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

A Surprise Christmas Wedding Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #HarperCollinsAudioUK #festive #Christmas #Cumbria #Events #Weddings #Winter #BookReview #Audiobook Narrator Laura Kirman @laurakirman #Review #ASupriseChristmasWedding

It’s been a year since Lottie’s fiancé walked out, leaving her heartbroken. But things start to look up when she lands her dream job at a beautiful Lake District estate, with a handsome groundskeeper for a neighbour.
 
So when Lottie is asked to organise a last minute Christmas wedding at Firholme, she can’t wait to get started. Until she meets the couple, and discovers that Connor, the man who broke her heart, is the groom-to-be.
 

As snow falls on the hills, can Lottie put aside her past to organise the perfect winter wedding? And will there be any festive magic left to bring Lottie the perfect Christmas she deserves?

Curl up with this gorgeous story about love and second chances.

Amazon UK Audiobook

I received a copy of this book and audiobook from Avon Books UK and Harper Collins Audio UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’ve read lots of this author’s books, but this is the first I’ve listened to as an audiobook. Rather than Cornwall, the setting for this story is Cumbria one of my favourite places, so I couldn’t wait to start listening. This is a story of betrayal, forgiveness and second chances with a surprising festive wedding. Not wanting to give away the plot suffice it to say not all surprises are welcome.

Lottie is working as an event planner at a Cumbrian country house. Planning her first wedding causes conflict in her personal and professional lives, ultimately it makes her realise, some truths about herself and her previous relationship. Jay appears unsocial, but he has trust issues when it comes to relationships, something that stands between his and Lottie’s happiness.

The story has some lovely festive touches, and the romance is conflicted, but rewarding. There is also a poignantly relevant sub-plot about Lottie’s sister, which shows the importance of their sisterly bond and is a particularly heartwarming part of the story.

The characters are vibrant and wonderfully flawed, and they are brought to life, convincingly, by the excellent narrator. Not all the characters are easy to like, particularly Connor and his fiancee Keegan. The story has a good plot for an audiobook with lots of characters and dialects. The narrator is professional and copes well with the different accents and characters.

If you are looking for a festive read with family and forgiveness at its heart with ripples of romance, and humour this is a perfect read.

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

Sinfully Yours Margot Radcliffe 4*#Review @MargotRadcliffe @MillsandBoon #Christmas #Festive #family #Friends #NewYork #Romance #BookReview #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonDare #SinfullyYours

Dark and brooding hotel magnate Will Walker is exactly what Laura Edwards wants for Christmas. Too bad he can’t forgive her for disappearing from their unhappy existence in foster care without a word.

But when a snowstorm leaves her sharing Will’s penthouse over Christmas, the passion between them burns brighter than Times Square. This time, can Will trust Laura to stay?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

There’s a Christmas feel from the first pages of this romance. Laura is a festive event planner and especially loves Christmas. The meeting with Will her client is unexpected, especially when she recognises him. Will has never forgotten Laura, and how she left him without a word. Trust is a conflict in their passionate romance, as is Laura’s lifelong guilt. Both characters have damaged childhoods but have achieved material success in life, emotionally, they are bereft.

Their festive romance is idyllic, with snow, confectionery and passion, but when the snow melts and the real world intrudes their conflicted past and trust issues make Will withdraw from the happy-ever-after Laura wants.

This is story has emotional angst, likeable characters and passionate romance, the perfect recipe for a festive romance read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Cozy Mystery, Festive Read, Friendship, Romantic Comedy

Christmas at the Cornish Confetti Agency Daisy James 5* #Review @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Cornwall #Weddings #Christmas #Festive #WeddingPlanner #CozyMystery #UpLit #TheCornishConfettiAgency

It’s Christmas at The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When Lexie Harrington is asked to choreograph Phoebe and Sam’s Christmas-themed wedding, she can’t wait to create the perfect winter wonderland – elegantly dressed fir trees, glossy garlands of holly and mistletoe, baskets of yule logs and pine cones, and the mouth-watering fragrance of gingerbread, cinnamon sticks and warm mulled wine floating through the air.

