#TheMotherofAllChristmases by @MillyJohnson #12daysofChristmas #BlogTour #Review @TeamBATC @ed_pr

On the 11th day of Christmas TWG gave to me; ‘The Mother of all Christmases’ courtesy of TeamBATC…..and EdPr. Can you tell I am excited? Today it’s my turn to host Milly Johnson as part of the blog tour! Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and review copy. Here is my review:

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them … 

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, and are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable. 

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

What does TWG think?

Milly Johnson can do no wrong – I have no idea how she manages to produce storylines that manage to melt my ice cold heart, but she does and she does it good!!

‘The Christmas Pudding Club’ was genius!! What a clever, non invasive way for Christmas mums to come together without feeling as though they’re forced….like other mother and baby groups. Eve, Palma and Annie have a busy festive season ahead of them in more ways than one. Firstly, the ladies couldn’t be more different if they tried. Secondly, their road to motherhood wasn’t exactly without roadworks, and thirdly, they all have other things going on in their lives as well as their impending new addition.

Milly Johnson has captured each character beautifully, bringing their different personalities together as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Every time I read a novel by this author, I feel as though I’m coming home to my ‘safe place’ due to the cosy feeling I get each and every time. ‘The Mother of all Christmases’ was no different and, even though the storyline consisted of many laugh out loud, sarcastic moments, the overall storyline itself wasn’t without the hurdles of thought provoking situations.

Palma’s situation got right under my skin and I couldn’t help but empathise. I think I found myself being taken under Annie’s wing more than the others, whereas Eve was a tough nut to crack.

‘The Mother of all Christmases’ is such a lovely, heart warming read which opens many doors at once, allowing readers to escape into the wonderful world of Milly Johnson and her puddings. Brilliant!

Buy now!

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#12DaysofChristmas #BlogTour! #Review – Part time Working Mummy by Rachaele Hambleton (@PTWMummy) @TrapezeBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n

On the 11th day of Christmas TWG gave to me, a review of ‘Part Time Working Mummy’! I am so pleased to be involved in the #12DaysofChristmas blog tour – many thanks to Tracy Fenton for the tour invite, and thank you to Trapeze Books for the review copy. Here is my review:

Want to know the truth about what life is like as a mum and step-mum with a chaotic patchwork family?

This book is everything I’ve been through that’s made me who I am, plus the lessons I’ve learned from many mistakes. I hope that it will make you laugh as well as give you strength to keep going when times get tough. After all, we are all in this together…
Rachaele, aka Part-Time Working Mummy

Hundreds of thousands of fans flock to the PTWM page online and now, in this book, Rachaele shares her behind-the-scenes experiences with single parenthood, unexpected pregnancy, domestic violence, relationships, bullying and much more – spreading kindness amidst the crazinessalong the way!

What does TWG think?

Some of you may have already heard of ‘Part time Working Mummy’ AKA Rachael’s Hambleton, especially if you follow her life on Facebook and other social media. For those who aren’t aware, Rachaele is an avid supporter for mental health and domestic abuse charities, as well as being an extremely popular parent blogger and mum/wife/step-mum. Her honest approach to life as a parent has given her just under 500,000 followers on Facebook. How amazing is that?

Now, I’m sure that there are people out there who are probably wondering ‘what makes her so special?’. Not a negative thing to ask after all, we are inquisitive human beings. My answer to that is this: the fact that she owns her bad choices and realises that several of her decisions in the past have been monumental eff ups, whilst also being a domestic abuse warrior, mental health advocate, massive supporter of multiple charities linked to the above, a mum to three daughters and a step-mum to two boys, makes me think ‘okay, this lady has balls of steel and a story to tell which a lot of us could learn from’.

Hence her blog and now her book. When I fell pregnant, all I saw on social media was how perfect the mum life was, as though getting covered in baby shit wasn’t the norm…when it is. PTWM (Part time Working mummy) isn’t saying that being a mum can’t be perfect because it can be your own sense of perfect. However, what she is saying is that becoming a parent is something which needs to be approached with eyes open and no rose tinted glasses. As mums (and dads), we often feel like we can conquer the world one nappy at a time whilst also balancing a cup of tea on our arses as we do the downward dog yoga pose – when in reality we can’t. After all, who wants a burnt foof?

