Friday, 30 October 2015

Review of Christmas at Coorah Creek by Janet Gover - Five *


Blurb:

What if you don’t want to be home for Christmas? 
Spending Christmas away from home is one thing but English nurse Katie Brooks is spending hers in Coorah Creek; a small town in the Australian outback. 


Katie was certain leaving London was the right decision, but her new job in the outback is more challenging than she could have ever imagined. 


Scott Collins rescued Katie on her first day in Coorah Creek and has been a source of comfort ever since. But Scott no longer calls the town home – it’s too full of bad memories and he doesn’t plan on sticking around for long. 


Scott needs to leave. Katie needs to stay. They have until Christmas to decide their future … 








Review:

A lovely novella from Janet. I've read all her books and they are all truly wonderful.

Katie is an English nurse arriving in Coorah Creek to work at the hospital and Scott is returning after 8 years to try and make his peace with his father and the town.

The story follows Scott and Ed's attempts to bridge their differences, and the beginnings of the relationship between Katie and Scott.

I loved the ups and downs of the relationships, to say nothing of poor Katie and the ups and downs of the air ambulance! I couldn't see how the geographical problems could be resolved......but Janet's ending is a stroke of genius!




Review of Snowflakes on Silver Cover by Holly Martin - Five *


Blurb:



Come and spend a picture perfect romantic Christmas at White Cliff Bay


Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself… 

Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance. 

As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George. 

But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas? 

Snuggle up with a piece of Christmas cake and mulled wine, and spend the festive season at White Cliff Bay. You won’t want to leave! Christmas at Lilac Cottage also out now. 







Review:

This was one fabulous book! It was lovely to return to White Cliff Bay and meet more of the residents. 

Libby and George cracked me up! Their relationship was so up and down and happening and not happening! The tender moments were lovely and the funny moments had me laughing out loud!

Kat and Big Dave added light relief as well and their hilarious conversations and moods were brilliantly done.

The added bonus was that there were 2 love stories and Seb and Amy's was a very difficult one, not helped at all by Judith, the mother of Seb's late wife - you get the gist!

Holly Martin is a very clever writer - she makes you laugh and cry in one book. And this year we got 2 Christmas books!!




Thursday, 29 October 2015

Review of From Paris With Love This Christmas by Jules Wake - Five *


Blurb:


The gorgeous, Christmassy feel-good follow up to the Summer best-seller ‘From Italy With Love’.

Just until Christmas…

That’s what Paris socialite Siena Browne-Martin keeps telling herself. She’ll stay with her estranged sister, Laurie, just until Christmas. Running away from the chateaux to escape her hot-tempered fiancé Yves’s wrath, may not have been the most rational decision. But Laurie had always said that Siena had a room at the cottage and right now she really needed it.

But arriving at the airport to be greeted by the grumpiest, most brooding—and dangerously gorgeous—man Siena has ever met, is not what she expected. And learning that Laurie isn’t living at the cottage anymore is even more of a surprise. Now Siena is stuck rooming with sullen Jason Landon, which is definitely not in the plan! Especially when his protective nature and quiet compassion threatens to ignite something in Siena that she never knew existed…

For Jason, Christmas can’t come soon enough. This pampered Parisian princess is the last person he wants to share his house with—he knows the destruction high-maintenance gold-diggers can cause and he’s never going there again. But Jason soon realises that there’s more to his unexpected house guest than meets the eye and suddenly Siena staying just until Christmas doesn’t seem like long enough…

This Christmas, fly to Paris with Siena and Jason and experience the magic of the holiday season in From Paris With Love This Christmas by dazzling contemporary romance author Jules Wake!






Review:

Jules is one of my favourite authors and I've been looking forward to reading this since I finished From Italy With Love! 

And I certainly wasn't disappointed. Siena's story is a wonderful tale and she is a feisty, vulnerable, confused young woman. Appearances can be deceptive and Jason misjudged her to start with but then begins to see the grit that makes up a lot of personality.

Jason is a hot, growling bear at the start of the book, but his understanding soon shines through.

It was lovely to catch up with Laurie and Cam and not so good to re-meet Mother! 

The trip to Paris was unexpected and I so enjoyed Siena showing Jason the sights. I love Paris and it made me want to hop on Eurostar! 

Now my fingers and toes are crossed for Will and Lisa's story next!



Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review of A Merry Mistletoe Wedding by Judy Astley - Four *


Blurb:

It is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Day!

Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas lights and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated. Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle . . .







Review:

What a lovely book! Judy deals with some very sensitive issues - previous relationships, both recent and distant, family rows and post natal depression in a very sensitive way. It is a very "busy" book - featuring all the members of a family and their problems and solutions.

I really liked the way Judy accelerated the time as we approached Christmas and the seeming oblivion of Thea and her approaching wedding. Thea and Sean have a lovely relationship, full of of teasing and laughs.

Emily and Sam have children and the story concentrates on Emily after the birth of her 3rd child. Sam performs a masterstroke near the end of the book and my heart bled for poor Emily!

Anna and Mike (mum and dad) are ageing hippies and Anna's sensitive handling of Mike's total denial of getting older was very well done!

My favourite character was Rosie - her lack of tact was incredible - and consequently extremely funny! I loved the way everyone tolerated and understood that she didn't mean any harm by her extraordinary comments!

All in all, a lovely Christmas read and the locations are beautifully described - both Cornwall and SW London - areas Judy knows well as she lives in both!
 






Thursday, 22 October 2015

Review of Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson - Four *


Blurb:

Two best friends. One big lie. The best bake off EVER.


Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. 

But this year things are going to be different. 

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. 

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off… 

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember… 

A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas. 







Review:

If you are looking for a Christmassy book, full of emotion and laughs then this is the book for you! Thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.

The twists were mostly unexpected and the characters were treated with love and affection. The changes in Bella and Amy from beginning to end were so well thought out and very realistic.

The humour was, as ever, forefront and some of Bella's early filming had me crying with laughter. I'll never forget the ham........

If you trust my reviews, then look no further for a really enjoyable read!





Review of

Review of A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley - Five *


Blurb:


Get into the festive spirit with this heart-warming, funny and simply gorgeous Christmas read.

The eagerly awaited new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author.

This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!

Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.

But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.

But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .






Review:

This is one of Trisha's best! The story is very unusual and some unusual characters too.

Tabby is rescued by Mercy, a Quaker, and taken to her home to help rejuvenate Mercy's family's cracker factory. Tabby has a cat called Pye, who, for me, was one of the stars of the book - such a funny cat! The insight into the Quakers was very interesting to me as well.

I loved the background story of Emily as well - I'm crossing all my fingers that her story will continue in another Sticklepond story! 

Randal was sheer genius. Ostensibly stubborn, rude and judgmental, but the chapters dedicated to his point of view really changed my opinion of him! 

This is a gorgeous, gentle Christmas read. I may well read it again just before Christmas to really get myself in the mood! Thank you, Trisha :)



Review of Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies - 


Blurb:



Sherbourne Mistletoe has been prized and sold at the annual Mistletoe Fair for over a hundred years; but could this year possibly be the last? With her father’s sudden death and debts mounting up it looks as though Freya’s only hope for the future is to sell her beloved family home. And to make matters worse, the only contenders to buy Appleyard Farm, are the people she’d least like to sell it to – the dreaded Henderson brothers who seem always to make life so difficult.
It’s magical stuff though, mistletoe, and the arrival of the mysterious Amos Fry brings a glimmer of hope that just maybe Freya can fall in love with Christmas all over again.
As the snow begins to fall, cosy up and find your sparkle this Christmas with another big-hearted, and wonderfully warm read from the author of Letting in Light.






Review:

This is a sweet novella - full of hope and sparkles! Freya is a lovely woman, trying to hold onto her farm against all the odds. Even when she decides to sell, mentally she is unprepared to face the future away from her home.

I loved Amos. A mysterious man who appears and disappears as required and interferes just enough to resolve the situations. Sam and Stephen were brothers but like chalk and cheese...or so it seems.

I loved the way the mistletoe held the story together and seemed magical itself.

Can really recommend this one!







Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review of The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson - Five *


Blurb:


*WINNER OF THE NOVELICIOUS DEBUT OF THE YEAR AWARD*

At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .

This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it's a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what's been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.






Review:

Loved, loved, loved this book! Lisa finds exactly the right balance between laughs and emotion.

Claudia splits from her boyfriend Seth after an hilarious date (first of the twelve) and her two best friends Penny and Nick then try to help her sort herself out as Christmas approaches.

Cue some hilarious blind dates and some seriously feel good warm dates too.

