Monday, 25 October 2021

Book Review - The Village Inn Of Secret Dreams by Alison Sherlock

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Amazon UK

Title: The Village Inn Of Secret Dreams
Author: Alison Sherlock
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 30th September 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.

But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found … quickly.

So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with.

But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.

Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?

As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.

It felt so warm and welcoming to be back in Cranbridge, amongst old and new friends.  The regulars in the village are all present and just added to that feeling of coming home. 

Although in Pete's case he really is coming home after 3 years in Singapore, but he's not sure he wants to stay in Cranbridge any longer than strictly necessary. He's also hiding a secret from his family, and seems in complete denial as to his true feelings towards Belle, who he tries to think of as just a sister! 

But yet Pete decides under the influence to save the Black Swan Inn, and purchase it, but whether the village will like the changes he intends to put in place, or whether he will listen to Belle's ideas are another matter altogether. 

I really enjoyed Belle's story, and also discovering whether the mucky duck will truly turn into a swan or not! 

Was lovely to see more of Dodgy Del, and some of his latest get rich quick ideas are hilarious, but his heart is always in the right place, and it seems his nephew may not be the trouble maker he seems to think he might be. 

I loved the interactions between Belle and Pete, from joking comments, to out right disagreements, you could tell their true feelings a mile off... well unless you are them! 

I love the sense of community in these books, and just feel as though I belong there too.  It's another joyous book to read. I found it to be a rather quick read, and I was carving out time to keep returning to the book, which tends to be the sign of a good story for me. 

My fingers are crossed this isn't the last we see of this series as I'm enjoying it so much. 

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

Friday, 22 October 2021

Book Review - Twelve Dates 'Till Christmas by Jennifer C. Wilson

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Amazon UK

Title: Twelve Dates 'Till Christmas
Author: Jennifer C. Wilson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Ocelot Press
Publication Date: 5th October
Rating: 4 Stars

Winter 2019.

Callum and Lexie are perfect for each other - at least, that's what everyone tells them. But they're just good friends, aren't they? And neither wants to ruin the solid friendship that's treated them so well since university.

But when an old school friend of Callum's asks Lexie for a date, and passions overflow on a work night out, could it be the trigger to show each of them what they have been missing out on all this time?

With twelve weeks until Christmas, that's a lot of opportunity for romance - and for misunderstandings...

What a lovely novella this is, giving weekly snapshots into Lexie and Callum's life. 

They have been best friends forever, often accompany each other to various work events. None of their friends really believe nothing is going on between them. But yet there is something about the run up to Christmas that means they may be starting to see each other in a different light. 

Told over the course of 12 chapters, one per week, only dates on Saturdays, we get to see each weekend from both Lexie and Callum's points of views, and just hope that they will come to their senses. 

It's a really enjoyable light novella, that really does focus on a relationship between our two leads, and everything really revolves around that. Thankfully they are both likeable characters, and I did enjoy the writing too. 

I will say though that although the book culminates in the run up to Christmas, it's not what I'd really call a Christmassy book, and could be easily read at any time of year, as to me its rather low on festive feeling.  But if you are wanting a character, relationship driven, will they, won't they sort of a read, then this is certainly worth a go.

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Book Review - The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan - #HoldayReading #UKCruise

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Amazon UK

Title: The Christmas Escape
Author: Sarah Morgan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 21st October 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

It was supposed to be Christy Sullivan’s perfect Christmas escape – a dream trip to Lapland with her family and best friend, Alix. But facing a make-or-break marriage crisis, Christy desperately needs time alone with her husband, Seb. Her solution? Alix, along with Seb’s oldest friend, Zac, can take Christy’s daughter on the planned Lapland trip, and they will all reunite there for Christmas Day. After all, what are friends for?

There’s nothing Alix won’t do for Christy, but Christy’s plan to save Christmas is testing their friendship. Especially as Alix and Zac have a difficult history of their own.

As long-held secrets unravel, and unexpected romance shines under the Northern Lights, can Christy and Alix find the courage to fight for the relationships they really want? And could this Christmas escape save the precious gift of each other’s friendship?

Ah the Queen of a Christmas romance is back, and once more delivers in auroras!

Set to stunning backdrop of Swedish Lapland this is a story of friendship, of hidden family secrets, of various relationships and also of new beginnings. 

And it really is a magical week in Lapland that changes the lives of all the main characters.

I was enchanted from the first few pages and could really picture everything that was happening very vividly. 

