Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Romance

When the Music Stops Joe Heap 5*#Review @Joe_Heap_ @harperfiction @HarperCollinsUK #literaryfiction #music #love #life #loss #uplit #serendipity #BookReview #WhentheMusicStops @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #Paperback #28October2021

Out in paperback today.

This is the story of Ella.
And Robert.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.

‘What have you been up to?’
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’
‘Looks like more than just existing.’
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean.
‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
‘It wasn’t so bad, really. But I wish you’d been there.’

Ella has known Robert all her life.

Through seven key moments and seven key people, their journey intertwines.
 
From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses.

Of those who come into our lives and leave it too soon.

And of those who stay with you forever…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a beautifully written story of life, love, loss and serendipity. Music and the number seven define the parameters of this story which explores Ella’s life and her lifelong love of Robert. The writing is lyrical, as Ella revisits her past at seven pivotal times and introduces seven characters who left their emotional mark on her life.

The flashbacks are vivid and written with historical details and insight. They immerse the reader into the story and make it believable. Throughout, Ella is authentic and flawed. Her mistakes are a reflection of her humanity, and they make you consider your life and choices. The love story is gentle and tragic, but this is real love, and its ending is worthy of angst.

I read this in a day and enjoyed it for its originality, realism and supernatural twist.

Joe Heap

Joe Heap was born in 1986 and grew up in Bradford, the son of two teachers.

His debut novel The Rules of Seeing won Best Debut at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in 2019 and was shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader Awards.

Joe lives in London with his girlfriend, their two sons and a cat who wishes they would get out of the house more often.

A note from Joe:
At a summer season in Ramsgate, 1959, two ice skaters held a party. My grandfather, a Glaswegian saxophonist who would rather have gone to the pub, was convinced by a comedian on the same bill to come along. My grandmother, another one of the ice skaters, sat down next to him and spilt her drink in his lap. Though she has since denied it, her first words of note to him were ‘Oh no, not another Scot.’

Nobody could have guessed how much would spin off that moment, myself and this book included.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Fantasy, Festive Read, Folk Tales, Historical Fiction, Magic, New Books

Midnight in Everwood M. A. Kuzniar 4*#Review @thecosyreader @HQStories #HQNewVoices #Fantasy #magic #festive #AdultFairytale #historicalfiction #Nottingham #PublicationDay #MidnightinEverwood

In the darkness of night, magic awaits…

Nottingham, 1906

Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but, as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered – she must marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But, when a mysterious toymaker, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in Marietta’s life.

After Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance on Christmas Eve, Marietta discovers it carries a magic all of its own – magic darker than anyone could imagine. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself transported from her family’s ballroom to a frozen sugar palace, silent with secrets, in a forest of snow-topped fir trees. She must find a way to return home before she’s trapped in Everwood’s enchanting grip forever.

In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…

I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Multilayered and magical, this is a festive adult fairytale full of adventure, darkness and self-discovery. It explores Edwardian social history and how women began to challenge society’s expectations of them. Marietta is a young woman, expected to marry and leave her dance career behind. She rails against the injustice but initially fails to understand the direction of life is in her hands.

The world of Everwood is intricately created, full of vivid imagery and insidious darkness that threatens Marietta and that she must overcome. There are classic elements in the story for those familiar with the original inspiration to enjoy.

An engaging read if you enjoy dance, history and magic.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

The Christmas Escape Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #FestiveRead #Christmas #Family #Love Friendship #Relationships #RomCom #secrets #HolidayFiction #TheChristmasEscape

The new Christmas book from the Sunday Times bestselling author of One More for Christmas and A Wedding in December!

It was supposed to be Christy Sullivan’s perfect Christmas escape – a dream trip to Lapland with her family and best friend, Alix. But facing a make-or-break marriage crisis, Christy desperately needs time alone with her husband, Seb. Her solution? Alix, along with Seb’s oldest friend, Zac, can take Christy’s daughter on the planned Lapland trip, and they will all reunite there for Christmas Day. After all, what are friends for?

There’s nothing Alix won’t do for Christy, but Christy’s plan to save Christmas is testing their friendship. Especially as Alix and Zac have a difficult history of their own.

As long-held secrets unravel, and unexpected romance shines under the Northern Lights, can Christy and Alix find the courage to fight for the relationships they really want? And could this Christmas escape save the precious gift of each other’s friendship?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It’s always a festive treat to read a Christmas story by this author. She captures the ethos of the season and spices it up with festive romance and the sweetness of a child experiencing the perfect snowy Christmas. Not everything is about hot chocolate and sleigh rides in the snow, though. There are strained friendships, aroused passions, and secrets that unfold against a wintry background. Angst and arguments prevail, but there is also a chance to talk and find out family secrets.

Wintry and wonderful festive activities and natural events capture the essence of an idyllic Christmas holiday. The characters draw the reader’s empathy and frustrate in equal measure. This story is emotional and heartwarming and the perfect book to read in front of a log fire this Christmas.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, New Books, Romance

Under the Mistletoe Sue Moorcroft 5*#Review @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Family #festive #UndertheMistletoe #PublicationDay #BookReview

Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.

Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.

However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…

Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?

An enchanting, festive read.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Laurel returns to Middledip, hoping for a less hectic lifestyle. She left the village years before, after a traumatic incident, and hopes she can put this behind her. Her sister needs her help, and then there’s meeting her first love again. Life is busy but will it be happier?

A festive-themed story that insightfully explores relevant contemporary issues. There is a conflicted second chance romance and a cast of relatable characters immersing the reader in festive village life. The balance of lighthearted elements and poignancy add to the story’s authenticity.

This is an engaging, festive story with contemporary themes and a heartwarming community spirit.

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