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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

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Published: 7 November 2016
Reviewed: 28 November 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Canelo in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Warm your heart with this perfect Christmas love story

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s always a treat to read a book written by Darcie Boleyn, there’s a wonderful warmth in her writing, rich characters that you feel are like old friends instead of new acquaintances but best of all the sense of humour that shines through the narrative is just utterly brilliant.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is wonderfully festive tale that the reader can curl up with and enjoy.
With narration from both of the main characters Lucie and Dale the reader gets a great insight into each character and how they feel, and can understand why these two people who are perfect for each other are not a couple (yet).  And by writing in this way, Boleyn ensures that the reader becomes attached to her characters, becomes invested in their stories and feels like they want to keep reading to see how the story evolves.

All of the characters are well written, including the supporting characters.  They are endearing, realistic, and can be infuriating at times especially Lucie who I think many readers would like to give her a wee shake or bash her and Dale’s heads together.
As always, the descriptive qualities in Boleyn’s writing are spot on.  The settings are so vividly described that I could imagine the scenes in New York so clearly, the carriage ride, the hotel suite.

I suppose the only negative thing about this book is it’s over too quickly, a short but lovely read that I was really sad to finish.  I must add that despite it being a short book, the plot is jam packed and utterly engrossing.  It’s a Christmassy feel good book that deserves to be on your reading list every year.

The perfect book to get you feeling festive!

You can buy a copy of A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas here.

 

 

About the Author:

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

For more information about Darcie’s books go to her website or follow her on Twitter @DarcieBoleyn

 

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Published: 7 October 2016
Reviewed: 15 November 2016

3.5 our of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HarperImpluse in return for an honest review

 

Description:

From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?

My Thoughts & Review:

The Cosy Christmas Teashop is the second book by Caroline Roberts to feature Ellie and the teashop at Claverham Castle in Northumberland, but fear not, if like me you are in the mood for a light and uplifting festive read this can easily be read without having read The Cosy Teashop in the Castle.

As well as running the teashop at the castle, Ellie is also the wedding planner/coordinator, a role that causes her no end of stress when it comes to one particular wedding.  Juggling the weddings and rustling up a batch of cookies sounds like a normal day for Ellie Hall and she seems to take it all in her stride.  The team she has in the teashop are fantastic, their individual personalities coming through so clearly from vivid descriptions.  Another things that is tantalisingly well described is the mouthwatering bakes being whipped up in the teashop, this is a book that will make you feel hungry!  The settings are also very vivid, the reader can almost see the beautiful grounds of the castle, the lovely great hall all decked out for weddings and the Christmas fayre.

I found that this was an easy book to read, one that I could curl up with and completely turn off for the evening.  There is a gentle ease about the book that encourages the reader to get cosy and comfortable and get caught up in the tales within.  The only downside to the book for me was that at times I felt that there was a little too much information.  That’s not a criticism of the author, she makes to make sure that readers continuing from The Cosy Teashop in the Castle feel that things link up but also wants to ensure that new readers don’t feel that they’ve missed out on anything pertinent.  But for me it just felt a little repetitive and distracting – probably says more about me than the book.

Definitely a book worthy of being on your Christmas reads list, it’s delightfully humorous in places, heartbreakingly sad at others but overall the magic of Christmas shines through.  The ending for me was just so absolutely lovely – a proper Disney happy ever after moment.

You can buy a copy of The Cosy Christmas Teashop here.

 

About the Author:

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing emotional stories about love, loss, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to HarperImpulse (HarperCollins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is my home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.

For more information about Caroline’s books you can check out her blog carolinerobertswriter.blogspot.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @_caroroberts

 

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Published: 3 November 2016
Reviewed: 10 November 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Canongate Books in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The next magical book in the festive series, begun with A Boy Called Christmas, from Number One bestselling author Matt Haig

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

My Thoughts & Review:

Written as the follow up to A Boy Called Christmas, The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a wonderful tale set in the Victoria era about a young girl called Amelia who has a huge part to play in Christmas this year, she just doesn’t know it yet.  This book can be read and thoroughly enjoyed without having read A Boy Called Christmas first.

