The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

    Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

    There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

I love it when you get a book and you read it in one day, you know the kind, where you don’t want to put it down because you want to know the ending but at the same time you don’t want it to end at all?

That’s what I had with this book.

I knew I had to be a part of the blog tour for The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, having read Love Me Tinder by Nicola and loved it, I knew that I had to read this one.

Nicola has a great way of writing her characters and their stories she makes them believable, you want to follow their story.

Rosa is no different, you want to follow her story and you want to see her get her happy ending. You join her on her little rollercoaster ride of life and you want to stay on until the end.

I loved all the characters, I loved the story, it had romance, it had heartbreak, it had great friendship, it’s everything you could want in a rom com and I want a Josh in my life.

Of course I can’t forget Hot the little sausage dog, so adorable, I want one too!

So if I could just have Josh and a Sausage Dog called Hot, oh and move to Devon, I would be very happy, thank you.

I would highly recommend giving this book a read, if you like your romance with a little drama, heartbreak and intrigued then this is for you.

I said it last time and I will say it again, I will definitely be reading more of Nicola Mays books.

You can purchase The corner shop in Cockleberry Bay here: – Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon CA – Amazon AU

About author

Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

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The secret letters of Gertie and Hen by Imogen Hunter

“The secret letters of Gertie and Hen” was thought provoking and moving. Although it states on the programme that it is a fictional story and the characters are not based on real people, the war was very real and there probably were people who went through similar experiences to what is in this play.

It made me think of what past generations had to go through and in some countries what families are still witnessing now, things that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

The writing is clever and the acting was raw and emotional, after only 4 days of being workshopped I think everyone involved can be very proud of what they have achieved.

I liked the two points of view, I liked that it is documented through letters and that these letters are written by children, Gertie in Berlin and Hen in London.

It gives it this innocent, naive point of view but as the war rolls on, you start to see a shift in the writing of the letters as Gertie and Hen have had to grow up quickly, they have had to witness things that no child should they have to, and do things that no child should do.

This play tackles everything from the political to friendship, love and loss.

Two girls who were friends but are now seen as enemies through no fault of their own.

My favourite part would have to be the underground scene. The air raid siren had been sounded, the bombs were falling all around and then, the sudden change in music, the screaming, the darkness, fantastic change in the atmosphere, it sent chills through me.

It truly is a thought provoking and wonderful play, with the acting and writing doing justice to the emotion that is needed to be portrayed.

If I were to nit pick, I could say that the accents dropped in and out and were not consistent but after only 4 days rehearsal I think that this can be forgiven.

The actors play many different characters with different accents but not once did I feel lost. It all made sense and you always knew who was who.

The play officially opens in November at The New Wimbledon Studios but I was lucky enough to have been invited along to a special preview evening and I’m glad I went.

I will definitely be going back to watch it again.

Emotional, moving, heartbreaking, and I loved every second.

Big thanks to Imogen and Jen for inviting me along to the preview night.

If you would like to know more please visit the website below:

The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

The Watcher

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

The book I read before this one was about the war also but not from this point of view, I have read many a book about the war from the British point of view but never from the German.

I found this fascinating and can’t believe I have never read any books like this before.

We have a family trying their best to come to terms with the effects of war but all in their own way without letting anyone else in.

Max is left scarred and damaged from his experiences, Erika doesn’t know how to help or what role she plays in her husbands life anymore or how to handle the guilt of her actions while he was away. Then we have their little girl Netta, who is suppose to be seen and not heard, like all good children should be but yet she hears and sees all and is probably the most scarred by everything.

It’s frustrating to read but in a good way, the author describes these characters and situations in such a way that it makes you want to grab the characters and shake them, especially when it comes to the little girl, I just want her parents to see what affect it’s all having on her, and just when you think it can’t get worse and they can’t be more lost you finally you start to see each character turn a corner, you see Max realise how much he has hurt his family, you see him start to shake himself out of this bubble of war he has been trapped in.

You see Erika realise what her husband has been through, what she has put herself through and finally you see her realise what they have put their child through. As a reader you feel relief that things are finally starting to come together.

It’s cleverly written and takes you on a emotional and at times frustrating journey but like the characters you come through it and you feel the relief. It can be dark in some places but that represents the time period that this book is set.

The writing to me does well to represents the emotional toll being a POW has, not only on that person but on the family. It also shows just how much mental health was not understood back then and how far we have come today.

It’s a world where for years all they knew is war but now that is gone, how do they go back to normal?

As for who “The Watcher” is, well that would be telling.

As for the murder, there will be no spoilers here.

It’s a good read that has some dark moments, definitely one for anyone who likes drama and suspense mixed with family heartbreak in the aftermath of war.

If you would like to buy The Watcher you can purchase it here:


About the author: Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published.