Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance

Waiting To Begin Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #LakeUnionPress #eighties #ComingofAge #Love #forgivness #secrets #WaitingToBegin #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Bessie wanted to be an air hostess, she wanted to experience love, and all life, had to offer, but on her sixteenth birthday, her dreams started to crumble. This is an emotional and poignant coming of age story. It reflects on how your younger life can shape your future. The ethos of growing up in the 1980s, a time of change, is evocatively written. Bessie’s choices less, and her naivety greater, than for young women, in the twenty-first century.

Bessie, at fifty-three, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are happy with their lives and independent of her. Her marriage is more a habit than a partnership, and her dreams, remain unfulfilled. This is a journey of self-realisation for Bessie. She has to reveal her darkest secret and forgive her younger self.

This story is immersive and memorable, with experiences many can relate to.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, New Books

Lost Property Helen Paris 5* #Review @drhelenparis @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #LiteraryFiction #SelfDiscovery #Memories #Loss #Family #Friendship #Forgiveness #MentalHealth #uplit #LostProperty

Dot’s life has become a bit stuck. The big dreams she once had are beginning to fade away as she works each day in the Baker Street Lost Property office. Until one day someone enters her life and unlocks a new determination inside her. After all, everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Maybe now it’s Dot’s turn to be found…

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A poignant and ultimately uplifting exploration of family, forgiveness, loss and memories. This gently paced story focuses on Dot, a young woman seemingly sidelined by life, but why? She is easy to empathise with, as she stumbles through life, with her keen insight, self-deprecating humour and sense of guilt.

The workings of a busy lost property office are vividly given life in this story, as every lost item has a history and is a cause of humour or sadness seen through Dot’s eyes. The structure and writing style are conducive to easy reading and immerse the reader in the characters and plot.

Contemporary issues concerning family, loss and mental health are woven into this lovely story, which follows Dot’s emotional journey of self-realisation to its positive conclusion and the realisation that some things are meant to be left behind.

Helen Paris

Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction.

As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.

Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:

“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’

I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe, a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic, portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound. Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and linger there, if only for a moment.”

Posted in Book Review, New Books, Romance, Travel

The Greek Wedding She Never Had Chantelle Shaw 4*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #HarlequinPresents #Romance #Revenge #Forgiveness #Greece #InnocentSummerBrides #BookReview #TheGreekWeddingSheNeverHad

Eleanor Buchanan broke off her engagement to Jace Zagorakis a year ago. She discovered he only wanted to marry her to gain control of her family’s luxury Greek hotel – on their wedding day! Now the devastatingly handsome tycoon is back with a second proposal…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This passionate romantic story has echoes Greek tragedy. Jace is driven to revenge his father’s death after Eleanor’s grandfather’s betrayal. Eleanor discovers Jace’s plans and runs, but one year on, her hotel is on the brink of bankruptcy, and Jace is the only way out.

There is undeniable chemistry between innocent Eleanor and Jace, which she thought was love. As they get to know each other, their growing emotional commitment deepens into love. Eleanor is a strong woman who values family and loyalty, something she shares with Jace. She understands his motives, and when he shares his past, she forgives him. Jace is a sexy but troubled man driven by revenge. His attraction and admiration of Eleanor let him learn to trust and realise he deserves to be happy.

This is a lovely sensual romance with likeable characters.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Heartwarming #UpLit #Family #Relationships #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

Brand new from the top 10 bestselling author of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow.

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.


For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This sequel to Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is full of family drama, forgiveness and fabulous hedgehogs. The research of the setting of this story is obvious and gives this story authenticity and depth of interest.

The author provides a list of recurrent characters, and a catch up of the story so far. There is plenty of background in the actual story to make this readable as a standalone, but it’s so good don’t miss out on the first book in the series.

The story is told from the two main protagonists’ points of view, giving valuable insights into Sammie and Josh’s personalities and thoughts. Their developing relationship faces conflict, from family dramas and threats to the hedgehog rescue centre. This is a character-driven story, some are not likeable, but this makes the story realistic. It also effectively highlights the protagonists’ positive character traits.

Love and forgiveness prevail, making this both heartwarming and uplifting to read.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the author of ten 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 Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance

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

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

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

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

Amazon UK Audiobook

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

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship

Forgive Me Susan Lewis 5*#Review @susanlewisbooks @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #RestorativeJustice #Crime #Domestic Suspense #Forgiveness #Family #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #ForgiveMe

I can’t forgive myself. Not after what I did. Could you?


This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years.

But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.

