We’re leaving together, but it’s still farewell; its.. #TheChristmasCountdown! Ready Donna Ashcroft? @Donnashc @Bookouture

Delighted to be closing Donna Ashcroft’s blogtour today for ‘The Christmas Countdown’ – many thanks to Bookouture for having me on the tour and for the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s that time of year again, snowflakes are fluttering and the countdown to Christmas has begun! Holly Devine is returning to the only place that feels like home, hoping that some festive magic will help to turn her life around…

Twenty-seven-year-old Holly Devine has just had her heart well and truly broken. Hurt by the two people she loves the most, she flees to her eccentric Aunt Clara’s cosy cottage to hide away over the winter season. But kind, impulsive Aunt Clara has other ideas… She’s not about to see her favourite niece wallowing in sadness during the most wonderful time of the year. So, with the help of her close circle of friends and plenty of gin, she creates a handmade advent calendar for Holly.

Every day in December, Holly opens a new door and has a different task to complete. She soon finds herself asking out a complete stranger – gorgeous, cheeky pub landlord, Finn Jackson. But as handsome Finn gets involved in her festive challenges, Holly’s determination to avoid romance is put to the test. Still, Finn’s far too carefree and single for true love, isn’t he?

As Holly begins to embrace each day – a complete makeover, building the biggest snowman she’s ever seen, singing in a karaoke contest – Finn is there adding fun and laughter to every moment. Holly starts to realise that she can become the person she’s always wanted to be…

But a secret from Finn’s past threatens to turn Holly’s Christmas upside down and makes her question everything she has experienced in the last few weeks. Will Finn open up to Holly in time to show her how he really feels? And will she complete the advent calendar challenges and fall in love this Christmas?

What does TWG think?

Mrs Christmas has done it again!!!! Omg I LOVED it! What a festive, flirty, fun, and utterly fabulous read this is. I knew that Donna Ashcroft was talented, but honestly, she has exceeded my expectations with ‘The Christmas Countdown’.

I’m not sure if this was done on purpose or not, but the fact that the author set the book around Christmas was genius. I mean, at one point in the story I got a little bit hot under the collar and was thankful for cooler temperatures. Phwoar!

I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to Holly and her lack of self confidence, something which I am sure a lot of us have dealt with at some point. I am struggling with my own mental health at the moment, so i found myself becoming emotional at Holly’s situation. I wanted to tell her that I understood y’know?

Holly went on various journeys throughout the book, and watching her grow into her wings and flourish was definitely a highlight of mine.

I also thought Finn was one of those ‘perfectly flawed’ types, another character who had a lot to offer but was lacking in the confidence to be able to offer himself the vital gift of moving on.

You know, I try to savour every word of Donna Ashcroft’s novels and, as weird as this sounds, I sometimes dread reading them too because I know that they will come to an end – I hate it when that happens! As Jane Austen said, ‘if a book is well written, i always find it too short’. The same applies with ‘The Christmas Countdown – I really didn’t want it to end.

It may be beginning to look a lot like Christmas, however Donna Ashcroft has written the best gift of all in the shape of a book that just kept on giving. Mrs Christmas by name, Mrs Christmas by nature – a heartwarming, humourous, poignant, rromantic and beautifully written nove. Donna Ashcroft has kept her title of ‘Mrs Christmas of fiction’ for the second year running – LOVED IT!

Buy now.

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Did you get #TheChristmasInvitation? Trisha Ashley did! @trishaashley @annecater @TransworldBooks #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Anne for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Hayley for the ARC – I am excited to be reviewing Trisha Ashley’s new book today!

Meg is definitely not in the Christmas mood. She’s never gone in for tinsel, baubles and mistletoe, and right now she’s still getting over an illness. Yet when she’s invited to spend the run-up to Christmas in the snowy countryside, rather than dreary London, she can’t refuse.

Arriving at a warm and cosy family home in a small hilltop village, Meg soon begins to wonder what a proper Christmas might be like. But just as she’s beginning to settle in, she spots a familiar face. Lex.

Despite the festive cheer, Meg suddenly wants nothing more than to get as far away from him, and their past secrets, as she can. But if she stays, could this be the year she finally discovers the magic of Christmas…?

What does TWG think?