PTWM highlights the hurdles she jumped over, face planted into, and barely made as she became a mum for the first, second and third time, whilst also dealing with horrific domestic abuse and body issues. So yes, even though I laughed my backside off reading this book, a lot of PTWM’s experiences hit home because she doesn’t mollycoddle it or pretend it never happened. Instead she says it how it happened, admits her faults and tries to put several taboo situations in the spotlight to gain the awareness and support it so desperately needs.

I’m going to talk personally a second – I was a victim of domestic abuse, and for 10 years of my early life I was the child who witnessed the devastation of domestic abuse and alcoholism first hand. It really is something you think only happens to ‘other people’ when it happens to you, and being a child and hearing your mum screaming due to the abuse, and being the one to creep downstairs to wipe the tears from your mums eyes at the age of 6 – it stays with you. Okay, like PTWM says on more than one occasion in the book, people automatically wonder why the victim doesn’t leave and, even though it is far too easy for us to sit there and judge a situation we aren’t in ourselves as every situation is different, the reality is a tough pill to swallow.

PTWM, in my eyes, is exceptionally brave to be to open and honest about her past. I’m not saying that she should be ashamed of it because she shouldn’t, but again, like she said herself in her book, putting yourself out there is daunting because there will always be people who will be nasty heffers, even towards the most broken of people.

As well as talking about her past, PTWM explores the hurdles of becoming a patchwork family and just how stressful being a ‘step’ parent can be. Social media can make things look a lot easier than they seem, and I think it’s brilliant that PTWM has decided to share the lows along with the high by being realistic and certainly relatable.

I am in awe of just how much PTWM does for other people, whether they are a parent or not. I will admit that, at times, I did wonder how her experiences made her more clued up on things than other people, and that was wrong of me to think that because she doesn’t once say that she’s perfect in this book. She says that she is human and that she makes mistakes. She says that her life has been extremely difficult and that she was at breaking point, yet she also states how being a mum is the most rewarding thing she has ever done. So it’s not the case of PTWM trying to show that she’s ‘better than everyone else’ because it’s very clear that she still suffers with effects of her past. Instead it’s a case of being open and honest about heart wrenching situations, in the hope that one person may find the strength in her words to walk through the tunnel in their own lives. Nobody can really fault the PTWM for that now, can they?

PTWM – A Patchwork life, is an inspirational, raw and extremely poignant memoir that is guaranteed to make you react in multiple ways. I am in awe at Rachaele and everything she has come through, and I think the way she has put pen to paper by putting her story on the table, was incredible and extremely brave. When I grow up I’ve decided I want to be like PTWM ;).

Buy now!

About the author.

Rachaele Hambleton, aka Part-Time Working Mummy, is one of the most popular personalities in the parenting blogosphere. She is a full time mum to three daughters, step-mum to two boys and is recently married to her ‘bird-boy’ Josh. Her successful blog documents the highs and lows of life as a family of seven… with two dogs and two guinea pigs thrown in for good measure. As well as blogging and bringing up 5 tiny humans, Rachaele fights hard for awareness and funds for domestic abuse and other charities. 

facebook/PartTimeWorkingMummy
Instagram: @PTWMUMMY
Twitter: @PTWMUMMY

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Moonlight on the Thames by Lauren Westwood (@lwestwoodwriter) @aria_fiction @rararesources

I am delighted to be taking part in the one day blog blitz for Lauren Westwood and ‘Moonlight on the Thames’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Christmas is a joyous time, but not everyone is merry and bright. 

Nicola is a rising star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has lost its allure, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is just about the last straw… 

Dmitri loves conducting his pop-up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist. 

Can their hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?

What does TWG think?

If there was such a thing as a ‘mic drop’ for books, then this would warrant it ten times over. What a powerful, powerful read this is.

If you are as career minded as Nicola, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find yourself wrapped up in clients as opposed to being wrapped up in, erm, presents. Once upon a tome, Nicola loved Christmas but then life happened and an unfortunate incident left her wishing the festive season away before it had even begun. Can you blame her? No you can’t, not once it becomes clear why she dislikes Christmas, however her outlook to begin with was incredibly narrow minded. I was going to say that her reactions were borderline offensive, but she genuinely didn’t realise that people’s lives weren’t as rosy as hers because, well, she was too involved in her own self made issues.

