#BlogTour! #Review – The Mercury Travel Club by @Helen_Bridgett @RedDoorBooks @Rararesources

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He took her to dinner: that was annoying
He slept with her: that was hurtful

He bought new underwear to impress her: quite frankly astounding
He left me to bloody wash his FILTHY WHORING PANTS: INFURIATING!
After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and launches Angie into a variety of crazy schemes in search of her lost mojo.

But it s just not enough; what she really dreams of is beating her ex and becoming
Entrepreneur of the Year. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don’t go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie’s been looking for.

Witty, entertaining and laugh-out- loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it’s never too late for a second chance.

What does TWG think?

I had a weird sense of deja vu when I started reading ‘The Mercury Travel Club’. I knew I had never read this book before, yet the storyline seemed awfully familiar and I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. It wasn’t just the storyline which felt similar though, it was also the characters. So much so I had to double and triple check that I had read the book before and forgotten about it. But I hadn’t,  yet I have read a couple of other storylines with travel agents in them. Maybe that’s what it was, I don’t know. It really bugged me though I must admit ahah.

Angie’s best friend, Patty, had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion although her pushy nature started to grate on me a little bit. I can fully appreciate that Patty had her best friends interests at heart, but the way she portrayed that made her come across a little bit obnoxious.

Even though I wasn’t sure of the book to begin with, I did find myself getting into the swing of the storyline, whilst giggling as I read about several of the characters antics. Seriously, the humour in this book is one of a kind and certainly kept a smile on my face once finished. The whole vibe of the book screamed fun and fabulous with more than one character attempting to win the crown for most fabulous (not really, but once you read the book you’ll see why I thought that!).

Helen Bridgett has written a truly enjoyable read – even if I did struggle with deja vu and more than one character! I know I probably sound mean when I say this but several characters in the storyline really did rub me up the wrong way due to the way they were portrayed in the book. Personally, it dampened my spirits a little which meant that I couldn’t appreciate every part of ‘The Mercury Travel Club’ like I wanted to.

Basing my opinion on the overall shell of the book, I laughed out loud, was entertained, the storyline was a lovely, easy read and didn’t make my brain hurt. All in all it was rather enjoyable so in all honesty, I really can’t complain. Helen Bridgett has made one reader rather happy.

Fun, flirty and fabulous. If you fancy taking a journey to the Isle of giggles, I fully suggest popping into ‘The Mercury Travel Club’ where you will be fully looked after.

Thanks RedDoor Publishing.

Buy now from Amazon UK

About Helen Bridgett

Helen Bridgett was born in North-East England and now lives in Manchester having stopped off at a few places in between. Having failed miserably with every New Year’s resolution that involved giving up food or drink, one year, she set herself a completely different goal – to write a novel and give it as a Christmas present. The Mercury Travel Club was born and the characters took on a life of their own. Outside of writing, Helen loves hiking and wine – not usually at the same time.

Helen is currently developing the next novels in The Mercury Travel Club series

Website // Facebook // Twitter

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#Review – Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage – Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @HarperImpulse

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Return to the charming little village of Langtry Meadows and cosy up by the fire with this gorgeous romance that will warm your heart…

As the lazy days of summer ebb away and the hedgerows fill with rich, plump blackberries, Lucy Jacobs couldn’t be happier. She’s feeling more and more at home in the small village of Langtry Meadows and has fallen in love with idyllic Jasmine cottage – not to mention gorgeous vet Charlie.

But just as Lucy is thinking about putting down roots like the blackberries that grow in her garden, Charlie’s ex returns and threatens to put a thorn in their perfect life…

What does TWG think?

So excited to be back in Langtry Meadows courtesy of Zara Stoneley! ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ is the second book in ‘The Little Village on the Green’ series and, despite having read the first book back in May, I was able to slot back into the storyline with no issues what so ever. This book can be read as a standalone to a point, however I would recommend that you read the first book in the series, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, so that you can fully appreciate the storyline and the characters of the second book. Plus, the first book is, in my opinion, Zara Stoneley’s best book yet. Win win don’t you think?

In the last book we left Lucy and Charlie with a huge question mark over their heads – would the authors newest book see the pair get a happy ending? Or will they have to endure yet another rocky road?

Above I said that the first book in the series was Zara Stoneley’s best book yet. I’m afraid I have to take that back. Why? Because folks, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ has now taken that accolade! I, hand on heart, cannot fault this book at all. My heart went out to little Maisie on multiple occasions! What a difficult situation for such a little person to be in! I really do think that Charlie handled the situation with such grace and dignity, despite the threats which followed from Maisie’s mother (not that she can really say a lot given what she went and done!). Whilst Charlie and Maisie’s situation made itself known within the storyline, it didn’t overpower the other characters in the book at all. In actual fact, it helped the other situations stand out.

