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

Book Review: Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

I am excited to share a review for something different, a YA novel by Muriel Ellis Pritchett called Not Myself Today. As soon as I read the blurb, my inner teenager demanded I read it so thank you Rachel Gibley for inviting me to this blog tour. Scroll down to see if it matched my expectations.

Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Title: Not Myself Today

Author: Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal

Release date: 24th September 2020

Blurb

High school soccer star Lindsey Anderson was at the top of her game with graduation approaching and a full-ride soccer scholarship offer in her hand. Then she dropped dead on the soccer field, only to wake up in the body of a teenage sex-trafficking victim. No one believes who she really is. Not even her dad. Chased by her new body’s drug-dealing pimp and rabid parapsychologists out to dissect her, Lindsey searches to get her body and her life back before graduation day. Can her BFF and the high school nerdy boy she detests help save her life?

Purchase Links

https://www.blackrosewriting.com/teenya/notmyselftoday

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Myself-Today-Paranormal-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08F5GFDNX/

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/Not-Myself-Today-Paranormal-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08F5GFDNX/

 From October 8-12 (5 days) anyone in the US and the UK will be able to purchase an eBook copy of Not Myself Today for $0.99

My Thoughts

Lindsay is the perfect American athletic student with a bright career ahead of her. With a privileged background and friends, life can not get any better, but in an instant her role is changed when she wakes up in the body of a 14-year-old prostitute and addict. Body swapping has been used as a plot device before in many films to show different views and encourage character growth in both protagonists, such as Freaky Friday, Visa Versa and one of my favourite film, Heaven can Wait (1978) but this change is darker and more extreme. There could have been a risk this was too much, but it works. The stark contrast between the girls’ lives allows the reader to discover with Lindsay, the dark, murky world of child sex trafficking, and abuse in an accessible, non-graphic way. There is danger from the Annabeth’s pimp making it quick paced and page turning. Lindsay is a strong character and I doubt I would have been so calm in those circumstances, but I enjoyed watching her judgement change as she discovers more about Annabeth’s life.

It is a topical, action-packed novel about the importance of friendship, and identity highlighting the hidden and devastating world of child trafficking in the US. This is not a US problem, but worldwide.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a refreshing YA read that ticked all the boxes my younger self wanted in a book; paranormal, reincarnation, gritty subject matter, and strong characters. It is a thrilling, fast-paced, paranormal YA read I would loved to have had on my forever bookshelf as a teenager.

Author Biography

Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Muriel Ellis Pritchett graduated from the University of Georgia and began her journalism career while living in Japan and Germany. Her journalism career included playwriting, editing and writing for magazines and newspapers, and working in public relations, university relations, and media relations.

After retiring, Muriel’s family doctor recommended she get a hobby.  So, she began writing fun fiction about feisty older women who had been wronged and had to pull themselves up out of the muck. But her award-winning fourth book, Not Myself Today, is a change in genres—a YA paranormal thriller. It is scheduled for release September 24, 2020. Her first three “fruity” books, fun romance for older women, are Making Lemonade, Like Peaches and Pickles, and Rotten Bananas and the Emerald Dream. She is currently working on another “fruity” book, titled Sour Grapes and Balmy Knight.

When not writing, Muriel loves cruising all over the world, eating good Belgian chocolate, and spending time in any Disney park. Her favorite Disney attractions are SOARING at Disney World’s EPCOT in Florida, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth at Disneyland Paris, Journey to the Center of the Earth at DisneySeas in Tokyo, and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland in California.

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: Muriel’s Fiction for Women @murielellispritchett https://www.facebook.com/murielellispritchett/

Twitter: @PritchettMuriel

Website: https://www.murielpritchett.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/murielellispritchett/

Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of Not Myself Today (Open Internationally)*

To win a signed copy of Not Myself Today, click here

Good Luck

If you want to discover more about this book, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Thanks Rachel’s Random Resources for supplying an advanced copy to review and give my honest, and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

Autumn is here and we are on the way to Halloween, one of my favourite days of the year and a perfect time for spooky reads. I am pleased to share my review for The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson which lends itself to be read on chilly, dark evenings while waiting for things to go bump.

Book Review: The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

Title: The Unquiet Spirit

Author: Penny Hampson

Publisher: Darkstroke/Crooked Cat

Genre: Paranormal, suspense

Release date: 21st August 2020

Purchase Links – getbook.at/theunquietspirit

Blurb

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Fans of Barbara Erskine will enjoy this tale.