Dmitri is a flawed and highly complex man whose journey was a touching one to watch flourish. Just like Nicola, he has his own demons to fight and the scars to go with them and, whether it’s right or wrong, he had become bitter and uncertain.

Watching Nicola’s and Dmitri’s journeys come to life was both heartwarming and quite emotional. Lauren Westwood has created characters with such beautiful souls, I couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with their story and everything it stood for. Westwood is such a stunning and magnetic storyteller, her words do more than just jump off the page, they ensure that the reader is looking at every inch of the bigger picture to highlight the importance of thinking of others. Especially at Christmas.

Yes, this book is festive, has glistening lights and carols by the bucket load, but ‘Moonlight on the Thames’ is more than the joys of Christmas; it’s about the sadness of Christmas, the festive reflections, the ability to trust again, seeing life through somebody else’s eyes. Making the moment count. You know? It’s about the things which cannot be bought, just taught and learnt.

‘Moonlight on the Thames’ blew me away and left my soul cosy by the fire. Lauren Westwood is a phenomenal author and this book definitely showcases her beautiful way with words – I adored it.

Buy now!

About the author.

 Lauren Westwood writes romantic women’s fiction, and is also an award-winning children’s writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters. facebook: @Lwestwoodbooks; twitter: @lwestwoodwriter; web: http://www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com; instagram: @lwestwoodwriter; Goodreads: Lauren Westwood

Giveaway!

 Win 2 x Signed copies of Moonlight On The Thames (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at the Chocolate Pot Cafe by Jessica Redland (@jessicaredland) @Rararesources

Apologies for the late post, but many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in Jessica Redland’s blog tour and for the ARC. I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour with a review.

A few minutes of courage might change your life…

Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company.

Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’sthriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever.

When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that. 

Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?

What does TWG think?

Can I just start by saying how divine this cover is?! I can just see myself walking down that street, looking in all of shop windows and being lured into the Chocolate Pot Cafe. Stunning cover. Kudos to the designer!

Tara hasn’t had it easy – Jessica Redland tells her characters emotive journey in a way which hit me right in the feels. I couldn’t help but be swept up in Tara’s life and the way tried to do right by her little café, regardless of how much stress it put her under.

I would suggest not reading this book when you’re hungry, as the story is full of tantalising descriptions of such yummy-ness. I actually wish the Chocolate Pot Cafe was a real place!!

Whilst I loved Jessica Redland’s beautiful story telling and delicate way of including minor details into the little but important moments, I couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy reading the book and Hercules the rabbit was just brilliant, I just felt that the overall storyline needed a bit more bite.

If you’re after a full blown Christmas story, then this book isn’t for you as Christmas isn’t the main theme in the book. However, if you’re after a book which ignites deep emotions within, has you feeling as snug as a bug in a rug whilst also wishing you had a pet rabbit named Hercules, this book has your name all over it.

An insightful, emotive, and tender story which will sweep your off your feet faster than Cinderella losing her shoe. An absolute pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella.

She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast — the inspiration for the settings in her books — with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!

Her passion for North Yorkshire is shared by fellow-writer and great friend, Sharon Booth and, together, they are the Yorkshire Rose Writers.

Jessica tries to balance her time — often unsuccessfully — between being an HR tutor, trying to re-learn how to play the piano, studying towards a Masters in Creative Writing, and writing itself. Who needs sleep?

Social Media Links – 

Twitter:@JessicaRedland

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Website and blog:www.jessicaredland.com

#BlogTour! #Review – I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas by C.P.Ward (@imgladifoundyo1) @rararesources

Another Christmas book for you all this evening, as I kick off the blog tour for it! I am so excited to be sharing my review of C.P.Ward’s ‘I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas’. Huge thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:



Maggie Coates is frustrated. Her longterm boyfriend, Dirk, recently moved to London to take a job she fears puts him out of her league. Despite the assurances of her best friend Renee, Maggie is convinced Dirk is slowly drifting away. All Maggie wants is to get married and settle down, but maybe Dirk has other ideas.

