#BlogTour! #Review – Ours Is The Winter by @LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

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Delighted to be kicking off Laurie Ellingham’s blog tour today for ‘Ours Is The Winter’, which was published by HQDigital in November. Huge thanks to the publisher for the ARC, and thank you to NeverlandBT for asking me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

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Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down. Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

What does TWG think?

If this book doesn’t give you all the feels, I don’t know what will.

Three main characters, three different reasons for embarking on a journey of a lifetime, yet all three are connected by one heart-breaking event. Erica, Molly and Noah are about to get up close and personal with a group of Siberian huskies in the Arctic (as you do). Noah is there as his girlfriend, Rachel, is adamant that the challenge will change Noah for the better. Erica is there because she needs to go back to basics and learn how to be herself again. And Molly, well, she’s there for a good reason, but it’s a reason which is completely unknown to her.

All three characters are extremely complex, each of them going through life with a bucketful of guilt mixed in with the odd secret. They have all gone through the last few years believing completely different things, refusing to believe anything different from what their mind has conjured up and it is severely destructive.

I adored how different the setting of this book was! So unique and intriguing, yet not too overpowering to swallow each individual character’s stories. I just loved how the author went about it, peaking my interest with the huskies in the Arctic, yet igniting my emotions with such a clever and well thought out storyline. Even though I had an inkling about where a part of the storyline was heading, I wasn’t prepared for the rawness of how the situation was executed. It was like I was in amongst Erica, Molly and Noah, watching everything unfold and seeing the emotion for my very own eyes. The way in which the author wrote those scenes was incredibly gut wrenching yet written absolutely beautifully.

For me, ‘Ours Is The Winter’ came with such a poignant, underlying message. One which I feel a lot of people need to read and adhere to. A message which stopped me in my tracks, made me sit up and take notice, whilst reaching the very centre of my soul. ‘Ours Is The Winter’ taught me that forgiveness is the greatest power anyone could ever hold in their hands. It takes a lot of courage to be able to stand and look at someone who has hurt you, whilst uttering the words ‘I forgive you’. To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea what I would have done in Molly’s situation, yet the way she handled it is incredibly inspiring. ‘Ours Is The Winter’ taught me that whilst moving on takes strength, forgiving someone takes courage and belief. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you trust them, it means that you’re refusing to let their actions have a hold on you anymore.

I absolutely adore Laurie Ellingham’s storytelling as it’s real. It’s poignant. It’s beautiful, and it’s so thought-provoking. This author writes stories from the heart and I’m telling you now, even if your heart is surrounded by enough ice to rival Elsa from Frozen, Laurie Ellingham will get part that exterior and hold your heart in her hands with the minimal amount of effort.

Outstanding once again.

Thanks HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Author bio:

When I’m not running around after my two children, my husband, our Cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.
When I am in the thick of a character crisis, I can often be seen walking around the village with my jumper on inside out and back to front, chatting (and occasionally laughing) away to myself. I have a first class honours degree in psychology and a background in Public Relations, both of which help in everything I do.

Links:

Twitter // Website

Giveaway!

Prize: 1 signed paperback of Laurie’s previous book, “One Endless Summer”.

Enter the giveaway!

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#BlogTour! #Guestpost – Top 10 Xmas Ideas for a booklover by Rebecca Raisin @jaxandwillsmum

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Super excited to be taking part in Rebecca Raisin’s blog tour for ‘Winter at Cedarwood Lodge’, which is published today by HQDigitalUK. Congratulations Rebecca! I am having to split my slot on the tour into two so today is the guest post which Rebecca has kindly written for us, and then in a few days I will be sharing my review of ‘Winter at Cedarwood Lodge’. I have actually read this book as it was previously published as three separate books. But, because that was last year and this new version contains bonus material, I want to do the review and book justice by splitting into tour.

So, if you’re stuck for Christmas present ideas for the book lover in your life then look no further! I am delighted to hand my blog over to Rebecca Raisin as she gives you the lowdown on the Top Ten Christmas Ideas for the booklover in your life. Enjoy!

