Choc Lit UK

#Review – One Magical Christmas by Berni Stevens (@Berni_Stevens1) #Christmas #Romance via @ChocLituk

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Christmas magic doesn’t really exist – does it?

When Annie Berry collides with Nik Knoll in a car park on the day of her sister’s wedding, it feels like all of Nik’s Christmases have come at once. Annie seems like just the sort of woman he’d like to get to know, and the chance nature of their encounter is almost like, well … Christmas magic.

But Nik has a secret, and he has to be sure that he can trust Annie before he tells her. The problem is that this secret has a Christmas deadline, and time is running out …

My View

Who doesn’t love a magical Christmassy love story? I loved the sound of this from the moment I saw it and I wasn’t disappointed. One Magical Christmas is exactly what it says on the tin, it is a very magical read that is fun, entertaining and a very enjoyable read. This is the first I have read by Ms Stevens and what a wonderful introduction into her work and will definitely be reading more from her.

Annie is helping her little sister with her wedding, her sister has given her just one task and that is to find herself a dress. She find the perfect dress, a beautiful, sophisticated midnight blue number that looks magical and is perfect – even if it did cost an arm and a leg. What she doesn’t know when she sees it, is that this dress is as magical as it looks because this dress changes her life.

Nic runs a children nursery which also includes a few special animals he is on a deadline set by his father because of a huge family secret. For reasons that will be revealed as you read the book, Nic has resorted to online dating – with no success, and later speed dating – equally unsuccessful. He is becoming desperate and time is flying by, he feels that he may fail that is until he literally bumps into the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Only problem, he didn’t get her number!

But he needn’t worry as the magic of Christmas has rubbed off, they soon find each other. They have a fun and sweet romance that may lead to more, but can Nic trust her enough to tell her his family’s secret?

This is a wonderful Christmas story that is so full of magic, the plot is fun and flows easily from one scene to the next. The two lead character’s are so lovable, you instantly like them and are cheering them on. I thoroughly loved reading this book, it is a simple story of boy meets girl but I have to say it’s a good one. I loved the humour, the stylish writing and the engaging dialogue and it definitely makes your feel all festive.

Wonderful book, very recommended!

This was a ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

One Magical Christmas can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

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#Review : Watch For Me At Christmas (Hartsford Mysteries) by Kirsty Ferry (@kirsty_ferry)

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When midwinter magic brings you home for Christmas …

When Emmy Berry arrives at Hartsford Hall to work at the Frost Fayre she immediately feels at home. Which is odd because she’s never set foot in the place in her life.

Then a freak blizzard leaves her stranded and things get even weirder when she bumps into Tom Howard. Tom and Emmy have never met before but neither can ignore the sense that they know each other.

With Christmas fast approaching and the weather showing no sign of improving it soon becomes apparent that Hartsford Hall has a little bit of midwinter magic in store for them both

My View

This is the second book I have read by Kirsty Ferry and yet again I was utterly mesmerized by this seasonal story of finding true love. Again we return to the magical and beautiful Hartsford Hall for another heart-warming and poignant love story that again entwines history, two beautifully written and enchanting stories that so seamlessly merges into one touching tale of finding love after loss with the help of one magical house.

Emmy Berry has been asked at the last minute to Hartsford Hall to work at the annual Christmas Frost Fayre, Emmy has never been to the hall and yet the moment she steps foot through the door she has the immediate sense that she has been there before, she feels as though she has finally come home. When she meets handsome yet lonely Tom Howard she is shocked that she has this all consuming feeling that she knows this man, she is drawn to him like a moth to a flame just as he is her. Tom is reluctantly spending the Christmas season with his sister, who is the manager of the Hartsford Hall museum, he would rather be else where he has always felt uneasy around the Hall, as though he has lost something or is looking for something and unable to find it.

When suddenly the blizzard has blown in and the inhabitants of Hartsford Hall find themselves snowed in, Tom and Emmy must solve the mystery as to why they have this connection to each other, with the help from some ghosts they begin a journey of discovery that will change their lives.

