Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1)

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin
Published: 20th October 2016
Publisher: Zaffre (Paperback) Bookouture (Ebook)
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the snow-topped town of White Cliff Bay, but not even the roaring log fire can keep her personal life from feeling frozen.

That is until dashing Henry and his daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage for the festive season. And between decking the halls and baking delicious mince pies, Penny realises there is more to Henry than meets the eye.

With sleigh bells ringing and fairy lights twinkling, the ice-sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing. Will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will she finally have the perfect Christmas she's been dreaming of?

Christmas at Lilac Cottage is the first book in Holly Martin’s new White Cliff Bay series and it’s a book which just oozes Christmas from cover to cover. Especially the cover itself at its covered in super sparkly snowflakes which make you just want to dive in and read.
Penny Meadows is an ice sculptor who lives alone in Lilac Cottage up on the hills above White Cliff Bay and that is how she would like it to stay. But sadly Penny needs some extra income so has agreed to rent out her annexe to Henry and Daisy. Being single and suffering from heartbreak Penny is not looking forward to a couple sharing her home. So imagine the surprise she gets when she realises Daisy is actually Henry’s daughter! Despite Henry’s initial gruff exterior Penny finds herself more and more intrigued by this handsome man. With Daisy trying her best to set the two up, can Penny find a way to let love into her frozen heart.
I love Holly’s writing and her Christmas novels are some of my favourites, this one is just perfect for anyone who wants to overdose in Christmas cheer.  As with most of Holly’s characters I found Penny someone I instantly liked but was intrigued as to why she shut herself off from the rest of town so much, what could have happened to such a sweet girl to make her so isolated. Henry and Daisy are also great characters and have a lovely father/daughter relationship between them which was just lovely to read about.
White Cliff Bay is a place which Holly has brought to life perfectly, it’s a charming little town which just oozes Christmas spirit and the community really throw themselves into all things Christmas with ice carving competitions, Christmas Balls, ice-skating, it’s like a Christmas wonderland and somewhere I would just adore being over the Christmas period.
This book had everything I want in a Christmas novel, a beautiful setting, a romance which is both naughty and nice, adorable characters, a few moments of danger or uncertainty and most of all I want to laugh. With Christmas at Lilac Cottage Holly Martin has completely nailed all these aspects and written a truly wonderful book. I can see this being a favourite of my Christmas reads for many years to come.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The Christmas Cake Cafe by Sue Watson

The Christmas Cake Cafe 

The Christmas Cake Café by Sue Watson
Published: October 12th 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 258
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose.  But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection.  Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.

A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak.

When Jen meets handsome ski instructor
Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake Café, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix.

As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love?

Sue Watson is one of my favourite authors when it comes to Christmas novels, they are always full of fun and put me in an extra festive mood, her latest book The Christmas Cake Café could be my favourite so far.
Jen Baker has spent years planning and dreaming of the perfect Christmas and this year is the year its finally going to be perfect as she is sure that boyfriend Tim is just about to propose…instead he ends their ten year relationship and shatters poor Jens heart. Fast forward eight months and Jen is dreading being alone for Christmas, so when half-sister Jody offers her the chance to go to Switzerland for three months and work at a ski-resort she reluctantly agrees. After a bumpy start where Jen faces lost luggage and Jody’s drunk friends things start to pick up and Jen finds herself falling in love and not just with the gorgeous scenery and delicious pastries but with handsome German Jon.
Jen was a character I could identify with straight away, she’s a planner and just longs for every moment to be perfect and instead life seems to pass her by and she always ends up disappointed. She’s never felt she was really good enough after her father left her and her mother when she was ten years old to start a new family. I loved how Jen opened up more as the story progressed. Throughout the book she is often put in some awkward positions such as being the only member of the café to wear a cow onesie to work or to go on a sight-seeing trip wearing a see through dress. However as she begins to lighten up and laugh at these embossing situations and just go with it she has a lot more fun and begins to realise living in the moment is much more fun, something I found very inspiring.
I loved the way the romance developed between Jen and Jon, it was romantic but comical at the same time as things never quite went to plan. The part where Jen meets Ella for the first time was probably my favourite part of the book…awkward.
I found this didn’t take me long to read at all as with all Sue Watson books there is never a dull moment and the drama just keeps coming. The characters are all brilliant and there wasn’t one I disliked, well maybe Tim but luckily he’s not in the book for long.
This probably isn’t the most festive of Sue Watson’s books but it was definitely the funniest in my opinion. It’s a book which made me laugh all the way through and definitely one to pick up if you-re feeling a little down, I guarantee you will laugh.  I loved everything about this book and can’t wait to read what Sue brings us next.
Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for this copy to review.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

The Christmas Promise

The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft
Published: December 1st 2016
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 325
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

The Christmas Promise is the first book by Sue Moorcroft that I’ve read and is one which I really enjoyed.
Ava Blissham is having a rough time and with Christmas just round the corner she feels it’s only going to get worse.  When friend Izz drags her out for her work Christmas party Ava bumps into her ex Harvey who tries to blackmail her by saying if she doesn’t go back out with her he’ll spread illicit photos of her all over the internet. Upset Ava rushes homes but is followed by Izz’s boss Sam who wants to make sure she’s ok. Sam takes Ava home where she shows him her hat studio and he asks her is she will make a special hat for his mother who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Desperate for some money Ava agrees, it’s only when she meets Sam’s mother and realises that she’s under the impression her and Sam are dating. Which makes it more complicated when Harvey comes to the same conclusion.
This book deals with the effects of cyber bullying, financial hardship and tragically a cancer diagnosis which added a great deal of emotion and poignancy to be the story. Sam’s relationship with his ill mother brilliantly portrayed. He shows her he cares but doesn’t smoother her and make her feel “ill”.  Ava was a great character who I instantly liked, I wished she just forget about the whole “not dating” thing after Harvey and give lovely Sam a chance. I loved the wide mix of supporting characters in this book too from Ava best friend Izz, to Tod and Lindsay to the gem that is Auntie Val as they all added a little something to the story.
Some of my favourite scenes included when Ava first meets Sam’s mum, the charity fundraiser and the Christmas Day scenes all were very touching and they were moments when I did shed a few tears. Despite this being a serious book with real issues there are some light hearted and comical moments, the fancy dress party being ones of my favourites.
Harvey was an utterly horrible character and the plot to take revenge on him for his nastiness was genius and quite funny and I loved how it brought many of the sub character’s all together to help Ava and Ruby, a WAG who needed a little help with her media presence.
What I loved most about this book was that it was more than just a romance told at Christmas. It was a book which dealt with real issues, poverty, bullying and cancer may not be the cheeriest of topics but they are things which we are dealing with in today’s world and that made it a great read for me. This is a book which highlights that Christmas isn’t about how much money you spend on gifts and celebrations it’s about spending time with those we really care about and embracing life and making those special moments count because those are the things which are most important.
I’ve loved reading my first book by Sue Moorcroft and can’t wait to get started on my next. It’s the perfect book to read right now as we begin the final count down to the big day. Thank you to Avon and Netgalley for tis copy to review.