I absolutely loved reading this book to find out what path Lucy’s life took, especially as she started her new job and we got to follow her daily life in the local school. Yes, I laughed out loud at several of the children’s one liners. Out the mouths of babes springs to mind!

The entire vibe of ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ felt relaxing, calming and extremely cosy. Most of the time I didn’t feel as though I was reading a fictional novel, instead I felt like I was merely catching up with a bunch of good friends after a while of no contact. Honestly, how can anyone complain at that?

Despite laughing and having aching cheeks from smiling so much, there was a part of the book which made a lump form in my throat. I had a word with myself about not crying, but seconds later it all became clear that I didn’t even listen to myself as the tears started to flow. I wasn’t emotional because of sadness – I was emotional because my heart felt so much love towards certain characters and the situation that they had to face, and were facing after so many years. You really have got to be made of stone to not find that emotional. Trust me on that!

I say this every single time, but Zara Stoneley really does write magic with her fingertips. I have never read books from the same author which make me feel as though I’m getting a hug every single time. I have never read a book which makes me feel multiple emotions all at once, whilst still feeling hugged.

Full of laughter, drama and heart-warming moments you’ll never tire of, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ is one of the most huggable, loveable, and enchanting book I have read this year. If I could bottle up the feelings I get whilst reading a Zara Stoneley novel, purely to save for later when I’m needing a pick me up, I would.

Zara Stoneley, once again, has written a book from her very own heart, straight to ours. Such a beautifully written, powerful and majestic read – perfect to read over, and over, and over again.

Thanks Harper Impulse.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – Christmas at the Little Clock House on the Green by @EveDevon @HarperImpulse

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Welcome back to the village of Whispers Wood where Christmas magic is in the air…

After giving his heart last year only to have it given away the very next day, Jake Knightley is opting out of Christmas—permanently! But then a beautiful new village arrival sets mayhem in motion, upsetting all his carefully laid plans.

Emma Danes has said goodbye to Hollywood and will do anything to help make the clock house a success, even working closely with the tempting Mr Knightley.

Now, as snow starts to fall and romance starts to bloom, Emma and Jake may just find themselves repeating Whispers Wood history beneath the mistletoe…

What does TWG think?

Having absolutely adored the first book in this series, ‘The Little Clock House on the Green’, it felt like all my Christmases had come at once when I was asked to review Eve Devon’s latest treat. ‘Christmas at the Little Clock House on the Green’ picks up where we left off in the first book, however the focus isn’t solely on Kate and Daniel this time round. Don’t fret though, Kate and Daniel do appear quite a lot in this second book but they have agreed to take a backseat for two new main characters to find their feet.

Emma is an actress. Surrounding herself with the limelight of Hollywood is all she’s ever known (well, aside from working in a bar of course). Kate, her friend back in Whispers Wood, has offered her a once in a lifetime opportunity. Should Emma continue to battle it out in Hollywood for starring roles, or should she take life by the baubles and say yes to Kate?

The other main character is a rather complicated man who goes by the name of Jake. A man who has, unfortunately, lived out an exceptionally popular Christmas song. One day out of the blue, Jake’s personal life went ‘WHAM!’ in his face as his girlfriend at the time decided to have a change of heart. A year later and Jake is only beginning to find his feet as a singleton. Well, until the Hollywood actress appears and he’s left wondering whether this Christmas would be anything like ‘Last Christmas’ when he gave someone his heart, only to have it taken away again..

Eve Devon’s ‘Clock House’ series has got to be one of my all time favourite book serials I have ever read. There is just something so magical about being in Whispers Wood – I would be here all day if I even began to explain exactly what makes it magical, so please trust me on this fact!

Even though ‘Christmas at the Little Clock House on the Green’ manages to give enough background information for those who are beginning the series from book, I would still recommend reading these books in order so that you can appreciate the series one hundred percent.

I have to be honest, I was a little bit apprehensive starting this book as I loved the first book so much and I really wanted the second book to follow suit. I needn’t have worried though, from the very first chapter I was swept away by the magical Whispers Wood and everything it stood for. It was as though I had never been away! As well as the romantic elements to the storyline, this book also continued some truly laugh out loud moments – at one point I even had tears rolling down my cheeks I was laughing that much! The entire storyline was extremely well thought out, making every eventuality appear flawless.

