#TheMotherofAllChristmases by @MillyJohnson #12daysofChristmas #BlogTour #Review @TeamBATC @ed_pr

On the 11th day of Christmas TWG gave to me; ‘The Mother of all Christmases’ courtesy of TeamBATC…..and EdPr. Can you tell I am excited? Today it’s my turn to host Milly Johnson as part of the blog tour! Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and review copy. Here is my review:

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them … 

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, and are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable. 

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

What does TWG think?

Milly Johnson can do no wrong – I have no idea how she manages to produce storylines that manage to melt my ice cold heart, but she does and she does it good!!

‘The Christmas Pudding Club’ was genius!! What a clever, non invasive way for Christmas mums to come together without feeling as though they’re forced….like other mother and baby groups. Eve, Palma and Annie have a busy festive season ahead of them in more ways than one. Firstly, the ladies couldn’t be more different if they tried. Secondly, their road to motherhood wasn’t exactly without roadworks, and thirdly, they all have other things going on in their lives as well as their impending new addition.

Milly Johnson has captured each character beautifully, bringing their different personalities together as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Every time I read a novel by this author, I feel as though I’m coming home to my ‘safe place’ due to the cosy feeling I get each and every time. ‘The Mother of all Christmases’ was no different and, even though the storyline consisted of many laugh out loud, sarcastic moments, the overall storyline itself wasn’t without the hurdles of thought provoking situations.

Palma’s situation got right under my skin and I couldn’t help but empathise. I think I found myself being taken under Annie’s wing more than the others, whereas Eve was a tough nut to crack.

‘The Mother of all Christmases’ is such a lovely, heart warming read which opens many doors at once, allowing readers to escape into the wonderful world of Milly Johnson and her puddings. Brilliant!

Buy now!

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#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin by Helen Rolfe (@helenjrolfe) @rararesources

Apologies for how late in the day this is, because of internet issues the most of November, I’ve only just been able to read this book and have literally just finished it. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Do you believe in Christmas Miracles?

Holly is looking for a change and even though not everyone agrees with her career choices, she’s determined there’s more to this life than the long hours she works as an editor in New York City. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Mitch, a recluse who’s hiding more than she realises. 

Mitch does all he can to avoid human contact, spending his days in the little log cabin out in the woods behind Inglenook Falls where he owns a Christmas tree farm, so when Holly falls into his life, he’s not sure how to react. All he knows is that something needs to change if he ever wants to get his life back on track. 

Along with friends Cleo and Darcy, Holly is determined to bring joy back to Mitch’s life, but will he appreciate their interference? And when a business proposition throws everything up in the air, will it do more harm than good and ruin lives forever? 

Both Holly and Mitch must learn that on the surface people aren’t always what they seem…but if you dig a little deeper, they can take you by surprise.

What does TWG think?

My namesake is baaacckkk!! Not even joking – there’s a character called ‘Kaisha’ in this book and I LOVE it! This character appeared for the first time in a previous book in the series, so my excitement certainly piqued when I saw her make a comeback in this one.

I adore Helen Rolfe’s novels as they’re always so tenderly written and full of such warmth; ‘Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin’ was no different, although I will have to admit that I did struggle with elements of the book.

Whilst the storyline was very poignant regarding first impressions, assumptions, and looking further than a persons exterior, for me there was a lot of information given without many decisions of where it should go. I enjoyed reading about Holly’s journey, especially where Mitch was concerned, but I did feel as though it was missing a bit of magic that usually comes along with this author’s style.

Don’t get me wrong at all, I thought that the message within the storyline itself, is one that a lot of people should take heed of sooner rather than later, and I loved seeing different characters popping up from previous books in the series. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the book because I did – I cannot fault Helen Rolfe on her huggable writing style and the way she brings communities together with minimal effort.

For me personally, I needed that extra spark that was all. However, ‘Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin’ still is such a powerful and tender novel which highlights the true meaning of Christmas absolutely beautifully. It was such a joy to be wrapped up in Helen Rolfe’s magnetic words once again.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

 Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending. 

