Saturday, 30 September 2017

Blog Blitz Review | We'll Always Have Christmas ~ Jenny Hale

Title: We’ll Always Have Christmas

Author: Jenny Hale

Amazon Links:



An enchanting story about the magic of Christmas, the importance of family, and the joy of falling in love during the most romantic season of the year…

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.

Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

As Noelle melts the frostiness of the house with cake baking, snowball fights and glittering decorations, she helps William to reconnect with a romance that has spanned decades and unexpectedly finds herself falling for his grandson - the gorgeous but mysterious Alexander Harrington…

In the countdown to Christmas, can Noelle save the bakery, reunite a family and create some magical memories of her own along the way?


I'm so so sorry that this is up late, due to a date mix up I've only just read the book and now just when I finished the book I was called to babysit at the last minute, now I'm home I really can't face putting the laptop on but I was eager to get something up so my review is in a very raw state and as I'm on my phone it's not in the usual layout.

I will correct all of this tomorrow but the book is too good not to share my thought with you immediately. So my apologies to Jenny and Kim/ Bookouture one again! 

We'll always have Christmas by Jenny Hale is the perfect festive read - full of emotion with  family loyalty, secrets, new beginnings and of course some romance.

In this latest novel from jenny we meet Noelle - if the name doesn't set you up for Christmas then I don't know what will - who us a single mother to Lucas, trying to bring him up and give him memories like the great ones she has from her own childhood which was full of love particularly with ones of her grandmother and the times they spent at their family business - the hope and sugar bakery.

With Christmas looming the last thing Noelle needs is to be laid off from her current job.

It's not long before she is offered a placement at the Harrison mansion, caring for the elderly william harrison.
Her best friends, phoebe and jo are super excited for her, phoebe in particular, in hope that she gets a glimpse of alex Harrison - Williams grandson.

Alex is completely focused on his work but things start to change when Noelle and Lucas move in to the massive house, and as the feelings between Noelle and Alex start to form, Noelle gets a blow with his saying he is moving to new york. But it's not just her heart she is worried about, Lucas - her shy quiet and reserved little boy has taken a real shine to Alex, opening up, laughing and smiling and making memories with a father like figure.

Whilst this is all going on, Noelle is fighting to keep open the family bakery after her father's confession that it's been failing and with the recent rent increase its just not feasible to stay in business any longer as well as still coming to terms with the loss of her beloved gran.

What jenny hale does so brilliantly is write with a whole heap of emotion and depth that allows you to see how the characters are feeling, I felt the heart ache the Harrison's felt with their own stories of which I've not gone in to as I want to leave some elements of surprise for when you read this  you can also feel her characters falling for each other as the words flow of the page.

I could write a whole bunch more but there's so much to this book I'm sure I'd end up spoiling it for you!

We'll always have Christmas is full of warmth and love focussing on family and friends and is perfectly descriptive both with the wonderful settings and decor of the mansion and bakery as well as the weather for the time of year - I may have to holiday in Virginia in December for the amount sparkly snow it has! 

A thoroughly enjoyable romantic novel to curl up with! 

Blog Blitz ~ Review | The Christmas Holiday ~ Maxine Morrey

The Christmas Holiday
Maxine Morrey
HQ Digital
September 2017
Rating 5/5


Fall in love this winter on a romantic trip around the world ending in a fairy-tale winter wedding!

As winter comes to London, journalist Mia Walker is desperately hoping for her big break as a travel writer, dreaming of exotic locations and sun-soaked beaches. When she’s invited to write a romantic travel piece that ends in a huge winter wedding in London, she jumps at the chance. The only trouble is, the photographer is renowned adventure-junkie Hunter Scott, who Mia last saw five years ago when she ended their engagement.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and Mia knows she’d be mad to say no – even if it does mean spending weeks travelling round the world with the one man she never wanted to see again! But as the wedding approaches, and the magic of Christmas begins to take hold, Mia can’t help looking out for mistletoe – and wishing she hadn’t cancelled her own engagement after all…


I've been longing to read another novel from Maxine Morrey for what seems like forever after I loved her debut novel, Winter's Fairytale.
Due to circumstances last year not allowing me to read as much I didn't get around to reading The Christmas Project although it is high on my list of books to catch up with this year. So imagine my delight when it was announced that Maxine is publishing two festive stories this year - you'll have to wait a little while longer for The Best Little Christmas Shop as today's review is all about The Christmas Holiday - but just click on any of the titles I've just mentioned and you can grab a copy for yourself!

Have you ever read a novel and thought 'Yes - this book just gets me'? 

