Book Review: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

The hedgehogs are back! After falling in love with the hedgehogs and setting in Finding Love in Hedgehog Hollow I was looking forward to reading the next instalment. Scroll down to read my review on New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Book Review: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Title: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow

Author: Jessica Redland

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Brand new from the top 10 bestselling author of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow.

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – https://buff.ly/3qVlHD2

My Thoughts

I fell in love with the first book in series and this one welcomed me back into the warmth of Hedgehog Hollow like a much-needed hug. I am local to the Wolds and Jessica Redland captures the beauty of the setting in her writing, and as someone shielding the descriptions gave me a view of the outside and an escape. Thomas’ meadow is vivid and somewhere I wish I could spend time there myself.

 The novel begins with a giggle when the rescue centre opens and I was immersed back into the lives of Sammie and Josh. It catches up with them a few weeks after the end of the previous book and covers the consequences of the Grimes brothers’ actions, family rifts, mental health as well as discovering more about Josh and his background. All topics are covered sensitively with some unexpected turns when family secrets are revealed. The hedgehogs are adorable and I have learnt so much about them by reading these novels, which is great for awareness.

The handy recap provided means it can be read as a standalone novel, but personally I think you gain so much more by reading the first book beforehand.

Would I recommend?

Jessica Redland’s books offer an escape from the humdrum of life and lockdown, and this one is no exception. The characters fast become friends, making you want to continue reading and revisit them in the future. The stunning settings, memorable characters and adorable hedgehogs make this is a book to snuggle down with under the duvet and enjoy. I can’t wait to read the next in the series and discover more about Fizz, who I connected to straight away.

Author Biography

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Social Media Links –
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter  https://twitter.com/JessicaRedland

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

Website https://www.jessicaredland.com/

Blog https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com/

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

Mailing list sign up http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter

If you want to read more about this book and Jessica Redland why not pop along to the other blogs on the tour.

Other blogs on the tour

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood books for the advanced copy so I could review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Keep warm, stay safe and happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Editing Your Novel’s Structure by Bethany A. Tucker

I waved my hand high in the air when Rachel’s Random Resources looked for bloggers to review Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany A. Tucker. For the last three years I have spent my spare time writing a novel and I need all the help I can get to edit it to make it sparkle. This book looked like the answer to my prayers.

My own writing journey can be found at http://katekenzie.com

Book Review: Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany Tucker

Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany Tucker

Title: Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish

Author: Bethany A. Tucker

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Blurb

Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?

If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask?  Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books. 

In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place. 

Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:

– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Plot.
– Backstory.
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers. 

Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Editing-Your-Novels-Structure-Checklists-ebook/dp/B08PSP82ZQ

US – https://www.amazon.com/Editing-Your-Novels-Structure-Checklists-ebook/dp/B08PSP82ZQ

My Thoughts

This is a comprehensive book and it’s easy relate to making it an ideal reference quide for newbies and those at the beginning of their career. Each chapter gives a breakdown of the actions needed in each stage of editing with examples. Her words made me consider my completed novel and my current work in progress helping me tweak them to read better. The tips work and I’ll refer back to it in the future.

The short length and friendly tone of this book made this a quick read which is perfect for writers with limited time. The information was easy to digest and the links to further resources allowed me to expand my knowledge. I did not feel bogged down with so much information that it distracted me from the tasks I needed to do.

Would I recommend?

Yes, for would be writers and those at the beginning of their journey who needing a helping hand. It will be on my forever shelf and the useful checklists at the end of the chapters and beta reader questionnaires will be well used.  

Author Biography

Bethany A Tucker

Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com. 

Social Media Links –   theartandscienceofwords.com, mustangrabbit.com

Thank you again Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Do you write? What are your tips for editing?

Take care and stay safe. Happy reading and writing!

Love

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Book cover of Pter Cratchit's Christmas Carol and a cup of tea

Book Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Christmas Eve is nearly here making it an ideal time to share my review for Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne. I adore A Christmas Carol in both literature and film so was excited to discover what this book had to offer and whether it lived up to the original tale. Scroll down to see if it met my expectations.

