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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft by Sue Moorcroft


Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.
To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?
Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?
It has been too long since I have read a novel by Sue Moorcroft but how could I resist such a magical cover when I am such a little Christmas fairy!
A Christmas Gift introduces us to our two main characters Georgine and Joe who both knew each other way back in their school days and quite unexpectedly find themselves reunited years on when Joe begins work as her assistant, only Joe recognises Georgine instantly however Georgine doesn’t recognise Joe. Both of their lives have changed dramatically but will the bond they used to share be able to be reformed?
The chemistry between Germaine and Joe could be felt through the pages and after reading about the early years between them and seeing what challenges they had faced in their intervening years I was really hoping that a beautiful romance would develop between them as they seemed made for each other.
This is a modern feel good storyline but it also touches on some deeper topics from grief to neglect and debt which all add awareness and a little grit to this sweet storyline. It shows us that through life our paths change sometime for the best and but unfortunately at times for the worse.
I was hoping for a little more festivity especially with the storyline set around a Christmas show but there was only a small sprinkling of festivity, but the positive thing is that this book can easily be read a t any time of year. I really enjoyed the storyline and I would love to see a follow up to this book as I feel as though I have only just got to know Georgine and Joe but I don’t feel as though their story has finished yet so I will keep my fingers crossed that we will be reunited with them both in the future.



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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain.



Just when I think author Heidi Swain has topped her festive covers, she releases another Christmas beauty with Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at The Winter Wonderland. As part of her tour for her new release I will be sharing my review and as a special treat I also have a sample chapter for you so you can see for yourself why you need to curl up with this festive delight this Christmas. 

After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course . . .
 
Moving into Wynthorpe Hall to escape the town’s gossip, Hayley finds herself immersed in the eccentric Connelly family’s festive activities as they plan to host their first ever Winter Wonderland. But Hayley isn’t the only new resident at the hall. Gabe, a friend of the Connelly’s son Jamie, has also taken up residence, moving into Gatekeeper’s Cottage, and he quickly makes an impression on Wynbridge’s reformed good-girl.
 
As preparations commence for the biggest event of the season, the pair find themselves drawn ever closer to one another, but unbeknownst to Hayley, Gabe, too, has a reason for turning his back on love, one that seems intent on keeping them apart.
 
Under the starry winter skies, will Gabe convince Hayley to open her heart again once more? And in doing so, will he convince himself?

I never begin reading my festive reads before my Birthday in October but I have been eager to read Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at The Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain and I couldn’t put it off any longer!
In the authors new release we find ourselves back at Wynthorpe Hall with all of the wonderful characters we have come to know and love but this time the focus is on Hayley who has well and truly had her eyes opened when it comes to her relationship with Gavin and now she has been wrapped up in the love of those at the hall and they all want her to forget her past and set a new positive future for herself but Hayley may need a help in hand in the shape of new resident Gabe at the Hall for her to take that leap at a new future.
I read this book in one greedy sitting which is often the case for me when reading Heidi’s novels as they just feel like a comforting hug each time I find myself immersed in her writing. Unlike many novels that are released with a Christmas themed cover and yet have no festivity to the storyline, this book has festivity abundance. I think dear old Angus is just as excited about Christmas as I am!
I was surprised with the lack of emotion from Hayley when she splits from her fiancé at the beginning of the book but I soon got over this as I got swept away with the storyline and the presence of Gabe soon made things a lot more exciting!
I loved getting to know Hayley more, we have previously met her before ( please don’t be put of this can still be read as a stand alone) she is quite a complex character who doesn’t seem to have found her true self yet. I loved the discovery of her hidden talents and I was eager for her to put it to good use.
The romance was rather predictable but it had its fair share of ups and downs to keep us interested.
I loved being able to see how things have developed between Anna and Jaime and I also loved the arrival of my favourite characters of Heidi’s, Jemma and Lizzie from The Cherry Tree Café. Everytime I am reunited with these women and their delicious offerings my mouth instantly waters and I have such a determination to bake my own goodies in my own café!
This is another wonderful trip to Wynthorpe with a perfect sprinkle of festivity to wrap everything up to make this a perfect stocking filler for the bookworm in your life.



