Thursday, 20 October 2016

Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

It's Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne - a time for family, friends and feasting. 

Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She's at her happiest when she's creating delicious, doughy treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She's determined that this Christmas is going to be their best on yet, but life doesn't always work out as planned... 

When Polly's best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly's past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that's not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?

I never imagined that I would be reading my first Christmas novel of 2016 in September in the sunshine sitting around the pool but that is what the excitement of a new Jenny Colgan book does to you!

Christmas at The Little Beach Street Bakery reunites us with our much loved characters from the previous Beach Street books. Polly is still busy baking delicious delights to make our mouth water and when she is not working she just wants to curl up with Huckle. Polly’s best friend Kerenesa plays a bigger part in this book as she finds herself in a terrible position which she shares with Polly putting her in a very awkward situation which could also cause big problems for Polly and Huckle’s relationship.

There are family and financial worries in this book and the author shows how financial strain can put pressure on relationships which is something many people will relate to but it isn’t just personal financial worries, the Puffin Sanctuary is in trouble too and the loving caring woman Polly is soon finds this weighing heavily on her shoulders too!

I was a huge fan of the previous Little Beach Street Bakery books so I couldn’t wait to be reunited with the characters we have all come to know and love and become so familiar with but there is always that worry that as much as you love the characters by book 3 in a series where can you take the characters journey next without feeling like the series has been strung out? I had no reason to worry though as this books plot was just as strong and enjoyable as the first book.

At the beginning of the book the author does say this is the last book in the series (probably) and I was devastated as I don’t want to let Polly and the gang go but now having finished reading this book I think Jenny Colgan has done so much with the characters in this book and has wrapped up the end so perfectly so I think she has made the right decision to part with Polly now.

Although Christmas does feature in the book it isn’t overly festive so I do feel this is a book that can be read and enjoyed anytime of the year. It is an entertaining and sometimes humorous read but it also a book about true love and friendship as well as family issues which will tug at the heart strings but don’t worry Neil is back and will put a smile on your faces!

Make someone’s Christmas this year and buy them a copy of Christmas at the Beach Street Bakery it is sure to warm their hearts this winter.

Hardback                Kindle

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…

This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

I have enjoyed the Manhattan With Love series by Sarah Morgan but I am so pleased me are on book three as from the first book in this series it was clear that Eva was going to be my favourite character and so I couldn’t wait for her story and I was desperate for her to find her prince charming.

Uber Genie is still going from strength to strength and with Christmas looming Eva finds herself with the task of transforming the home of a Best Selling crime writer Lucas Blade into a welcome festive wonderland ready for his return home but things do not go to plan when Eva arrives only to find herself tackled to the ground by the man himself. With no option but to try and work around each other due to being snowed in the pair soon open up to each other.

This book got off to a comical start for poor Eva but it soon set the tone for the rest of the book. Eva is a hopeless romantic and someone who wants to bring sunshine to everyone’s life which is the polar opposite to crime writer Lucas Blade.

As ever with a Sarah Morgan novel you can expect a big splash of romance and especially with the romantic gestures but we also know that this author sure can write a Christmas novel and she sprinkles this book with festivity too.

The only thing I did miss in this book is the interaction with Paige, Frankie, Matt and Jake as the author has created such a strong friendship between them all and I loved seeing the gang all come together in the previous books but I can also understand why this was missing from this book because the solitude and isolation with Eva and Lucas being snowed in was what was keeping these characters pushed together not leaving them an option but to let down their barriers and get to know each other.

I really enjoyed this book and have loved the series and I think this book has wrapped the series up perfectly even if I am a little sad to leave our characters go but I look forward to meeting a new cast of characters in the authors next novel .

Kindle                   Paperback

Monday, 17 October 2016

Searching for a Silver Lining Blog Tour Miranda Dickinson

Today I am thrilled to be kicking of the blog tour for #MySilverLining 
and I am joined by the sparkly Miranda Dickinson who is going to share with us what inspired her to write Searching for a Silver Lining.