Book Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Book Review: Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Title: Cratchit’s Christmas Carol

Author: Drew Marvin Frayne

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Genre: festive romance, LGBTQIA

Release date: 18th November 2019

Blurb

Peter Cratchit, a young lad preparing to make his way in the world, is the eldest son of Scrooge’s lowly clerk Bob Cratchit. Peter flourishes under the tutelage of his “Uncle” Scrooge and seeks to make his mark as a man of business, like his uncle before him.

One Christmas Eve, as Scrooge lays dying, Peter embarks on a risky ocean voyage that he believes will secure the future for his family. Onboard, Peter finds love, happiness, and success, only to lose it all by the voyage’s end.

Returning to London, Peter shuns his family and instead finds himself living on the streets, haunted by his failures and his dead lover, selling his body just to survive while he waits for the winter cold to claim him once and for all. But winter snows also mean Christmas is coming, and for the Cratchit family, Christmas is a time of miracles. Can a visit from three familiar spirits change Peter’s life again? Is there one more miracle in store for the lost son of one of Dickens’ most enduring families?

A Note From the Publisher

WARNING: Death of a prominent character, suicidal ideation, suicide

My Thoughts

Peter Cratchit has a lot to live up to; he admires his Uncle Scrooge and what he stood for after the ghosts’ visitation and appreciates the protection and happiness the old man gave. When Scrooge dies, Peter vows to take over the role as protector and make sure the Cratchits are well provided for but nothing is easy. The novel begins with him living on the streets and selling himself in exchange for food in Victorian England. As Christmas approaches, he is ready to give up and die but the ghosts return. Peter’s story of love, lost chances, and determination are revealed in unexpected ways.

Like the original, this book is dark, gritty and highlights poverty and the values of the era when life is cheap but the spirit of Christmas shines through when Peter faces the ghosts Scrooge told him about as a child for himself. Peter and the relationships he has with his family and his partner have depth and the love between them leap from the page. It is an emotional journey but the conclusion left me feeling uplifted, and warm. It will stay with me for a long time.

Elements of this novel are darker and more graphic than the original and it does not hold back in the sex scenes so this is not suitable for children.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if are a lover of A Christmas Carol. Beautifully written, it captures the Dickensian atmosphere and it complements the other Christmas Carol books on my forever shelf well. These include Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye, and an illustrated version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Like them, I will revisit this novel again for its warmth, festive message and characters.

Thank you Ninestar Press via NetGalley for a copy to read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

What are you reading this Christmas? Do you love A Christmas Carol too? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack

I am excited to finally share my review for My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack. I had planned to post my review late last month but when I was given an audio copy to listen to, I jumped at the chance. Scroll down to see if Amazon’s claim this book is ‘The perfect uplifting festive romance for 2020’ is true.

Book Review: My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack

My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack

Title: My Christmas Number One

Author: Leonie Mack

Narrator: Gloria Sanders

Publisher: Boldwood Books and Boldwood Books Audio UK

Release date: 10th September 2020

Genre: festive women’s fiction, romance

Blurb

There’s nothing quite like a Christmas love story, to get you in the mood for celebrating…Cara doesn’t do sexy and she only does ‘Happy Christmas’ under duress. She is, after all, a serious musician, and her stubborn streak is born from her struggle to recover from a serious injury.

Javi lives for escapist fun – in his music, and in his life – especially since he’s always failed at life’s more serious challenges, including marriage and fatherhood.

Javi and Cara are forced to record a Christmas single together, but neither of them have plans to spend any more time with each other than they absolutely have to. With Christmas traditions that couldn’t be more different, and outlooks on life that are worlds apart, the chemistry just shouldn’t work. But the magic of Christmas can bring even opposites together…

From the snowy beauty of London at Christmas, to the candle-lit magic of Javi’s traditional family celebrations, let Leonie Mack whisk you away on a memorable festive adventure. Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Mandy Baggot and Holly Martin.

My Thoughts

I was in a reading slump where nothing satisfied my inner book worm until this came along. It jolted me out of boredom when its singing pineapples promised me a fun, quirky and different type of Christmas story. It did not disappoint. I instantly connected with not only Cara but also her potential swoonsome love interest Javi.  From different cultures, musical backgrounds and life experience the chemistry between them sizzles.