I loved how we were able to see a different side to both Kate, and Daniel now that they had taken a step back. It was as though Kate had found herself and, after the previous book, it was so lovely to see things working out for her. Of course, Bea’s memory lived on in book two and it was still as emotional as the first book, I had tears in my eyes once again for a completely different reason.

‘Christmas at the Little Clock House on the Green’ took my breath away and left me wanting even more. Closing the book after yet another visit to Whispers Wood left me feeling incredibly deflated as I just didn’t want to say goodbye. All of the characters in this book got under my skin one way or another (in a good way) and, as daft as this sounds, I feel as though they have become great friends (albeit fictional) as I have gotten to know them through their worst moments, and their best moments.

Eve Devon truly has captured the true essence of Whispers Wood in such a beautiful and seamless manner, warming my heart from the very first page until the very last. I laughed, I cried, but despite that, my heart was filled with so much joy thanks to this outstanding novel from the extremely talented, Eve Devon.

It’s pretty clear that the author has written this book from the heart and to be honest, I wouldn’t expect anything less from this author. I cannot wait to read Eve Devon’s next book as if it’s anything like the previous two, we will all be in for an absolute treat.

Heart-warming, joyous, magical and sheer perfection, ‘Christmas at the Little Clock House on the Green’ is THE book to read these Christmas without a doubt.
Absolutely outstanding!

P.S. Gertrude needs a story of her own…SHE is a belter of a character!!!!

Thanks HarperImpulse.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Carla Burgess (@MsBear123) @HQDigitalUK

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A fabulously festive romantic read, perfect to curl up with by the fire this Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the little flower shop…

Florist Rachel Jones might spend every day making beautiful bridal bouquets at her little flower shop, but her own love life is wilting as quickly as a bunch of dead roses.

Luckily, the arrival of handsome detective Anthony Bascombe, the new tenant upstairs is the perfect distraction! Although there’s a catch, Anthony isn’t looking for love – he’s looking for her ex-fiancé, Patrick…

But as the snow begins to fall and her little shop fills with mistletoe ready for Christmas, will Rachel manage to melt Anthony’s heart?

What does TWG think?

After falling in love with Carla Burgess’ debut novel, ‘Marry Me Tomorrow’, and quite ironically at that, I couldn’t help but be super excited to dive into her latest novel. So, after boiling the kettle for my nightly cup of tea, grabbing my Mickey Mouse blanket and curling up on the sofa, I ignored everyone by letting ‘Meet Me Under the Mistletoe’ envelope me good and proper.

The thing about Carla Burgess’ novels is that she writes with such tenderness, it’s as though she’s writing a letter to an old friend. You can’t help but fall under the authors spell based on that alone.

Rachel Jones has taken over her parents florist. Well, by ‘taken over’ I mean more or less buying the premises and owning it sort of thing. For as long as she can remember, creating bouquets and floral delights have been as much part of her daily routine as cleaning her teeth. Although, for someone who lives and breathes the smell of roses day in day out, her own love life isn’t as fragrant.

I’m sorry to say that I thought the arrival of an eye-catching gentleman was incredibly predictable. However, what I didn’t expect was his true reason for arriving in the florist to begin with. Underhanded? A teeny bit, but he was only doing his job. I could see why Rachel was a bit miffed though considering the history with her ex. Let’s just say that the whole ‘Rachel and ex’ situation makes for popcorn worthy reading. Ignoring people as soon as I started reading this book was SUCH a good call!

I’m not going to lie – I absolutely loved this book! Yes it was a ‘boy meets girl’ scenario, but it had an edge to it that caught me off guard and made me think ‘ooooo, this could get interesting’. I am not the romantic type, yet I will quite happily read about fictional characters making eyes at each other over a bunch of begonia’s. Not being the romantic type myself, I have to then be convinced by a characters love, flirting, relationship effort and so on, for the entire duration of the novel. I have to believe it. If it’s not believable then to me, it’s not done it’s job. A Carla Burgess novel however, well, seeing as the author can transport me into the storyline itself, I have to then kick myself to remember that I am not Rachel Jones, I don’t have an ex called Patrick, and I am currently not flirting with a detective.

I am being completely honest when I tell you that in a minimum of a few pages, Carla Burgess can make me feel as though I am living her characters lives and feeling their emotions. In my eyes, you cannot get more believable than that. Although, I do wish I had kept the floristry craft after doing my stint as Rachel Jones, I mean come on! Parting gift?

