Christmas is coming and actress Kirsty Castille seems doomed to play the front part of Nag, the Christmas pantomime horse when a surprise audition lands her the lead role as Maria in the Sound of Music.
Even better she bonds with a handsome chef over
a piece of squid at her local supermarket, although sadly romance is the last
thing on Jake Levy’s mind.
He has a Christmas deadline, an ex-wife to mourn
and lots of emotional baggage to drag around. He certainly doesn’t have time
for romance and even if he did he wouldn’t fall for someone like Kirsty who
craves the limelight: been there, done that.
A misunderstanding leads Jake to offer Kirsty a
job in his new restaurant and she takes it purely to convince him that she’s the
girl of his dreams.
Her charm offensive begins to work but while
he’s cooking up a storm she’s secretly sparkling under the spotlight – until
her cover is busted.
The fallout is catastrophic, but as they say in
Luvvie Land, the show must go on, even if Kirsty is terrified that she’s taken
her last curtain call and ruined her chance for love.
Read on and immerse yourself in this delightful
winter romance as the snow starts to fall and Christmas day becomes a magical
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
If you are looking for some genuine humour in your festive reading, this book is the one. Kirsty is quirky, desperate to be a successful actress, an ideal romantic comedy heroine. Jake, is a successful chef, but his love life is a mess, and he’s never going to get entangled with someone seeking fame again. Even though the attraction is evident for both of them, it seems ill-fated.
The characters are realistic, the author is an astute observer of people and situations. The constant and increasing misunderstandings are humourous, and often a little poignant. The writing style is full of visual imagery and it flows through the reader’s mind like watching a film. This is an essential quality for a romantic comedy, and one this novel delivers on.
The festive element is more a setting rather than intrinsic to the story, but it is an enjoyable read with a lovely happy ending.
Jackie Ladbury writes heartwarming contemporary and historical women’s fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, she determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into her stories. Her life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying as she now lives a quiet life in Hertfordshire with her family and two cats, spending her days making up stories and finding excuses not to go to the gym.
Christmas is coming to Port Hewer and the hotel Penmarrow, where Maisie is suffering a case of the holiday blues far from home this year — until Gavin, a young American businessman staying at the hotel through Christmas, talks her into joining him as his partner in the hotel’s ice sculpting competition in a mutual pact to enjoy the holidays to the fullest.
Meanwhile, Maisie experiences the village Christmas season vicariously through Sidney and continues writing her Poe-inspired story with only Sidney aware of her secret novel. She soon learns, however, that criticism and praise go hand in hand when he takes issue with her latest chapters, which puts pressure on their friendship, too.
But is that what’s really the issue between them? Because handsome Gavin has more than ice sculpting in mind when it comes to Maisie’s time, which comes as a surprise to no one who’s seen them together. As Maisie faces this sudden romantic dilemma, she realizes what she wants most in her life … and faces a question of what her heart wants most, too.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
If you are looking for something different for the festive season. then this book is probably for you. The third book in the series ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’, has a quirky, and intriguing protagonist, and a cast of original characters, who are drawn together in this idyllic coastal spot in Cornwall.
I haven’t read the first two books, and I suspect that I would have enjoyed this one even more if I had. The story has a saga quality, exploring Maisie’s ambitions as a novelist, friendship with Sidney, past secrets and Maise’s interactions with the other hotel workers and guests.
This story has a charming, engaging writing style and complex, original characters. It allows you holiday escapism, with a lovely festive touch. The final instalment is out in January, and I will hopefully be reading the first two in the series before then.
Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots) and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern-day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.
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?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.
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.
For once, Kate Peters would like a happy, family Christmas; the kind of Christmas seen in the movies. She wants harmony and happiness, smiling, glowing faces, tables groaning with food, carol singing around the tree. She wants love, kindness, and goodwill to all men, especially in her own house.
What she doesn’t want is drama. Absolutely no drama, whatsoever.
