#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

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#BlogTour! #Review – A Winter’s Wish by Lynsey James @Lynsey1991 @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

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And last but not least is my review of Lynsey James’ ‘A Winter’s Wish’, which is set to be published on the 22nd November. Huge thanks to NeverlandBT for the blog tour invite, and thank you for the ARC also. Here is my review:

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Being pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby is the last thing on Cleo Jones’s Christmas wish list.

Scott might have been the man of her dreams once upon a time, but things change and now Cleo faces a future as a single mum… Or does she?
Scott won’t let Cleo go through this alone; whatever their differences he’s vowed to be there, from antenatal classes to night feeds and nappy changing. The two agree to bring up their baby as friends – but as Cleo’s bump grows, so do their feelings for each other.
Cleo can’t be sure if it’s her heart of her hormones urging her to give Scott a second chance – but getting back together could be the best Christmas present of all!

What does TWG think?

Having LOVED Lynsey James’ previous book, ‘The Summer of Hopes and Dreams’, I was so excited to be able to re-visit Cleo and Scott. I was so looking forward to finding out what the pair had been up to in between books. Was Cleo finally happy? Had she reached a compromise with her demons?

Poor Cleo isn’t as happy as I thought she would have been. When we left her in the previous book, things seemed like they were starting to look up a bit for her, like she had finally gotten a break from all of the hard situations she had found herself in over the years. Before delving into ‘A Winter’s Wish’, I had everything crossed that I was going to fall in love with the book as much as I did the first. Unfortunately that wasn’t really the case.

Why? Because I felt that Cleo had come so far and grown up a lot in the first book, to then feeling that she had lost some of her maturity. Don’t get me wrong, Cleo’s heart was in the right place and I felt for her once again in regards to her own personal demons but when it came to light that Cleo was pregnant, that’s when I felt myself going a bit ‘hmmm’. Having had eating and confidence issues since the age of five, as well as finding it hard to come to terms with my body changing drastically, I found Cleo’s insight to be a little bit hard unbelievable. I do understand that writing a storyline involving pregnancy when you’ve not been pregnant yourself, can be extremely difficult – I’m not disputing that at all and I can tell that the author has worked extremely hard in regards to her research. But for me, the way that that part of the storyline was handled wasn’t my cup of tea and unfortunately it let the book down.

Aside from that, I did enjoy the majority of the storyline. ‘A Winter’s Wish’ really is a heart-warming, cosy read for romantics everywhere. Even though I couldn’t gel with a part of the book, I still found myself rooting for Cleo and Scott again and, as an unromantic person such as myself, even I was convinced by their love story. Lynsey James really has portrayed their love incredibly well and it actually made my heart soar.

A lovely and cosy second book in a series, Lynsey James has kept the romance level intact throughout both books by making her readers fall in love with Cleo and Scott all over again.

Thanks HQDigitalUK & NeverlandBT.

Pre-order now from Amazon UK

Author bio:

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name
ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.
When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

Twitter // Facebook

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#Blitz! #Review Xmas at the Candied Apple Cafe @Katheringarbera @HarperImpulse @rararesources

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Feeling all Christmassy and as sweet as apple tonight as I share my review of Katherine Garbera’s ‘Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe’! Huge thanks to Harper Impulse for the ARC and Rachel from RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in this blog blitz. Here is my review:

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There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…

Santa is coming to New York!

Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth
Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!

Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year- old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.

If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

What does TWG think?

What a truly festive treat this is! I have never been to America, let alone going to America for the holidays, yet with Katherine Garbera’s stunning descriptions of New York, I felt like I was there amongst it all. Seriously magical!

Poor Mads and his little girl haven’t exactly the most wonderful year due to the death of Mads’ wife. Not only did Sofia lose her mum, she also lost her ability to believe. Honestly though, can you blame her? She’s lost her mum, the last thing she is going to believe in is Santa. However, I adored how Iona (their neighbour) tried to help them create new traditions at a time which harbours devastating memories.

I absolutely loved the Christmas element to this book, including the Candied Apple Cafe itself. The community spirit from the Iona’s colleagues and her customers just made my heart soar with joy. If I was met with people like that every time I walked into a shop, I would be one VERY happy lady.

Unfortunately, I do have a little irk with the romance part of the storyline. Now whilst I fully appreciate that sexual scenes in a book need to be kept respectful and not border on a blue movie style, I really do wish that certain words weren’t used during those intimate scenes as it made an otherwise hot under the collar scene, lean more towards a grimacing scene. Personally for me, I didn’t find it believable.