What I love most about Trisha Ashley, is the way she creates such unique characters who always seem to make their way into readers hearts. Meg was certainly one of those characters. She wasn’t perfect. She was a little rough around the edges. Some might say that Meg was ‘perfectly flawed’, and I would agree with that one hundred percent as she took those flaws and embraced them instead of trying to be something she wasn’t.

I really enjoyed the warmth of ‘The Christmas Invitation’ and the message it relayed to readers regarding the importance of community spirit, the importance of embracing situations one may find uncomfortable, as well as the importance of being true to who you are and what you believe in.

I will hold my hands up and say that i felt that the book was incredibly slow to get going, often going off on a tangent at times it didn’t feel overly necessary to the story. In all honesty, I did struggle with those parts because I just wanted to get back to the main part of the book, instead being sidelined by things that didn’t really fit in.

That said, I really warmed to Cara, and i found her hilarious personality an absolute joy to get to know. I loved how she made the story come alive with her ‘no bull’ attitude and genuine love for those she held dear.

Despite my earlier irks, I really enjoyed the festivities of the overall storyline, especially as I ended up finishing it with a massive smile on my face. Romance may be the spice of life for some, yet Trisha Ashley makes warmth, family, Christmas, and the sense of belonging, the spices of life in general and, to be perfectly honest, what more could you ask for?

A genuine, humble and heartwarming novel, ideal for those warm cosy nights of winter.

Buy now.

Grab some paper, it’s time to get #WrappedUpForChristmas! @katlyn_duncan @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources

I don’t think anyone is thinking about wrapping up their Christmas presents just yet, but if you are, what better book to get you in the mood than one titled ‘Wrapped Up For Christmas’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to HQ for the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…

Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.

Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.

But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.

What does TWG think?

Cute dog? CHECK.

Strong female lead? CHECK.

Ideal person to tickle the main characters fancy? CHECK.

Heartwarming and full of festive cheer? DOUBLE CHECK!

You know the TV channel that’s dedicated to Christmas movies? ‘Wrapped Up For Christmas’ needs to be put on there! It screamed ‘Hallmark’ movie to me after the first couple of chapters!

Angie has had to reboot her life after things went disastrously wrong. She would have preferred not to move back into her family home, but due to the lack of funds and employment, it was the only option Angie had. With her best friend, Reese, being close to popping, the thought of leaving home yet again filled Angie with dread. Could she really make a new life in the place that she was so desperate to leave?

The romantic elements to this story were absolutely spot on, if somewhat frustrating at times! I just wanted to bang the heads of Angie and her love interest! Seriously! Communication clearly wasnt their strong point at all. Despite that, I was rooting for both of their happiness and had everything crossed that they crossed find themselves on the paths that they needed to be on.

As for the festive cheer, Katlyn Duncan sprinkled it throughout the book like snowflakes. It wasn’t too much, nor was it too little, in fact it was just right.

I adored Reese’s character and ended up laughing out loud at her antics involving her stomach – oh I remember it well!

‘Wrapped Up For Christmas’ is a book version of the candy cane – significant, festive, and the ideal thing to get you feeling christmassy. I thoroughly enjoyed following Angie’s journey; it really is a cushty, snugfest of a Christmas treat.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaresources

Four Christmases and a Secret Full Tour Banner
Happy publication day to Zara Stoneley and ‘Four Christmases and a Secret’! I’m excited to be kicking off the blog tour today – thank you to Rachel for inviting me to take part, and of course to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

Four Christmases and a Secret Cover

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.

But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

What does TWG think?

If you’re not getting ready for Christmas now….I want to know why! Surely Zara Stoneley’s new book has put you in the Christmas spirit in erm….September?! By the way, this cover is SO pretty!!! Simple yet extremely effective – I love it!

Now, I am a massive fan of Zara Stoneley’s books, so it absolutely pains me to say that I really struggled with 30-40% of this book. I thought the stepping stones to the story were there from the beginning, however I felt that the connection was very thin and the storyline didn’t have the same flawless, continuous vibe like many of her other books. I am well aware that there is a lot happening in the book, and often that can make things feel a little bit up in the air at times, that wasn’t the issue at all. In fact, I loved the randomness of Daisy’s character and the fact that she just dived head first into literally everything about her life. For me, it was the fact that there were snippets of events, issues, relationship drama etc, yet they seemed to lay there dormant and unconnected to the main storyline. That’s what I struggled with…..however….

wait for it……

Once I hit like 40% of the book, everything fell into place and I ended up falling head over heels in love with the book and what Zara Stoneley was trying to achieve. At the end of the book my cheeks were aching something chronic, and it turned out I was grinning like an absolute loon. I didn’t want Daisy’s story to end! I am so pleased that the jigsaw pieces came together eventually.