But what she gets is three stroppy children, two equally stroppy grandmothers, a husband who can’t manage to change a lightbulb, and Pepe the poodle.
It’s no wonder she feels unappreciated, overworked, and ignored. At the end of her tinsel-coated tether, and with the only Christmas spirit being in the form of a bottle of raspberry gin, Kate decides to leave them to it, and see how they manage without her.
A quiet little hotel somewhere near the sea, where she can pretend Christmas doesn’t exist, is just the thing she needs. Isn’t it?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Christmas is for most, one the year’s most anticipated events, but sometimes the outcome is not as good as the build-up. For Kate, the anticipation is more like dread, and the outcome is likely to be disastrous, if something doesn’t change, but is she brave enough to do something about it?
Reading this well-written story is more like watching a TV reality show than fiction. As Kate’s much longed for perfect family Christmas, is lost amid bickering mothers, argumentative, opinionated, teen and pre-teen children, and a husband who’s the breadwinner, so he doesn’t need to do anything but breathe, does he?
This story imparts the frustration Kate feels so well, you empathise. Whilst at the same time want her to do something, to make her family truly see her as an individual with wants needs and ambitions too. Not, just the person who makes everything run smoothly in their lives.
There are lots of funny incidents in this story , that some will recognise, and the characters are believable. It does encapsulate, things that are negative and positive about a family Christmas, and the visual imagery is succinct, making it easy for the reader to visualise the action.
An amusing, insightful and sometimes poignant snapshot of family life at Christmas time, lovely.
Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.
She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.
She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it. TwitterFacebook
Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.
So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is, in fact, the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.
Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I’m starting to get in the festive vibe now, well it is the last day of September, and this story is a festive gem. The conflicted romance between two likeable protagonists, Lily and Issac, is at the heart of this story. Rather like a festive ‘pass the parcel’, it has so many layers, with a surprise every time you peel one-off.
There is a family drama, as Lily’s search for the other half of her family, raises hidden secrets in the other half. There tumultuous consequences. for Lily, Zinnia and their mothers. This story is wonderfully contemporary, internet dating and same-sex relationships are interwoven into the complex plot, which adds to the story’s authenticity.
A significant part of the story takes place in Switzerland, where Lily and some of the villagers, take their choir to deliver some quintessentially British Christmas cheer. This is where the title really comes into its own, The ambience, food and scenery are beautifully vivid.
The darker themes explored in this story are a good contrast to the festive frivolity and fun, It reads perfectly as a standalone, even though it features characters from the Middledip series.
The perfect book to get you in the festive mood. With family, friends and sparkling romance wrapped beautifully in a snow covered world.
Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice-chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.
She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.
The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.
Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle
T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing
antlers. And Oliver Cartwright. Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she
Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and
hear all about how BRILLIANT he is. Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and
no idea how to fix things.
This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different. There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers. No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.
But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter in return for an honest review.
A lovely emotional life journey with amusing and heartwarming family interaction, romance, laugh out loud moments and some life-altering poignant events and secrets. Christmas is the time when families and friends come together, not always successfully. Everything is intensified during the festive period,
Daisy’s story, as the title suggests, is told over four Christmases, focusing on an annual Christmas Eve party, at her honorary uncle’s bookshop and her interactions with Ollie. her friend since childhood.
The plot is well-paced. and the secrets are successfully interwoven into the story for dramatic impact, but it’s the characters who make this special.
Daisy is lovely, self-effacing. and easy to like. She is comparable to the ‘Bridget Jones’ character, as she draws you into her life, and lets you experience the lows, high and outrageousness of it. The cast of characters are also believable and vital, they are so well -written, it is easy to visual them.
The beauty of this book is its vivid imagery, as I read, I can see the scene playing out and the characters within it, and this makes it addictive, easy reading. Whilst, Christmas is an important element in the book, it is not just a festive read.