Apart from that, I think the Christmas element made the book stand out big time. My favourite character was Iona as she just oozed class, sass and had a heart of gold.

Such an enticing and magical read to curl up with this Christmas.

Thanks Harper Impulse.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Author Bio

USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has
written more than 60 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine
now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

Social Media Links

Fb:www.facebook.com/katherinegarberaauthor
Twitter @katheringarbera
Instagramwww.instagram.com/katherinegarbera

Giveaway!!!

Giveaway – Win 5 x Signed Copies of Summer in Manhattan
5 lucky winners will win a copy of Summer in Manhattan, Katherine Garbera’s previous book for Harper Impulse.

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#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

#Tour! #Review – Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage by @LinnBHalton @HarperImpulse @Brookcottagebks

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Every time I’m on a tour for Linn.B.Halton I get SO excited! I love being able to share my thoughts on such Linn’s wonderful books, and this one is no exception. Here is my review of Linn.B.Halton’s festive treat – Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage.

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The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.

Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?

What does TWG think?

SNIFF. SNIFF. SNIFF.

For those of you with children, you’ll understand how magical Christmas with young children can be, especially with those who believe in Santa. I’m sure a lot of parents can find the whole thing quite emotional when they see their children’s happy faces on Christmas morning, realising their ‘biggest wish of their life’ has come true by Santa bringing them ‘Pie Face’. Now, if you add a child who has lost one of her parents into the mix, the emotion within the storyline gets put on a totally new level. Coming from a person who has ‘Ice Queen’ as their nickname, even I melted at the contents of this novel. Seriously, you’ll have to be a person with no soul if you’re not at least a little bit moved by this book. Trust me.

Elana James’ life got turned upside down in the blink of an eye. In the aftermath of such unfortunate circumstances, Elana is left to bring up her little girl single-handedly, keep a roof over their heads (literally) with her career, as well as try to find the time to turn a DIY SOS disaster into a finally finished home. What Elana wasn’t prepared for was her new-found builder to be exceptionally easy on the eye and brilliant with her daughter. Surely it’s time to move on, right?

Elana’s situation caught me right in the feels. Although to be honest, if there wasn’t a child involved, I don’t think I would have been quite so emotional (I realise that makes me sound heartless but you’ll see what I mean when you read the book). I just couldn’t even begin to imagine what the James’ went through, especially now that Elana’s daughter is of an age where she wants answers. You can’t really blame her either. The whole debacle with the chimney left a golf ball sized lump in my throat for several hours after finishing this book. I mean….wow. Heart-wrenching yet totally relatable.

There were a couple of situations within Linn.B.Halton’s novel which shocked me at the time yet I couldn’t seem to work out why they were there. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t seem to stick out like a sore thumb, but I thought that the neighbourly situation was a little bit….random whilst also coming to an abrupt stop. It didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the novel at all, I just wondered why, that was all.

I loved the warmth of the storyline with the mixture of loveable characters. I loved how the Christmas spirit was laid bare to begin with, yet built each bauble at a time throughout the novel. As for Elana’s life – I loved how relatable, realistic and genuine her story was as it made me connect to the main character a lot quicker. She didn’t seem to hide her emotions or pretend to be something that she’s not. Instead, Elana was determined to make the best of a bad situation whilst also trying to do the right thing by her little girl, even though she thought every decision she made was the wrong one.

Linn.B.Halton has, once again, taken a heart-wrenching, real-life situation and turned it into a thought-provoking, touching and emotional read. I really have no idea how this author manages to produce such truly wonderful books, but she does. This authors writing skills and story telling abilities are second to none, which makes every single book I read of hers an absolutely treasure to read. Linn.B.Halton most definitely has a fan for life in TWG for as long as she continues to produce such enchanting novels such as this one, and her entire back catalogue.

‘Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage’ is such a cosy and touching novel, which is probably going to play havoc with your emotions until the very last page.

Turn off your phone, grab the box of Kleenex and curl up in bed with this absolutely beautiful read – you’ll be a fool not to.

Magical.

Thanks HarperImpulse/BrookCottageBooks.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

Extract.

