The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford @CherryRad @urbanebooks #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter by Cherry Radford. I recieved a copy of this book last year from Urbane Publishers, many apologies for it taking so long for me to read and review. I wish I had picked it up sooner as it was such a wonderful read.

So before I get carried away, why don’t I let you know what it’s all about …

After the break-up of her marriage, Imogen escapes to her aunt’s converted lighthouse on Beachy Head. Writing for a tedious online magazine but hoping to starting a novel, she wants to be alone – until she finds an entrancing flamenco CD in her borrowed car and contacts the artist via Twitter. It turns out that actor-musician Santiago needs help with English, and is soon calling her profesora.

Through her window, the other lighthouse winks at her across the sea. The one where her father was a keeper, until he mysteriously drowned there in 1982. Her aunt is sending extracts from his diary, and Imogen is intrigued to learn that, like her and Santi, her father had a penfriend.

Meanwhile, despite their differences – Imogen is surrounded by emotional and geographical barriers, Santi surrounded by family and land-locked Madrid – their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s – but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

Two stories of communication: the hilarious mistakes, the painful misunderstandings, and the miracle – or tragedy – of finding someone out there with whom you have an unforeseen, irresistible connection.

This is such a beautiful story, well more a story within a story. Imogen is the Lighthouse Keepers daughter, her father drowned mysteriously and his part of the story is told in snippets from his diary. The pages from the diary are sent separately to Imogen, this is one of the stories. Another is the relationship between Imogen and her family, her son Ollie, her Aunt who sends the diary pages and also her friend Jules.

The main story is that of Imogen herself and how she helps Santi, a Spanish Musician/Actor. She had been unaware of him until she found and listened to a CD of his in her car. It was right music for her to listen to at the right time, as it made such an impact she tweeted him and gradually a friendship formed. Music is an important part of the story in some ways because it is the foundation of a friendship that takes the lonely and isolated Imogen on a trip to Madrid.

Things happen for a reason, some things happen at the right time and right place. These become more apparent as the story gradually unfolds. For me Imogen is the personification of a lighthouse, she is isolated, stands apart from others and has an eerie beauty to her. As I got to know her through the story, I found myself understanding and warming to Imogen and caring about her.

There is a myriad of Spanish phrases throughout this book, don’t worry though they are all explained as conversations flow. I should explain that Imogen is helping Santi with his English and vice versa. Some of these conversations are hilarious and add such a nice touch.

Both Imogen and Santi have such wonderful personalities, and are very different. They each have their own struggles, problems, home life dramas. I loved the way they interacted and their friendship took time to develop, it gave me a chance to get to know them as individuals rather than a duo.

I adored this book, the setting and story-lines were compelling, the characters were memorable and all-in-all a very beautiful story.

This is a book that would appeal to readers who like a slower meander through the lives of the characters they meet. It delves into the families pasts and reveals the odd secret along the way. A story that I would highly recommend.

P.S. I love the cover for this book and my copy has little lighthouses next to the page numbers. Also on the chapter heading pages there is a wonderful silhouette of the lighthouse . I love the little details in book designs…just saying 🙂

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore @rararesources #Giveaway (INT) #review

I am delighted to share my review for Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore. My review is part of the Blog Tour for this book with Rachel’s Random Resources, my thanks to Rachel for my stop on the tour and to Celia for my e-copy of this book.

Now let’s have a look at the synopsis and see what it is all about…

When Billy reaches out to help, her kindness brings many changes which threaten hopes, homes, and even the people she loves the most.

Who is the Culmfield Cuckoo?

Will they help Billy get her life back? Or is the Cuckoo the cause of everything that is going wrong?

Who is telling the truth?

Purchase Links:– Amazon –UK US – 

FOX HALT FARM, the first book in the series, is Free from Tuesday 2nd April 12am PDT  finishing on Saturday 6th 11.59pm PDT

Culmfield Cuckoo follows on from Fox Halt Farm, I have also read that one and I am going to suggest that these books are read in order. I say this because this is how I have read them and also that there are particular story lines that follow on from the first and are developed in the second book.

So, it appears that Billy seems to have her life finally heading in the right direction. But, suddenly things start to fall down around her. Accusations start flying around her, leaving me not knowing who was telling the truth or who is innocent.

I cannot help feeling for Billy, yes I know she has done some things in the past that drove a wedge between her and her friend, but I still feel that she is a character that has vulnerabilities that leave her a target for fate. I hoped that life would settle and she would be able to build a solid future, instead things hang in the balance.