This is a journey of self-realisation for Daisy, significant events turn her into someone who lets things happen because she doesn’t feel worthy enough to stop them. As the story progresses. through the four Christmases, so does her self-development and character maturity. It’s this that makes this a heartwarming, satisfying read, with the bonus of romance, friendship, laughter and tears.
Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.
She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.
Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.
Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is
rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on
her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss,
Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country
So together, they draft an unexpected
Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s
families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking
Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of
the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols, something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
I received a copy of this book from Aria in return for an honest review.
Mistletoe historically conjures up images of the festive season, and romance for me, and this story beginning and ending with Christmas has plenty of magical mistletoe and romantic kisses.
Leesa and Cary are returning to the UK from a business trip in Australia. Both are career-driven, but whilst Cary reels off his criticisms in the comfort of first-class, Leesa is struggling to survive amidst a boisterous toddler and a lady determined to sort out her cavernous handbag. Battered and a little bruised both mentally and physically she plots her revenge. Then he takes the wind out of her sails, by offering her much needed sustenance, and a surprisingly pleasant insight, into his closely guarded personality. Stranded by uncharacteristically festive weather, Leesa accepts an invitation that leads to something unexpected.
I always find Lucy’s books heartwarming, insightful and romantic, and this one is all of these, with a festive twist. There are lots of characters, and sub-plots, which add depth to the story, and provide clever insight into the emotional baggage Leesa and Cary carry around. There is a good use of the fake date trope and slow-burning passion building between the couple, who are so successful in their professional lives to the exclusion of their personal happiness.
Fate and festive magic play their part in this complex romance, which begins and ends at a magical time of year.
Guest Post – Inspiration for my stories – Lucy coleman
It’s so lovely to be back again, Jane – thank you so much
for the invite! As an author yourself, I’m sure this topic is one you
experience all the time, too!
One of the first questions people ask when they are
introduced to an author is ‘where do you find the inspiration for your
Mine usually come as a one-liner thought and I always carry
a notebook and pen as things will spring into my head when I’m in the car,
queuing in the supermarket and especially when out walking.
I have a folder full of jottings because that one-liner is just the initial spark. What usually happens, is that by the time I’m ready to pick it up and develop it, there will be a pile of little notes clipped together.
One such spark was triggered by a
photograph I saw of Lisbon. This time it was the setting that was going to
inspire the story and as my husband and I headed off for a four-day research
trip, the two main characters were already introducing themselves to me.
Now I’m not a plotter, so the story reveals itself to me as I
get to know the characters. It’s a fun way to write. But sitting on the plane
that day, I didn’t really know what this story was going to be about.
We dumped our suitcases with barely a glance at our gorgeous
hotel room and off we went to explore. We chose a hotel that was only a
ten-minute walk from Cristo Rei – the majestic statue of Christ, similar to the
ones in Brazil and Bolivia. Even though it was on the opposite side of the
river to the town and in a quieter setting, it was top of my must-see list.
That afternoon as we did the uphill climb, I was buzzing and
as I stood looking up at the statue the story was there, in my head. As my
husband went exploring, I sat in the little café making copious notes. We went
there every day after other sight-seeing trips, and it was the last place we
visited before it was time to leave for the airport.
For the first time ever, I have pages of conversation between the characters. On each visit, I saw my characters walking around as if they were really there and I took hundreds of photos so I will be able to spirit myself back to that time and place.
When I returned home, I simply wanted to sit down and write
the story, but other work in the pipeline had to be completed and two other
books edited, first. I’m currently writing my 2020 Christmas book, then one
more little project and Lisbon here I come.
I usually write about locations I know well from previous travels and it’s rare for a location to grab me as Lisbon did, simply from a shot, I saw on TV. Having said that… maybe there’s a pattern developing. In October I’m off to a monastery in Spain after a random idea popped into my head.
That’s the trouble with listening to your imagination – it
knows no bounds!
Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been shortlisted in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.