The musicality from the beginning continued throughout and the music it evoked made me want to dance, which is a testament to the quality of writing. The words of the songs tugged at my emotions further investing my love in both characters. It has depth, laughter and emotional ups and downs which kept me in the story. I desperately wanted a happy ending, but the tension kept rising with emotional conflicts, so I remained unsure whether it was achievable until the final page.

The novel covers many difficult topics sensitively such as grief, divorce and mental health issues. I loved the fact that though Cara was severely injured in the past, her physical disability is not the primary focus of the story. They show it as part of who she is. By showing her acceptance and ability to do all the things she wants to, it normalises disability in literature and is how diversity should be.

Would I recommend?

This is on my forever shelf, so I can return to it another Christmas. With the beautiful, vibrant, and unusual setting of Columbia, it made a refreshing change to the typical snowy scenes. The depth and emotion in the relationship with Javi and Cara has lodged them firmly in my heart. I loved it and has become one of my favourite festive books.  If I had read this before my visit to A Little Book Problem to discuss my Desert Island Books, I would have to had to sneak it on my list for my Christmas read.

After I had read the eBook version I was given the opportunity to experience the story again in an audiobook. This is novel translates perfectly to the audio format with the highly listenable narrator, Gloria Sanders. She brings the characters and story to life. This is one audiobook I will listen to again and again. Both versions are ideal to escape the cold winter’s days with a warm duvet and favourite drink.

Thank you Boldwood Books for the advanced copies of this book so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe.

Love

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Book Review: Sleepless by Louise Mumford

I am happy to share with you my review for Sleepless by Louise Mumford. As an insomniac( thanks to my meds) and my failure to find something to help I connected to the protagonist from just the blurb; I needed to find out what happened next so thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour.

Book Review: Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Book Review: Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Title: Sleepless

Author: Louise Mumford

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Psychological thriller, suspense

Release date: 10th December 2020

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JB2XVVM/ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JB2XVVM/

Blurb

Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…

An unputdownable, gripping psychological thriller for fans of The One, Behind Her Eyes and Girl A!

My Thoughts

I was invested in Thea from just reading the blurb but discovering more about her situation I sympathised more and this drove me to continue reading. The premise intrigued me and I wasn’t disappointed. Sleepless is an entertaining thriller that made me question what I would do in those circumstances.

It is clever and disturbing because it feels only one step away from reality despite the overall sci-fi feel to the novel. The plot delves into the importance of sleep and the consequences of interfering with the mind. With increased tension throughout the book with many twists and turns I did find the ending abrupt and had to double check I had not missed something.

Would I recommned?

Sleepless is enjoyable, fast paced sci fi thriller that I still find myself thinking about days after finishing it. With the multitude of conspiracy theories flying around social media, this novel is apt and taps into the mistrust of big businesses and pharmaceutical companies. It will not help you sleep, plays with your own psyche but worth reading on a chilly winter’s night.

Author biograpghy

Louise Mumford

Louise was born and lives in South Wales. From a young age she loved books and dancing, but hated having to go to sleep, convinced that she might miss out on something interesting happening in the world whilst she dozed – much to her mother’s frustration! Insomnia has been a part of her life ever since.

She studied English Literature at university and graduated with first class honours. As a teacher she tried to pass on her love of reading to her students (and discovered that the secret to successful teaching is… stickers! She is aware that that is, essentially, bribery.)

In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then.

Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and frightening things that happen in her head.

Her debut thriller, SLEEPLESS, will be published by HQ on 11th Dec 2020.

Social Media Links –  Twitter @louise_mumford

                                       Instagram @louisemumfordauthor

                                          Facebook Louise Mumford Author         

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and HQ Digital for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy so I could read and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

                                                                                                                                                     

Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas

It is a cold but bright day in Yorkshire with no sign of snow, but if you are huddled indoors near a fire, this book may be one to keep you company. I am pleased to share my review for The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas.

Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas

Title: The Thief on the Winged Horse

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 12th November 2020

Blurb:

A dazzling mixture of crime, romance, magic and myth from the author of the bestselling The Psychology of Time Travel.

