I read this lovely Christmas story last year but didn’t have time to share it with you, until now, as I was too busy running my own tea shop.
More Christmas book reviews to follow this month as I review this year’s Christmas romances but here’s what I thought of ‘The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop’.
From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .
After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.
Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?
Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.
Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?
Welcome to 1985 and a glitzy, ritzy, glam-filled year in Heirs. Maixent, heir to the most glamorous throne in Europe, is as cool as stone-washed jeans and Charley, heir to one of America’s greatest political families, has big hair and is not afraid to use it. But will their hearts find love or will a deadly secret from their mothers’ past rip apart a royal dynasty and a political succession?
This is a very readable and cleverly draws on historical events and people to add authenticity to the characters and plot. This story’s secret is a long time coming. It’s not what I imagined it to be. No doubt there will be more secrets in subsequent books.
Split between the late nineteen fifties and the nineteen eighties, the story moves between two generations effortlessly. A possible attraction between the offspring of the two former best friends opens up a ‘Pandora’s box that cannot be closed and threatens the stability of two families and a country.
The eighties setting is unusual and very topical with the current preoccupation with the eighties in fashion and popular culture. The story captures the ethos of this period; the glamour, preoccupation with wealth and the shallowness of society. The characters are complex and flawed, making them interesting and in most cases, easy to empathise with.
I’m intrigued enough to want to read what happens next.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Nora Dervan is ready for her Happy Ever After. With her darling Harry waiting at the altar, and all her family and friends around her. She is certain that her special day will not be forgotten/will be one to remember…
But with her four bridesmaids hiding more secrets, than bottles of champagne. Will her big day be remembered for all the right reasons?
Bea has barely gotten past the fact that her two best friends are dating, and now they’re engaged, whilst cupid’s arrow points in a forbidden direction for Cleo. She is so distracted by her off limits, hot new colleague that she has forgotten Daisy, who has been left dreading the singles table. There’s more romance in the cheesy pick- up lines than Sarah’s own marriage, which hasn’t turned out as she hoped it would be.
Reacquainting with bride to be Nora and her prospective bridesmaids, as they celebrate Cleo’s thirtieth birthday is easy, despite the months that have passed since I read part 1 of the Bridesmaids’ story. Experience, a nerve racking but hilarious weekend finding the perfect wedding dress. There is plenty of tension between bridesmaids Cleo and Bea and Nora and her mum, who seems set on ruining her daughter’s wedding dress buying experience.
It’s enjoyable sharing the ups and downs of the weekend and the story ends with an unexpected cliff-hanger that could threaten the stability of the group and turn the wedding into a disaster.
This is a quick easy read but there are complex characters and vivid imagery which make this story addictive. I also love the snippets of real wedding memories at the beginning of each chapter.
Looking forward to the hen weekend, all the fun without the hangover, what could be better?
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amaterasu Takahashi has spent her life grieving for her daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo, who were victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.
Now a widow living in America, she believes that one man was responsible for her loss; a local doctor who caused an irreparable rift between mother and daughter.
When a man claiming to be Hideo arrives on her doorstep, she is forced to revisit the past; the hurt and humiliation of her early life, the intoxication of a first romance and the realisation that if she had loved her daughter in a different way, she might still be alive today.
I knew I would find reading this book upsetting. The cataclysmic event, which is one of its major themes, made me sure about that, but the sense of loss and marred lives it portrays makes it almost unbearably poignant. The authors knowledge of Japanese culture and society define this story making it authentic and original. The plot is simple but has the necessary twists to keep you turning the pages. It is essentially a story of family.
A legacy of despair and guilt destroys The Takahashi family. Cleverly revealed through letter and journal entries, the reasons for this are deeper than the tragic event of Nagasaki in 1945.
There are dictionary definitions are the start of each chapter, which make what follows easier to understand and enrich the storytelling. Despite the powerful themes of this story it is easy to read and you will want to read every page carefully, to ensure you don’t miss anything.
There is a message of hope and completion in this story which makes it worthwhile reading.
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK Cornerstone via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Dystopian Cinderella tale aimed at the Teen and Young Adult market. Told from America’s point of view, one of the selected, this portrays a young girl’s emotional journey, in rather unusual circumstances.
