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.

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

The Perfect Christmas Gift Katie Ginger 5*#Review @KatieGAuthor @HQStories #festive #Christmas #ChristmasGift #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay #ThePerfectChristmasGift

Can neighbours become more than just good friends this Christmas?

Bella Moore is excitedly counting down the days to Christmas. That is until she arrives home one evening to find her boyfriend leaving her for another woman. Completely heartbroken, Bella is left wondering if Christmas can still be the same this year.

Next door, Bella’s neighbour Nick is facing his first Christmas as a single dad and doubting whether he can make it the magical time his son Freddie deserves.

Determined to fix both Christmas and their broken hearts, Bella comes up with an idea: a Christmas giving tree for the whole village, where the community can unite and secretly give each other the Christmas presents they truly need.

As Bella becomes chief elf, taking donations and delivering gifts with much-needed help from Nick and Freddie, the two neighbours grow closer and start seeing each other in a whole new light.

But when Nick’s estranged wife returns just before Christmas, is their budding romance over before it’s begun? Or will love be Nick and Bella’s perfect gift this Christmas?

A heart-warming hug in a novel.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A lovely festive story with a theme of giving, Neighbours Bella, Nick and his son Freddie work through their heartbreak and loss to make Christmas memorable for everyone in the village. This is an emotional and uplifting story with relatable characters who draw the reader into their world. The village ethos is well-described, and there’s an element of second chance romance for Bella and Nick.

The story isn’t without conflicts, but friendship and trust overcome these. This is heartwarming and uplifting, the perfect festive read.

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

Unwrapped by Her Italian Boss Michelle Smart 5*#Review @chellebellwrite @MillsandBoon @HarelquinBooks #MillsandBoonModern #HarlequinPresents #festive #romance #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview #UnwrappedbyHerItalianBoss

Can she resist his snowbound seduction?

After a rocky first impression, innocent Meredith’s got a lot to prove to her new billionaire boss Giovanni! He’s trusting her to make his opulent train’s maiden voyage a success. Trusting herself around him? That’s another challenge entirely…

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This is a festive story set in Switzerland, Paris and across the Alps. Part of the story takes place on a luxury train, and this well-described setting makes this a vivid read. Merry is innocent and career-driven, running away from her dysfunctional family. Giovanni is a self-made billionaire, Merry’s temporary boss who hates Christmas because of a personal tragedy. There are elements of humour and poignant moments which draw the reader’s empathy.

The chemistry between the two is well-written with sparkly romance. Giovanni has old fashioned manners and speech that fit perfectly with the festive old-world setting. There is angst, reconciliation, self-realisation and a lovely romantic conclusion.

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

A Christmas Wedding in the Cotswolds Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanauth @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #AChristmasWeddingintheCotswolds #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #BlogTour #Romance #Friendship # #uplit #wedding #festive

What could be more festive than a winter wedding in the picturesque English countryside? Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds with the bestselling Lucy Coleman

Imogen Tolliman and Gray Adams can’t wait to get married after getting engaged the previous year, when they were stranded by snow in a blizzard. Now they are busy planning their wedding, but when the date slips six months because Gray is working on a huge film project, it seems like fate that after their snowy start, they will end up getting married at Christmas.

The couple are living in Immi’s grandfather’s picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage at the Aysbury
marina in the Cotswolds, which they are renovating to become their forever family home. As well as building work, full-time jobs and wedding planning, Immi is in charge of raising money to build a children’s playground, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Santa Ahoy Cruises – her grandfather Tollie’s life work
.

When Gray is suddenly forced to travel abroad, Immi is left to cope with everything alone, and
before long, even the best-laid plans start to wobble. When a terrible betrayal is uncovered, the whole community of Aysbury is left reeling, and Immi is left wondering if there will be a wedding after all…

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to an unforgettable Cotswolds Christmas full of romance and laughter, friendship and family and much-loved festive traditions.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts

With characters we first met in Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage, this is a lovely heartwarming story of community, friendship, love and secrets. Planning her wedding keeps getting further down Immi’s to-do list. She needs help but doesn’t like to ask. Events conspire until compromises and accepting she can’t do everything alone is inevitable. This story reads well as a standalone as salient details of their lives so far are integrated into this story.