The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls for over 200 years. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftsmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn her ancestors’ craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and blood ties to the family, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the firm’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

My Thoughts

It was the beautiful cover that drew me to this novel but it was the well developed characters that kept me captivated in this unusual book. I loved the premise of a magical doll factory with enchanted dolls but I found the dolls unnerving and creepy. I had to keep my own over active imagination, and the fear of them going rogue in check. If you have a doll phobia this is not the book for you but for everyone else who loves magic like I do, this novel is fascinating.

I enjoyed the conflict with the men being in charge of the dolls’ hexes (enchantments) and have access to all the spells despite the company being founded by four sisters, and the women desiring change. The arrival of Larkin acts as the catalyst and he became one of my favourite characters despite not knowing whether to trust him or not. He had depth and secrets, and was perfect for Persephone to react to. She may have been surly but she had more depth than the other characters and kept the story going with her drive to want more, despite the obstacles she faced because of her gender and father. The story is an exploration of equality, power among the elite, manipulation and lies.

Despite the fae taking a less active and visual role I expected, the blend of magic and contemporary life worked well.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an imaginative, entertaining and thought provoking read. The premise and characters make it a book to remember. If you loved The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale you will love this.

I look forward to exploring Kate Mascarenhas’ previous novel and keep an eye out for more in the future.

A big thank you to Head of Zeus for giving me an advanced copy to read so I could share my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

The days are getting colder and Christmas is only weeks away, making this an ideal time to catch up with festive book reviews. Today, I am pleased to share my review for One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson as part of a blog tour.

Book Review: One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

Title: One Kiss Before Christmas

Author: Emma Jackson

Publisher: Orion Dash

Genre: Festive romance

Release Date: 2nd November 2020

Purchase Link – http://bit.ly/OneKissBeforeXmas

Blurb:

A gorgeously romantic festive read from the author of A Mistletoe Miracle, guaranteed to warm your heart this Christmas!

Could it be the start of her happy ever after?

Ashleigh could use a little Christmas magic. She’s still living in Brighton with her Nan — who could give the Grinch lessons in how to be miserable — her acting career has been reduced to playing one of Santa’s elves, and not even the prospect of a friend’s winter wedding can cheer her up…

That is until Olivier, the gorgeous French chef, reappears in her life. Or more accurately, next door.

When they were teenagers, Olivier would spend every other Christmas with his mother, who just happens to be Ash’s neighbour and owner of the best chocolate shop in England.


If anyone can bring a little sparkle back to Ash’s life, it’s Olivier. All she needs is one kiss before Christmas…

Feel-good and festive, this is the perfect romance to curl up with this winter!

My Thoughts

A good festive romance needs protagonists the reader cares about, a highly visual and atmospheric location, food to make your tastebuds tingle and depth beyond the will they/won’t they scenario. This book has all these elements and more.

I connected with Ashleigh at the mention of her elf socks jingling as being an elf was always on my list of dream jobs. If I could not do it in reality, I was going to enjoy it through her, but the more I discovered about her backstory and her usual festive routine, the more I cared and longed for this year to be different. Likewise, I liked Olivier instantly, but the more I learnt about his complex relationship with his family, the more I wanted him to have a happy ever after too. The observations on the effects of family dynamics on someone’s self-worth gave the story depth as did their friendship with Romesh, and Ash’s bond with her Nan. All the characters felt real, adding to the emotional attachment.

The food element came in the form of chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Olivier may have been a French chef but his talent with chocolate and the descriptions of his mother’s chocolate shop made all my senses come to life, and I longed to taste the flavours they discussed. The stash of chocolate I put away for Christmas was raided early because I needed chocolate before I could continue reading.

Brighton is a location that has everything: quirky shops, unique character, the sea and atmosphere in the bucket load. I used to have day trips there as a teenager and longed to return so was in my element visiting The Lanes and seeing the sea without leaving my duvet. It was an ideal setting, but besides the chocolate shop, Ash’s street and their light display will always stand out for me.

There were scenes that made me chuckle, especially involving the transportation of the Christmas tree, and others were pure magic. I could easily see this playing on a screen as an enjoyable, festive favourite.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a beautiful, heart warming festive story with realistic characters and emotional memorable moments. It is one for my forever shelf for a reread.

