Friday, 6 December 2019

Book Review - You, Me, Forever by Jo Watson - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: You, Me, Forever
Author: Jo Watson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Publication Date: 3rd December 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

It all started with faulty elevator - and a love letter...

Writer Becca Thorne needs an idea - fast! She might have a huge bestseller to her name but, with the deadline for book two approaching, Becca knows she's in danger of losing the career she cares so much about. But Fate has other plans for her when she almost plummets to her death with two strangers in a faulty elevator.

Although Becca emerges in one piece, her precious vintage handbag doesn't, and that's when she realises that inspiration has been with her alll along. Hidden inside the bag's now-torn lining is a set of beautiful love letters.

It might not be her story, yet Becca can't seem to get the romantic words out of her head and feels compelled to discover who wrote the letters. But there's more waiting for Becca than the tale of a romance from long ago - it might be the chance to live her own love story and follow the path Fate has always intended her to...

Don't miss Jo's laugh-out-loud rom-coms, Love You, Love You Not, Love to Hate You, Burning Moon, Almost A Bride, Finding You, After the Rain and The Great Ex-scape.

Sitting her open mouthed in disbelief at just how wonderful this book is.  It has all of Jo Watson's trademark humour, but also a secondary love story that is just beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. 

I loved the chatting style the story was written in, as though Becca was talking directly to you as she tells you her story. She explains that she is in trouble and about the various forks in her life that have led her to this point.  We get in great detail the terrifying moment where there is a near death experience that ultimately is the catalyst for her changing her life. 

And from the moment she visits a small town many hours away from Jo'burg, we see just what a disaster zone she really is. At times it felt like a complete comedy of errors and the local hunky policeman is just the person to witness everything, even if he is despairing of her at the same time. 

I loved the interactions between Mike and Becca, but also well actually just everything about this story. I don't want to give too much away, but there is so much more to this book than first meets the eye and I relished reading every last word of it. 

In some respects this felt like a subtle change of direction for my favourite South African author, but equally there is so much familiarity in the absurdity of some it that that comes across so believable  that it really is only a slight change, as everything I've always enjoyed about Jo Watson is still there in spades! 

A truly fabulous story, one that I fear may have given me a book hangover, as I've no idea how whatever I read next will even remotely stand a chance in my affections!! 

Thank you to Headline Eternal and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and  voluntarily, 

Please do follow along with the rest of the blog tour too. 

Book Review - Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: Who Did You Tell?
Author: Lesley Kara
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 5th December 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Every town has its secrets. Lesley Kara knows them all . . .

From the author of 2019's biggest crime thriller debut, The Rumour, comes an addictive new novel . . .

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She's going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she's wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won't stop until she learns that some mistakes can't be corrected.

Some mistakes, you have to pay for . . .

After seeing Lesley Kara at Capital Crime, taking part in the Who's Crime is it Anyway sessions, I couldn't help but be impressed by her, and thus couldn't resist the opportunity to read her new book when it appeared.  

And I'm completely correct to be impressed... What a fabulous book. 

From the first few pages I could feel a slightly sinister undertone, something was rather unsettling but at the same I needed to know exactly what was going on.  I had a few thoughts but generally was very happy to go with the flow. 

And what a story it was. Astrid is a recovering alcoholic and is attempting to rebuilt her life, and stay away from drink.  Yet someone seems determined to mess with her mind, and remind her of things that she thought were a complete secret.  For she has never spoken of them to anyone. 

I found it a fascinating look at the struggle Astrid is going through every day, and as things came to a head, I was shocked but at the same time really felt for her too. 

To me this was a great mix of grit, psychological thriller, suspense and drama, wrapped up in this story that really had me on my toes.   

I was completely hooked and even altered some of my plans for the evening in order to make sure I could read for longer, and I'm still not sure how I got home, as I'm sure I was oblivious for most of the journey as I was finding the story unputdownable. 

One thing is for certain this may be my first book by Lesley Kara, but it certainly won't be the last, and I think I may need to read her debut too. 

