#BlogTour! #Review – ‘Tis the Season to be Single by Laura Ziepe (@lauraziepe) @HQDigitalUK

As soon as I saw the cover of Laura Ziepe’s novel, ‘Tis the season to be Single, on social media, I just knew I had to read it! Many thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Rachel is in shock. She was sure that her boyfriend was about to propose – not break up with her! Even worse, it turns out he’s been cheating on her…

Grace can’t bear the thought of spending another Christmas with her lazy, unappreciative husband. Surely it’s time to shake things up a bit?

Amber knows she should be happy that her best friend Jack is getting married, but there’s a little part of her that can’t help think ‘it was always meant to be me’!

With Christmas fast approaching, surely there’s no better time to be single – yet will the three friends manage to keep their promise and ban all men until the New Year?

What does TWG think?

Oh this is super fun!! I have to admit that I was a little bit apprehensive at first because i just couldn’t work out what everyone’s fixation with being in a relationship was! I know that some people don’t like being single, but just because some don’t, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to. Plus, why should there be emphasis on a woman needing a man to make her complete?

Anyway, before I go off on a rant, I am so pleased that Laura Ziepe allowed her characters to take a step back from relationships to find out where they truly fit in. Okay, one of her characters didn’t really have a choice (even if he did do her a favour, I mean what a bleeeeeep!!!), another character realised that she deserved better than to mother her husband who is more than capable of sticking his smelly boxers in the wash, and then there was the third character who would rather slap and tickle at an allotted time.

So you see, these three women all have their own outlooks on relationships, and they all have their own way of coping when things go baubles up. I adored the girl power element to the book and the whole sisterhood vibe – it certainly made a change rather than reading a book where all the women are knocking each other down with their Manolo Blahniks knock offs.

‘Tis the season to be single, is the type of story which doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Yes, it does have a few dramatic moments combined with some which require the reader to be a bit more empathetic than usual, but there is the perfect balance between all of that and the festivities.

Laura Ziepe made me giggle for a large portion of the book, certainly not disappointing me with her storyline that I was so excited to read. This is such a feel good, cosy Christmas read which shows readers that sometimes taking a step back and seeing things not covered in tinsel can help you realise that you too deserve to be the star of the Christmas tree.

A fun, festive and fabulous read – I cannot wait to read more from Laura Ziepe!!

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green (@Rosie_Green1988) @RaRaResources

I am delighted to welcome Rosie Green back to TWG as I review the latest book in the ‘Little Duck Pond Cafe’ series, ‘Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Fen has always hated being the centre of attention.
She loves her new job, working behind the scenes at the Little Duck Pond Cafe and baking the scrumptious cakes that have helped its reputation soar. But frankly, she’d rather scrub the public toilet floor with a toothbrush than have to come out and talk to the customers.


She’s always been happy to stay in the background as long as she has a good supply of books to escape into. That’s her kind of romance – the fictional sort where she can read about other people taking a chance on love, but she doesn’t have to risk her own heart.


But that was before Ethan Fox arrived in the village and turned her world upside down. Ethan is a leading light in the local amateur dramatics theatre company and Fen knows he’s way out of her league. 
But when the popular village Christmas pantomime hits a crisis, Fen and Ethan find themselves thrown together. Can Fen overcome her shyness and find the courage to step on stage and save the day?

What does TWG think?

Oh my, what an understated little character, Fen, is! She reminded me of the type of person who comes across as very guarded, yet they have a heart of gold and the power to do anything that they put their mind to. Well, as long as they believed in themselves first.

Fen is more of a ‘behind the scenes’ gal and would do anything to keep herself behind the curtain instead of in front of it. However, when a certain head turning man walked into her life and persuaded her to join the local play group, Fen completely underestimated quite what she was letting herself in for. The thing is, so was everyone else.

I loved catching up with the gang in the latest instalment! What a drama filled, romantic read this was. Let’s just say that Fen isn’t the only one having issues in this book!! Whilst it was a shame to see good friendships being tested, it brought me a lot of joy to watch the characters realise how much they mean to each other. It’s things like that which make me feel hopeful!