‘Mum, can we light the log fire tonight?’ Maya looks up at me with eager eyes.
‘I think we should wait until the weekend, darling. There isn’t really time to appreciate
it on a school night, is there? Besides, I’m not even sure whether there are any logs
left in the store. I promise to get it sorted as soon as I can.’
It was Niall’s job, sorting the fire. He would have booked the chimney sweep in early
autumn and had the logs all ready and waiting, stacked neatly against the back wall
of the garage. Ironically, last year I was much more organised. I suppose it was one
of my coping mechanisms during those raw, early weeks and months. Keep going;
keep doing something – anything, so I didn’t have to listen to what was in my head.
But I feel bad. Maya will remember that this time last year we spent every evening
huddled together on the sofa in front of the fire, reading. Hour upon hour we escaped
into alternative worlds inspired by some wonderful authors. Roald Dahl’s Matilda, E.
B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Maya’s favourite, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, a
story of tenderness and triumph.
It was the very worst of times, but I focused on getting us through it one day at a
time. My gut instinct, immediately after the accident, had been to sell the cottage just
to escape that prevailing sense that something was missing. Niall was no longer
here and it would never, ever be the same again. But soon realisation dawned that
Maya needed a sense of continuity; the memories trapped within these walls were a
lifeline for her, although a cruelly painful reminder for me. In a way she feels her dad
is still here and I can’t take that away from her.

About the author.

Bristol-born Linn lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her
lovely husband and cat, Ziggy. She has been writing novels since 2009 and has
written short stories for a number of magazines. She is also known for her series of
‘Home by Design’ articles wearing her former interior designer hat.
“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life
is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache”
An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in
November 2015, Under The Stars also became a best-selling novel in November
2016. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the
eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance:
Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.
Linn writes chick lit, romantic comedy, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic
romance. Publishers include Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

Facebook //Twitter // Goodreads Author Page //Website

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Lido Girls by Allie Burns (@Allie_Burns1) @NeverlandBT

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Change is in the air…

London, 1930s:

Natalie Flacker is tempted by the glamour of the new keep fit movement, but when she is dismissed from her prestigious job in PE she loses the life she so carefully built. Echoes of the war’s destruction still reverberate through her life, and now she is homeless, jobless and without prospects.

But connections made on a summer holiday, with her best friend Delphi, create opportunities. When Natalie is offered a summer job at a lido at the seaside, she jumps at the chance. But is she up to the challenge of taking on a group of unfit women in need of her help?

Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of the pioneering keep fit movement; this is a feel-good reminder of just what’s possible when you find the courage to follow your heart.

What does TWG think?

I’m a sucker for a historical fiction novel. I mean, how can you NOT be? Not only that, I am a sucker for a historical fiction novel which oozes truck loads more girl power than the Spice Girls could ever muster.

‘The Lido Girls’ is set during a time where a war has ended and women’s rights are being fought a lot harder for. For me, the highlight of the novel was the historical focus on women and their importance within a broken community, especially after a lot of the women had husbands who had died serving in the First World War. What also stayed with me was the way in which the author described The Women’s League of Health and Beauty. A league which, until now, I hadn’t really heard about, yet it was a league which seemed to be incredibly important for the women to be able to find a purpose whilst also doing something for themselves in the form of exercise. What may seem little to us now, was a huge deal in the wartime, and I feel that the author has described such notions in a truly fantastic manner – without losing any of the historical feel throughout the book.

Our main character, Natalie Flacker, is ‘married’ to her career which meant that all her eggs were put in one basket, and one basket only. What was she going to do when life decided to throw her a curveball? Of course, life did throw said curve ball which meant our leading lady had several decisions to make.

In all honesty, I couldn’t gel 100% with all of the characters as I felt as though there was something missing. Whilst I could relate to Natalie’s journey of self discovery and finding the strength to grab the things in life she really wants, I couldn’t seem to work her personality out. I’m not too sure whether that was because I was to focused on the historical feel of the storyline instead of each individual character, or whether the character’s were indeed missing their zigga zig ah.

Overall, ‘The Lido Girls’ was beautiful written, well researched and truly lovely to read. I enjoyed getting to the nitty-gritty parts of the novel the most, and I really do think that the author has done a phenomenal job in bringing such an important historical movement into 2017.

Thanks NeverlandBT.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Author bio:

Allie lives in Kent with her family and two tortoises. When she’s not writing for business or penning her Women’s Historical Fiction, Allie enjoys swimming and yoga. She has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and The Lido Girls is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second interwar years novel, which is due for publication in the summer of 2018.

Links:

https://twitter.com/Allie_Burns1
https://www.facebook.com/allieburnsauthor/
www.allie-burns.com

#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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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

#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 Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK

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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