Daisy is such a bonkers character and I thought she was absolutely brilliant. She gave the book the element of surprise, the element of uniqueness, and ended up becoming a character I would love to meet again in another book. Honestly, she is hysterical and made ‘Four Christmases’ what it was. Well, her and Stanley….oh, and Uncle T. Oh my heart! Uncle T, what a legend! He reminded me of my Great Uncle Ted – a gentle giant who would do anything for anyone, yet also the type of person who would stand their ground if need be. I will hold my hands up and say that my eyes did leak a bit where he was concerned…..that’s all I’m saying on that matter though!

Back to Stanley. Another legend of the four legged variety! I love how Zara Stoneley always puts a doggy character in her books, and the way that she gives them such a memorable personality instead of being just a background ornament as it were. Stanley was as much of a character in the book as Daisy and Ollie were.

Daisy’s mum was a belter too – absolutely hilarious, cringeworthy and simply perfect! Even though there is a lot of hilarity in this book, there are also several discussions of topics on a deeper scale. That said, they are also written with a hint of hilarity….just to even things up a bit.

By the time I got to the end of the book, I couldn’t believe my reaction to the first part of it, but I am so glad that I trusted my judgement and Zara Stoneley’s writing as I ended up absolutely loving this book.

Zara Stoneley creates such hilarious, heartwarming storylines which are both memorable and unique; ‘Four Christmases and a Secret’ is no different. If you’re after a book which puts a unique spin on the festive season, bereavement and relationships, I would urge you to read this in a heartbeat. Another brilliant, brilliant book by an author who certainly knows her way around a pen and paper!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

Visit Zara’s Website.

#BlogTour! #AuthorInterview with Carol Rivers, author of #ChristmasChild (@carol_rivers) @rararesources

Christmas Child Full Tour Banner
This afternoon I am delighted to be chatting to the author of ‘Christmas Child’, Carol Rivers. Before we get down to business, here is a little bit more about Carol’s book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ links:

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Christmas Day, London 1880
Snow falls … a dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie O’Reilly as their own and provide her with the love and education she might never have had. But the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by a powerful and greedy bishop.

The heart-breaking outcome separates Ettie from her friends and family, luring her into a world of male dominance and the fickle nature of intimate relationships. In her naivety, with her faith in the goodness of human nature severely tested, she doesn’t know who to trust. And when the boy who has promised his undying love and loyalty betrays her, Ettie’s world starts to crumble.

She must finally accept the hard-hitting truth – happiness comes at a cost! Does she have the courage and wisdom to face the demons she long ago learned about from the Sisters of Clemency? Will the resolution of an undiscovered and painful secret be her making – or breaking?

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

“Were there’s muck there’s money!” If my family had a royal crest I’m sure those are
the words that would have been hewn into the stone above it.
Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. They were costermongers selling fruit, veg and anything else that would stand still long enough!

Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America. As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.

I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now …UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.

Carol’s Website

TWG sits down to talk to Carol Rivers….

 Have you always been a writer?
I think it’s safe to say I’ve always been a storyteller. It’s in the
genes! A huge cockney family, a tribe of East Enders, survivors
of the Blitz, evacuees, totters, costermongers, seamstresses,
dockers, factory workers, you name it – the stories were told! I
gradually transferred the family secrets to the writing, then to
technology and then to books.

 Have you been published for long?
I’m lucky enough to have been part of the traditional publishing
industry for many years. Hales, D.C. Thompson, Mills and
Boon, the lovely Magna who publish my books in audio and
large print and my current traditional publisher Simon &
Schuster. However, I’m now known as a hybrid author,
independently publishing in a brand new world on Amazon –
and loving it!

You say “the lovely Magna” – why is this?
I’ve been with Magna for well over a decade and have never
known them to produce less than the perfect product. Their
liaison with authors is second to none, the artwork and covers
exemplary. But above all, these wonderful publishers provide
books and audios for our precious libraries, the lifeblood of our
reading communities. The ailing or blind can listen to audio, the
short-sighted like me can read large print. What a joy!

