Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

Blog Tour: Guest Post- Extract – Erin Green- The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm- 4* Review

 

The scent of pine fills the crisp air as local villagers select their perfect tree. Picking the tree is the easy bit, creating a perfect Christmas is a bit trickier . . .

Nina has the most magical job in the world, matching customers with their perfect Christmas tree. Working at Christmas Tree Farm is always fun and full of laughter, but the weight of past tragedy bears down on her. Her admirer is a great distraction, but is he the right man for her? Holly is just trying to be a normal teenager, having to deal with the mean girls in her class. But then the most handsome boy at school takes an interest in her. Have all her Christmases come at once? Angie is trying to bring her family together and save her broken marriage. It’s not something she can force, but it’s the only gift she craves. Will her Christmas wish come true? It’s the season of goodwill, and at Christmas Tree Farm anything could happen . . .

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Extract:

Holly

I wait at the end of the Costa counter, clutching a spoon in my hand, watching the barista put together my hazelnut latte. All morning I’ve been dreaming of this latte. It’s my treat for working part-time in the chemist and wearing this awful nylon uniform, which clings to my woollen tights.

‘Hazelnut latte!’ The barista shouts past me as if he can’t see me waiting by the countertop. I step forward and receive the warm offering, eager to scoop the cream from the top as I walk home.

‘Holly!’ screams a group of teenage girls from the seated area. I turn around and instantly regret reacting to their outburst. Six smirking faces, with smudged eye-liner and overpainted mouths, creepily smirk back. ‘Come and join us!’ hollers Paris, one of the mean girls from school. A cackle of laughter bursts from the other five as they try to hide behind each other.

Head down, I dash towards the exit, my blonde ponytail swinging with each step.

They’re about as funny as chlamydia, as my best friend, Demi, would say.

Once I make it to Long Street, I stare fixedly ahead and walk past the remainder of the coffee shop’s large window where I can undo the lid on my latte to scoop and walk. Scoop and enjoy. Scoop and relax. Scoop and forget.

‘Holly!’ a male voice calls from behind me. ‘Wait!’

I continue to stride along Atherstone’s busy street. No one in this world can make me stop and stand, giving those six bitches something to watch or even record on their phones to post on social media. As soon as I reach the safe frontage of the chip shop next door, I stop and turn.

It’s Alfie Woodward. My stomach flips, and I nearly drop my latte. I quickly plunge my spoon into my coat pocket; it feels babyish to be scooping cream when it’s Alfie. Every girl in year eleven, no, scrap that, every girl in our school wants to be friends with Alfie Woodward. He’s the ‘darling of the ladies’, as my mum would put it. And, get me, Alfie Woodward, from the back row in chemistry class, actually knows my name. Not a reaction that the mean girls would have intended for me.

‘Hi. I didn’t think you’d heard me,’ he says, zipping up his jacket as he nears. His dark hair is shorter than in yesterday’s chemistry class – obviously, that has been his Saturday morning task.

‘Sorry… I… well.’ I shrug, looking up into his smiling face. What am I supposed to call the name-hollering in Costa?

‘I was inside with Jordan and Tom. I heard them catcalling you. Anyway, ignore them… I was wondering if you were going to the youth club on Tuesday night? I go most weeks. Your mate Demi goes sometimes, but you’re never there!’

I shrug. What can I say? Err nope, because the mean girls go every week? Or how about, yeah, sure, I’ll turn up, get verbally abused for two hours and return home to cry… sure, save me a seat, and I’ll see you at seven on Tuesday?

‘There are others that attend, not just those witches,’ he adds as if he can read my thoughts. ‘I could call round for you if you want?’

Alfie Woodward calling for me!

I blush. I see his blue eyes swirl and scan my features, taking in the subtle change in my pale complexion. Holly Turner, for once in your goddamned life play it cool.

‘Well?’ A tiny smile frames his top row of perfect teeth.

I purse my lips together to hide the metal train tracks that I begged my parents for, but now wish I’d never had. Right now, I’d much prefer my unsightly teeth buckle.