Convinced by Renee to make one last throw of the dice, Maggie books a romantic holiday for two in the quaint Scottish village of Hollydell. But will Dirk show up?

And if he doesn’t, what if there is a perfect man waiting for her among the Christmas magic of Hollydell’s snow-laden streets? What if Henry, the humble reindeer farmer with the kind smile, turns out to be the man of Maggie’s dreams?

What does TWG think?

If this doesn’t get you singing Christmas songs at the top of your voice, then I don’t know what will!! Why oh why is this C.P.Ward’s first and only Christmas book?!?! I am literally BEGGING for another one next year. Seriously.

Maggie’s boyfriend is an absolute CACTUS! As far as she is concerned, they’re still in a relationship, even though he always seems to find an excuse to not pick up the phone or make an effort to meet her. After multiple heart to hearts with her best friend, Renee, Maggie decides to whisk Mr Cactus away to Hollydell. I say ‘whisk’…he said he would follow her up there. But the thought was there nonetheless.

I did feel for Maggie as she clearly wanted to keep her relationship going despite the bright warning signs overhead – the poor thing couldn’t help but worry as she didn’t want to be let down. Who can blame her?

Wow….Hollydell. The only way I can describe it is – you know the Christmas movies on TV? You know the ones which are shown on a dedicated Christmas channel on Sky? Well, Hollydell reminded me of one of those movies where the magic was rife, the romance was beautifully done yet addictively cheesy, and the Christmas spirit was so over the top that you would have been a fool not to join in. I’m sure you know the ones I’m on about as they’re shown every single year, and every single year we all cosy up watching them, losing ourselves in the magic that is Christmas.

I felt like a big kid reading this book. There’s reindeer, snow, Christmas songs, festive feasts, snowmen, Christmas lights. Everything! I couldn’t get over how much detail the author put into his storyline, making the characters and Hollydell come alive in the blink of an eye. I adored how everyone came together whether they knew each other or not, helping them when things were tough or they had had a few too many mulled wines. You know, usual stuff.

I lost myself in this book and I would lose myself in it again in a heartbeat. Why C.P.Ward hasn’t written a Christmas book before now, I don’t know, but I really do hope that he continues to do them for adults….and maybe even children.

Never mind ‘I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas’, I’m Glad I Found this book this christmas!!! Such a beautiful, majestic, enchanting read which made me want to Rock Around the Christmas Tree on a not so Silent Night, singing Jingle Bells at the top of my voice. Hell, if Christmas was just like it was in this book, I would even go as far to say that ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday. I adored this book!!

Purchase Links 

Buy from Amazon US

UK – Buy from Amazon UK

Author Bio

CP Ward is a writer from the UK who currently lives and works in Japan. This is his first Christmas book.

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Giveaway – Win 10 x e-copies for I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas (Open Internationally)

 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @Bookouture

Third and final day of Carol Wyer’s blog blitz is upon us, and I am delighted to be one of the three bloggers closing the blitz. Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband Adam, in their bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: The word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood. 

As Natalie begins to delve deeper into the couple’s lives, she discovers that Adam has a dark past he’s been hiding and she’s sure that the Brannon’s teenage babysitter Inge has secrets of her own.

Then another mother is murdered on her doorstep in front of her young son, the word ‘why’ scrawled on the wall next to her. 

All the key suspects have alibis and with her own marriage hanging by a thread, Natalie is struggling to stay focused on cracking her toughest case yet.

When a young woman and her baby disappear, a member of Natalie’s own team is put in terrible danger. Can Natalie stop this twisted serial killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?

What does TWG think?

Oh my -insert expletive beginning with F here- goodness!!!!!! What a book! OMG! I finished reading Carol Wyer’s latest literary brilliance in the early hours of the morning, and can I just say that I am extremely glad that I do not read blurbs! I only read the blurb after I had read the book and the things which had my jaw dropping, were written in it. Not all of them mind. So, if you trust my judgement on books, read this novel without reading the blurb.

Anyway, that’s my insight on that and is in no way a reflection of my opinion on the book at all.