This is the perfect book to read in the lead up to Christmas, old and young readers will be delighted by the magic of it all and be swept away on an adventure.  Like many parents, I tend to read a book first to assess whether it is suitable for my child (ok I admit, I read this one because I REALLY REALLY wanted to!) and I can honestly say that even with the rampaging trolls this is still a wonderful book for children and young adults.  There is a richness in Haig’s writing that flows through the pages, you can almost “feel” the spark of magic as you turn the pages.  The spectacular illustrations by Chris Mould fit so perfectly with the tale, they add to the atmosphere in the book and help to bring it all to life.  At times I almost felt that Haig’s writing reminded me of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, creating a tale in a world that’s equally magical and mystical at the same time, the world not entirely perfect but there is still happiness and humour.

The messages that this book sends about hope, caring for each other and the power of believing in magic are important and it is nice to see their inclusion.
This has a feel of a modern day classic, and one that could easily become part of a family Christmas tradition – like reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve or staying up as late as possible to try and see Santa.

Despite having an electronic copy of this book I will be ordering a physical copy so that we can enjoy this together as a family and add it to our Christmas Eve routine.

You can buy a copy of The Girl Who Saved Christmas here.

About the Author:

Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as ‘delightfully weird’ and the New York Times has called him ‘a novelist of great talent’ whose writing is ‘funny, riveting and heartbreaking’.

His novels for adults are The Last Family in England, narrated by a labrador and optioned for film by Brad Pitt; The Dead Fathers Club (2006), an update of Hamlet featuring an 11-year-old boy; The Possession of Mr Cave (2008), about a man obsessed with his daughter’s safety, and The Radleys (2010) which won Channel 4’s TV Book Club public vote and was shortlisted for a Galaxy National Book Award (UK). The film rights to all his adult novels have been sold. His next adult novel is The Humans (2013).

His multi-award winning popular first novel for children, Shadow Forest, was published in 2007 and its sequel, The Runaway Troll, in 2009. His most recent children’s novel is To Be A Cat (2012).

For more information see Matt’s website  or follow him on Twitter.

 

 

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Four Weddings and a White Christmas

Author: Jenny Oliver
Published: 8 October 2015
Reviewed: 18 December 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Carina UK in return for an honest review.

  4 out of 5 stars  

 


Welcome back to Cherry Pie Island…the most delicious place to spend Christmas!
Hannah’s holidays are normally spent nibbling chocolate coins with her daughter and arguing with her sister about whether they’re too old for stockings on Christmas morning. But this year, she’s been offered the dressmaker’s job of a lifetime: creating a one-of-a-kind a dress for her school friend Annie’s Christmas wedding on the picture-perfect Cherry Pie Island.
Many mince pies and one hot-pink organza dress later, Hannah is set to snuggle back into her old routine…until she discovers that there are three more weddings this winter – and not a dress in sight!
Four very different themes, four demanding brides and four parties spent avoiding chef Harry Fontaine, whose cynicism is as much a wedding day guarantee as confetti and cake. Hannah has her work cut out for her! Yet, with a sprinkling of snowflakes and Christmas magic, it could be that this is the year when miracles really do happen…if Hannah will let them.


Having not realised this was actually the final book of the Cherry Pie Island series, I started reading and instantly connected with the characters and their tales, there’s enough detail given to understand who’s who and who they are marrying etc.  That said, I would like to point out at this stage, this is a really good book, and the story reads perfectly well as a standalone book.
 
Hannah is a lovely character, she’s just finished her degree and making her way in the world of fashion, her mum proudly showing off a picture of her degree show dress lands her with a commission that opens the door of a world she’d never imagined.  After making the wedding dress for her old school friend Annie, there is great interest in her work, and she finds friendships she’d thought she’d lost by becoming a mother.
 