What are your most memorable books?
Without doubt, Christmas to Come, my single ebook, and Lizzie
Flowers and the Family Firm. Two (as the late great Jackie
Collins would say) feisty heroines who kick ass! Though I qualify that by saying this year’s book CHRISTMAS CHILD has
blown me away. My first Victorian novel, a coming of age saga
that I have so enjoyed writing. I plan to take the heroine, Ettie
O’Reilly, into a series.

What made you decide to write in the Victorian era?
I wanted a fresh challenge and a new kind of leading character
and when Ettie O’Reilly made her presence known in a dream –
many writers will tell you a dream spurs them on – and I saw her
little figure almost lost on the streets of the East End, calling out
for life and love, that was it. I was off!

 Do you write a certain amount of words in a day and have
you a strict regime of writing?
I’m often asked this, but all I can say is, I begin writing by
reading a fav book, just a few minutes – Edwin Drood at the
moment and I’m lost in an opium den! Inspired, refreshed and
invigorated, I’m off into my own story. I couldn’t tell you how
much or how long I write – I don’t like rules and don’t stick to
them. But I always write a book in nine months and publish one
a year. Slow in comparison to some, but I get there.

Can you give a description of CHRISTMAS CHILD?
Indeed I can.
CHRISTMAS CHILD is my 2019 Victorian romance, a perfect
Dickensian saga for Christmas.
The story begins: Christmas Day, London 1880. Snow falls … a
dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the
sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the
mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie
O’Reilly as their own, but the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by an unscrupulous bishop. The heart-breaking
outcome turns Ettie’s life upside down and Christmas will never
mean the same again.

So you’re back on the mean Streets of East London?
The story opens in Poplar, East London, but takes a turn to
Soho, another absolutely fascinating hamlet of the city in the
late 1800’s. I loved the diversion, but fate has a way of
interrupting the best laid plans and it’s no different for my lovely
leading lady, little orphan, Ettie O’Reilly, who finds herself
caught up in a desperate flight for survival.

 If you could give advice to anyone wanting to write, what
would it be?
One word – read! If your read lots you can write lots. Read every
spare moment. Get into the heads of the characters. Examine
the plots. Notice the crunchy dialogue and how the writer uses it
to convey information that doesn’t end up in long boring
paragraphs of narrative. Lean new words, punchy, fresh
adjectives, hard-hitting verbs and watch for the stomach-
blipping tension. Have hundreds of holes for your main
character to fall into, just as in the books you read that turn you
on. READ. READ MORE. READ EVERY DAY and love
reading.

And last of all, Carol, what do you do to relax?
Other than reading, it’s all about nature. Walking, watching
birds, being part of this amazing universe and breathing the
fresh air. We live by a river and walk its banks or go to the sea
and the cliffs. The water, the fields, the trees, the wild animals,
the sky and the great beyond; bring it all on I say!

Good luck with CHRISTMAS CHILD Carol.

Thank you so much TWG for this
opportunity to connect! Love Carol XX

#BlogTour! #Review – #ChristmasEveryDay by Beth Moran (@BethCMoran) @BoldwoodBooks

Christmas Every Day Blog Tour Final
Thank you so much to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for this festive delight, ‘Christmas Every Day’ by Beth Moran, and for an ARC of the book as well. Christmas seems to be getting earlier and earlier each year but if you’re anything like Beth Moran and her characters, would you wish that it could be ‘Christmas Every Day’? I hope you enjoy my review as much as I enjoyed the book:

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When Jenny inherits her estranged grandmother’s cottage in Sherwood Forest, she has nothing to lose – no money, no job, no friends, no family to speak of, and zero self-respect. Things can only get better…

Her grumpy, but decidedly handsome new neighbour, Mack, has a habit of bestowing unsolicited good deeds on her. And when Jenny is welcomed into a rather unusual book club, life seems to finally be getting more interesting.

Instead of reading, the members pledge to complete individual challenges before Christmas: from finding new love, learning to bake, to completing a daredevil bucket list. Jenny can’t resist joining in, and soon a year of friendship and laughter, tears and regrets unfolds in the most unexpected ways.

What does TWG think?

‘Oh I wish it could be Christmas, every dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.’

Do you? Do you really? I couldn’t handle the expense or the amount of food! Surely there would need to be some ground rules put in place before things got out of hand? Or am I thinking too deeply about something that actually won’t happen…..

