Friday, 4 December 2020

Book Review - A Very Cornish Christmas by Beth Good

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Amazon UK

Title: A Very Cornish Christmas
Author: Beth Good
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 29th October 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

A wonderful new Christmas romance from eBook bestselling author Beth Good.

Working all hours as a midwife, Caroline isn't looking for love. All she wants to do with her precious free time is have fun and enjoy her freedom, not settle down.

But her sister, home from LA with her film-star husband and a baby on the way, has other plans. As Caroline helps the happily-marrieds settle back into life in Cornwall, she finds herself being thrown repeatedly together with their friend Brodie - sexy but a little aloof, and not at all her type. Or so she tells herself.

With the shocking discovery of a long-hidden family secret, Caroline's life is upturned once again. Can she right herself, and her family, in time for a very Cornish Christmas...?

It was so good to be back in Pethporro, and to get the continuation of Alex and Jennifer's story, while also getting to know Caroline, Jennifer's sister a whole deal better, as well has Brodie, Alex's friend /assistant. 

From the first few pages I was drawn into the action, and I struggled to put this book down and am surprised as just how fast I did indeed read it.  In under a day, and that was with real life taking priority too! 

There are surprises in store, but although elements of them make up so much of the story, as its not spelt out in the blurb, I'm reluctant to give any details on the specifics, other than its a fabulous storyline delving into a specific part of Caroline's past, and may not give the outcome you would perhaps expect. 

And Brodie is a lovely complicated character who really grew on me as the story progresses.  

As much as the book is Caroline and Brodie's story, having read All Summer With You I was delighted to see so much of Alex and Jennifer, especially with them all living under one roof. 

If you are the sort of person who isn't particularly keen on Christmas books then let me assure you that this really isn't a festive story at all, yes the story does cover Christmas, but not in a big way, it spans a few months and could easily be read at any time of year when you want just a good book to curl up with. 

It is a fabulous story, that shows just what a great write Beth Good is, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. 

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

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Book Review - Winter Whimsy by Georgina Troy

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Amazon UK

Title: Winter Whimsy
Author: Georgina Troy
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Green Shutter Books
Publication Date: 14th November 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Zip up your puffer coat, winter has arrived!

When Lexi Davies discovers that her father has sold the fishermen’s cottages she runs as holiday lets and where she also lives, she is heartbroken. Then Oliver Whimsy arrives at the boardwalk and announces that he is the new owner and Lexi realises that the future she was looking forward to enjoying at her cottages is over. Oliver might be handsome, wealthy and very sexy, but he’s new to the island and has already made a terrible impression on the locals. When the Scottish entrepreneur offers Lexi a job, she’s unsure whether she should accept. Unfortunately, she has little alternative if she wants to keep a roof over her head for the winter.

As Lexi gets to know him better, she discovers there’s far more to Oliver Whimsy than she or anyone else had imagined. Just what is the heartache Oliver’s trying so desperately to hide? And why was he so determined to buy the cottages? Lexi wants to find out, but in order to do so she’s going to have to spend rather a lot of time with him…

I really love this series, and it was great to be back in Jersey, with all the people from the Boardwalk by the Sea. 

This book focuses on Lexi, who is one of the four friends that this series centres around, and it is now Winter, as each book has a new season, which is a great way of doing a four book series. 

It was the character of Oliver Whimsy that intrigued me the most, just why has he bought the cottages from Lexi's dad, in fact why was Lexi's dad heartless enough to even sell them, and is Oliver really as bad as the limited impression we have had from him in the past? 

Well these questions are of course answered, and I loved the character development from Oliver.  I was also delighted to catch up with so many of the familiar faces from the previous books. 

Although it has been two years since the previous, book, it really didn't take too long for me to feel back at home amongst all these characters, that I have grown to know so well and love.  

I can't wait to see the conclusion of this series, and have a feeling some loose ends may be wrapped up. I'm not really happy with the way that Lexi has things with her father currently and can't help but hope there will be a better resolution in the final book. 

And Lexi the heroine of this book, is just lovely, she is a good friend, and just all around nice person. Very likeable and I loved her various interactions with Oliver, as well as her family issues. And there are some ideas and gestures that make it clear what a special person she really is. 

A quick and easy read, that I really did enjoy a lot. 