The thing with the past is that things don’t always stay there, sometimes things just creep up and deliver a blow that has far reaching implications.

If you have read Fox Halt Farm then you will be aware of the main characters, and I was happy to see the majority of them back again, and the cast is added to by some new personalities.

This story, like the first, has a series of twists and turns and the author one again had me wondering who to trust as the story was played out. A couple of the characters really got my back up, other I could sympathise with and then there was a couple I wanted to shake some sense into.

This story turns into mystery and I am not letting any details about it. It is a well paced story as characters try to discover the truth and unearth some shocking revelations.

This is a book that I would recommend to reader that like a story that revolves around family and friends and all the drama that comes with them and a good dose of mystery. Its a series and a book that I would recommend.

Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.

Social Media LinksWebsite Facebook Twitter Pintrest Instagram

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway to Win a £15  / $15 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE – Good Luck !

See what other Book Blogger think by following the Tour!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

The Dollmaker by Nina Allan @QuercusBooks #TheDollmaker #NetGalley #review

Today I am sharing my review for The Dollmaker by Nina Allan. My thanks to Quercus Books for accepting my request to review this title via NetGally.

Let’s have a look and see what this one is all about …

Stitch by perfect stitch, Andrew Garvie makes exquisite dolls in the finest antique style. Like him, they are diminutive but graceful, unique, and with surprising depths. Perhaps that’s why he answers the enigmatic personal ad in his collector’s magazine.

Letter by letter, Bramber Winters reveals more of her strange, sheltered life in an institution on Bodmin Moor, and the terrible events that put her there as a child. Andrew knows what it is to be trapped, and as they knit closer together, he weaves a curious plan to rescue her.

On his journey through the old towns of England, he reads the fairy tales of Ewa Chaplin–potent, eldritch stories which, like her lifelike dolls, pluck at the edges of reality and thread their way into his mind. When Andrew and Bramber meet at last, they will have a choice–to break free and, unlike their dolls, come to life.

A love story of two very real, unusual people, The Dollmaker is also a novel rich with wonders: Andrew’s quest and Bramber’s letters unspool around the dark fables that give our familiar world an uncanny edge. It is this touch of magic that, like the blink of a doll’s eyes, tricks our own.

The synopsis tells quite clearly what this story is about. This is a story with other stories woven into them. A story about Andrew and Bramber, and their correspondence with each other. They have a shared interest in dolls, not just any dolls either. These are sought after items, they have a history and at times a price tag. Andrew decides he wants to visit Bramber and so takes a journey, during which he reads a story book. It’s by Ewa Chaplin, she also made dolls.

This is a slower paced story that felt a little erratic at the beginning. It took me a good while before I got to grips with the characters, their stories, the alternating timelines and the style. Gradually I found myself drawn into the story and the stories. It was one of those books where I suddenly found myself somewhat caught up and hadn’t realised it had happened. I think a lot was to do with curiosity and to see where the story would take me. The short stories that Andrew reads during his journey are at times on the dark, or very dark side, they are like twisted fairy tales. There are things that mirror Andrew’s life.

I enjoyed this book and I have a feeling that it is not going to be for everyone. At times it has the feel of literary fiction, with a mix of fairy tale and fantasy. There is subtle romance aspect to it though not one that follows the usual route or expectation.

It’s one of those books that I think will divide readers, for me, there are parts I really enjoyed and others not so much. It has an unusual structure to it and it will be interesting to see what other readers think of this one.

Nina Allan is a novelist and critic. Her first novel The Race won the Grand Prix de L’imaginaire and was a Kitschies finalist. Her second novel The Rift won the British Science Fiction Award, the Kitschies Red Tentacle and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her short fiction has previously been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Award. Her most recent novel is The Dollmaker. Born in London, Nina Allan lives and works in the west of Scotland.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin @HQDigitalUK #NetGalley #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin. This was the absolutely perfect pick-me-up read, I have been reading some quite dark, heavy books just recently and was looking for a lighter entertaining read, this book was exactly that and more.

My thanks to HQ Digital for accepting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

I just love this cover so how about I share what its all about and what I thought…

The trip of a lifetime!

Rosie Lewis has her life together.
 
A swanky job as a Michelin-Starred Sous Chef, a loving husband and future children scheduled for exactly January 2021.
 
That’s until she comes home one day to find her husband’s pre-packed bag and a confession that he’s had an affair.
 