A book that you really want to read but at the same time your consciously trying to slow down your reading speed as you are aware it's nearing the end?
A book where your mind is constantly on the characters and what they will do next?

The Christmas Holiday was that book for me, and although it is a festive read, its not overloaded with Santa's and stockings, mulled wine or mince pies, but rather filled with luxurious hotels and private jets.

Mia Walker has just been offered by her boss Jeremy what could be the break her journalism career needs - travelling the world with his Daughter Olivia and her soon to be husband Sandeep - and documenting the build up to their Christmas wedding. Olivia has requested Mia on the trip as she adores Mia's writing style and has been following her write ups of weddings for ages. With a dream of being a travel writer this gives Mia hope of moving forward.

That is until she is introduced to the photographer for the holiday, Hunter Scott.
Ahh Hunter... if you don't fall for Hunter in this book then I'm disappointed in you, Ha!!

Anyway... Hunter and Mia have history, in fact they were previously engaged up until Mia broke it off and they've not seen each other since. Hunter makes no exceptions in stating his feelings that he would rather someone else be on the trip but Mia is set to prove him wrong.

From the moment the pair are re-connected, I knew I would love this book. It is clear that Maxine spent a lot of time getting their dialogue just right and for me, the balance of quick jibes at each other here or there along with sincere and caring moments mixed with tension and heat made it pretty perfect.

As Mia and Hunter travel and document Liv and Sandy's lives, they seem to be pulled closer together but with Mia still thinking that the reasons she gave for breaking them up to be true, and Hunter having secrets of his own, we are left wondering if they should just clear the air and be friends.

Liv and Sandy are utterly in love and I think if they were the main characters it could probably be a little too much but as they weren't it worked well and we see a different side to Hunter when in their company to what with do with just him and Mia.
Mia and Olivia on the other hand grow close and it was nice to read of a friendship forming as well as romance.

I think what I loved about this book what the fact that Mia and Hunter weren't a couple falling in love, they already were in love but for what ever reasons lost their way and it was refreshing to read of a couple in this situation.

The Christmas Holiday was full of moments where I chuckled out loud - rain storm, dress, thong... I say no more! 
It also had moments where I felt myself welling up and wanting to give the characters a hug through the book. The locations on The Christmas Holiday were stunning and the book had the right balance of detail in each location as well as moving the story forward without getting a bit stale mate.

Overall, The Christmas Holiday is a wonderful book that I didn't want to leave - full of romance and emotion, its the perfect love story to curl up with!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Review | Christmas at Mistletoe Cove ~ Holly Martin

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove
Hope Island, Book 2
Holly Martin
September 2017
Rating 5/5

Christmas has arrived at Hope Island, promising snowflakes, surprises and plenty of seasonal joy. So snuggle up and fall in love at Mistletoe Cove …

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea. 

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?


My festive reading isn't complete without diving in to novel full of love, romance, snow and sparkle from Holly Martin.

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove certainly delivers and rounds up this series from Holly perfectly - if your new to the series if give the right about of back story to enable it to be read as a stand alone novel, If you have read the previous two, Spring at Blueberry Bay and Summer at Buttercup Beach, then Holly provides just enough info to refresh your memory from Bella and Issac and Rome and Freya's stories.

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is the story I have been waiting for, we met Eden,  Bella and Rome's sister previously, and we have also been introduced to to Dougie, Rome and Issac's friend in snippets of the books too - we also know that Eden is head over heels in love with Dougie, who happens to be her best friend and has been for as long as she can recall.

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove starts with Eden nervously awaiting Dougie's arrival back on Hope Island, after 12 years away living and working in America, he has decided to come home.
Eden and Dougie are the best of friends, during his visits to the island they do everything together but Eden is very guilty of hiding her true feelings and having to deal with her heart breaking a little bit every time the holiday is over, and now he is coming home for good, as much as she is excited, she is nervous - they are very affectionate as friends and despite all the islanders believing their feelings are mutual, Eden is convinced that Dougie doesn't feel the same.

Dougie convinces Eden to meet him at Mistletoe Cove, and to write down three wishes before releasing them for the the magic of the cove to do it's thing.
Thinking its a load of nonsense, Eden does as she is asked to humour him but when one of her wishes comes true within 24 hours she starts to wonder.
As the second comes true, Eden goes from believing to having even more doubt and even tells herself that Dougie is doing all these nice romantic things because he is under a spell, when in truth all he want do do is make her dreams and wishes come true - what a man!