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/helenjrolfewriter

https://twitter.com/HJRolfe

www.helenjrolfe.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/helen-j-rolfe

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell (@angelabritnell) @choclituk @rararesources

First up on the blog this evening is my review for Angela Britnell’s ‘Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat’. Huge thanks, as always, to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas? 
When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

What does TWG think?

What a lovely little book this is! I actually found it quite comforting which, even after reading parts of the storyline that were highly emotive, I felt quite comforted by the characters and their lives.

Fee Winter is needing a bit of respite. Her life has been travelling down the fast lane for goodness knows how long, and her health is suffering as a result of that. One thing I loved most about Fee was her feisty naivety. She wasn’t a person who had spent a lot of time taking part in family traditions or being looked after daily by loved ones, so watching her in that situation showed how inexperienced she was which was a shame, yet also endearing.

I could tell a mile off what was going to pan out for Fee in the romantic sense, but watching it unfold was something different altogether. Some might say that it was a perfect match!

I will admit that Tom Chambers charm worked wonders from a reader point of view, even though there were times when I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him to stop being such an arrogant doofus. That said, Tom didn’t exactly have a plain sailing past behind him and it was very powerful to watch his heart flourish.

Can I just say….oh Mee Maw – what a woman!!! My family had our own version of her! Heck, don’t most families? She had to be my most favourite character alongside little LuLu – Angela Britnell certainly puts her heart and soul into her characters, that’s for sure!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat’ and, even though the title shows hints of festivities, the storyline isn’t a glitter dump of baubles and everything else. It’s subtly done which is ideal as that means this book can be read all throughout the year.

A lovely, comforting, uplifting novel – an absolute pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

 

Social Media Links – 

www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

www.angelabritnellromance.com

https://www.instagram.com/angelagolleybritnell/

#BlogTour! #Review – Dreaming of Christmas by T.A.Williams (@TAWilliamsBooks) @canelo_co

Apologies for the delay in posting my review for T.A.Williams’ blog tour, unfortunately the delay was out of my control due to internet issues at home. Many thanks for the patience! I am delighted to be able to finally share my review for ‘Dreaming of Christmas’. Many thanks to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend.
But can Zoe still find love in the Alps?


Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it’s been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.

The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it’ll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others…

What does TWG think?

There’s one thing being dumped by your partner, and there’s one thing being dumped by your partner at Christmas. Clearly both of those aren’t nice at all, but at Christmas? Really? Santa isn’t the only one emptying his sack; Zoe’s boyfriend has done exactly the same thing…with another woman, yet HE’S the one doing the dumping? Forgive me for coming across thick but how does he get to do that?! I shan’t lie, several expletives went through my head – ‘what an absolute tool’ is unfortunately the strongest insult i can do if i want Amazon to accept my review!

Anywhoo, with Zoe trying to come to terms with her recent heartbreak, an invitation to hit the ski slopes, erm, running, gives Zoe a well needed boost. Until she finds out that her ex-boyfriend will be there too. I will admit that when i found out that Grant would be there too, I thought Zoe would refuse to go despite the issue being with him and not her. Thankfully she did go and what a brilliant read ‘Dreaming of Christmas’ turned out to be because of it!

What an absolute darling, Bella, is! Children really do cement the magic of Christmas, don’t they? As for Billy’s dog – the word LEGEND sprang to mind more than once! I adored every morsel of ‘Dreaming of Christmas’ from the Christmas spirit at the ski resort, to the rekindling of friendships thanks to Zoe and her friends, and even the situation with Grant and watching karma come and bite him on the backside! I snorted, i belly laughed, I ‘awwwww’ed’ – and yes, i even was extremely bereft when the book finished as I was truly in my element.

‘Dreaming of Christmas’ is definitely a Christmas dream come true as it symbolises just how Christmas should be. I am always impressed by T.A.Williams’ novels, but the fact that he is able to write characters of the opposite sex in such an outstanding and relatable manner, really impresses me more than words can say. I’m not saying that because this author is a male he shouldn’t be able to write female lead characters, not at all.What I am saying is that he clearly understands females and their ways because if he didn’t, he certainly wouldn’t be able to write characters who ‘woman’ far better than i can ‘woman’, and I am one!