‘Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’ is a mouthwatering, festive delight which I absolutely flew through. I didn’t want to put it down! It was great to see that the author put a lot of festivities into the storyline, as some Christmas books I’ve read have been a bit stingy on the decorations and Christmas spirit. Definitely made a change. I mean, what’s a Christmas book without…Christmas?

Yet another joyful, cosy read from an author who knows how to keep her readers interested like fairy lights on a Christmas tree.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.


Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

#BlogTour! #Review – Autumn Antics (The Boardwalk by the Sea book 2) by Georgina Troy (@GeorginaTroy) @Rararesources

A late post tonight, apologies! I am delighted to be reviewing book number two in ‘The Boardwalk by the Sea’ series, Autumn Antics, by Georgina Troy. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and a copy of the book. Here is my review:

Being a part-time hand model can be tricky, especially when you have to deal with prima donnas like Megan Knight, a reality star whose meteoric rise has surprised everyone. Bella is happiest running her tiny antique business from the front room of her cottage on the boardwalk. To ensure she has enough income coming in, she also rents out two of her bedrooms and is hiding a secret crush on one of her lodgers. His name is Jack and he also happens to be her best friend Sacha’s brother.

If life wasn’t complicated enough, her world-travelling mother appears on her doorstep on the same evening that Jack’s ex-fiancée arrives on the boardwalk determined to win him back. Bella has a lot of thinking to do and soon discovers that not all gems sparkle.

What does TWG think?

Oh I’m loving this series so far, I really hope there will be more books! I do like a bit of fictional drama, especially when it’s as popcorn worthy as this book!! Bella isn’t one for wearing her heart on her sleeve. In fact, she would rather not put anything too close to her immaculate hands just in case.

No, she isn’t one of those people who refuses to get their hands dirty – she’s a hand model and, whilst she enjoys the extra money, working with people who feel they are entitled to everything little thing in this world, really grinds her gears. Back in the little village she calls home, Bella is looking forward to indulging in a few home comforts and fun with her lodgers and best friend. Well, that was until she had a visitor…

The drama queen in this book, Megan Knight, reminded me of a real life reality star with the same name. One who I absolutely cannot stand! I’m not sure whether the author based the diva on a real life celeb or not, but in my head Georgina Troy did and she nailed it. Yes folks, I didn’t like the Megan in this book either!!

Look, I’m all for making the most of situations when they arise, but pushing people’s buttons in the process is guaranteed to lose fans rather than gain them, regardless of how old you are.

‘Autumn Antics’ wasn’t a taxing read at all and I loved being able to get stuck into the drama where Bella and Megan were concerned, without having to focus on a timeline of 2838484 characters with 284848484 issues. Slight exaggeration but you catch my drift I’m sure. Sometimes you just need to read a book which delivers on humour, romance, a bit of guts, and a bit moreish – ‘Autumn Antics’ ticked those boxes for me and more. I found it to be such an easy and delightful read, and the fact it was set in Jersey was such a breath of fresh air.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this little gem of a book. A book which was both modern and old school in terms of events and relationships. A book which made me giggle and my heart tingle as i followed Bella and Jack’s journey in this seasonal treat. I have everything crossed that there will be more books in this series! I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to them just yet!!

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Georgina Troy is a pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. She recently signed with HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse to write an historical romance to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr will be published in e-book format on 12 October 2018 and in paperback on 27 December 2018.

Georgina was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) with A Jersey Kiss and a finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2015. Her first four-book series, The Jersey Scene and books 1 and 2 of her second series, The Boardwalk by the Sea are available.

She also writes thrillers as Ella Drummond and lives on the island of Jersey with her husband and three rescue dogs and is 1/3 of The Blonde Plotters.