Being invited to so many weddings with the same group of people Hannah is secretly pleased to see that the dishy Harry Fontaine is there.   
Harry runs a restaurant in New York and is rumoured to be very demanding and ruthless, so much so he will throw out diners for not showing the appropriate decorum whilst in his establishment.  He’s also a cynic about family, marriage and love, something Hannah just can’t fathom.  As the pair get to know each other through these chance encounters they both realise there’s a connection there, a pull that draws them together.  Especially at one of the weddings where Harry is cooking the feast with the help of Hannah’s five year old daughter Jemima.  
There is also a nice bit about Harry’s back story, his time with his family explains a lot about why he’s so set in his ways and thinks like he does.  It really gives a good incite into this complex character.  Ultimately, it’s this connection to his family that brings about the change of heart that he has.
 
Without ruining the book for others I won’t say any more about the plot, but there is a lovely feel to this book, you keep reading to find out what happens to the characters, see what wonderful creations Hannah can come up with next and see how much Hannah’s daughter can make you smile and chuckle.  
As for characters, Hannah is so likeable, Harry has his own rugged, grumpy charms, but for me  Jemima steals the show!  She’s just what a five year old should be, funny, clever, and throw in her unerring five year old thinking, well you just can’t help but smile at the things she says.  She really is one of my favourite characters in a book of late. 
The writing style of Oliver’s is great, the pace is steady and flows well, the dialogue is natural and engaging, physical descriptions are wonderful, there aren’t many times that I wish a book had images to go along with the texts, but it would have been wonderful to have seen images of Hannah’s creations, just picturing them in my head had me in awe. 
This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, it’s a genuinely enjoyable read.  

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Carina UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 8th October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Four Weddings and a White Christmas (UK Kindle Version)

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The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Author: Lisa Dickenson
Published: 22 October 2015
Reviewed: 09 December 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Little, Brown Book Group UK in return for an honest review.

  4 out of 5 stars  

 

At thirty, Claudia’s life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life – and Christmas – alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It’s also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing’s for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . . 

This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it’s a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what’s been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

When her long-term relationship with Seth takes a turn for the worse Claudia fears that this is it, she will be alone forever more, life is over and she’s going to be miserable until the bitter end.  Her best friends Nick and Penny are there to help her pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.  And once she feels ready, Penny knows just what Claudia needs to make her feel better, a date!  Blinds dates aside, Claudia is worried she’s not ready yet, not ready to move on, not ready to decide what she wants from life, what she wants to do or who she wants to be with….or does she? 

Claudia realises that if she wants something she needs to stand up and take the opportunity.  She makes the decision to go on dates, some are disastrous, some are wonderful (especially when a certain man is concerned) and one brings a new friend into her life. 
But there’s one man that keeps appearing and she definitely wants to spend more time with him. 

The dates themselves range from a trip to the Winter Wonderland, to coffee in Starbucks, or ice skating ending in trouble with the Police, but all have their equally funny moments for Claudia.  As the story progresses Claudia becomes more and more adventurous, she finally admits her feelings and for a fleeting moment she finds happiness, but will a silly understanding ruin it all?  I can’t say more about the plot without giving too many juicy bits away, but I will say this, sequins on knickers sounds painful!!

I love Dickenson’s writing in this book, there were times I genuinely giggled out loud or wanted to shout “nooooooo!!”, I felt like I was right there with Claudia at times, seeing the excitement on Nick and Penny’s faces when they were speaking about Christmas or when they were all drunkly dancing at the Ballet Christmas party.  The descriptive writing here is tremendous, there’s great attention to detail and the characters are all so likeable. 

This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, the sort of book you could easily read in a day if you got the peace and quiet to do so and it’s a genuinely lovely read.  

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Little, Brown Book Group UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 22nd October 2015, a copy can be purchased here The Twelve Dates of Christmas (UK Kindle Version)

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Snowflakes on Silver Cove

Author: Holly Martin
Published: 30 October 2015
Reviewed: 03 December 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

Come and spend a picture perfect romantic Christmas at White Cliff Bay

Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. 
Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself…

Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance.