I was almost reading with my fingers crossed that it would all work out the way I wanted. There was some real to-ing and fro-ing and I was getting exasperated that things weren't going the way I wanted! But Lisa came through and I'll just say that love takes many guises and appears in many different ways.

(Was it just me, or did anyone else picture Nick as a young Jude Law??)



Review of  The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas by Carole Matthews - Five *


Blurb:



Christmas is just around the corner but the women of The Chocolate Lovers' Club have more to worry about than present shopping . . .

Lucy loves running Chocolate Heaven but she hasn't spent time with her boyfriend, Aiden, in weeks. And then her ex-fiance turns up and things become even more complicated.

Nadia hasn't let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can't help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending?

Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana - but she's not sure that's enough to base a marriage on.

Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn't get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort?

Can friendship overcome all in . . . The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas.






Review:

Was a little worried that I couldn't remember much about the previous book in the series, The Chocolate Lovers' Diet, but all was well. As soon as I started it, I was right back with the girls' and their escapades.

As usual with Carole's books, I laughed, I cried, I gasped and empathised with all the characters at one time or another.

I won't give too much away, but suffice to say this is another book of sheer genius and I can't wait for the next book in the series! (There will be another one???)


Amazon UK
Amazon US


Friday, 16 October 2015

Review of The little Bookshop on The Seine by Rebecca Raisin - Four *


Blurb:

Le Vie En Rose
Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams






Review:

What a lovely book! It's several years since I visited Paris, but it made me want to hop on the next Eurostar!

I love stand alone sequels and this was no exception! After Sarah and Ridge got together in The Bookshop on the Corner, I had assumed that was their HEA and that was that. But no, there was more to come!

Sarah and Sophie swap bookshops and Sarah ends up running a very busy store with staff coming and going all over the place! Money goes missing and profits are down.

I was as nervous and frustrated at Sarah as she muddled her way through. With Ridge becoming increasingly distant, she really was in her own.

She realises she has to change and pulls all the loose threads together. The ending is lovely, and solves a mystery at the same time!

Thank you Rebecca for a real feel-good Christmas tale!
 



Review of The Lost Girl by Liz Harris - Five *


Blurb:

What if you were trapped between two cultures? 

Life is tough in 1870s Wyoming. But it’s tougher still when you’re a girl who looks Chinese but speaks like an American. 

Orphaned as a baby and taken in by an American family, Charity Walker knows this only too well. The mounting tensions between the new Chinese immigrants and the locals in the mining town of Carter see her shunned by both communities. 

When Charity’s one friend, Joe, leaves town, she finds herself isolated. However, in his absence, a new friendship with the only other Chinese girl in Carter makes her feel like she finally belongs somewhere. 

But, for a lost girl like Charity, finding a place to call home was never going to be that easy … 







Review:

Wow! This book took me all over the place emotionally! Liz describes Wyoming post gold rush so well, I felt as if I was there! And her sensitive handling of the race problems between the white americans and the chinese was remarkable!

I felt so very sorry for Charity - she was Chinese by birth but had been brought up as an American and consequently did not fit in either group. The day she started school had me in tears.

Liz builds the tension towards the end. Who will Charity marry? And what will happen if she chooses Joe? And if she chooses Chen Fai, what will happen to Joe? I couldn't see a solution that didn't end in some sort of violence. Luckily Liz could!






Thursday, 15 October 2015

Review of My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge - Five *


Blurb:


Things don’t always run smoothly in the game of love…
Former hot shot city girl Pippa Pattinson loves her new life of rustic simplicity, running a quaint teashop on a sleepy Greek island with her hot fiancé, Niko. But it’s been a quick change to slow living – and you can’t blame a girl for wondering, ‘how did I get here?’

As her Christmas wedding approaches, a trip back to snowy England for her ex’s engagement party makes her wonder if those are wedding bells she’s hearing in her mind, or warning bells. She longs for the excitement of her old London life – the glamour, the regular pedicures. Can she really give that all up to be…a fishwife?

There’s nothing for it but to throw herself into bringing a little Christmas magic to the struggling village in the form of a Christmas fair. Somewhere in amidst the sparkly bauble cakes and stollen scones, she’s hoping she’ll come to the right decision about where she belongs…fingers crossed in time for the wedding…

Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Debbie Johnson, you won’t want to miss the Christmas Wedding of the year!






Review:

I couldn't wait to start this book! I loved the thought of a Christmas book about Pippa and Niko and their friends and relatives on Kos.