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With Thanks to the generous publishers over at Books and the City I have a copy of Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland up for grabs it this Uk Only Giveaway.

Good Luck!




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Friday, 9 November 2018

Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King



Twenty-nine-year-old Saffron Baxter knew her fun holiday plans didn’t stand a chance the moment her sister called to say she was stuck abroad with no hope of being home before Christmas. Saffy would just have to abandon thoughts of wild festive parties in the city and head down to remote Cornwall.

Because every year her sister hosts a huge Christmas meal for all the single parents in her village. And Saffy knows it’d break her heart to let them down.

Arriving as snow starts to fall over the thatched cottages of the little harbour town of Port Breok, she meets Logan – the tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed, devoted single dad who lives over the road, with his adorable daughter Chloe. At first she thinks he might help her make Christmas Day extra-memorable, but he just seems convinced she’ll never manage – that she’s just a party girl who doesn’t care about family, or anyone’s feelings.

Maybe he’s right. After all – she doesn’t want to settle down, she’s only there for a few days… But she’s still determined to do her sister proud with gorgeous decorations, the most beautiful real tree – complete with extra twinkly lights, and delicious mince pies. To make it a Christmas everyone will remember, especially little Chloe. Even if, when the mistletoe comes down, she knows she’ll probably never see Logan again…


I hold my hands up and admit I fell in love with the cover to Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel and so I didn’t even read the synopsis for the book and I hadn’t heard of the author before so I was going in with no expectations only the hope of having a large sprinkling of Festivity sprinkled through the pages!

Single Saffy has her plans for Christmas turned upside down when she receives a pone call from her sister desperate for her to host her traditional Christmas Day party for the single parent residents who live in the area. This is not Saffy’s idea of the perfect Christmas but she soon finds herself guilt tripped into taking on the challenge.

She soon finds she has a helping hand ready and waiting in the form of a drop-dead gorgeous neighbour Logan but they don’t quite get off on the right foot!

I won’t give anymore of the storyline away as going into this book with no expectations made every step of this book a sweet surprise. There is a predictable romance that blossoms but I enjoyed reading the ups and downs of the journey between Logan and Saffy.

I loved Saffy’s friend Robbie, I found him very funny and dramatic but he was also a supportive friend to Saffy too. I also loved little Chloe who was Logan’s daughter, I am always hit and miss with child characters in novels as I often find their voice irritating but Chloe won my heart straight away she really was a little sweetie who idolised her father and seemed to want to find that mother figure and took a great shine to Saffy over their mutual love of Polar Bears!

I did actually take an instant dislike to Saffy’s sister Hannah as she seemed to guilt trip Saffy into her demands and implied that the way Saffy chose to spend her life was selfish just because she doesn’t have children and has a successful career and as we find out more about Saffy’s background I actually really felt sorry for her.

I loved that the author didn’t play done the festivity in this book. So often we find such fabulously festive covers have only a mere mention of Christmas but this book had a large sprinkling of festive magic that has really left me in the Christmas spirit.

I loved this light hearted, witty and romantic storyline that did touch on a couple of more delicate subjects and this was handled with great care. I will definitely be reading future novels from Karen King and I would definitely recommend this book if you want something to get you in the festive spirit.

Kindle

Monday, 5 November 2018

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman.