 I’ve always wanted to write a road trip story and over the years have played around with possible ideas. But when I dreamed up Mattie Bell and Reenie Silver I knew their story needed an incredible journey at its heart. I love the idea of unlikely and unusual friendships, and the possibility of writing one that grows and develops during a physical journey really excited me. 

I’m also a huge fan of 1950s music and fashion, so it was great to be able to work this into the tale, with a modern day story that slowly unlocks secrets from sixty years ago. My love of Fifties’ music is reflected in the book, both in the story and in the chapter headings, each of which is named after a 1950s hit song. 

 Being a singer (my ‘other’ job when I’m not writing), I really wanted to write about a young band chasing after their dreams, in a time where people wanted to believe anything was possible. The dynamics of five completely different characters thrown together in pursuit of a shared dream – and the tensions, rifts and challenges that causes – fascinates me and was really fun to bring to the page. 

 Searching for a Silver Lining is a book about forgiveness, redemption and the power of friendship – themes I’ve written about before but which I feel are so important to us still today. Through Mattie and Reenie’s exciting, dramatic and – it has to be said – slightly barmy journey together, I hope I’ve been able to create a story that makes you laugh, cry, and believe that anything is possible! Thanks so much for reading this blog exclusive! For more, follow my Searching for a Silver Lining blog tour. I really hope you enjoy Mattie’s story!

It began with a promise . . .   Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .   When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.  Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you'll never forget.

Searching for a Silver Lining is out Thursday 20th October 
You can pre-order your copy too.

Paperback            Kindle

Sunday, 16 October 2016

My Story by Jo Malone

My Story by Jo Malone quite simply blew me away. This was one of those few books that you begin reading and find yourself eagerly tuning those pages to see what she reveals next but in the same breath you don’t want to finish.

I am not a fan of biographies but when I heard that Jo Malone was releasing her story my interest was piqued instantly and I knew I had to get a copy as I have always been in awe of this woman and I wanted to see her journey from where she come from to all she has achieved and experienced along the way to where she is now.

I was quite surprised when I began to read the book that Jo Malone had grown up in surrounding areas from me and she was such a down to earth and normal girl next door who suffered the typical struggles of so many families, I always remember my mum and dad commenting on the ice on the insides of the windows too! 

Jo Malone doesn’t hold back she pours everything into this book sharing success stories as well as the hiccups and mistakes she made and learned from along her journey. Her passion and dedication is clear to see throughout the book and the support she received from her wonderful husband and friends does not go unnoticed too.

Before long you really feel as though you are just sitting down having a chat with Jo Malone herself as her voice sounds out from the pages. I found this such an inspiring read and I can’t help but admire this woman as she has got where she is today by starting at the bottom and with pure hard graft and determination she has made it to the top proving that if you really want something in life it is achievable and yes it isn’t easy by any means but it is possible.

I have recently given up my business and have been having doubts and it was great to hear that even the best in the business have times when they have wobbles, doubts and regrets but Jo Malone just dusts herself off and picks herself up and carries on.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the Scent page at the front of the book which smells absolutely divine and every now and again whilst turning the pages I would catch another whiff! She has me sold, I will be picking up a bottle of Pomelo on my next trip up town.

This book will not disappoint it gives you a wonderful insight of a determined, lovable, passionate and inspirational woman on her journey through life that will keep you hooked the whole way through. I don’t usual keep books I have read as I have nowhere to store them but this one I cannot bare to part with and I know I will be turning back to read through these pages again.

First GEM rating of the year

Hardback              Kindle

Not Just For Christmas by Alex Brown

Kitty, who runs the Spotted Pig Tea-rooms in the picturesque village of Tindledale, thinks she's come to terms with her husband Ed’s death on active duty. When she learns that Ed’s army dog, a black Labrador named Monty, is being retired and needs rehoming, it awakens her heartache once more.