What follows is a well throughout story of two people very much in love trying a little too hard to make each other happy, when actually them just being together is more than enough for both of them.
Eden tries to correct her wishes, but breaks Dougie's heart in the process and the story I thought would be completely lovey dovey actually made me question whether these two could resolve their issues.

As with all Holly's books, the characters are ones that you instantly connect with, and even though this was Eden and Dougie's story it was nice seeing how both Bella and Issac and Rome and Freya had moved on in the last couple of month is gorgeous sub plots.
Hope Island is just as idyllic at Christmas as it was in Spring and Summer, with Holly capturing the readers imagination and allowing them to lose themselves for a few hours.

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is Holly Martin at her best, full of romance, snow and magic.


The Hope Island Series


More from Holly Martin


Friday, 15 September 2017

Review | Summers Lease ~ Carrie Elks

Summer's Lease
Shakespeare Sisters, Book 1 
Carrie Elks
July 2017
Rating 5/5


A free summer holiday in a beautiful villa in Lake Como. The catch? Sharing a house with her worst enemy . . .
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. After one prize-winning play that ended in disaster, writer's block turned up, moved in and got a Netflix subscription. Six years later, she's just lost her crappy job and is about to lose her flat. Worse still, her sisters have no idea how far she's fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her a free summer holiday in a beautiful Italian villa, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That's before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.
Having just hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons - again - Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton needs a place to hide out. Where better than his family's gorgeous empty villa on Lake Como? Except when he arrives, it isn't as empty as he'd hoped.
One thing's for sure - this is going to be a red-hot, scorching summer . . .


I have to start this review with an apology as it should have been done a fair few weeks ago, however life got in the way and when I came to picking up the book again I just had to re start it because Summers Lease is one of them books that you completely emerge yourself in and although I'd already read about 60% of the book, re reading it simply felt like picking it up for the first time.

Summers Lease I believe is the first of 4 books Carrie Elks featuring the Shakespeare sisters and we kick off with Cesca Shakespeare. 

Cesca is down on her luck, for the past 6 years she's gone from job to job and losing the latest one - working in a cat cafe of all places - really does make her hit rock bottom.
Barely able to feed herself or pay this week's rent, Cesca is persuaded by her godfather Hugh to head to Italy for the summer.
Her role there is to house sit a villa owned by some of Hugh s friends whilst the current housekeeper take a holiday.

No sooner as Cesca arrives there she quickly realises that the villa is own by the Carlton family. Assured they won't be coming this summer Cesca agrees to stay on.... only one night she is rudely woken by someone entering the property. Sam Carlton.

Sam is an actor making quite a name for himself over the last  6 years and becoming one of Hollywood's hottest heartthrobs - however some bad press has forced him to leave the hustle of L.A. an head for a summers break at his families private and secluded Lake Como villa.

Things get off to a bad start between cesca and Sam - he can't understand why a girl he thinks he's  never met hates him so much but for cesca, Sam walking out as the leading role in her west end play all those years ago had  left herblaming him for her  unabiltoty to write  causing her to flit from job to job. 

After a few heated conversations the pair eventually find some common ground and agree to at Least be amicable to each other... but that, along with the Italian heat, wine and good food leads to flirting and eventually more.

The couple get closer and closer and cesca opens up to Sam but every time the tables are turned she gets pushed away again leaving her heart broken when the time eventually comes for her to head home. Only after she has gone does Sam realise his true feeling for her.

Summers Lease is full of emotion. I felt like I was there with the couple as they fought and argues and Carrie wrote the sexual scenes with warmth providing just the right amount of details for your imagination.
The location and descriptions were stunning, forcing me again to Google holidays in Italy - much to my other half delight! 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cesca and Sam's story in Summers Lease and hope it's not the last we hear of them as I look forward to more from the Shakespeare sisters.

Summers Lease is the perfect book for a summer escape!


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Review | The Art of Hiding ~ Amanda Prowse

The Art of Hiding
Amanda Prowse
Lake Union Publishing
July 2017
Rating 5/5

Kindle | Paperback


What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?
Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.
Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.


It seems a long while since I got stuck into an Amanda Prowse novel, so when The Art of Hiding dropped through my letterbox, I was excited to get started right away!

What I love about Amanda's books is her ability to take what appears to be a normal family and turn their world upside down, resulting in the heroine of the book becoming a strong and confident woman... and as a read Amanda manages to break your heart before fixing it again by giving an uplifting ending which in my opinion makes great reading material.

Nina's story is no different.
She has a wonderful life, a gorgeous husband, two handsome son's and a marvellously grand home which includes a cinema room and swimming pool!