Sign up to Georgina’s Newsletter at:deborahcarr.org/contact

Social Media Links – 

Website: https://www.deborahcarr.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorginaTroyAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeorginaTroy

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/georginatroy/

Giveaway – Win an Autumn Antics Locket and Tote Bag (Open Internationally) 

Enter the giveaway now!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#Blogblitz! #Review – One Winter’s Day by Laura Briggs (@paperdollwrites) @Bookouture

Happy publication day, Laura Briggs! I have the pleasure of kicking off the blog blitz today with a review – thank you to Bookouture for the ARC to allow me to do so. Here is my review:

If only falling in love was as easy as baking a cake… 

 Ama’s loved baking ever since she can remember. Desserts, cakes, cookies – anything sweet, delicious and sinful. The kitchen is the only place where she can be truly herself.

 But – as she starts work on the biggest cake she has ever made – for a couple’s magical winter wedding – she realises just how much she secretly dreams of falling in love too.

 Then she meets a handsome man on a motorbike who sets her pulse racing. But Ama knows it can never be. Because he’s her very traditional parents’ absolute worst nightmare… And she knows she can never let them down.

 Do her family know best? Or can she trust her heart? And, as the snow begins to fall, will she ever find out what really does go into the recipe for true love?

What does TWG think?

Can I just take a moment to say how stunning that cover is? Wow! Such an eye catching and enchanting cover – definitely the reason why I chose to read this book, that’s for sure!

Ama’s family like to think that they have her best interests at heart, whilst she on the other hand, can’t help but think that they’re sticking their noses into her business. With Ama and her family very cultural, her father wishes that she would find a partner in keeping with their tradition. Is it up to them to decide who she falls in love with? Hell, is it even up to Ama to decide who she falls in love with?

‘One Winter’s Day’ is split into the different outlooks of Ama, Tessa, and Natalie – three women who are completely different not only in personality, but their beliefs as well. You would have thought that working as wedding planners/designer/Baker together, that love would fall at their feet as quickly as it did for their clients. Ha….yeah right!

I must admit that I do like a novel with a wedding planner in it, as I like to be nosy and watch it all come together. This book was no different! That said, whilst I did enjoy the cultural differences where romance was concerned, I didn’t end up falling head over heels with it as I felt as though something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, the characters were brilliantly written separately, and I loved delving into their own journeys, but I felt as though things could have been a bit more energetic when it all came together.

Please don’t take the above as a negative as I did enjoy the book, and of course that is my own personal opinion!

Laura Briggs is very talented, and it’s clear that she writes with her heart and probably via her own experiences as they seemed naturally written rather than forced by Google. I thought that the book was very tender, humorous, and free spirited – I am really looking forward to reading more from this author!

Buy now!

About the author.

Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots) and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

 Author Social Media Links: 

Website: https://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

 Goodreads: 

 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/230209.Laura_Briggs?from_search=true

#BlogTour! #Review – The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke (@karenclarke123)

After seeing loads of pretty Christmas decorations in a shop today, I am very much in the Christmas spirit, just in time to review Karen Clarke’s newest novel. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the café at Seashell Cove, where there’s hot chocolate to keep you warm – and the man of your dreams could be waiting…

Interior designer Tilly Campbell loves being carefree and single. But her latest job is redecorating the cosy local café for a Christmas party, and when her friends confess their plans for the big night – including a proposal, a declaration of love and a pregnancy announcement – Tilly starts to wonder if she might be missing out…

Transforming the café into a winter wonderland is more of a challenge than she thought, so when she bumps into gorgeous newcomer Seth, Tilly welcomes the distraction. Seth is a single father, struggling to settle his son Jack into their new cottage, and Tilly is determined to help them make their house into a home in time for Christmas.

But with the café still in chaos just days before the party it looks like it’s going to be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons… With friends old and new relying on her, can Tilly save the Christmas party?

And could she finally find love waiting for her under the mistletoe?

What does TWG think?

It feels like ages since I was last in Seashell Cove! I was so excited to catch up with all of the characters and find out what they have been up to since I last ‘saw’ them. At first I didn’t recognise the place, probably because I half expected to be back with Meg as the main character. It was wonderful to see snippets of her story live on in this one though, that’s for sure.