A fantastic, cosy, and brilliantly written novel from the highly talented, T.A.Williams. I LOVED it, I really did. Thanks to T.A.Williams, the Mr Claus of Christmas books, I can safely say that ‘it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….’!


Buy now from Amazon

About the author

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled
extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

 

 

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

Happy publication day, Karen King! Pardon the late post but the internet gremlins decided to visit TWG today and stole it! I am delighted to be bringing you a review of Karen’s brand new novel, ‘Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel’ – many thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite and ARC.

Snowy rooftops, mulled wine, and a hot single dad. Not the Christmas Saffy wished for… but maybe the one she needs?

Twenty-nine year old Saffron Baxter knew her holiday plans didn’t stand a chance the moment her sister called to say she was stuck abroad with no hope of being home before Christmas. Saffy would just have to abandon thoughts of wild festive parties in the city and head down to remote Cornwall.

Because every year her sister hosts a huge Christmas meal for all the single parents in her village. And Saffy knows it’d break her heart to let them down.

Arriving as snow starts to fall over the thatched cottages of the little harbour town of Port Breok, she meets Logan – the tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed, devoted single dad who lives next door, with his adorable daughter Chloe. At first she thinks he might help her make Christmas Day extra-memorable, but he just seems convinced she’ll never manage – that she’s just a party girl who doesn’t care about Christmas, or anyone’s feelings.

Maybe he’s right. After all – she doesn’t want to settle down, she’s only there for a few days… But she’s still determined to do her sister proud with gorgeous decorations, the most beautiful real tree – complete with extra twinkly lights, and delicious mince pies. To make it a Christmas everyone will remember, especially little Chloe. Even if, when the mistletoe comes down, she knows she’ll probably never see Logan again…

What does TWG think?

I’m not afraid to admit that I cried reading this, nor am I afraid to admit that I fell head over heels in love with Logan! And then there’s Chloe! Omg! The line she came out with regarding ‘sharing’ (tries not to give spoilers) had the tears falling from my eyes quicker than the snow falling in this book!

Could the Lonely Hearts Hotel be the start of a brand new series? I hope so, I really do, and I’m not just saying that because of Logan! Okay yes, he was certainly my type on paper….pardon the pun, but there was a lot more to the story than his heroic, gentlemanly actions.

Saffy is a career girl. An independent, highly driven, party animal. But why has she chosen that route? Not that there is anything wrong with it of course, but could there be a reason why she refuses to let herself fall in love? There is a lot more to Saffy than I originally thought and whilst it would have been far too easy to side with her sister, Hannah, when it came to my opinion on her personality, it would have been wrong of me to judge the character on how others perceive her. Personally, I thought she was a brilliant, relatable character with a hilarious heart of gold. I would love to see more of her again in another book as she has so much more to offer what with the events at the Lonely Hearts Hotel!

‘Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel’ is a read that has something for everyone, whether it’s a character who is a single parent, a nutter of a pet, a community driven village, or even a child with a returning parent. I related to the single mum points, although I couldn’t help but wonder why people think of loneliness when it comes to single mums. But that’s just me!

My eyes may have been filled to the brim with tears and the sleeve of my top may have been wet, but my heart was the most roasty toasty it has ever been. Chloe borrowed my heart and kept it with her polar bear collection – she is one cracking, cracking child who fought the festivities to this book by the truckload.

A wonderful, snug as a bug read that was beautifully written from one heart to another – I absolutely loved it. This delightful, deliciously festive treat should be a ‘go to’ Christmas read from here on in…..just don’t forget about reading it on the other 364 days of the year. Phenomenal, truly phenomenal.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Snowflakes at Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett (@sarahlou_writes) @HQDigitalUK

Happy publication day, Sarah Bennett! I have the honour of hosting the final stop on the blog tour. Many thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

The most wonderful time of the year…

Libby Stone has lived in Lavender Bay all her life. She loves the little seaside town and has big dreams to turn her father’s greasy old chippy into a dainty teashop – not that she’s told him yet!

Finding love isn’t easy amongst the cluster of coastal houses, but it’s not every day that someone quite as handsome and mysterious as Owen Coburn walks into the local pub.

