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

One Snowy Week in Springhollow Lucy Knott 4*#Review @LucyCKnott @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #OneSnowyWeek #Festive #SecondChance #Romance #uplit #GuestPost

Tomboy Scarlett thought Devon would be her best friend forever. He was the only person in Springhollow who supported her ambitious artist dreams. But then one winter, Devon and his parents disappear without warning to start a new life in NYC and a devastated Scarlett is left alone to face her high-school bullies and overbearing mother.

Fast-forward ten years: Scarlett is playing it safe in her childhood village with a dull PA job and a wardrobe that passes her mother’s old-fashioned standards. Meanwhile, Devon is a Hollywood heartthrob, starring in the latest superhero blockbuster. And he’s finally coming home for Christmas…

Scarlett can’t help blaming her former best friend for the way her life has turned out, but Devon’s cheeky charm and gorgeous smile prove difficult to resist. Devon always did make her feel on top of the world, but Scarlett knows her heart isn’t racing just because she has her friend back – is it mistletoe madness, or is she seeing Devon in a completely new light?

Scarlett hasn’t taken a risk in years… but this Christmas of second chances could finally be her time to shine.

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‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow’ –

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

My Thoughts…

This is a charming story of two childhood friends reunited as adults. Both are different people but can they recapture their friendship? The characters are flawed and relatable. Scarlett is likeable and easy to empathise. Her originality shines through, and she grows as a character throughout the story in a satisfying way.

This festive story is an enjoyable read, with realistic characters relationships and gentle romance. The small-town setting is perfect for the festive time of year.

The Inspiration behind my story. Lucy Knott

There was a chill in the air, a cool wind that nipped at my cheeks as I walked the busy sidewalks of Times Square. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck being careful not to bump into the fast walking pedestrians doing their late night shopping or possibly heading out to see a show, or just simply going about their day to day lives in New York City a day after Christmas. Myself, I was on a mission. The festive spirit lingered in the night, twinkling lights and Christmas décor sparkled from every shop window and I had to find Broadway.

Ticket in hand, a smile permanently etched on my face, I find my destination. After taking in the bold, bright, and beautiful posters and the lettering that read ‘First Date,’ I ducked inside and took my seat. Two hours of pure joy, laughter and entertainment followed as I experienced my first Broadway show in New York. The show was fantastic, the music was fabulous and the fact that I was getting to watch one of my favourite actors, Zachary Levi, perform in front of my very eyes was a dream come true.

Shuffling out of the building and back into the frosty night among other Zac fans, I remember the message I got earlier from my sister, Kelly, who was all the way in England. The message had told me that Zac said he would come out after the show to say hi to people. So, I zip up my coat to ward off the cold and stick around with the crowd.

It doesn’t take long before Zac emerges, and I stand back in awe. I calmly wait my turn to meet him and watch as he puts everyone at ease and makes time for them. When it’s my turn to say hello, he beams and asks me questions, asks where Kelly is and about my being a wrestler and I in turn tell him of his awesomeness. We say our goodbyes and I proceed to skip around New York City delighting in my own little Fairy Tale of New York as I stand in front of the Rockefeller tree unable to wipe the smile off my face.

And just like that a story idea was born.

That was back in 2013. It would take seven years before my initial story idea and hastily written out three chapters became a fully-fledged world in my head and before that spark of inspiration became ‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow.’ I met a hero of mine that night and it was the catalyst for my book that looks at embracing who you are and never losing that childhood joy within. I feel that often when we grow up there is a lot of pressure to act and be a certain way. Society and social media seem to dictate what is cool, sophisticated, and empowering. It likes to tell you where you should be and what you should have achieved by a certain age. But what happens when you feel like you don’t fit in? What do you do when it always feels like you’re an outsider looking in? What happens when your dreams aren’t approved by others? What do you do when you don’t look how other people think you should look or act how people think you should act?