Author Biography

Emma Jackson

Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE and contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2020, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her latest romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, was released in June 2020.

Emma also writes historical and fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

You can find out news about Emma via her website, by signing up to her newsletter at www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
Twitter: @ESJackson1

Instagram: @emma_s_jackson

Facebook @EmmaJacksonAuthor

If you want to know more about Emma Jackson or this book, why not visit other blogs on this tour as shown above. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Orion Dash for inviting me to this tour and providing me with an advanced copy to give my honest opinion.

Take care, stay safe and happy reading!

Love

Book Review: Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall

I am pleased to share with you a festive book review, Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall.

Book Review: Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall

Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall

Title: Christmas at the Farmhouse

Author: Rebecca Boxall

Genre: festive fiction women’s fiction

Publisher: Wild Fox Press

Release date: 24 Oct. 2020

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Farmhouse-festive-author-Vicarage-ebook/dp/B08J7S6SZV 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Farmhouse-festive-author-Vicarage-ebook/dp/B08J7S6SZV

Blurb:

As the anticipation of Christmas builds in the Nielsen family’s cosy farmhouse, Jo, Magnus and their grown-up children begin to congregate for a hybrid Danish-Jersey festive season, each with a surprise of their own – though the surprise that arrives over Christmas is the most life-changing of all.

Fifty years earlier, in 1969, Susan Jones finds herself being pursued by Mr Jenners, her former English teacher, and at the age of seventeen is packed off to a Home for Unmarried Mothers in London by her uncompromising father. As Christmas approaches, all she can do is desperately hope to be rescued, but will anyone be able to reach her in time?

The two timelines of this festive story gradually weave together in a tale that examines whether love and hope can eventually triumph over even the deepest sadness.

Rebecca Boxall is the award-nominated author of five bestselling novels – Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse.

My Thoughts

I was drawn to this novel because of the dual nature of the storyline and the promise of an emotional ride with Susan’s tale. I am a sucker for Call the Midwife and the blurb reminded me of the many heart-breaking pregnancies it shows. From the beginning the reader is thrown into heartache with Susan being forced to give up her much wanted baby. This connected me to her and I needed to keep reading to see how things came to be and what happened next. The two timelines are told in alternate chapters and highlight a big contrast between naïve Susan preparing for birth and Jo preparing for a large family traditional Christmas with unexpected surprises from all family members. Jo’s family is full of warmth, and the descriptions of mouth-watering food and festive traditions made me want to spend Christmas at theirs this year but it was Susan’s timeline I was constantly drawn to. It could have been a book on its own. The subject is well researched and sensitively told.

Would I recommend?

This is the first novel I have read by Rebecca Boxall and am pleased to discover she has a back catalogue of Christmas books to explore. Farmhouse at Christmas is an enjoyable, cosy but emotional read which explores family connections, reactions to unmarried mothers in history bundled to together with warm festive cheer.

Author Biography

Rebecca Boxall

Rebecca Boxall was born in 1977 in East Sussex, where she grew up in a vicarage always filled with family, friends and parishioners. She now lives by the sea in Jersey with her husband, three children and Rodney the cat. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. She is the bestselling author of Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse and was nominated for the Romantic Novelist Association Awards in 2020.

Social Media Links –

For more information please visit her website – www.rebeccaboxall.co.uk – or her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/christmasatthevicarage.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and supplying me with a copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you would like to know more about this author and this book, why not pop along to other blogs on this tour.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Today I am excited to share another festive book review, The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker. The blurb grabbed my attention because I am a great fan of the festive film, The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet where they swapped houses for the Christmas period (Iris’ cottage is the ideal writer’s home) and I always wanted to know more about Australian traditions at Christmas; something I have never come across in UK fiction.

Read on to find out more.

Trailer for The Holiday

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Title: The Christmas Swap

Author: Sandy Barber

Publisher: One More Chapter, HarperCollins UK

Genre: Romance, festive

Release date: 16th October 2020

Blurb:

Christmas is coming and best friends ChloeJules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three, and this wonderful festive novel is perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Holly Martin and Karen Swan.