I give the smallest nod, having lost the ability to communicate in English. In fact, if Alfie stands before me for very much longer, with his new haircut, smart zipped jacket and white trainers, there is a chance I may abandon control of my grip and lose this latte to the pavement.

‘OK. I’ll drop round just before seven on Tuesday.’

Brain now is the time to function, be it a simple OK. Please don’t let me down, not right now.

‘Thanks, Alfie, that’d be nice of you. See you.’ I turn about quickly. It seems rude, but I can’t face him any longer. My smile is going to burst forth, and I’m about to do the geekiest grin ever witnessed on Atherstone’s Long Street.

‘OK, see you in school,’ he calls, as I head towards home.

‘Yeah, first thing in chemistry.’

‘No, you’ve got history first, then geography…’

I attempt a nonchalant wave. Demi is not going to believe this.

*

Erin Green – Guest post.

   Five delights of being an author

Meeting and chatting with readers is definitely my number one delight since my debut was published. I am amazed that within days of a book being published readers and bloggers have finished reading and are wanting more. Their questions range from specifics details about a certain character through to enquiring about my current writing project. I love the way readers are unsure about interrupting your conversation to ask questions but within minutes are chatting away like an old-school friend. I’m delighted when they’ve fallen in love with a particular male character and surprised to hear their reasons for liking him. Some readers have taken some convincing that each hero isn’t based on an actual male in real life.

Spending my time plotting and writing new books – my philosophy in life is to live, love and laugh so, it’s essential to me that these three elements are woven into my narrative. It isn’t my intention to bring a tear to the eye of my readers, but it has happened to many while reading my first three books. I always feel slightly guilty when I’m told, but really it is the best review I can ever receive.

Research has taken on a surprising new role in my life. I can literally spend hours searching through records, business directories and historical maps at my local library – which allows me to recreate specific locations and settings. On numerous occasions, I have found myself distracted by a sudden find which takes my muse in a new direction – it’s a light bulb moment when the surprise find links neatly into the narrative. I have learnt so much about topics that I’d previously known nothing about from Christmas tree species, steam trains, genetics and urban myths – which is a hidden benefit.

Being asked to sign books with quirky messages of love and appreciation. I’m always thrilled to sign books purely because I waited so long. I always panic that I’ll spell their name incorrectly and ruin their book so end up spelling and repeating even the easiest spellings to ensure I get it right. It is bound to happen at some time, and I know I’ll feel gutted and probably write a mini-apology alongside my signature.

Seeing a new book cover for the first time is indescribable. You spend the morning awaiting an email from your publishers, but on arrival, you are frozen with fear and can’t open it. Seriously, how ridiculous is that! Thankfully for me, once I’ve opened the email, I’ve fallen in love with all three of my book covers and raced about showing anyone who is interested. Later, when the book cover appears on Amazon, it suddenly becomes very real, and my countdown begins to publication day.

My Thoughts…

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a Christmas tree, and this lovely, festive tale set on a Christmas tree farm follows the lives of three woman, as they try to find happiness.

Nina’s story is the most poignant. Instantly likeable you struggle to understand why she is so unhappy but once revealed, you want her story to end happily. Holly is about to experience her first love, something we can all remember, even though some of us will have to think back. Her story is gentle and romantic. Angie is trying to reclaim lost love; sometimes you have to lose something to appreciate it.

All the stories are separate yet linked by others in the story, the setting provides festive magic and reading this lets you remember some of the best and worst things about this iconic time of year.

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


Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. She writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and copious amounts of tea. Erin was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017 and previously, Love Stories ‘New Talent Award’ in 2015.   Twitter   Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

BlogTour: Darcie Boleyn- Love at the Northern Lights – Guest Post – 4*Review

 ‘Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how Frankie imagined her wedding day…’

Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind – find her estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s Viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.

When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an expiration date – the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.

Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic, Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice…play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

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Guest Post – Darcie Boleyn – The Inspiration Behind Love at the Northern Lights

Do you ever wonder where you’ll be ten years from now? I certainly do and have done throughout my life.