Heartbroken and devastated, Rosie drowns her sorrows in a glass (or three) of wine, only to discover the following morning that she has spontaneously invested in a bright pink camper van to facilitate her grand plans to travel the country.
 
Now, Rosie is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, and the chance to change her life! With Poppy, her new-found travelling tea shop in tow, nothing could go wrong, could it…?
 
A laugh-out-loud novel of love, friendship and adventure! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.

As soon as I saw this cover and then read the synopsis I knew I needed to read this book. After being dumped by her husband on her birthday, Rosie makes the best drunk purchase ever… well in my opinion she did. A bright pink camper van!!! Awesome!!! It made me want to break out the wine and see what I could drunk purchase, though I’d probably end up with a packet of out of date cereal!

I have to say this book was absolutely brilliant. Rosie is a driven career woman with her life planned out. She does have a bit of an O.C.D thing going on with her planning, routines, cleanliness, order and everything being in it’s place. Not a bad thing at all, but it leaves little flexibility in her hectic scheduled up to the eyeballs life.

The arrival of the pink camper van was something that completely went against the grain, it makes her stop in her tracks and think about her life, what she wants and, what she wants others to see in her.

The author took me on a road trip of festivals, with mouth watering food, drinks and fabulous company. Rosie is having to adapt to living day to day, going with the flow, rather than the planned out one she was originally aiming for.

With her career in catering, the obvious choice for Rosie’s van is… yep a Travelling Tea Shop. Specially hand blended teas and an assortment of foods that are food for the soul rather than the high end cuisine she has left behind her.

Along the way she finds the perfect travelling companion, they make a amazing combination with Aria, a contrast in many ways to Rosie, but this combination both in personalities and also in how the vans compliment each other is great. I also want to mention Max, the authors description of him…mmmmmmm… there are a few other characters that add there part to this story and help keep the story flowing as the travelers take the vans on tour.

In case you had not realised, I loved this book a huge amount. For me it was just the perfect book for lifting the spirits and it was so easy to forget about the world while I sat and read it in an afternoon. I would love to see a follow up for this book.

Ideal for readers who are after a light, feel good book that has a really enjoyable story and it is one I would Absolutely Recommend 🙂

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I am pleased to see there are several books already published… bookworm happy dance… although I do have a couple that I bought a while ago that are sat on my kindle .

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Visit the Author – Twitter Website FacebookAmazon Author Page

Many thanks for reading y post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe @SherrieLowe2 #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe. I saw this book during a recent Blog Tour and entered a giveaway, I was lucky to be one of the fortunate recipients of an e-copy. To be honest, the synopsis for this book caught my eye so I would have brought it even if I hadn’t won a copy.

I must also mention the fabulous cover, I love fuschias and when I visit my mum I seem to bring back more cuttings of them. The cover ties very nicely to the story inside.

So let’s have a look and see what it all about…

A new wife and a vengeful ghost. Not a good mix. 

Letitia – Tish – Stanyer makes husband Theo promise never to remarry if she dies and he complies just to pacify her. She isn’t going to die. 

She does – and he does remarry. Tish isn’t happy. Her spirit cannot rest with another woman in her domain, sampling the delights of her husband. Theo belongs to her – Sheena will have to go. 

Letitia and Theo are celebrating their 14th Wedding Anniversary when she makes the comment about how they are supposed to be together forever, she means not only in life but also as and when they die as well. She does not want him to meet anyone else or move on, and so he makes the promise never to remarry…

I think this is a conversation many couples may have had. I for one believe that if I go before my husband then he should move on, find happiness and live his life, that’s if anyone will put up with lol… and he shares the same sentiment. Everyone, however, is different and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong in whatever anyone believes or chooses because at the end of the day it is the choice of the couple and the individual.

So this book definitely has an interesting base to work from and for a 151-page story, I found myself caught up in it. It is an easy to read story as I got to know Theo and his immediate family and the spirit of the dead Letitia. I discovered how after many years Theo has indeed moved on and forgotten about his promise, Letitia, however, has not. She begins to make her feelings known in some very dark ways.

Love, life, and death are the main focuses in this story and I thought the author did a great job in such a quick read. It moved along at a gentle, easy flowing pace and it was perfect to read in one sitting.

There is a proverb that states “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and this is so appropriate for Letitia.