I do have a soft spot for time-slip stories, I love how they bring together two completely different eras and I have come to find that Ms ferry is a master at this genre. Her writing styles is attractive and engrossing the reader becomes transported into the story, never wanting it to end but yet, you are urging the character’s on to find their happily ever after and to solve the mystery. This is a wonderful seasonal novella that I devoured in one go, it really is the most beautiful little story that I’ve read and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Highly enjoyable and recommended.

This was a ARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Watch For Me at Christmas can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Review : Watch For Me By Twilight (Hartsford Mysteries #3) by Kirsty Ferry

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The past is never really the past at Hartsford Hall …

Aidan Edwards has always been fascinated by the life of his great-great uncle Robert. A trip to Hartsford Hall and an encounter with Cassie Aldrich leads him closer to the truth about Robert Edwards, as he unravels the scandalous story of a bright young poet and a beautiful spirited aristocrat in the carefree twilight of the 1930s before the Second World War.

But can Aidan find out what happened to Robert after the war – or will he have to accept that certain parts of his uncle’s life will remain forever shrouded in mystery?

My View

This is a solid story that entwines a gorgeous love story with poignant history, that I can guarantee will have you mesmerized. Ms Ferry is a new to me author, yet once I read about this book I was intrigued the premise of it and I can say that I was not disappointed. Time slip novels are always a bit hit and miss with me, but Ms Kerry has done a wonderful job at keeping each side of the story well rounded, it isn’t taxing the story flows steadily between the past and the present.

The story is split between two era’s and focuses on two set’s of individuals that over time their lives become inexplicably entwined. In the present day Cassie has taken on far too much in order to arrange a Historical day at Hartsford Hall, then suddenly dashing Aidan turns up with lots of questions. Aidan is researching great, great Uncle Robert who he believes was at Hartford Hall at a crucial point in his life in the late 30’s. Soon both Cassie and Aidan are embroiled in the past in trying to find out about Robert and his time at the hall. As they search for the answer to Aidan’s question’s they soon find a flicker of something crackle between them. As well as two heart wrenching love stories there is a mystery that as the story goes along we readers slowly discover the truth as Aidan Cassie do, which really makes the whole book very all inclusive between reader and character’s.

I love how the story entwines two completely different era’s and stories to create this wonderfully immersive story about love and heartbreak. I was actually more drawn towards Robert’s story during the 1930’s mainly because I do love an historical, but the way the author has capture the essence of the time is beautiful, her writing really pulls at the heartstrings as well as leaves you feeling all warm and comforted.

That is what I describe about this book; comforting! I love how Ms Kerry has brought together these two eras, intermingling Roberts life with the present is quite stirring stuff. This is book three in the Hartford Hall Mysteries, I hadn’t read any of the previous in the series, but that didn’t matter or hindrance my enjoyment of this book. This was a pleasant and charming book to read, and from this I know that I will be read much more from this talented author.

Mesmerising!

This was a ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Watch For Me By Twilight is available at Amazon.

Review – Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl

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Is hunting down every man you’ve kissed the answer to finding Mr Right?

When Evie is invited to the wedding of the guy she’d fancied throughout her teens, it’s the final straw. What’s wring with her and why can’t she keep a man?

In between consoling herself with ice cream and chocolate, and sobbing her heart out to her cousin Charmaine, Evie has a brainwave – and it all centres around her ‘little black book’ (well, more floral pattened notebook really) – which contains the details of every man she’s ever kissed or dated.

Perhaps the cure for her disastrous love life has been nestled within its pages all along…

Does Evie’s little black book really hold the answers, or will she learn that exe’s are exe’s for a reason?

My View

What a sweet and warm story! Hannah Pearl is a new to me author, yet as soon as I read the back blurb I was fascinated by the original storyline and I can say I wasn’t disappointed. Evie’s Little Black Book is a fresh and new romance that will have you laughing out loud at Evie’s escapade’s as well as having your heart string’s pulled as she tries to find her path to love.

The story opens to Evie wailing away as she receives a wedding invitation from her ex, a man she thought she was hopelessly in love with even though he had never wanted to take their relationship any further then occasional sex. She thinks there must be something wrong with her as all her relationship’s have been more or less the same, why can’t she just find the one? So she digs out her little black book – well her childish floral patterned diary where she has stored every bit of information from every boy and man she has ever dated, kissed and everything between. Evie’s plan is that if she goes through it she will be able to figure out why her life is how it is.