As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George.

But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Libby and George are instantly likeable characters, Libby is cool, calm and level headed (most of the time), George is funny, silly and Christmas crazy but they go together like Port and Stilton.  They’re perfect for each other, they just don’t know it yet! 

As the story progresses, we Libby’s story comes out, the heartache at watching her mother wither in a loveless marriage, seeing the mental abuse her mother faced, the live she and her mother lived at the hands of her stepfather and how Libby came to make her escape, and more importantly why she felt she could never settle in one place. 

A cleverly written novel, with narration from both Libby and George, gives an insight into what both of the main characters are thinking.  It is especially good when it comes to explaining the thinking behind each character, especially when it comes to the sub plot of Seb and his love interests, and his relationship with his mother in law. 

The pace of the novel is good, short chapters allow you to quickly move through the story, the dialogue is interesting, funny and entertaining.  I love how this and Christmas at Lilac Cottage link together, but you don’t need to have read the first one to know what’s going on in this book, they run at the same time but there is little character crossover, which just makes Silver Cove sound like such a lovely place to live with such lovely people.  The descriptions of characters are well thought out and give the reader a feel of just how funny George can be dancing around with a giant Christmas inflatable, or how incredibly wrong Judith was about Amy buy misinterpreting everything. 
I particularly liked Martin’s writing style when it came to several points in the novel where I laughed out loud, or sat smirking away at the dialogue.  The wonderful romantic settings created were fairytale-esque, but not over the top, making the reader realise that maybe there’s a “George” in their life for them to appreciate.  

This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, the sort of book you could easily read in a day if you got the peace and quiet to do so and it’s a genuinely heart warming read.  

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Bookouture for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 30th October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Snowflakes on Silver Cove (UK Kindle Version)

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Christmas at Lilac Cottage

Author: Holly Martin
Published: 25 September 2015
Reviewed: 19 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Penny Meadows is an instantly likeable character, she lives in a beautifully described cottage with views of the town of White Cliff Bay, and shares her home with her loving, if not slightly crazy dog.  By trade she is an ice carver, an incredibly interesting career which adds to the uniqueness of this character, but most significant about Penny is that she’s alone, lonely and would welcome love.
When Henry and his daughter Daisy move to town and rent the annex of Penny’s cottage she is delighted, she hopes for the idyllic friendship she so longs for and hopes that they will hit it off.  Things don’t always go to plan, moving day is stressful at the best of times, and Henry is in no mood for niceties.

As the story progresses, we Penny’s story comes out, the loss, heartache, the passion she has for her ice carving and how much she cares about her little town.  Henry’s story is equally poignant, how he came to be on his own bringing up Daisy and why he’s to fiercely protective of her.  Penny and Henry have a connection that they cannot ignore, try as they might, they cannot resist each other but can Penny forget her past and move on, allowing herself to be loved and love someone in return?

A cleverly written novel, with narration from both Henry and Penny, gives an insight into what both of the main characters are thinking.  It is especially good when it comes to the gruff, grumpy Henry, who can appear quite standoffish when Penny is narrating.  But once he takes over the reins, you begin to understand that his cool exterior is just a façade and he’d trying to hide his feelings.

The pace of the novel is good, short chapters allow you to quickly move through the story, the dialogue is interesting, funny and entertaining.  The characters in this novel are fantastic, the small town attitude is so well described, everyone knows everyone’s business, but not out of being nosey,  but out of caring.  The descriptions of characters are well thought out and give the reader a feel of just how intensely Penny and Henry look at each other, how strange Penny’s dog looks, how smouldering Henry’s eyes are (amongst other things!!). 
I particularly liked Martin’s writing style when it came to several points in the novel where I laughed out loud, or sat smirking away at the situation that characters were in (Penny buying a toothbrush comes to mind, or explaining what had come on TV late at night to Daisy!).