This is a book that I think would go down well for discussion for Book Reading Groups and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Sherrie Lowe
Image taken from Author’s Goodreads Page

I am a divorced mother of two adult sons and I have three lovely grandchildren. I was working as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school when I became ill with ME (also called chronic fatigue syndrome) in 1995. I have since written ten novels and two memoirs and Song of the Phoenix although the fourth to be written is the first to be published, mainly because the first three are more or less a trilogy.

Writing has kept me sane through what is an extremely debilitating and isolating illness and my aim is to earn my living from it.

Visit Sherrie’s website Twitter

Purchase link for her paperback books HERE and Kindle editions HERE

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

My Top Reads of 2018…finally

I know, I know, this is a little late but better late than never as they say..

Before I get into my top reads of last year I just want to share some of my Goodreads stats with you. My original Goodreads 2018 Challenge was to read 200 books, I read 222 and one manuscript that I am sworn to secrecy about at the moment…

I read 59,747 pages across 222 books

I am breaking this down into genres, that I would recommend and then right at the end if you are still reading I will do a TOP 3 Reads.

So first off Contemporary/General Fiction… Recommended Reads

These were stories that really touched my heart, for various and different reasons. They each had a special something about them.

Next up is… Crime and Thriller Reads

Crime is probably one of the genres I read most. There are several authors here that have released more than one book and I would happily list them as well. I have decided to limit myself to one author.

Nest genre is Fantasy/ Dystopia I have put these together for my convenience 🙂 …

Again these are very different and yet still fall into my category. They give a glimpse into a different reality and all are fabulous reads, some are part of a series while others are stand alone reads.

Historical (Fiction/Non-Fiction) is my next category…

I say Historical because the books I have chosen here is because they have either a historic setting or are based in myth and legend, historical culture if you like. They are a mix of fact and fiction or based on real life.

Finally, I have Romance, Chick Lit, Rom-Com… whichever term floats your boat. They all have a romance aspect to them.

These are stories that worked for various reasons, nothing in love ever goes according to plan and these stories really made for great reading.

Now then…

Are you still here?

Helloooooooo, anyone still reading?

Do you think I have missed any?

Are there any books that you think I should have included?

Well maybe they made it into my TOP 5…

Yes I know I originally said TOP 3…

But as I was writing this post up…

I found that I was wrong in thinking I could narrow it down to a Top 3…

What on earth was I thinking…

Okay to my Top 5 book s that I read last year…

Right then…

The eagle eyed readers will have noticed that I have listed only 4 books so far…

wait for it…

There was one book that absolutely made me have goosebumps on a very hot summers day as I read it…

It made my fingernails go twitchy…

I felt claustrophobic and I was sat outside while reading…

It was fabulous read…

Have you guessed what it is yet?

It’s one I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you have not yet read it

Okay here it is…

And…

It was a brilliant book…

I would love to know what you think of my picks.

I know that some of the genre grouping may look random to some, but for me they make sense. This has been such a hard post to write up as I could included so many more books than the…

just scrolls back to count how many books …

44… thats a nice number…oops

Hope you all have a great reading year and thank you all for sharing, posting and commenting on my posts. Hopefully 2019 Top Reads will actually be posted in 2019 🙂

Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @HJRolfe #BookReview

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I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe with you today. This is the final installment in The Cafe at the End of the Pier series that I have reading through the year. It may come as no surprise to those that read my blog that I absolutely adore this series. I usually read the books within a couple of days of them being released, but I have a couple of reasons for holding back for 11days… yes a whole 11 days until I read this one.

Reason 1… I didn’t want to make a final visit to the cafe for the first time.

Reason 2… I realised I was coming close to reaching my Goodreads target for the year, I couldn’t think of a better book to reach my target with and after reading the book this morning I knew I had made the perfect decision. This is the 200th book I have read this year 🙂

Oh and the Danish pastries were for research purposes only…(she says,gently brushing crumbs off her face)… honestly they were 🙂 🙂

Synopsis:

Looking for love this Christmas? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier… A feelgood novella and the continuation of the Café at the End of the Pier series.

With her grandparents taking a long-awaited holiday, Jo finds herself completely in charge of the Cafe over the festive season. Salthaven-on-Sea is brimming with Christmas cheer – the pier is decked with tinsel and twinkling with lights, and the Cafe is full of the delicious aromas of Jo’s mulled wine and freshly-baked cinnamon rolls.

Love is in the air, too, and when another mystery postcard arrives, it’s finally Jo’s turn for a blind date… But who will be waiting underneath the mistletoe?

As the whole community is brought together on the sands of Salthaven for a frosty Christmas Day swim, will Jo finally find her own happy ever after?