Growing up, I had many deep conversations with my dad about the future and about what we’d like to do. He wasn’t just my dad; he was one of my best friends. We planned on travelling together – with any (understanding) future partner and children I might have – and we had a bucket list of places to go and things we wanted to see.

Twenty years ago, he was still around, and we took a trip to Orlando, Florida. It was a fabulous week, and we laughed a lot. Sixteen years ago, I had my daughter, and my dad was delighted to be a grandfather. His plans for what we would do grew even more exciting and adventurous, and he was so enthusiastic about where we would take my daughter and how well travelled she would be.

Norway was one of the places we talked about visiting. With its mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords, it sounded perfect. There would be the chance to see authentic Viking ships in Oslo’s museum, to take a cruise on the Sognedfjord – Norway’s longest and deepest fjord – and to hike and ski. And, of course, there would be the opportunity to visit Tromsø, to ride on a sleigh through the snow, and hopefully witness the magnificent Aurora borealis.

Sadly, my dad passed away in 2004, when he was just fifty-eight, and my daughter was eighteen months old. My world fell apart, and it seemed that my dreams did too.

However, my dad was a man who seized life, who lived every day and who would have hated for me to give up. As I gradually came to terms with my loss, I grew stronger and began to enjoy life again. Fourteen years on, I still miss him every day, but I have so much to be grateful for and so much to live for. With my loving husband, two beautiful children and three funny dogs, there is much to smile about. I’m also living my childhood dream as an author, something that would have made my dad very proud indeed.

Love at the Northern Lights is dedicated to my dad and to the dreams we shared. The story isn’t about him, or me, but it was inspired by our conversations and our bucket list.

I don’t know where I’ll be ten years from now, but I know where I want to be and what I’d like to do.

One day, I will get to see the northern lights, and when I do, I’ll be holding my dad in my heart.

My Thoughts…

A  story of mothers and daughters, injustice and second chances in scenic Norway and fashionable London and romance that will last longer than the festive season.

A lovely, romantic tale with a festive twist. Frankie runs away from her wedding and her controlling grandmother and decides to find the mother who walked out on her when she was a baby.  Her only clue a postcard her mother sent from Norway.

Norway is full of surprises and possible romance until a call from London means she has to go home. The relationship between Frankie and her mother is poignant and realistic and there is lots of simmering romance amid the snow and the Northern Lights.

An easy to read festive tale which will make you smile.

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

 

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi, but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.    Twitter       Website

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

Blog Tour: Guest Post -Moonlight on the Thames – Lauren Westwood – 5* Review

Christmas is a joyous time, but not everyone is merry and bright. Nicola is a star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has run its course, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is the last straw… Dmitri loves conducting his pop–up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist. Can two lonely hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?

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 Guest Post – Music, Moonlight and Inspiration – Lauren Westwood

As a writer, I’m often asked where I get my inspirations from. The simple answer is that inspirations come from everywhere! For me, usually, a book will start out with just a simple idea or image, or some kind of trigger event from real life. For Moonlight on the Thames, the opening scene was inspired by a real choir who were performing last year at Waterloo Station during the Christmas season, and a real delayed train. I’m happy to say that unlike my main character, Nicola, I did not create a scene (nor, unfortunately, did I meet the love of my life as a result). But thanks to that night and that choir, my book was born.

To create the two main characters, I also drew on my past. Nicola is a high-powered investment banker, and over the years I’ve dealt with a lot of those in my day-job as an in-house lawyer. I thought it would be interesting for the heroine to be the ‘alpha’ character in the book, though this was somewhat risky. She’s not instantly likeable, but I’m hoping that she’s interesting and different enough for people to stick with her, find out why she is like she is, and see her story unfold.

In contrast, Dmitri is more likeable upfront, but he too has secrets from his past that adversely affect his whole life and forced him to give up his career as a concert pianist. Many years ago, I studied music at university, and though I was not suited for a life as a performer, I did encounter some brilliant musicians who inspired me to want to write about music. There is truly an agony and ecstasy about being a musician, and it takes a very particular personality type to be able to achieve the focus and sacrifice that is required.

