Saturday, 22 October 2016

Book Review - Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen - Back Catalogue Books

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it! 

This week I am reviewing a book that was on my Christmas books spreadsheet, which despite having Christmas in the title, is as far removed from the other festive books on my blog as you will get.
Amazon UK
Title: Dying for Christmas
Author: Tammy Cohen
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 20th November 2014
Rating: 5 Stars

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

Honestly have no idea how to review this book, I can't say too much about the plot, or the secret hinted at in the blurb as there is far too big a risk of spoilers. 

What I am willing to say is that I have just read about some of the most sick and twisted characters, I've seen yet, in a plot that is fascinating, and utterly gripping. I was racing through the pages both in shock at what was happening, and then later just what the big reveals were. 

The writing is in a way fairly intense, and the way the book has been written, keeps you guessing at all times. One of the hooks are the 12 presents that are given, one for each of the 12 days of Christmas, to the captive complete with the fragments of character history that are revealed with each gift. 

I found myself practically gasping at some of what was occurring in the story, and I loved how at all times we  had two points of view One of the horrific twelve days of Christmas as it played out, and also of the the policewoman, who has a young family, and but is determined to do everything she can to further her career, and is convinced the case of this missing woman, Jessica Gold will do just that. 

Dying for Christmas is clearly the work of someone with a fairly twisted mind, but who thankfully can write amazing books. I was hooked for the whole book and read it in 3 sittings, within a day. Incredibly good writing, description but most of all characterization which were so realistic, and everything was very cleverly portrayed. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Book Review - Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Amazon UK
Title: Lizzie's Christmas Escape
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 21st October
Rating: 4 Stars

A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas - just the thing to curl up with on a cold winters night.

This is not the story I was expecting, based on what I had read of the blurb. I was expecting a story where the majority of it would be this big weekend country escape, with a best friend, and that it would be incredibly funny and feel good. 

The book I have just read, barely featured an escape, and in fact is a story that felt a bit more serious than I would have wanted at all from  a Christmas book. There is certainly snow and there is definitely  Christmas, and I loved that Lizzie spoke to her Gary Barlow calendar in the same way as Shirley Valentine talks to her wall. 

In fact some of the early bit of the book felt very Shirley Valentine-esque, with the couple very stuck in their routine, and in fact Lizzie's husband Henry even has chips and egg one night each week. Nothing changes from day to day and they are stuck in a rut, and Lizzie is understandably wanting more from her life. 

As a result it is very easy to see why she is flattered by the attention of the charming new neighbour Marcus, in fact I was really attracted to him too, although he did seem a bit too good to be true. Meanwhile Ann has her own things to deal with this Christmas, including a husband that seems to keep working very late,  and a mother who is seriously ill, and siblings that seem to only be interested in money. 

There seems to be a recurring theme about fidelity in this book, with Lizzie trying what to do about Marcus being just one of the relationships in question. 

I loved the unconditional friendship between Ann and Lizzie, even if I didn't really connect to the rest of their families. Lizzie and Ann have a great friendship, and they are very supportive of each other. Despite Ann's drunken flirty nature, she has some very solid words of advice for Lizzie, throughout the story. 

I feel mildly discombobulated as normally when I read a Christie Barlow book, I end up laughing a lot, and yet apart from a couple of very amusing incidents, I just didn't find the book particularly funny, nor did it give me a feeling of Christmas. What it is though is very good story, that was certainly intriguing and kept me guessing about the outcomes. 

Thank you so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Funday Friday - Truth or Lie? - Jane Cable - Month 6 Week 4

Welcome to the latest edition of Truth of Lie. My name is Rachel and I will be your host, for this exciting new game show. Each Friday, I will have one contestant, and they will be answering at least 14 questions. There is of course one small twist...

For three of the answers, they have to lie. It is your task as the viewer to guess which three answers are lies. You are allowed 3 guesses and I want them posted into the comments field. 