Encompassing all the winter months and not just the lead up to Christmas, this really is an enjoyable winter's tale, with just a hint of whimsy too! 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Book Review - Christmas at the Marshmallow Cafe by CP Ward

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Amazon UK

Title: Christmas at the Marshmallow Cafe
Author: CP Ward
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 30th September 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

When downtrodden checkout assistant Bonnie Green receives a letter from a mysterious uncle, she can hardly believe her eyes.

Gifted a hundred-year lease on a famous cafe situated in the middle of a mythical theme park, Bonnie sets off with her best friend Debbie on an adventure to a hidden valley in the Lake District where they will find new friendship, love, and happiness, all set against the magic of Christmas ... and more marshmallows than they can possibly eat....

I may have only read two of CP Ward's Christmas novels, but I'm fairly confident in saying they are a keen fan of Christmas, as this is yet another beautifully festive book, set for the most part in the most magical sounding of locations. 

After all who wouldn't want to visit Christmas Land, a full time festive theme park, and Bonnie has inherited the lease to the Marshmallow Cafe in the middle of it.  Unable to sell as a condition of the lease, she and her neighbour Debbie, go up to the Lake District to have a look.

It turns out Bonnie has been told stories about this park throughout her childhood and its described in the most picturesque of fashions. 

Well the reality doesn't quite meet up to the legend, but there is just something rather enchanting about the place, and it leads from Bonnie to really mature and develop as the story progresses. In fact if you compare first page of the book Bonnie to last page of the book, the difference is rather impressive. 

But you could say that about Christmas Land too, and there are various heart-warming threads weaving their way throughout this book. 

And Debbie is like a breath of fresh air continually, although trying to keep up with which man she may or may not be interested in that day, is a bit trickier! 

I adore this authors ability to describe festive locations, and even the making of marshmallow was rather interesting.  Even though Bonnie is in her 50s, I'd say this is a coming of age sort of a story, with a fabulous cast of characters and did I mention the setting!! It's idyllic! 

Such a pleasurable book to read, I was having a whale of a time reading it, and the mentions of all those marshmallows would have made me the size of a whale too! 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Book Review - Christmas For Beginners by Carole Matthews

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Amazon UK

Title: Christmas For Beginners
Author: Carole Matthews
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 29th October 2020
Rating: 5 Stars


Christmas is fast approaching at the new Hope Farm. Owner Molly Baker has been convinced to organise an open day to raise some much-needed funds ahead of the New Year, but the nativity tableau is proving challenging. With anti-social sheep, awkward alpacas and a seriously sequined Santa Claus to assemble, Molly is feeling overwhelmed, and in desperate need of some Christmas spirit . . .

Despite the chaos of the farm getting in the way of her event planning, Molly is looking forward to spending the holidays with boyfriend Shelby and his son, Lucas, hopeful that a happy family Christmas is exactly what they need to draw them all together. But while she is busy making plans on the farm, Shelby, it seems, has ideas of his own.

As the nativity draws near, the team are working hard to pull off a spectacular festive fete - and make sure the animals and humans remain on their best behaviour.

Will this Christmas be merry and bright... or is there more than one surprise in store for Molly and Hope Farm?

I was a few chapters into Christmas for Beginners when I realised how much I'd been missing Hope Farm and how good it was to be back with Molly, Lucas and easily the best cast of animals in any book around at the moment. 

We have mischievous alpacas who had me laughing out loud at one point, adorable bunnies, troublesome dogs, a reclusive cat, an antisocial sheep, and all manner of other animals resulting in general hilarity! 

Like in Happiness for Beginners I love the concept of this farm, and just what Molly is trying to achieve and getting to know all the characters so much better in this sequel has been a joy.  And the various children she is trying to help really do get under your skin, they are just fabulous. 

And Molly who finds it easier to be among animals than people is preparing for  a Christmas Open day, which has the potential to either be a fabulous fundraiser or a disaster.  Add in a new gorgeous local mayor who seems to enjoy life on a farm, and her own boyfriend Shelby seemingly being more distanced and it has all the ingredients to be a really wonderful book. 

To which Carole Matthews doesn't disappoint and proves herself to be a rather handy poet to, with more poetry from Lucas too, and there are some gripping storylines going on all over the book.  There is so much fitted in, its no wonder I have sat there going just one more chapter for a few hours until I well ran out of pages! 