My Thoughts

I was attracted to this novel for its setting, promise of spookiness and reference to Barbara Erskine, one of my favourite authors. I am always on the look out for authors similar in her style. The Cornish location for this novel and house offers the ideal set up for a ghost story and after an explosive start where I was thrown into action as Kate is pursued by a man, the hauntings begin with the smell of rosemary and classic spookiness. The authentic ghostly experiences were perfectly balanced with the developing relationship between Kate and Tom. The tension and chemistry between them kept me intrigued as did the discovery of a diary revealing the houses secrets.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a lovely, enjoyable ghost story for these colder nights with atmospheric setting and intriguing characters parcelled up with an historical mystery waiting to be solved. It sent shivers down my spine. I would love to read more from this author especially if she writes more paranormal.

Author Biography

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

Twitter: @penny_hampson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennyhampsonauthor

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour, introducing me to a new author to watch and giving me an ARC so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith @rararesources

Today I am pleased to share with you something different –  365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith

Book Review: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith

365 Days of Gratitude cover

Book Title: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal

Author: Mariëlle S. Smith

Publisher: Independent

Release date: 1st September 2020

Genre: Self-help

 

Blurb:

‘Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.’ Rumi

Being grateful is easy…

…when everything goes according to plan.

But how do you keep at it no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

 

Purchase Links

https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude/

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 to claim your copy.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FV15CJN

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FV15CJN

My Thoughts

I am a great believer in the power of feeling grateful,  I rarely write my blessings down. This is where this journal was invaluable and made the difference. The daily record meant I could review the previous days as instructed to see what had been consistent, what had changed, and remember the fleeting moments I had forgotten about. For example, a dragonfly has visited our garden twice last month. In the past, I would have been grateful for seeing it but it would have been lost in my memories over time. With the journal’s help, I could recall tits arrival and the finer details of the day such as the blue sky, the summer heat and the joy of sitting in the garden drinking tea on a rare visit with my aunt. The journal became a record of small moments, but together the collection gave me more general sense of wellbeing.
With covid and the unrest in many parts of the world, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all and I have had times when cabin fever has set in because I am still spending shielding, thanks to my low immune system and dystonia.  This journal helped ground and remind me I have so much to be grateful for – friends I can chat to online, a writing tribe, technology to write and connect with people, my dogs, and a garden, I could go on. It made me concentrate on what I have rather than not, which was uplifting.

 

Things to be grateful for:

dragonfly visit

new dragon leggings

butterflies in the garden

and a man in the moon appearance in a cup of tea.

Contennt For 27 Book Street - 365 Worksheet Day 1

A sample page of the journal

 

Would I recommend?

Yes, I found it cathartic to use and helpful in these turbulent times but it does require a daily commitment to write in it for the full effect. The format is simple, clear an easily personalised with stickers and coloured pens. The quotes are beautiful and uplifting.

Author Biography

 

365 Days Author

Mariëlle S. Smith

 

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

Social Media Links –

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariellessmith/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnYOpjmj83mvMM2L348F1w

 

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this blog tour and providing me with an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest, unbiased opinion.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you find it helpful?

Happy reading and keep safe!

Love

 

 

 

Book Review: The Last Charm by Ella Allbright

Book Review: Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terraces by Fay Keenan

I know it is only August and the sun is shining but it is never too early to add Christmas books on to your TBR pile for the darker, colder nights. The first festive novel of the year is Snowflakes over Bay Tree Terrace by Fay Keenan.

Book Review: Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terraces by Fay Keenan

Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terrace HI RES

Snowflakes over Bay Tree Terrace by Fay Keenan

Title: Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terraces

Author: Fay Keenan

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Release Date: 20th August 2020

Genre: Festive Romance, Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

As the snowflakes fall, new love blossoms…

When teacher Florence Ashton receives a surprise inheritance, she decides to make the life-changing decision to up sticks to the charming town of Willowbury in Somerset. With a new house and a new job, she’s too busy putting down roots to think about love.

Air Ambulance pilot Sam Ellis is definitely not looking for romance either, especially not on his doorstep. When Florence, his new neighbour, complains about his noisy housemate, he feels more cross than star-crossed.

But as the nights draw in and both find themselves thrown together in Willowbury’s seasonal drama production, will they overcome their differences and allow a little bit of winter magic to fall along with the snow? And what secrets will be revealed by the box of memories Florence finds in the attic at Bay Tree Terrace?