Every 4 weeks, I will close the guessing, count up how many correct answers each of you has, and create a leaderboard. Anyone who is top of the leaderboard, will go into a draw for a paperback of the winners choice (open internationally). 

Please do include a way for me to contact you (email or twitter or similar), so that I can let you know if you have won. 

The weekend after a 4 week period closes, not only will I produce a leaderboard, and announce a winner, I will also let you know into the true answers, and which were the lies.  

Closing date for the sixth month is 11pm on 27th October 2016. 

So without further ado, let's meet today's contestant. 

Good morning contestant, please can you tell me your name and a little bit about yourself?

I’m Jane Cable and I’m a writer of romantic novels with a twist of suspense. My first novel, The Cheesemaker’s House, is a spooky tale about a divorcee who moves to Yorkshire and meets new neighbours from the present… and the past. My second book, The Faerie Tree, is about a couple who meet again twenty years after their brief affair and discover their memories of it are completely different. My third, The Seahorse Summer, has just been signed by Endeavour Press and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Please to meet you Jane, congratulations on your Endeavour Press deal, I hope you have great success with The Seahorse Summer. 

Now onto the show, and remember everyone, Jane hasn't been entirely truthful with three of these answers, so it is up to you to guess which ones they are (only 3 guesses per person though). 

1) Who is your favourite author?

Favourites come and go but the most enduring on my list is R F Delderfield, a master of the saga at a time when England was changing beyond all recognition. 

2) What book do you wish you had written?

Without a doubt it’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. It was a book which opened up new worlds for me because it showed me that if characters were convincing enough readers were happy to suspend disbelief while their story unfolded.

3) Tell me about any really memorable dream or nightmare you have had

It was actually the dream Alice has about Owen in The Cheesemaker’s House the night after she first sees him, swimming in the river. It was just a gentle kiss on the lips from a man I didn’t know but I could still feel it when I woke up.

4) What was your most memorable holiday ever?

A trip to Newquay in Cornwall in the summer of 1987. We stayed with my friend’s Auntie Megan who owned a surf shop and fell in love with her boyfriend Robin who seemed the epitome of cool to two teenage girls.

5) If you could be a fruit, what would you be and why?

A prickly pear because they’re so hard to eat.

6) What is the most annoying interview question you have ever been asked?

If you could be a fruit, what would you be and why?

7) What is your dream job, and have you tried to achieve it?

My dream job is being an author so in some ways I have achieved it – just not in a way that I can give up my day job just yet.

8) Can you describe for me what your perfect day would involve?

Without a doubt it would be a glorious day in early September and I’d be on the north Cornwall coast body boarding with my husband and some friends. Then we’d be picked up by helicopter to have dinner at Winteringham Fields in Lincolnshire and spend the night in one of their gorgeous rooms.

9) Please name a cocktail that would describe you perfectly, and what’s in it?

I’m a mojito at heart. Sweet, sharp and hopefully refreshing. If not, rum-soaked will do me fine.

10) Besides reading, which I am guessing is a given, what other hobbies do you have?

I am passionate about my garden, in particular growing dahlias. I never tire of their wonderful jewel colours and I planted a whole bed in memory of my mother after she died last year. I even post pictures of them on Twitter sometimes.

11) Did you have an invisible friend as a child? If so please tell me about them. 

Definitely. I was an only child and invented a little white mouse that came everywhere in my pocket. I have a very clear memory of being upstairs at the front of a bus with him sitting on the palm of my hand taking in the view.

12) What would your ideal pet be?

A teddy bear. All of the love and none of the hassle.

13) Who is the most important person in the world to you?

Without a doubt it’s my husband. I was lucky enough to meet a man who is best friend as well as lover, business partner and the person I most want to spend my time with – even after 22 years.

14) If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?

It depends how much I won! But realistically it would buy me the time to be a full time author. I’d love to do some good with it as well, most likely helping people who suffer from depression and other mental health issues.

Thank you so much for agreeing to take part Jane and I am sorry for being the supplier of your most annoying interview question, but I do love your answer to it! 