There is enough backstory for me to believe it can be read as a standalone, and definitely enough to remind this forgetful reviewer of key points from the previous book. 

Such a wonderful book, truly enjoyable and one for animal lovers as well as Carole Matthew fans, women's fiction fans and those that enjoy a bit of festive fiction too!  

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

Monday, 30 November 2020

Book Review - Jingle All The Way by Debbie Macomber

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Title: Jingle All The Way
Author: Debbie Macomber
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 13th October 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

The instant New York Times bestseller bringing home joy this Christmas!

Everly Lancaster always dreamed of leaving behind her hometown in rural Illinois, but her new life running a burgeoning startup in Chicago leaves little time for friends . . . or a holiday.

When a massive snowstorm hits, Everly's mother urges the workaholic to come home for Christmas, but she hesitates to return to the life that she tried so hard to escape. Searching for other holiday plans, Everly tasks her assistant with booking her a cruise - an ideal escape. She embarks on a week-long tour of the Amazon guided by charming naturalist Asher Adams, but slowly realises just how important her relationships are to her.

Everly makes a bold decision to abandon her lonely holiday plans - but can she make it home in time for Christmas Day?

A warm and wintry delight by #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

Whenever I read a Debbie Macomber book it feels like coming home to a big hug in a book, and this was no exception.  The story was under my skin within a chapter or two and I knew I would be ignoring the calls of real life to read it in as few sittings as possible. 

And given I started it around 6pm, and am writing this review just before 3am - and I did do some work in between, I think suffice to say this was a quick and absorbing read, that hit all the right spots for me. 

I don't think I'd particularly looked at the blurb before opting to read this book, drawn in by the Christmas title and the knowledge that I've never read a bad book from this author, thus I was delighted to learn that there was a cruise involved. 

I love cruising, but like Everly, I had visions of luxurious cruise ships and ultimate in fabulousness of holiday, but her assistant had other ideas, so the reality is a fortnight on an explorer cruise taking in the Amazon rainforest. 

Not exactly what Everly had in mind, but at the same time an eye-opening vacation, full of mishap, adventure, exotic scenery and Asher! 

I was hooked on everything to do with the cruise, especially as we are unable to travel in real life at the moment, I'll take any opportunity for some armchair travel, and I've never read a book featuring an Amazon cruise before which makes this rather unique in my eyes. 

It has all of Debbie Macomber's normal flair and storytelling ability, fabulous writing and realistic characters, but for the most part with a far more exciting backdrop! 

I love, Love, LOVED this book and really am puzzled as to why I have left it so long since my last Debbie Macomber book, given how much I adore the author! I definitely need to read her more regularly, as this is utter comfort reading! 

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

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Book Review - Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack by Helen J Rolfe

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Amazon UK

Title: Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack
Author: Helen J Rolfe
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self  Published
Publication Date: 18th November 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Heritage Cove is in full swing for the festive season and as the temperature dips, who will be lucky in love this Christmas?

It's December in Heritage Cove and along with the village Christmas tree, frosty mornings and the promise of the most wonderful time of the year, the new waffle shack is about to open. And its owner isn't a stranger to the Cove, because after all this time, Daniel is back to make amends with his brother Harvey – as well as a few other locals he might have offended along the way.

Fairly new to the village, local blacksmith Lucy has kept up the pretence of being with her ex for the sake of his gran but she’s fed up with all the lies. Determined to come clean and live the life she wants to live, she’s devastated to find that her attraction to Daniel is tainted by the fact he’s hiding a few things of his own. And his secrets are ones she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to get past.

Heritage Cove is full of friendship and community; it’s a welcoming place people visit and never want to leave. But will it work its magic for Daniel and Lucy?

A festive read packed with Christmas romance, love and second chances, this is Book 2 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…

Anyone for waffles? Who knew waffles came in so many different shapes, sizes, flavours of batter, not to mention toppings. Although I didn't see any mention of chicken and waffles which may be a good thing as even thinking about those in passing normally makes me crave them! 

Well unsurprisingly given the title, this book does indeed feature waffles - I mean it features people too, but wow the waffles!  Don't read this when hungry,  in fact best read while eating a stack of waffles! 

I'm guessing you would like me to stop waffling along about those delicious lattice shaped treats and instead comment about the rest of the book! 