Top ten Christmas gift ideas for the booklover in your life

OK, so I mean us! We bibliophiles who look forward to the festive season because it means extra time curled up with a book and hopefully some new bookish gifts!
When I wrote Winter at Cedarwood Lodge I had lots of fun deciding on Christmas gifts for my characters as if they were real people and I was puzzling over real presents. I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas onesie?

But we bookworms need a little more while we read so here at my top ten gift ideas:

1. Slippers. No brainer, right? Preferably a pair that have some relevance to books and
that will earn you extra points. But think comfort, think fluffy, think big.

2. Bookmarks, even for the dog-ear- er in your life, they can learn can’t they? I hasten to
add I am a dog-ear- er from way back and unrepentant, but still, I like bookmarks
because they’re pretty! Ones with motivational quotes, literary one liners, take a punt and buy them all!

3. Candles, yes we burn the midnight hour reading way past our bedtime and we’d like
to do that with some exotic scented candles, thank you very much! If you can find one
that smells like old books, more the better!

4. Book totes! Literary themed of course! We’re planning on spending all those book
gift vouchers as soon as the shops are open and we’ll need some heavy duty tote to fit
them all in.

5. Book related jewelry, anything goes! From those cute miniature book charm
necklaces to Pride and Prejudice earrings, you buy it, we’ll wear it!

6. Cushions. Lots of ‘em. Cushions with ampersands, furry cushions, Paris themed,
shaped like donuts! What’s a book nook without cushions?

7. Notebooks, oh beautiful notebooks with leather bound covers, or covers that look like
old library cards, or have pictures of bookshelves, or sweet musings, we need them,
and we need them urgently to scribble down our book loving thoughts.

8. Book boxes, yes tiny boxes shaped like books for the literary jewelry that’s wrapped
and under the tree (see no.5!) These little boxes come in all shapes and sizes and the
perfect gift to stash away those lovely little bookish gems.

9. Bookshelves… I mean, we all need more, am I right? Or a bigger house. So yeah,
maybe put house on the list.

10. Books! Better yet, bookshop gift vouchers, because we’ve read everything already!

Note to my family: this list goes for me too!

I hope you have a lovely Christmas filled with great food, good wine and lots of new
characters to fall in love with… xxx

So fellow book lovers, how many from Rebecca’s list have you asked for for Christmas? In an ideal world the man in red would leave it all for me Christmas morning, but I have a feeling that I may need to go out and by them for myself! Well, unless anyone wants to surprise me at Christmas that is…hint ;).

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Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin can be purchased now from Amazon UK.

#CoverReveal! The Little Wedding Island-Jaimie Admans @Be_the_spark @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
-hyperventilates-
I have been waiting YEARS* for news of Jaimie Admans new book, and now it’s here! The news, not the book.
*I may have SLIGHTLY exaggerated there….only a little bit.

Anyway. I am SO, SO, SO, SO excited to be revealing the book cover of Jaimie Admans upcoming novel, ‘The Little Wedding Island’, which is due to be published by HQDigitalUK in March 2018. I know, I know. I cried at the release date too. Sniff. Unfortunately I sat on my magic wand so it’s no longer working, I am unable to make the time fast forward to said publication date.
HOWEVER, what I can do instead is tease you a bit by showing you the cover, AND let you know a bit more about the book. Oh, and of course giving you the all important pre-order links, obviously!

Are you ready for this?!

SQUEAL.

The Little Wedding Island-large*Please note that this blurb is unofficial and could change at any time*

Bonnie Haskett loves love. She’s a hopeless romantic who’s always daydreaming of the day she’ll finally get married and live happily ever after. She hasn’t found Mr Right yet, but she’s sure he’s out there somewhere… For now, she consoles herself by writing about beautiful weddings for a bridal magazine, watching brides and grooms so hopelessly in love that it’s enough to melt even the harshest cynic’s heart.

Rohan Carter is love’s harshest cynic and nothing about a wedding will melt his heart, thank you very much. He writes a monthly column for a men’s magazine in which he advises men never to get married and gives advice on how to protect themselves from love.

