Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #ChristmasonCastleStreet @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #Festive #Romance #Family #Love

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.

For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…

As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?

Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?

Amazon UK

A heartwarming, short festive story of friendship and family from bestseller Jessica Redland. You can find out what happens to Carly next through exploring her best friend Tara’s story in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café.

This is a new and updated version of Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which has been previously published.

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

My Thoughts…

Every bit as comforting, delicious and festive as a Christmas cupcake this story leaves you with a lovely heartwarming hug. Carly has a successful cake shop in Whitsborough Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. Her love life is less successful than her career, and even that is in jeopardy. Bethany her younger sister is responsible for her business woes cake decorating doesn’t appear to be her thing.

The two sisters are opposites, and Bethany still retains the over-indulged air of a younger sibling. By the end, both have changed for the better, with Bethany maturing and Carly learning to fight for what she wants.

Aside from the family drama and the workplace humour, there is also a gentle friend to lover to romance which is perfectly festive. Carly’s is easy to empathise, and she engenders support from the local community because of her helpful nature.

This is an engaging story with relatable characters and charming festive sentiments.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanauth @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Festive #ChristmasatLockKeepersCottage #extract #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #BookTour

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina. 

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in. 

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.  

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secrets, log fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts

This is a lovely festive slice of community spirit, friendship and love. Immi has faced a lot of grief in her young life, but she’s showered with love by her grandfather and the community where they live, she feels blessed. Her love life is peachy with Gray except they don’t see each other as much as they like, so she writes a letter to Santa.

The two protagonists are quirky characters, but they are good people and as the story progresses you like them more. This story emphasises the meaning of Christmas, family and coping with what life throws your way, and the result is a heartwarming and ultimately satisfying festive read.

Extract from the book…

I read an article the other day, giving tips on how to manifest the life you want. You begin by writing a letter and… burning it. Whether you want to free yourself of worry, realise a dream, or simply declutter your mind, a well-respected life coach believes that the universe is listening. I’m not sure how I feel about that statement, but I can see how it might be cathartic for some people – assuming they have the guts to do it properly.

What I’m discovering, though, is that being honest with oneself isn’t easy. After almost an hour, most of it spent with a pen in my hand hovering over the piece of paper in front of me, it remains blank. Even though I love the idea of releasing negative energy into the ether, or drawing positive energy towards me, I can’t do it. I’m not ready to bare my soul to anyone. Least of all, myself.

Maybe I’ll write a letter to Santa, instead, and burn that. Start small and work your way up, Immi, I tell myself. As one of my three jobs involves wearing an elf costume every weekend in December, I figure that if I’m not ready to reach out to the universe, Santa is the next best option.

This year I’m hoping Christmas is going to be a truly joyful occasion to make up for the disappointments of last year. When the man you love – your soul mate – is supporting a parent through the big C, life can feel as if it’s on hold. I won’t lie, it’s been tough. My mind and my body ache when he isn’t here with me because I’m simply going through the motions rather than living my life.

Anyway, what harm can it do to honour an age-old tradition? After all, I’m one of Santa’s biggest fans. They say the act of believing makes things happen and I’ve seen that with my own eyes. So here goes:

Dear Santa

When I was six years old, I wrote you a very special letter. I handed Dad the sealed envelope and we stood together, hand in hand, as he threw it onto the fire. I watched in fervent anticipation as the wisps of pale grey smoke, tinged with little curls of white, disappeared up the chimney.

Everyone thought I was asking you for a doll’s house, but actually, I asked you to bring my mum back home to us. Dad didn’t understand why I burst into tears on Christmas morning, after I’d unwrapped the wonderful presents beneath the glittering tree. And, at the time, I didn’t understand that I had asked for the impossible.

Every year until I was twelve, when I wrote my last letter, I just asked for toys, books and clothes, as the other kids did. But in my heart there was only one thing I longed to have, because I honestly believed that it would make my life complete.

But I appreciate now how lucky I was, and that the true magic of Christmas was there all along. I was surrounded by love. The love of my dad, my grandparents and our friends. No child could ask for more than that.