Nina wants for nothing as her husband, Finn, owns a successful construction company. Her boys, Connor and Declan, go to a top of the range private school and she even has fresh flowers delivered fortnightly to her home!

Life is good for Nina and her family, that is until Finn fails to arrive at one of Connor's rugby matches. Willing him to hurry up and arrive, Nina answers her mobile which is the point her life as she knows it, is to be no more.
Finn has been involved in an accident and sadly not made it, the story quickly travels through scenes where Nina has to tell the boys their Dad has died, the funeral and immediate aftermath, all of which Amanda writes with warmth and empathy which is guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

Once the funeral is over, Nina discovers from Finn's accountant that they are bankrupt - the business has been financially failing, the boys' school fees are behind and their home, with all their precious memories of family times with Finn, is about to be repossessed with the bailiffs expected to arrive any day.

It's hard to comprehend how you would feel in this situation but Amanda being her, writes expertly as Nina goes through grief, shock, upset and anger.
With no choice, Nina and the boys pack up what little is left and head to Southampton to stay in a run down flat owned by a distant relative.

It's not ideal but with pennies to her name, Nina sets about making the best of a bad situation - enrolling the boys in a local school and looking for a job to bring in some income, all whilst trying to hold it together for the boys and trying to build some bridges with her sister that had broken over the years.

I love the way Amanda took Nina as a character, pretty much ruined her life and then re-built her into that strong, confident, independent woman she does so well.

The Art of Hiding is an emotional roller-coaster of a read, by the end you will have tears forming in your eyes again but of the happier ones as you see how far Nina and the boys have come in a few months and this is due to Amanda's ability to write about characters you instantly connect with.

I also love that the title, The Art of Hiding, has more than one meaning - Finn hides away their money troubles,  Nina and the woman she was hiding away in their mansion and Connor hiding away his feelings.

The Art of Hiding is a fabulous, warm and uplifting (despite the original heartache!) book about new beginnings, moving on and finding that inner strength.


Monday, 11 September 2017

Review | Her Last Breath ~ Tracy Buchanan

Her Last Breath
Tracy Buchanan
June 2017
Rating 4/5

A girl has gone missing. You’ve never met her, but you’re to blame.
Food writer Estelle Forster has the perfect life. And with her first book on the way, it’s about to get even better.
When Estelle hears about Poppy O’Farrell’s disappearance, she assumes the girl has simply run away. But Estelle’s world crumbles when she’s sent a photo of Poppy, along with a terrifying note: I’m watching you. I know everything about you.
Estelle has no idea who’s threatening her, or how she’s connected to the missing teen, but she thinks the answers lie in the coastal town she once called home, and the past she hoped was long behind her.
Estelle knows she must do everything to find Poppy. But how far will she go to hide the truth – that her
perfect life was the perfect lie?


Her Last Breath is a great novel that will keep you gripped throughout.

As Tracy does so well, we are treated to the main thread of the story but at odd chapters there are extracts from the culprits point of view.

Estelle Forster is an up and coming chef who focuses of clean, pure ingredients and eating and the book starts with her hosting a dinner party where conversation is focused on two key events. The first being Estelle's debut book launching and the second is the mention of a local 15 year old girl going missing.

Not much is said about the girl other than they hope its just a stroppy teenager who has run away, but the following day when Estelle recieves her weekly bucthers delivery, there is a polaroid photo enclosed addressed to 'Stel' - a name associated with Estelle's past that she would rather forget.

What follows is as very detailed back story for Estelle, who was passed from foster home to foster home as her birth parents were more interested in drink and drugs than looking after their own daughter.
Estelle eventually settled in the little coastal village of Lillysands, with foster parents Autumn and Max Garland, their son Aiden and Alice, another girl being fostered.

As Estelle recieves more and more of the polariod photos and threatening notes, it becomes clear that the young young gone missing - Poppy - is the baby Estelle gave up for adoption, the same day that Alice took her own life, fifteen years ago.

As Estelle returns to Lillysands to inform the biological father he has a child, strange things start to happen and alongside Estelle searching for Poppy, we learn more about her time at the Garlands and the events surrounding Alice's death.

Her Last Breath was well written and kept me guessing throughout - just when I thought I had worked the plot out or figured why Alice had jumped, something else would happen to doubt me and change my mind.

Although Her Last Breath was an enjoyable read and held my interest, I have to honest though and say that the outcome wasn't quite what I expected and did leave me a little flat.
However if you are looking for an intriguing book that has plenty of twists and turns, then Her Last Breath is definitely one for you!