Tense, emotional and gripping, Susan Lewis’s latest novel is a spellbinding story of love, family, and the price of forgiveness. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a contemporary emotional story focusing on crime, domestic abuse, family and forgiveness. From the beginning, you aware that someone is seeking forgiveness, but alongside this runs the story of three women, a mother, daughter and grandmother who are seeking a new start. The connection, if any between the two stories, is not immediately apparent.

The characters, especially the female protagonists, are well written. The familial relationship is powerful. This is a story of forgiveness, healing and love. It demonstrates the importance of these in all relationships in a way that resonates.

Despite his actions, the antagonist draws reluctant empathy from the reader, which increases, as the story progresses. Not all the characters are likeable, but they are authentic and play their part, in this family drama with a moral dilemma.

This story is addictive and hard to put down. The protagonists are admirable and human.

Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later and Home Truths and My Lies, Your Lies. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Starting Over At Acorn Cottage Kate Forster 5* #Review @kateforster @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #UpLit #Friendship #Romance #DomesticAbuse #StartingOver #Lies #Secrets #Serendipity #VillageLife #Bereavement #Forgiveness

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Amazon iBooks Kobo Google Play

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

My Thoughts…

A story about gentle souls reeling from the harsher aspects of life, being drawn to a village whose life is ebbing away. The story is told from multi-point of view and explores how friendship love and a little bit of magic can transform lives and places.

Bereavement, domestic abuse and forgiveness are the story’s major themes. The horror of them sensitively portrayed. As is, the power of good friends, love and sharing dark secrets with someone you trust.

Even though the subject matter is dark, there is plenty of light in this story. Delightful characters, you want to succeed and a special older lady Tassie who is distinctly mystical. The conflicts are real and angst-ridden, but so is the love and understanding that overcomes them.

This is an engaging, heartwarming, story with characters that resonate.

When your dreams come trueGuest Post – Kate Forster

When I was a child I had a book called Lavinia’s Cottage by John S. Goodall. It was a pop-up book and it was my go-to book when I felt unwell or things in my small life felt too complicated. It was written for the illustrator’s granddaughter when she was four, the story, told entirely in pictures, was about a little girl who lived in a country cottage, with her grandmother. Because Lavinia is almost well from the measles, two of her friends and a grandmother visit Lavinia and her mother at their cottage. Lavinia spots them as they walk up and pops out of bed to show them all the wonderful things in the attic. There is a cupboard filled with old toys, and a rocking horse and at the end of the visit we know everyone has a grand time.

This is the front cover.

A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated
Lavinia’s Cottage – John S. Goodall

When I was an adult, I wrote a book about a woman who is hurt and betrayed and who buys a pink cottage that needs to be fixed and healed, just like her heart. I forgot about Lavinia’s Cottage until I saw the beautiful cover and it all came flooding back.

I had made my dream come true, just like Clara, the heroine of my new book.

This book was restorative to write. It is book about looking for a simpler life, about letting the ghosts of the past lead you to your true place of belonging, so they can find their peace and you can find your own inner calm. My pink cottage fantasy finally came true.

Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it’s the only way forward.

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

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

Bluebell’s Christmas Magic Marie Laval 5*#Review @ChocLituk @MarieLaval1 @rararesources #Romance #festive #Cumbria #Cleaning #Secrets #Romantic Suspense #Mystery #BlogTour #BookReview #BookBloggers #Giveaway

#BluebellsChristmasMagic

A flick of a feather duster and a sprinkle of Christmas magic
Cassie Bell is used to mess. Her cleaning business, Bluebell Cleaning, is well known in the Cumbrian village of Red Moss. However, now it’s almost Christmas and Cassie has a slightly messier situation to deal with than she’s used to.

She’s been hired to help Stefan Lambert, an injured army helicopter pilot who’s staying at the local Belthorn Manor whilst he recovers. Stefan resents Cassie’s interference and is definitely not looking for Christmas cheer. But Cassie prides herself on sparkling surfaces – so, can she bring some festive sparkle to Stefan’s life too?

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#BluebellsChristmasMagic

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

My Thoughts…

A charming Christmas romance, with a cast of interesting characters, some lovely, others are not, a mystery and a something unquantifiably mystical.

Cassie is an optimistic, happy woman, who works hard and goes out of her way to make others feel happier. Meeting Stefan is unexpected and he appears unmoved by her kindness. Hurt at first, until she realises his physical injuries are just the tip of the iceberg, and his emotional damage is far more severe.

A historical family drama seems to reflect Stefan and Cassie’s situation. There are a few paranormal interludes and a lovely gentle romance all weaved intricately into this lovely festive tale.

It’s hard to put into words the magic of this story, but it keeps you reading, and when it ends, although the conclusion is perfect, you are sad it’s finished.