This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, the sort of book you could easily read in a day if you got the peace and quiet to do so and it’s a genuinely heart warming read.  

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Bookouture for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 25th September 2015, a copy can be purchased here Christmas at Lilac Cottage (UK Kindle Version)

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Wish Upon a Christmas Cake

Author: Darcie Boleyn
Published: 02 October 2015
Reviewed: 17 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Carina UK  in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Karl…

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?
Katie and her best friend Ann run Crumbtious Cakes, a small tearoom that has been their shared dream for so many years, it was a way for Katie to move forward after her life fell apart nine years ago following a traumatic loss.  
Now, she has to deal with another loss, her beloved Granny has passed away and now she and the Warham family face their first Christmas without the matriarch.  If this wasn’t enough, Katie knows she will have to face her mother Esther.  She and Esther do not see eye to eye on many things, and Katie fears that her judgemental, over critical mother will make this Christmas hell for her.  But Ann, being her best friends makes a valiant attempt to cheer her friend up, bringing her a slice of their famous Christmas cake (in lieu of a wishbone) to make a wish.
Katie makes it to the Lodge the family are staying at for the Festive period and is startled, shocked and stunned at who she meets when she arrives.  Can it really be him after all these years?  Yes, it’s Sam, her first love, standing there in this wonderfully romantic setting, looking so grown up and handsome.  Katie has to keep her emotions in check, cover her surprise and shock before facing her mother.  Later Katie finds out that Sam is a widower, raising his two children (and dogs) after the tragic death of his wife.  Can Katie resist opening up old wounds and remembering what it was like being in love with Sam, can she avoid physical contact with him to stop her heart skipping?  Might that wish made in the tearoom actually come true?

Second chances are a major part of this novel, can Katie and Sam manage a second chance, will there ever be a second chance for Katie and Esther – will their relationship improve?  Even Ann joins in the theme of second chances with her own dilemma.  All that Katie knows is that she never really fell out of love with Sam and his reappearance in her life has reignited the flames for her, she even feels something towards his children, almost wondering what it would be like if they were hers.    

Family dynamics are wonderfully portrayed, the reader is thrown straight in to the wonderful Warham family, meeting Esther and Charles (Katie’s parents), Karl (her older brother) and his partner Angelo as well as Aunt Gina.  The entertainment of the group being together for Christmas is enjoyable to read, Katie and Karl have a great connection that you can really feel from Boleyn’s writing.  Memories of Granny are well used in this novel to portray what an important character she was for them all, how phrases she used can spark a feeling in someone that kick starts them again.

There were many laugh out loud moments reading this book, comparisons between Santa and Katie were particularly funny (when you get there you will know what I mean, it’s in a conversation with Aunt Gina), so much so, I almost snorted tea!  Little gems like that in the writing really set Boleyn’s work apart from other Christmas reads.  Despite being classed as a romantic novel, this was funny to read to, it was deliciously entertaining to read, and the sort of book you could happily read in one sitting (unless like me you have a toddler that wakes up from a nap and you have to put the book down!).    There’s definitely a feel good factor about this, you desperately want a happy outcome for everyone, you want Katie and Sam to rekindle their love, you want Katie to become stepmother to Sam’s children and for them to have another child together.  You want Katie and her mother to move past the hurt between them and work out things out.  You want Katie’s Christmas wish to come true!

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Carina UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 2nd October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Wish Upon a Christmas Cake (UK Kindle Version)

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Murder-on-Sea

Author : Julie Wassmer
Published: 01 October 2015
Reviewed: 17 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Little, Brown Book Group UK in return for an honest review.

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

It’s not the season of good will to all men…
The festive month is kicking off in style and Pearl is rushed off her feet with her restaurant, The Whitstable Pearl. She’s also busy planning her own family Christmas and providing mulled wine for a charity church fundraiser when Christmas cards begin arriving all over town – filled with spiteful messages from an anonymous writer. 