These two rival journalists find themselves stuck together on Edelweiss Island, an island off the south coast of Britain that has become known as ‘the little wedding island’. There’s a rumour that no marriage performed in the church there has ever ended in divorce, and Bonnie and Rohan are both sent to investigate it.

However, they quickly find the locals are unwelcoming and untalkative, and no one is going to tell them anything about this ‘church of no divorces’ if they aren’t there to get married in it. There’s only one thing for it – team up and pretend to be engaged to each other to gain access to the church and find out what’s really going on there. They might not be friends, but their only chance to get the inside scoop on the mysterious island that everyone’s talking about is each other. It would be a win for both of them and all it would take is one little white lie. Just one…

Does this book sound and look fabulous, or does this book sound and look fabulous!!! I really cannot wait to get my hands on Jaimie’s new novel, especially after reading her previous novel ‘The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters’.

Whilst ‘The Little Wedding Island’ is available to pre-order now from Amazon UKAmazon US, and Kobo (e-book is available to pre-order from other e-book retailers also, not just the ones listed so make sure you check if your usual one isn’t listed!), Jaimie’s previous book ‘The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters’ is available to buy and read now from Amazon UK, if you fancied reading it whilst you wait for her new book to land!
(You can find out what TWG thought about Jaimie’s previous book right here – #Tour! Chateau of Happily Ever Afters – Jaimie Admans @be_the_spark @NeverlandBT @HQDigitalUK).

Author bio:

Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She
lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.

She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.

Twitter // Website

#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

Giveaway!!!

The giveaway is for 3 eCopies of A Winter’s Wish Come True.
International

Enter now! Good luck!

#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

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Big Little Festival by @KellieHailes @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

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The Big Little Festival Cover
Love happens when you least expect it…

Jodi is panicking. It’s only weeks until her little village in Devon holds its first
ever festival and everything is falling apart.

Desperate to avoid disaster, she brings in notorious party planner Christian to
save the day. Although she wasn’t prepared for just how gorgeous he would be!
Men are off the cards for Jody and surely Christian is the last man she would ever
date? But with tensions rising – along with the bunting and home-made scones –
she’s about to find out…

What does TWG think?

At first glance I hoped that the storyline was going to be as cheery and bright as the colours on the cover suggest. Just look at it! How can you not smile after seeing all of the bright, summery colours on that cover?

Thankfully, the storyline didn’t disappoint on the cheeriness front at all! Jodi had me in hysterics almost straight away due to her straight-laced personality and drier than dry sarcasm. If I had to sum up Jodi in one word it would be – SASSY. Absolutely loved everything that character brought to the overall storyline. Such a change from other main characters who can often come across as such drama queens.

I had never read a Kellie Hailes novel before, I recognised the author’s name from social media yet I still hadn’t manage to stick one of her books on my TBR. Until now.

Personally, I felt that the storyline was really well paced and full of so many light-hearted moments, it would be incredibly difficult to be in a bad mood after reading this book. Lately I have been reading a lot of heavy novels – reading ‘The Big Little Festival’ was a well needed and refreshing change.

Whilst I enjoyed the storyline overall, there were times where I felt like parts of the story was missing as there seemed to be a big jump between certain situations. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to read the book and still make sense of everything, but I still felt like I was missing out on something due to the flow of the storyline.

Aside from that, ‘The Big Little Festival’ made me laugh, smile and crave bucketfuls of popcorn. Such a bright and breezy storyline – the ideal easy read to get cosy with.

Thanks HQDigital

Buy:
Digital
Paperback can be bought from most Sainsbury’s stores! Although it can also be bought from Amazon

Author Bio:

At the age of five Kellie Hailes declared she was going write books when she
grew up. It took a while for her to get there, with a career as a radio copywriter,
freelance copywriter and web writer filling the dream-hole, until now. Kellie
lives on an island-that’s- not-really- an-island in New Zealand with her patient
husband, funny little human and neurotic cat. When the characters in her head
aren’t dictating their story to her, she can be found taking short walks, eating
good cheese and hankering for her next coffee fix.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellieHailesAuthor
Twitter: @KellieHailes

Giveaway!!