So with the help of her cousin Charmaine – who can I say is hilarious, and the brain’s behind the whole slightly bonkers plan – she set’s out to track them all down one by one to see if she can find the answer.

There is a lot of up’s and down’s along the way that will make you laugh and cry, in some ways her plan fails brings her more trouble and strife then it should as she goes on this adventure in to her past and she soon finds out that probably the best place for them, in her past. But on the other hand, if she hadn’t chosen to go on this quest of enlightenment then she wouldn’t have found the amazing man she did and let me tell you, he is worth all the heartache.

Ms Pearl has written a fabulously witty and romantic story that is fun and engaging to read, this is a wonderful story all about a young woman who has become a little lost in life and Ms Pearl has captured Evie’s anguish over her life with spot on clarity. The story is well paced that keeps you reading, and the character’s are charming and well defined that makes you instantly like them and want to know more about them. I really like this, it is a wonderful introduction for me into this author’s work and from this alone I know that I will be reading more by Hannah Pearl.

Full of emotion and fun!

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher; Choc-lit in exchange for an honest review.

Evie’s Little Black Book is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.

Review – The Daughter of River Valley (Cornish Tales) by Victoria Cornwall

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Can you trust a man with no name?

Cornwall, 1861

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she’s been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?

My View

Well this is wonderful. Victorian Romances are a favourite of mine, it was an era that had so much change and out of it comes so many wonderful stories and this is one of them, it is incredibly good. This is the first book I have read by Victoria Cornwall, even though I have always loved the look and sound of her work. I cannot believe that I have never read any of her books until now, but I will be reading more. This is an amazing introduction to this exceptionally talented author’s work. It has everything that I look for in a romance; bang on the mark historic details, strong and vulnerable characters and a twisty plot that keeps you wanting more.

After the death of her beloved grandfather, Beth is left to live out her life in relative peace and quiet. Well that is what her grandfather promised her, he promised her a home for life and with her sewing she has an income. But that idyllic life soon gets thrown out the window, when suddenly she is receiving threats about her home, she feels she is being watched and out of the blue a strange man bursts into her home with intentions that are as mysterious as the man himself. Beth does what any woman would do in these circumstances; she protects herself. She cracks him with the frying pan, only for her conscience and good, caring nature to kick in and she soon keeps the stranger in her cottage to care for him.

But her actions have consequences as the dark and devilishly attractive stranger has lost his memory. He doesn’t know who he is, where he is and most importantly why he suddenly burst into Beth’s home and what he wanted from her.

My goodness, Beth is an incredible character; strong, funny, independent…plus she can’t half wield a heavy, copper frying pan. But she is also a young woman who is slightly out of her depth, she has suddenly found herself with far more on her plate than she ever expected and yet being a resilient woman, Beth takes it all in her stride. True at times her actions could be construed as rash, but that is what I love about her, she is very real. Anyone who has read my reviews will know how much I like the ordinary characters, those that have had to fight for everything. Which is why I really like Beth, she is just a very normal working-class woman, who so any can relate to. She has a hatred for the rich she doesn’t trust those with privilege due to her own, somewhat scandalous background and that loathing has really made her the strong woman she is now. she admires and loves the regular man working man.

The man she call’s ‘Luke’ is as confused and perplexed by the whole situation as she, he initially blames her for the turn of events. Once he has regained consciousness and starts getting his strength back he begins to get terrifying flash backs that invade his dreams. Flashbacks that are so disturbing even he starts to wonder who on earth he is and whether he is a good man or not. And even he feels remorse for how he barged into Beth’s life. Like Beth, my heart breaks for ‘Luke’ there is a lot of darkness about him, he is powerful, and he has a raw brutal masculinity about him that is both intimidating and intriguing. ‘Luke’ is a large, beast of a man who has secrets – even if he can’t remember what they are. He is so vulnerable too and that is the side of him that drew me to him. When he start’s getting flash backs and the nightmares, which involves disturbing bloody bodies it makes you want to hug him and comfort him, not that this proud man would allow that comfort.