Sarah Morgan has a way of describing snowy scenes and winter activities that make you want to ignore your own life and just jump into the pages of the book. 

I devoured this latest book in only a few hours while poolside, on the hottest day of my holiday, and it did slightly cool me off, reading about such wintery activities, while completely absorbing me within the pages, which I was reading happily.

I couldn't get enough of this book, and already gutted that I'll have to wait ages for the next Sarah Morgan release, as I love her books so much. 

From dog sledding to the Northern Lights, from estranged long lost aunts to a fractured friendship, this book has it all and more and is well worth reading if you enjoy a fabulous story.

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Book Review - Waste Not, Want Not in Applewell by Lilac Mills - #HolidayReading #UKCruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Waste Not, Want Not in Applewell
Author: Lilac Mills
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 6th May 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

George can't throw anything away. But he's in danger of throwing away this opportunity to be loved...
George Nightingale is a hoarder with a house full of junk. For years he's kept it a secret, rarely leaving his house and keeping social interactions to a minimum, but his carefully balanced system is now under threat...

Nessa Millbrook can't wait to get settled into her new home in quaint, rural Applewell. Everyone in the village is so friendly - except her neighbour, George, who wants nothing to do with her. But Nessa isn't one to back down from a challenge and she's determined to win George over.

The years have taught George to shield his heart and trust no one. Yet Nessa keeps reaching out to him - does he have the courage to take a chance, and reach back?

A gorgeously heartwarming romance with characters readers will fall in love with, perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Portia MacIntosh.

What a great start to a new series from Lilac Mills, this time set in Wales in the village of Applewell.

And tackling issues such as hoarding and loneliness as you grow older this is definitely a book with a message.

It is also a really enjoyable story featuring George who is rather set in his ways, likes his routines and is rather disturbed by the fact he has a new neighbour. 

And Netta who is the new neighbour, a now retired nurse, who just wants to make friends and fit in in her new community.

They are complete opposites and its heartwarming to see how Netta attempts to befriend George, and also how George responds to the various approaches,

I am loving the small community vibe in Applewell and starting to get to know some of the villagers. I can't wait to see who the next book will feature.

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

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Book Review - The Promise by Emma Heatherington

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Amazon UK

Title: The Promise
Author: Emma Heatherington
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 14th October 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Some bonds can never be broken
One terrible moment changes everything for teenagers Kate and David. Brought together during the darkest of times, a spark of hope is ignited between them – a hand held in the darkness, a promise whispered. Neither of them will ever forget those moments.
It’s another ten years before they meet once more, and their lives are now so different. The promise they made to each other on that fateful day still binds them, but now they have so much more to lose.
Have they missed their one chance at happiness? They only way they will ever know is to risk everything to be together. Is that too high a price to pay for love…?

This felt at times like a modern day Romeo and Juliet story.. and at any rate it was a complete epic. 

I really wasn't sure which way it would end up, I would have believed pretty much any ending, as there were so many possibilities. 

Set in Northern Ireland starting during the time of The Troubles, one explosive day, changed the course of Kate and David's lives forever.  We then meet them 10 years later and get to see how their lives have changed and from then on, we get snapshots are regular intervals of what each of them is doing. 

The book is written from both perspectives and it is really easy to mentally switch between them both.  And Kate and David really are clearly connected but also know that their ultimate destiny and happiness could be completely impossible due to their families and differences in upbringings. 

This is turning out to be an impossible book to review without spoilers, so I'm just going to say that the story will have you thinking, it may have you researching more about what was really like during The Troubles, and it will grip you completely. 

I suspect I'll be thinking about Kate and David for many days to come, and it really is a powerful and must read book. 

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

Monday, 18 October 2021

Book Review - Annie's Autumn Escape by Debbie Viggiano

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Amazon UK

Title: Annie's Autumn Escape
Author: Debbie Viggiano
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied Copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 1st October 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Annie’s big birthday is looming. Sixty! She feels half that age, even if the mirror tells her otherwise. Hubby Keith promises her a birthday to remember, and doesn’t let her down, but packing his suitcase to shack up with a forty-something isn’t quite the memory Annie wants to make. Suddenly she’s single and – as an empty nester – very, very alone. The Bucket List she and Keith had promised to work their way through is but a dream, until besties Bella and Caz rally around Annie and whisk her away for a trip that will be remembered for ever. Dubai. But it’s not all skyscrapers, bling, sand dunes and sheikhs. As the sun sinks over the horizon of Jumeirah Beach… might there also be love?

