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Sunday, 27 November 2022

Her Daughter's Secret by Lisa Timoney



Will her daughter’s secret tear her family apart?

When troubled teenager Immy disappears, she leaves her widowed mother Bea completely devastated. Bea pours her love into her six-year-old niece Phoebe, even taking her in when her single father Ewan takes a job abroad.

Then Immy returns, in desperate need of her mother’s help and love. But Ewan is clear: he will never let Bea see Phoebe again if she welcomes her daughter back.

As Bea grapples with this impossible choice between two girls who sorely need her, a long-buried secret comes out that changes everything – and Bea must fight harder for her family than she ever thought she could.

 

Her Daughter’s Secret is the debut novel by author Lisa Timoney and having just put this book down I am already counting down the days for the release of her next novel Her Mother’s Lies because her writing style grabbed my attention from the first page and captivated me leaving me at a loss now it has come to an end.

We are introduced to the warm-hearted Bea whose life has been in turmoil, with the loss of her husband and the absence of her daughter Immy she is filling her time looking after her niece Phoebe but life is still full of struggles for them both. My heart warmed to Bea and her situation, not one to complain but having everything falling down around her she still puts her heart and soul into putting Phoebe’s care first and Phoebe seems to have absorbed part of her aunts personality traits too not one to complain and trying to see the good in other children despite their inexcusable behaviour, she didn’t see herself as a victim just that the children had a lack of understanding which made her seems so much older than her years.

The bond that grows between Bea and Phoebe is so endearing, finding comfort strength and support in each other through their struggles. The relationship between other family members can not be described the same, the way that Ewan and Joyce treat both Bea and Phoebe left a sour taste in my mouth, they were quite simply rude and appalling.

We learn early on that there is something tragic and unforgivable that has happened in regards to Bea’s daughter Immy and  the author does such a wonderful job of keeping us in the dark and slowly feeding us little snippets throughout the storyline as we start to build a bigger picture of the events that occurred that changed the families lives forever. There were some unexpected revelations that I didn’t expect and it just made it impossible to put this book down.

This author has a real talent in character development, I really felt like I knew both Bea and Phoebe they were so well developed and I really cared for each of them. I was educated too as I had never heard of Sturge-Weber syndrome so this book will raise awareness for this condition which is always respected in novels.

A praiseworthy debut from an author who is certainly going to be one to watch.



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Saturday, 26 November 2022

A White Christmas on Winter Street by Sue Moorcroft

 



When Sky Terran returns to the village of Middledip after losing the job she loves, she anticipates a quiet Christmas getting used to her new life. However, the annual street decoration competition is coming up and this year, the residents of Winter Street are determined to win.

As she is pulled into the preparations, Sky quickly grows to love the quirky, tight-knit community she is now part of. Including the extremely handsome Daz, who soon becomes more than just a friendly neighbour.

But when Daz’s ex turns up determined to win him back and it seems he might not be the man Sky thought he was, she remembers how much allowing people into her life – and heart – can hurt. As the snow falls, will she and Daz find a way through – and help win a Christmas victory for Winter Street?


A White Christmas on Winter Street by Sue Moorcroft is my last Christmas book of 2022 and it has tied my festive reading off perfectly.

This novel is a standalone although previous novels by this author have also been set in this picture postcard village of Middledip, on our return we now meet Sky whose career as a property developer has taken a swift unexpected turn and she finds herself back in her childhood village after purchasing a home she is desperate to renovate herself.

There is a vast amount of supporting characters whose storylines are weaved around Sky’s to bring all the characters together and to help and support each other as we typically see in a village with its welcome ( and sometimes unwelcome ) community spirit. There is a blossoming romance that faces some bumps along the road but it made it feel a more genuine relationship that has its battles to face as two people really get to know each other. We have the sweet natured Wilf too who is a key character who is facing a big change in his family dynamic but having Sky and Daz to help him with various distractions was just what he needed.

There were a number of challenging situations that the author has tackled in this novel and she has done this with such care but at the same time has shown honest and true reactions to each situation rather than making everything rosy.

There is a wonderful Christmas feel with the book being set on the lead up to Christmas and over the festive period too so we had the perfect back drop with a snowy setting and Christmas decorating as well as a Christmas pulled together so nobody was alone.

A White Christmas on Winter Street is a definite recommendation from me if you are looking for a full on Christmas feel good read that tackles real life situation and struggles too.


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Thursday, 24 November 2022

The Man I Never Met by Elle Cook

 



Two lives are about to be changed by one phone call...

When Davey misdials Hannah's number, at first they think nothing of it.

After all, Davey lives in Texas and Hannah lives in London.

But when Davey gets a job in London, their paths are sure to cross. As messaging turns to video calling, this feels like the start of something.

Weeks later, Hannah is waiting for Davey at the airport, but he never walks into Arrivals.