The piano music that Dmitri plays in the book was also an inspiration for the tone of the book and also some of the scenes. It was great fun trying to search out the perfect pieces that evoked the mood and emotion that I was going for. And while it is hard to ‘describe’ the effect of music in words, I have put together a playlist to accompany the book that hopefully allows the music to speak for itself. The link is here: http://www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com/playlist.

Finally, I also drew inspiration from a trip I took twenty years ago to Russia. There is something incredibly poetic about the country, its past, its people, its music and literature, that resonates with me. Growing up in America in the 70s and 80s, we were brainwashed into thinking of Russia as ‘the evil empire’ governed by dictators whose fingers were on the red button (hmm, who does that sound like nowadays?) So, it was interesting to travel there myself, form my own opinions, and meet some of the people. I also really like Russian literature, and I have a lovely illustrated book of Russian fairytales with lacquer box designs that inspired the retelling of the Firebird that is in the book.

So, all in all, Moonlight on the Thames was a fun book to imagine and write, and I really hope that readers will enjoy it. I am grateful to Aria for the lovely cover, and also for believing in my somewhat dubious interpretation of an ‘escapist Christmas romance’ that also covers many darker, more serious issues.

If you do read Moonlight on the Thames, please do leave a review or a rating where you purchased it. This helps so much to spread the word to people who might not otherwise find the book.

Most of all, best wishes for the rest of the year and the holiday season.

My Thoughts…

‘Moonlight on the Thames’ is not the lighthearted festive read the title suggests but it does have romance, a fairytale quality and a Christmas message.

Nicola’s successful career masks an empty life and deep, damaging secrets that seem worse at Christmas time. Dimitri’s giving nature is especially evident at Christmas, but he is finding it increasingly difficult to hide the despair and guilt he feels. The couple’s meeting is festive, and Nicola is more ‘Scrooge’than ‘Santa Claus’, but their serendipitous meeting makes them both look at their empty lives.

Poignant and romantic this festive tale focuses on those less fortunate at this time of the year. Dimitri and Nicola’s life are both blighted despite their outward success, and this story explores their inner turmoil and seemingly unlikely romance. Both protagonists are authentic and flawed and carry a damaging amount of emotional trauma but their courage and need to find more in their lives lets both characters develop in a believable and heartwarming way.

Music in all its forms underscores this story and gives it a uniqueness not usually found in festive reads. There are no sugar-coated platitudes in this story, just two people trying to make the best of shattered lives but the outcome makes all the angst worthwhile and leaves an important message in the readers’ minds.

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

 

Lauren Westwood writes romantic women’s fiction and is also an award-winning children’s writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters.  

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Posted in Festive Read

#Festive Read: Cinderella’s New York Christmas – Scarlet Wilson – 4* Review

Anissa Lang was going for gold when an accident ended her skiing dream. Now she’s cleaning chalets. Until brooding millionaire, Leo Baxter whisks her away to New York. But they must confront their pasts before their Christmas wishes can come true!

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My Thoughts…

A 21st-century fairytale romance, with a festive twist.

Anissa is recovering from a devastating sports injury that threatens to end a gold medal career; she is training hard, teaching skiing and working as a part-time chalet maid when she meets billionaire Leo, who is struggling with unexpected family problems. Their passionate encounter affects them both emotionally, and Leo asks Anissa to go to New York with him.

Providing you accept that the storyline is pure fairytale this is enjoyable; there are lovely descriptions of New York sites and events and many tender moments between the couple. There are plenty of ‘Cinderella similarities, but this isn’t the deep, emotional read you expect from this series. However, it is festive, romantic and easy to read and the ending is heartwarming.

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

Posted in Festive Read

Festive Read -4* Review – A Dad of His Own- Minna Howard-Extract

 

House-sitting in a castle over Christmas is a dream come true for Anna and her seven-year-old son Freddie. But there’s one Christmas present Freddie wants more than anything, and it’s the one thing Anna can’t give him – his very own dad.