Let Fay Keenan transport you to the perfect country winter wonderland, with roaring fires, spectacular scenery, and unforgettable characters. Perfect for all fans of Cathy Bramley, Fern Britton and Katie Fforde.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3d1DPTC

My Thoughts

This is my first book I have read from this author and I wasn’t disappointed. It is always nice to have another author to look forward to reading on your TBR pile. The novel follows the lives of Florence and Sam in a will they/won’t they scenario set in a delightful country village. The setting adds to the warmth and festive feel of the story but it is the characters that shine especially Aiden, Sam’s brother. He is the reason the two protagonists meet and is the glue throughout the novel. His story about the trauma of leaving the forces is sensitively told and it was lovely to see an important subject threaded into commercial novel without it being the focus. His relationship with Sam and the realistic emotional interactions they had touched me.

Florence is a school teacher and it shows in her personality while ex-Navy Sam has taught himself to protect himself emotionally. I enjoyed the build up of the sizzling chemistry between them and following their trials and tribulations you need in a good romantic novel.

Would I recommend?

Yes. This is more than a quick uplifting festive read; the well developed characters, topics of discussion and beautiful prose make it one that you do not leave behind when the final page is closed.

Author Biography

F Keenan headshot

Fay Keenan

Fay Keenan is the author of the bestselling Little Somerby series of novels. She has led writing workshops with Bristol University and has been a visiting speaker in schools. She is a full-time teacher and lives in Somerset.

Social Media Links –

Twitter Profile: @faykeenan

Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/faykeenanauthor

Instagram Profile: faykeenan

YouTube Channel: faykeenan

Pinterest Profile: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/faykeenanauthor/

Bookbub Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/fay-keenan

Blog / website URL: http://www.faykeenan.com

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for an advanced copy of this book so I could give my honest review.

Happy reading!

Love

Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terract Full Tour Banner

Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Today I am pleased to share my review for Taryn Leigh’s new release The Secret Letters, a romantic suspense novel set in the beautiful setting of South Africa.

 

Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

 

The Secret Letters Cover

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Title: The Secret Letters

Author: Taryn Leigh

Publisher: Kingsley Publishers

Release date: 9th August 2020

Genre: Women’s fiction, suspense romance

 

Blurb:

RACHEL, saved from an attack twelve years before by a faceless stranger, never got to thank him, never knew his name.

Despite the devastation she chose to rise above it to help others from their pain by becoming a psychologist…. Her only issue now is that she’s an expert at fixing everyone else’s problems, and blind to her own.

After a long relationship with her boyfriend WILL starts to go south, she turns to her best friend AMELIA for guidance.

Suddenly her world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and she’s left with no one to comfort her but Will’s rude older brother RUARI.

Paralyzed by fear, she struggles to take grip of her life, until the day when anonymous letters begin to appear from the stranger who saved her twelve years before.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

My Thoughts

This is the second novel I have read from Taryn Leigh. The first one, Perfect Imperfections, stayed with me long after I finished it and I can not look at a toy giraffe without thinking about the principal character, Sarah. This shows the impact it had. When the opportunity arose for a place on this blog tour run by Rachel’s Random Resources, I grabbed it and I was not disappointed.

This romantic suspense novel is unusual and took me on an emotional roller coaster with dark moments, followed by lighter, joyous scenes before being hurtled back into despair. It gripped me from the first chapter when Rachel was introduced to the last page as it follows her recovery from traumatic events and the romantic possibilities threaded throughout.  It covers some harrowing topics with haunting realism including assault and mental health issues, but Taryn Leigh approaches them sensitively. I felt Rachel’s pain as she dealt with several events life sends her way and her dependency on the mysterious letters to gain strength and move forward.  I guessed where some of the story was going, but this did not distract from my enjoyment or desire to know more.

Mr Lemon provides welcome relief with a tale of his own and he was a delightful, memorable character.

The settings described in the novel are stunning including the jacaranda trees in Pretoria, South Africa portrayed on the book cover. The tea garden was calming and somewhere I would love to experience in reality. The inclusion of a visit to Nelson Mandela’s house was enlightening and the quote of his speech resonated with me during these uneasy times. I have all the places in this book to my dream globetrotting itinerary.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an emotional, beautiful read and like her debut novel will stay with me.

Author Biography

Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh

 

Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.

Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.tarynleighauthor.com

Instagram: @tarynleighbooks

Twitter: @tarynleighbook

Facebook: Taryn Leigh Author

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

If you want to know more about this book, why not visit others on the tour.