I do say this a lot where Wyer’s books are concerned, but ‘The Last Lullaby’ is by far her best book yet. The intensity of the storyline was impeccable, along with the calculated brilliance of each individual character. If I know that there is a possibility of children being part of a thriller storyline, I am always filled with dread until I know that they’re not in the firing line so to speak – ‘The Last Lullaby’ was no different. My heart was in mouth from the onset. That sounds like I didn’t care about the victims in the book even though I did, but it’s children….you know?

I couldn’t get over how cleverly written the storyline was from start to finish – it was as though the book kept on giving shocking moments with every new chapter. Just like most police procedurals/thrillers, there is usually a few characters with fingers being pointed at them from the start, and the same happened here. I tried to look at the bigger picture but I couldn’t help but lean towards one character already in the firing line. Everything just seemed….convincing, if you catch my drift. They certainly didn’t help themselves against Natalie award though, that’s for sure!

I won’t say who I thought was ‘the one’ due to spoilers, but let’s just say that Wyer had me utterly convinced I was bang on the money…..until the moment I wasn’t. Geeeeez – did I see that coming? Did I fudge!!!! There was a point in the book where my heart rate quickened and my mouth became dry. Would they reach the bastard in time? Time wasn’t on Natalie Ward and her teams side and my legs were wiggling, urging them to move their backsides! It’s easy for me to say that, obviously, I’m not a police officer who has to follow procedure!

‘The Last Lullaby’ was absolutely brilliant – an ice cold, cut throat, highly intense read which made me lose my own capability of thinking clearly. The characters were chilling yet perfectly crafted and, whilst it feels weird to say this, even the ‘whodunnit dude’ was outstanding! Their actions weren’t, obviously, but the way Wyer created their mindset and thought process was incredible. I can’t even begin to imagine the extent of the research that went into creating that character and the situation they found themselves in.

What an absolute belter of a read this is – could someone point me in the direction of Carol Wyer Anonymous please as I’m addicted!!

Buy now!

About the author.

Carol E. Wyer, who also writes as Carol Wyer, is an award-winning author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping thrillers.
Her book, Grumpy Old Menopause won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

The DI Robyn Carter series has earned her acclaim as a crime writer and the first book in the series, Little Girl Lost, shot to the #2 best-selling spot on Kindle #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible, and was also a USA Today top 150 best-seller.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin by Helen Rolfe (@helenjrolfe) @rararesources

Apologies for how late in the day this is, because of internet issues the most of November, I’ve only just been able to read this book and have literally just finished it. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Do you believe in Christmas Miracles?

Holly is looking for a change and even though not everyone agrees with her career choices, she’s determined there’s more to this life than the long hours she works as an editor in New York City. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Mitch, a recluse who’s hiding more than she realises. 

Mitch does all he can to avoid human contact, spending his days in the little log cabin out in the woods behind Inglenook Falls where he owns a Christmas tree farm, so when Holly falls into his life, he’s not sure how to react. All he knows is that something needs to change if he ever wants to get his life back on track. 

Along with friends Cleo and Darcy, Holly is determined to bring joy back to Mitch’s life, but will he appreciate their interference? And when a business proposition throws everything up in the air, will it do more harm than good and ruin lives forever? 

Both Holly and Mitch must learn that on the surface people aren’t always what they seem…but if you dig a little deeper, they can take you by surprise.

What does TWG think?

My namesake is baaacckkk!! Not even joking – there’s a character called ‘Kaisha’ in this book and I LOVE it! This character appeared for the first time in a previous book in the series, so my excitement certainly piqued when I saw her make a comeback in this one.

I adore Helen Rolfe’s novels as they’re always so tenderly written and full of such warmth; ‘Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin’ was no different, although I will have to admit that I did struggle with elements of the book.

Whilst the storyline was very poignant regarding first impressions, assumptions, and looking further than a persons exterior, for me there was a lot of information given without many decisions of where it should go. I enjoyed reading about Holly’s journey, especially where Mitch was concerned, but I did feel as though it was missing a bit of magic that usually comes along with this author’s style.

Don’t get me wrong at all, I thought that the message within the storyline itself, is one that a lot of people should take heed of sooner rather than later, and I loved seeing different characters popping up from previous books in the series. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the book because I did – I cannot fault Helen Rolfe on her huggable writing style and the way she brings communities together with minimal effort.