Pearl’s curiosity is piqued but having pledged not to take on a case at her detective agency before Christmas, she reluctantly agrees that Canterbury’s DCI Mike McGuire should take over; poisoned pen cards are after all a matter for the police. And with only the church fundraiser now between Pearl and Christmas, she invites McGuire along as her guest. The event appears to be a great success; St Alfred’s church hall is packed and Pearl happily finds herself standing close to McGuire beneath some mistletoe . . . but then a guest suddenly collapses. Too much of Pearl’s delicious mulled wine – or could it be something more sinister?

The last thing Pearl expects for Christmas is murder but soon the bodies are piling up. Can Pearl possibly solve the mystery in time to make 25th December an unforgettable day – or will the murderer contrive to ensure her goose is well and truly cooked before then.  

Whitstable at Christmas sees everyone gearing up for the Festivities, Christmas trees dressed, lights hung, cards sent and received but for some inhabitants of this town some of these cards are more welcome than others.  Someone has been sending poison pen cards to members of the town and they all turn to local restaurateur turned detective Pearl to get to the bottom of it.  With so much to do with preparing for Christmas, Pearl advises the card recipients that she cannot look into it just now, but could look into it in the New Year, but if they are concerned that they should pass this on to Canterbury Police’s DCI McGuire to investigate. 

As Pearl and Mike McGuire rekindle their friendship with an invitation to the parish fundraiser, things all start to go wrong for this little town.  A guest collapses after a blazing row with other guests at the event, was it too much mulled wine?  What is something sinister?  Pearl and McGuire are determined to get to the bottom of it, and despite McGuire being a witness so not being allowed to investigate, he calls in every available favour owed to him to find out just what happened that night.  With his police connections and Pearl’s local knowledge  they are unstoppable. 

There are twists and turns a plenty in this novel, and there are so many things I would like to say about the plot but that would give away too much to the reader, and I really don’t want to spoil this novel for others.  I will say that you will be trying to work out the connections in places, wondering “why did they do that?” or “how is that relevant?” but once it all links up you feel a satisfaction as it really does all tie up with a bow like a Christmas present.

This was the first book I’d read by Wassmer, not realising there was a story before this, The Whitstable Pearl, but I can honestly say that I didn’t feel that I’d missed any important information by not having read these in the “correct” order.  I found Wassmer’s writing enjoyable, the novel was well paced, the physical descriptions of characters and place settings were fantastic, I could almost imagine the beach at Whitstable, the Christmassy settings and the way certain characters looked and acted – especially Dolly!! 

The only downside for me about this book was a times Pearl annoyed me.  I know that in order to keep suspense going and keep the reader on their toes is to not give away all the details, but surely it was a bit strange that Pearl would be sitting in a hotel for drinks, order, look over at the other side of the room and then “light bulb” moment and off she went without so much as an explanation to her companions in the book or a wee hint to the reader?  But that’s just me nitpicking. 

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read, good suspense and build up to the main events, interesting plot twists and developments and on the most part something I could easily go back and reread in a few months time. 

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers and Crime Fiction genres.

I would like to thank Little, Brown Book Group UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 1st October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Murder-on-Sea (UK Kindle Version)

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My Sheldon Cooper bobble head arrived! *happy dance* and at the moment I’m watching the episode where Sheldon plays the bongos!  It’s so funny 🙂

On another note, 2 days into my new job and I’m loving it.  The people are so nice and the place is very swanky 🙂  Been working on the scarf for my mother in law, it’s still not finished, but I really need to block it, it’s curling up and it’s beginning to bug me lol 
Got some green wool to knit a scarf for step-dad’s Chrismas, and all the circular needles I ordered on ebay arrived today, so I can’t wait to get cracking on some socks etc *big smiles*
I really want to buy some Sugar ‘n’ Cream Yarn to attempt knitting washing up cloths, and I was thinking of attempting some other wee accessories…..shall see how that goes.

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