With handsome wedding columnist-cum-fledgling scriptwriter Theo Barker at her side, she’s confident that she can create the perfect festive ambience the bride and groom have been dreaming of since their engagement in the Swiss Alps; no rampant hosepipes, no mechanical mice, no confetti-filled hairdryers.

But this is The Cornish Confetti Agency, and the words ‘plain-sailing’ and ‘hassle-free’ do not feature in the promotional brochure. So, when a much-loved portrait of the groom’s father is adorned with pirate eye-patches and black plastic moustaches, and his expensive cologne is switched for toilet cleaner, Lexie and Theo must once again don their metaphorical deerstalkers and unravel the mystery before the wedding dissolves into Christmas-themed chaos and calamity.

A perfect Christmas wedding?
Is there such a thing for The Cornish Confetti Agency?

A glittery, feel-good story perfect for the festive season, and the third book in The Cornish Confetti Agency series.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

The third book in The Cornish Confetti Agency series is pure festive magic with an intriguing cosy mystery, romance and laughter. It’s readable as a festive standalone, but if you enjoy heartwarming romance, humourous moments and cosy mystery read the first two books too.

The characters are vibrant, and there’s a catalogue of wedding-themed incidents full of humour, and mystery. Lexie and Theo, are worthy amateur sleuths, and there’s plenty of romantic interludes for characters old and new.

If you are a fan of Christmas, like to laugh, sigh at romance and solve a mystery, it’s all here in a veritable Christmas cracker of a story.

Daisy James

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 peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), 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.

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

One More For Christmas Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #FestiveRead #Christmas #Family #Love #MothersandDaughters #Sisters #RomCom #HolidayFiction #OneMoreForChristmas

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Snow and the Scottish Highlands at Christmas seems idyllic, and that’s what Sam’s hoping for as she and her sister try out a highland lodge for her bespoke festive holidays’ company. They always spend the festive season together, but this time their estranged mother is coming too. Gayle has a successful company, but her family life is non-existent. This is not something she worries about until she has an accident and realises how alone she is.

The story told mainly from the three women’s point of view is engaging, poignant and realistic. The setting may be like a fairytale, but the angst is real and threatens the magic of the season. There are humour and romance are interwoven into the emotional minefield of past loss and secrets. The flawed characters are appealing, and you want them to find familial happiness.

The romance is magical and passionate. The childlike perspective from Tabitha, light relief in this emotional tale and the end of this story is positive and uplifting.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Historical Fiction

Christmas at the Farmhouse Rebecca Boxall 5*#Review @rararesources #Festive #Christmas #FamilyDrama #histfic #Contemporary #Secrets #RebeccaBoxall

As the anticipation of Christmas builds in the Nielsen family’s cosy farmhouse, Jo, Magnus and their grown-up children begin to congregate for a hybrid Danish-Jersey festive season, each with a surprise of their own – though the surprise that arrives over Christmas is the most life-changing of all.

Fifty years earlier, in 1969, Susan Jones finds herself being pursued by Mr Jenners, her former English teacher, and at the age of seventeen is packed off to a Home for Unmarried Mothers in London by her uncompromising father. As Christmas approaches, all she can do is desperately hope to be rescued, but will anyone be able to reach her in time?

The two timelines of this festive story gradually weave together in a tale that examines whether love and hope can eventually triumph over even the deepest sadness.

Rebecca Boxall is the award-nominated author of five bestselling novels – Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse.

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

My Thoughts…

Jo’s ideal Christmas is at her lovely farmhouse, full of the people she loves. Christmas 2019 is full of secrets and surprises. A festive insight into family, in all its diversity and true Christmas spirit. Another historical tale plays out in 1969, one of naivety, narcissism and terrible betrayal and loss. The contrast is evident, but what is the connection?