For me personally, I needed that extra spark that was all. However, ‘Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin’ still is such a powerful and tender novel which highlights the true meaning of Christmas absolutely beautifully. It was such a joy to be wrapped up in Helen Rolfe’s magnetic words once again.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

 Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending. 

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/helenjrolfewriter

https://twitter.com/HJRolfe

www.helenjrolfe.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/helen-j-rolfe

#BlogTour! #Review – #NicisChristmasTale by Jean Gill (@writerjeangill) @AnneCater

Third and final post for the day is my review of ‘Nici’s Christmas Tale’ by Jean Gill. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and review copy.

A stand-alone short story in the multi-award-winning Troubadours Quartet series


1157: Aquitaine. The wolves are coming! At midnight on Christmas Eve, while the blizzard blasts snow through every crack in the castle walls, Nici the Shepherd’s Dog stands guard in the sheepfold.


   Beside him as usual are his pack and the flock they protect but this night is not usual at all. A small boy braves the snowy night, seeking the protection of his great friend while he is banned from his parents’ quarters in the castle.


   Nici recalls other times and other dangers, his trials and failures, the reasons why he ran away with a young girl, now the little boy’s mother. He would still give his life in a heartbeat for Lady Estela. And yet, on this snowy night, he cannot help her. So, while he waits and comforts Estela’s son, he tells his own puppies the story of a dog’s life.

What does TWG think?

I am rather ashamed to say that, until now, I had never picked up a Jean Gill book. How have I only managed to hear about the ‘Troubadours series’ at book number 5?! Don’t panic though, this story can be read as a stand-alone so you don’t need to have read the previous books first.

‘Nici’s Christmas Tale’ is only the second book I have read where the main character was an animal. Having read a lot more books with humans as the main character, trying to change my mindset and remember that if the storyline speaks about urination, it’s the norm for it to be outside!

Nici is such a strong and powerful character, his story telling swept me up in an instance. I was captivated by the way he described his life before the puppies, yet my heart went out to him due to the way he was treated, or should I say ‘mistreated’. No-one should ever be treated like that, especially an animal who wouldn’t be able to defend themself against a human.

Bear in mind that this is a short story with an estimated 58 pages, yet it certainly packed a punch in its own special way.

Jean Gill writes with such authority and poise, I must start this series from the beginning! A unique and captivating story – I really enjoyed it.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour’, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.
Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.
Sign up to Jean special readers’ group at http://www.jeangill.com/for exclusive news, offers and a free book. 

Twitter @writerjeangill

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell (@angelabritnell) @choclituk @rararesources

First up on the blog this evening is my review for Angela Britnell’s ‘Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat’. Huge thanks, as always, to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas? 
When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

What does TWG think?

What a lovely little book this is! I actually found it quite comforting which, even after reading parts of the storyline that were highly emotive, I felt quite comforted by the characters and their lives.

Fee Winter is needing a bit of respite. Her life has been travelling down the fast lane for goodness knows how long, and her health is suffering as a result of that. One thing I loved most about Fee was her feisty naivety. She wasn’t a person who had spent a lot of time taking part in family traditions or being looked after daily by loved ones, so watching her in that situation showed how inexperienced she was which was a shame, yet also endearing.

I could tell a mile off what was going to pan out for Fee in the romantic sense, but watching it unfold was something different altogether. Some might say that it was a perfect match!

I will admit that Tom Chambers charm worked wonders from a reader point of view, even though there were times when I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him to stop being such an arrogant doofus. That said, Tom didn’t exactly have a plain sailing past behind him and it was very powerful to watch his heart flourish.

Can I just say….oh Mee Maw – what a woman!!! My family had our own version of her! Heck, don’t most families? She had to be my most favourite character alongside little LuLu – Angela Britnell certainly puts her heart and soul into her characters, that’s for sure!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat’ and, even though the title shows hints of festivities, the storyline isn’t a glitter dump of baubles and everything else. It’s subtly done which is ideal as that means this book can be read all throughout the year.