The characters are believably flawed, and the sense of community is uplifting. The conflicts Immi faces are relatable, and this is a journey of self-belief and self-discovery for her. The sense of place and season is vividly described.

A lovely rural story with engaging characters and a picture postcard setting.

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.

Twitter Facebook Instagram Website Bookbub Newsletter Sign Up

Read my review of Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage

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

Sweet Pastries and Sourdough, Little Duck Pond Café Rosie Green 5*#Review @Rosie_Green88 @rararesources #romcom #LittleDuckPondCafe #BlogTour #BookReview

Ellie’s brand new enterprise, the True Loaf Bakery, is finally open and classes are due to start. But when Katja’s ski-ing holiday ends in disaster, a new teacher must be found very quickly. Anita is up for the challenge, but – fresh from a break-up and an operation that’s left her feeling physically and emotionally vulnerable – the last thing she’s looking for when she moves to Sunnybrook is a new relationship. So it’s Sod’s law that she should find herself with not one but two guys vying for her attention. Sven, from Denmark, is a bit of an enigma – but maybe passion lurks beneath his cool reserve? And as for twenty-five-year-old football coach Ross – surely she’d be asking for trouble getting involved with a gorgeous man a decade her junior? (Although her football-mad son Rufus seems to love him.)
Moving in with Bertha proves a real comfort – but can Anita get to the bottom of what’s troubling the older woman?
Anita’s job at the True Loaf Bakery is only temporary, but she finds herself drawn ever deeper into life in the village – especially when she finds a child’s bracelet from long ago, in the rubble of the newly-renovated building. Solving the mystery of who it belongs to takes Anita on a journey of discovery – a journey that might just help her discover what her own heart really needs…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Another emotional and heartwarming book in the Little Duck Pond series. Anita and her young son are the latest characters at the new bakery. Interesting snippets about baking interspersed with getting to know Anita and her problems. There all the ingredients to make this an engaging read, friendship, humor, and romance.

It’s an uplifting story.

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s Little Duck Pond Cafe series of novellas is centered around life in a village cafe. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story.

Twitter

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

Christmas Wishes Sue Moorcroft 5* #Review @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Family #festive #ChristmasWishes #BookReview

Hannah and Nico are meant to be together.

But fate is keeping them apart…

When Hannah bumps into her brother Rob’s best friend Nico in Stockholm, the two rekindle a fast friendship. But Hannah has a boyfriend – and Nico has two children to look after. When Hannah loses her beloved shop in Stockholm, though, she is forced to move back to the little village of Middledip – only to find Nico has just moved in too. Under the same snowy sky, can the childhood friends make a romance work – or are there too many obstacles standing in their way?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely festive book, but it’s more than that. It can be read at any time if you are looking for family drama, heartwarming stories and romance. Set in Sweden and Middledip a familiar setting to regular readers. The characters are believable and easy to empathise. You are quickly immersed in their stories and want them to find happiness. Hannah is a quirky but entirely lovable character. Nico is focused entirely on his family, and the vulnerable, which makes him so appealing.

Hannah and Nico’s reunion is realistic, and the gentle pacing believably reflects their deepening relationship. A vivid cast of characters, adds to the story’s authenticity. They provide a believable balance of humour, poignancy, and romance.

Relatable characters and realistic stories filled with heart make this an enjoyable read.

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

Virgin River Series Robyn Carr #Reviews @RCarrWriter @MillsandBoon #BookReview #NetFlix #Romance #SmallTown #StartingOver #Loss #Grief #Friendship #holidayreads #AVirginRiverChristmas #ShelterMountain #MillsandBoonInsiders

I received a copy of these books from Mills and Boon in return for honest reviews.

Shelter Mountian

Discover Paige and Preacher’s Story…

In love, some people are worth fighting for…

For the second time in a year a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape the past.