This is a poignant relatable story which takes you on an emotional journey with all its highs and lows. The characters are believably flawed, and you care what happens to them. The festive customs add authenticity and the final revelations are heartwarming and uplifting.

Rebecca Boxall

Rebecca Boxall was born in 1977 in East Sussex, where she grew up in a vicarage always filled with family, friends and parishioners. She now lives by the sea in Jersey with her husband, three children and Rodney the cat. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. She is the bestselling author of Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse and was nominated for the Romantic Novelist Association Awards in 2020.

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

Mine to Five Tara September 5*#Review @TaraSeptember #Narrator @verla_bond #Romance #Workplace #ContemporaryRomance #Audiobook #Review #BlogTour #Festive #FridayReads #MinetoFive

Working beyond nine to five and barely getting by, Melanie Thomas is eager to celebrate the impending holiday season and to toast the start of her dream marketing job over drinks with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, he has different planslike seeing other women. 

Indulging in a pity party with tequila, Melanie confides in a sexy stranger at the bar. It’s almost Christmas. One night of letting go won’t hurt anything, right? Turns out it just might—when the stranger is her new boss. Determined to succeed at her job, Melanie won’t be scared away. This is her chance, even if her hot boss has her feeling all merry and bright and wishing for a less-than-professional relationship.

Matthew Ryans is burned out and on thin ice at the company he helped build unless he gets his head back in the game. Yet his head, both upper and lower, are quickly becoming obsessed with his new assistant. Still, he can’t seem to fully begrudge Melanie’s distracting presence and the Christmas joy she brings with it. Especially considering that her enthusiasm has him reenergized. For once, he is longing for Mondays, but with his heart and job on the line, he can’t risk blurring the lines no matter how strong the lure of holiday mistletoe is.  

Will their holiday passion be able to fuel mutual career success, or will it only get in their way in the New Year?

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

My Thoughts…

A well-paced sexy romance set in the workplace. With believable and relatable characters and a storyline perfect for an audiobook listen. This is the second of this author’s books I’ve listened to by this narrator, who makes it easy to engage with the characters and the story.

Melanie and Mathew’s meeting at a bar leads to complications in their work lives, even though neither can remember the details of the encounter. This is a sensual romance with passion and forbidden love which explores the dangers of workplace romance and the unfair consequences for women.

The story has a festive setting, which adds to the romance and whilst there are no real surprises, the ending is passionate and so romantic.

Tara September

Tara September is a multi-award-winning contemporary romance author living in Southwest Florida. Blogger and former PR executive for The Walt Disney Company, Tara holds a Master’s degree in journalism & communications from New York University. For over a decade, Tara has penned a popular lifestyle, travel and parenting blog at TaraMetBlog.com

An avid romance reader though, she has been daydreaming about being an author since she was a kid. Dozens of bad dates and adventures later, she still finds it impossible that she met her husband on a NYC subway. They now have identical twin boys and four cats underfoot/on her laptop/everywhere. Fueled by an IV of green tea and an outrageous stock of champagne, she’s finally writing the happily ever after tales she’s been dreaming about.

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If readers sign-up to Tara September’s newsletter they can automatically get her short story It Might Be You for free at Newsletter Sign Up 

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

The 12 Christmases of You & Me Jennifer Joyce 5*#Review @Writer_Jenn @rararesources #Festive #SecondChance #romcom #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview

What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?

Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?

When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?

The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.

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

My Thoughts…

The idea of Christmas past, present and future is used here as a festive twist to explore coming of age, friendship and love from Maisie’s point of view. The story begins in the present, and the humour and connection between Maisie and Lily are engaging. Maisie realistically revisits past Christmases. She learns from her mistakes and omissions and subtly alters her future.

This is a story about growing up and changing friendships with a magical festive twist. The characters are relatable and engender emotions in the reader. The story is heartwarming and humorous.

Jennifer Joyce

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. She’s been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as she can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And she felt like the bee’s knees typing on THAT. She now writes her books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything).