I did find the book to be a little of a slow starter as I took a while to warm up to Tilly, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the overall vibe of the book. Once I got further into the storyline, my opinion of Tilly changed and I found myself warming to her like marshmallows to a fire. How the hell she put up with her sister, Bridget, without committing a murder is beyond me!! Romy, Bridget’s little girl, had me in hysterics! She reminded so much of my own little girl. If only we all went through life without a care in the world like children!!

Tilly is a very independent character who is so set on doing things for other people, she sometimes forgets just how much one person can hold on their shoulders. Fortunately for her, newcomer, Seth, helps her see otherwise. As for his mother though, geezzzzzz!!!!!! I don’t get why he didn’t stand up to his mother! I know that Felicity wanted to do right by her grandson, but surely she must have realised that alienating him wouldn’t be the answer?

Even though this is a Christmassy book, the festive theme isn’t overpowering for those who dislike Christmas in October. I do think that as festivities were an apparent part of the book, that there should have been more oomph with it. That said, Gwen’s antics with the Christmas pudding kept Christmas on the map.

All in all, The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish, with Romy being my star at the top of the Christmas tree. I really do hope we get to see more from the gang in Seashell Cove, as I can’t wait to find out what else others are hiding! A fun, light hearted and addictive read – a great follow up novel in an already fabulous series.

Buy now!

About the author.

Karen is the author of the popular BEACHSIDE and SEASHELL COVE series of romantic comedies, published by Bookouture. 

She’s also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection ‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…and other Tales with a Twist’ 

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children, and when she’s not writing loves reading, walking, baking and eating cake.

 

Author Social Media Links: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.clarke.5682

Twitter:     https://twitter.com/karenclarke123

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Website: http://writewritingwritten.blogspot.co.uk/

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Christmas Teashop of Second Chances by Donna Ashcroft (@donnashc) @Bookouture

I am thrilled to be able to share my thoughts of Donna Ashcroft’s latest novel with you all today, as I host today’s stop on the blog tour! Huge thanks, as always, to bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Snow is beginning to fall around the cosy Castle Teashop, with its toasty log fire, scrumptious mince pies and delicious hot chocolates. Romance is in the air and Lily King is hoping some winter magic will help to make her dreams come true…

Twenty-five-year-old Lily King is wondering when her life is going to start. She adores working at the much-loved Castle Teashop, surrounded by familiar faces and delicious cakes. But she’s stuck in a rut. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend and her dream job seems to be slipping through her fingers.

When her best friend Emily Campbell needs urgent help to organise her enchanting Christmas wedding, Lily realises it’s finally her moment to shine and reach for the opportunities she’s been wishing for. Can she pull off the biggest celebration Castle Cove has ever seen or will something – or someone – make things more complicated than she imagined?

Rebellious and handsome photographer Josh Havellin-Scott has always felt like an outsider, especially next to his perfect older brother, who is about to get married. At the last minute, Josh finds himself roped into plans for the Big Day, the very last thing he wants to do, until he is meets creative and quirky Lily King…

When Lily and Josh are thrown together, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different. But they begin to realise that opposites can attract – and sometimes when you’re not looking for love, it comes and finds you when you least expect it. With some festive magic, will they manage to work together and save the day?

And could they discover a winter romance of their very own along the way?

What does TWG think?

Oh my mince pies, could this book BE anymore fabulous?!?! I really did enjoy the first book in the series, but I have to say that this festive delight is something else! I was hooked from the very beginning, intrigued about Lily’s personal past as well as what made Josh tick. Yes, Josh is one of those characters who you should instantly dislike due to his arrogant nature, however I couldn’t help but be taken under his spell almost straight away. How the holly and ivy Lily managed to be immune to his charms for a little while was beyond me!

Even though this story is full of tantalising, stomach rumbling treats and friendships to last a life time, the thing that got right under my skin in such a beautiful manner , was the cleverly incorporated ‘hidden’ theme which made me relate to Lily on such a deep level. Take it from me, we have all felt as though we aren’t good enough, and I am sure we have always ensured other people were happy before ourselves. And, I am also sure that a lot of us have put our emotions aside and done something because of someone else, ignoring our own personal feelings about the situation. Yes? Of course we have – we are human. It’s not until you sit back and think about it or, in this case, read it in black and white, that you realise you have been living your life in the way that other people would prefer you to. Before anyone says anything, I know that it is our choice as to how we live our own life, but sometimes emotions get the better of us, just like Lily’s in this book.