As Anna settles into her new surroundings and a much slower pace of life, she is soon befriended by the local villagers and the castle workforce who provide a welcome distraction. Before even a Christmas cracker is pulled, Freddie shows an eager interest in the castle workforce; green-fingered Simon, salt of the earth Luke and charming castle manager Julius. Could one of them make Freddies Christmas wish come true and repair Anna’s, broken heart?

At the most magical time of the year, everyone needs a Christmas miracle if they’re to make it to Christmas Day . . .

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Extract

‘Six

Lucy’s husband Colin arrived at the shop with their young son, Benny. He’d had to leave the car further away from the shop to keep clear of the flood. Benny kept complaining about having water in his boots.

‘I told you not to splash in the puddles,’ Colin said mildly. ‘I’ve brought him with me as the girls have gone out,’ he explained to Lucy and then, seeing Anna and Freddie, said, ‘Hello, sorry to meet you in such tragic conditions.’

‘I can’t believe it’s flooded so badly.’ Anna didn’t know how to deal with this disaster. It was so hard to take in the sudden change in the village. Yesterday it had been so charming with its pretty cottages painted in soft colours and the spotless little shops. ‘I know it’s rained a lot, but I never thought there would be so much damage.’

‘The river wasn’t managed properly,’ Colin sounded exasperated. ‘I won’t go into it now. The emergency services are doing what they can, but it’s a bit like shutting the door after the horse has bolted. But we who live here must do all we can to see people are warm and dry for Christmas.’ He turned to Lucy; ‘I suppose we could put Benny on a camp bed in with us and free up his room for someone.’

‘We could,’ Lucy said slightly doubtfully, looking at Benny.

Freddie and Benny were eyeing each other up. Anna remembered Lucy telling her both boys were the same age.

‘Now what else has to go to the house? I thought we should put a notice in the shop window to let everyone know that all the cakes are at our house. Of course, they’ll know about the flood, and if they feel their cakes have been contaminated, you’ll have to give them their money back.’ Colin said, ‘but they were well away from the water and in a tin, so I’d say they are all right.’ He smiled at her, ‘Oh, and will you have the Gateau des Rois ready for the Twelfth Night, some people like them earlier, remember?’ Colin reminded her.

‘Oh, heavens, I’d forgotten those,’ Lucy was shocked; she bit back tears of exhaustion. ‘I can see all this mess, but I haven’t processed the fact that I won’t be able to bake here for some time and we’ve got all the Christmas cooking to do,’ she wailed.

‘I can help with the gateaux,’ Anna said. ‘I was an au pair in France before uni just after Christmas. It’s a French custom for the Epiphany.’

‘What kind of cake is that?’ Freddie asked.

‘It celebrates the three kings reaching the manger after baby Jesus was born. I think it had a paper crown and whoever gets the little figures inside is king or queen for the day,’ Anna explained.

‘That’s right, in France you buy them in the boulangerie, but we started doing them a couple of years ago, and it’s become very popular,’ Lucy went on. ‘I just don’t know how…’ Her voice tailed off in despair.

Colin put his arm round her, holding her close. ‘This won’t defeat us, love, we’ll carry on, but we’ll have to bake at home, and people can come and collect their cakes there. No one will lose out.’

‘If you give me the recipe I can make some too.’ Anna didn’t bake often but she enjoyed it when she did, and she hadn’t as much to do here, as she would have at home, so she could easily do it. ‘People could even collect them from the flat in the castle if that would help.’

Lucy threw her a wobbly smile. ‘Thanks, Anna; I might well take you up on that. We’ll work it out somehow; I just feel gutted, we were woken at five this morning, and it’s been hell ever since, and it’s not even teatime. But at least our house is safe, warm and dry not like some of the poor people like Mattie who must have lost so much.’

‘It’s a lot to take in,’ Anna said. She thought of Mattie’s cosy cottage where they’d had coffee with her. Whatever was that like now? ‘Somehow being Christmas makes it even worse,’ she said.