Giveaway to Win a small canvas purse and a thick notebook (Open to UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#MarieLaval

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time, she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

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Posted in #Sale, Book Spotlight, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

The Christmas Calendar Girls Samantha Tonge @Aria_Fiction @SamTongeWriter #BlogTour #BookPromo #99p #Festive #Christmas #Heartwarming #MondayBlogs @rararesources

This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

#TheChristmasCalendarGirls

Fern and her best friends call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.

In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.

Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

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Heart-warming, cosy and charming, get The Christmas Calendar Girls for just 99p for a limited period!

Read My 5* #Review

#SamanthaTonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. 
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Guest post, Romance

The Christmas Calendar Girls Samantha Tonge 5* #Review @Aria_Fiction @SamTongeWriter #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #Festive #Christmas #Heartwarming #Monday Blogs #TrueMeaningofChristmas #Friendship #Community

This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

Fern and her best friends call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.

In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.

Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

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#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

I love Christmas. December 1st, out come the Christmas decorations, and all the lovely memories of Christmases gone by. I always appreciate how lovely it is to have my family around me, but realise for many, this time is particularly devastating.

This story highlights many contemporary social issues, families in poverty, homelessness and addiction. Whilst these are prevalent at all times of the year, they are more noticeable during the festive period when the divide between the have and the have nots is more acute.

The ethos of this story is emotional and heartwarming, and it shows how communities coming together can embody the true meaning of Christmas. It is a story of friendship, women supporting each other and gives hope that with the right support, even the hardest problems can be overcome.

Fern, Davina and Cara are complex characters, bound together by the friendship, through their children. Each has a story, and sometimes things are not what they first appear, but their friendship is what motivates them through the difficult times.

Kit is an enigma, kind, generous with his time, but closed off, with high emotional boundary walls. He helps Fern, start to live again, but is she asking for something he cannot give?

This is wonderfully festive, full of community spirit, but also realistic, not everyone wants to help, some would rather look the other way. The women’s friendship is believable and uplifting, and the conflicted romance between Fern and Kit is heartwarming. There are also lots of lighter moments, which balance out the angst, making this a lovely book to read to get you in the festive mood.

Guest Post- Samantha Tonge – The Christmas Calendar Girls
                                      What is the inspiration behind the character of Kit?

Jason Momoa. If I was feeling lazy, those two words alone could answer that question. However, it’s not quite that simple. Relatable and realistic character-building is a complex process. I’ve had 12 books published now and people from my real life, celebrities, or themes have inspired the creation of my leading men…. but there is one aspect they all have in common: there is a lot more to them than being handsome.

I first came across Jason Momoa whilst watching Game of Thrones. He didn’t catch my eye. I found the character he played, unappealing. As a woman and writer, that’s one thing I find fascinating about sexual attraction. Time after time personality wins the day, despite society’s current obsession with perfect looks and selfies. A six-pack can swiftly seem less hot if it belongs to a man who is unkind or full of ego. Vice versa, a person who initially looks less sexy on the surface can become irresistible if they have a cheeky sense of humour or generous, caring nature.

As time passed, I saw real-life clips of Jason Momoa online. He revealed a hilarious side, wearing girls’ hair bobbles for example (look out for one scene in my story!). He appears to be a very loving father and husband and doesn’t care what other people think – despite his professional macho reputation, he wore a dusty-pink suit and matching hair scrunchie to the 2019 Oscars. Plus he’s a man of principle and heart and recently announced he might have to delay filming Aquaman 2 until he has finished taking part in ongoing protests in his birth country, Hawaii, against a construction site on a sacred mountain.

I don’t know him personally. Who knows what any celebrity is like in real life? But I’ve built a picture of the Jason Momoa I’ve seen through the media and it’s a seductive one, muscles and bedroom hair aside.

From a physical point of view, it was his bare-chested, marine character in Aquaman that first caught my attention – after all, I am a red-blooded woman! He’s tall, with wild chestnut hair and eyes full of humour… just like Kit. But those appealing traits are transient. They don’t have staying power. Not unless there is something more meaningful to make a man stand out.

It was the softer side I’d seen of the actor, online, that really inspired the character of gorgeous six foot five, bearded Kit who has overcome personal challenges; who is a loyal friend who’ll step out of his comfort zone to help those less fortunate than himself. He’s sensitive and empathetic and has a great sense of humour. He’s different from the crowd and also oblivious to the many crushes he inspires in the school playground.

I’m very fond of Kit, as I am of The Christmas Calendar Girls Fern, Cara and Davina. I hope readers enjoy their story as much as I’ve loved writing it.

#SamanthaTonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. 
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award

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