The Big Little Festival Giveaway

Prize: A paperback copy of the book & a ferris wheel charm
International

To enter click here! Good luck!

#BlogTour! #Review – How Not To Be A Bride by @PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUK

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I am delighted to be on Portia MacIntosh’s blog tour today! Huge thanks to LRR and Portia for inviting me to take part in the tour. Also, big thanks to HQDigitalUK for the ARC of ‘How Not To Be A Bride’. Here is my review:

How Not to be a Bride Cover
Definitely, maybe…yes?

Mia Valentina gave up her high-flying life in LA to move back to Kent over four years ago. But it turns out that life in the slow lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

So when her boyfriend Leo proposes, she says yes, hoping it will bring some much needed sparkle back into her life. The trouble is, Mia never wanted a big white wedding, just the happy ever after…

The laugh-out-loud, uplifting new book from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake and Sophie Kinsella.

What does TWG think?

-raises hands up to the sky in the hallelujah pose-. YAS!!!!

I am a huge fan of Portia MacIntosh’s work. Her laugh out loud approach to real life situations is not only refreshing, it’s also weirdly heart-warming. MacIntosh takes situations (which some of us hide behind closed doors at, crying our eyes out with no idea  of where to go from here) dissects them until they’re unrecognisable, and then coaches her characters to get through the emotional times – bit by bit. It’s pretty much like therapy. Except it’s a smudge of the cost and makes you laugh instead of crying out; ‘I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M HEREEEEEE’.

I have to be honest; I was slightly apprehensive about reading Portia MacIntosh’s latest novel as whilst I did enjoy the authors previous offerings, it didn’t feel like the author I had come to know and love. I had everything crossed that MacIntosh’s trademark, snort-worthy one liners were even more present in this book. Literally, everything crossed….probably why I didn’t know I needed the loo thinking about it now! Anyway…

So, the burning question – did I enjoy ‘How Not To Be A Bride’? Oh hell yeah I did! Guess who’s back, back again -shimmies-. The author’s iconic writing style had returned in her latest offering, and what a belter of a book for it to return in! If you’re thinking that every woman in the world has been planning their wedding since they were an embryo; think again. If you’re thinking that every engaged woman wants the big, white wedding with added meringue (the dress, not the dessert), then you’ve obviously not been watching enough ‘Say Yes To The Dress’! Mia is the voice of every woman out there who just wants to get married simply. No fuss. No fluff. No having to say yes to things she doesn’t want but is railroaded into agreeing with. I guess some readers might find Mia’s approach to her wedding a little unorthodox. I however, found it to be extremely refreshing, whilst also finding out that I should be a bobbly head/nodding dog in my next life – due to all the agreeing I was doing.

The main relationship in this novel is brilliant as it shows the two characters being just like every other couple out there! Couples who don’t communicate! I shouldn’t laugh, but I made my sides hurt from laughing when Mia decided to ‘go and feel young again’. Brilliant.

I love, love, LOVED this book. The whole storyline was written brilliantly and I managed to finish it in one sitting (obvs) it was that addictive! I loved how the characters lifestyles pulled me in from the very first page, keeping me hostage until the very last page. Now, seeing as the calibre of this novel is 100% Portia MacIntosh and FABULOUS, I didn’t really mind being kept hostage to be honest! Not a sentence I thought I would say, but oh well!

‘How Not To Be A Bride’ is a laugh out loud, warm, refreshing novel which is guaranteed to make you curl up on the sofa with, whilst also feeling like you’re gaining a 2D BFF in your PJs. Win-win! It’s modern, it’s relatable and it’s absolutely brilliant. Another fantastic novel from such a brilliant author.

Thanks HQ!

Book Links:  Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Author Info:

Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it’s really like for women who don’t find this life stuff as easy as it seems.

 Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tour Link:

http://tours.readingromance.com/2017/10/how-not-to-be-bride-by-portia-macintosh.html