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

A Mistletoe Vow to Lord Lovell 4*#Review Joanna Johnson @JoannaJoJohnson @MillsandBoon #Festive #MillsandBoonInsiders #RegencyRomance #MillsandBoonHistorical #BookReview

Will their vows last a lifetime…

Not just for Christmas?

Abandoned by her husband, and society because her father was a slave, Honora Blake will never rely on anyone again. Until dashing Lord Lovell breaks the news that she is a widow – and penniless – and insists she spend Christmas with him and his pregnant ward. Beneath the mistletoe, passion flares between Honora and Isaac. Then childbirth places his ward’s life in jeopardy, and these strangers suddenly face marriage to protect the baby!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A romance set in Regency times focused on women’s lack of rights in society. Honora naively marries a rake and travels to England only to be abandoned and left in a crumbling house. Issac Lord Lovell brings her news of her estranged husband’s demise. She wonders if she can begin again, but her husband fails her even in death, and she forced to accept Issac’s offer of a place to stay.

This is an enemy to lover trope, but it has more depth than this. Honora faces prejudice both because of her parentage and her gender. The attraction between her and Issac is unwelcome to both. Her past mistakes make trusting Issac difficult. Issac has a secret that may destroy any future they may have. Nevertheless, passion breaks through, but conflicts, both internal and external, make a festive happy-ending hard-won.

This gently paced story is about a romance, which succeeds despite the failings of Regency society. The festive setting gives the story a sense of time and place and provides lighter moments in a story that explores social history inequality and prejudice.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Happily This Christmas Susan Mallery 5*#Review @SusanMallery @MillsandBoon #Romance #MillsandBoonInsiders #Festive #SmallTown #family #friendship #BookReview

It’s the season of love, forgiveness… and tidings of trouble!

Wynn Beauchene is exactly where she wants to be: a successful business owner and single mum. Lately, however, something feels like it’s missing. Even worse is Wynn’s attraction to the gorgeous policeman next door.

With his pregnant daughter coming to stay, Garrick McCabe has one last chance to repair their strained relationship. Except his daughter seems to have turned into the Grinch, and now Garrick needs Wynn’s help to turn this festive fiasco around… before it’s too late.

For Garrick and Wynn, a little chaos is the perfect gift for revealing what—and who—matters most…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this festive small-town romance, which is part of the Happy Inc series. Wynne has admired her neighbour Garrick for a while without taking it further. When he asks for her help making his home welcome for his pregnant and estranged daughter, she has to help, of course.

The romance between Wynn and Garrick is gentle and sweet, almost like first love. Both have emotional damage from early parenthood and mistakes they have to live with, but both are good people who you want to find happiness, preferably together. Their friendships groups are supportive and add to the story’s cosy feel.

Joylyn has issues most relating to her father, she matures, as her baby’s arrival draws closer, and this makes her easy to empathise. The wedding the town is famous for takes place close to Christmas and is a perfect example of community spirit and friendship.

This story is on the cute side, but everyone wants a happy-ever-after at Christmastime.

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

The Christmas Swap Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #Festive #Christmas #Holiday #Friendship #Women #Romance #Family @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads

Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three.

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

My Thoughts…

Three women, friends since they met on holiday as young girls are all living good lives, but when it comes to Christmas they all feel it’s time to shake things up a little. Chole, Jules and Lucy agree that a house swap at Christmas will meet their needs and what follows is festive, fun and full of romance.

The characters are relatable and the plot peppered with Christmas activities and memories,
vivid locations and love. There are three romances, all different, but equally believable and heartwarming.

If I had to pick a favourite it would be Lucy and Will, she’s introverted and doesn’t realise how lovely she is, and Will does. The glamour of Archer and Chloe’s romance is good to read. Jules and Matt’s relationship is less romantic than the other two, but it’s realistic and has its moments. The three stories bound together by the three women and Christmas make this an engaging festive read.

Sandy Barker

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

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