Audrey's family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.
As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

Nearly five years ago I read The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman, an extraordinary debut that was flawless and so powerful that years on I still find myself recommending this book. I have been desperate for Hannah Beckerman to release another novel but now after reading her new release If Only I Could Tell You I can easily see why we have had a such a long wait for another book by her as this book has blown me away and the storyline is so intricately woven and full of such raw emotions it is perfection.
Jess has refused to have her sister Lily in any part of her life for the past 30 years after a situation occurred that left her unable to forgive Lily even after their mum Audrey’s attempts to get them to repair their broken relationship. Both Lily and Audrey are none the wiser as to what it is that Jess holds Lily responsible for but Audrey is desperate to bring her daughters back together.
The prologue introduces us to Jess and Lily and instantly creates intrigue and mystery reeling me in and I knew from this point I was going to be unable to put this book down, I wasn’t wrong!
As I made my way through each chapter which were told from the points of view of all three women, I found my mind jumping to all sorts of conclusions as to what on earth could have happened all those years ago to have such a devastating impact on Jess that has left her so emotionally charged that she couldn’t bear to have her sister around her.
I was expecting after reading the prologue to take a disliking to Lily but I found I was quite sympathetic to her character, it was clear she craved the love of her sister and found it so difficult not knowing what it was that her sister held against her. Jess was a character who I just wanted to hold, she seemed so cold and she had built up bridges to her heart not letting anyone in, even her relationship with her daughter was a distant one. Audrey was in such an impossible situation as a mother and especially with the problems she was facing, my heart went out to her and I was really hoping she would succeed in bringing her daughters together. 
When things began to unravel it was such an unexpected desperate situation, I felt so vulnerable and incredibly moved that my heart actually ached for these characters and I had to remind myself that this was a work of fiction because I was so invested in the characters and the storyline it all felt so incredibly raw and real and although I finished this book a couple of weeks ago now it really has left a mark on me.
The author has such a unique style to her writing that is so sensitive and tender. Her words are loaded with emotion, she creates storylines that will break your heart in two but she also builds so much intrigue and tension by keeping us in the dark with her unpredictable storylines, cleverly letting our minds roam down the wrong path before dramatically pulling us down another devastating path.
I cannot put into words the effect this book had on me, it seems wrong to say I enjoyed it but it is a book that will not leave my bookshelf and I will certainly be recommending this book far and wide. I can easily see this being my book of the year for 2019 it sure is going to be a difficult one to beat.


If Only I Could Tell You 
is available to pre-order now.
The release date is 21st February 2019.





Kindle                        Hardback

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks



Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. After six years with her boyfriend, she is no longer sure what she wants, and when her father becomes ill she heads to her family's cottage at Sunset Beach in North Carolina to make some difficult decisions.
Tru Walls has been summoned across an ocean from where he was born and raised in Zimbabwe by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. In journeying to Sunset Beach, Tru hopes to unravel the mystery surrounding his mother's life, but the letter will lead him in an unexpected direction.
When these two strangers' paths cross, their chance encounter sets in motion a heart-breaking story - one that will transcend decades, continents and the workings of fate. 


Nicholas Sparks always produces such deep and emotional novels that feel so real that it is no surprise that they end up on our screens. His latest release Every Breath is quite simply a beautiful fuss free storyline that is based on a real life romance which only adds to the empathy I felt for the characters.

Hope has been with her partner for over 6 years on and off, she is keen to take their relationship to the next step hoping for marriage and children but yet again after another argument and break up Josh has gone away with the lads leaving Hope to attend her best friends Wedding alone. It is whilst she is at her parent’s holiday home that she by chance meets Tru and her heart is all a flutter, is there such thing as love at first sight?

Tru lives in Zimbabwee and works as a Safari tour guide but he has been contacted by a man claiming to be his father wishing to meet him so he embarks on a trip to North Carolina and it is here that he has his heart captured by the beautiful Hope but could anything realistically happen between them when they both have lives and duties in different countries?

What an adorable heartfelt and somewhat tragic romance with such selfless characters who captured my heart instantly. Hope made such a heartbreaking decision, choosing the path she felt was right for her to take and my heart broke in two even though I could see her reasons for making that decision. Tru was a pure gentleman who deserved to have a happy ending. He was such an honourable man especially with his actions around Hope.