I savoured every word, every expression, every emotion – the lot, whilst my head was buried in the beautiful realm of Carla Burgess’ storytelling. So much so, that when the book had ended, I went straight onto social media and asked the author whether there was going to be a sequel! Er helloooo, need my fix!

For a storyline to capture my ice-cold heart, it has to be something special. ‘Meet Me Under the Mistletoe’ is something special and more. I felt as though the author was giving me a hug through her words whenever I turned the page, no joke. The story was cosy, heartfelt, magical and for me, it just oozed everything I needed to be able to fall in love with every single page.

Some people take baths to feel cosy, I pick up a Carla Burgess novel.

Beautiful, enchanting and highly addictive. I cannot WAIT until the next book, eeee!!!!

Thanks HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – The Other Life of Charlotte Evans by @Louisa_George @NeverlandBT

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Book Cover-7
Would you sacrifice your future to understand your past?

Life is rosy for dance studio owner Charlotte Evans, who is about to marry beloved fiancé, Ben. But when Ben finds a lump in Charlotte’s breast, it sends her on a journey of self-discovery which she knows she must do alone. Because Charlotte is adopted, and she suddenly, desperately, needs to know who she is and where she comes from.

Finding and reconnecting with her birth family, the life Charlotte could have had unfolds before her. As her wedding day draws closer, and her past merges ever more into her present, Charlotte must decide on the future she really wants…

A heartrendingly beautiful novel about love, family and finding your own path to happiness.

What does TWG think?

Being honest, I really do think that ‘The Other Life of Charlotte Evans’ will be a book that will bring out a lot of readers personal experiences, which in turn will result in a lot of varied opinions regarding the over storyline. Why? Because of the content of the actual book. For example, the storyline contains a topic which a lot of women have either gone through themselves, or have witnessed someone close to them going through it. As a woman who falls into the first category of the two, I appreciated the author discussing such an emotional topic as part of her story with such sensitivity and openness. It truly is a subject which needs more air time and I thank Louisa George for doing just that.

Not only that, the storyline contains the topic of adoption. Whilst adoption is often brilliant, it sometimes brings a lot of unknown secrets to the surface. Some of those secrets are kept to protect a loved one, sometimes they’re kept because nobody really knows  what the best way is to approach it. Either way, it was thought-provoking to read about said subject in a complete different manner than I am used to. Unfortunately both situations put a spanner in the works regarding Charlotte’s life with her fiancé, Ben, as well as her loved ones which have stood by her for many years.

Personally, I couldn’t gel with Charlotte at all. Don’t get me wrong I fully appreciate that her life has had two bombshells dropped on it and she has no idea where to go from there, but there was just something iffy about her actual priorities. I found her to be rather selfish and one track minded which made the story a little bit difficult to read at times.

Aside from that, I enjoyed this book to a certain degree, but the highlight for me was the way in which the author approached multiple difficult situations in such a humorous yet heart-warming manner.

Incredibly emotional and incredibly thought-provoking.

Thanks NeverlandBT.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Tour #Review – Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse by Lilly Bartlett (@MicheleGormanUK)

Apologies for my late review, my daughter is poorly! Even though I am a day late I am super excited to be sharing my review of Lilly Bartlett’s latest novel, ‘Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse, with you all today! Huge thanks to Michelle Gorman for asking me to be involved in the tour, and for the ARC of her novel.

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Put your feet up and tuck into the mince pies, because you won’t have to lift a finger to enjoy this Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse!

Too bad the same can’t be said for single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie. When her beloved Aunt Kate ends up in hospital just before Christmas, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter rush to rural Wales to take over her B&B. A picky hotel reviewer and his mad family are coming to stay, and without the rating only he can give them, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood.

But Lottie can barely run her own life, let alone a hotel. How will she manage to turn the falling-down guesthouse into the luxurious wonderland the reviewer expects? And could the mysterious taxi driver, Danny, who agrees to help her, turn out to be the real gift this season?

As the snow sparkles on the trees and hot chocolate steams in your hand, snuggle into the delicious magic of Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse.

What does TWG think?

Sometimes you just need a book which can help you forget the issues of mundane life, right? A book which can get you in the festive mood earlier than usual, without overpowering you too much. A book which has the perfect amount of pages to make you feel as though you’re indulging in something rather special. Yes? All of the above is exactly why I enjoy reading Lilly Bartlett’s (aka Michelle Gorman) novels. They’re like Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream in book form and seriously, what’s not to like about that?

‘Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse’ made me smile, laugh out loud, as well as making me wonder how I was going to turn my house into Santa’s Grotto this year. Lilly Bartlett’s new book may be novella size but it certainly packs a punch with its small size.