Happy reading and stay safe.

Love

The Secret Letters Full Tour Banner

 

 

 

Book Review: The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna

As some of you may know, Jennifer Gilmour, an advocate for survivors of Domestic Abuse has visited my blog previously about her work and her book, The Isolation Junction. I am pleased to review The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna, a project she has been involved in.

Domestic Violence can affect anyone and in recent weeks, thanks to the Covid crisis and lockdown, the situation has worsened. During lockdown the calls to domestic abuse charities increased by 49% and deaths doubled*. Now we are easing out of lockdown, charities are seeing more referrals for refuge places.** These figures highlight the importance of the charities work and resources like these. This book provides help for those who have left the violent relationship and are making steps to start a fresh.

Book Review: The Recovery Toolkit: A 12 week plan to support your journey from domestic abuse by Sue Penna

RTK Book Cover

The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna

Title: The Recovery Toolkit: A 12 week plan to support your journey from domestic abuse

Author: Sue Penna

Publisher: Penna & Passmore Ltd

Release Date: 3rd May 2020

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-help

Purchase: The Recovery Toolkit on Amazon (universal link): http://mybook.to/TheRecoveryToolkit

99p_99c Kindle

Blurb:

Have you left an abusive relationship?

Are you still carrying guilt?

Would you like to understand, challenge and remove the voice of the perpetrator?

Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?

Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above questions you are not alone.

Many people who leave an abusive relationship behind are affected by that former relationship in many different ways. Perhaps you feel guilty when making decisions on your own? You may worry about what motivates others to befriend you? Maybe your children are having to re-learn who it is that’s the adult in the room now that your ex-partner has gone from their lives.

If this all sounds familiar then The Recovery Toolkit is the book for you. Written in an easy and accessible style, the book will take you on a journey that is part discovery, part guide.

Further details:

The book is based on the successful 12-week group programme of the same name created by author Sue Penna. It is also based on Sue’s professional and lived experience, having worked for more than 20 years for the NHS’s Mental Health Services. For the last 15 years, Sue has specialised in working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.

The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognise that you weren’t to blame for the abuse you suffered in the first place and that the real you is still there, ready to emerge.

My Thoughts:

This book is designed for survivors who have left their abusers and are ready to reclaim their lives and not for those still living with their abuser. It does not promise to be a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to read a chapter every week and complete the exercises. It’s aim is to change the thought process from the negative to the positive, similar to CBT and step away from hearing the abusers voice to listening your own and trust it. It is easily accessible and the insights from Jennifer Gilmour in her own journey adds to the encouragement. This is important for when things become difficult to do. I have only read through a couple of exercises and it is clear it will be an emotional process to follow. For improvement to happen the reader has to open up and be honest with themselves.

Would I recommend?

Definitely. I love this book and the concept behind it. This is an in invaluable resource of surviviors and is a therapist in your pocket. The ability to download a copy to a Kindle also adds to the privacy of it. I am sure it will help many recover from their trauma in the future and give them access to guidance they need when they can not physically attend a workshop. This will help them and their loved ones have the life they deserve.

Sue’s biography:

Sue Penna Headshot

Sue Penna

Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.

She has specialised in writing psycho-educational programmes that promote trauma informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate for the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma informed approach.

Sue has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma informed domestic abuse programmes including the Inspiring Families Programme, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.

About Rock Pool:

Our vision is a society that is trauma-informed.

We support organisations that want to improve practice, share knowledge and expertise, and enable their workforce to inspire hope, promote resilience and aid recovery for people affected by trauma. Our innovative, practical solutions and training opportunities are informed by lived experience and what is known to work.

Social Media:

Sue Penna on Twitter: @SuePenna

Rock Pool on Twitter: @rockpoollife

Rock Pool on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rockpool.life/

Rock Pool website: https://rockpool.life/

Giveaway

I am pleased to share the chance to win a signed copy of The Recovery Toolkit, to enter click here

Thank you Jennifer Gilmour and Sue Penna for inviting me to take part in this important and exciting blog tour and providing me with an advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you are affected by the issues above and still in the relationship, there is help available.

National Domestic Abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247

Refuge UK

Women’s Aid

Take care, stay safe and happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour Stops

*BBC news UK lockdown: Calls to domestic abuse helpline jump by half

**BBC news Domestic abuse charities predict call spike post-lockdown