When Hannah finds out why, her world is turned on its head. And with their future so uncertain, each must pick up the pieces of their lives.

Will fate intervene once more to bring them together? Or will Davey always be the man that Hannah never met?


Intrigued by the title The Man I Never Met by Elle Cook, I read the synopsis to see what the book was about and I loved the sound of what was hidden between these pages and wasted no time getting stuck in.

I am sure its safe to say we have all at some point in our lives received a wrong number call but I am yet to stay in touch with any of my wrong callers unlike our main characters Hannah and Davey. Safe to say fate played a big part in this pairs connection when Davey called Hannah in error and before long, they soon find out that there is a bizarrely strong connection between them. Ready to take things to the next step they are ready to finally meet but things go horribly wrong.

I was captivated by what started out as a real farfetched storyline but that soon pulled me in and had me so invested in both Hannah and Davey I was desperate for fate to intervene again and set them on the right path. At times the novel was touching in particular with Davey’s battles but the author still managed to keep an uplifting feel to the storyline at other points especially when George was around I was on the defensive and had my guard up as I took an instant dislike to him.

As well as romance there are also a number of strong supportive friendships in this book and they really play a great part in this book on both sides being there for Hannah and Davey to offer support and at times some honest home truths too.

I had only three chapters remaining before going to bed but I couldn’t bare to leave the characters so soon so I saved them to enjoy the following day and all I can say is what a perfectly tied up ending to end a wonderful enjoyable storyline.



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Sunday, 20 November 2022

Driving Home For Christmas by Joanna Bolouri

 




Driving home marks the start of the holidays for Kate and Ed, who have made this journey every Christmas of their ten-year long relationship. Normally the seasonal hits blare from the car stereo, and they are guaranteed to be wearing ridiculous jumpers in anticipation, but this year a frosty silence fills the car...

A massive argument leads to the immediate collapse of their relationship. But the show must go on, so they decide to brave their families together one last time.

With three Christmases to celebrate, an old flame waiting under the mistletoe and a shed load of expectation around their future together, this most wonderful time of year is anything but. There will be turkey, tiffs and tantrums galore, but it's sure to be a Christmas they'll never forget.

Joanna Bolouri brings us a festive romcom that follows the crumbling relationship between Kate and Ed. Tensions are running high between the couple as they make their way home to see their families over Christmas but they agree not to tell them that they are breaking up. 

It was so clear to see that Kate and Ed were made for each other but that they had got too comfortable after so many years together and they have lost their way and stopped communicating with each other. I loved how my thoughts towards them both chopped and changed throughout the storyline, one minute being frustrated with them at times not liking them especially Kate, and then as the bigger picture is revealed I came full circle and really liked them both and just wanted to bang their heads together!

The supporting characters really helped this storyline too, especially with Kate's Gubba (Grandmother) who was a wickedly wonderful character who brought a touch of humour to lighten the storyline. The storyline although set at Christmas really isn't overly festive so it can easily be read anytime of year. 

The chapters were short and sharp, switching between both Kate and Ed POV which worked really well to get both sides of the story and see first hand what their thoughts and feelings were rather than only seeing one's view on the other. The chapters also at times went back in time which took some getting used to on the kindle, I wonder if this maybe better laid out in book form.

An enjoyable light read tackling troubled stagnant relationship and showing the importance of communication.


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Saturday, 12 November 2022

The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk

 



Newly single lawyer Gwen Baker is hoping that a family Christmas – countryside, a mountain of food and festive films –
will salve the sting of her career hanging by a thread and her heart being trampled on. Because everyone else has their life sorted: even Dev, her boy-next-door crush, is now a tall, dark and handsome stranger with a fiancée. She can’t help wishing her future was clearer.

Then Gwen wakes up to discover it’s Christmas day all over again. Like Groundhog Day but with turkey. And family arguments. On repeat.

As she figures out how to escape her own particular Christmas hell, Dev is the one bright spot. He might be all grown-up but underneath he’s just as kind and funny as she remembers.

Maybe, just maybe, her heart can be mended after all.

But how do you fall in love with someone who can’t remember you from one day to the next?


The Christmas Wish is this years festive novel by Lindsey Kelk and as ever it is full of this authors lough out loud moments that I love and expect each time I pick up one of her books.

Gwen and her cousin Manny are heading back home for their family Christmas but Gwen has had a terrible couple of months since being dumped by her partner so the last thing she needs is the typical family drama. Things only get worse when she finds herself stuck in a time loop reliving Christmas day over and over again.

Gwen was a lovable main character who has had a run of bad luck and as she relieves Christmas each day trying to make changes to try and break the loop she begins to build a better understanding of her family and it just goes to show sometimes we are all to wrapped up in our own lives to see what’s really going on with those around us.

Manny was by far my favourite character, his flamboyant ways and the humour that he brought to this novel meant that I looked forward to his appearance in the book each time. Each of the family members bring something to the storyline and as each Christmas day is relived, we begin to find out more about each of them in turn.

