Monday, 30 November 2020

A Real Royal Christmess - Linda West (Blog Tour & Review)

Date of Reading: 02/11/2020
Author: Linda West
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: 4/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book:

When the Christmas party psychic said Jess would meet a prince - she didn't know she meant a REAL prince...

Jess is trying to win back her boyfriend, who dumped her for being boring. Jamie is trying to complete his father's bucket list before he takes the Crown. Both of them are hiding who they truly are, and when the truth is discovered, it's a real royal Christmess!

Review:

     I know there is no hope of this story happening in reality, but don't we all need a touch of unreal sometimes? Yup! You got it right, a Cinderella story at Christmas. A prince about to take the burden of the crown and a shy accountant trying to win her boyfriend back . . . hmm . . . not a dull moment in the story.
    It was hard to warm up to Jess in the beginning. I know she is dumped but should she really take that frustration on Jamie? Well, all is sorted in due course though the enemies to lovers trope could have been developed further. Yet the chemistry between the characters and the gorgeous winter setting make up for everything.
    This is my first Linda West novel and I hope we will get to see more of Jess and Jamie. If you are on the look out for something to kick start your Christmas reading, this could be one of the best choices. Happy reading!!!

Meet the author: 


Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting "Christmas Kisses and Cookies." It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers' 'special' recipe book. 

Linda was the owner of Mayberry - a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cozy mystery and humor genre. With - Death by Crockpot - the first in her newest series -Linda takes her favorite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures. 


Sunday, 22 November 2020

A Little Christmas Hope - Kathryn Freeman (Blog Tour & Review)


Date of Reading: 22/11/2020
Author: Kathryn Freeman
Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Rating: 4/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)


About the book:

Newly promoted headteacher Anna Dalton needs a Christmas miracle – and fast! After years of sitting through excruciatingly dull Christmas productions, complete with crying children and sleeping parents, she’s determined Riddlescomb Primary School will put on a Nativity to remember.

Enter bad boy actor Dan Ramsey, recently axed from the lead role in a TV drama and in desperate need of cleaning up his image or he’ll never work again.

Dan can flash those heart-stopping dimples all he likes, Anna tells herself she isn’t going to fall for them. She knows why he’s decided to volunteer at the school, and it’s for the good of his bank balance…not his soul.

But as Anna and Dan are forced to work together for the sake of a truly magical Christmas for the children, sparks fly and they can’t help but wonder what will happen once the festive season is over… 

Review:

    A romance involving a hotshot actor set in a primary school? Well, that was more than enough incentive for me to just dive into this story. And as always, Kathryn Freeman never disappoints.
    You may find the premise a bit familiar after all isn't there anyone who hasn't fancied meeting an actor in real life? I must make a confession though. Due to my recent obsession with K-dramas, I substituted Dan with one of my favourite actors in my mind. Yes, blue eyes were a bit of a hassle, but nothing a good dose of imagination could not fix. 
    Dan Ramsay comes to his old school for some voluntary work to improve his bad-boy actor image. But he is not fooling the headteacher, Anna Dalton, even with all the smooth talk. Forced to come out of his mask, Dan finds the school environment changing him, allowing him to be a better father and a better actor.
    The vivid school atmosphere Freeman presents reminded me how rewarding teaching is as a career. I could feel the spark radiating from the little group of actors after the successful completion of the Christmas play. Definitely, one of the best moments every teacher aspires for. By the way, little Maisie, you are my star.
    A beautiful Christmas read that reminds you of the magic of Christmas . . . again. Highly recommended!

Meet the author:


I was born in Wallingford, England and have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, former pharmaceutical industry employee I’m now a self-employed medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes can come in many disguises.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The First Time We Met - Jo Lovett (Blog Tour & Review)


Date of Reading: 01/11/2020
Author: Jo Lovett
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4.5/5


About the book:

What if you met The One on his wedding day?

Izzy doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but when Sam walks into the cafe where she works one winter’s morning, she knows without a doubt that he’s the one. Too bad Sam’s getting married. Today.

Nearly a year later, Izzy still can’t stop thinking about Sam, the one that got away, but she knows it’s time to move on: he’s a married man and probably wouldn’t recognise her if he passed her on the street.