And as the snowflakes begin to swirl on the promenade, Libby realises she’s falling for him. But Owen has been keeping a secret that could destroy everything

Book 1: Spring at Lavender Bay
Book 2: Summer at Lavender Bay
Book 3: Snowflakes at Lavender Bay

What does TWG think?

Today feels like quite a bittersweet day as whilst I am so excited for the latest instalment in the ‘Lavender Bay’ series, it’s unfortunately the third and final visit to a place which captured my heart.

All books in the ‘Lavender Bay’ series can be read as a stand-alone, however I would suggest reading the books in order as there are some situations in book three which were mentioned in book two and may be considered as a spoiler. Although saying that, you wouldn’t know that said situation was in book two unless you had already read it sooooo!!!

In this book, the storyline focuses on Libby Stone, and the chip shop at the heart of the community. I know that sounds daft, but those who live in a small village or town will know that chip shops/pubs/antique shops etc can be seen as a hub of the community. I mean, a chippy needs to know how the locals like their sausages battered, right? Whilst that is an important thing to know, Libby’s chip shop isn’t entirely the main focus of the story.

If you have read book two, you’ll already know of Owen Coburn – a man who had come to Lavender Bay to find his next business venture and ended up supporting Libby’s friend, Sam and his dream. That wasn’t all Owen Coburn was good for though, and everything becomes clear in book three. What I thought was very clever was how we were able to watch things unfold from another point of view, despite having seen it from yet another point of view previously. I’ll say one word – Land Rover!

I did feel for Libby as she seemed like such a tortured soul. She wanted to do right by her friends and family, yet wanted to grab her life by the chip butty without offending anyone. Not only that she seemed to struggle with her looks and thought that everyone viewed her as a ‘freak’. I guess I resonated with that as I, just like many others, have (and still do) felt like that many times and it’s quite heartbreaking.

I really didn’t want this series to end as all of the characters brought so much to the series and their individual books, closing the book felt as though I was saying goodbye to a group of people I had come to love and adore. Honestly, I could go on reading about Libby, Beth, Eliza, Sam, Jack, Owen, and of course Bastien, without getting bored. I am gutted!

‘Snowflakes at Lavender Bay’ is a life affirming, touching, and cosy read which was brilliantly and beautifully written, laced with Sarah Bennett’s trademark hilarity and ability to reach into her readers souls on such a deep level.

I would recommend this series in a heartbeat – it is everything I could have wished for in a book and more. Lavender Bay, it has been an absolute pleasure!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain (@heidi_swain) @simonschusteruk @teambatc

I am beyond honoured to be one of today’s stop on Heidi Swain’s blog tour as it’s publication day! Huge thank you to Harriett Collins for ensuring I got a space on the blog tour and for the ARC. Here is my review:

After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course . . .
 
Moving into Wynthorpe Hall to escape the town’s gossip, Hayley finds herself immersed in the eccentric Connelly family’s festive activities as they plan to host their first ever Winter Wonderland. But Hayley isn’t the only new resident at the hall. Gabe, a friend of the Connelly’s son Jamie, has also taken up residence, moving into Gatekeeper’s Cottage, and he quickly makes an impression on Wynbridge’s reformed good-girl.
 
As preparations commence for the biggest event of the season, the pair find themselves drawn ever closer to one another, but unbeknownst to Hayley, Gabe, too, has a reason for turning his back on love, one that seems intent on keeping them apart.
 
Under the starry winter skies, will Gabe convince Hayley to open her heart again once more? And in doing so, will he convince himself?

What does TWG think?

I am probably going to sound like a worn out record here (if you’ve read my other reviews for Heidi Swain’s previous books you’ll know what I’m on about…), but I am just going to come out and say it anyway because as always, I 100% mean it:

Heidi Swain, you absolute gem!!!!

Can’t I just get away with Writing ‘beautiful!!!’ as my review? No? Okayyyy.

This book is absolutely beautiful though and, once again, Heidi Swain has delivered a deliciously festive novel which is set to rival Christmas Day itself. Seriously. I adore Wynbridge. Every time I go back there with new characters, I feel as though I’m catching up with old friends, making new friends, as well as feeling severely content when The Cherry Tree Cafe gets mentioned as that’s where Wynbridge began. I love how the author manages to include characters from her previous book, in the storyline for this book, bringing all of the stories together like a proper community.

