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

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay Nicola May 5* #Review @NicolaMay1 @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #festive #BlogTour #BookReview #CICB

 

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

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

My Thoughts…

Christmas in Cockleberry what could be nicer? It’s fun to return to Cockleberry Bay and its community at this festive time of year. Whilst this festive book is a complete story, the series is so special if you can read them all.

The story is full of vivid imagery, making the characters, events and setting easy to imagine. There are lots of characters and stories, so you need to concentrate, but it’s realistic and vibrant, and the dynamics are relatable to anyone who lives in a small community. For series regulars, there are updates on their favourite characters’ lives, and for new readers, there’s lots of festive fun, humour and intrigue.

This series would work well on television, it makes such good use of sensory imagery, with larger than life, memorable characters. It’s easy to see why this series is so popular, especially in such an uncertain world. It’s the perfect escapist read, definitely a festive book worth reading.

NIcola May

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

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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, Festive Read, Romance

Christmas Reunion in Paris Liz Fielding 5*#Review @lizfielding @MillsandBoon @harlequinbooks #Romance #Festive #ChristmasReunioninParis #ChristmasattheHarringtonParkHotel @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview

Parisian reunion
With the one that got away!

Celebrity chef James Harrington never expected to find himself face-to-face with Chloe, his first love, again… Especially, with her working as a chambermaid at his luxury hotel! Their chemistry’s as strong as ever, but she’s hiding a secret. Can James convince Chloe that their love is worth taking a chance on – again?

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

My Thoughts…

True love is never easy, and Chloe and James’ path to happy-ever-after is full of angst and conflict. Teenage lovers, they were torn apart by Chloe’s father who only thought of himself, and his reputation.

The reunion for this ill-fated couple is unexpected and paves the way for a second chance romance but do they still want the same things? James has a lesson to learn, Chloe needs to face her past, and both need luck and support.

There are festive trips in Paris which are romantic and lull the reader into thinking they will fall into each other arms forever, but this is more realistic, and both have to work hard for what they want. The characters are flawed, relatable and easy to empathise. The Parisian setting is romantic and vibrant, and the ending is worthy of their emotional journey.

This is a lovely romantic story with a festive twist.

Liz Fielding

Best selling author, Liz Fielding worked as a secretary in Africa, the Middle East and the UK before writing full time. Her award winning books are published worldwide in multiple languages and she has more than 15 million books in print.

Katie Fforde wrote, when honouring her with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2019 said – “Liz Fielding’s books, with their warmth, humour and emotion, have charmed millions of readers. She is a true star of the romantic fiction genre…”

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

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #ChristmasonCastleStreet @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #Festive #Romance #Family #Love

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café Cosy up with a mug of hot chocolate for some festive sparkle from bestseller Jessica Redland.


Everyone is getting into the festive spirit on Castle Street – snow is falling, fairy lights are glistening and Christmas shopping is underway.

But for Tara Porter, owner of thriving cafe, The Chocolate Pot, this is the most difficult time of the year. From the outside, Tara is a successful businesswoman and pillar of the community. Behind closed doors, she is lonely.

With a lifetime of secrets weighing on her shoulders, she has retreated from all friends, family and romance, and shut her real self away from the world. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. She’s learnt that the hard way.

But as the weight of her past becomes heavier and an unexpected new neighbour moves onto the street – threatening the future of her cafe – Tara begins to realise that maybe it’s time to finally let people back in and confront her history. It could just change her life forever…

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café was originally released as Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

Amazon UK



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

My Thoughts…

Christmas and New Year are festive holiday times that elicit strong feelings in many people. Tara has disturbing memories of this time of year, but she still goes through the motions making it a lovely time for her customers at the cafe.

Tara’s past defines her. Her childhood is difficult and, as a foster child, her life full of goodbyes until she meets her final foster family. They love her but as she grew up her foster sister reveals her true nature, with devastating results for naive Tara.

Tara carries this legacy of abuse and betrayal, self-contained she keeps acquaintances at arm’s length and her past hidden. Carly, a character from a previous story, is a friend who gradually encourages Tara, to share her secrets.

This is a poignant story, but the issues raised are written with sensitively, and Tara learns that she is not her past and shouldn’t let others define her. This story ends positively with festive cheer, but its thought-provoking messages resonate.

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

I’ll Be Home For Christmas Abbey Clancy 4*#Review #BlogTour @MillsandBoon @OfficialClancy #BookReview #TickledPink #BreastCancerAwareness #FestiveRead #RomCom #Celebrity

#HomeForChristmas

Even stars have Christmas dreams…

Popstar Jessika Malone can’t believe her luck! Not only has she signed a major record deal and is topping the charts with her latest single, she’s just been offered the chance of a lifetime: a tour with gorgeous megastar Cooper Black…

It’s everything she’s ever dreamed of – except that it means travelling thousands of miles from her boyfriend, Daniel, just when he’s finally got down on one knee and popped the question!

Far from home and followed by the paparazzi, her relationship is tested more than Jessika ever imagined – will she make it home for Christmas before it’s too late?

Amazon UK

#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

A lighthearted romantic comedy with a festive twist.

Jess is going on tour with pop royalty and leaving her soulmate behind for a month, The story follows her journey and the problems and temptation she faces. There is the expected realistic ethos to this story, and that makes it enjoyable,

The plot is simple but the characters are likeable, and the challenges they face a good mix of celebrity, glamour and romantic conflict. The settings are well described and make the story more interesting.

Something for lovers of celebrity-themed romantic comedy, with a festive twist.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: Millie Vanilla’s CupCake Cafe – Christmas Weddings – Georgia Hill 4* Review

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Winter wedding bells are ringing at the Cupcake Café!

It’s winter in Berecombe and Millie’s café is up for sale. Her final task as its owner is to host her friends’ Christmas wedding on the beach, only she’s feeling anything but festive! Putting her ex, Jed, firmly out of her mind is proving impossible now he’s back working for her biggest rival.

What on earth is Jed up to? Telling her he still loves her is all very well, but if her café goes out of business, no-one will buy it. Christmas might be the season of goodwill towards men – but can Millie trust this particular man with her heart again?

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

I ‘ve enjoyed reading the first two books in this series, so I’m pleased the final book has a festive flavour. Like all of these Cupcake Cafe books, they can be read as standalone but I recommend reading the whole series, which is a lovely quick read, to appreciate the character development and the overall plot.

Millie returns from her travels abroad, hoping to complete the sale of her cafe.  part of her wants to see Jed but she sent him away so there is no chance of that?

Another romance dominates this story apart from the loved-up couple who Millie is arranging the wedding for at the cafe. Ri and Alex are an unlikely couple but their’s proves to be an engaging story, with a mystical slant that I always enjoy.

This is a  gentle, romantic story, which incorporates the festive element beautifully. The ending is charming and full of vivid imagery, which makes it easy to imagine being one of the wedding guests. Thankfully everyone has a happy ending. What more could you ask for in a festive read?

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

 

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Read my reviews of the first two books in the series

Spring Beginnings

Summer Loves