Amber runs the pet parlour, but her love of dogs extends to rescuing abandoned pooches and now her tiny cottage is overflowing with homeless hounds. The only answer is to open a proper rescue centre but where will the money come from? 

Kitty knows she could never take on Monty – it would be too painful, but with more than one dog needing a home this Christmas, is a miracle too much to hope for?

Every time author Alex Brown has released a book I have wasted no time in jumping straight in and I have loved each and every one of her books. I have always been honest in that I am not a fan of short stories as I have never found they have enough depth for me and I am greedy and am always left wanting more but when I saw that Alex Brown was bringing out a short story set in her much loved village of Tindledale I knew there was no way I could miss out on another visit to the village.

Our main character in this novella is Kitty who we have met in the previous Tindledale books running her café The Spotted Pig Café. Kitty is a single mum to the adorable little Teddie after her husband died a true hero. Kitty and Teddie have adapted to life but when Kitty receives a phone call from Mack who was her husband’s best friend, with news that her husband’s dog Monty has been retired and needs a home. Will Monty bring everlasting love to the family or will he bring up too many memories and prove too much for Kitty?

I am over the moon that the novella focuses on Kitty’s story as she is a character who has touched my heart in the Tindledale books and I have desperately wanted the author to explore her character more. The storyline is very moving but also uplifting too with a lovely touch of festivity. We also get a glimpse of some of our other favourite characters who have made an appearance before especially the animal doting Taylor who also holds an important role in this novella.

This is the first novella I have read where the author has managed to put all of the feels from a full length novel into a novella, the characters are well developed and soon work their way into your heart. The storyline also has depth to it thanks to the emotional and challenging issues the author weaves into the plot. There are some touching moments and the one that really touched my heart was the comment Teddie made about her father and Mack's legs ( yes lump to the throat moment at the sensitivity and innocence from a child).

I would say you could read this novella as a standalone but you really are missing out if you haven’t visited Tindledale in the author’s three previous books.

This novella will keep you entertained on your commute to work in the morning stealing your attention in one fell swoop there is no part of this book that allows you a break to put it down so read it in one greedy burst and then get ready to crack open that tin of Quality Street.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley

With the days now having a chill in the air it is time to embrace those cosy wintry and festive reads.
Comfort & Joy by Cathy Bramley is out today and is currently only 99p.

It’s been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend. 

Good food, family and friends – it’s a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity’s friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too. 

But the weather has other plans in store… Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry’s residents. It’s starting to look like this year’s celebrations could be a total washout. 

With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?

I can't wait to delve into this festive feel good read especially after seeing such high praise from the lovely Miranda Dickinson.

Monday, 10 October 2016

All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

The cover for All She Ever Wished For is such and alluring and festive delight that catches the eye instantly and it holds an equal delightful storyline inside.

The chapters alternate between Kate and Tess's point of views and both their individual storys are weaved around the main storyline that connects the pair. Kate has lead a glamourous and full life but things have taken a downward spirial but se is not going down wihout a fight. Tess is the bride to be and as she is counting down the last few weeks until the big day there is still so much to be done and to top it off she receives a letter that is about to put more pressure ont the bride to be.

What I loved about this book was the set in a court hearing which is a first for me and I think this is what had me hooked is having this original storyline.

I found the relationship between Tess and Bernard quite cringey at times especially with his pet name for Tess but at the same time their relationship brought a touch of humour to the storyline too especially with the dreaded in-law introductions!

I found myself gripped by this storyline as I loved Tess and was also intrigued by Kate and as each part of her back story was revealed I grew to love her character too and was routing for her by the end.

The one thing I would say was I was expecting such a heart warming wintery and festive read judging by the cover but this was non existent in the book so if you are looking for a book to get you in the festive spirit then this book wouldn't be what you are looking for and yet it was still a romantic and entertaining read with a touch of light humour too.

Paperback               Kindle


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