I had no real idea what to expect from this but it exceeded any thoughts that I did, ten-fold.  Was really impressed and very happy that I've been able to read a book that may stay with me for a while. 

Thank you to Transworld Digital on Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Please take a look at the rest of the blogs on this fabulous tour 

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Book Review - The Garden on Sparrow by Tilly Tennant

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Amazon UK
Title: The Garden on Sparrow Street
Author: Tilly Tennant
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 9th October 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

As the cold winter nights draw in, escape to the sleepy town of Wrenwick, where the streets sparkle with snow and a lonely young widow is about to find that true love really can strike twice…

As Christmas cheer fills Sparrow Street with excitement, grieving widow Nina is having a hard time. December is always a difficult month to face without her beloved husband Gray, the days feel long and bleak, and to cap it all, she’s just lost her job.

So when Nina hears that Sparrow Street’s Community Garden, one of Gray’s favourite places, is to be put up for sale she knows she must do something. Filled with purpose, she gathers the residents of Sparrow Street around her to turn the neglected patch of land into a Garden of Memories.

Working with her neighbours, single mum Kelly and eighty-year-old Ada, Nina soon finds that she’s not the only lonely soul on Sparrow Street. And as the community comes together and the garden flourishes, Nina can’t help but be drawn to Irish gardener Colm with his sparkling blue eyes and kind heart, finding herself confiding in him about all her recent troubles.

But just as Colm and Nina grow closer and he opens up to her about his own secret loss, Colm’s estranged wife returns from Scotland, wanting to try again. Nina knows she should let the man she’s falling for go – it’s the right thing to do. But what if fate has other plans in store? Will the beautiful garden on Sparrow Street have brought two people together only for Nina’s cautious heart to push them apart?

If you love an uplifting, moving love story, then The Garden on Sparrow Street is the perfect romantic read to curl up with on a winter’s afternoon. Fans of Josie Silver and Carole Matthews will love this book!

What a genuinely just lovely story. 

This was a joy to read, and the idea of a memorial garden is really sweet.   Nina and her best friend Robyn have both lost partners to motor neuron disorder, and are now trying to move on with their lives a few year later. 

Nina is scared of even letting another man into her life she is convinced she isn't ready, but then she meets Colm,  but will they actually get together.   There are many fledgling relationships going on all around Nina. 

Sparrow Street seemed like a nice place to live, with some neighbours being far more community minded than others. Robyn was fabulous, she is opinionated, but also clearly cares about both Nina and her son, even if he has fallen in with a bad crowd.  And Winston Nina's dad just was so sweet too. 

I loved the concept of this book, the writing was great and when I was able I was totally engrossed in the pages. With a lovely cast of characters and a great message perfect for this time of year, this was a really enjoyable book.   

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Book Review - Hanukkah at the Great Greenwich Ice Creamery by Sharon Ibbotson

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Amazon UK
Title: Hanukkah at the Great Greenwich Ice Creamery
Author: Sharon Ibbotson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher  supplied copy
Publisher: Choc Lit
Publication Date: 4th December 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Hanukkah days, Christmas nights and strawberry ice cream …

Cohen Ford is a man who could do with a little bit of sweetening up. It’s no surprise that when he walks into The Great Greenwich Ice Creamery on a typically gloomy London day before Christmas, he insists on a black coffee rather than his childhood favourite – strawberry ice cream.

But then he meets River de Luca, the woman behind the flavours. After their first encounter, Cohen begins visiting the ice creamery every Tuesday, gradually learning more about the intriguing River. Could her influence encourage cynical Cohen to become the man who embraces Christmas, Hanukkah and even strawberry ice cream?

I had no idea what to expect going into this book,  I've never read anything by this author before, and rarely see a Hanukkah romance, let alone read one.

So all around I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by this story. 

I loved the concept of the romance between Cohen and River.