Yes, each one of Heidi Swain’s novels could be seen as a series, however due to the way each book is written, they can be read as a stand-alone with no problem at all. I will also say that each book is divine and you certainly wouldn’t be losing out if you chose to visit Wynbridge from the very beginning.

There is a lot of romance, humour, and festive delights in this book to warm your cockles ten times over, and whilst I would love to have a natter about each event in the book, I would hate to ruin it for everyone else. Basically that is a nice way of me saying to go and buy #SnowflakesandCinnamon, you really won’t be disappointed.

Despite being a light hearted, romantic, heartwarming read, Heidi Swain still incorporated an emotive journey into several of her characters lives. Journeys which I couldn’t help but be touched by. I adored the vibe in Wynthorpe Hall and couldn’t help but feel the love from every single character who lived there.

#SnowflakesandCinnamon truly is the perfect read to snuggle up with this Christmas and every single day of the year. My Christmas Wish this year is for more Wynbridge tales as my life wouldn’t feel complete without the books that allow me to escape to a place where everyone is loved, regardless of your past, present, future outlooks – anything.

A spellbinding, captivating, and outstanding novel which has the perfect recipe on how to do life for YOU – what more could you want? This is by far one of the best books I have read this year. Simply stunning!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley (@zarastoneley) @HarperImpulse @rararesources

As a massive fan of Zara Stoneley, it gives me great pleasure in welcoming her back to TWG as part of the blog tour for ‘No One Cancels Christmas’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to HarperImpulse for the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

What does TWG think?

Oh I do love a Zara Stoneley novel!! I love how I can always count on this author to transport me into a storyline which not only makes me unattractively snort at high decibels, but also makes me look at things in a complete different (let’s not forget ‘logical’) manner.

I have noticed that the last couple of Zara Stoneley’s novels have had more of a relaxed feel to them, and I just love how that has made the author bring her trademark humour to the surface in a way which would make readers go; ‘omg she didn’t just say that’, in regards to her characters. Take a look at Sarah in ‘No One Cancels Christmas’ and her award winning customer service for example – that character highlights what you shouldn’t really call someone you have never met before, in the most realistic way ever. Seriously. How many of us have sat at our desks or stood behind counters and have been faced with a customer or client who raises our blood pressure? And how many of us have thought one thing but said the other due to the fact they had had a utility bill through the mail, or the kid had just purchased something on the iPad because £250 was a bargain, all because we couldn’t lose our jobs? Yeah, well, Sarah says those things you shouldn’t really say, and she owns it like the colourful peacock she is!

Given the underlying nature of the book in terms of Sarah’s family history as well as her new friend’s situation, there were times where I thought that the humour wasn’t taking those situations seriously. However, humour is how Sarah deals with her emotions and once I realised that, the entire storyline took on a whole new meaning. I guess you could say that I was finding it all a bit emotional…

Wait. Understatement of the century. Sigh, okay I cried, and no I am not ashamed. I found that watching Sarah’s barriers come down, was such an emotionally rewarding experience as I got to see a side of her I had never seen before.

There is a lot more to ‘No One Cancels Christmas’ than Sarah’s pitiful picnic skills, but trust me when I say that this storyline is like a treasure trove. A never ending one at that. Honestly, every time I turned the page I felt as though I was being given a gift! It certainly takes a special kind of author who is able to pull that off and Zara Stoneley did with ease and grace.

Once again Zara Stoneley has shown me that there is more to people that meets the eyes, and finding out how someone ticks is all part of the journey, regardless of how long it takes.

‘No One Cancels Christmas’ is one of the best festive reads I have read so far this year (I’ve read a few!), with its Christmas spirit, family rifts and enough food to warrant putting Slimming World on speed dial. A beautiful, laugh out loud novel which ticked every single box of candy canes and more – I absolutely loved it. A fantastic, festive treat that is guaranteed to keep your fairy lights on this Christmas!

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, I wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when I grew up. After many years, and many different jobs, my dream of writing a bestseller came true. 

I write about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hope that my tales make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and occasionally say ‘ahhh‘.

