonderful literary agent Amanda Preston at LBA Books, which means that the future looks even brighter.

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.52.50

Have a fabulous week! XXX

 

#bookreview – Court of Lions – by @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books

Court of Lions blog tour banner.png

 

I am delighted today to be able to post my review of Jane Johnson’s fabulous novel Court of Lions. The moment I saw this book on the Head of Zeus Twitter feed, I knew I had to read it!

So here’s my review:

Court of Lions is the first book I’ve ready by Jane Johnson and it certainly won’t be the last! This novel was a sensual and emotional delight from beginning to end.

The reader is taken on two fascinating and gripping journeys, one in 15th century Spain, following Blessings, companion to Prince Abdullah Mohammed, and the other modern day, following Kate Fordham, an Englishwoman working in Granada.

The two stories are interwoven, which is a narrative technique that I really enjoyed. Both characters have secrets and fears and suffer mistreatment at the hands of others, but both have enduring hopes and dreams.

Ms Johnson creates captivating descriptions of the Alhambra, whisking the reader away to the Granada of Prince Abdullah Mohammed with her exquisite prose and meticulous historical research, and her own love of the location shines through.

One thing in particular that stood out for me is that this is a love story. Blessings’ love for Prince Abdullah Mohammed is beautiful, all consuming and painful, as unrequited love can be. There is a message here that love is love, whatever form it comes in, and the human capacity for love – and sometimes forgiveness – has not changed, whatever else mankind might be guilty of.

Court of Lions is a book about life, love, friendship, families and passion. It’s about greed and fanaticism and how damaging both can be, whether in the 1400s or 2017. It’s about light and darkness, and how sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the two. And it’s about hope. Because sometimes hope is all we have to cling to.

I thoroughly recommend this book, especially for readers who enjoy dual timelines, for readers who like romance novels and for those who appreciate well-researched historical tales.

FIVE FABULOUS STARS!!!

 

court-Lions-UKHb-500

*I would like to thank Jane Johnson and Head of Zeus publishing for the ARC of Court of Lions.*

WATCH JANE’S VIDEO ABOUT THE BOOK HERE.

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON UK

AMAZON.COM

 

JANE JOHNSON

#guestpost – Why I adopted a greyhound – by Lisa Vye-Parminter #mondayblogs #greyhounds

 

20170526_204132.jpgMy family suggested I find a four-legged ‘best friend’ as the house was very empty after our two sight hounds went to live with my ex. I thought this would be impossible, due to working 5 days a week, but my boss said an ‘office dog’ was just what I needed. I didn’t want a little dog and wanted a breed that would love to be out and about but also calm when in the office. Years ago, I’d always wanted a greyhound but I fostered and rehomed ferral cats for a local charity, so unfortunately it wasn’t an option.

I asked my boss if a big dog would be okay to bring to work and she said a greyhound would be fine!

I started looking at rescue sites and Greyhound Rescue Wales kept coming up. All those adorable faces flicking up on my PC screen, all wanting to be loved, with an emotional piece written about each dog made my decision. GRW cared that the correct family was found for the dog, not the other way around.

I was asked if I’d consider a black dog… apparently these are harder to rehome! So black was my choice!

my-girl.jpg

When I got a phone call from Sandra Wynne (Hillcrest’s sanctury manager) saying she had a dog in mind, who she thought would be perfect for me, I was over the moon. Maggie (then known as Marjorie) hadn’t settled well at Hillcrest, so had been living with a foster carer to help with her transition to a life that most dogs grow up with.

Maggie was nearly five when she finished her racing career with over 99 races – her last race was in Feb 2016 and I believe she went to GRW in spring 2016.

I’d been told she was shy (a bit standoffish until she knew you) and this was true and sad that this beautiful girl was like this due to her past.

20170526_220537

She has blossomed in the seven months I’ve had her. For example, she’s learnt how to climb stairs, but has to circle three times at the bottom before going up. Her best friend is my daughter’s one year old corgi, who has taught Maggie (or Maggie Moo or Moo Moo as I call her, lol) how to play, how to chase and how to be a dog, not a money earning machine.

It’s taking Maggie a long time to build trust and friendships with my friends, and she’s very wary of men, especially if they are ‘larger’. It is heartbreaking to see her hide behind me, but we’ll get there when Maggie is ready.

20170531_181513.jpg

Maggie is now good with horses when I take her to the yard where I keep them and she’s lucky that we are allowed to use the fields for secure off-lead running.

She still has lots of issues but everyday there’s a little breakthrough.  I have to admit, I cried the first time she awkwardly climbed on the sofa and put her head on my lap and went to sleep; it was such a huge step for my anxious girl.

Maggie has made such a difference to my life (as I suffer with depression and anxiety) and she’s made life fun again. My life is no longer empty and seeing the changes in her behaviour is brilliant. She makes me smile and laugh every day and is a dab paw at wooden treat puzzles.

Adopting Maggie has been one of the most rewarding two-way experience that I have had. Every single day brings new pleasures.

I love my shy loving dustbin with her deadly whippy tail.

first-trip-to-beach.jpg

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