A totally gorgeous romantic comedy with a twist!

Easily Debbie Viggiano's funniest book by far. 

I kept giggling and laughing out loud at various points in the story, and there was just a great sense of humour throughout. 

There is also a wonderful sense of place and I was enchanted from the moment Annie and her friends boarded the plane to Dubai.  The descriptions of Dubai, the heat, the excursions, the wealth etc.. all felt so vivid and real at least as far as my limited knowledge of the Emirate goes. 

If you have seen Sex and the City 2, there was that sort of vibe to some of the book, although let's just say the hotel rooms weren't quite at that sort of standard, but the ability to if you go to the right little corner to get hold of excellent fakes was reminiscent. 

And I loved that the various cultural differences were mentioned between Dubai and the West, with regards attitudes to men and women having any sort of meetings outside of marriage, use of swear words and other such things. 

But it's not just a book set in Dubai, there is a story there two, with Annie being our main character who is about the turn the big six-oh, when her husband drops a massive bombshell, and his new fling is twenty years younger!   Annie slowly uses it as a chance to reinvent herself, get herself out of rut and with wonderful consequences. 

There may just be a man that she keeps coming across in Dubai, in a set of amusing circumstances.  Ah back to the humour there are memorable scenes including the one with the banana, the one with the shower rail, the one with the swimming race and many other memorable scenes!   Not to mention Annie's daughters amusing text messages. 

Annie's mum is clearly suffering from dementia and although her parent's don't feature much, it is touched on how tricky life is for them, and Annie's mum although she may not mean to be, has some incredibly funny lines, especially with regards Annie's soon to be ex-husband! 

It's an all around entertaining and fabulous read and transported me to Dubai and back. A real triumph! 

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

Friday, 15 October 2021

Book Review - The Amsterdam Affair by Kate Frost

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Amazon UK

Title: The Amsterdam Affair
Author: Kate Frost
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Lemon Tree Press
Publication Date: 10th November 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

A new start, a chance encounter, a Christmas to remember. Will Iris's new year be happy ever after? 

When Iris Greene's boyfriend surprises her with a romantic dinner at their favourite restaurant, she's expecting a proposal, not a move to another country. 

But Amsterdam proves to be the change she never knew she needed, and a surprise encounter with a local actor leads Iris to new friends and the rediscovery of a long lost passion. While Iris thrives in a city filled with festivity, her boyfriend struggles, and her heart is torn in two. 

As snow falls and secrets are revealed, Iris must decide her future. Will she be brave enough to start over and take a chance on love? 

The Amsterdam Affair is the fourth book in a standalone series of Romantic Escape novels that can be read in any order. They're uplifting, heartwarming stories of love, romance, hope, new beginnings and second chances featuring different characters in beautiful locations. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this story which I read over the course of an evening. I found it to be a lovely and easy read, which completely transported me into the life of Iris, and her time in Amsterdam. 

Not that Amsterdam was her choice, her inconsiderate boyfriend decided they were moving their for a year for his job, and well that is the first warning sign I hate about the boyfriend!  

I loved seeing Amsterdam through Iris's eyes as she starts to get into a groove with this new country and life, and between a part time job, new friends and becoming inspired to start creating again, it was wonderful to see Iris really blossom. 

It was obvious to me at least that she may have fallen in love during the course of the book, and I'm not necessarily meaning with a person! 

This was about finding yourself, and really having the confidence in order to change your life and your destiny. It's a story of new friendships, of discovering Amsterdam and generally one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. 

It's another star attraction in the Romantic Escapes series, all of which can easily be read as standalone as the only they they have in common is romances playing out in gorgeous locations. I still have one of these to read, but the four I've devoured so far have all been wonderful in their own ways. 

A book and a series to definitely give a go to, especially if you love armchair travel with romance! 

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

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Book Review - Midnight in the Snow by Karen Swan

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Amazon UK

Title: Midnight in the Snow
Author: Karen Swan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 14th October 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Award-winning director Clover Phillips is riding high when she encounters Kit Foley; a surfer and snowboarder as well-known for controversy as he is for winning championships.

Involved in an accident that had devastating consequences for a bitter rival, Kit has never spoken about what really happened that day. Determined to find out the truth, Clover heads to the snowy wilderness of the Austrian Alps, sharing a romantic winter wonderland with a man who can’t stand her.

But as she delves deeper, Clover finds herself both drawn to Kit, and even more convinced he’s hiding something. Is Kit Foley really as cold as he seems?