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Truth or Lie? I will be back next week with another episode, and in the mean time...
Don't forget to guess the lies, to be in with a chance of a prize! 

And check out previous week's Truth or Lie's that you may have missed here

Jane Cable is a Chichester based writer of contemporary romantic fiction with a twist of suspense. In 2011 the manuscript which would become her debut novel, The Cheesemaker’s House, topped the suspense and crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. Following publication it won Jane writing charity Words for the Wounded’s inaugural Independent Author Book Award.

Jane’s two independently published novels (The Cheesemaker’s House and The Faerie Tree) have enjoyed high ratings from reviewers and readers and equally strong sales, especially in Kindle format. Following her initial successes Jane is now represented by Felicity Trew at The Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and her third book, The Seahorse Summer, has recently been signed by leading UK digital publisher Endeavour Press.

Find out more about Jane at, on Facebook at The-Cheesemakers-House-and-Other-Stories and on Twitter @JaneCable.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Giveaway - Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Today is paperback publication day for one of my favourite Holly Martin books - Christmas at Lilac Cottage. It was previously released in ebook only last year, but now you will be able to hopefully see it on bookshop shelves. And to celebrate, I just happen to have my hands on a copy already, that I am giving away to one lucky winner, and I must say it looks gorgeous.

Amazon UK

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen. 

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded. 

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore… 

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of? 

Giveaway - Win a paperback of Christmas at Lilac Cottage (Open to Europe Only)

I have a beautiful paperback copy of Christmas at Lilac Cottage to give away. 

Giveaway open to Europe only, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 27/10/2016. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Book Review - Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: Miracle on 5th Avenue
Author: Sarah Morgan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: 20th October 2016 
Rating: 5 Stars

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

I'm a huge fan of romance, I'm a huge fan of Christmas, and I'm an even bigger fan of Sarah Morgan books, so when you combine all three into one, you make me one very happy person. Miracle on 5th Avenue has the strains of a very common Christmas theme running through it, in that one character is not a big Christmas or even romance fan, and the other is all about love and happy ever afters. 

Miracle on 5th Avenue is the third book in the From Manhattan with Love series, and can easily be read as a standalone, as each book focuses on a different girl from their friendship group. This time its Eva's turn in the spotlight. Eva is a romantic, and although she tends to love Christmas is struggling this year, since its a year since her beloved grandmother's death. 

She accepts a job to decorate crime writer Lucas' apartment for Christmas and to stock up his freezer with food, as when he gets into a writing groove he forgets about eating. However what she wasn't expecting was Lucas to actually be there. 

After an incredibly rocky first meeting, a truce of sorts is called and Lucas is suddenly able to make more progress on his new book, which previously he was blocked on. Lucas loves crime, and serial killers, the scarier and more gruesome the better, so is the complete opposite to Eva who mainly loves romance, and is scared of anything resembling a scary story. 

However Eva can relate to Lucas in one way, as he is also suffering from grief, his wife died three years ago at Christmas. Yes there is a fair bit of grief involved in this story, which given my personal circumstances I was mildly worried about, but it's not done in an overly emotional way, and both are trying to get to terms with their current situations. 

I found more than quite a few other books by this author, that there was a clear focus on the two main characters, and although there are other characters in the book, including Frankie and Paige, they barely feature. It really is a snowed in cosy romance story between two very different people. 

Given the other genre of book I enjoy reading is crime, I was fascinated to see inside Lucas' mind, to see how he comes up with his characters and his writing process. Although we learn a lot, there is nothing gruesome at all, and we don't see any segments of writing from the book he is working on, so if you aren't into crime, don't worry. It is more suspense than masses of violence when he is trying to work out just what sort of killer to put into his new book. 

I loved every second of this book, and found it was very easy to read, the writing flowed and because the whole book takes place over a few week period, the pacing is fairly quick. It does feel a bit different from previous Sarah Morgan, with slightly more serious themes taking centre spot, but overall it is still a fantastic romantic novel from the queen of romance, just with a bit more depth. 