Cohen is the Jewish man who is a workaholic,  and has a patchy relationship with his mother.  He's been known to be rather selfish in the past

But that all changes the day he meets River, who is serving at the ice creamery, who he cant really initially communicate with,  but realises instantly that she's someone special. 

We get to see just how they get to communicate,  and how international the language of love can be.

I also enjoyed getting to know more of Cohen's past,  as it shaped the man he is today. 

This book touches on important topics and one of Rivers key attributes is so vital to the whole story, but I feel it is best read without any preconceptions about her.

I can't not mention how delicious the ice creams were sounding even though it did feel weird reading about ice cream in winter. 

There are elements if Judaism throughout and it didn't feel completely stereotypical.  I was also delighted to see a few words of Yiddish in there too.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, the writing was great and I found the pages were turning a bit too fast.  I would have loved to read more but it did have a perfect ending. 

Thank you to Choc Lit for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Book Review - The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

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Amazon UK
.Title: The Christmas Party
Author: Karen Swan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 31st October 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

The Christmas Party is a delicious, page-turning story full of twists and turns. At an elegant country house party, shocking secrets and unexpected romances hide just beneath the surface . . . A must-read for the festive season by Karen Swan, the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Christmas Secret and Christmas at Tiffany's.

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible - made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?

Within just the first third of this book there are near death experiences, death itself, a broken family, an unexpected set of results from a will reading, and clearly all members of the hiding secrets but at that stage you have no idea just what they are. 

To say just that first perhaps third of the story is eventful would be an understatement and doesn't even scratch the surface of everything that happens in this book, and the story of the Lorne sisters, who are no longer as close as they once were. 

I did find this a bit tricky to get into, only because I was trying to get all the characters straight in my mind, but then suddenly  around that 30% mark or so, everything just clicked in my mind. and I was utterly hooked and couldn't get enough of this story. 

There isn't really a quiet or dull moment in this incredibly tightly written and plotted story, everything seems to move the story along, and although its all takes place over a relatively short space of time, 

I loved the three sister's completely distinct and different personalities, Pip, the horse mad one, Ottie who runs a camping site and has a secret that will upset many people when it comes out, and Willow who had been living in Dublin away from the family a hadn't been home for a few years until a critical phone call drags her back to the family home. 

Karen Swan is fabulous at writing Christmas books and this is probably me second favourite of them, to only Christmas Under the Stars.  An utterly brilliant book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. 

Thank you to Pan and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Book Review - Christmas at Silver Falls by Jenny Hale

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Anazon UK
Title: Christmas at Silver Falls
Author: Jenny Hale
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 15th October 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

A beautiful festive romance, all about the joy of Christmas with family, second chances, and finding love under the falling snow. This enchanting and uplifting read will have you both laughing and crying while it warms your heart.

White Oaks Inn has always been at the heart of Christmas celebrations for Scarlett Bailey and her family. Her adored gran has owned the rambling, old-fashioned hotel, filled with the scent of cinnamon and chocolate, since Scarlett was a little girl. But now her gran’s home is under threat. And it looks like it could be the Baileys’ last Christmas together there…

Over the holiday season, amidst much-loved festive traditions of baking cookies and decorating the tree, Scarlett throws herself into saving the hotel. When she hears that Charlie Bryant, a handsome, successful property developer, is spending December in Silver Falls, Scarlett is hopeful he might be the answer to their problems.

When they meet, sparks fly between impulsive Scarlett and business-like Charlie – as they both have very different ideas for the future of White Oaks. Scarlett is determined to show him how much White Oaks Inn means to her family and the guests who return there every year and, as they spend more time together, she begins to realize there is more to Charlie than his serious appearance…

But Charlie is struggling with a secret from his own past. Will he be able to face it, or will it stop him from truly opening up and getting close to anyone? And can Scarlett share the true meaning of Christmas with him and save her gran’s beloved hotel along the way?

Having recently seen Jenny Hale's first Hallmark movie, all I can say is I hope they have all her past, present and future Christmas books signed up for movies, as yet again she has written a fabulous story, that would make a really enjoyable film too. 