The way Sam introduced the refugees into the story and interwove them with the financial problems Greece is facing was really well done. 

I held my breath for most of the book - the tension around Niko, Pippa, Henrik, Olivia and Cleo was unforgiving and I couldn't see how a HEA was ever going to be possible! 

Needless to say, Sam sorted it all out in a lovely way and all was well. Thank you Sam. I do feel that Olivia and/or Henrik deserve their own book(s)!



Thursday, 8 October 2015

Review of Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan - Five *


Blurb:

Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world-renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead-up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be either merry or bright.

Alec has learned the hard way not to trust beautiful women—and Skylar is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But as he watches her throw herself into his family’s festive chaos, Alec realises there is far more to this blonde bombshell than meets the eye.
With Christmas around the corner, Alec and Skylar return to Puffin Island, a tentative bond forged between them. Neither intends to fall in love but as the nights become darker, and the fire between them grows hotter, could this be the chance for Alec and Skylar to find their own happy ending?






Review:

Wow wow wow wow! I've been waiting for the 3rd book in the Puffin Island series and thank you to NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I've loved every book in the series but this one really is the icing on the cake. Skylar and Alex have sparred and shared a mutual dislike in the previous books but now we find out why. It has nothing to do with their shared history and everything to do with their individual pasts.

This book shows the turnabout of their relationship and goes from the beginnings of mutual trust to deeper feelings. All this is set against snow - first in London, then the Cotswolds and finally on Puffin Island.

I was in tears at the end. Happy tears for the lovely people on Puffin Island but tinged with sadness that this is the final instalment for the 6 friends.

Thank you Sarah, this was sheer, snowy, Christmassy heaven!



Review of Four Weddings and a White Christmas by Jenny Oliver - Four *


Blurb:


Welcome back to Cherry Pie Island…the most delicious place to spend Christmas!
Hannah’s holidays are normally spent nibbling chocolate coins with her daughter and arguing with her sister about whether they’re too old for stockings on Christmas morning. But this year, she’s been offered the dressmaker’s job of a lifetime: creating a one-of-a-kind a dress for her school friend Annie’s Christmas wedding on the picture-perfect Cherry Pie Island.
Many mince pies and one hot-pink organza dress later, Hannah is set to snuggle back into her old routine…until she discovers that there are three more weddings this winter – and not a dress in sight!
Four very different themes, four demanding brides and four parties spent avoiding chef Harry Fontaine, whose cynicism is as much a wedding day guarantee as confetti and cake. Hannah has her work cut out for her! Yet, with a sprinkling of snowflakes and Christmas magic, it could be that this is the year when miracles really do happen…if Hannah will let them.
Celebrate four very special weddings with Jenny Olive in the soon-to-be Christmas classic: Four Weddings and a White Christmas. Four very good reasons to get out in the snow and fall in love!







Review:

Another visit to Cherry Pie Island!

The story takes place over 4 linked weddings. Hannah is an emerging fashion designer and the weddings are linked by her dress designs. She meets Harry, our reluctant hero, at the first wedding and then at the subsequent ones.

I found the whole story delightful! Two socially awkward people, obviously attracted to each other, but no idea how to resolve it! Being a bit like that myself, I could easily sympathise with them!

It was lovely to watch Hannah grow in confidence as she became more successful and how Harry's rigid beliefs changed as he got to know Hannah.

A really lovely book full of great characters and laughs!



Review of The House on Cold Hill by Peter James - Five *


Blurb:

They said the dead can't hurt you . . . They were wrong.


The House on Cold Hill is a chilling and suspenseful ghost story from the multi-million copy bestselling author of Dead Simple, Peter James.


Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House - a huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion - Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being separated from her friends.


Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren't the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade's is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. As the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover Cold Hill House's dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for them . . .






Review:

I've read some of Peter's Roy Grace series and really enjoyed them. But this is a new departure.

It's a modern ghost story and good ones are few and far between these days! But this is excellent!

I'm not into gore and extreme horror any more - too much in real life! But this is a very gentle story - and he strikes the right balance between the supernatural, suspense and a touch of horror. The atmosphere becomes darker as the book progresses and I was on the edge of my seat and glad I wasn't alone! I won't go into much detail here - it's better if you go into it with an open mind.....

My favourite ghost/psychological thriller has always been Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but Peter James is right up there too! (Must be something to do with the name!)

I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.