Claude’s Christmas Adventure – Sophie Pembroke – 4*Review

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blurb-winter

This Christmas a little dog is in for a BIG adventure…

Meet Claude. He’s a loveable, big-eared, permanently hungry French Bulldog, who loves his humans – the McCawley family of number 11 Maple Drive to be precise.

When Daisy and Oliver McCawley start using new words like, ‘ferry’, ‘chateau’ and ‘France’, Claude realises they won’t be spending this Christmas at home. Only, when he finds himself on the street, as the family car pulls away, Claude realises he is ALONE. And more importantly, he is without all the yummy treats he knows the festive season brings…

Cue the start of Claude’s Christmas Adventure. It all begins with a belly-flop through next door’s catflap, where he finds newly single and craft-a-holic Holly, Jack the ex-army postman, his arch nemesis Perdita the cat … and serious amounts of gingerbread.

Maple Drive’s cutest resident is about to bring the street together for Christmas, in ways no-one could have imagined …

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Claude’s Christmas Adventure

I read this lovely Christmas story a few weeks ago but the characters and humour have stayed with me and I am smiling again as I write this review. Although the circumstances leading up to Claude’s Christmas adventure seem unlikely, this doesn’t stop you enjoying it and becoming absorbed in the lives of the family who leave him behind and the street who take him in when they do.
Vivid characters and events characterise this Christmas tale, it’s easy to see it as a Christmas romantic comedy film. Naughty but loveable dogs, demanding children and an overworked mum, who has forgotten who she is as she tries to please everyone at Christmas with predictably disastrous results.
The characters are strong and realistic. Claude’s pursuit of gingerbread and his lost family brings, lots of laughs, poignancy and a delicious sprinkling of romance.
A light-hearted festive read, from a doggy perspective, which is worth reading.
I received copy of this book from Avon books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Claude’s Christmas Adventure by Sophie Pembroke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Claude’s Christmas Adventure by Sophie Pembroke

Sophie Pembroke

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The Girl Before – J.P. Delaney – 5* Review- Sampler

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

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Mystery Thriller My Review

The Girl Before

Review of Sampler:

Two young women, one in the past and one in the present, whose lives intertwine, as the past threatens to overwhelm the present.
The suspense grips you from the first page, each woman has so many secrets and emotional damage and the clean, simple lines of 1 Folgate Street, offers a new start, the slate wiped clean and they are desperate to take the solace it offers, whatever the cost.
The sampler reveals enough about the girls’ past to draw you in. The suspense intensifies as Jane discovers what happened to Emma, the woman who lived there before her and the secrets surrounding her.
The women’s characters are fascinating and tragic. The enigmatic owner and architect of 1 Folgate Street is mysterious and menacing. A story that will keep you enthralled to the end.
I received a sampler of this story from Quercus Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

J.P. Delaney

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And Then What? – Britannia Beach #3- D.R.Graham- 5* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

“A complication just showed up. Mmm, a beautiful complication.”

Juggling assignments and missing her old life inBritannia Beach, Derian Lafleur’s first year at university has beenoverwhelming to say the least. A sun-filled, all-expenses-paid, springbreak getaway with her best friend, Sophie Sakamoto, is exactly what she needs. Or so she thinks…

Until the last person in the world Derian expected to see shows up at the Acapulco resort, and her already stressful life suddenly becomes a million times more complicated. When the girls’spring break takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn, they find themselves lost and injured in the Mexican wilderness, and Deri is the only hope they have for getting out alive. If only she can figure out what to do next.

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My Review - Coastal

And Then What? (Britannia Beach, Book 3)I read book 3 immediately after ‘What are the Chances’ because I wanted to see what happened to Derian and Trevor. You won’t be disappointed if you’re a romantic but this story has lots of surprises and adds suspense and drama to the romance and self-development of the previous books. The Britannia Beach series is worth reading and book 3 provides an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
Now at university, life is a little ordinary, Deri and Trevor are together but Deri is still unsure of her place in his life, although he is number one in hers. A surprise invitation leads to reunion, unexpected danger and a maelstrom of emotions for Deri. Friendship and love are centre stage in this story and it’s often poignant.
The ending is suspenseful and well written and a perfect ending to a lovely young adult series.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

And Then What? by D.R. Graham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


And Then What? (Britannia Beach, Book 3) by D.R. Graham

D.R. Graham

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What Are The Chances? – Britannia Beach #2 – D.R.Graham – 4*Review

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Blurb - Coastal

“Oh, there’s a point to a summer fling. Trust me.”
The Inn is sold and Derian Lafleur has been accepted to two universities–one close by and one across the country. Before leaving Britannia Beach for good Deri wants to enjoy one last summer of sun and fun. However her best friend, Sophie Sakamoto, is more interested in making sure Derian has one last summer romance. The question is, with whom? Deri has had a crush on childhood friend Trevor Maverty since forever. But he’s already taken. And Mason Cartwright is back in town after a year abroad. But will he remember her? Faced with tough choices, emotional revelations, and heart-breaking goodbyes, Derian knows that whatever happens it’s definitely going to be an eventful summer….