Lottie’s Christmas plans have changed. Firstly her beloved aunt ends up in hospital, and secondly she bargains with her taxi driver to become her new-found chef in her aunt’s hotel, just in time for a reviewer to come and stay. Seeing as Lottie’s dolmio and pasta combination wouldn’t be winning any ratings any time soon and nor will the hotel’s decor, Lottie and Danny need to find a way to make it work. Apparently stepping back in time is the only option. Whether the reviewer agrees remains to be seen…

Even though a lot of the storyline was predictable and I saw coming a mile off, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the festive feel of Lilly Bartlett’s novella. There was something rather majestic about this book, and to be honest, I think a lot of that had to do with Lottie’s seven-year old daughter.

The way in which Lottie and Danny tackled their situation head on had me in hysterics. Yes I thought it was bonkers but you know what? It worked. It was lovely to see an issue near Christmas being sorted out in a light-hearted fashion, especially considering the real reason that they’re having to look after the hotel in the first place.

‘Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse’ really was a pleasant and enjoyable read. Okay it didn’t blow me away one hundred percent, but due to the amount of love that each of the characters had in the book, it would have been difficult for me to not be carried away with the Christmas spirit and all of the joviality. I really do feel that Lottie has a lot more to give so I am crossing everything that the author decides to give Lottie a starring role in a full length novel.

By far one of the quickest ways to get you in the Christmas spirit, this novella has magic written all over it.

Thanks to the author.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #GuestPost-@Louisa_George author of The Other Life of Charlotte Evans @NeverlandBT

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, I have been asked to step in for Emma Mitchell today for her stop on the blog tour with a guest post from author, Louisa George.

Book Cover-7
Would you sacrifice your future to understand your past?

Life is rosy for dance studio owner Charlotte Evans, who is about to marry
beloved fiancé, Ben. But when Ben finds a lump in Charlotte’s breast, it sends
her on a journey of self-discovery which she knows she must do alone.
Because Charlotte is adopted, and she suddenly, desperately, needs to know
who she is and where she comes from.

Finding and reconnecting with her birth family, the life Charlotte could have
had unfolds before her. As her wedding day draws closer, and her past
merges ever more into her present, Charlotte must decide on the future she
really wants…

A heartrendingly beautiful novel about love, family and finding your own path
to happiness.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from WHSmith

My Publishing Journey / Louisa George

I wish I could tell you that my publishing journey involved one hastily written
manuscript that was so brilliant my agent had a bidding war with publishing houses, I
was offered a seven figure advance and now I spend my days languishing on a day
bed dressed entirely in pink and drinking an endless supply of cocktails.
Unfortunately, none of the above happened. I don’t have an agent. Never have had
one, even with 23 published books. But I am partial to cocktails and could possibly
drink an endless supply if someone else a) delivered them directly to my study and b)
footed the bill.

Truth is, I never wanted to be an author. By which I mean, being an author was so far
off my radar as even possible that it never occurred to me. Sure, I’ve always loved
reading books but writing one? Huh. Let’s get in the real world. Which for me
consisted of a degree in Communication and Media Studies, then becoming a
registered nurse (I worked in a variety of nursing jobs for 22 years), getting married,
and having two sons.

So it came as a big surprise to me when I went to an evening class in creative writing
at our local college (we’d emigrated to New Zealand. I knew no one so decided to do
an evening class in an effort to meet people. Didn’t fancy flower arranging,
computing or learning a language so plumped for a writing class) to discover that I
was actually quite good at it. Which meant I could string some sentences together and
had a reasonable imagination for plotting.

When the course ended I was invited by the tutor to take further classes with other
‘promising students’, then I did some online classes, joined a local writing
organization and finally plucked up courage to enter some contests. One of those was
run by Mills and Boon in 2010. While I didn’t win the contest, an editor there asked
to see more of my work, then we worked together on a book. It took four rewrites, a
lot of blood, sweat and tears and a serious amount of patience on her side and in July
2011 I was eventually offered a two book contract for their Medical Romance Line.
Then a three book contract and then more…
Since then I have also written for Mills and Boon Kiss Line, Tule Publishing, HQ
Harper Collins and have 4 indie published books out too.

I was so lucky to have attracted that editor’s attention, but I took every opportunity
presented to me and sought others out. I submitted to contests and tweaked my story
to feedback. Most of all I wrote. I wrote every day. I analysed the genre. I attended
courses and conferences. I wrote. When I didn’t have time I made time. I wrote and I
wrote.