I now live in a Cheshire village with my family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Where you can find her

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zarastoneley/

#Blogtour! #Review – Happily Ever After at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples (@jillesteeples) @Aria_Fiction

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I am both excited and devastated by this blog tour, as I cannot believe we have reached the final book in such a wonderful series! I am super honoured to be day two on the blog tour for ‘Happily Ever After at the Dog and Duck’ by Jill Steeples. Many thanks to Aria for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Life in Little Leyton is never quiet, and when handsome developer

Max and his bride-to-be Ellie, receive some sad news, he decides to whisk her away for a romantic break. The time away gives Ellie a new perspective, and she’s eager to get home to get on with planning their wedding.

But a devastating incident at the pub she runs, The Dog & Duck, puts everything in jeopardy. And, at their home Braithwaite Manor, tensions are heightened when Ellie’s future mother-in-law turns up with all her worldly belongings, much to Max’s sister Katy’s despair.

With Max preoccupied with problems at work, Ellie’s left literally holding the baby, while dealing with a seemingly endless list of dramas. And as Christmas approaches, Ellie begins to wonder if she’ll ever get her happily ever after…

What does TWG think?

If you’ve been following the ‘Dog & Duck’ series since the beginning, you’ll be well aware of the issues Little Leyton has had to face. Don’t panic if you’re new to the series though – I would highly recommend reading the books in order so that you can fully appreciate each book, even though the author does a grand job of writing them as standalone. Can ‘The Dog and Duck’ really have the happily ever after it deserves?

I was not mentally prepared for this series to end AT ALL. I wanted to start the book yet I knew that when I did, I would be closer to the series ending than ever before. Sniff. I have been with this series since the first book and I cannot believe how much the main character, Ellie, has grown since she first stepped foot in Little Leyton. I feel as though I have come to know all of the characters individually, becoming part of the village myself.

I am well aware that all good things must come to an end, but with such wonderful characters as Max, Ellie and all the folks in Little Leyton, I would be more than happy to continue following their journey for a very long time.

Once again Ellie is faced with enough stresses to make her hair go grey. Not only is she keeping something from her parents, she also ends up slap bang in the middle of the drama between her boyfriends mother and sister. Families eh, who’d have them? Even so, that isn’t all. The village of Little Leyton have their world knocked when a focal point of the village becomes an uncertainty, highlighting the fact that nobody knows what is around the corner. Money may be on their side, but time and weather clearly aren’t.

I couldn’t help wishing for Ellie to be cut some slack. I mean, how much rubbish can one person take? Yes, she is an incredibly strong character, and yes she has a very good support network, but even so, sometimes even the strongest people need a moment to let the tears fall.

Jill Steeples’ ‘Dog and Duck’ series has got to be one of my all-time serials I have ever read. There is just something so warming about all of the characters and situations within the book, that it never seemed to matter whether the sun shined or the rain fell, as long as the villagers had each other. I am so honoured to have been part of the characters journey indirectly by reading each book. It has been an absolute pleasure and, even though I am utterly devastated that the series has come to an end, I cannot fault ‘Happily Ever After at the Dog and Duck’ at all. What a perfect end to a perfect series.

What a finale, seriously. I smiled. I laughed. My eyes leaked. And my soul felt complete. This book warmed me up quicker than a hot water bottle, quicker than a winter duvet on a cold night, and even quicker than a shower on the highest setting. If you’ve ever read a book where you end up feeling calm and serene as though all of the puzzle pieces slotted into place, you’ll understand my feelings where this book is concerned because I felt exactly that.

A truly beautifully written, outstanding, humbling, addictive, cosy and heartwarming novel which made me feel as though I was part of Little Leyton and loved by everyone in it. Jill Steeples has done all of her characters proud throughout the series, but most importantly she has definitely done her readers proud by writing such a perfect ending to a perfect series.

‘The Dog and Duck’, it has been a pleasure. Jill Steeples, I have everything crossed that a new series will be coming soon as, after reading the final installment of this series, i have even more proof as to why you are one of my all time favourite authors.