It was lovely to be back in Heritage Cove, and this time the action is centred on Lucy, the Cove's new blacksmith who makes wonderful bespoke items including some lovely sounding metal Christmas presents for the villagers.  And the male lead goes to Daniel, who is the estranged brother of Harvey (who we met in the previous book). 

Although this is a second book in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone, but anyone who has read the first book will be delighted to see so many familiar faces, and to see how Harvey and Melissa's relationship is going. 

Daniel many years ago left the cove as a youngster, and a bit of a trouble maker, and now he is back and is happy to make ammends, but whether his brother will ever listen to him is another matter. I enjoyed hearing about his past as it is revealed, and could understand some of his potentially iffy decisions.  

Whereas Lucy is stuck in a pretence with her ex, which drove me mad as he seems like a nightmare of a pathological liar. 

Set to a backdrop of Christmas, the season of forgiving and miracles, this is a heart-warming, delicious (yes my mind is still on waffles), and truly enjoyable gem of a Christmas book.  I thoroughly enjoyed every last word, and it was a shame it came to an end.   

Another really great book from Helen J Rolfe, one that I would happily recommend.

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Friday, 27 November 2020

Book Review - Strictly Come Dating by Kathryn Freeman - #HolidayReading Malta

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Amazon UK

Title: Strictly Come Dating
Author: Kathryn Freeman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 26th November 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Fun, feel-good and a must read for fans of Strictly Come Dancing!

Saturday nights are strictly for dancing… 

As the glitter ball shimmers and sequins flash, forty-year-old Maggie remembers the pull of the dancefloor.  But now, as a newly divorced mum of two, Maggie’s certain her dancing days are over.  Or are they…?

Encouraged by her friends, Maggie dusts off her silver stilettoes and enrols for dancing classes, all she needs now is the perfect partner.

Enter Seb.  Young, carefree and hot as hell, Seb is definitely a perfect 10!  Even though everything about him is outrageously inappropriate! But as Seb sweeps her across the dancefloor every week, Maggie begins to see a new side to him; kind, caring, funny, strong. 

And Maggie realises that he’s the only one she’d like to foxtrot with…perhaps even forever?

A lovely romance for fans of Strictly. 

I found this a bit slow to start with, but once Seb starts learning to dance with Maggie then I couldn't get enough of it. 

I loved their chemistry, even if Seb is the annoying younger brother for Maggie's best friends, and Maggie is scared for her children to get to know anyone who could turn out to be rather special. 

But Seb is fabulous with kids, and I loved the scenes involving Tabs, Penelope and Seb.  Seb is at times like a big kid at heart himself, and others just an all round sexy nice guy!

You wouldn't' think Maggie and Seb would worth together past the chemistry but they really do, and I enjoyed seeing how their fledgling relationship develops. 

Another very enjoyable romance from Kathryn Freeman,  complete with sequins and glitter ball!

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

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Book Review - The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

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Amazon UK

Title: The Christmas Swap
Author: Sandy Barker
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 16th October 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Will all three women have their Christmas wishes come true?
Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three, and this wonderful festive novel is perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Holly Martin and Karen Swan.

So this is like the film The Holiday but on drugs. 

We have the fabulous locations of Melbourne Australia, Beckenridge, Colorado and a small village in Oxfordshire England. 

We have three women - one who has always dreamed of a white Christmas, one who has always wanted a traditional family Christmas, and one who likes Christmas but hates the cold and wants to break out of a rut.  All three have been best friends since they met age 11 on holiday and despite living at opposites ends of the world, they have kept in touch and have holidayed together plenty. 

Then there are three incredibly sexy men, the snowboarder, the film star and the winemaker.   

As you may have guessed from the title, all three women swap Christmases, and stay with the family or friends, of each friend, allowing them all to have the Christmas of their dreams. 

The action alternates between the three women, the differing locations and I loved seeing how each of them spent the fesitve period and few days afterwards. 

You can expect amongst other things from this book, snow, Winter Wonderland, a Christmas fair, embarrassing relatives, horse riding, wine, winter sports, being papped, and a great deal of laughs and happiness, and instant chemistry. 

Now I'm not going to tell you who goes where, or what of those things happens where, but suffice to say I loved all three story lines, even if I could have done with drawing a diagram of who  is who and where they went and normally live - as my head just couldn't retain it all at the same time!!  