Thank you so much to MIRA and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

About Sarah Morgan

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe.
Described as 'a magician with words' by RT Book Reviews, she has been nominated four years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award twice; in 2012 for her book 'Doukakis's Apprentice' and 2013 for 'A Night of No Return'. She also won the RT Reviewers' Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their 'Top Pick' slot.

Sarah lives near London with her husband and children, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. You can visit Sarah online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter @SarahMorgan_

Social info:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Book Review - A Christmas in Cornwall by Laura Briggs

Amazon UK
Title: A Christmas in Cornwall
Author: Laura Briggs
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 18th October 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

It's Julianne Morgen's first Christmas in the Cornish village of Ceffylgwyn, and life seems perfect. Her job as an event planner couldn't be better, she's beginning to feel at home despite being an American in a tiny English village, and her relationship with handsome English horticulturist Matthew Rose continues to slowly blossom from friendship to love.

But when an old flame of Julianne's appears on the spot, she finds herself tangled up in her own past. A grand charitable ball planned at Cliffs House for Christmas brings its own challenges to Julianne's world, along with a last-minute wedding in London. And when she learns that Matthew's former career in America has invited him back, she worries about what it means for their future together if he says 'yes.'

A Christmas in Cornwall brings about a welcome return to Cliffs House, in Ceffylawyn in Cornwall. It was great to catch up with characters that had been introduced in A Wedding in Cornwall, and that Julianne is a lot more confident and established in her role as event planner. 

Firstly big kudos to Laura Briggs for not only coming up with a Cornish sounding village, but also managing to spell it the same way each time, as that is not a fun word to type, or say, but does conjure up a small village feel to it! 

There are a lot of things to really enjoy in A Christmas in Cornwall including Julianne attempting to make paper chains, I don't recall them being as hard to make as she finds them, and also Julianne decorating a range of Christmas trees all of which are really different. There is a very tender scene involving some memories and a tree that was a delight to read. 

Romance in this book is more of the will they, won't they kind, as Matthew and Julianne seem very reluctant to talk about their true feelings even if it may be blatantly obvious to everyone around of them. They do have a couple of obstacles to overcome including an ex, who is now living in London. 

If you are looking for a bite sized taste of Cornwall at Christmas time, then you should look no further than this novella. It is a pleasurable short read that feels about the right length, and is just a great look at a Cornish Christmas, complete with some great food descriptions, and the bauble truffles I would have loved to see!

Thank you so much to Laura Briggs for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Book Review - Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson

Amazon UK
Title: Searching for a Silver Lining
Author: Miranda Dickinson
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied review copy
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Publication Date: 20th October 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

It began with a promise . . .

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Searching for a Silver Lining is an uplifting and captivating story, and makes me think it is never too late to say sorry, and that you really shouldn't hold a grudge for 60 years. It started slightly slow but still in a way that had me interested, as as the story continued, and there is a race against time, the pace increases, and so does the addictiveness of the book. I read this in one afternoon, and can't think of a better way I could have spent the time. 

I had been slightly worried about elements of this book as they first appeared in the book, and also of the mention of the 1950s in the blurb, but if like me you aren't a history nut, then don't worry its not in your face. There are diaries, but we only get short relevant extracts about Mattie's grandfather which were interesting. The other main way we get history is from Reenie's reminisces, but since they are in conversation form, it was like a grandparent telling a grandchild stories of their youth, and from that point of view very comforting. 

Reenie Silver is without a doubt the star of this book, with Mattie in more of a supporting role, despite Mattie being the main character, and the point of view we see everything from. Reenie was part of 50s group The Silver Five, but never got a chance to play the biggest gig of their career at the Palm Grove, London. She has taken responsibility for 60 years about the band splitting up that night, although no one knows the reason why. There has been a 60 year rift between the band members, and thanks to a graveside promise Mattie has made to her dearly departed grandfather (who she also had a rift with), the pair embark on a massive task.