I loved every second of this book, from seeing if Scarlett would actually be able to enjoy Christmas this year, to discovering just what handsome stranger Charlie is hiding, and whether or not the White Oaks Inn really does have to be sold or whether it can be kept in the family. 

There are many unexpected turns in this book that kept me on my toes and reaching instantly for the next page. 

I'm a huge fan of Jenny Hale's writing, I think I've read all her books, and I can honestly say this is one of her best if not the best.    I felt as though I was part of the Bailey family,  all the members of it had distinct personalities and the setting of the White Oaks Inn, with the snippets of history about it just felt so so real. 

And Silver Falls sounds to picturesque, and its such a cute little town too.  

Literally the only fault I had with this book was that it ended would have happily kept on reading for a lot longer. 

It's a story with such a warm and cosy feel, and it was so quick to read. Before I knew it I was over half way and regretting the common sense part of my body winning out telling me to do some work... before being able to read the rest.  It was enchanting, and heart warming and really was a gorgeous festive story. 

Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Book Review - Christmas for Commitmentphobes by Rhoda Baxter

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Amazon UK
Title: Christmas for Commitmentphobes
Author: Rhoda Baxter
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy 
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 1st December 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Lara is too busy trying to get her fledgling company off the ground to have time for relationships. She’s working so hard, in fact that she’s up in Yorkshire, pitching for business, just before Christmas. When bad weather sees the trains cancelled, the only place she can find shelter is a small pub called the Trewton Arms.

Thilini (‘Tilly’) loves that her art helps feed her travel addiction. She’s back in England for Christmas after two years away and can’t wait to be on the move again. 

When they meet their attraction is hard to deny. Since neither of them is ready for a relationship, can a short fling really be the solution they both need? 

Christmas for Commitmentphobes is a standalone novella in the Trewton Royd small town romance series. If you like closed door romances, with feisty heroines and realistic dialogue, you’ll love Christmas for Commitmentphobes. Ideal for fans of Lucy Parker or Jackie Lau.

This was a lovely, sweet, closed door fledgling romance, set to a cosy backdrop of Trewton Royd, at Christmas. 

Lara is only in Yorkshire as she had a client meeting,  but when her trains are cancelled she ends up staying in the Trewton Arms.   Due to a misunderstanding with the pub landlord, it leads to her first meeting with Tilly, which was rather amusing. 

Well to me anyway, not necessarily to them.  Tilly is only even in England to see her brother for the holidays, she tends to prefer flitting about working on her art, than anything longer term. Whereas Lara is committed to her job and doesn't have time for romance. 

But yet there is a slow build (ok its a novella, it may seem fast, but it wasn't necessarily an instant attraction),  connection between them both, as Tilly starts to get to know Lara.

I loved seeing Tilly, her brother Vinnie and Tracy his girlfriend, welcome Lara into their group, and seeing how she starts to soften as they put the finishing touches to the pub. 

For a short book we see some character development which was good to see, and discover just why neither Lara nor Tilly are keen to see parents for Christmas. 

I really believed these characters were real, and thoroughly enjoyed watching this festive story play out.  I really can't say much more about anything for fear of spoiling it, but I will say it's Rhoda Baxter's writing at its best, very sharp and en-point and made me want to keep reading.   

I would love to see these characters return in a longer story, and generally can't wait for my next visit to Trewton Royd, or at least I hope there will be another one. 

Thank you to Rhoda Baxter for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Book Review - I'll Be Home For Christmas by Abbey Clancy

Amazon UK
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Title: I'll Be Home For Christmas
Author: Abbey Clancy
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Publication Date: 19th September 2019
Rating: 3 Stars

All she wants for Christmas…

Popstar Jessika Malone can’t believe her luck! Not only has she signed a major record deal and is topping the charts with her latest single, she’s just been offered the chance of a lifetime: a tour with gorgeous megastar Cooper Black…

It’s everything she’s ever dreamed of – except that it means travelling thousands of miles from her boyfriend, Daniel, just when he’s finally got down on one knee and popped the question!

