#Review – The Quality Street Girls by Penny Thorpe (@PenThorpeBooks) @HarperCollinsUK

518j0hcptol

A seasonal delight, inspired by the true story of the Quality Street factory.

At sixteen years old, Irene ‘Reenie’ Calder is leaving school with little in the way of qualifications. She is delighted to land a seasonal job at Mackintosh’s Quality Street factory. Reenie feels like a kid let loose in a sweet shop, but trouble seems to follow her around and it isn’t long before she falls foul of the strict rules.

Diana Moore runs the Toffee Penny line and has worked hard to secure her position. Beautiful and smart, the other girls in the factory are in awe of her, but Diana has a dark secret which if exposed, could cost her not only her job at the factory but her reputation as well.

When a terrible accident puts supply of Quality Street at risk, Reenie has a chance to prove herself. The shops are full of Quality Street lovers who have saved up all year for their must-have Christmas treat. Reenie and Diana know that everything rests on them, if they are to give everyone a Christmas to remember…

What does TWG think?

We have all heard of and no doubt eaten, the iconic brand of ‘Quality Street’, right? I don’t know about you but whenever I hear those two words, I instantly think of Christmas and being able to delve into the purple tin of goodness, trying to find the green triangles and orange crunches before someone else fills the tin up with wrappers. We have all been there I’m sure! Although saying that, I remember the Quality Street tins to be much bigger than what they are now! Well, either that or I was a very, very small young person at the time of my memory….

Reenie Calder has, in her eyes, been given the gift of a lifetime when she’s told that she will be starting work in the factory which makes the Quality Street sweets, Mackintosh’s. With so many ideas filling her head before her feet even cross the threshold, Reenie’s mum has to reign her in very quickly before she finds herself getting too big for her boots and without a job. To be Frank, I could see why Reenie was getting agitated though – why should she be punished for bringing ideas to the table?

‘The Quality Street Girls’ doesn’t just follow the life of Reenie Calder, it also follows the life of another Quality Street girl, Diana Moore. A young lady whose face could turn milk sour if she stared at it too long. Before you start shaking your head at my analogy, there is a reason for it and it all becomes clear further on in the book. Poor Diana has multiple reasons as to why her face could make anyone run a mile. But, just like Reenie, why should Diana be punished for trying to protect her family?

Oh my heart did go out to those two young girls! Two very different, impressionable personalities who led two, very different lifestyles with two rather questionable outlooks on life. I don’t mean that rudely, but that’s how it was. I loved Reenie’s enthusiasm when it came to work. Heck, the job centres could use someone like her in this day and age, that’s for sure! I thought that Diana’s strength was incredible, but for someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when things are wrong, she sure seemed to keep her mouth shut at a time she, in my opinion, needed to open it the most. Obviously I won’t delve into the details of that reason as I don’t wish to give away spoilers.

I loved finding out how the iconic brand of Quality Street started, especially with the fact of ‘The Purple One’. I had absolutely no idea that that was the case, and I loved being able to tell my family that on Christmas Day….knowing full well I hadn’t just Googled it! Thanks Penny Thorpe!!

Historical fiction novels are one of my favourite type of genres to read, yet after reading Penny Thorpe’s ‘The Quality Street Girls’, I think I have now found myself a brand new, go to, historical fiction author!

I absolutely adored the energy that the entire storyline was laced with! It kept me on my toes and allowed me to speed read the book as though someone was dangling multiple orange crunches in front of my face. The history element was absolutely brilliant and kept my brain fed with knowledge from start to finish (even though, just like the author admits, some parts were stretched to fit in with the overall storyline). That didn’t even bother me, instead it just added a lot more character to the overall vibe of the story.

‘The Quality Street Girls’ tickled my taste buds, made me giggle, and allowed me to lose myself in Penny Thorpe’s chocolatey goodness (no, that isn’t a euphemism!). My only regret where this book is concerned, is that I wish I had started it sooner! I cannot wait to see what’s next for the girls at Mackintosh’s, and I hope that Reenie and Diana fill another story with their emotional and highly addictive drama.

Such a classic, cosy, and wonderfully written book which puts the nations favourite chocolates in everyone’s hearts once again.

If ‘The Purple One’ told me before I read the book, that I would need to point my ‘chocolate toffee finger’ at this ‘strawberry delight’, I would have told them ‘fudge’, and to jog around the ‘milk choc block’ because I, hand on ‘orange crunch’, think that ‘The Quality Street Girls’ is an absolute ‘toffee deluxe’.

Buy now from Amazon

Advertisements

TWG’s Top SIX #ChristmasReads of 2018! (@SarahWaights @Donnashc @Karen_King @SarahMorgan_ @RebeccaMascull) @Bookouture @OrionBooks @HQStories

Wow! How on Earth are we at the end of 2018 already? This has been an exceptional year for books and, although that is obviously excellent to hear, it has made my job of narrowing my favourite reads down, MUCH harder! Usually I would bung it all in one post, however, I felt that this year I would do something different and put my favourite festive reads in one post.

So, are you ready?

In no particular order, three of my top festive reads of 2018 are:

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King (@karen_king) @Bookouture

https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/blogtour-review-missmarley-by-the-late-vanessa-lafaye-and-rebecca-mascull-rebeccamascull-hqstories/#respond

#Review – The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

I adored all three of the above books, each ticking off various different boxes in their own right. Now, there were three other festive reads which blew me away as well, and seeing as I cannot choose just ONE as my absolute favourite Christmas book of 2018, I’m being greedy and choosing all three.