John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. An ex-marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one and this woman is certainly frightened and in need of help. But Preacher’s instinct to protect is more than an engrained sense of duty, for Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in him — emotions that he has never before allowed himself to feel.

When Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River and secrets are revealed, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. But if there’s one thing the marines has taught him, it’s that some things are worth fighting for…

My Thoughts… 5* #Review

The second book in the Virgin River series is Preacher and Paige’s story. It’s an emotional and heartfelt tale of domestic abuse, courage, and love. The book’s focus is Preacher and Paige, but there are other storylines and familiar characters integrated with the main story bringing the characters and setting to vibrant life.

This story tackles contemporary issues with sensitivity and immerses the reader in the story. If you are a fan of the TV series, get to know the characters and their lives in depth by reading the books. I enjoyed the TV series more, after reading some of the books.

A Virgin River Christmas – Book 4

A Christmas Miracle in Virgin River

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life, and gave her three more years with him. Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby to safety in Fallujah four years ago then disappeared. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

When Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River she finds a man haunted by his past and afraid to look to his future. Not easily scared off Marcie pushes her way into Ian’s reclusive life to see beyond his pain to the man he once was. The man he can be again.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young woman who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

My Thoughts… 4* #Review

This story focuses on Marcie a recent widow and Ian, a marine who despite his bravery gives up on his career and life to become a recluse in the mountains near Virgin River.

There are appearances from Virgin River regulars, but this is a story of healing and love between the two newcomers.

This is a gently paced, emotional and festive story. Marcie and Ian build a relationship that moves from animosity to understanding in a remote mountain setting.

It highlights the effect of war on veterans, a recurrent series theme, and also shows how a caring community helps everyone within it,

This is a heartwarming, romantic story which resonates.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Crime, Festive Read, Murder Mystery

#TheChristmasKiller Alex Pine 4*#Review @JPCarterAuthor @AvonBooksUK #ChristmasRead #Festive #CrimeFiction #DIJamesWalker

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?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts

I initially read a sampler of this book in the Summer and only read the full version this month.

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?

There are no murders, only menace and threats in the early part of the book. Suspense builds and the reader realises that this is going to be a Christmas the villagers’ don’t forget.

The murders are suspenseful but not overly graphic. The police investigation is realistic and the conflict and crossover of personal and professional for Detective, James relatable.

Whilst I worked out the murderer, this added to the reading experience making the story authentic and immersive. There is little character development for the investigation team, but hopefully more will be revealed as th series progresses?

This is a good holiday read for crime fiction readers.

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

Mills and Boon Holiday Reads #Reviewed @MillsandBoon @LouiseRegency @Sophie_Pembroke @AnnieONeilBooks #MarcellaBell #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #MillsandBoon #HolidayReads

I received a copy of these books from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

A Marquis in Want of a WifeLouise Allen

Ross Vincent, Marquis of Cranford, with his scarred face and formidable disposition knows he’s hardly a catch. But he needs a wife to take care of his motherless son. Shy, scholarly Prudence Scott seems ideal: she has no expectation of love or passion. She’ll care for his baby in return for the protection of his name. Yet seeing Prudence on their wedding day tests Ross’s willpower to not take his new wife to bed…

My Thoughts … 4*

A marriage of convenience against the backdrop of Waterloo makes this an exciting read. Prue is an intelligent woman who makes a youthful mistake. Ross, a widower, gives her way of preserving her reputation. Their relationship becomes convivial and then romantic, but Waterloo intervenes with near-disastrous results for their life together. Prue is a strong character who matures in the face of adversity and her growing love for Ross and his son. Ross has to learn to trust, something which takes him a while and almost loses him everything. The emotional connection in this story is believable, and Prue’s relationship with her friends is relatable.

Awakening His Shy CinderellaSophie Pembroke

Damon knows Rachel’s always prioritised her family’s needs above her own and it’s time for her to step out of her comfort zone! Damon usually steers clear of commitment, but neither can resist indulging in a very temporary affair! Only when the time comes, can he walk away…?