But Sam has never forgotten Izzy, the funny, gorgeous woman who asked him out on his wedding day. If the timing had only been better, he knows they could have had something wonderful.

When Izzy and Sam’s paths finally cross again, everything has changed. But with the Atlantic Ocean and decades of baggage between them, they are about to find out whether some obstacles are too big for even true love to overcome.

An unforgettable love story about what happens when the stars finally align. Fans of One Day in December, The Day We Met and Jojo Moyes will fall head over heels for The First Time We Met.

Review:

    Truth to be told, I am not a believer of love at first sight. Still, how can one resist a romance where fate plays a decisive role? Just as the blurb promised Izzy and Sam had a lot of hurdles to overcome. Keeping your love is not as easy as finding the one.
    Izzy meets Sam for the first time on his wedding day. There is a chance meeting again after a few years and neither can forget the other. But one is a widower with twins and the other is expecting a child. Finally, after fourteen long years, our story begins. One tiny glitch though; they are both at different ends of the Atlantic.
    I did love the way Lovett built up the story around both families. Sam is struggling to find a work-life balance and Izzy is still confused about her feelings towards her ex-husband. Sam's family is in shambles and sometimes I just felt that his children are being a bit hard on him. Well, the novel shows how marriage is also a union of families, smoothening the rough edges and bringing happy tears.
    This is my first Jo Lovett book and I am waiting for more. Without a doubt, this one goes straight to my favourite's shelf. Highly recommended!

Meet the author:

Jo Lovett lives in London with her family. 

She worked in Corporate Tax before taking a longer-than-expected career break to have more-than-expected children (five). She started writing romantic comedy when she realised that she was regularly begging her oldest son to let her do his English homework but she wasn't actually that interested in haunted houses or Macbeth.

Jo was runner-up in the Good Housekeeping/ Orion First Novel Competition 2018 and shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Award 2019.

When she can escape from her laundry mountain and childcare, she enjoys reading, tennis and wine.



    

Monday, 2 November 2020

The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery - Su Young Lee (Blog Tour & Review)

 

Date of Reading: 31/10/2020
Author: Su Young Lee
Publication Date: August 20, 2020
Rating: 3/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book:

For cake-loving college girl Hana, Japan was the romantic destination of her dreams. With boyfriend Jin, she planned an exciting new life in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. But when she finally arrives after months of planning, Jin isn't there.

Hana is left broken-hearted on a rainy Tokyo street. Jin left no note. One day he just walked out of classes and disappeared.

Hana begins her new life alone. Searching for Jin but finding no trace. Watching cherry blossoms fall into the Tokyo river. Working hard and delivering her lovely home-baked cakes by orange bicycle. Then she meets handsome young farmer Hikaru and glimpses a new way forward - in an alien place where she doesn't know a soul.

The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery is a sweet and sorrowful love story with a dash of magic realism, a sprinkle of mystery and a whole lot of cakes. 

Review:

    To tell that this book took me by surprise will be an understatement. How does it feel when you can't predict anything about the story? Strange . . . somewhat nice too. More than a sweet love story set in Japan, this is a story of self-discovery emphasising the need to pursue our own dreams.
    I won't advocate all the things referred to here. After all, a protagonist who leaves her home suddenly to live with her boyfriend in another country is not a very mature decision. But Hana is a role model when it comes to her kind-heartedness and caring nature. No wonder help comes to her from every quarter. 
    What I didn't like is the writing style which felt too mechanical. The dialogues were stilted and I couldn't find much chemistry between Hana and Hikaru. Jin's character was intriguing, but sadly he didn't get much of a voice. Well, we could always hope for another story featuring him getting to know more of his strange abilities.

Meet the author:


Su Young Lee is a Korean romance author who lived in Tokyo, Japan for 10 years and now lives in London, England with her husband and two lovely cats. 

Su works in academic publishing and loves baking, playing the piano and working on her calligraphy.

Check her blog here. 

Thursday, 22 October 2020

One Family Christmas - Bella Osborne (Blog Tour & Review)

Date of Reading: 19/10/2020
Author: Bella Osborne
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 15, 2020
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4.5/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book:

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate (and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey). And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

A festive treat to curl up with this Christmas, perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Trisha Ashley.

