Thursday, 26 October 2017

Christmas at the Falling Down Guesthouse - Lilly Bartlett

Christmas at the Falling Down Guesthouse
by Lilly Bartlett

About the book… 
Put your feet up and tuck into the mince pies, because you won’t have to lift a finger to enjoy this Christmas!

Too bad the same can’t be said for single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie.

When her beloved Aunt Kate ends up in hospital just before Christmas, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter rush to rural Wales to take over her B&B. A picky hotel reviewer and his mad family are coming to stay, and without the rating only he can bestow, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood. 

But Lottie can barely run her own life, let alone a hotel. How will she manage to turn the falling-down guesthouse into the luxurious wonderland the reviewer expects? And could mysterious taxi driver, Danny, who agrees to help her, turn out to be the real gift this season?

As the snow sparkles on the trees and hot chocolate steams in your hand, snuggle into the delicious magic of Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse. 


About the author… 
Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.

Michele Gorman is the USA TODAY bestselling author of several romantic comedies including the Single in the City series and The Curvy Girls Club. Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 16 years. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films but objects to spiders and the word “portion”.

Michele is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency (www.hardmanswainson.com) and published by Penguin and Avon/HarperCollins.


My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by the PR team at Notting Hill Press in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  I loved the cover and title of the book and I am a total sucker for a Christmas tale.

Lottie receives news that her aunt has been involved in a car accident and is in hospital.  She and her daughter Mabel were travelling to Wales to spend Christmas with her anyway so pack everything up and head off to Wales a few days early.

Lottie finds herself in a bit of a pickle, her aunt Kate has been put in an induced coma and it's clear she won't be out of hospital for Christmas when the B & B she runs is expecting a very important guest - a reviewer, who Kate was hoping would give the B & B a much coveted star rating to help improve her business.

It's been years since Lottie had visited her aunt in Wales because her aunt always came to London to stay with her so she wasn't really prepared for the mammoth task she found herself lumbered with, add to that the chef and cleaner going awol for Christmas and the chaos is just about to begin.

This really is a festive read with a difference, Lottie makes the taxi driver who took her to and from the hospital an offer he couldn't refuse and the hilarity began.  Lottie has never run a B & B before and is shocked at the state of her aunt's home, particularly has she has a booking for a reviewer over Christmas.  Her aunt has always been there for her so she is determined to put on a 'good front' for the reviewer so sets about the task of performing a few miracles.

For a novella Michele didn't half pack everything into this book.  There were high's and lows and everything in-between.  There were scenes that were sad and touching, scenes that had me cringing and groaning out loud and others that were so hilarious I laughed until I cried.  There was Christmas cheer and even a little romance.  This really did turn out to be a Christmas with a difference for everyone.

The days before the reviewer arrived went by in a blur and before we knew it he arrived with his brother and family in tow - all's I can say is WOW!  There are so many things I'd like to say about their Christmas stay but don't want to spoil it, you need to read it for yourselves.  Suffice to say if you fuse Fawlty Towers with Can't Cook Won't Cook, DIY Disasters and scenes from a Charles Dickens novel you'll have some idea of what I mean.

I loved the main characters in this book.  Lottie was an absolute dream of a character, nothing seemed to faze her and she met every challenge thrown her way, turning every negative into a positive.  A glass is half full sort of person, she is just the sort of person you'd want fighting in your corner.  Mabel was just adorable, 7 years old going on 70, often coming out with sayings previously uttered by the adults around her - out of the mouths of babes!  As for Danny, he really did turn out to be the taxi driver with a difference.  He also had depth to his character and a story that'll bring a lump to your throat in one breathe and swooning in the other.

I highly recommend this novella to everyone, it's a book that will definitely raise a laugh and have you wishing for Christmas but perhaps not a stay in a welsh B & B without fully googling it first!  Thank you Michele this was a ray of sunshine on the rainy afternoon that I read it.

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas - Tilly Tennant

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas
by Tilly Tennant

About the book…
All singleton Isla wants for Christmas is to be left in peace, but a surprise trip to the Alps means there’s a chance for romance in every snowflake that falls…

It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make amends with the father who abandoned her. 

She has absolutely no intention of forgiving him, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville? 

There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings. 

Surrounded by twinkling candles and roaring log-fires, Isla’s resolve finally begins to melt. But will she learn how to reconnect, not only with a whole new family, but with herself and her heart?

A gorgeously heart-warming festive read to help spark a little romance in those long winter nights. Perfect for fans of Jane Linfoot, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan.

Buy Links: 
UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2vYdYri 
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2f1wRpk

About the author… 
Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her tenth Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at www.tillytennant.com


My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by Bookouture, Tilly Tennant's publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

It's no secret I love Tilly Tennant books, each one is like a returning friend that makes me smile the whole way through.  Add to that that this is a Christmas read, I couldn't have been happier.

Isla was brought up in a single parent family from a very young age with just her mum.  Throughout her life her mum painted her dad in such a bad light, abandoning them bot that when an unexpected heritance arrives with a condition attached  - Isla is torn.  Her dad wants to meet her and make amends.  If she is prepared to go to the snowy, french alps and reconcile with her father she gets the inheritance.

Tilly did a fantastic job of setting the scene and the tension and anguish Isla feels is palpable as her mum puts pressure on her to ignore the request.  The emotional tug of love was so very life like.  Isla loves her mum and hates her dad but wants to hear face to face why he so callously abandoned her and left her to grow up without a father.

As ever Tilly adds romance for our leading lady in not just one but two suitors - their characters as different as chalk and cheese.  My heart melted one one page and was fired up, inwardly shouting out to her as the story unfolded.

