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cover97662-medium

Published: 19 October 2016
Reviewed: 19 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island.

My Thoughts & Review:

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky is the second book in the “A Town Called Christmas” series, book one being Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky.  It is possible to read this book as a standalone.  The skill of Holly Martin shines through all of her books so that they can really be read without following a series, but for fans that do follow devotedly they will be rewarded by the appearance of some much loved characters or hints to previous characters in the narrative.
The story continues on from the arrival of Oakley Rey, Neve Whitaker’s ex.  The pair split some weeks previously, Neve believing that she would only hold Oakley’s career back, and Oakley assuming that they were merely taking a break makes for an entertaining read.
Happily, Martin includes Gabe, Piper and Wren (from Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky) in this book too, it was lovely to see these characters continue to develop.  But there are also new characters to meet and love too.

Once again, the reader is rewarded with some of the most beautifully vivid descriptions, Juniper Island sounds utterly divine and so magical.  The attention to detail means that the reader really feels like they have been transported to Juniper Island.
The characters are likeable and have such rich backstories that it means the reader feels like they know them by the end of the novel, which means that you find yourself hoping for a positive outcome for each.

Reading Holly Martin’s books always feels like catching up with old friends, there’s a wonderful warmth when you start one of her books that continues right through to the end when you breath a satisfied sigh that all is well in the world.  A festive feel good with plenty of humour and romance – what more could you ask for?

You can buy a copy of Christmas Under a Starlit Sky here.

 

About the Author:

Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 6 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

Follow her on Twitter @hollymartin00

 

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Author: Holly Martin

Published: 22 September 2016
Reviewed: 29 September 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.

But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.

My Thoughts & Review:

Reading any of Holly Martin’s books is like curling up on the sofa with your best friend and catching up, so when I discovered Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky I knew I would need to immediately download a copy.

For fans of the White Cliff Bay series this is a departure from the much loved setting and characters we have come to  know and love, but in turn this does give us some shiny new characters to get to know and a wonderful new setting to dream about.

Piper Chesterfield is once again on Juniper Island, which is part of the Shetland Islands.  She’s there to review the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel, a winter resort with log cabins, a glass palace and glass igloos.  Unfortunately for Piper, the resort is owned and run by Gabe Whitaker, her childhood best friend and at one point, the love of her life.  For Piper this will be an incredibly hard assignment, Gabe broke her heart when she was 17 but she has to be professional and do what she came to do.
Gabe is just as stunned to see Piper as she is to see him, but he has other concerns to prioritise, his four year old daughter Wren.

The attention to detail in this book is beyond belief, Holly Martin usually pulls out all the stops in her books to make the reader feel utterly immersed in the settings but this book truly goes one step beyond.  The Christmas market that Piper visits needs to become reality.  It sounds completely wonderful, the snow globe shop has to be one of my favourites.  The little details about each of the shops and villagers brings the market alive, transporting the reader to a perfect little Christmas Wonderland.
In all honesty, all of the settings in this book sound magical, Holly Martin knows how to conjure locations that will capture the hearts of her audience.  The hotel is vividly described, the magnificent ice palace, the ice carvings (provided by a character in a previous book), it is all so well written that it sounds real!

The story combines humour (the Shetland ponies immediately spring to mind) and romance effectively.  This is a heart warming read and perfect to start you in the Christmas spirit.  Holly’s writing style has the reader curled up in a cosy embrace with a story that flows well and is a joy to read.

I just need to read  Christmas Under a Starlit Sky next!

You can buy a copy of Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky here.

 

About The Author:

Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 6 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

Follow her on Twitter @hollymartin00

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Author: Helen Pollard

Published: 26 August 2016
Reviewed: 25 September 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Blue skies, new love, and a glass of Bordeaux . . . what could possibly go wrong?

When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager.

Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.

Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria.

Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams?

My Thoughts & Review:

Having read and enjoyed The Little French Guesthouse I was delighted to read this sequel and to catch up Rupert and Emmy.  One of the nicest things about this book is that it picks up right where the first book left off, meaning the reader can instantly continue with a wonderful story and equally wonderful characters.  This can be read as a standalone book, there is enough information to give the back stories however, with writing as lovely this you really shouldn’t deprive yourself of book 1.

Without recapping book 1 or retelling the story of this book, I will say that nothing goes as plain sailing for Emmy as it should.  Catastrophes to be averted, outlandish behaviour to mitigate and the return of Emmy’s nemesis are just some of the challenges to be faced.  The story is funny, endearing, entertaining and gives the reader that ‘feel good factor’.

Once again, Helen Pollard has created a story that pulls the reader in, wraps them up in the beautiful French countryside and makes them feel like they’re at home.  The descriptions of the settings feel so familiar, almost as if they were physical memories from a holiday at La Cour des Roses rather than just remembering from the previous book.
As previously, the characters are fantastically created, each one has their own charm and appeal (or lack thereof in certain cases!).

All too often with a sequel the story stalls, the book is never as good as the first and you feel like you’ve wasted your time reading it, but this sequel swiftly avoids those pitfalls, this is a wonderful book.

You can buy a copy of Return to the Little French Guesthouse here.

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Author: Helen Pollard

Published: 28 April 2016
Reviewed: 23 September 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

My Thoughts & Review:

The Little French Guesthouse is the first book in the series by Helen Pollard.  Set in the beautiful French countryside, the reader is instantly immersed in drama when Emmy rushes find Gloria after Rupert has a heart attack and finds Gloria and her boyfriend in a compromising position.  Emmy is devastated at the discovery, and soon Nathan breaks her heart completely by leaving with Gloria.  Ever the kind soul, Emmy offers to help Rupert running the business, and soon finds herself so busy she has no time to dwell on what happened with Nathan.

The descriptiveness of the narrative is utterly superb, Pollard conveys such a rich image of the French countryside, the châteaux, the gîtes and the market come alive through her writing.  The characters are interesting and for the most part likeable, Emmy is one of those characters that many readers will instantly connect with and be rooting for.   The subsequent friendship that forms between Emmy and Rupert is a delight to read.

The book itself is an easy and enjoyable read, the writing flows well and readers can easily become immersed in the story and the picturesque settings.  A perfect read for a quiet Sunday afternoon!

I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book Return to the Little French Guesthouse

You can buy a copy of The Little French Guesthouse here.

 

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