Lily’s situation caught me off guard, despite seeing some of myself in the character. Weirdly, it was quite emotional. I also think that a certain family member of Lily’s needs to get caught by some holly and ivy. What a bleeping bleep bleep they are!!

I absolutely loved this book from reading about the yummy treats, to following the characters around as they plan nuptials, to watching Lily and Josh’s journey play out. Donna Ashcroft’s novel is such a feel good, life affirming, huggable and touching novel which will leave you wanting to plan your own nuptials to Josh. He’s definitely my sort of guy! Why are all the good ones fictional?!?! Pfft.

Honestly though, this book gave me the feels and I couldn’t have wished for anything more as Donna Ashcroft ticked every single box. In my eyes, she is now the Mrs Claus of Christmas reads.

Buy now!

About the author.

Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager. 

Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. 
Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.

Author Social Media Links: 

Website: www.donna-writes.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaAshcroftAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Donnashc

#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 – Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin (@HollyMAuthor) @Bookouture


A late one this evening, sorry! Feel free to blame Strictly Come Dancing! Anyway, I am excited to be reviewing Holly Martin’s stunning new novel, ‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:


Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

What does TWG think?

Oh Elliot, what a boy! My poor ovaries! That boy is my favourite character for sure – his personality is like sunshine on a rainy day. I just want to cuddle him!! If you’ve read any of the books in the series, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about! I have absolutely no idea how I managed to miss the second book, but I did. However, despite only having read the first book and then the third, I was able to slot back into Sandcastle Bay as though I had been there all along. In simple terms – you CAN read the books as a standalone with no problem at all. Although if you’re the type of reader who likes getting the background information on most of the characters, you might find it easier if you did read the books in order!

‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’ focuses on Isla’s life with her little nephew, Elliot; a little boy who lost his dad at such a young age, and his mother even younger. But, with Isla having his back and loving him like he was her own child, little Elliot’s future is looking rosy. Well, as long as people stop sticking their noses into Isla and Leo’s business that is!

Be still my beating heart!!!! What a gorgeous, gorgeous book this is! Holly Martin never fails to capture my heart with her storylines and her well-rounded, colourful and beautifully written characters. Of course not all of the characters are lovely, as just like any place, there is always at least one person who is determined to stuff things up for other people. Why couldn’t people just leave Isla and Leo alone? What exactly would they benefit from watching the little family crumble before their eyes? It wasn’t fair and actually made me quite emotional as I just wanted Elliot to be settled and happy. Surely for a little boy of his age, that isn’t too much to ask?

The humour in this book was on point, as always, and I found myself holding my belly and crossing my legs whilst I laughed. I found that the giggles were just so natural and unforced, I couldn’t help but laugh with the characters. Hell, my face certainly got some exercise as my cheeks were aching from grinning so much! Not that I’m complaining obviously!

For me, ‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’ is everything a romantic comedy/’chick lit’ should be and more, and that is down to Holly Martin engaging with her readers and making them believe that love is in the air. Like I have said many times, I’m not really a romantic person, yet I could feel the love between two of the characters and I believed it as though it was coming from my own heart and not theirs. I could feel the tenderness between the two characters, I don’t think that anyone would be able to miss it!

I adored every single word, every single joke, every single flutter of the heart, and every single line that Elliott came out with. I just loved this book from start to finish and I have everything crossed that the author doesn’t end the series with this book as I need to find out more. What happens to Isla and Leo afterwards?

‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’ made my heart flutter, my belly laugh, my mind dream, and my cheeks ache – all the signs of an absolutely perfect, beautifully written, tender, and utterly divine read. I could read it over and over again and not get bored – more please!!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper (@ItsEmmaCooper) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

emmacooper
It’s my turn to host Emma Cooper and ‘The Songs of Us’ today! Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

The Songs of Us Cover

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

What does TWG think?