Simon came into the shop then and looked round in horror. ‘Oh, Lucy, I’m so sorry,’ he seemed stricken as if he’d stumbled into a war zone, which in a way he had, a war produced by nature, which, in the end, was more powerful than human beings.

‘Don’t be kind or I’ll burst into tears and probably won’t be able to stop,’ Lucy said, making Benny run to her side and cling to her as though her tears might wash her away.

‘We’ll all work together,’ Simon said with determination. ‘Support each other. Now I’m going to take Anna up to the castle, as Marian is meeting us there and we’re going to see what we can do for those who have nowhere to spend Christmas.’

‘What has Julius said about it?’ Colin asked.

‘Haven’t managed to track him down, he’s somewhere on a mountain, nor can I get hold of Nell and Tessa, so I’ll have to make the decisions myself. If there weren’t so many valuable things in those main rooms, I’d have no hesitation letting our friends and neighbours into the castle. But Julius isn’t back until tomorrow, Christmas Eve, and by then it will be too late to find somewhere for the people in the village to spend Christmas. It seems unfair that anyone has to doss down on the floor of the church hall when there are empty beds up at the castle.’

While the adults had been talking, Benny and Freddie thought it rather fun to go out into the water and splash each other by seeing who could stamp the hardest and become the wettest – Benny had seemingly forgotten about his wet socks.

Lucy quickly put an end to this game and, turning to Anna, said, ‘If Freddie would like to come home with us we’d love it. We’re only down the road in a large white house, Wildwood House. The wildwood’s long gone unless you see the garden sometimes, just the house remains,’ she joked. ‘You can’t miss it. If you’d like to, Freddie, that is?’ She smiled at him.

‘I’ve got a new computer game. It’s best with two people playing, but Dad and Mum don’t understand it, and my two sisters don’t like it, anyway they’re not there,’ Benny said eagerly.

‘Can I go with them, please, Mum?’ Freddie looked hopefully at Anna.’

My Thoughts…

There’s something delightfully old-fashioned about this story, which may not appeal to everyone at other times of the year but at Christmas and New Year, its unashamed sentimentality hits the mark.

Its a simple story of a widow and her young son, house-sitting at a castle over the festive period with a charming cast of villagers and plenty of adventures. It took me a while to get into this story, but once I did, I liked it.

Freddie’s wish for a father is transparent and leads to a few embarrassing incidents and tears for his mother, Annie. In the spirit of the season, Freddie’s gets his Christmas wish, even if it happens a little later than expected.

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

 

Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time while enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra. She lives in London. 

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Festive Read: Josie Silver – One Day in December – 5* Review

Two people.

Ten chances.

One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love, at first sight, doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.

Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

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My Thoughts…

As a believer in serendipity, this book blurb appeals, and even though it’s more about life choices rather than fate, this magical story makes a lovely festive read.

Laurie, in her early twenties, is still looking for the perfect job, working as a hotel receptionist pays the bills but doesn’t fulfil her journalist potential. Travelling across London at Christmas time she makes eye contact with a similarly aged man sitting at the bus stop, they share a moment and so the story begins.

The reader shares Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s day, her birthday and other memorable events for the next decade. Jack and Laurie are in and out of each other’s lives after their first fateful meeting but are they destined for a happy ever after and who will lose out if they are?

This story flows from year to year, reflecting the seasons and the emotional changes in Laurie, Jack and their friends and family. Romance, humour and poignant moments resonate as their lives’ move on, with believable quirks of fate that inexplicably draw them back together.

The tenth year is iconic for everyone. Jack and Laurie finally face their destiny but will they make it happen or watch it drift away. The final chapters laced with festive spirit and heartwarmingly romantic, give this charmingly addictive story the ending it deserves.

A festive tale with a difference, and an enjoyable read whatever the season.