Here are my most favourite Christmas books of 2018:

Just like the previous three, you can read my thoughts of my top three here:

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

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

https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/blogtour-review-the-little-christmas-teashop-of-second-chances-by-donna-ashcroft-donnashc-bookouture/

Have you read any of the Christmas books mentioned? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t, these books can be read any time of the year, they are just brilliant!

Thank you to the authors for writing such fabulous reads, and thank you to the publishers/publicists and blog tour organisers for allowing me to read them!

#Review – The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree, but who’s around it that matters most.

All Suzanne McBride wants for Christmas is her three daughters happy and at home. But when sisters Posy, Hannah and Beth return to their family home in the Scottish Highlands, old tensions and buried secrets start bubbling to the surface.

Suzanne is determined to create the perfect family Christmas, but the McBrides must all face the past and address some home truths before they can celebrate together . . .

What does TWG think?

*Thank you to HQStories for the ARC*

Who would have thought that a lost toy would make my eyes spring a leak? I know – I wasn’t expecting it either yet there was just something so magical about the storyline of ‘The Christmas Sisters’ which made me realise that anything was possible.

Three sisters are coming together to celebrate Christmas at home but, due to their very varied personalities, their reasons for spending Christmas together couldn’t differ more if it tried. Whilst their parents are aware of their differences, it takes the season of ‘goodwill’ for emotions to be frayed and their lives to be put under the microscope. Although as an outsider looking in, I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was their sisterly competing which was putting a spanner in the works for the entire family.

Of course – my outsider opinion was thought waaaayyyy before the ‘truth’ came out and I will admit that I was not expecting it at all. The storyline really tugged at my heartstrings in various ways – how could a family come back from such devastation?

Sarah Morgan has gone above and beyond in this book, creating characters which add such emotion and depth to every nook and cranny in the story. I loved how poignant the overall vibe of the book was – it certainly brought out emotion in me which had been buried away for a long time.

I genuinely cannot recommend this book enough, as I truly believe that it will open the eyes and hearts of readers everywhere. As I said at the beginning, I have no idea how a lost toy managed to make me cry, but it did and it ended up being my all time favourite part of the book. Why? Because it spoke volumes about the characters and the author, showcasing just how far the storyline had grown in such a short space of time. I absolutely adored this delightfully emotional treat

Buy now!

#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!

#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.

Enter the giveaway now!

#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.

Facebook group

Mailing list

Blog

Twitter

Website

 

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.

Enter the giveaway!

#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 – 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!

#BlogTour! #Review – Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale (@emilyharvale) @rararesources

Apologies for the slight delay in this blog post, internet issues have caused me no end of problems! Huge thanks to Rachel for her patience and for inviting me to take part in Emily Harvale’s latest blog tour! Here is my review:

It’ll take a miracle to make Juliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you need some Christmas magic. 

The last person Juliet Bell expects to see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow.Especially with the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twenty years ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consisting of one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’s wrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken to one another since.

Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit his grandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene of one of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty years and he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At least with his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work. 

But Juliet’s sister, Zoe and Harrison’s brother, Luke have some surprises in store for their elder siblings, and so it seems does Fate. After Harrison risks his life to save Juliet, the least she can do is be nice. The problem is, Harrison is hotter than the log fire in The Mistletoe pub, and when she’s surrounded by twinkling lights and softly falling snow, it doesn’t take long for her to realise she’s in love with the man she thought she hated. Even if he doesn’t appear to be in love with her. 

What does TWG think?

Ohhhhhhhhh ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….’. Wow, what a fabulous little read!

‘Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row’ is full of festive goodness, guaranteed to get even the Scroogiest of Grinch’s in the Christmas spirit. If you aren’t aware already, I adore this author’s novels as she always captures the hearts of her characters lives, and her latest book is no different.

There is a lot of history between characters on Mistletoe Row, but is everything as it seems? With so much bad blood between ancestors and new neighbours alike, the Bow and Bell family have a task ahead of them if they wish to end their feud once and for all. I mean, it’s not as though they have a very special reason to do that….is there?

Juliet and Harrison are chalk and cheese, yet I couldn’t help wish for the pair of them to find their own individual ‘happily ever after’. I wish I could pinpoint why! There was just something about both characters which made me see the bigger picture and realise that when folk get things wrong, it doesn’t mean that they are unworthy of positive things in life.

From start to finish, Emily Harvale had my attention as I followed the journeys of a highly unique bunch of characters during the festive season. I won’t lie, I had a first impression of a couple of them, but I can safely say that by the end of the book, my original opinion was nowhere to be seen.

I loved the fun and humorous edge to the book, as well as the in-depth romantic edge – everything was very well balanced and such a joy to read, I really didn’t want it to end!

Emily Harvale has written yet another cracker of a read without a doubt. A relatable, romantic, festive and touching novel, ideal for warming hearts everywhere this Christmas.

Buy now!

About the author.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. 


Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Social Media Links –  

Find Emily Harvale on Facebook

Follow Emily Harvale on Twitter

Follow Emily Harvale on Instagram