Anyway, Jenny has to start her life again. Well, not quite. I mean, she can’t exactly go back where she came from and ask her mother to give birth to her again now can she? She does require a brand new start though after things got severely out of hand in her old job. I so wish I could divulge what happened as it is an absolute BELTER! But I can’t, because I would be in trouble. Soz……

So, in the quest to find her new start, Jenny goes to live in a cottage which hasn’t seen anyone live in it for many, many years. Seriously, you cannot count the copious amounts of rats that have taken over the house!

Jenny is STUBBORN! Not just a teensy bit stubborn so it’s slightly endearing, she’s stubborn to the point where you want to shout at her to accept help. I know that there are people who prefer to do things themselves without feeling like they owe anybody anything if they received help, I get that, I’m a stubborn ahem too. But come on, how often would you get a neighbour who seems to be a Jack of all trades, offering his services? Mind out of the gutter…

The community spirit in this book is phenomenal. I loved how everyone was there for one another, whether they had known them briefly or not, they just didn’t turn anybody away. If one person had something they no longer needed but someone so desperately needed that item, they would give it to them no questions asked. How lovely is that? I can’t even get my brother to share his cheese and onion crisps with me and I’ve known him 29 years! RUDE!

I lapped up every inch of this book, losing myself in the wonderful personalities of the characters, the emotive actions of certain characters, Jenny included, and the hilarity behind the overall storyline.

I went into ‘Christmas Every Day’ thinking that I was going to be faced with a typical romantic novel (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course), but instead I ended up reading a book which not only has romance by the bucketloads, it also has a subplot which literally moved me to tears. I wasn’t expecting to be blindsided by the details of bullying, health, regrets, secrets, and strength, however that is exactly what happened and wow, all of it completely blew me away.

I LOVED how unique the storyline was, and I adored how every little path came together to create a storyline that was full of multiple, beautiful journeys all incased under one umbrella; hope.

‘Christmas Every Day’ is as glittery as a Christmas tree after your three year old has decorated it.
As funny as your family member channelling their inner Santa Claus for the younger families (ridiculous Ho-Ho-Ho included).
As emotive as hearing yet another Cliff Richard Christmas song on the radio….
And as brilliant as watching young children get excited about their presents on Christmas morning.

Whether you’ll find yourself on the ‘Naughty’ or ‘Nice’ list this Christmas, ‘Christmas Every Day’ has found itself on my ‘top reads of 2019’ list. I absolutely adored it.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman (@lucycolemanauth) @aria_fiction #PublicationDay

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…..?

I know, some of you might not be due to Christmas still being several months away, however some of you might wish it could be Christmas every day, so this blog post might just make your silent night frosty and bright!!

Huge congratulations to Lucy Coleman on publication of her new novel, ‘Magic Under the Mistletoe’. I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour with a review today! Thanks to Aria, also, for the tour invite and ARC.

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!

What does TWG think?

It honestly feels like ages ago since I was last able to lose myself in a Lucy Coleman novel!

Leesa isn’t driving home for Christmas…literally. In fact, she’s travelling back to the UK from Australia, just days before Christmas day. Why? Let’s just say that her boss is a little bit of a task master, as well as the fact that Leesa has her own business and can’t really afford to turn down an extra profit. Her opinion of her boss/client is pretty straight to the point – he grates on her and leaves her feeling frustrated more often than none. And no, I don’t mean in a good way either!

Considering the fact that Leesa wasn’t a massive fan of Cary, their United front and plan completely blindsinded me. I know they were desperate but seriously!

It took me a while to take to the storyline as I’m so used to Lucy Coleman’s trademark story telling, and I felt like the author had stepped outside of the box. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing as it’s good to experiment, I just didn’t think that Lucy Coleman had any need to differ from what readers know and love about her books. It didn’t really work for me, I’ll admit.

However, I did end up finishing the book feeling rather festive and content, so I can’t complain! I did enjoy this little festive read, and whilst I do wish that it had more of the authors personality in the book, I thought that the uncertain family dynamics were written very graciously, and I thought that it was a poignant nod to today’s society having a female protagonist with her own company, at the heart of her book.

‘Magic Under the Mistletoe’ gave me the giggles and put me in the Christmas spirit….in September. I enjoyed the hope filled story and cosy characters, especially Cary’s grandmother – what a legend! So, whilst the overall vibe of the book was different to the authors other book, I was still spellbound by the enchanting storytelling of an author who has great talent.

Buy now.

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

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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

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!