This is an introductory novel and mainly catalogues the first part of America’s journey as a ‘selected’. She is a likeable character, mindful of others feelings but definitely a free spirit. The other girls in the story have interesting personalities. There is a love triangle of sorts, which I guess will be explored later in the series.
This book has been around for four years and has attracted a phenomenal amount of very mixed reviews. Whilst, I’m not engaged enough to read anymore in the series, if you enjoy a modern day take on fairy tales with a definite dystopian setting, this should appeal.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins- Children’s via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Here’s my second book review for Elsa Winckler’s Touched series ‘Touched to the Soul,’
A passion that runs soul deep…
Zoe Sutherland can’t stand the pushy, arrogant architect Dale Cavallo. He was just too damn sure of himself, too handsome, too…everything. Maneuvered into working as the interior decorator on his latest project, a glamorous new hotel, Zoe can’t keep her mind on the job. And worse, the strange man won’t give her access to the hotel’s floor plans. How is she supposed to finish the design when she doesn’t have the plans? And when the obnoxious man distracts her with every smoldering look, every touch…
Dale has one goal: get rid of the pesky interior designer. Since he’s been forced into close proximity with the beautiful Zoe, everything’s gone downhill. And to make matters worse, she’s only out to further her own career—and he’s not about to give her the hotel’s plans so she can steal his ideas. He needs to get her out of his system, and sleeping with her seems like the best way to do that. When it comes to women, he’s found the best way to handle them is to love ’em and leave ’em. But something strange is happening…because after a night of loving Zoe, he’s finding it harder than ever to leave…
Reading ‘Touched to the Heart’ the first book in this series got me hooked on the sexy Cavallo brothers and the feisty Sutherland sisters. ‘Touched to the Soul’ is Zoe and Dale’s story, who met in book one where they seemed to repel more than attract. However, neither is being honest and when they are thrown together the sensual tension is off the scale.
If you enjoy watching love grow between glamorous couples, this is for you. The worlds of interior design and boutique hotels collide. The exchanges between Zoe and Dale are full of amusing dialogue, sizzling interaction and serious conflict that makes a happy ever for the couple seems unlikely. However, fairy godmothers in the form of Zoe’s mum and Rosa, Dale’s mum have other ideas.
Glimpses of the other Sutherland sister and their best friend’s lives enhance this passionate love story, making reading the next book in the series mandatory.
The other star of this book and the series is the setting. The descriptions are not extensive but you get wonderful glimpses of life in South Africa, which makes these stories distinctive.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Grab a copy and if you like it please leave me a review. 🙂
MY BROKEN SOLDIER by Alison Mello
Love Conquers Life Series, Book #2
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Tagline: “He may be broken, but it doesn’t mean he can’t be her hero.”
Patricia Fitzgerald is finally ready to bring her relationship with Carter into the limelight, despite what her mother thinks…
Patty is prepared to face the consequences and announce her relationship at her first public fundraiser with Carter. But when a strange woman makes a move on him, and she finds them in what appears to be a mutual, passionate kiss, Patty can’t believe she’s been so foolish. She should’ve known better than to trust a man.
Carter’s been set up, but he can’t get anyone to believe him…
Floundering under the stress of losing Patty, the PTSD nightmares start in again, leaving Carter no choice but to turn to the only thing that will numb the pain. Alcohol—and lots of it. His family quickly intervenes and takes him to the hospital to kick-start his road to recovery. Carter knows burying the pain isn’t the answer. He has to heal…and save his relationship with Patty.
Outside forces work to keep Patty and Carter apart…
Suspicious of her mother’s recent actions, Patty pushes her to come clean about the setup at the fundraiser. Her jealous ex, Ben, has been blackmailing her mother into helping him ruin her relationship with Carter, and it doesn’t stop at that. Ben shows up at the lake house unwilling to accept no for an answer.
Carter needs to piece his broken life back together, but he’s running out of time…
With so many who want to destroy their happiness, he has to be strong enough to save Patty from an empty, loveless future—or he’ll be nothing more than the broken soldier she used to know.
LOVE CONQUERS LIFE SERIES LINKS & RELEASE INFO:
RELEASING AUGUST 9TH – PRE-ORDER COMING LATE JULY!
Book 3: FOREVER MY SOLDIER