The perfect feel-good festive read for fans of Cathy Bramley and Holly Hepburn

*******

Readers love The Café at the End of the Pier series:

‘Brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Heartwarming and made me smile… I can’t wait to read more’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Perfectly charming and totally yummy’ – Amazon reviewer

My Thoughts:

From its outset, in February I have followed Jo as she decides to make the trip back to Salthaven. Initially helping her Grandparents running the Cafe at the End of the Pier and then the mammoth task of running it. Over the months Jo has taken everything in and added her own twist while still keeping the essence of what makes the Cafe the place it is.

It is a place for friends, families, visitors, and residents and all are made welcome. One of the twists Jo has is her night of love where she picks two people and invites them to a meal for two. For some it is the start of a relationship, for others, it is a friendship. For Jo it is a way to bring people together, but what about Jo herself? I had a couple of possibles that I would love to see her with but she has never had the time or the nerve to ask. Someone, however, has been playing Jo at her own game, sending her little cards and leaving messages. Finally, the who is revealed and I am not going to lie, I was delighted.

This series is not just romance, though there is that to it as well. It is about a community and discovering who you are. Jo takes a risk in taking on the cafe, she is unsure of herself at first, but with the help of her friends, customers and grandparents she gradually accepts and fits into her role.

The recipes and mentions of cakes, shakes, soups, coffee, and hot chocolate have littered these stories throughout the year, bringing a seasonal deliciousness to the story. If you have not read this series yet you are in for a real taste bud tantalising treat.

This is a book that brings the year to an end and what a year it has been. Each time I pick up a new episode I feel like I am going back to join friends and catch up on the gossip and chit-chat. By the time I got to the end of this book, I had happy tears running down my face as I read the updates from Jo’s friends as they go about their lives and then Jo’s postcard…OMG I was then a sobbing wreck …

A series that is a perfect read for romance, contemporary and general fiction readers. One that I would absolutely, highly and definitely recommend 🙂

About the Author:

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. 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.

Helen writes some books in series as listed below, but all can be read as standalone books:

Magnolia Creek Series
1. What Rosie Found Next
2. The Chocolatier’s Secret
3. The Magnolia Girls

New York Ever After Series
1. Christmas at the Little Knitting Box
2. Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
3. Wedding Bells on Madison Avenue
4. Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin – coming December 2018!

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a free Valentine’s short story. The series can be read in the following order:

Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier
Spring at the Café at the End of the Pier
Summer at the Café at the End of the Pier
Autumn at the Café at the End of the Pier
Christmas at the Café at the End of the Pier

The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the bind-up version of all the Café at the End of the Pier stories in one and will be released January 2019.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

WebsiteFacebook
TwitterInstagram

The Cafe Series, follow the links to buy your own copies and to read my reviews

Amazon UK Links

Valentine’s Day( This novella is FREE on kindle)

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Christmas

Pre-order the book The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier it has all the stories. I have had my copy on pre-order since June… 🙂

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My Reviews

Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier

Many thanks for reading my rather long post today,

a like or a share would be magical 🙂 xx

Christmas Spirit by Nicola May @nicolamay1 #rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of Christmas Spirit by Nicola May as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Nicola for my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

It’s two days before Christmas – and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.
Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks.
A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?

Purchase Links: – Amazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

When Evie gets dumped by Darren just before Christmas she takes up the rather unconventionally offered alternative. Greg helps out at a local homeless shelter and wants Evie to volunteer her time. While there she meets Yves, a homeless man who is mysterious but gives her some priceless advice. Sometimes gifts cost nothing…

For a little story,76 pages, this is a beauty. It definitely evokes the spirit of Christmas, the feeling of helping others and reaching out is something that comes across very strong. Evie finds that by helping others she, in fact, starts to help herself, she realises that not everything is meant to last and that she can move forward.

The story flows at a lovely pace and is the perfect novella for getting into the fictional festive feeling. Yves is something of an enigma, I wasn’t sure quite what to make of this character initially and thought they had ulterior motives, maybe this is the cynic in me 🙂

By the end of the book, I had definitely been convinced that not everything should be viewed with suspicion, that things can happen for a reason. It is a novella with morals and what lovely morals they were too.

By the last line of the story had me gobsmacked and left me with a huge emotional lump in my throat. It is an emotional festive story that makes a wonderful read snuggled up under a blanket with a mug of something hot.