Wow that is one ride and a half, from being thrown under the barrel of a wave at the start, to getting some awesome amplitude and killer tricks at the end, this is on exhilarating read. 

Not least because it features the world of snow boarding on a super pipe for fabulous tricks, and to a lesser extent some of the world of surfing.  Two big sports for adrenalin junkies, which given I read this just as the Summer Olympics came to an end, and I know I will equally be obsessed come Beijing 2022 and the Winter Sports - this let me have my sporting obsession continue for a bit longer. 

But really it's not specifically about the sports themselves, so don't worry if you don't know your olly from your cab, your switch from your goofy, (and if some of those are more skateboarding than snowboarding terms then sorry but I was hooked on watching that too!), then honestly the sports technical bits are only a small part of the book itself. 

Clover is a director whose film about Cory Albright basically ended up vilifying Kit Foley to the world. So it becomes a bit of a shock for all, that after all that time spent essentially as Team Cory, to discover she is willing to now do a film all about Kit. 

It's clear Kit has been pressganged into it and they both appear to hate each other with a passion, and what I found fascinating was seeing just how Kit's character and personality developed, as we incredibly slowly start to learn a bit more about him. 

As after all he has a few loyal friends  and none seem that happy about the presence of a film crew - as Kit emerges back on the world stage as a snowboarder, after spending most of his life as a champion surfer. 

Set predominately in the Austrian Alps, this really is a treat of a winter book, I could barely put it down and found myself finding reasons to reach for my kindle at all times of day and night just to read more. I couldn't get enough of the story. 

I needed to know as much as Clover does, as to just what happened on that fateful day between Cory and Kit.  And I have to say the answer surprised me, as did most of the aftermath once the truth finally comes out. 

This is easily another of Karen Swan's best books and I know I said that recently about The Secret Path.  This is definitely an author going from strength to strength and so long as she keeps writing books like these then I will be one incredibly happy reader! 

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

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Book Review - Matchmaking at Port Willow by Kiley Dunbar - #HolidayReading #UKCruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Matchmaking at Port Willow
Author: Kiley Dunbar
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher Supplied Copy
Publisher: Hera Books
Publication Date: 16th September 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Beatrice found love at Port Willow – now she’s helping others

Since arriving in the Scottish Highlands village of Port Willow six months ago while nursing a broken heart, Beatrice Halliday has turned her life around.

Now she’s running The Princess and the Pea Inn, madly in love with gorgeous boyfriend Atholl Fergusson, and welcoming visitors from around the globe.

Life couldn’t be sweeter – until a surprise discovery threatens to turn her life upside down. Trying to distract herself, eternal romantic Beatrice sets her sights on rekindling the romance between an empty-nester couple holidaying at the Inn, while also trying to bring together city girl Nina, who’s hiding her pain behind a tough exterior, and Atholl’s handsome, easygoing cousin, Mutt.

But as Beatrice is about to learn, sometimes the magic of Port Willow doesn’t work on everyone…

A gorgeously uplifting read all about finding love and friendship, set in the beautiful Scottish countryside – fans of Jenny Colgan and Trisha Ashley will love this heartwarming, totally romantic read.

I was delighted to be back in Port Willow which is one of my favourite settings of Kiley Dunbar's, and to be back amongst familiar characters too. 

This could easily be read as a standalone as enough background is given, plus the other main focal characters are brand new to the series, 

Nina is really hard to get to know initially, you kind of sense her heart is in the right place but that she has forgotten how to be a more regular person since she has been dumped in a really cruel fashion. 

Then there are the couple that are competition winners that aren't quite what Bea and Atholl thought they would be like. 

It's a good thing Bea likes nothing more than "meddling" in others relationships and she is involved in making romance spark all over the place, 

She's also got her own new storyline that had me on edge as I really wasn't quite usre which way it would go, although I'm happy with how it played out. 

And so good to see Atholl and Gene again, the brothers who are continually showing what great men they have turned out to be. 

It was a joy and a pleasure to return to this setting and I really hope this isn't the last we have seen of these characters. 

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

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Book Review - Crying Shame by M. A. Comley

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Amazon UK

Title: Crying Shame
Author: M. A. Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 14th October 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Loved by his community. Savagely bludgeoned to death.

The first in a string of brutal murders rock the city. For DI Katy Foster and her team, time is running out to catch the sadistic killer.