And from this side of the publishing fence I can honestly say the hard work was worth
every second. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Sure, having a first manuscript
accepted would have been wonderful, but in those hours of rewriting and analyzing I
learnt so much about craft and story, about myself and my determination.

And along the way I developed a fine taste in cocktails, too. I’m just waiting on the
day bed delivery…

So folks, if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a writer (or not, just like Louisa), drink a lot of cocktails and then write…or was it write THEN drink a lot of cocktails? Either way, go for it and enjoy the ride. If anyone knows where Louisa’s delivery has got to, please shout ;). Huge thanks to the author for such an honest and laugh out loud guest post!

#Review – The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey (@Scribbler_Maxi) @HQDigitalUK

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Home for the holidays…

Icing gingerbread men, arranging handmade toys and making up countless Christmas wreaths in her family’s cosy little Christmas shop isn’t usually globe-trotter Lexi’s idea of fun. But it’s all that’s keeping her mind off romance. And, with a broken engagement under her belt, she’s planning to stay well clear of that for the foreseeable future…until gorgeous single dad Cal Martin walks through the door!

Christmas takes on a whole new meaning as Lexi begins to see it through Cal’s adorable five-year-old son’s eyes. But, finding herself getting dangerously close to the mistletoe with Cal, Lexi knows she needs to back off. She’s sworn off love, and little George needs a stability she can’t provide. One day she’ll decide whether to settle down again – just not yet.

But the best little Christmas shop in this sleepy, snow-covered village has another surprise in store…

What does TWG think?

Hand on heart, I could read a Maxine Morrey novel every day of the week without getting bored. Selfishly I wish the author would produce 365 books in one year, but unless the author is an octopus and has book ideas coming out of her like a stampede of people on the Boxing Day sales, I may have to resign myself to the fact it will never happen. Sniff.

Anywhooooo! Maxine Morrey is back with yet another toasty warm novel – the perfect excuse to ignore everyone in your household with. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything…

Lexi, just like her life, is a tad broken. She’s back in her family home working in the family business. Her own career put on the back burner for the immediate future. What happened? Lexi doesn’t like to talk about a situation which broke her heart, yet to move forward with her life, she needs to approach and put it to bed. Speaking of putting to bed…there’s a ‘new’ man in town. A man whose son was 0.5 seconds away from hearing some extremely colourful words. A man who has had his heart-broken in the past and only wants to do right by his son. A man who would find any excuse to frequent a shop…just because.

Lexi is my kinda gal. She is hilarious. Sassy. Beyonce type independent. And of course, feisty. She’s the type of person I want to be when I grow up! -ignores the fact that I’ll be 28 soon-.

I could tell almost straight away that Cal and Lexi were going to hit it off. Whether that was because she doted on Cal’s little boy, George, or whether she was actually attracted to the man himself, I’m still not entirely sure. Either way, there was certainly something in the air.

I loved how naive both of the main characters came across, despite being well into their adulthood and aware of certain meaningful feelings. Sometimes it was as though Cal and Lexi were in high school as love-sick teenagers! Of course I just wanted to bang their heads together and tell them to get on with it, but it was super cute watching their relationship blossom, especially with a child in the equation. Often people forget the child in new friendships and relationships, or rule single parents out completely as being ‘too much of a challenge’ or ‘damaged goods’. Lexi however, was the complete opposite. I could give the author a hug for the way that she has portrayed a single parent in this book, whilst also keeping the heart of the child at the forefront of any decision making, ensuring that little George was involved every single time. As daft as this sounds, it did make me a little bit emotional read it, I must admit.

Now, I absolutely flipping loved this book. I loved the surprises in the storyline regarding Lexi’s family. I loved Lexi’s family full stop! I felt like I was being wrapped up in a blanket the entire time I was reading ‘The Best Little Christmas Shop’. I was afraid that when I closed the book the cosiness would diminish and I would end up feeling cold*.

*Reader, it did.

Seeing as I pride myself on being honest and writing honest reviews every time, I feel like I would be going against that if I didn’t mention something which, in my eyes, disappointed me a smidge. Sigh. The ending. If there was another book following this one then I would have no problem at all with the ending as it piqued my interest and left me hanging. But, because there isn’t a sequel in the pipeline at the moment, the ending kept me hanging and made me feel like there was more to the storyline. Don’t get me wrong, the entire novel was beautifully written and it’s not a negative thing that I wanted a sequel to the book. I am just a bit disappointed at how it was left wide open with an abrupt finish. I really do hope that the author does write a sequel to this book as I feel that Lexi’s family have so much more to give and I want to follow their journey with them.