When I was thirteen, I loved the pop punk band Good Charlotte. I think it surprised people at school considering the first ever concert I attended was Gareth Gates and therefore liking Good Charlotte didn’t quite fit. To the school’s resident rockers, I wasn’t a proper punk. At that very same age I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was going to be a Professional Wrestler. However, two shy girls (my twin sister Kelly and I) with no social skills, a penchant for awkwardness and a love of baggy kaki pants and oversized wrestling tees, did not a wrestler make. The women on TV were models, how on earth were two small girls from Stockport going to be wrestlers? The answer to that question according to the other kids at school and most of the adults around me was quite simple, they were definitely not going to be wrestlers, and it was a rather humorous and entertaining anecdote. The laughs were a plenty. Needless to say, I felt like I spent the majority of my teen years trying to justify what I liked and what I wanted to do.

All these year later, I’m thirty-two years old, had a successful wrestling career, still love Good Charlotte and have realised that I don’t have to fit into a box. However, that still doesn’t stop those niggling insecurities. Nowadays, someone doesn’t even have to make a comment about me acting my age or looking my age for me to feel anxious, those nerves are always at the back of my mind. I can’t seem to shake them. Those underlying fears are where Scarlett’s character in ‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow’ came from. I wanted to write a character who felt a little hopeless and didn’t fit in and I wanted to see her come out at the other end feeling strong, confident and inspired by all the things that make her, her.

Furthermore, I wanted to write a story that saw two people carry the things they loved as children with them into adulthood and not feel ashamed of doing so. I wanted Scarlett and Devon to be unapologetic about their love of Superheroes because life is way too short to not enjoy or shout from the rooftops about the things, the people and the adventures that make us happy.

Seven years after meeting Zachary Levi on that magical New York night I got to meet him again at my first ever Comic Con while he was promoting Shazam. I loved that when he talked about being a Superhero his eyes lit up and he wasn’t afraid of being excited about it. I loved that while doing press for the movie that you could clearly see how enthusiastic he was about becoming a real-life Superhero. When I met Zac again, he was just as kind, wonderful and inspirational. To me, he’s always embodied joy, fun and love and ultimately, I wanted ‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow’ to be a combination of all those things.

‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow’ to me is about overcoming those childhood scars, figuring out who you are and loving that person the whole way. It’s about fighting for the people that make us feel seen and realising that you are worthy of your own fairy tale. (of New York.)

So, next time the people at your local Cinema save you a life size cardboard cut-out of Shazam, (see, there will be people that get you) and you have to walk past all the hip, cool and quaint restaurants where people are enjoying a sophisticated cocktail and chilled beer on the patios outside and they offer you odd and curious looks as you hold said giant cardboard cut-out, hold your head high, don’t feel embarrassed and rock it because you in all your nerdy, goofy, beautiful glory are SHAMAZING!

All my love

Lucy xx

Lucy Knott

Lucy Knott is a former professional wrestler with a passion for storytelling. Now, instead of telling her stories in the ring, she’s putting pen to paper, fulfilling another lifelong dream in becoming an Author.

Inspired by her Italian Grandparents, when she is not writing you will most likely find her cooking, baking and devouring Italian food, in addition to learning Italian and daydreaming of trips to Italy.

Along with her twin sister, Kelly, Lucy runs TheBlossomTwins.com, where she enthusiastically shares her love for books, baking and Italy, with daily posts, reviews and recipes.

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

Sinfully Yours Margot Radcliffe 4*#Review @MargotRadcliffe @MillsandBoon #Christmas #Festive #family #Friends #NewYork #Romance #BookReview #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonDare #SinfullyYours

Dark and brooding hotel magnate Will Walker is exactly what Laura Edwards wants for Christmas. Too bad he can’t forgive her for disappearing from their unhappy existence in foster care without a word.

But when a snowstorm leaves her sharing Will’s penthouse over Christmas, the passion between them burns brighter than Times Square. This time, can Will trust Laura to stay?