The crimes are disturbing. The evidence isn’t adding up. And the latest victim’s family are nowhere to be seen.
Their only lead, a mysterious caller who proclaims to have known all the victims.

Wow, wow, wow.  I have raced through this book unable to put it down for a second, apart from to sleep.  The villains are completely and utterly disgusting excuses for human beings, and are everything that is wrong in the country at the moment. 

Which makes this a rather current book given everything that has gone in in the past couple of years, and the disgusting motivations behind this crime wave in the book, which M. A. Comley has clearly been rather sensitive in her writing and must have researched well. 

And how it is to be back amongst D. I. Katy Foster and Charlie, I'm loving how their partnership is starting to develop.  This was far more though about the policework and the crimes than their personal stories in this instance, which was good to see, as I was willing them the whole way through to put a stop to this crime wave sooner than later. 

The manner in which the victims die are horrific, and when you then learn about the people that have died, it feels completely wrong, and I just felt for all the families affected. 

And then M. A. Comley throws in some other unexpected surprises and blasts from the past that have me especially by the epilogue rather excited! 

I absolutely love this series, and this is without a doubt in my mind the best book in the Justice Again series  so far! 

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

Monday, 11 October 2021

Book Review - From Shetland, With Love at Christmas by Erin Green

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Amazon UK

Title: From Shetland, With Love at Christmas
Author: Erin Green
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 30th September 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

Friendship can be the greatest gift you'll ever give...

Verity is embarking on a better-late-than-never gap year now that her sons have flown the nest, and dreams of turning a lifetime's hobby of knitting and crocheting into a profitable new enterprise at Lerwick Manor's gallery.

Nessie has returned to Shetland after two years spent retraining as a blacksmith on the Scottish mainland. She's determined to do whatever it takes to reignite the traditional craft and prove that gender is no obstacle to taking on her family's heritage.

Isla is fresh out of catering college, but she is desperate to prove she has what it takes to run Lerwick Manor's artisan café. Focused on perfecting her grandmother's traditional recipes, Isla has no time for anything else - especially not her pesky ex.

With the island's Yule Day celebration fast approaching, it's the ideal moment for their crafts to shine. But they can't do it alone - and their friendship might turn out to be their greatest creation yet...

What a lovely book this really was.  It was utterly charming, and I loved the cosy feel of all the various crafts in their own stables at Lerwick Manor. 

We are treated to 3 viewpoints, Verity who is taking a year out of her life of being needed by all family members, and escaped to Shetland to run the Yarn Barn.  Nessie who is trying to make it as a blacksmith, and is sharing her forge with Isaac the glassblower.   And finally 19 year old Isla who has been entrusted with The Orangery, the onsite cafe to try to make it a success, with the help of her granny's recipe book. 

Each character has their various ups and downs over the book, and I was really involved in each of the women's stories. 

What I somehow didn't quite realise until I was half way through is that this is a sequel to From Shetland, With Love which I hadn't read, but may explain why it took me a while to fully feel invested in this book, and why if felt like I was a tad confused near the start. Purely as there are lots of mentions of what is clearly back story woven in so you don't feel lost, specifically for Jemima and Ned who run Lerwick Manor, and just how everyone in Shetland seems to be related to each other. 

Once I twigged, and could accept that and to be fair the story did work perfectly well as a standalone, it probably just needed to be read in longer spurts that I could manage due to real world time issues, than I was doing. 

Not really the most festive of Christmassy books, this could easily be read at any time in the year, although that said it really does work as a nice warm and cosy read, curled up with a hot drink and a blanket on your favourite sofa, and devoting some time to reading the loveliness inside. 

I loved the various crafts, I really enjoyed Crispy Duck, and the various dramas that unfurled.  Plus the hints of romance that are present.  I can't help but wonder though with how the book has ended whether there will be another trip to Lerwick and Shetland in the future, as I would love to read more about all of these characters. 

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

Friday, 8 October 2021

Book Review - Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar by Isabella May

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Amazon UK

Title: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar
Author: Isabella May
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 21st September 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

River and Alice miss Somerset. Christmas isn’t Christmas without family and friends, even when you live in quaint Cornwall.

When River’s aunt Sheba dies unexpectedly, leaving him her ancient VW camper van, nostalgia nudges him and Alice back to Glastonbury - and the surrounding villages - to rediscover their roots whilst serving the most decadent hot chocolate and delectable gingerbread from their renovated ‘bar on wheels’. A bar on wheels complete with a fold-up stage to host local talent competitions rivaling anything Simon Cowell could dream up, even if he’d gorged on a truckle of Cheddar cheese!