Aside from that, this book blew me away and, as you can tell, left me wanting more, more, MORE!!

To say that ‘The Best Little Christmas Shop’ was a magical read would be an understatement of the year. Being perfectly honest, the magic and warmth in this book ranked as high as good ol’ Santa Claus, and you can’t get anymore magical than that old dude!

Sometimes you can read a book which can make you feel loved from the tip of your toes, to the top of your head. Sometimes you can read a book which warms your heart like the biggest duvet. Sometimes you can read a book which leaves you feeling a sense of loss when the book comes to an end. Sometimes you can read a book that you would love to read for the first time, every time. Sometimes that ‘sometimes’ changes to every time, and that ‘every time’ would be my response to ‘would you recommend a Maxine Morrey novel?’.

Every.Single.Time.

Thanks HQDigitalUK.

The Best Little Christmas Shop is released TODAY and can be purchased now from Amazon UK.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Bitches of Suburbia by @JaneOwenauthor @rararesources

The Bitches-Kindle-Cover-Blue
Nothing much ever happened on Horseshoe Lane – why should it? It was, after all, just a normal suburban backwater with the usual cross section of growing families, ageing pensioners, the occasional singleton and a brace of curtain twitchers. The arrival of celebrity couple, Heavenly and Travis, however, changes all that. This glamorous pair bring about a summer of competitive party throwing and ambitious home improvement projects that will have disastrous and completely unforeseen consequences.  

 Neighbours who’ve got by for years with just the occasional chat over a garden fence about the unseasonable amount of rain or the state of next door’s garden are slowly united by suspicion as a husband goes missing, a much loved cat turns up dead on a doorstep and Enid from Number Seven is found badly injured at the foot of the cliff.   

 Could one person be responsible for all of this? Could that person be the strange and unlikeable Hilary Jones from Number Nine? There was only going to be one way to find out and it was going to involve a lot of whiskey….

 In this her wonderful follow up to ‘The Rock Star Known as Horse’, Owen’s riveting new story finds a murky side to the suburbs, a side where petty jealousies and neighbourly rivalries can escalate out of all control with calamitous results, all intricately observed with her usual dark humour firmly to the fore.

What does TWG think?

If I had to sum up this book in two words it would have to be – ‘Desperate Housewives’ the sitcom. Anyone remember that? That’s a compliment by the way! Jane Owen’s novel has the same sort of gossipy, snooty and bitchy characters as the sitcom does. Sometimes you just need to lose yourself in a novel full of everything that’s wrong about people, yet so flipping addictive.

Plus, with a book title like this one, how can you NOT decide to read it on that alone? I don’t want to give any of the gossipy, ‘keeping up with the Jones’ ‘ type storyline anyway, so this review will be brief. That said, it is almost guaranteed that you will have met at least one of these characters before in real life.

The author sets the scene for the upcoming storyline absolutely fantastically. It was as though she is gearing up her readers ready for drama central, yet still wanted to paint a picture of an idyllic place to live….BEFORE she introduced her character. Trust me, there is probably a slim chance that you would want to live right next door to these characters if you had to choose. Well, unless you enjoy drama and bitches then you’ll find it heaven.

‘Bitches of Suburbia’ had me laughing out loud, nodding along and generally enjoying the overall storyline. This book is such a change from the usually serious sort of characters I usually come across. A breath of fresh air on every page, alongside many laugh out loud anecdotes and memorable characters. Seriously, what’s not to like about that?

Thanks RaRaResources.

Buy now from Amazon

About Jane Owen

Jane’s first novel, Camden Girls, was published by Penguin twenty years ago and quickly became an international cult bestseller published in many languages including Japanese, Spanish,German, Hebrew, Italian and Dutch.  She’d already spent many years working in the film business working alongside stars such as Christophe Lambert, Andi McDowell, Daryl Hannah and James Remar before switching to the music business and working for bands such as The Who, Robert Plant, ZZTop and many more.  Eventually, even that got boring and that’s when she wrote Camden Girls.

 After publication, life became interrupted by an unfortunate traffic accident and Jane moved out of London to Sussex and slowly returned to writing.  Her novels don’t fit into any specific category and, frustrated by endless rejections along the lines of ‘You write beautifully but we don’t know how to sell this book’ she started self publishing.  Rave reviews gave her the confidence to keep going and believe in what she was writing.

 She’s still in Sussex, sharing her life with her musician partner, three horses and a dog and divides her day between writing and riding.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JaneOwenAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/janeowenauthor

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/janeowenauthor/

 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK

The Holiday Cruise blog tour banner
Huge thanks to the team at HQDigitalUK for the ARC of Victoria Cooke’s novel, ‘The Holiday Cruise’. Also, thank you to Anna for asking me to take part in the blog tour. I am excited to be able to share my thoughts with you all. Here is my review:

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The high seas are calling!