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My Review - Coastal

What Are The Chances? (Britannia Beach, Book 2)

 

Derian has come to terms with losing her childhood home, the Inn at Britannia Beach but she still craves something more than friendship with her childhood companion Trevor. He is at University, getting on with his life, so she should do the same, right? Sophie her best friend wants her to live a little in her last summer in Britannia Beach and have a summer romance and when Mason returns from a year abroad, the attraction between them is still simmering, so why not?
This is not a typical love triangle book, although there are elements of this in book 2 of The Britannia Beach series. Derian is at a crossroads, she has a new maturity, as she decides where to university and what she wants from her life. Acceptance of how things are is an important theme of this story, which is light and romantic but doesn’t shy away from the thorny issues that face young people in early adulthood.
Her relationship with Mason is interesting, he appears to be her back up plan, a way to get back at Trevor her lifelong friend, who she is desperate to have as a boyfriend. After a rocky start, she sees more to Mason than his polished appearance and personality usually reveals and she begins to like him. There are lots of emotional ups and downs in this story, not only for Derian but also for her close friends.
This story doesn’t have the impact of the first book’ Put It Out There’ but it is a good middle story. It explores ‘Deri and Mason’s relationship and sets the scene for the final book in the series ‘And Then What?’.
An easy to read, entertaining story with well-developed, interesting characters and a sensitive exploration of young love and problems facing young adults.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley.

What Are The Chances? by D.R. Graham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


What Are The Chances? (Britannia Beach, Book 2) by D.R. Graham

D.R. Graham

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Catch 26 – Carol Prisant – Review

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Paranormal Blurb

What if you could live your life all over again?

There’s just one catch…

Frannie Turner is a plain, middle-aged housewife married to Stanley, a self-absorbed retired dentist who hasn’t slept in her bed in years. No children to love and be loved by. No exciting career to look back on. Just loneliness and lost dreams. So when the mysterious new hairdresser in town offers her the chance to get everything she’s ever wanted, Frannie figures she has nothing to lose -except her soul. And surely, as a stunning twenty-six-year-old singleton in New York, finding true love within the stipulated year should be a piece of cake, not to mention a hell of a lot of fun!

But New York City is no place for the naïve, and Frannie will soon learn just how dangerous a deal with the devil can be…

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Paranormal My Review

Catch 26: A Novel

I liked the idea of this story, but I  didn’t connect with the central character and  the story didn’t fulfil it’s potential. I didn’t finish this book, which is rare for me.
This story is too dark, the main character doesn’t seem to have any good memories in her life  and came across as someone who lets life pass her by. This passive personality trait makes it unlikely she would ‘make a deal with the devil’, as we are supposed to believe. If she couldn’t break away from a man who clearly thought of her as a possession rather than a person how could she make such a risky, out of character choice? It’s the lack of credibility of the main character that spoils the story.
There are many humorous moments and plenty of passion as she searches for her true love but these don’t compensate for the lack of authenticity for me.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Catch 26: A Novel by Carol Prisant
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Catch 26 A Novel by Carol Prisant

Carol Prisant

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Christmas at the Cornish Cafe – The Penwith Trilogy #2 – Phillipa Ashley- 5*Review

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blurb-winter

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

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Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2)

A festive, gentle romantic story with complex characters and an interesting plot. The story concentrates on opening the café and there are lots of new characters. One threatens Cal’s new found happiness with Demi.
A lot happens in this story. Demi achieves her potential by leading the café project. She carries more than her share of emotional baggage and this influences how she perceives her relationship with Cal. Cal continues to battle his own secret demons, leaving him moody and unapproachable. He’s a good guy at heart and you want him to overcome the horrors of his past.
There are some unexpected plot twists and surprising character developments, which illustrate the village’s comaradie and the overriding spirit of the novel. A good mix of questions answered and new ones posed make reading the last book in the series essential. There is no cliff-hanger ending but it is hopeful, just as a festive read should be. I can’t help thinking the problems for Cal, Demi and their friends may not be over yet.
Cal and Demi are the contemporary counterparts of Poldark and Demelza and Cornwall steals the show in this novel too.
I received a copy of this book from Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Christmas at the Cornish Café by Phillipa Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2) by Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley

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Christmas Cheer – Willow Cottage #2 – Bella Osborne – 5*Review

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blurb-winter

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

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Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage, Book 2)This is the second instalment of Bella Osborne’s seasonal series Willow Cottage. This one has a festive touch and the renovations at the cottage are taking shape. Beth begins to find out the villagers have hearts of gold under their eccentricity. There are some hilarious scenes in this story and all the characters are vividly wtitten but believable.
Jack is still a man of mystery but Beth starts to trust him, even bonding with his delightful dog Doris, who contributes her own brand of humour to the story. Carly and Fergus, Beth’s London friends have their own relationship problems and Nick, Beth’s abusive ex is still in the picture, casting a shadow over Beth’s new life.
Christmas day is certainly cheerful but New Year’s Eve has a sting, which forces Beth back into her shell, although I think she has misunderstood her friend’s well-meant warning. The book ends on a cliff hanger, leaving me hoping the next instalment isn’t far away.
Funny, poignant and romantic, a lovely festive read.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage, Book 2) by Bella Osborne

