Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James Blog Tour | My Review and Author Q&A!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Title: Sunshine & Secrets

Author Name: Daisy James

Previous Books (if applicable): N/A

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 19th March 2018

Publisher: Canelo

When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.
But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?
Pack your bags and jump right into the sun and secrets of The Paradise Cookery School. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Kat French.

Links to Book:
Author Bio:
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
Author Photo:

My review:
When the opportunity to review this book came up I knew it would be an easy yes because it contained two of my favourite things, food and sunshine!! What could be a better antidote to the perpetual winter we were suffering with than to escape to St Lucia and learn how Milly was going to cope with unexpectedly having to oversee the fitting of the new kitchen and then the opening of The Paradise Cookery School?! 
I absolutely loved every minute I spent reading this book, it was honestly so lovely to read a happy book for once and Daisy writes so well that it was just so easy to switch off for a while and disappear into another world. I loved going along with Milly each day, seeing how well the builders were (or weren't!) getting along with fitting the bespoke kitchen and how she was fitting in with the locals as well as trying to get over her ex-fiancee (because every book needs a leading lady getting over a man don't they?! Sometimes I feel this is a bit overdone and for once it would be nice for our heroine to either not be heartbroken or to actually have a same sex-relationship! Just my thoughts!). 
The other good thing about this book was that the cookery school was specialising in chocolate!!! Yum! There was a bit of a mystery for Milly to solve regarding some cocoa pods but that just added to her overall bewilderment at actually being in St Lucia in the first place! I couldn't understand why she just didn't accept being there  because surely her sister wouldn't not of put her forward for it if she didn't think that Milly was good enough?! It's about time that women in books understood how good they are at their respective (albeit fictional) jobs and gained confidence from it but hey ho I don't suppose that'll ever happen will it?! But overall I enjoyed the book and it was good to escape to a hot country for a while. I am looking forward to the next instalment of this series as Milly take the 'Confetti and Chocolate' cookery course which I'm sure will lead to some hilarious calamity which will all right itself in the end! Haha! 
if you're a fan of fiction then you'll enjoy this easy read from Daisy James. Put it on your kindle and take it away with you on holiday, it is the perfect poolside read this summer. 
Daisy James – Sunshine & Secrets Author Q & A!

Q1: Hello there, nice to have you here on SunshineSarahxo! Please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your book:
Hi Sarah, it’s great to be here and thank you for having me as a guest on your lovely blog. Well, I’m Daisy James and I write contemporary romance with a twist of humour. I love setting my stories in exotic locations so when I was researching The Paradise Cookery School it just had to be set in the gorgeously tropical Caribbean. Millie is a pastry chef who has swapped the struggle to five o’clock for a brief trip to St Lucia in order to oversee the renovations of the villa that will become the cookery school. Whilst she is relaxing beneath the swaying palm trees she meets a whole host of quirky characters, such as tall, dark and handsome Zach Baxter, but there is also a mystery to unravel too!

Q2: At what point did you decide to write books and share them with the world??
I started writing when I was a teenager, just short stories really. I wrote my first full-length book about twenty years ago – in long-hand! - and it’s still sitting in a shoe box on the top of my wardrobe. My first published book – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was born out of being stranded in New York after a hurricane. Everything was closed, there was nothing to do, nowhere to go and we were confined to our hotel room for days. I decided to start scribbling a story!
Q3: How would you describe your writing style? Has it changed over time at all?
I hope my writing is fast-paced with a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. I love to sew in a secret or two and Sunshine & Secrets is no exception. I’m sure my writing changes with every story, depending where it’s set and what group of characters I’ve created, but I’m learning all the time too from my wonderful editor.

Q4: Do you have any other books in the pipeline which you are excited about?!
Absolutely! Sunshine & Secrets is the first in the Paradise Cookery School series. The next book is Confetti & Confusion (Out in June) and follows the story of Imogen who, as part of her hen party celebrations, is booked on the Confetti & Chocolate course! I had a fabulous time researching the mouth-watering recipes – all based on the cocoa beans grown on the estate. I’m busy working on Mistletoe & Mystery, the third story in the series, at the moment.

Q5: Has your writing helped you in other areas of life?!
The best thing about being a writer is getting to meet the wider author/reader/blogger community. It can get a little bit lonely sitting at a keyboard all day with only virtual characters for company, so taking time out to meet other booklovers is a great way of replenishing the inspiration and motivation. I’ve met some amazing people at bloggers bashes, reader get-togethers, as well as at the RNA which I’m a member of.

Q6:  I absolutely loved Sunshine & Secrets and travelling with Millie to St Lucia and eagerly awaiting the construction of the new Paradise Cookery School! Have you ever been on a cookery course before yourself or dreamed of opening a cookery school similar to the one Millie was organising?
Yes! I would love to spend a day in Millie’s shoes! Can you imagine waking up in the Caribbean sunshine, taking a swim before breakfast, meandering through the St Lucian market searching for the freshest of ingredients, then demonstrating delicious, exotic recipes to a gang of avid foodies who are on holiday? I’ve actually got a day in an Italian cookery school planned for the summer and can’t wait! Maybe my next series will be in Italy?!

Q7: How did you come up with the name for the book? Did it come before you started writing or is it something which only really develops once the writing has begun?
I just love the name! The Paradise Cookery School – for me, it conjures up the whole Caribbean vibe; the sun-bleached beaches, the swaying palm trees, the exotic foliage, the swinging reggae rhythms, the fragrance of the indigenous spices like nutmeg. The villa where the school is based is perched high above the town of Soufriere in the south of the island, overlooking the spectacular Pitons. I have a photograph of this view on my screensaver for inspiration!

Caribbean, Mountains, Vul, St Lucia

Q8: What gave you the idea of writing about food and setting the story in St Lucia? Have you ever been there yourself, do you have happy memories there? Did you originally have ideas of setting it elsewhere?
I knew I wanted to write about a pastry chef escaping the rat race, and I knew I wanted to set the story somewhere amazing with fabulous scenery to explore, great history and culture and language, but the most important thing had to be the amazing food that’s available there. I have been to St Lucia, so I gathered every tiny bit of my experience, the sights, the sounds, the taste, the aromas as well as the laid-back vibe and used it all in my story. My favourite memory is visiting the market in Castries, the island’s capital. I can still remember the fragrance of the spices!

Q9: Are there any other books in the pipeline?? Will we see Millie again or is this her last story? Tell me about any other ideas you have! I'm eager to know!
Absolutely! Confetti & Confusion will be out in June – filled with chocolate and cocoa-based goodies. Then there’s Mistletoe & Mystery in September – lots of amazing Christmas food on show here at the Claudia Croft Cookery School. You know, I loved writing Millie’s story so much, maybe I could be persuaded to return to St Lucia again!

Thanks ever so much for the fabulous questions, Sarah. I’ve had a great time answering them and revisiting the setting for The Paradise Cookery School. I hope readers enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!
Love Daisyx
Thanks for answering my questions Daisy, was great to have you here! Please do check out her links and the book on Amazon and NetGalley, I guarantee you'll not be disappointed!
Love, Sarah

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