When I think of road trips, I usually think of epic stories down Route 66 in USA, possibly with a group of people just out of college doing something amazing. Searching for a Silver Lining turns the road trip concept around, and involves an octogenarian, Reenie, Mattie and club owner Gil touring all over Britain to try and reunite The Silver Five for a one off reunion concert. 

At times I was in tears with elements of the story, other times I was willing some romance to happen, other times I was just smiling and laughing as everything progressed. There is a romance but its so supplementary to the main story, it almost barely registers. It is how Mattie and Reenie communicate and their relatively new friendship and how it develops that I loved reading about the most. 

Reenie has had a colourful past, and the stories she tells adds a fair amount of glamour to the situation, although perhaps a pinch of salt is needed as you listen to her. She is larger than life, but there is a lot to her under the surface too, and I enjoyed learning about all facets of her personality. 

Without a doubt I think this is the best and most enjoyable book that Miranda Dickinson has written to date, and is one I would love to see made into a film. It definitely is my new favourite by her, and I'm just sad that I have reached the end of the story, as I was loving it so much. 

Thank you so much to Francesca Pearce at Pan for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Guest Post - Do You Have Any Writing Ambitions? by Miranda Dickinson - Blog Tour

I’m amazed that I’ve achieved my original ambition to be an author eight times over now, with one million books sold across the world! My ambition was always for more than five people in the world to read my stories, so it never ceases to thrill me that it's now a reality.

Every new book I write takes my writing ambitions a step further. I like to challenge myself to write a better book each time, trying out new things and, hopefully, creating ever more compelling and exciting stories for my lovely readers.

I’m a big believer in constantly expanding my vision for what I want my writing to achieve. A huge dream I’ve yet to achieve is seeing one of my books adapted for the screen, either as a film or a TV series. It’s my burning ambition to collaborate on turning book into a script. There are a couple of amazing screenwriters I occasionally chat with on Twitter who I would love to write the screenplay of a book of mine. If I’m ever brave enough (and lucky enough) to be able to commission them, I think it would be awesome!

When I was writing Searching for a Silver Lining I found I could really visualise the characters, locations and action, as if I were watching a film. In other exclusives during this blog tour I reveal my dream cast for the film. So who knows? If Richard Curtis happens to be reading...

Thanks so much for reading this blog exclusive! For more, follow my Searching for a Silver Lining blog tour. I really hope you enjoy Mattie’s story!

Thank you so much Miranda for sharing. My review of Searching for a Silver Lining will be available tomorrow, and I also think the book would make a fantastic Richard Curtis film, it really does have all the elements.

Amazon UK

It began with a promise . . .

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

About Miranda Dickinson

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. From an early age she dreamed of writing a book that would make the heady heights of Kingswinford Library and today she is a bestselling author. She began to write in earnest when a friend gave her The World's Slowest PC, and has subsequently written the bestselling novels Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take A Look At Me Now, I'll Take New York and A Parcel for Anna Browne. Miranda lives with her husband Bob and daughter Flo in Dudley.

Follow Miranda on Twitter -

Follow along with the rest of the Search for the Silver Lining Blog tour, and don't forget to return tomorrow to see my thoughts on the book. 

Book Review - Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop: Sequins and Snowflakes by Jane Linfoot

Amazon UK
Title: Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop: Sequins and Snowflakes
Author: Jane Linfoot
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 30th September 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

The snow is falling around Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, and wedding dress designer Seraphina East is in her cosy studio designing exquisite dresses to make even the most demanding bride’s dreams come true.

Unless the bride is her big sister Alice of course. Saying that the two sisters don’t always see eye to eye is an understatement. Alice hasn’t even asked Sera to design her wedding dress. But when an absent groom and ill-fitting dress threaten to ruin Alice’s happiness let alone her big day, Sera’s determined to give her sister the winter wedding of her dreams – even if that means keeping not one but two irresistibly gorgeous best men under control…

Is Sera going to end up being the maid of dishonour…Or will repairing her frozen relationship with Alice be the icing on the wedding cake?