Absolutely wonderful.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Jill lives with her husband, two children and an English Pointer named Amber in the Bedfordshire countryside. Her short stories have appeared in women’s magazines around the world aswell as in charity anthologies. When she’s not writing, Jill loves spending time with family and friends, reading, films, musical theatre, walking, baking and eating cakes, and drinking wine.

Follow Jill

Twitter handle: @jillesteeples

Any blogs/website: www.jillsteeples.co.uk

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt (@katehewitt1) @Bookouture


Today is the third and final day of the blog blitz for Kate Hewitt’s ‘The Secrets We Keep’. Big thanks, as always, to Bookouture for the blog blitz invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:


My whole body aches. I trawl memories of her, now so precious… my darling child. I can’t lose her…

When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children, it is an escape. The rental house may be a bit small – but it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…

However, their isolation is disrupted by the family from the big house next door. Three children and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems determined to invite Tessa into their lives.

Rebecca, however, is harbouring a dark secret. And when it becomes too much for her to bear, Tessa seems to be the only person she can turn to.

But as powerful bonds form between the two families, choices will be made that can never be undone.

And as the summer comes to an end, nothing can keep everyone safe. And one family will pay the ultimate price…

What does TWG think?

Oh bloomin’ ‘eck, how on Earth am I going to review this one?

‘The Secrets We Keep’ had me on the fence to begin with – it’s not that I didn’t like it, I just couldn’t gel with it. I couldn’t seem to figure out the truth behind Rebecca’s actions, Tessa’s emotions, and the children’s personalities. I know that that is the whole point of a story, but as the answers seemed to come very late on in the book, I knew that I wasn’t going to change my opinion until I was able to figure out where the storyline was headed in terms of the characters.

Now, before you ask why I didn’t give up on the book, ‘The Secrets We Keep’ had something about it. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what that was yet the idea of giving up on reading this book didn’t even cross my mind. Maybe it was because I was curious about the answers to the questions I had. Maybe I was intrigued by the path that the storyline could head down. As I say, there was just something about Kate Hewitt’s storyline which kept my hands firmly gripped on my e-reader, and my eyes firmly glued to Rebecca’s life.

I suppose I can feel slightly smug here and extremely pleased, as I am SO pleased that I gave ‘The Secrets We Keep’ the time it deserved to blossom fully. For a book which had me gathering splinters on my bottom from sitting on the fence for a while, my opinion couldn’t have changed much quicker if it had tried. Seriously. I finished this book with tears in my eyes, hope in my heart, and a loss that was so strong, I could hear something shattering deep within.

Yes, ‘The Secrets We Keep’ is a slow starter. Yes, the characters keep their cards very close to their chests for a good portion of the book. But oh my flipping goodness, just like one character in the book said; ‘once the tape is ripped…’, everything came spilling out. Basically this book, in my eyes, was like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Not just any butterfly either.  A ‘Marbled White’ – understated yet undeniably beautiful. Simple on the outside yet complex in its choices.

So, if you hadn’t guessed by now, I ended up falling head over heels with Kate Hewitt’s novel and everything it stood for. Rebecca was proof that it is okay not to be okay. She proved that the hardest choices in life are the ones which have the biggest rewards. She highlighted the importance of speaking out. For a character who came across as a highly strung, unsure, and emotional person, Rebecca ended up showing herself, and me, that there was a lot more to her than originally thought. As for Tessa, from the very beginning I yearned to take her in a hug. I yearned to kneel down in front of Katherine, look into her eyes and tell her that it’s okay to talk. I only hoped for the best for Tessa and her family, I really did. I just didn’t expect the conclusion for these characters at all, and weirdly it hurt.

‘The Secrets We Keep’ is a deeply emotional, raw, and devastating novel which shows the reality of what can often lay beneath a person’s smile, a person’s laugh. I could relate a lot to Rebecca unfortunately, and I think that is why I ended up being emotionally bound to the book and its characters. I will not be forgetting this book anytime soon, as it is one of the most poignant and life affirming novels I think I have read so far this year. It’s harrowing. It’s hard hitting. It’s emotionally draining, but it is beautiful, thought-provoking, insightful….and everything in between. One last thing I will add – keep the tissues handy, you’re going to need them.

Buy now!