My Thoughts … 5*

I love modern fairytales, especially at this time of year and this one is magical and romantic and has a contemporary edge. It’s easy to recognise the characters, there’s the wicked stepmother, and the two ugly sisters who despite being outwardly glamorous are mean spirited inside. Rachel doesn’t want to cause her father extra stress, but that doesn’t stop her having dreams, including her longtime crush on her best friend’s brother Damon. Damon doesn’t fit in with his family either, and never feels good enough. The attraction, between Rachel and Damon, simmers gently but grows as they acknowledge their emotional response to each other. There’s a fairy godmother who sees what they could be and plenty of evil and magic occurrences as the story plays out. Sensory imagery immerses the reader in this magical tale, and the multi-layered characters are believable. A lovely story to escape with during the festive holidays.

Christmas Under the Northern Lights – Annie O’Neil

After her fiancé’s shocking betrayal, District Nurse Audrey Walsh hopes to escape Christmas on remote Bourtree Island! Instead, she’s met by a gorgeous man in a Santa suit… Dr. Cooper MacAskill! They’re stuck working (and living) together ‘til New Year, both with their demons to face. Except their inconvenient attraction, and the warmth of this island community offers them healing and happiness – if they have the courage to take it!

My Thoughts … 4*

This is an atmospheric festive romance set on a remote Scottish isle. Christmas cheer is the last thing Audrey feels when she discovers her fiance with another woman, weeks before the wedding she paid for. Heartbroken and in need of cash, she takes a District Nurse locum role as she reassesses her life goals. Cooper grew up on the island. Grieving over his grandmother’s death, he feels guilty and wary of the islanders’ reception. The author believably creates the island world with a relatable cast of characters within the community. The romance and spectacle of the Northern Lights engage the readers’ senses and immerse them in the setting. Audrey and Cooper learn more about themselves and each other in this gentle romance with a well researched medical theme. This is a heartwarming, festive medical romance.

Stolen to Wear His Crown – Marcella Bell

Mina has finally achieved her dream of becoming chief scientific advisor of Cyrano when she’s stolen from the interview room! She’s taken directly to the palace chapel where the terms of a secret betrothal mean she must marry the King – immediately.

My Thoughts … 4*

A fictional kingdom, an unusual heroine, and a determined king make this an interesting romance. The world created is pure fantasy but with some realistic elements. Mina is an intelligent but unworldly woman, fixated on her career and just about to achieve her objective. Zayn knows his duty and will never let his personal feelings get in the way of it. There are elements in this story that defy belief, but if you accept them and Zayn’s often autocratic behaviour, this is a good romance with strong characters full of conflict, glamour and the chance of love.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Together by Christmas Karen Swan 5*#Review @KarenSwan1 @panmacmillan #Festive #secrets #mystery #Friendship #Family #Romance #TogetherbyChristmas

When Lee first came to Amsterdam, it was with a newborn baby and a secret.

Five years later, her life is approaching normal: her career as a celebrity photographer is flourishing, her son Jasper is growing up, and they are enjoying the run-up to Christmas with their tight circle of close friends.

But all this changes one morning when Lee finds a book in the basket of her bicycle – and scrawled inside it, a desperate message. Who left it for her, and why?

Lee feels compelled to help and tracks down the book’s author, Sam. With an instant, undeniable connection it seems they might have a shot at a real future together.

Until her past comes calling.

As the snow falls and ice thickens on the city’s canals, the secret Lee has never told resurfaces. Suddenly everything she holds dear hangs in the balance.

Christmas is a time for being together – but what if the truth means she ends up alone?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is an engaging mix of family, friends, romance, and secrets, with topical themes, and a festive twist. The first chapters highlight an important relationship and hint at dramatic events revealed as the story unfolds. The relationships are complex, and Lee, the main protagonist, conflicted about many things. Damaged by the past, she focuses on her son and the good in her life, but as her past surfaces, she needs to confront it to heal.

Believable characters, a vibrant setting and festive events keep the reader entertained. This is an immersive and at times claustrophobic story but the festive customs and strong friendships counteract the angst, and the ending is a satisfying conclusion.