Far from home and followed by the paparazzi, her relationship is tested more than Jessika ever imagined – will she make it home for Christmas before it’s too late?

I recall reading Abbey Clancy's first book around 3 years ago and really enjoying it, so when I spotted this one on Netgalley, and with Christmas in the title too, I knew I had to read it.   What I didn't realise, in part because I can't retain book details for 3 years when I read as many as I do in a year,  was that this is actually a sequel to Remember My Name, and in fact seems to be set not too long after the previous one finished. 

It was after the first 20% where odd bits sounded like something I'd read before where I finally re-checked the first books blurb and twigged, at which point I stopped feeling like I was going mad and was able to settle into the swing of the story.   That being said, still wondering why on earth Christmas is in the title, as it barely features at all.  This is not what I'd call a festive story at all which is ultimately disappointing given my love of them at this time of year. 

Once I got back into the swing of things I did enjoy the story,  although maybe its just because I'm a bit older now but at times Jessy really did get on my nerves.   

I enjoyed the writing style, there were moments that made me smile, the small amounts of sex were fabulous, but it was the storyline between JB and Neale that really made the book for me.  I loved both of these characters so so much, and seeing how great a friend Neale was to Jessy, and  omg that scene in the hot tub... that definitely was a standout! 

At times I was a bit unsure whether Jessy and Daniel would ever see a HEA or not, which at least kept me on my toes.  

Light hearted, entertaining novel and I suspect even though this didn't quite hit all the right spots for me I'd still be happy to read more from the author, just hope its not such a gap between releases! 

Thank you to Mills and Boon and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Friday, 29 November 2019

Book Review - It Won't Be Christmas Without You by Beth Reekles

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Amazon UK
Title: It Won't Be Christmas Without You
Author: Beth Reekles
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 30th August 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Eloise, a self-confessed Christmas obsessive, can’t wait for the big day. Devoted to her Michael BublĂ© playlist, she’s organising the school nativity play and even her gorgeous Grinch of a neighbour, James, can’t get her down.

Her workaholic twin sister, Cara, on the other hand, plans to work over the holiday – and figure out what secrets her seemingly-perfect boyfriend George might be keeping from her.

The sisters used to be close but since Cara moved to London, everything’s been different. Only, Eloise isn’t giving up just yet, and with a white Christmas on the cards, Cara can’t fail to be moved by the magic of the season … can she?

How on earth have I finished this book already? I swear I've only just started it, the writing was flowing so well and its so pleasurable to read, that I seemed to be reading large chunks of the book without really noticing, or spending much time doing so. 

I do love a fast to read book, and when it contains a story as delightful as this one you are onto a winner. 

The main question in this book is whether or not Eloise and twin sister Cara will actually be together on Christmas day.  We see the countdown to the day from both points of view.  Cara is a workaholic going for promotion in London .Eloise is a teacher in Doncaster, and it turns out their parents are going on a winter sun holiday this Christmas. 

Problem is Cara is exhibiting scrooge like tendencies, and some of the conversations between the twins could be painful.  She seems reluctant to commit to spending any part of the holidays with her sister, preferring to work instead.   

Whereas Eloise is struggling with things herself but slowly gets to know her neighbour who may not really be as grumpy as he appears. 

I loved Eloise's love of the season and the amount of references to Christmas films really did make me smile.  Both sister's Christmas office parties were really amusing, and generally this is a light hearted story that was a pleasure to read. 

I really did enjoy this a lot and I look forward to reading more of Beth Reekles' adult books, so long as she writes them.  

Thank you to Netgalley and One More Chapter for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Book Review - Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley

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Amazon UK

Title: Four Christmases and a Secret
Author: Zara Stoneley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 27th September 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy, Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers. And Oliver Cartwright. Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is. Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas, however, Daisy is determined things will be different. There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers. No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.