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

My Thoughts…

There’s a Christmas feel from the first pages of this romance. Laura is a festive event planner and especially loves Christmas. The meeting with Will her client is unexpected, especially when she recognises him. Will has never forgotten Laura, and how she left him without a word. Trust is a conflict in their passionate romance, as is Laura’s lifelong guilt. Both characters have damaged childhoods but have achieved material success in life, emotionally, they are bereft.

Their festive romance is idyllic, with snow, confectionery and passion, but when the snow melts and the real world intrudes their conflicted past and trust issues make Will withdraw from the happy-ever-after Laura wants.

This is story has emotional angst, likeable characters and passionate romance, the perfect recipe for a festive romance read.

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy

Friends With Benefits Margot Radcliffe 3*#Review @MargotRadcliffe @MillsandBoon #Dare #MillsandBoonDare #Romance #MillsandBoonInsiders

#FriendsWithBenefits

‘You made the rules…
But you forgot I’m really good at games.’

Casino mogul Alexa Lawson always keeps the lines between her and drop-dead gorgeous bestie Carter Hayes firmly drawn. That is until Alexa’s solution to all her problems is to make Carter her super-hot, fake fiancé! Now Carter’s changing the game—into one that’s white-hot and deliciously dirty. But what happens on one wild night in Vegas might just cost them their friendship… and their hearts.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Friends to lovers trope romance with the added spice of the #Dare series.

Set in Las Vegas, the setting didn’t endear itself, neither did the gambling references. Similarly, the characters are hard to like because of their preoccupation with money, and one night stands.

Alexa, runs a casino and enjoys gambling and playing the romantic field, serially. Carter, her longtime best friend, is a technical genius, but again has made serious money by providing security devices for casinos and other organisations.

The chemistry between them is what makes this story readable. I like friends to lovers romances, but the fake engagement isn’t believable because it goes against both of the character’s independent, don’t care what anybody else thinks characteristics.

The romance is hot and sensual, but awkward in parts, maybe to illustrate the difficulties the characters had with their new relationship? The ending is happy.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Novella, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Happy Christmas Eve Jackie Ladbury 5* #Review @JackieLadbury @rararesources #RomCom #Festive #BlogTour #Christmas #Music #PopStar #Romance #Humour #Friendship #Family

#HappyChristmasEve

A heart-warming Christmas story to put you in the mood for the festive season.

All I want for Christmas is you … or you?
Eve Halligan is back in her hometown for Christmas after a whirlwind few years touring with her band, the Molotovs. A lot has changed since she left, but two things have stayed the same. One: Eve is head-over-heels in love with Lucien Malikov, the Molotovs’ bad boy lead singer. Two: Lucien is completely indifferent to her.
Still, Eve dreams that this could be the Christmas where she convinces Lucien that they’re made for each other. But when childhood friend and local caterer Theo Wright comes back into her life bringing with him festive cupcake and sausage roll conundrums, Eve begins to question whether her Christmas dreams have been wasted on the wrong man…

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#HappyChristmasEve

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

My Thoughts…

A lot is going on this Christmastime for Eve, as she returns home after touring with a band. Eve has always loved Lucien, he has always used her. Will this Christmas see her finally shed her rose coloured glasses, or will she continue to play Cinderella, to this arrogant, deceitful Prince Charming? Theo, another friend from the past, who she let down to pursue Lucien, hopes so.

This is a lovely story of friends to lovers, and self-realisation, as Eve finally realises her how talented she is, and how fantasy often fails to live up to expectation.

The glitzy glamour of the boyband lifestyle and the importance of family and true friends at Christmas are in sharp contrast in this story. Eve knows she is the reason for the band’s success, for so many reasons, but still, she allows Lucien to put upon her. This makes her frustrating in the beginning, but her final realisation that she doesn’t need anyone but herself to succeed is gratifying.

The friend to lover trope is well written here, and the romance is slow-burning but worth the wait. The festive setting is lovely. There’s a good balance of humour, poignancy and romance in this short story, which delivers a Christmassy romantic tale with a contemporary twist.