This year there is only one thing on my list and it’s to be able to celebrate Christmas with the man I love, Gray, by my side. I need it to reassure me there really can be an us and that life isn’t going to cheat me, yet again.

Just keep everything crossed for me, will you? That’s all I ask. And keep up the good work. A lot of people believe in you, regardless of their age. In today’s world that’s both magical and inspiring, because what is life without hope?

With much love, Immi

Lucy Coleman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

A Perfect Paris Christmas Mandy Baggot 5*#Review @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Festive #Romance #Friendship #Christmas #Paris #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #SecondChances #Serendipity

United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.

 Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.

Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.

As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.

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

My Thoughts

This is no ordinary festive romance, but it fills you with emotion and goodwill. I love serendipitous romance, and this is what we have here, but it’s only a fraction of the story which explores, loss, living life to the full, and friendship against a festive Paris setting.

Sensitively told and well-researched this story takes Keely to Paris for a life-changing meeting. It’s an emotional read with many characters whose stories are intricately woven together into a lovely festive story.

This is a must-read for the festive season.

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Sampler

#TheChristmasKiller Alex Pine @JPCarterAuthor @AvonBooksUK #Sampler #Review #ChristmasInJuly

DI James Walker is ready for a quiet family Christmas in the sleepy village of Kirkby Abbey.

But when he opens an early Christmas present left on his doorstep, he soon realises it is no gift. Inside is a gruesome surprise, and a promise – twelve days, twelve murders. Not long after, the first body is found, half-frozen in the snow.

As the blizzards descend, panic spreads through the remote Cumbrian village – there’s a killer amongst them, and with eleven more victims to go, anyone could be next….

Can James stop the killer before they strike again?

Pre-order your copy of The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine for only 99p! Out 29th Oct. ☃️ 

#Preorder Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts on #TheChristmasKiller #Sampler

This is a police procedural with a festive setting. James, a detective inspector in the Met moves to Cumbria when the threat of vengeance from a gangland boss looms. The village in Cumbria, the childhood home of his wife Annie has its share of deceit, hate and secrets but is someone willing to kill?

James is a likeable protagonist, straightforward and dedicated. Annie’s past in the village is chequered. Has her moving back started something dreadful?

In this initial sample of the story, there are no murders, only menace and threats. Suspense builds as the possible suspects emerge.

This is going to be a Christmas the villagers’ don’t forget. I look forward to reading what happens next.

Posted in Christmas Read, Cover Reveal, Festive Read

#TheChristmasKiller Alex Pine @AvonBooksUK #CoverReveal #ChristmasInJuly

DI James Walker is ready for a quiet family Christmas in the sleepy village of Kirkby Abbey.

But when he opens an early Christmas present left on his doorstep, he soon realises it is no gift. Inside is a gruesome surprise, and a promise – twelve days, twelve murders. Not long after, the first body is found, half-frozen in the snow.

As the blizzards descend, panic spreads through the remote Cumbrian village – there’s a killer amongst them, and with eleven more victims to go, anyone could be next….

Can James stop the killer before they strike again?

Pre-order your copy of The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine for only 99p! Out 29th Oct. ☃️ 

#Preorder Amazon UK

Posted in Christmas Read, Cover Reveal, Festive Read, Romance, Travel

A Perfect Paris Christmas Mandy Baggot #CoverReveal @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Festive #Christmas #APerfectParisChristmas #Preorder Publication Date 3rd September 2020

I’m happy to share my first festive cover reveal this year, from Mandy Baggot and Aria Fiction which is published on 3rd September 2020 – #preorder links are below.

United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.

Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.

Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.

As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.

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Publication date: 3rd September 2020

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Romance, Saga, Victorian Romance

The Christmas Wedding Dilly Court 4*#Review @DillyCourt @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Christmas #Wedding #HistoricalFiction #saga #TheVillageSecrets #BookReview #VictorianRomance

Holding the letter in trembling hands, Daisy’s future crumbled before her – the words engraved on her heart forever.

The village of Little Creek, the long winter of 1867

The first flakes of snow are falling when Daisy Marshall, secretly engaged to her master’s son, finds herself jilted at the altar.