But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share… and it could change Daisy's life forever…

Bridget Jones meets the Hallmark Channel in an irresistible romantic comedy you won’t want to miss this Christmas.

I could so easily see this working on a big screen, its such a heartwarming story, and I didn't have more than half an inkling as to the big secret. 

The story does indeed feature four Christmases , but yet I feel this could easily be read at any time of year, as not only do we feature Christmas, it also takes in the rest of the year too, and with the exception of the mega Christmas party each year, I didn't overly feel festive for the rest of the story. 

I really enjoyed seeing how Daisy develops as a person over the course of the book.  I loved the rivalry between her mum and Oliver's mum with their continual one up-manship.   And Stanley is a lovely character too, and is instrumental in Daisy slowly growing in confidence. 

Easily my favourite character was Uncle Terence, with his wonderful bookshop, ability to throw a marvellous party, all of his advice for Daisy, and well thinks I can't talk about, as they would be spoilers.   

There are two potential love interests in this book for Daisy, the one who has been under her nose the time, and a new colleague who I really didn't take to.  

Daisy although she doesn't realise it is just such a big hearted character, and loves book and animals, which makes her a fabulous person in my eyes.  She always tries to help others, while putting herself down. 

Although not my favourite book by the author, its still another excellent story and one worth reading (or maybe watching if my wish comes true and it gets turned into a film!).   

A really enjoyable novel, with some great characters. 

Thank you Netgalley and One More Chapter for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Book Review - A Midwinter Promise by Lulu Taylor

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Amazon UK
Title: A Midwinter Promise
Author: Lulu Taylor
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 28th November 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

One family across two generations.
A marriage marred by trauma and infidelity.
Lives marked by death, divorce and a shattered family.
A dark secret at the heart of a tragedy.

Now the Pengelly family reunites around the sickbed of David, a beloved husband and father, to confront the emotions and the secrets that have divided them over the years.

Set around the beautiful wildness of Tawray, a house near the Cornish coast, A Midwinter Promise by bestselling author Lulu Taylor, is a dramatic story of loss, grief and the legacy of secrets. It is also a tale of reconciliation and renewal.

A Midwinter Promise is a book that has utterly consumed me, for the last however long I have been oblivious to my life, while I had to finished the book in one just the one more sitting, and that was from around 40% onwards.   And the second I hit part 2, well I knew my day was doomed until I had finished the book. 

Just wow, such fabulous writing, it really got under my skin as we get to see in dual time lines the history of the Pengelly family at Tawray, a bit Cornish house.

I was fascinated by Julia's story from childhood onwards, seeing how she changed, how her own mother affected her deeper than anyone realised, her marriage to David, friendship with Sally and her struggles with pregnancy.   

There are themes of mental health and demons and addiction even within these sections all written sensitively and in a way that you felt as though the author had really done some research.  I was completely and utterly gripped and had a few of my own theories. 

And then at the same time me meet Julia and David's now grown up children, and their families as David is on his sickbed. We learn about their relationship over the years with their stepmother and stepbrother,  and how it has affected them. 

I just found this a compulsive book to read, I needed more of it and I need it faster than I could read the words. I was utterly addicted as I read about this family across the years.  I perhaps was more enthralled by the Julia's story, but that may be because it was still having an effect on the present day family.    

I am starting to think that Lulu Taylor is becoming better and better with each book, and this was no exception.  Utterly gripping and left me practically speechless. 

Thank you to Pan on Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Book Review - The Nine Lives of Christmas by Florence McNicoll

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Amazon UK
Title: The Nine Lives of Christmas
Author: Florence McNicoll
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Trapeze
Publication Date: 14th November 2019
Rating: 5 Stars


Can Battersea's loneliest cat find a home in time for Christmas?

It's Christmas at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and Laura is desperate to find a home for Felicia, a spiky, bad-tempered moggy with a heart of gold. Her boyfriend, Rob, can't understand why she's spending so much time at work, but for Laura, the animals aren't just a job - they're her life. She needs a partner who understands that - doesn't she?