There is a sweet romance or two blossoming which may have been a little predictable, but this didn’t dampen the enjoyment of this novel. There are some festivity sprinkled in with it being set on Christmas day but it isn’t overly festive so can easily be read any time of year.

This is another entertaining witty read by Lindsey Kelk.


Kindle             Hardback 

Thursday, 10 November 2022

The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop by Cressida McLaughlin.

 



Ollie Spencer has started a new life in the idyllic Cornish seaside town of Port Karadow. Throwing herself into her job at the town’s bookshop, A New Chapter, is one way to make friends. The shop is glitzing up for first Christmas and Ollie hopes her inspired ideas will give the shop the edge it needs to dazzle the town.

But far from being the Sugar Plum fairy the place needs, Ollie is fast becoming its Christmas pudding. With the bookshop’s success at stake, Ollie turns to twinkly-eyed café owner Max for help. Can he help Ollie to turn the page, and put the sparkle back into her Cornish dream?



Cressida McLaughlin is back again with every bookworms favourite ingredients in a festive novel, sparkling festivity, books new beginnings are a simmering romance all set in a Cornish bookshop!


We have a new character in Port Karadow ready to start a new chapter in her life and Ollie is going to fit right in because she has a strong passion for books and a bucket load of enthusiasm which she is determined to use to help Thea with the new bookshop at The Old Post House. As much as Ollie is wanting to prove herself hurdles keep appearing but can the help of the handsome Max keep her spirits up and help her to put down roots in Port Karadow.


I loved meeting Ollie especially because she was a character who I could relate to, and I could easily see as a friend. Life isn't perfect for her and she hasn't had it easy but her determination shines through, and she keeps battling on without feeling sorry for herself.


We are reunited with past characters from previous Cornish Cream Tea series with Thea who we met in the last book featuring heavy which I am thrilled about as I felt like her story still had more to give so it was exciting to see what she had already done with the renovations, and I was looking forward to Ollie being able to help Thea's dreams flourish.


There is a meaningful romance that blossoms and I was routing for Max and Ollie the whole way through as they both have pure hearts of gold and have both had a big health related knock that have changed the path of their lives. 


There is a touch of festivities and traditions as well as legends and mysteries that are sprinkled through the storyline. My favourite parts of the book though was watching Ollies mind pouring out with various ideas for book themed events that help the bookshop, authors and also the community to come together.


This was another praiseworthy novel that was the perfect winter warmer to curl up with this Christmas, Cressida McLaughlin has touched us once again with her beautiful writing and idyllic setting with characters who feel like firm friends.



Paperback                 Kindle


Sunday, 6 November 2022

Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley

 



Merry has always wanted a family to spend Christmas with, and this year her dream comes true as she says 'I do' to father-of-two Cole. But as she juggles her rapidly-growing business, wedding planning and the two new children in her life, her dream begins to unravel.

Emily is desperately waiting for the New Year to begin, so she can finally have a fresh start. She has always put her family first, leaving little time for happiness and love. When her beloved father Ray moves into a residential home, she discovers a photograph in his belongings that has the potential to change everything.

As past secrets come to light, will this be a magical Christmas for Emily and Merry to remember?


Merrily Ever After is Cathy Bramley’s 2022 Christmas release and is a follow on from last year's novel titled The Merry Christmas Project where we met Merry and Cole, they are now back, and things have developed beautifully between them and they are ready to tie the knot but Merry still feels that slice of her heart is missing where the love of her family should be.

We are also introduced to a new character Emily who is struggling to cope with helping her father who has early onset dementia, trying to juggle his care along with holding down a job and carving time out for her boyfriend everything comes crashing to a head and she finds herself having to make a tough decision of her own which is set to open up a secret her father has hidden for a lifetime.

This book although it is the second in a series please don’t be put off if you haven’t read the first book because this can very easily be read as a stand-alone with the author referencing back to Merry’s past and the relationship that began with Cole. Also, although this book is based on the lead up to Christmas again this can be read any time of year because it isn’t overly festive, the storyline focuses more on the emotional struggles both Merry and Emily face.

Cathy Bramley has such an unbelievable writing style that really captures your heart and explores touching issues that affect so many people through our lives which she weaves into her characters’ lives, and she manages to make it feel so tender and believable, surprising me how much I can care for fictional character because they feel like friends of ours in no time. Both Merry and Emily are such warm-hearted selfless souls and I loved reading their stories and wanted a happy ending for the women.

I loved that until around just under halfway through the book I was oblivious to what direction the storyline was going to take and how the two storylines were going to weave together, was Emily going to work for Merry, Merry’s step children going to have an issue at school and Emily meeting Merry that way? So many ideas rolling around in my head!

I absolutely loved Merrily Ever After it is another flawless and compelling novel by Cathy Bramley.



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