Review:

        I am speechless! It is a known fact that miracle hands are needed to manage a festive family gathering, but to manage Collins family . . . we need something more. Talk about a crazy family, and adorable in their own ways too.
        To honour her grandmother's last wish, Lottie is hosting the last Christmas in the manor. Her career and love life is in shambles and she is going to be homeless soon, but she can handle one Christmas right? How naive she was!!! 
        On the one side, there are the pets, Duchess the cat and Dave the dog, turning everything topsy turvy (I was planning to buy a puppy for Christmas, now I am not so sure). Then the family secrets which decide this the perfect timing to come out of the closet; and yes, Lottie's old flame is back too. What is not to go wrong?
        Did I scare you enough? Aren't you curious how Lottie survive this messiness? Go ahead then. This hilarious, unforgettable family story will definitely bring back memories of bygone Christmases and anticipation for more.

Meet the author:

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full-length novel. Since then she’s written six best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award. 
Bella's stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.
For more about Bella, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

Social Media Links 


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

But for the Mountains - Erin Riha (Blog Tour & Review)

Date of Reading: 03/10/2020
Author: Erin Riha
Publisher: REUTS
Publication Date: June 3, 2020
Rating: 4/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Favourite Pages Book Club)

About the book:

Arden Thatcher wasn’t meant to be chosen.

But when her name is announced, she’s presented with something she never thought she’d have: a future away from her abuser. Shuttled off to attend the prestigious National Women’s Institute, Arden will receive Nordania’s highest honour, studying with other elite candidates to become leaders, diplomats, and ambassadors on the world stage.

Only, the institute’s not quite what she expected. Paraded around in gown after gown, the tests seem less about educating and more about a different competition, with a very specific prize at stake—the Nordanian Prime Minister’s son. Despite the dean’s protestations that angling for an engagement leads to expulsion, Arden sees the truth. There’s a secret bubbling beneath the institute’s refined surface, and those who refuse to play along may well wind up dead.

With the danger escalating, and the return of her abuser on the horizon, Arden’s shiny future becomes a gilded cage. And this time, she’s going to need powerful allies to escape.

Political intrigue, swoon-worthy romance, and a dash of dystopian flare, But for the Mountains begs the question, how do you change the world when you’re not allowed to try?

Review:

      Fans of 'Selection' may find this story somewhat similar, but I can't be the judge of that since I never got to read the series. I might after this, as it looks like I am inclined to like this particular trope. It is not everyday one can find such a strong heroine who fights back even with all the mental and physical abuse she has undergone. Books like these are a necessity.
   Arden Thatcher doesn't have much to look forward to in her life. Her hopes of being selected to the Institute have been demolished long back, she has no way of escaping the clutches of her benefactor's son. Then the unthinkable happens opening an escape route to a better future. But is the life at the Institute is all that is promised? Is she just transferring her bronze chains to golden ones?
    Well, the story had me hooked from the beginning. Lots of intrigues, mishaps and a love triangle -- quite a page turner from start to finish. Romantic part didn't interest me that much (nothing is confirmed yet, by the way) as Arden is a force to be reckoned with. I don't think she even needs a man. Her resilience and strong will to survive is hardly ordinary. I can't wait to know what new adventures destiny plans for you. 

Meet the author:


Erin Riha writes young adult fantasy novels about ambitious girls who don’t know they’re not supposed to exceed expectations. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science, a Law Degree, and a deep reverence for the power of using exactly the right word in exactly the right moment. She lives in wonderfully weird Portland, Oregon, with her super dreamy husband, where they’re raising a future train engineer and a future chicken whisperer. When not writing, she’s a music director for a teen theater company, traveling the world, or dreaming of traveling the world. But for the Mountains is her debut novel.

Favourite quotes:

"It doesn't matter what I do, I'm always stuck between the person who thinks I'm trash and the person who's drunk - or both".

"You are so damn optimistic," he says.
"Well, that's something I've never been accused of."

"It wasn't until I was older that I truly understood. I wasn't worth a pronoun. I was an "it," a dehumanized nothing"

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