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

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: Jane Linfoot Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop 4* Review

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There’s nothing more magical than a winter wonderland wedding but when photographer Holly North returns to the cosy village of St Aidan she’s determined to avoid romance and the festive season full stop. She’s doing one small favour for a friend’s wedding and then her plans involve diving under her duvet and avoiding any sign of Christmas cheer – and gorgeous but insufferable Rory Sanderson – for the rest of December!

That is until Christmas arrives at Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s enchanting and most adorable little wedding shop. The champagne is on ice while mistletoe hangs from every nook and Holly’s friends at the shop are determined she’ll live up to her festive name.

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My Thoughts…

Another Christmas time at the ‘Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ and this one features the appropriately named Holly, who grew up in the Cornish coastal town and returns for a holiday, hoping to bypass Christmas entirely after the trauma of the previous year’s festive period.
Holly is a likeable character. When she returns to her hometown, she finds that little has changed, as she reacquaints with old school friends and her former teenage crush, Rory. Holly, a food photographer, agrees to take wedding photos for a friend, which leads to a whole unexpected adventure. Finding it hard to say no to people she cares about, Holly is fully involved with the ‘Little Wedding Shop’ and much to her dismay Rory and his niece and nephew who he is babysitting.
The plot is simple but what makes it interesting is the detailed descriptions, which give the story its vivacity and the lovely blend of old and new characters who resonate and make you believe in them and the setting.There is everything required for a lighthearted, feel-good Christmas read, Romance, children, snow and goodwill. This book will leave you with a warm festive feeling when you’ve finished reading it.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: The Present- D.S.Devlin – 4* Review

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12 deadly gifts, one killer on a Christmas countdown…On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… this is one deadly Christmas that you can’t forget.

The police are baffled by the ‘Santa’ killer, who sends his intended victims gruesome presents based on the twelve days of Christmas. When a young journalist receives a mutilated bird in the post, it’s a race against time to find the killer…

Amazon UK

Amazon 

 

My Thoughts…

A clever, psychological thriller, which casts a dark light on ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’.

Anna is an investigative journalist and Santa is a serial killer. The story is well-written, with a likeable heroine and a sinister antagonist. The plot is twisty and keeps you enthralled, making it a page-turner.

Perfect for those who prefer a darker, festive read.

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

 

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: The Present – Charlotte Phillips – 4* Review

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12 magical gifts, one love that lasts a lifetime…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … one romantic Christmas you won’t forget.

When helping to clear out her beloved grandmother’s home, Lucy Jackson discovers twelve beautiful Christmas decorations hidden in the loft. As she discovers their heartbreaking story, a touching romance develops with the handsome gardener next door.

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My Thoughts…

A  charming, unashamedly romantic tale, with a funny, vulnerable heroine and a sexy hero who falls in love despite it being the last thing he wants to happen.

A serendipitous discovery in her Grandmother’s loft leads Lucy on a tale of discovery back to 1940s England, where she uncovers her Grandmother’s secret and realises that having a life plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness. 

Lots of comical and poignant moments and an easy to read story, perfect for an afternoon in front of the fire with the Christmas tree lights on.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage – Linn B. Halton – 5 * Review

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The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.

Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Christmas at a cottage in the countryside sounds idyllic, but Elana has lost her soulmate and is left to be both mum and dad to the little girl who is her reason for breathing. Having a happy Christmas and living life to the full is so much harder for her this year, the second since Niall was taken from her. Luke has lost his family too but this time because his wife wanted more than he could give. He blames himself, and it seems fate agrees as circumstances conspire against him, ensuring he only sees his little son once a week.
Elana’s cottage still needs a great deal of renovation, when her parents give her a helping hand builder, Luke is the man for the job, but suddenly his presence threatens her self-imposed celibacy and makes her wish for things she thought she never would again.
The story is charming full of humour and poignant moments as Elana and Luke discover kindred spirits and try to make their children’s Christmas magical and memorable. Maya and Joe, the children in the story, are insightful portrayals.
The plot is surprising, and not everyone or their lives is as it first seems. It captures the essence of Christmas believably and contains just enough magic to have you believing in Santa.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.