Can someone please pass me more tissues?

I’m not even joking! Oh my god. I finished reading ‘The Songs of Us’ late Sunday night, and I STILL am trying to fight the urge to burst into tears when I think about this book!

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that there were a lot of moments where I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud at Melody’s actions, with one quote having me bent over double in hysterics; ‘swerve to the left, swerve to the right’. Obviously it will make sense for those who have already read the book, but if you haven’t read it yet, go…..go!!!!

Before anyone thinks that I am being a nasty moo moo by what I said above about laughing at Melody’s actions, just hear me out. I wasn’t laughing at the fact that Melody had a condition a bit similar to Tourette’s, where she ended up singing in public spaces anytime she became stressed. Not at all, because a health condition isn’t funny. However, it was the songs at the right (or wrong) moment which were cleverly written into the storyline, making Melody who she was. Of course I felt for her when she ended up doing the dance moves to a song when she was in a ‘serious’ situation. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must have made her felt, but I thought she handled it brilliantly with great humour, which in turn made me feel as though I was allowed to laugh along with her, even though I felt bad. Does that make sense?

Whilst there was a lot of humour in the storyline, there was also a lot of heartache and devastation. I shan’t go into detail as that wouldn’t be fair on the author or the readers, but please do trust me when I say that ‘The Songs of Us’ is a tearjerker. Melody’s situation does govern a lot of the book, however, her children, Flynn and Rose, also have their own fair share of turbulence as they try to combat their own teenage emotions. I love how the storyline is told from several of the characters points of view, as I felt as though I  was able connect with them on a much deeper level as it was more of a ‘one to one’.

‘The Songs of Us’ left me sobbing my heart out. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely devastated by the concluding part of the storyline, and no I don’t mean that in a negative way. It was as though I could feel my heart shattering into millions of pieces, the tears were just falling from my eyes. Emma Cooper has written an outstanding, powerful, devastatingly beautiful, heart wrenching, emotional, humorous, and utterly, utterly brilliant novel which has given me the biggest book hangover I have ever had in my life. Yes, I am exhausted from the amount of tears I shed, but holy cannoli was it worth it!

Honestly, what a diamond in a rough of a book this is and, despite having read 282 books already this year, ‘The Songs of Us’ has swooped into the sought after top spot of my most favourite books of 2018, and I don’t think it will be leaving anytime soon! I’d even go one better and say that this book is now an all-time favourite read of mine, ever!

This book truly deserves to be turned into a movie for the big screen, and the songs covered in the book need to be brought out as a soundtrack to Melody’s life, so that everyone can #beabitMelody when they feel as though their life is knocking them down.

Grab your tissues, turn off your phone and prepare yourself to be swept away by Emma Cooper’s incredibly moving, beautifully written novel – this is absolutely perfection (and yes, my eyes are STILL incredibly puffy!)

Buy now!

About the author.

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in
Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since her childhood, she’s been inventing
characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma’s love of music and her ability to almost always
embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody’s story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of ‘spare’ time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office.

She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same. 

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources #Bookbirthday

The Holiday Cruise
Happy book birthday to ‘The Holiday Cruise’!!! A year down the line and I am STILL recommending this book to everyone who wants a feel-good, truly fabulous read. I said it a year ago, and I’m still saying it now – THERE NEEDS TO BE A SEQUEL!!! If you don’t believe me, read it – you really won’t be disappointed.

I have the pleasure of re-sharing my review of Victoria Cooke’s novel, so again I would like to say thank you to HQDigitalUK for the copy of the book, and thank you to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in today’s celebrations. Congratulations Victoria!

The Holiday Cruise Cover

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.

You can buy you very own copy of ‘The Holiday Cruise’ now from Amazon.

NEW BOOK NEWS!

If you haven’t seen the news on social media already, Victoria Cooke will be releasing her brand new novel, ‘It Started With A Note’ on the 2nd December.

If you wish to read more about it and pre-order your copy now, you can do so via Amazon

About the author.

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love’ in 2016.

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