They are both very similar, both independent and reluctant to accept help. These two people are tough in mind and spirit and even though there are serious trust issues between them, you see that deep down they are kindred spirits. There is a connection between them and as they try and forge on try and solve all the mysteries that is surrounding them both, they each see the other in a completely different light.

This book is such a beautiful story! An emotional, compelling and atmospheric tale with two fascinating, beautifully developed and engrossing characters. The entwining plot takes you on a journey, a voyage of discovery as we follow these two wonderful people as they find the answers to all the questions that have arisen though out, there are twists and turns that keep the reader gripped right until the last page.

I am a huge fan of lots of detail and history while reading and this is absolutely spot on, perfect. The story is steeped in historic detailing, I particulay love the descriptions of Cornwall, each scene is excellently descriptive that it captures the readers imagination and whisk’s them away to another time and place, the realism grabs you in a way that you can practically taste the sea air. This is a clever, articulate and beautifully written story with a mesmerizing romance. Ms Cornwall’s writing is a pure joy to read, she captures your attention with her artful words. Just wonderful!

A definite page-turner, I cannot recommend this book enough and I will definitely be stocking my bookshelves with Ms Cornwall’s books.

This was an ARC copy via the publisher Choc Lit in exchange for an honest review.

The Daughter of River Valley is released today and can be purchased at Amazon.

Review – Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman

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Another fun, fabulous read from Kathryn Freeman. You’ll want to lock yourself away with this one!

Sometimes life just takes the biscuit …
Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her handbag.

Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes, tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her.

But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is.

My View

This is the first book I have read by Ms Freeman and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the story is sweet and loving a story of second chances and finally moving on. Ms Freeman is an articulate and talented writer, I found her writing to be honest and very real with character’s who you immediately can relate to and I can say for certain that I will be reading more of her work. Oh Crumbs is a scrumptious and enjoyable book that leaves you feeling all warm…Plus, incredibly hungry 😉

When Abby Spencer’s mother died, and her father was either grieving or working all the hours to keep a roof over their heads, while she settled in to be the mother her younger sisters so desperately needed. As the years moved on Abby’s takes on more and more responsibility, once her sister’s are old enough to be able to fend for themselves in a sort of fashion she goes for a job as a PA in a biscuit firm. She want’s this job more than she has ever wanting anything in her life, but on the day of her interview everything that could go wrong does. But surprisingly the manager Doug see’s past her various blunder’s and employer’s her.

Even though this is written in both Doug’s and Abby’s point of view, because of her personal circumstances Abby’s part of the story really shouted out louder than Doug’s to me. Abby is a woman who has sacrificed so much for her family, I can relate to Abby so much she is so visual and real to me. Her story is one that is so relevant to the times, there are so many of us who have never done what we have wanted to do in life for our family, she is caring, she loves her family to a fault. Yes, I think that maybe her father did take advantage of her as she was growing up, but she faced it all in the same positive, supportive and passionate way she does everything.

Abby takes a job in a biscuit factory called ‘Crumbs’ and meet’s dishy but troubled boss; Douglas Faulkner. Abby does come across as a bit of a blundering air-head, she is clumsy and she talk’s too much, but she is a good person, a person who has put her whole life’s plans on the scrap pile and focused solely on her family. She is a marvellous young woman, a woman who I can relate so much to so much. Abbey also has a history of falling for her bosses, and when she meet’s too-handsome-for-his-own-good; Doug there is an instant attraction. Even though she does find him terribly handsome she is also very aware of him.

Doug is a secretive and brooding man who I think is a little lost in his life, he’s frustrated and bored with where he is. I get the impression that he is at crossroads’ and he isn’t sure which road to take that is until he meet’s breezy and serious Abby. He is instantly drawn towards’ her freshness. He is such a sexy man, and actually he isn’t what I first thought him to be like. You think of a managing director to be full of themselves, ruthless and a bit cold, bit I found him to a complex and warm man.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, Ms Freeman is an articulate story-teller who draws you into her world and makes you love her characters. The story is light and fun it moves smoothly from one scene to the next, it is engrossing and the romance between Doug and Abby is very sweet. The characters are expertly developed, and as you get to know them, their true personalities really come out.