A lovely, comforting, uplifting novel – an absolute pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

 

Social Media Links – 

www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

www.angelabritnellromance.com

https://www.instagram.com/angelagolleybritnell/

#BlogTour! #Review – #25DaysTilChristmas by Poppy Alexander (@SarahWaights) @OrionBooks

Usually I am not a fan of odd numbers, however for one day only I am getting all excited! Huge, huge thank you to Orion for asking me to take part in this fabulous blog tour, and of course for the ARC. Here is my review of ’25 Days til Christmas’ by Poppy Alexander:

Christmas is a time to get together… 

Kate Thompson used to love Christmas. But that was before her husband went away with the army and didn’t come home. Now she can hardly stand the festive season.

But Kate knows there is more to life than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What she needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn’t one on its way, she’ll just have to make her own.

So begins Kate’s advent countdown to the best Christmas ever. She has it all planned out, but you can’t plan for the unexpected, and when her life starts to unravel can her friends and the community around her help her save Christmas for all of them…?

What does TWG think?

‘What is your Christmas wish this year?’ – when I saw that question on the back of a postcard, I racked my brain trying to think of something dazzling, when in fact my ACTUAL Christmas wish seemed a bit selfish as I would love my body to be pain free on Christmas Day. If only. I asked my 5 year old the same question and her answer was ‘to actually meet Father Christmas’. I know – why do kids have the best answers to everything? So, with Christmas on my mind, meeting a main character who would like nothing more than to go to sleep on Christmas Eve and wake up on the 26th, was definitely a wake up call.

Why did Kate dislike Christmas? She sold Christmas trees for a living (well, kinda). In hindsight, maybe that’s why she wasn’t exactly feeling jovial. Of course the real reason comes out eventually and my goodness I felt like I was winded. How on earth must Kate and her little boy, Jack, feel? Not only that, the other main character in the book, Daniel, was trying to keep is head above water on an emotional level, as he tried to find his new purpose in life after losing his reason to live so to speak.

With my heartstrings being tugged on with some great force from the get go, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to get through the rest of the book. I’m not complaining at all, don’t get me wrong! The author was very generous with her writing as this storyline was certainly one that just kept on giving! It was as though I was opening my own little advent calendar every time I turned the page!!

I’m trying very hard not to spill any spoilers in my review, and yes it’s bloody difficult as all I want to do is shout about the storyline. Especially little Jacks situation. All I will say on that front is that I am sure a lot of readers will be able to relate to the unfortunate situation the poor boy and Kate got put in. It was tough to read and just like Kate, my ‘mama bear’ instinct came out, even though he wasn’t my child nor real. I thought that Poppy Alexander was brilliant in writing that particular theme into her storyline in a way that is going to shock people.

I did feel for Kate big time – would that woman ever catch a break? I wanted to give her a big cuddle and help her, but alas I couldn’t.

I adored the festivities throughout the story as they helped to highlight the fact that everyone celebrates Christmas in their own ways, and that the meaning of Christmas is different with every person you ask. Not everyone has money to spend on gifts at Christmas, yet they create memories in other ways and, on the other hand, some people can afford to splash out at Christmas – either way, as long as the important people in your life are happy, why should anyone judge someone else on how much or how little they spend, who they spend it with, or whether they actually celebrate the day or not?

As the book neared the end, a massive lump formed in my throat because it really was magical book to read. I tried my best not to cry but I was so overcome with emotion for Daniel, Kate, Jack, and Noel, the tears just kept on falling.

’25 Days til Christmas’ is a beautiful, beautiful story which had my heart under its Christmas tree from the very beginning. I loved how every little detail in the book was an important part of the storyline. I loved being a part of the magic and the incredible hidden messages throughout. I loved being able to laugh one minute, turn into a lion the next minute, and then bawl like a baby the next. I have been on a journey with ’25 Days til Christmas’ and I absolutely LOVED every single moment of it.

Honestly, wow – this is the creme de la creme of Christmas books and definitely one of my top books of the year. I don’t think I can find enough adjectives to describe how much I adored this book, so I urge you all to grab yourself a copy now and just trust me when I say that this is a definite must read.

Wholeheartedly one of the best books I think I have ever read, ’25 Days til Christmas’ puts the jingle back in ‘Jingle Bells’ and will light up more hearts than the lights on the Christmas tree in NYC. Stunning!!!!

Buy now!