Although our three leading ladies are all lovely, it was the men in this story that caught my eye, and I can honestly say I'd happily have all three of them as book boyfriends at the same time!! 

I loved the location details, and just well everything about this book.  I think it would make an even better film than The Holiday too, and would be a lot easier to keep things straight if you are watching!   So please big film companies, or Hallmark, put this on the big screen! 

Easily my favourite book from one of my favourite travel romance authors! 

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Book Review - Winter at Wishington Bay by Maxine Morrey

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Amazon UK

Title: Winter at Wishington Bay
Author: Maxine Morrey
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 3rd November 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Eighteen months ago, Sophia Jones finally walked out on her unhappy life.
With a tricky divorce ongoing, money is tight and so when friends offer her a housekeeping job while they’re away travelling, she accepts.

Nate McKinley is hesitant when his brother, Gabe, offers him the use of their home in the picturesque village of Wishington Bay. But he has a book to a write and an imploded marriage to recover from, so maybe a change of scene is exactly what he needs. 

As Wishington Bay works its magic, friendship blossoms between Sophia and Nate. For Nate, finally feeling able to be himself with someone who is honest and down to earth is a revelation. 

But Sophia has a secret and a jealous colleague is determined to blow her cover. Can she really keep her old life in the past or is it destined to destroy this new, happy one too?

Take a trip back to Wishington Bay this winter and find out…

How lovely it has been to return to Wishington Bay. 

It is such a stunning location for a book, and I can't help but want to live their myself,  Sophia has forged out a really lovely, low key life, in her 18 months in the bay, she's working as a waitress and a cleaner, neither of which she had a clue about from her previous life. 

It is obvious the whole time that Sophia is hiding something from her old life, but the specifics aren't revealed until quite close to the finale, and I wasn't quite expecting the way it would all pan out! 

Meanwhile their is Nate, who just wants to hide himself away to write his book, and ignore life, and the initial conversations between Nate and Sophia are really amusing. 

The characters in this were very believable and realistic and I loved disliking the horrible ones! Although this is a second book in Wishington Bay it can easily be read as a standalone, as the protaganists are different and the main focus is their story. 

I loved the various secrets, and the way Sophia has transformed her life. 

Set in the winter, I should say that this is not specifically a Christmas book, more a cold wintery one, with many amusing moments, Sophia appears to be rather accident prone - and the scene with the Christmas tree was hilarious - so yes Christmas features but it's not a focus and this is a book that could easily be read at any time of the year. 

This is just an all around enjoyable book that I was really entertained by. 

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

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Book Review - Christmas Island by Natalie Normann - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK

Title: Christmas Island
Author: Natalie Normann
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 30th November 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Cosy up in front of a fire and discover Christmas the Norwegian way…full of romance, cosy traditions and hygge!

In the bleak midwinter…
A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable

After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.

Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Fr√ły, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.

Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.

There is something about this book that was just incredibly more-ish. I found it to be really quick to read, and whenever I wasn't reading, I was wondering what Holly and Tor were getting up to in my absence. 

And it all starts with a rather dramatic and atmospheric opening sequence, as Holly arrives on the island and promptly gets lost, but is saved by the local hermit and his yellow-eyed beast. 

Ok for beast, I mean cat that I swear sounded more like a dog at times, but is utterly amazing. Froy is easily one of the best characters in the book by far, and being a cat he doesn't even say anything! 

And the local hermit is the rather ruggedly good looking Tor, who has kept himself to himself since renting a cottage on the island and no one really knows much about him, but somehow Holly may be the one to change things. 

Set in a Nordic winter, it was fascinating to learn about Norwegian Christmas traditions, and all manner of Nordic foods which especially their sweet treats sounded really yummy.  We learn a bit about trolls (not the internet variety), and also see just why is is both Holly and Tor are trying to hide from real life in the wilds of Norway! 

The descriptions were so good, I could really picture the island, and also the various locations and ferry crossings, boat trips, and Christmas activities that were happening. 

This is the authors second book in English, and it is connected to Summer Island in that Holly is Jack's sister and Jack and Ninni do put in an appearance during the second half of the book - but other than that it is definitely readable as a standalone. 

I am really enjoying Natalie Normann's writing style and I'm already very eager to see what she writes next, as I have loved both Summer and Winter Island.  I'd love to see more from this Island if possible, as it's such a different setting, it feels like you really have been on a vacation while reading. 

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

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