A perfect read about family relationships, love, friendship and characters that are multi-faceted set in the perfect location of St Martin-de-Belleville in the French Alps - I so wish I was going there for Christmas.

I highly recommend that everyone puts this engaging, realistic book at the top of their Christmas reads - it's not all fluffy snow, hearts and romance it has depth, warmth and character.  Huge thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for my copy.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Invisible Women - Sarah Long

Invisible Women
by Sarah Long




About the book… 
Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been best friends through first crushes, careers, marriage and the trials of motherhood. After twenty years of taking care of everyone else's every need, they've found themselves hitting the big 5-0 and suddenly asking themselves: 'what about me?!'

Sandra has a sordid secret, and Harriet is landed with her ailing mother-in-law. Tessa is looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by her youngest daughter's departure for uni, where it seems she's now engaged in all sorts of unsavoury activities, if Tessa's obsessive late-night Facebook stalking is anything to go by.

When Tessa impulsively responds to an online message from an old flame, she soon finds herself waiting at Heathrow Airport for The One That Got Away. 

But what will the plane from New York bring her? The man of her dreams, or a whole heap of trouble? 


And could this be the long-awaited moment for Tessa to seize her life, for herself, with both hands? 

Buy Links: 
Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the author… 
Sarah Long worked in publishing before giving it all up to move to Paris with her husband and three children. She is the author of And What Do You Do? and The Next Best Thing. Following several years of the Parisian experience, she now lives in London










Contact Links: 
Publisher

My thoughts…
I was given a copy of this book by the author's publisher in exchange for an honest review, this is something I'm more than happy to do.

I was drawn to this book for several reasons.  Firstly the cover, wow, when everything around us is losing it's colour and the mornings and evenings are dark, grey and wet this book just shouts vibrancy, fun, happy, summer - it made me smile just looking at it. Secondly, it's a book about three friends approaching the unspeakable age - 5 0 - something I can relate to - in seven weeks, two days exactly I too will hit that unspeakable number - something I'm secretly dreading.

Three friends Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been friends for years, sharing their lives as they found love, married and had children.  Somewhere along the line, twenty plus years have gone by and the girls have found themselves adrift.  The roles of devoted wives and mothers have taken their toll and with the approach of 50 comes introspection - what is their purpose in life, they are and feel to all intents and purposes invisible - somewhere along the line they've lost their identities and purpose, a sense of loss for a life spent devoting their time to creating loving, happy homes. They've reached their goals - then suddenly realise - actually, they had helped their family achieve their goals but they've lost themselves in the process.

Such a fab, insightful book - it was like being a fly on the wall getting to know the characters warts and all - reading about their relationships with each other and their families.  It was an easy read with some light undertones but a really serious heart. It's times like significant birthdays that make you question what you're doing with your life and make you realise you need to grab it with both hands and live.  I'm at the point where I question how much time I spend doing the things I think I should be doing or need to do as opposed to the things I want to do and getting the balance right is tricky.  Tessa, Sandra and Harriet are no different and each approach their lives in different ways.

Sometimes in life we can lose sight of who we are and what path we are treading - Sarah Long insightfully guides the three friends along a track allowing them to make mistakes, rely on each other and re-discover the correct route to a place where they feel valued and happy within themselves.

Thank you so much for such a lovely read that was more serious than I initially thought it would be but also more enlightening and thought provoking.  A book for women of all ages - a reminder that all women, friends, children, parents and wives are also individual people too who deserve to make and live their own dreams too.

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Monday, 2 October 2017

The Surrogate - Louise Jenson

The Surrogate 
by Louise Jenson

About the book… 
You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister and The Gift, this is an unputdownable psychological thriller which asks how far we will go to create our perfect family.


About the author… 
Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.

Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.


Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a dog and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.



Contact Links: 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fabricatingfiction/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fab_fiction
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fabricating_fiction/
Website: www.louisejensen.co.uk

My thoughts…
I was given an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Bookouture - Louise Jenson's publishers.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

OMG - just wow.  I had read Louise Jenson's previous books The Gift and The Sister and I was expecting wonderful things from her third novel The Surrogate.  It met, exceeded and went way beyond my expectations - it is blimmin brilliant.

From almost the first page I was on edge and peeping around the next page.  The pages literally crackle with nervous tension that is only heightened at several points in the story.  The story flicks back and forth from the present day to a time when both Kat and Nick were growing up.  It's very obvious that neither had an easy upbringing or time at school or early steps into adulthood both have history and clearly some excess baggage.

A chance meeting with childhood friend Lisa sees Kat losing her head.  Her and Nick are having problems conceiving and the next thing we know Lisa is offering to be a Surrogate.  Alarm bells started ringing loudly for me - Kat thoughts were like a ball bouncing from hand to hand - on the one hand she was beyond excited, an answer to their prayers and a chance to make amends for some past mistake, an opportunity to re-kindle a friendship that had broken down - a friendship that had left a gaping hole in her life.  On the other hand there is  a manic like panic and worry, Kat isn't ready to face her past nor confront her fears and doubts.

I devoured this book chapter by chapter, reading quicker and quicker in my quest to calm my beating heart and to try and mentally steer Kat - both she and Lisa made me feel edgy and anxious.  So many times I had an idea of where this story was going only to sit mentally berating myself - I so didn't see that ending coming.  A story that was bittersweet, love and hate, friendships, jealousies and lies all conspire in the most unimaginable ways that is both shocking and sad - an outstanding read that I feel I need to read again straight away - to decipher the words and look for the clues that I'm sure must have been there all along.

I can't recommend this book highly enough - utterly and totally compelling and addictive.                             

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