Purchase Links

Amazon

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-christmas-swap

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-christmas-swap/id1522992097

https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-christmas-swap,sandy-barker-9780008390044

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-christmas-swap/sandy-barker/9780008390044

My Thoughts

The first chapter is a Beachesesque introduction to three young girls from different places in the world, forming a friendship that will span a lifetime and shape who they are. Strong female friendships in novels are a joy to read, and this was no exception. From the start, I was connected to them, making me turn the page.

The idea of the swap was sown when Australian Chloe’s parents abandon her over Christmas and she reveals her longing for traditional family celebrations as seen in the movies. I loved the premise of experiencing three distinctly different Christmases, especially the one in Australia. I always struggled to comprehend the notion Christmas day was in the middle of summer and celebrated without a turkey and all the trimmings. My sister lives there, and reading this novel made me feel closer to her.

These friends experience snapshots of each other’s lives and it highlights even the best friends do not share everything and there are aspects of your life you keep to yourself. There is a character for every reader to connect with and love, and I enjoyed watching them grapple the different traditions, slot into the different ways of living, and discover the closest friendships have boundaries. With stunning locations, festive atmosphere, chemistry between love interests and swoonsome embraces, it was a tonic for grey, drizzly Autumn days and perfect escapism.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is my first experience of this author, but I loved her style. This book is an entertaining, refreshing read, and with three Christmas stories in one, how could I not love it? It is on for my forever shelf for a reread in the future.

Author Biography

Sandy Barker

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/sandybarker

https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://sandybarker.com/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and One More Chapter for my advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you would like to find out more about this book and Sandy Barker, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Have you had your own Christmas swap and experienced a different festive day? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: To Catch the Witch by Sharon Booth

October is here, making it the perfect time to celebrate Halloween and have a witch and ghost takeover.

My first witchy book review is To Catch a Witch by one of my favourite Yorkshire author’s Sharon Booth, who we met last year. You can find her interview here. It is the last novel in the Castle Clair trilogy. Read on to discover more.

Book Review: To Catch the Witch by Sharon Booth

To Catch a Witch by Sharon Booth

Title: To Catch a Witch

Author: Sharon Booth

Publisher: Green Ginger Publishing

Genre: Romance, uplifting fiction, witchlit

Release Date: 28th April 2020

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharonboothwriter

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Booth/e/B00PP5S1X8

Website: www.sharonboothwriter.com

Blurb

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.

It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.

But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.

For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.

The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.

Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

My Thoughts

I was mesmerised by the other two novels based in Castle Clair which tell the stories of Sky and Star St Clair and pre-ordered this one, eager for its release but delayed reading it until now. Why? I did not want the series and the magic to end. Mistake. Big mistake, I could have reread the entire series by now. What was not a mistake was the timing. Celeste’s story begins on Christmas Eve, the 350th anniversary of Blaise St Clair’s death at Witches Leap, making it an ideal book for October with the preparations of both Halloween and Christmas. Witches and Christmas, my favourite things make it a winning combination.

Sharon Booth’s wonderful storytelling invoked the Christmas spirit and drew me into the St Clair’s world. The opening chapters are upbeat, quirky, and full of laughter as well as trepidation of what is to come. The many references to Dr Who to describe the situation made me smile and added to the festive atmosphere. Like the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Dr Who specials make Christmas.

Celeste fast became my favourite witch with her innocent, romantic view of love, believing she will meet the one. Her gentle and kind nature makes her the ideal match for Blaise, the 17th century witch. I enjoyed watching him grapple with the steep learning curve of fitting in to the 21st century, including the changing roles of women and zippers. That scene is one I cannot get out of my head.

Would I recommend?

To Catch A Witch is witchy escapism wrapped up in an uplifting romance that also revisits the other St Clair sisters. With many twists and turns, it was a joy to read and is firmly one of my forever shelf with the rest of the series. This has become my favourite, but it would be wrong to read it again without the others. I can feel a Halloween tradition brewing.

Author Biography

Sharon Booth

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can sign up to Sharon’s newsletter at smarturl.it/sharonsnewsletter

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love