One I would recommend to readers who are after one of those really nice and uplifting reads, with a wonderful cast of characters and a good dash of hope, love, and romance.

About the Author:

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Nicola May lives near the famous Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks – and, naturally, enjoying a flutter on the horses.

Nicola likes to write about love, life and friendship in a realistic way, describing her novels as ‘chicklit with a kick’.

She has written eight novels, with Christmas Spirit being her first novella.

Follow Nicola May on WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

Now for a GIVEAWAY

Giveaway – Win 5 x PDF copies of Christmas Spirit (Open Internationally)

*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.

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The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 @rararesources #BookReview and #Giveaway

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I am delighted to be one of the opening Book Bloggers to be sharing my review for The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James. This is a book I bought when it was first released in March, I had seen so many good reviews from fellow book readers and it has taken me this long to read it. I am grateful to Rachel for inviting me onto the Blog Tour for this book, it gave me the opportunity to move it up my TBR and now it rests on the HBR (Have Been Read) shelf 🙂 While you are here please enter the Giveaway at the bottom of the post to stand a chance of winning your very own Bertie Bear and Tote Bag.

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Synopsis:

Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

Purchase Links – AmazonKoboIBooks/GoogleiTunes

My Thoughts:

A hotel for those of a certain age with opportunities to experience different activities, with a stunning Lake District setting, gorgeous rooms, a fabulous menu and a bar that always seems to be open…

Crazy characters and their escapades are the heart of this story. They are the maddest mixed bunch you could want to read about in a story. Hattie seems to be an accident waiting to happen, that is when she isn’t in the midst of said accident and Jo has the patience of a saint as they run the hotel. A mix of activities that include art, pottery, and creative writing are some of the things on offer. Oh and then there is the Shaman who runs a meditation class that is in a world of its own…

The guests are just as varied as the staff and friendships are formed. It is a chance for some to start healing their grief and wounds and others have a different objective and reason for staying. I soon discovered that an ulterior motive is at play in the rooms and corridors of the hotel.

So along with the characters, there are various underlying stories that are teased out, some are connected to the guests and some with the staff and the hotel. These stories are individual to each character and is a way to help connect with the others.

This story moves along at a pace that suits the story and it is a great read. It had me sniggering at some of the antics and left me with a lighthearted feel it does have a couple of more serious undertones. A book I would definitely recommend to readers of romantic comedy, general fiction and are after a good all-round feel-good book.

About the Author:

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Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.

Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair. The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Caroline James Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook Author Page

NOW FOR A GIVEAWAY

Win Bertie Bear and his travel bag (Open Internationally)

*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

*****ENTER HERE***** (Goodluck x)

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Love Punked by Nia Lucas @BooksNia @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review with you all today for Love Punked by Nia Lucas as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite to join the tour and also to Nia for my e-copy of her book.

Synopsis:

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK or   Amazon US

My Thoughts:

Erin Roberts is an average girl growing up. She is feisty, determined and will stand up for herself and her best friends. After falling pregnant at 16 after a one night stand her life is not the one she imagined for herself as she juggles being a mum with studying. With unwavering support from her family and a small group of friends, she does all she can as a mum and as a woman. Her priority in life has changed, being a mum is the most important thing in her life and they always come first, even before her…

This story is so full of highs and lows, inspirational and poignant as well. At times I got angry with Erin as I thought she was passing up opportunities for happiness as she puts her family first. But as it happens she does do the right thing and more importantly the right thing for her family. I can understand her not wanting to have a potential man in her life if they are not serious. For me, Erin grew up very quickly and at times had an old head on young shoulders. Determination has got her through some difficult situations as she gradually makes her way through the story and the early years of being a mum.

Now this story is a little colourful in language and, while it may not appeal to all readers, I think it was so appropriate for the characters, the setting and the time of the story. She says what she thinks and occasionally without a filter. This is a character that does not see the qualities that others see in her, she has doubts, fears and a strength that she is unaware of.

Now I did find I went through quite a few emotions with this book, anger, sniggering and, the odd tear. At times it is beautifully poignant and at others raucous and wild. A real modern feel to this story that tells the story of a young woman growing up that is faced with many challenges and decisions to make.

It is a book I wasn’t sure how I would get on with but I found myself completely immersed with and read in a couple of days a great debut. A story that is modern and gritty but also loving, witty and hopeful, one I would definitely recommend to readers of contemporary and literary fiction.

About the Author:

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I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Social Media Links – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Blog

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be wonderful 🙂 xx