Bella Osborne

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The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift – Nic Tatano – 5*Review

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blurb-winter

The night her house catches fire, kick-ass lawyer Tish McKenna’s neatly ordered life is thrown into chaos. At least she’s alive—thanks to her adorable cat, Socks!—and after her near-death experience Tish realises she wants more in her life than late nights and case files…

Professionally speaking, hot-shot attorney, Spencer Capshaw hadn’t realised how far off track he’d come. Sure, he had his reasons originally—saving his dad’s life required more money than the DA’s office paid him—yet helping corrupt corporate bigwigs was not why he became a lawyer…

With a little help from a furry friend, these two lost souls find each other in the heart of Manhattan. But when Tish and Spence are pitted against each other in a trial that pushes them both to their limits, can their budding relationship survive?

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The Empire State Cat's Christmas Gift

I enjoyed the first story in this series, ‘The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club’, featuring career driven, intelligent best friends; Madison, Tish, Rory and A.J and their lovable kittens. This book, the second in the series is delightful with its festive twist. A good standalone read but I recommend reading book one first for maximum enjoyment.
There is a great love story, mixed with humour and suspense, which is an easy, enjoyable read. As you expect with Nic Tatano books, the characters are believable, complex and intriguing. The plot has plenty of twists and a lovely romantic ending.
The supporting cast of characters also make this book something special, especially, Socks the matchmaking kitten, whose antics will be familiar to every cat owner.
Tish is a lawyer and so is Spencer, so courtroom scenes are inevitable. These appear authentic and are full of crisp dialogue with moments of humour and poignancy. There is great pacing that moves the story along nicely and provides subtle clues to the plot twists and development of the romance.
A lovely festive read with an original storyline and memorable characters.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Empire State Cat's Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano

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Secrets and Lies – Heirs #1 – Elleby Harper – 4*Review

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Winter Blurb

Welcome to 1985 and a glitzy, ritzy, glam-filled year in Heirs. Maixent, heir to the most glamorous throne in Europe, is as cool as stone-washed jeans and Charley, heir to one of America’s greatest political families, has big hair and is not afraid to use it. But will their hearts find love or will a deadly secret from their mothers’ past rip apart a royal dynasty and a political succession?

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Winter My Review

Heirs Book One Secrets & Lies

This is a very readable and cleverly draws on historical events and people to add authenticity to the characters and plot. This story’s secret is a long time coming. It’s not what I imagined it to be. No doubt there will be more secrets in subsequent books.
Split between the late nineteen fifties and the nineteen eighties, the story moves between two generations effortlessly. A possible attraction between the offspring of the two former best friends opens up a ‘Pandora’s box that cannot be closed and threatens the stability of two families and a country.
The eighties setting is unusual and very topical with the current preoccupation with the eighties in fashion and popular culture. The story captures the ethos of this period; the glamour, preoccupation with wealth and the shallowness of society. The characters are complex and flawed, making them interesting and in most cases, easy to empathise with.
I’m intrigued enough to want to read what happens next.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Heirs Book One Secrets & Lies by Elleby Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Heirs Book One Secrets & Lies by Elleby Harper

Elleby Harper

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The One With The Wedding Dress – Bridesmaids #2 – Erin Lawless- 4* Review

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BLURB

Nora Dervan is ready for her Happy Ever After. With her darling Harry waiting at the altar, and all her family and friends around her. She is certain that her special day will not be forgotten/will be one to remember…

But with her four bridesmaids hiding more secrets, than bottles of champagne. Will her big day be remembered for all the right reasons?

Bea has barely gotten past the fact that her two best friends are dating, and now they’re engaged, whilst cupid’s arrow points in a forbidden direction for Cleo. She is so distracted by her off limits, hot new colleague that she has forgotten Daisy, who has been left dreading the singles table. There’s more romance in the cheesy pick- up lines than Sarah’s own marriage, which hasn’t turned out as she hoped it would be.

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My Review 2016-1

The One With The Wedding Dress

 

Reacquainting with bride to be Nora and her prospective bridesmaids, as they celebrate Cleo’s thirtieth birthday is easy, despite the months that have passed since I read part 1 of the Bridesmaids’ story. Experience, a nerve racking but hilarious weekend finding the perfect wedding dress. There is plenty of tension between bridesmaids Cleo and Bea and Nora and her mum, who seems set on ruining her daughter’s wedding dress buying experience.
It’s enjoyable sharing the ups and downs of the weekend and the story ends with an unexpected cliff-hanger that could threaten the stability of the group and turn the wedding into a disaster.
This is a quick easy read but there are complex characters and vivid imagery which make this story addictive. I also love the snippets of real wedding memories at the beginning of each chapter.
Looking forward to the hen weekend, all the fun without the hangover, what could be better?
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

The One With The Wedding Dress by Erin Lawless

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The One With The Wedding Dress by Erin Lawless

Erin Lawless

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