As the villagers sip their cocoa and ice their gingerbread houses amidst the festive backdrop of song, dance, and slightly more unconventional talents, River and Alice find themselves in an unexpected race against time: Zara, their chocolate supplier is leaving Glastonbury on the twelfth day of Christmas, keen to put a string of disastrous relationships behind her to make a fresh start. Bruno, their gregarious and gorgeous baking supplier is secretly smitten with Zara - ticking every box on her New Year’s wish list.If only they can get them together for one experimental kiss under the mistletoe... They’ve even enlisted their customers’ help in their mission to wrap this budding romance up in all the jingle bells and whistles. How hard can it be?

So, ho, ho VERY tricky, as it turns out...

Please be warned - stock up on hot chocolate, gingerbread, and all manner of festive sweet treats before you start reading this book, or you will end up having major cravings for them while reading. 

In fact everything about this book made me feel rather hungry. The foodie descriptions were completely yummy and tantalised my tastebuds, and were easily my favourite thing about this book and what kept me reading! 

I also loved all the descriptions of the various villages in Somerset that are visited.

I did though feel that I was at a slight disadvantage having not read The Cocktail Bar yet, and this was clearly a sequel, and although it's clear where the memory prompts are for those that have read it, it just reminded me that I hadn't yet. There was also mentions in passing of characters or happenings that would have related to some of this authors other books too. 

i enjoyed getting to know River and Alice, and loved how the book was written into chapters focusing on various of the main characters so you could really feel as though you knew them. 

And the delights that are Zara and Bruno, especially what they can produce but also the clear connection between the two, even if Zara is determined to ignore all blatant matchmaking attempts and her true feelings at times too. 

Everything to do with the Twinkle Twinkle, Little Bar had me smiling and I could picture everything so so clearly. It was a joy to be able to read this. 

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

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Book Review - Mistletoe at Moonstone Lake by Holly Martin

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Amazon UK

Title: Mistletoe at Moonstone Lake
Author: Holly Martin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 6th October 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Escape to the breathtaking Cornish Coast this winter, where the ocean sparkles in the moonlight and romance crackles like an open fire. This gorgeous new love story by million selling author Holly Martin is the perfect treat to warm your heart this Christmas.

Artist Zoey Flynn hadn’t planned to spend her favourite holiday on the shores of Jewel Island, but when her fiancé breaks off their engagement before their Christmas Eve wedding, this Cornish paradise is just the distraction she needs.

With a cosy cottage to call home for a month and a stall at the island’s famous Christmas market to sell her paintings, Zoey quickly puts her heartbreak behind her. Love is the last thing on her mind. That is until the handsome Kit Lewis crosses her path…

Their connection is instant, but Zoey has a secret. And the deeper she and Kit fall for one another, the harder it is to hide. Kit knows Zoey is holding something back and if she won’t tell him the truth she could lose him forever.

Is keeping a promise from the past worth sacrificing a future with the man she loves? Or might Kit be the one person she can trust?

Love, laughter and long-hidden secrets are waiting for you on stunning Jewel Island. For fans of Jill Mansell, Sarah Morgan and Sue Moorcroft, this is the perfect tale to curl up with this Christmas.

No one quite does a Christmas book like Holly Martin.  I've read quite a few festive books so far this year but this is definitely the first one that has made me feel Christmassy in September. 

I would love to be on Jewel Island, at that Christmas market, taking part in all the fabulous planned activities, it all felt so so real. 

And I fell for Zoey and Kit within moments of their first interactions, a rather memorable meet cute that may just have gone viral! And then all through the first day of them getting to know each other there are so many potentially awkward moments that just endeared me to Kit even more. 

And then there is the deeper secret that Zoey is hiding, and although I sort of guessed it, there were other elements to it that took me completely by surprise. 

Set in the run up to Christmas, literally the last week or so to go, this has a couple that has a clear instant connection, but whether they will let it be more than friendship is another matter. 

All the regulars from the series so far put in small cameo appearances to keep fans happy, but it can easily be read as a standalone story.  I do though sort of wish that Sylvia would get her own book, she is one of the best side characters about, I love her so much! 

This has everything from scalding hot mulled wine, to gorgeous paintings, a snowball fight, Christmas cookies, some awful Pictionary playing, romance, and so much more in between.  It is another enchanting and wonderful romance from the pen of Holly Martin, and this is a series that is going from strength to strength.  I love it so much. 

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