Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain



When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all...?



I love this time of year when all my favourite authors start releasing their festive novels and one that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this year was Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain (wow that was a mouthful! ).
I have fallen in love with the characters in Wynbridge so I look forward to catching up with them in each book that Heidi Swain produces just to get a snippet of how their lives are changing so I was thrilled to be returning in this latest festive read.
We are introduced to a new character Anna who is making her way to Wynbridge for her first time, desperate to escape Christmas she has taken a job at the grand Wynthorpe Hall looking after Catherine over the season.
Angus and Catherine who are owners of Wynthorpe soon take Anna under their wing and she is welcomed by all the other helpers at the Hall too but before long things turn upside down with the arrival of their son Jamie who is none too pleased to find another mouth to feed when money is tight.
Unexpectedly Jamie and Anna soon strike up a bond and set on a mission to try and help each other but can they succeed?
This is yet another marvellous read by Heid Swain and she really captures the magic of Christmas too. She has created such a warm bunch of welcoming characters and a cosy grand home I just wanted to be a part of this close-knit family. Angus was such a joyful character who had a heart of gold and brought a great sense of humour too.
In some ways the storyline was a little predictable but this didn’t matter at all as I was looking forward to watching the characters on their journey to the conclusion I had already guessed! There is an emotional undertone to the storyline because of the reason for Anna’s dislike of Christmas but this just brought a little bit of depth to the storyline.
I would definitely recommend this book and you don’t need to have read Heidi Swain’s previous books to read this one but they are all such wonderful reads you would be missing out if you didn’t read her back list. I really hope that Heidi Swain carries on setting her books in the wonderful idyllic town of Wynebridge. There is a sprinkling of romance, a dash of festivity and twinkling of friendship so all in all this was a perfect read.






Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews


Fay and Danny are madly in love and it's all Fay's ever dreamed of. But she left everything - including the delightful cake shop she used to run - to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn't always smooth sailing!
Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn't it?
Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking - especially now she's on dry land again! - and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny?


What could be more exciting than a new Carole Matthews book?
How about a new Carole Matthews Christmas book?
Even better………..
A new Carole Matthews Christmas book that reunites us with our much loved characters from one of favourite books of hers The Cakes Shop in the Garden!
Fay and Danny have been living the dream onboard The Dreamcatcher but Fay is starting to miss the cake shop and her friends but she doesn’t want to leave Danny whilst he is enjoying his new life on the canal living a spontaneous life.
The decision is made for her when she gets a desperate call from Lija that means Fay has to return and it isn’t long before she feels content back in the life she knows so well but can her relationship still survive?
I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book and I couldn’t wait to return home from work to steal another chapter to see what lay ahead for Fay. It was wonderful to be reunited with the fowl mouth Lija and the loveable “ Stinky Stan “ even if they were facing some difficult times and clearly missed Fay. We have a new character, Rainbow, who I was a little struck by when she first appears in the book and thought she was going to grate on me but her kind, positive and upbeat manor soon won me around.
This book could easily be read at any time of year as it only brushes on Christmas and isn’t overly festive which was a slight disappointment as I always get my hopes up for a real magical read when picking up a Christmas themed novel but luckily the storyline still kept me hooked all the way through so it didn’t put me off reading.
Although this could be read as a standalone I would urge you to read The Cake Shop in the Garden first as the connection you build with the characters in the first book then transfers in to this book and you know the background of each characters.
Carole Matthews fans will not be disappointed with this book she has brought back much loved characters and thrown an extra spoonful of romance and friendship in to make this I wonderful enjoyable light read that will hooked.

The wonderful team over at Sphere have provided a signed copy for one of you lucky followers to 
win as part of my spot on the blog tour.
This giveaway is open to the UK and Ireland only ( publishers request )
GOOD LUCK!





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Monday, 9 October 2017

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst



When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.
Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she's just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.
But Ellie's foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger...



The Foster Child is the first book I have come across by author Jenny Blackhurst but after reading the synopsis for this book I couldn't wait to get stuck in and see what havoc this dangerous little girl was going to create in this book.

Imogen has clearly has something bad happen in her career recently which has resulted to her moving back to her childhood town on Gaunt but her past is kept hidden from us throughout the majority of the book which adds to the suspense. When she starts her new job she meets 11 year old Ellie who is having a tough time adjusting at her new school and her new foster home, branded a little witch Imogen is horrified at the way both children and adults have been treating her and is shocked at the things they are accusing her of doing.

As more events unfold including a murder, Imogen can't help but begin to question is there any truth in the accusations or is she just as bad as the rest of them?

This really is one of those books that keeps you guessing the whole way through. At times I found the storyline absolutely ridiculous only to then start questioning myself, it really did play mind tricks on me right up until the last page. I loved the eerie and mysterious feel that the author managed to create I hold my hands up and say I didn't predict at all what the outcome would be I only began to get suspicious of one character around three quarters of the way through the book so I was in suspense throughout the majority of the book.

Ellie really was a peculiar child and she is certainly not a character that you would warm too even after finding out about her devastating background. I also found that I couldn't warm to Imogen but again I think this was because there was constant speculation about her background and how it may be impacting her dealings with Ellie I just didn't feel like I could trust her and was almost waiting for something to be revealed.

With Halloween around the corner I think this is the perfect eerie read with a creepy little character who you never quite know what will happen around her next. Full of suspense and keeping you on your guard you can't go wrong with this book.






Available NOW on kindle and pre-order available for paperback. ( Release date 17th November )

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Woman at 72 Derry Lane by Carmel Harrington




On a leafy suburban street in Dublin, beautiful, poised Stella Greene lives with her successful husband, Matt. The perfect couple in every way, Stella appears to have it all. Next door, at number 72 however, lives Rea Brady. Gruff, bad-tempered and rarely seen besides the twitching of her net curtains, rumour has it she’s lost it all…including her marbles if you believe the neighbourhood gossip.
But appearances can be deceiving and when Stella and Rea’s worlds collide they realise they have much in common. Both are trapped in a prison of their own making.
Has help been next door without them realising it?

I get very little time to read now and so I am very careful when picking a book to read, I need something that is going to pull me in from the first page and make me switch off from the hustle and bustle of every day life. When one of my favourite authors sent me a copy of her latest release The Woman at 72 Derry Lane along with a pack of tissues because this Queen of emotional writing always leaves me sitting like a blubbering wreck, I knew that I could trust in this authors writing to pick me up and lose me whole heartedly through each of the pages.

We are introduced to two women Stella and Rea who are neighbours who strike up an unlikely friendship when they gradually realise they are more alike than they would like to admit. Both women are trapped, Stella in a brutal and unforgiving marriage to a fowl excuse for a human being Matt and Rea in her own personal prison who has lost everything and everyone and can not step out of her comfort zone to her freedom. When Stella reaches breaking point she reaches out to Rea for help and the pair form a strong bond and both want to see each other live the happy lives they both deserve.

I always come to expect a devastating topic weaved through the pages of a Carmel Harrington novel and she addresses both domestic abuse and agoraphobia in this one which in itself was enough to get emotions and my temper running high. I drew hope from seeing both Rea and Stella drawing strength and support from each other and I was very much enjoying their storyline and then there was a new storyline weaved in a little way through the book that threw me off. At first I was a little put out that this other storyline was interrupting my time with Stella and Rea and I really couldn't see any connection this had to the ladies but the more snippets we were given of this other storyline the more my interest was piqued and I found myself coming full circle and wanting to know more about this than Rea and Stella’s story! 

This part of the book was breath-taking, the utter horror and desperation grew with each chapter and it was so compelling and what added to the tragic storyline is it was loosely based on a real life event that shook the nation. I really don’t want to say anymore on this part of the book as for me it was this that made the book such an exceptional, emotional and thought provoking read that will stay in your head and heart for a long time to come.

Strangely enough this book didn't have me flooding with tears, it actually had me feeling bereft and numb and continually thinking about all those that were involved with the devastation and wondering how those who survived are coping in life today.

Once again Carmel Harrington has delivered a remarkable, thought provoking and emotional storyline that will capture the heart of every reader and shatter it in two





Kindle                      Paperback

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel


The girls of the Roanoke family - beautiful, rich, mysterious - seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them that's never spoken.
Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.
She is a Roanoke girl.
Is she strong enough to escape a second time?


This is going to be a hard review for me to write as my thoughts on this book are so mixed. I don’t want to give too much away but the main plot focuses on a form of sexual abuse that has never sat comfortable with me and as soon as it was revealed in this book I was unsure whether to carry on with the book but on the other hand the authors writing style flows so effortlessly and she gets straight to the point without drawing the storyline out unnecessarily which made this a fast-paced gripping read.
The Roanoke girls are like any other family, these girls are “special” Everyone is envious of the beautiful girls, men are instantly attracted to them, girls are bitterly jealous of them but if they knew what really made these girls special they would feel relieved that they are not a Roanoke girl.
Secrets that have been covered up by this family for years are threatened to be revealed when Allegra goes missing and Lane has no option but to return back to the terrible home desperate to find her.
The only way I can describe this book is like going past a car crash and knowing you shouldn’t look but curiosity always wins! 
The storyline was predictable but I wanted to carry on reading to see how things reached the conclusion I was expecting to lay ahead. It was impossible for me to warm to any of the characters because they were not the type of people I would ever be able to relate to but I was still intrigued to see what would become of this family.
The author delivers the disturbing psychological issues that the characters has in great detail so I can assume that she has done a lot of research when it comes to this part of the book. I also found it easy to visualise the settings of the book especially the random carvings that Allegra often left.
This is a really twisted and disturbing read that I am sure will divide many readers in their opinions, it certainly has something as I sped through this book so quickly but I think this is more in thanks to the authors writing style rather than the storyline as it is not a book that I would pick up again and because of the subject matter I don’t feel this would be a book that I would comfortably recommend.