As if it weren’t enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is desperate to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job…on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what’s not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything on her own before, and she’s terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home…or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be.

What does TWG think?

Take me back to this cruise ship!! Have you ever been so caught up in a storyline and its characters that when the story does come to and end, it’s as though you have lost one of your arms, whilst also wanting to run back to the book with your arms wide open screaming; ‘I’m sorry I left youuuuuuu. I’m sorry I had to finish youuuuu’? For those of you who have read Victoria Cooke’s novel, I am sure you’ll be nodding your heads in agreement right now. For those who haven’t read Victoria Cooke’s novel, your answer to my question will also be a yes once you pick up this book and read it!

I’m not even joking. Finishing ‘The Holiday Cruise’ was like having to leave my mum at the school gates when I was little! All I wanted to do was run back! I wholeheartedly agree with reviewer Rachel Gilbey – there has to be a sequel for this! Even though the main situation in this book reached its natural conclusion, there is oodles amounts of ways for old characters to reappear and new ones to make their presence known when it comes to a follow on book. I would be utterly devastated if we didn’t go back to visit some of these characters, I really would.

It’s clear from the onset that Hannah is pretty much sitting with her whole life broken around her. Not only has her husband decided to cheat on her, she’s also losing her business to a rival company after her so-called friend decided to be a loofah. Charming eh! With the list of people she can trust safely on the back of a stamp, Hannah decides to jump ship (literally) by working on a cruise ship. Lucky beggar…

I wanted to squish Hannah almost straight away! So much rubbish for one person, how can those people live with themselves after such betrayal? I loved how a person who loved routine, decided to do something completely against her usual values, and went to work in a spa on a cruise ship. I mean, there’s grabbing life by the starboard, and then there’s grabbing life for the starboard! I think…(yes, THINK), I may have maybe (ahem) yelped out loud ‘YOU GO GIRL!!!!’ whilst reading this book. Take away the ‘think’ and the ‘maybe’ and there is a definite chance that I did just that. Luckily my daughter was in bed at the time so I didn’t have to face the Spanish Inquisition from a four-year old. Those things are brutal!!

I have never, ever been on a cruise ship before but I can tell you now, after reading ‘The Holiday Cruise’ I would book a cruise holiday in a jiffy if I had the money. I never realised just how much there was on a cruise ship, as well as being able to stop in certain countries along the way for a bit of sightseeing. To be honest, it felt like the author was on a cruise whilst writing the novel as everything came across so realistic, pristine and pretty amazing.

I also loved how, despite Hannah’s earlier personality reservations, as soon as she found her feet on the ship, she got stuck in like a woman on a mission. To see such a broken character come out of their shell in such a short space of time was pretty emotional. It was as though Hannah was being given a second chance in life to find happiness, yet it was the first chance to do something for herself. Certainly makes you think eh?

Obviously I’m not going to go into detail about everything I loved about the book as I will end up giving spoilers, and I like to pride myself in not ruining an authors work by giving spoilers! However, I’m just going to say…..

I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
VICTORIA COOKE COME READ ME A BED TIME STORY!

I fell in love with ‘The Holiday Cruise’ the moment Hannah stepped onto the ship. Everything about this book blew me away whilst also making me feel emotional at the same time. Throughout the book I witnessed a character find herself, new-found friends finding the courage to come out of their shells and start afresh, as well as taking notice of the underlying message the storyline contained; there are good and bad times in life, but through the bad times you must always do what is right for YOU and nobody else. Life your life YOUR way and not the way someone else wishes you would live your life. Find the courage to do things you wouldn’t usually do. Take the time out to just be, without feeling guilty. Most of all, just live…

Victoria Cooke has written such a stunning, thought-provoking and loveable read. I genuinely wish that I could read ‘The Holiday Cruise’ for the first time, every time. It’s clear that I found parts of the storyline quite emotional, but I also managed to laugh out loud multiple times. ‘The Holiday Cruise’ truly is one of the best books I have read so far this year, with author Victoria Cooke, cruising her way into my all time favourite authors list.

A majestic, inspiring, heart-warming and confidence boosting storyline – which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, tears in your eyes, fire in your belly and love in your heart. Absolutely fantastic. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Victoria Cooke for writing a book I didn’t know I needed to read, but for also being one I know that I could never be without.

Thanks HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK