2019, christmas, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: A Million Dreams By Dani Atkins

Blurb: Beth Brandon always dreamed of owning a florist, but today the bouquets of peonies and bright spring flowers are failing to calm her nerves. Because today, Beth has a life-changing decision to share with her husband. 

Izzy Vaughan thought she and her husband would stay together forever, but sometime last year, their love began to fade. They both find such joy in their young son Noah – but is he enough to keep them together? 

Eight years ago, something happened to these two women. Something that is about to bring them together in a way no-one thought possible…

Review: Wow!!! I didn’t want to start my review with just a simple word but wow this book was full of such raw emotion. I do have a few of Dani’s books but this is the first I’ve devoured and it sure as hell won’t be the last. If you have any recommendations send them my way.

A Million Dreams… is a story of two ladies Beth and Izzy who are strangers yet intertwined by an extreme circumstance, I feel like throughout reading this there were a number of gasps and ohs from me when I could see the drama unfolding. I’m not a mother myself but I can wholeheartedly sympathise with both ladies. The situation they found themselves in was beyond heartbreaking and I imagine this could happen in real life although you wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy.

I truly loved both Izzy and Beth deep down they are both strong independent women whose love for being a mother outweighs everything else in their lives. I was rooting for them both and found myself torn at multiple pages. Life really is a rollercoaster and seeing them both overcome so much had me tearful with a smile on my face.

Dani Atkins is quite simply a genius at weaving a heartbreaking tale, that keeps you guessing until the last page. I saw a few things coming but it was written well with lots of intrigue and hope. The way she writes about grief was spot on – I truly miss my grandparents to this day and both Liam and Beth really made me think. Dani has shown the true aspects of grief and the different stages of moving on.

Everything about this book gave me all the feels and reignited my hope in love and second chances…

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood By Heide Goody & Iain M Grant.

Today I am pleased to be on another of Kelly’s fantastic blog tours and this is a festive one. I’m sharing an extract I hope you enjoy it and as ever be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour. I hope this Tuesday treats you well.

Excerpt 1 

 

Guin looked out from the carousel ride. Her dad and Esther had already wandered off. There was Esther’s son, Newton, standing by the nativity scene. He saw her looking and gave her a wave. 

Snow was falling steadily now and it was a blurry screen against the wooden stalls and lights of the market. Through it, Guin caught a glimpse of long hair, big glasses and a hat with furry earflaps. It was the woman who had knocked her to the ground earlier. Guin felt a surge of anger. The bump had been an accident but that didn’t matter. Guin was eleven and bearing grudges took little effort.

The woman was still walking round with her nose in a book! She wasn’t even looking at the stalls! Guin tutted. People had no right to go wandering blindly around Christmas markets, not buying stuff and being a general hazard. The woman should buy something or go home.

Angry though she was, Guin couldn’t help but wonder what was so interesting about a book that could hold the woman’s attention completely. Guin suddenly wanted to know. The curiosity was threatening to overcome her anger, which made her angrier still. There was nothing an angry mind hated more than having its anger reasonably eroded by a more positive emotion.

The carousel slowed to a stop. Guin slid off Pokus the horse and down the wooden steps. Newton stood staring glumly at the nativity scene.

The woman with the heavy book trudged past Newton, each oblivious of the other. The woman had something dangling from the fingertips of the hand supporting the book. It was a five-pointed star, but no Christmas decoration. Even from a distance, Guin could see it was constructed from twigs and string, neatly bound and tightly secured.

Guin decided to follow her. “I’m here,” she said to Newton as she passed.

“Good. Good,” he said, still looking at the carved nativity. “Have fun?”

“Sure,” she said. The book woman was moving off through the crowd. “I’m just going to look at something for a minute.”

“Okay,” said Newton.

In the crowd, following the book woman was difficult. Guin was not tall and the afternoon shoppers pressed in closely, but glimpses of that flappy-eared hat drew her on. She saw the woman, cut away from the stalls and down a side route. However when Guin reached where the woman had been, she was gone. There was just a set of footprints in the settling snow.

They led up a dark and narrow alley between two houses. Here the snow had only fallen in a narrow strip down the centre of the alleyway. Above, the sheer white sky was a thin line between rooftops.

She didn’t see the book and the star on the ground until she’d almost stepped on them. The book lay open on the ground, collecting snowflakes in its pages. The star made of twigs and string lay next to it, like it had been dropped.

Guin turned about. The woman had gone. There were no people in sight at all.

“That’s weird,” she said. She picked up the book and the star.

It was possible she had simply dropped her book. People dropped things all the time. But this was definitely just weird.

 “Just a little way,” she said, under her breath, “and then we’ll go back and find Newton.”

The path behind the houses ran up to a drystone wall. There was something on the ground by the wall: a flat shape draped over the wall. It was hard to make out in the gloom.

Guin made towards it. The shape began to move, sliding slowly over the wall. Guin hurried.

When she got close enough to see what it was, she couldn’t understand what she was seeing. Dangling from the top of the low wall was what appeared to be an arm-length glove. It was a peachy pink, skin coloured. It wasn’t an actual human arm: it was floppy and rubbery and quite lifeless. But if it wasn’t an arm-length glove, in a perfectly realistic skin tone, what was it?

There was something else: fat and round on the ground in front of the wall. Guin recognised that.

As she hurried closer, the arm-glove slid away over the wall as though pulled from the other side. The hand seemed to wave goodbye before disappearing. Guin crouched by the fat round object. It was a big winter hat with furry earflaps. She picked it up. There was something red and sticky on the brim.

Guin heard voices on the other side of the wall. No, not voices exactly, but high-pitched chittering chattering noises that were very much like speech. She stepped closer. Between the top of the low wall and the sweeping boughs of the trees there was only a black-green darkness.

“Hello?” she called.

There was no reply.

“You left your hat here,” she said to the darkness.

There was nothing for several seconds and then Villast, útlendingur.

 The voices sounded close, like they were just over the wall, down by the mossy trunks of the nearest trees. Guin leaned nearer.

 Thank you once again to Kelly for including me on this fabulous tour. As I already stated be sure to check out the rest of the tour. I also want to take this time to apologise for my silence, life has taken over but I’m hoping to spend some of my day off writing reviews and penning posts to share with you all.

2019, Self Care Sunday, Uncategorized

Self Care Sunday

Well it sure has been a while since I wrote one of these posts. Last Sunday I threw myself into work having said goodbye to my favourite Boyz on the Friday and having celebrated Halloween early on the Saturday by Sunday I was ready to work and not think about anything that might make me emotional.

I haven’t listened to anything remotely Boyzone since that Friday. Since starting in the cinema on the 1st October I’ve been well and truly loving life. Throwing myself into work being a team player and working lots of extra hours today I’m feeling kinda sleepy so it’s a coffee day, I came home and had a Baileys hot chocolate this morning I’ve been half catching up on the soaps alongside some family time coffee and Heidi Swain’s latest The Christmas Wish List which got me thinking of when we wrote lists to promote the novel.

I then explained what the lists were about to my 7 year-old niece and she’s started writing hers.

So far we have advent calendar chocolate, making gingerbread men and a good ole family roast. When my 4 year-old niece next comes over I will be getting her to do the same. It’s the start of November and this is my third Christmas book this year each of them have given me all the feels although this morning in my tired state I swear I could smell mulled wine in just reading it. My sister in law yesterday mentioned a plum & Cinnamon gin and that sounds like Christmas in a nutshell.

I’ve loved making a little time for me this morning- I’m honestly loving my job I do need to balance my sleep pattern ended up having the Baileys hot chocolate with an episode of 13 Reasons at the stupidest time this morning and I may have placed an order with Superdrug that I’m now on my way to collect before I get the bus into work. So very soon I will be back with Hattie and Dolly.

This is me trying to not look like a Halloween ghoul. If you love what you’re doing it will never be a chore.

How is your Sunday fairing? Tell me your plans are we reading, watching TV or films.

I also have one of these to enjoy later when on my break they are simply divine. Any of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know I love an Irish coffee or two.

2019, Author Love, Blogtober, christmas, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Christmas Calendar Girls By Samantha Tonge

Today I am delighted to share my second Christmas read of 2019 I never imagined I would be reading them in October. I’ve read a few of Samantha Tonge’s books and truly loved them so I was overjoyed to be invited onto her blog tour for The Christmas Calendar Girls.

Blurb: Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.

In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.

Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

Review: As I said above this is my second Christmas read and this one also is about so much more than presents. Samantha Tonge has openly spoken of her struggles and I love how she’s added an element of that in a few of her characters namely the elusive Kit. Going through hard and desperate times doesn’t make us bad people it makes us human. I loved seeing him transform as a character ultimately forgiving himself for his wrong doings. Most of the time we are our own worst critics and Kit learned the hard way and came out on top.

From the very beginning I loved Cara, Davina and Fern three very different feisty ladies who make the greatest army of friends. I loved how they pulled together and worked as a team. If you decide to read this novel you will see how ying and yang they are but ultimately they are the greatest friendship group. I loved getting to know them and seeing each of them hit bumps in the way and come out on top.

I have to mention Audrey who really did pull at my heart strings. She made me think of my beautiful Nan who is now one of the brightest stars in the sky she was fiercely independent right until the end and the cinema experiences had me back in my Nan’s front room watching films. I like to think my latest job move is linked to her and I feel a small sense of pride when I watch something I know she would have loved. It’s like a hug from her all over again.

I really loved the sense of community and sadly these days it’s not something that happens. I love the togetherness and the sense of hope and achievement. Another festive read that made me think of the true value of Christmas. Myself and my siblings now do a secret Santa and bar that we only go all out on the kids and my parents and that suits us. Although last year we all managed to work out who had who etc.

We’re not into the festivities yet as it’s only October but my nieces are taking part in harvest festival at school and are appreciating that there are others out there less fortunate than us.

A novel full of love, friendships and how loss in any way shape or form effects us all both young and old alike. A truly heartwarming story that will have you smiling once you close the book.

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour…

2019, Author Love, Blogtober, christmas, Uncategorized

Book Review: Coming Home To Glendale Hall By Victoria Walters

Blurb: Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. When she fell pregnant at just sixteen, knowing that her family would never approve, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate that had been her home, building a new life for herself and her daughter hundreds of miles away.

But when her father begs her to return home to see her gravely ill grandmother, Beth is apprehensive at the thought of seeing her family again. With her daughter Isabelle, now a feisty ten-year-old, in tow, she plans to cut her visit as short as she can whilst fulfilling her duty.

Beth has worked hard to leave her past behind her, living in London with Isabelle and working hard to be the best single mother she can be. Returning to the Glendale Hall estate means facing her strict and unaffectionate mother, formidable grandmother, as well her teenage boyfriend, Drew, who broke her heart and doesn’t know that he has a daughter.

But Beth is about to discover that everyone has their own version of the past, and the true story she thought she knew for the last ten years might well be a very different one to the truth. Will Beth be able to find it in her heart to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? Or will she end up running away all over again?

Your home isn’t a place, it’s the people you share it with.

Review: Wow!!! Where do I start? I don’t usually read Christmas books at the end of September beginning of October but I had been waiting for this one and had pre ordered. So I couldn’t wait for too long and was it worth the wait, you bet it was. I always say I will re-read books but it very rarely happens as there are always so many on offer, but I feel like if I proper needed a Christmas boost this would be the book to give me that.

Firstly Victoria Walters writes a compelling read that will have you truly mesmerised from the very first page. I remember reading that blurb of this and being intrigued that intrigue, want and pure joy carried on throughout.

From the beginning I adored Beth and I loved everything about her, her story was hard and at some points truly heartbreaking but as a sixteen year old girl she made a decision that would ultimately change her life.

I have to mention Izzy – what a great kid I love how gutsy and determined she is although she thinks of others before herself – meaning her mum doesn’t always know what’s on the ten year olds mind. What I loved about her the most was how into books she was and the fact she wasn’t scared to say how she felt – there were a few occasions when she just blurts out what many of the adults wouldn’t or couldn’t.

This story gives you love, loss, regret, forgiveness and the art of family.

Deep down we all have a family, granted each of ours is different and depending on your communication it really does depend on how close you are. I love how Victoria has written a story about a family unit with a whole host of issues but who deep down love each other deeply. They may not have always shown it and their lack of communication and love was paramount at times but when push came to shove they pulled through as family for themselves and the sake of Glendale.

The element of loss really hit home to me, transporting me back to that time when I first experienced losing a loved one and how hard it is. There was another segment of loss in realising when someone has truly left this world another feeling I’ve experienced and I believe that this was done so well and with grace.

I also love the elements of friendships reconnecting. Heather and Beth had obviously been thick as thieves as kids but had lost touch when Beth fled. It was heartwarming to see their friendship come back together seamlessly.

Victoria awakened the romantic in me, I was left truly gushing at this book and there were times when I became increasingly frustrated with Beth and Drew and there was an addition that annoyed me from the off. But I feel I called what happened – long before it transpired on the page. What kept me smiling was the pure romance of a first love that never dulled. A sparkle that was always there no matter the time apart. Leaving me feeling elated and longing for that kind of love.

There were so many fantastic elements to this book that really made me think of the true aspects of Christmas it’s so much more than the presents. It’s about spending time with those you love and truly appreciating that time. As each and everyone of us will leave this world at some point. It’s made me think of my Christmas traditions and now my nieces and nephew are growing it changes the real value of Christmas for me. As long as they enjoy the magic I’m perfectly happy to sit back with a book and a festive drink. Although in London we rarely get the magical white Christmas but I cannot wait to devour It’s a Wonderful Life again it took me forever to watch with my mum and I couldn’t imagine a year without it now.

2019, Blogtober, christmas, Publication Day, Uncategorized

The Christmas Wish List By Heidi Swain

Happiest of publication days to one of my most favourite authors. Heidi I hope today is everything you deserve and more and I hope there is cake and bubbles too. I cannot wait to go to Wynbridge this Christmas. You can purchase it Here also be sure to check your local independent book shops and supermarkets.

I’ve been so excited for this book since it was announced although that feels like forever ago.

If my excitement isn’t enough for you be sure to read the blurb….

After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

I don’t usually read Christmas books this early but there really are a few good ones this year….plus each year I always get a few that I don’t get to and I promise to read it the following year. Let’s see how I fair this year.

2019, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: The Gift Of Happiness By Holly Martin

Today I am pleased to be a part of the reveal of Holly Martin’s latest book. I’ve done a few of these for Holly and I’m always happy and honoured to help her when she sends an email through….so the initial reveals have been happening over on Twitter today at 12pm and at 6pm which is why I’m posting my blog post now.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I have to admit I feel like a bit of a fraud as I have a few of Holly’s books but I’ve not actually read any of them. Where should I start? Or should I wait for this beauty in October. It’s released on 25th October.

@HollyMAuthor and the Amazon link, https://amzn.to/2Q1WPez

2019, Author Love, christmas, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: Coming Home to Glendale Hall By Victoria Walters

Today I am overjoyed to share the gorgeous cover for Victoria Walters festive offering.

I don’t like wishing the year away but I honestly love this woman’s writing and cannot wait to get festive with her new book. I think a festive coffee and a cinnamon swirl may have to accompany me though.

What do you think?

So I’m going to tease you a little longer with some information on the book before sharing said beauty.

Blurb: No matter how far you go, home is where the heart is.

Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. After falling pregnant at sixteen, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate where she grew up rather than risk her family’s disapproval, working hard to build a life for herself and daughter Isabelle– but now she’s finally returning to Glendale Hall.

As Beth tries to mend her broken family ties, and fights to bring the community of Glendale back together, she soon realises that the story she has told herself for a decade might well be a very different one from the truth. Even though she ran from Glendale it has never left her heart. And, she soon realises, neither has Drew – Beth’s first love.

Will Beth be able to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? What will Drew say when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for so long?

Can a festive trail bring the village back together? Will Christmas work it’s magic on Glendale – or will Beth be forced to run away from it all over again?

This absolute beauty is released on 25/09/2019 and I’ve already pre-ordered mine. Click here to get yours

Sorry that I’m a little late to the party WordPress issue but I’m here now.

How bloody gorgeous is this treat….

2019, Author Love, christmas, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: The Christmas Wish List By Heidi Swain

I haven’t even devoured her latest yet but within a few days from her last publication Heidi Swain is back with news. Today she has shared with us a truly gorgeous cover for her festive novel that will be available in October 2019. I have a few of her festive ones and I’m not sure if I’ve read them all but I’m a huge fan of Heidi’s and her covers are always stunning and the content will leave me wanting more.

Blurb: After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

Heidi it’s stunning and I cannot wait to start my Christmas festivities with you and the Wynbridge crew.

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Little Christmas Charm By Kathryn Freeman

Now before I talk of anything to do with this blog tour I need to mention how fabulous Kathryn Freeman is. She’s been so supportive of me as a blogger especially of late when I’ve felt extremely belittled. As soon as this book was announced I knew I had to make sure it was in my festive reading. I’ve loved Kathryn’s brooding males although Owen is a totally different breed but I will get to that later.

I’m ashamed to say I still have a number of her books in my ever expanding TBR.

Blurb: Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey?
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes.

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?

Review: Now I’m not sure how I can truly do this festive treat justice? I will also do my utmost to not ruin the story.

From the off I warmed to both Gabby and Owen the banter and camaraderie along the way had me smiling and laughing out loud a lot. I loved seeing these two blossom and the many hurdles that they had to overcome but did they? I hear you say. You will have to read it to find out. I adore Christmas especially as an auntie to five but I love how Kathryn has encompassed how Christmas should be with traditions etc etc and how that is not always the case for all families.

I cannot begin to understand Gabby’s childhood but I know it happens. The other aspect that Kathryn has done amazingly well is that of grief. We lost my Nan to Cancer which is partly my reasoning for working for Cancer Research.

Christmas is a time of reflection I always have Boxing Day as another family day as that was when we visited Nan & Grandad I miss them terribly especially then but just like Owen & Sidney life goes on and we would be doing a disservice to their memories.

Kathryn manages to write a love story amongst a Christmas tale that will have you swooning for your very own dreamboat. Owen is completely different to the men I have read of hers before and not only making Gabby laugh he had me on tender hooks. There were so many character duos that I loved in this book.

Kathryn please please take us back to these again.

A Little Christmas Charm is everything you want in a festive read and more so much so I went straight into Costa and got a Gingerbread latte….this has really got me in the mood for the festive season even though I’m as stressed as the next person in regards to spending – as ever we probably all spend too much but I love making people’s day.

Do make sure you check out the rest of this truly fabulous tour for one of my most favourite authors.

Purchase Link 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Christmas-Charm-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B07GNL7VN8

Author Bio – 

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero. 

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links – 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

For your chance to win a paperback copy of A Little Christmas Faith which was Kathryn’s offering last year click the link below and GOOD LUCK!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494161/?

Massive thanks to Rachel for organising this festive tour of one of my favourites and what a gorgeous story it was.