I loved watching the romance blossom between them both but I also enjoyed getting to know more about them and their backgrounds, some of the things they went through was truly heart breaking.

I really found myself questioning my own decisions I have made in life after reading their story, how many times have I made a big decision which has taken my life down its current path when if I had made a different choice where would my life be now.

I loved discovering the mail box where people leave letters, notes, manuscripts poems etc is actually real, I would love to be able to visit at some point in my life to sit and read what people have poured onto the pages.

This was another praiseworthy storyline by Nicholas Sparks full of hope, sacrifice and pure honest love. 

Kindle                         Hardback

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Our House by Louise Candlish



FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE. When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house? 


TILL DEATH US DO PART.


I had seen so many reviews, comments and beautiful displays for Our House by Louise Candlish I was very intrigued by the book wondering what everyone loved about it but it isn’t a book I would typically pick up however a very trusting book friend of mine assured me I would love it so I started it straight away.

When Fi arrives home she is bewildered and terrified to find someone moving into her family home. There has to be some mistake but she is unable to get hold of husband Bram to get to the bottom of this horrendous mistake.

Bram has made a catastrophic mistake that he can’t find his way out of and now he is set to hurt those around him. 

Having finished reading this book I can certainly see why there is so much talk about it. This is the first book that has had an ending that has had such an impact that I was actually shouting NOOOOOoOoO at the book and flapping my page around! 

The storyline was so addictive thanks to the authors tightly woven plot which pulled me in and kept me gripped by the continual events that found Bram digging himself a bigger hole that looked like he would never be able to dig himself back out of. 

I have picked up two books by this author previously and have struggled to settle into them so never finished them but there was no way I was going to put this book down it was too intense. The pace does slow a little in the middle of the book but I feel that this served a great purpose in making my attention waver slightly resulting in the last part of the book having such an impact.

I loved the subtle twists which I didn’t see coming although there were other that I could see from early on in the book particularly one involving a love interest but I have read a lot of crime thrillers recently so I seem to be looking deeply into clues and possibilities more than I usually would so other readers may find more twists reveal themselves along the way.

This is certainly one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year and the most frustrating and impactful ending I can remember reading in a long time.




Kindle                       Paperback

Thursday, 27 September 2018

The Birthday by Carol Wyer



When five-year-old Ava Sawyer goes missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre, the police are bewildered by the lack of leads. That is until two years later, when Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that still keeps her awake at night…

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?


I have only recently discovered author Carol Wyer after seeing an interview with her online. I read her book Little Girl Lost and was instantly gripped and when I saw she had the start of a new series coming out the first of which is entitled The Birthday I was intrigued to see if this one would be as good as Little Girl Lost.

Harriet Downing’s birthday party went horribly wrong when one of the children went missing never to be seen again. Fast forward two years and the body of the little girl Ava has been found. DI Natalie Ward is on the case and is determined to get to find the killer but things have just got a whole lot worse….. the body of another child who attended the party has just been found. Natalie and her team pull out all the stops to try and catch the killer before any more children are harmed but this killer is expertly covering their tracks.

Wow I loved this book even more than Little Girl Lost. If you have read my review of Little Girl Lost you will remember I found it gripping but found that the storyline slowed in the middle part of the book and slightly lost me for a while, well The Birthday is gripping from the very first page right through to the last page. I was completely in the dark right up until the last couple of chapters and I didn’t have even the slightest suspicion until around 75% through and even then I was on the wrong track!

DI Natalie Ward has her own demons from a previous case which we know from little drips of information we are fed from Natalie which helps us understand why it is even more paramount that she solves this case and quickly. We get to know parts of her team members personal life too so we manage to build relationships with the characters which I am sure will develop further in the next book.

I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something to hold your attention with a storyline that will have you sitting trying to piece all the clues together.



Kindle
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