A very enjoyable, passionate and fun story, that leaves you feeling all warm.

This was a Complimentary/ARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Oh Crumbs is available now at Amazon.

Review – Little Pink Taxi by Marie Laval

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Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart …

Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.

Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.

On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …

Oh, my word! What an incredible read, I absolutely love this book. I have recently re-discovered contemporary again and this is by far one of the best I’ve read. I literally devoured this, from page one I couldn’t put it down. I just needed to know what happened next. Laval has become a firm favourite author of mine, every book is journey you never know where it’s going to take you, with her mixed blend of romance, intrigue and that ever present Gaelic allure. This is my first contemporary by Laval and it is striking, it flows effortlessly. The story envelopes you in a mysterious blanket, swirling mists circulate as you are drawn deeper and deeper into the story and it all comes to a surprising and climatic finale.

Rosalie Heart – Heart by name, heart by nature – is the pink anorak wearing, driver and owner of taxi cab firm; Love Taxi’s. Rosalie isn’t just a taxi driver though, she and her little pink taxi are vital for the community; whether that be chauffeuring around the mother and toddler group, taking the elderly shopping and to their doctor’s appointments or just being a friendly face in a lonely person’s life. She hold’s her community together, she helps and is there when needed. She never over charges, that’s if she charges at all she understands the people of Irlwick far better than anyone. So far everything is going fine, that is until the cold, unfeeling yet, devilishly handsome Marc Peterson arrives and turn’s her well laid out life upside down.

Rosalie is a vibrant, honest and caring young lady. She genuinely cares for the people in the village, she has had a tough time which has mad her stronger then even she would care to admit. She is a bright and cheerful woman with a penchant for bright pink – which does match her sunny disposition. She tries very hard not to like Marc, there is a real struggle for her. She doesn’t want to even like him, for who he is yet she can’t get enough of him.

Cold and ruthless business man; Marc Peterson after the death of his father has inherited Raventhorn Castle, he fully intends of swooping in ascertaining what to do about the old Castle and then flying out to get on with his emotionless and lonely life. Only he soon realises that his usual approach isn’t going to work with this case, as everything goes wrong. He finds himself stuck in Scotland with a beautiful, if far too cheerful, pink wearing nymph who sings dreadful songs while driving badly.

Marc is an enigma, as the story evolves we get more and more glimpses of this charismatic man. Over and over again he proves that there is a heart beating beneath his icy exterior. Marc has a troubled mind, with so much that has gone on his life, I don’t think he has quite figured out what he wants – or more than that, who he is. Yet Rosalie gets under his skin, he feels himself being pulled towards her, With the little help from the mysterious ghostly lady!

As soon as they meet (which is such a funny scene, as he initially thinks she is a stripper) fireworks start exploding everywhere, they butt heads at every turn. When it comes to light that he isn’t merely a business acquaintance of her oldest and closet friend, he is actually the new owner of her home; Raven thorn Castle. She is shocked and confused, but more than that she is worried about not just her future but that of the village. With various mysterious things going on and the sudden appearance of a ghostly Raven Lady who seems to have taken a shine to our equally mysterious hero it all makes for a compelling and intriguing story.

This has everything and much, much more than a regular romance. There is intrigue and puzzles popping up at every turn, a myriad of ghostly goings on that keeps you guessing right to the final page. And it is all set with the most amazing Scottish backdrop. This is one of the things that I particularly love about Laval’s books is the detail in the setting’s, she captures your attention with building up the scene, layering up the human emotion and what is going on with the most exquisite setting. Her detail of Irlwick is breath taking, you can see the town, countryside and the Victorian-esque Raventhorn Castle in your mind as though you are actually there.

Little Pink Taxi is an absolute joy to read! Fun, exciting and romantic, with the most memorable plot and interesting character’s. I cannot say too many good thing’s about this, except that this has the potential to take this story further and there are so many more stories that could come out of this little village. I love Ms Laval’s Historical’s and now I do hope that she takes another trip into contemporary. I love it!

Very highly recommended, this is just pure joy wrapped up with a big pink bow.

Little Pink Taxi can be purchased from Amazon.