Heartbroken, Daisy flees to the small village of Little Creek, nestled on the coast of Essex. There she is warmly welcomed – but the village is poverty-stricken, suffering under a cruel Lord of the manor. And when cholera hits, the villagers are truly in dire straits.

Determined to help, Daisy makes new friends in earnest doctor Nicholas and dashing smuggler Jay – but also dangerous new enemies, who threaten to destroy everything she’s built. Can Daisy save the village and find happiness in time for Christmas?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A well researched historical saga, of family drama, mystery, poverty and romance. The social divide apparent in Victorian England is explored here.

Daisy, a governess lives in no man’s land, somewhere between upstairs and downstairs. In love with the heir to the household, she hopes her position will be confirmed, but he lets her down, and she returns home, heartbroken and unemployed. Moving to a small Essex village with her family, she feels at home, but the cruelty of the ruling classes blights the villagers’ lives who live in fear, poverty and squalor.

Daisy finds friendship and a warm community, but evil lurks and threatens the life she builds. This is a detailed, passionate tale of Victorian life, which draws you in, as the descriptive writing and authentic characters bring this era of change to life.

A festive start, to what promises to be a riveting series for romantic saga devotees.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

The Christmas Holiday Sophie Claire 5* #Review @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Festive #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #secondchance #BookReview #Holiday

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Evie is an optimist, despite the lack of support from her parents, the tragedy she has suffered, and the abusive relationship she is still trying to escape. Jake has lost the love of his life and finds going on without her difficult. The village of Willowbrook gives Evie a chance of a new independent life, and Jake the chance to hide away until he feels strong enough to carry on. The only problem is Christmas, which brings back painful memories for both.

Evie and Jake’s relationship has a less than auspicious start, but a friendship builds out of their mutual suffering, and escaping together for Christmas offers a solution to both their problems, but is friendship what they want? Or is a holiday romance inevitable?

Heartwarming romance and emotional conflict with a festive twist, set in a lovely English village, and fabulous Provence. The intensity of grief and loss is explored during Christmastime, sensitively, whilst keeping a positive, uplifting ethos. The characters are believable and individual and the settings bring the story to life. A lovely wintery story is written in an easy to read style by a consummate storyteller,

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Romance, Victorian Romance

Miss Lottie’s Christmas Protector Sophia James 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @sophiajamesnz #SecretsofaVictorianHousehold #Romance #VictorianRomance #HistoricalFiction #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonHistorical

A Christmas mission

…with the scarred and brooding gentleman!

Part of Secrets of a Victorian Household: Working in her family’s charity foundation for destitute women, caring but impulsive Miss Lottie Fairclough is desperately trying to find a missing woman. She’s roped in family acquaintance Mr Jasper King to help her, equally impressed and annoyed when he rescues her from perilous danger! As she gets to know the injured entrepreneur, it seems he needs her just as much…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A Victorian romance set in the poorer side of London,with an intelligent,improverished heroine, and a tortured, socially sensitive hero.

The historical detail brings the Victorian era alive. The characters are authentic and complex,and the romance between Lottie and Jasper is slow burning,rife with conflicts and ultimately passionate.

An emotional Victorian romance,which highlights poverty,vice and the Victorian’s attitude to women.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance

The Christmas Party Karen Swan 4*#Review @KarenSwan1 @panmacmillan #Party #Festive #Romance #BookReview #Family #Drama #Secrets #Ireland #Castle

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A contemporary, complex family drama set in a wonderfully atmospheric Ireland. A tale of three sisters, who life has driven apart, despite their closeness in growing up. The untimely death of their father has profound effect on all of them. Not just in terms of grief, but the enforced change in lifestyle, due to financial straits, and the gradual unraveling of the secrets they hide.

This is a slow paced emotional story. The three woman are hard to empathise, but they are believable and relatable. The world building is detailed and may not appeal. Seasonal rather than festive, the Christmas Party is used to draw the story to a dramatic conclusion.

Deep and often dark, this is a story of legacy,love and life.