#JackieLadbury

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.


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#RachelsRandomResources
Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

The Lord’s Inconvenient Vow Lara Temple 5* #Review @MillsandBoon @laratemple1 #Romance #HistoricalRomance #Egypt #RegencyRomance #TheSinfulSinclairs @rararesources #MillsandBoonHistorical

#TheLordsInconvenientVow

‘I have a favour to ask…

I want you to marry me.’

Part of The Sinful Sinclairs. Samantha Sinclair was always Lord Edgerton’s complete opposite. But as Edge meets Sam again in Egypt, it’s clear the years have changed her as much as him. So when she blurts out an impulsive, convenient proposal, Edge’s protective urge compels him to accept. Is it possible for two such different people to be together and find the happiness they both deserve?

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

My Thoughts…

The final part of the #SinfulSinclairs trilogy features Samantha (Sam) and Edward (Edge). Beginning in Egypt in 1814, when Sam and Edge acknowledge to themselves, if not each other there is an attraction deeper than friendship between them. Both are shocked and eight years and a great deal of emotional angst passes before they meet again, in a very dramatic way.

Both are irrevocably changed by their separate traumatic pasts, and this makes Sam brave enough to voice what she wants, but the conflict is just beginning as misunderstanding s and secrets threaten to keep the pair estranged.

The passion is undeniable in this exotically romantic story, and because of their emotional connection, you always know they will overcome the conflicts to their happiness.

Sam and Edge are likeable characters, and their romance is breathtakingly lovely. The perfect end to a memorable romantic trilogy.

#LaraTemple

Lara Temple writes regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.

After moving around the world as a financial analyst she returned to her childhood love of making up stories and was surprised to discover that other people don’t mind reading them.

She lives with her husband, two children, and Lord Oscar the pooch who are all very forgiving about her taking over the kitchen table when she’s writing.

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#TheSinfulSinclairs
Giveaway to Win all 3 e-books of the Sinful Sinclair series by Lara Temple
(Open Internationally)
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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  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.

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

Magic Under the Mistletoe Lucy Coleman 5* #Review @Aria_Fiction @LucyColemanAuth #FestiveRead #Christmas #FakeDate #FamilyDrama #Relationships #Fate #Friendship #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview

#MagicUndertheMistletoe

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 estate either.

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!

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

My Thoughts…

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 stories?’

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.

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Posted in Book Review

Make Me Want Katee Robert 4* Review


cover130069-medium

She’s taking control. And it’s driving him wild!

Lucy Baudin’s ex did a number on her self-esteem, but it’s time for her to regain control. In her job as a lawyer, she’s bold, confident. But in the bedroom, she needs inspiration to reawaken her inner seductress. Asking her friend Gideon Novak for help seems wrong…yet so deliciously right! 

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My Thoughts…

‘Make Me Want’ is a friend to lover story with plenty of sizzle.

Lucy and Gideon are both successful career driven individuals. Gideon doesn’t do relationships, and Lucy doesn’t date since her sleazy ex-lover betrayed her. They have been friends for years, but when Lucy dumped her ex, she lost his friends including Gideon too. Gideon feels he owes her and so agrees to her first proposal, even though he thinks it’s crazy, but when she tells him, she needs a  love teacher he should refuse, but can’t.

As her lessons progress, Lucy realises she wants Gideon as more than a friend but he shies away from commitment and she doesn’t want to risk the friendship they have just rekindled.  Gideon has always wanted Lucy, and now he has her, can he hold onto her forever?

Dominated by sensual, hot love scenes, Lucy and Gideon’s emotional angst and engagement increases, as their physical relationship burns out of control. Plot twists are limited in a story that predominantly focuses on Lucy and Gideon’s  internal conflict. They need to decide what they want from each other and whether they can risk their hearts.  Well written love scenes and a fast-paced plot make this a book that’s addictive and easy to read in one sitting. The perfect afternoon delight.

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