As the December snow falls, Laura encounters nine people, all of whom need a little love in their lives and find it in new pets. Everyone needs somebody to curl up with at Christmas, and when the handsome Aaron walks in, he takes not just Felicia, but Laura's heart too...

A heart-warming tale about loneliness, love, and the importance of furry friends - perfect to snuggle up with this Christmas.

In real life I am far more of a dog person than a cat person, but when it comes to fictional ones that don't bite or scratch, I'm all for a loveable cat too. 

And wow in this book we get to see the stories of 9 rather special cats looking for new homes at Battersea, their rehomer Laura and of the humans that adopt these cats. 

Each story is different and goes to show just what benefits having a cat in your life can really have.  And this is certainly a book designed to tug at your heartstrings. I would have loved to reach into the pages and given Felicia and all the other cats a big cuddle. 

And as for Laura this is as much a story of self discovery for her, as she starts to connect to new people, and at the same time she can see what the reader can see about her relationship, and starts to do things about it. 

There was one visitor to Battersea who didn't leave with a cat, and given her opinions when discussing things with Laura, I couldn't believe the lengths she would go to to get a new Instagram accessory. 

I've previously read Christmas at Battersea, a few years ago and based on what I recall from that, I can easily tell just how accurate and well researched this novel was. The way they make Christmas special there for the animals really rang true to me, and I loved seeing everything from the point of view of the rehoming team. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this rather special novel, it was quick and easy to read, and packs a punch, and reminds everyone that a cat is more than just for Christmas, it really is for life.  And that cats really do hold a special place in the hearts of many. 

Thank you to Trapeze on Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 25 November 2019

Book Review - The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: The Secret Santa
Author: Trish Harteniaux
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Publication Date: 31st October 2019
Rating: 4.5 Stars

A lavish party.
An isolated mansion.
Two hosts who will do anything to protect their secrets.

When husband and wife Henry and Claudine organise their company's Christmas party in a remote mansion, they expect it to be a night to remember.

But the festive mood quickly turns sour when a sinister gift is unwrapped in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

As heavy snow traps the guests inside the mountainside lodge, it quickly becomes clear that one of the party is out for revenge.

It’s no longer just about enduring the evening. It’s about making sure you get out alive.

A lavish locked-room mystery with a seasonal edge, THE SECRET SANTA is packed with twists that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Wow I did not see that coming!! I could tell the whole book was building to something, but really wasn't sure how it would all come together and i didn't guess the actual outcome at all. 

I will freely admit this was an impulse request from Netgalley, I love Christmas books, and always curious about a clearly more sinister darker side of a festive story, so couldn't really resist it.   And it is definitely one of the smarted impulse decisions I have made. 

I've never know an office Secret Santa to be so sinister, OK, I've not known it to have this quality of gifts in it either, but this is Aspen - the playground for the rich and famous. 

And the main setting, the house in the mountains, on an incredibly snowy day, no phone signal, is just the best in terms of eerie settings for something disastrous to happen. 

The story is written in a multiple parts, and we have three viewpoints, power couple Henry and Claudine, and superstar singer who may be about to buy a house in Aspen, Zara.    We see just what this property means to all of them, and also all manner of key incidents in Henry and Claudine's past. 

I can't say I particularly warmed to either of them, but I did have a soft spot for Zara, but regardless due to the fabulous writing,  I was utterly hooked on this book.  It flowed so well, and I found that when I settled down to read, it the pages seemed to just go past so fast, and the percentage read meter went up rapidly. 

I was't really sure where the story was leading at times, and with the mention of a locked room mystery in the blurb, I was expecting that aspect to occur a lot earlier in the story and for the book to be teaming with detectives... but I was completely surprised instead by just how the scene was set and how it all seemed to work perfectly. 

This is the first book I've read by this author and I'm incredibly impressed and feel I will need to look out for more from them in the future. 

Thank you to Cornerstone on Netga for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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