Paperback                Kindle

Friday, 11 August 2017

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling



Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise - not to fall in love with each other…


The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts was one of my top reads of 2016 and I have found it impossible to let Posy and her quaint little Bookshop go so I was over the moon when I found out that Annie Darling was bringing us a sequel, True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop.

This time our main character is Verity, who you may remember from the first book even though she had a smaller roll. Verity is perfectly happy living the single life but her friends and family have other ideas and so to keep them off of her back and to stop them constantly trying to set her up she invents a boyfriend but when she is followed by her nosey friends who are keen to meet her mysterious man she has to think quick and enlists the help of an unexpected guy to help her cover her tracks.

Johnny never expected that evening to be that eventful but he sees a great opportunity for Verity and himself to help each other out over the next few weeks and so they agree to pretend date so they can get a break from blind dates and matchmaking.

The dangerous thing when you adore a book so much and long for a sequel is that you have incredibly high expectations and you expect to have all the feels from the first book flowing through the pages of the second book. This sequel is an enjoyable read that I found myself eagerly turning the pages wanting to see how Verity’s love life was progressing but I really felt like the book was missing that special spark that was found in the first book. I am sure if you were to read this book as a standalone you would thoroughly enjoy it but those reading this after reading book one will not be able to help but compare to the two. It didn’t have that warm cosy and community vibe going on that was so inviting in the first book but it does have a great sense of wit which I loved.

I loved seeing glimpses of the previous characters from the first book, I must admit that I was hoping that Posy was going to have a bigger role in this book but that is just because of how much I loved and related to her character. Verity herself is a difficult character to warm to as she has high barriers up and comes across as a prickly character at times but when she spends time with Johnny gradually I felt her guard coming down at times and I began to really care for her character and long for her to find the happiness she deserved. Johnny was also a character who had me on a rollercoaster as some times I loved him and thought he was just what Verity needed but then at other times he would say something that would throw my opinion of him in the complete opposite direction.

I did enjoy this book and I would recommend anyone who is looking for a light hearted romance to take away with them this Summer but I would just give anyone who fell in love with the first book a heads up that this although an enjoyable read, it doesn’t leave you with that longing for a follow on this time around.




Kindle                            Paperback

Thursday, 27 July 2017

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

What happens when you get the second chance you never expected?

Abi is living her happy ending. She's in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance at life. But during Abi's illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.
Set to the songs on Abi's survival playlist, this is the story of what happens next as Abi tries to rebuild her family. Can she bring the people she loves most in the world back together again... before it's too late?

This Beautiful Life is the first book I have read by Katie Marsh and having now finished this powerful and emotive read I know it on't be my last as this book is sure to leave a lasting impression on me.

The storyline introduces us to a family who have been through a desperate time with mum Abi fighting cancer and now she is in remission it shows the effects that the fight has had on the whole family and how as a sufferer it completely changes your outlook on life in the immediate aftermath. We also hear from her son Seb and how he has coped but he is hiding his own challenges which he is determined to hide from his parents. Husband John who was a rock all the way through now sees his marriage falling apart and he can't put it right.
This was such a raw emotional read that will touch each and every reader it was so honest and realistic and was delivered with such sensitivity and detail. I have read a number of books now with cancer patients as our main characters but this storyline was unlike any I had read not being afraid to show that Abi still has her flaws and makes mistakes just like anyone else. Seb is also hiding something he is trying to come to terms with which again was very insightful and dealt with so tenderly.
I love how we hear from both Abi and Seb's points of views which gives even more depth to their characters and makes their stories even more poignant hearing from both of their thoughts. Another wonderful touch was the playlist that compliments this book, at the beginning of each chapter we are treated to another new song which Abi dedicates to her loved ones.
The ending is one of those that has you shouting at the pages " YOU CAN'T FINISH THERE" but in hindsight having now taken a day or two to complete this review it is actually a perfect realistic ending to an honest plot.
This was an insightful and heartfelt read that will stay on my mind for a long time to come. This author has really touched my heart with her beautiful writing style I can not wait to delve into another of her novels even if it is to have my heart broken all over again!


Kindle                       Paperback

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