What a comforting and cosy Cornish story, complete with 2 incredibly hunky best men, one bridezilla, who just happens to be Sera's older sister Alice, a wedding instructions manual, some incredibly creative solutions, cakes and wedding dresses. 

It felt like I had never been away on returning to St. Aiden, the home of Brides by the Sea, the massive wedding emporium where Seraphina East works. She has never felt she fits into her family so is very surprised when her older sister Alice, asks her to oversee all of the last week of planning of the wedding of the year. Seraphina is more comfortable creating dresses than having to find her inner sass, and take control of situations. 

Everytime I picked up the book, I felt as though I had been transported to Cornwall and loved seeing a new side of Sera, who were introduced to in the first book of this series. However if you haven't read it don't worry, this feels as though it easily works as a standalone. In the course of trying to make sure Sera fills in all the tasks in Alice's master wedding manual, that she has provided to everyone involved in the wedding, with the help of Quinn, one of the best men, all manner of things go wrong. 

This though is St. Aiden and a wonderful piece of fiction, so of course all of Sera's friends are able to help out and fix just about whatever little issues come up, and between them just hope the bride and groom will walk down the aisle for a happy marriage. 

I loved the rivalry between Quinn and Johnny for Sera's attention, and although I knew at a basic instinct level who she would choose, there were times during the story I wasn't completely convinced I was correct as I was kept guessing. 

I loved everything about this story, from its fabulous setting, the wedding emporium, even bridezilla Alice herself. I love Jane Linfoot's writing and I am whole heartedly enjoying this Wedding Shop by the Sea series. 

This is the sort of book you can turn to no matter your circumstances and get a really good feeling from it, such is the bubble it protects you in as your read. Whenever I went back to the book, I found the story just flowed and I found that I was reading quite a lot in a short space of time without even realising. A true pleasure to read. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Book Review - Christmas at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #42

Amazon UK
Title: Christmas at the Cornish Cafe
Author: Phillipa Ashley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 13th October 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

The festive, feel-good follow-up to Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

This second novel in the bestselling Cornish Cafe series is the perfect book to curl up with this Christmas.

Where on earth do I start? I am sitting here pretty much gobsmacked, about how much I enjoyed the book, and how it really was a book of two halves, or parts at least. There is a lot of light hearted moments, and build up to the magical time of year. Demi loves Christmas, and is hoping this will be one of her best ever. Cal had a nightmare of a Christmas last year, and so is hoping things will be a lot better this time. 

The resort opens, as does the Cafe and there are mouthwatering mentions of so many delicious treats. I'm not a fan of mince pies, but even I wanted to eat the ones being created by Demi at Demelza's. 

There is a huge amount of drama in Christmas at the Cornish Cafe, which will have you hooked and on the edge of your seat. There were moments when I really had no clue what was going to happen next, and I love it when I am surprised as much as I was by where the story takes us. 

A fair amount of more serious topics are discussed, including exactly what happened to Cal that led to him coming home to Kilhallan. The weather, not normally the most interesting of subjects plays a massive part in this story, and not just in one storyline, but a few. It is a turbulent run up to Christmas this year in Cornwall. 

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe is the second book in the Penwith Trilogy, and I think it does work as a standalone, as a lot of the key plot points from the first book are mentioned which will help a new person catch up. I will say though how much I am looking forward to the third book, as this series continues to impress me. 

This is only the second book I have read by this author and I have loved both of them. The descriptions really draw you in and I felt as though I was there, living through various aspects of the story alongside Cal and Demi. There is a fantastic chemistry between the pair, and at one point I was very tempted to go on social media to ask if I was allowed to knock the heads together of two fictional characters...I felt that strongly about it, as they just couldn't seen to realise how the other felt a lot of the time! 

Overall a fantastic story, that will keep you gripped from start to finish, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Thank you to everyone that voted last week. This was certainly a popular choice and a worthy winner. I do intend to read and review the other two this season, just not sure when yet. 
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