Christmas

#Review Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (@FrancescaHornak) #BlogTour #SevenDaysOfUs #Christmas #Romance @LittleBrownUK

Posted on

I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of Seven Days Of Us by Francesca Hornak as apart of this wonderful blog tour.

It’s Christmas, and the Birch family is gathering for the first time in years.

Olivia, the eldest daughter, has returned from treating an epidemic abroad and must go into quarantine for seven days. Her mother has decided it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some ‘special time’ together. Her youngest sister wholeheartedly disagrees. Her father isn’t allowed an opinion.

When no one can leave the house, seven days for the Birches feels like an eternity.

Especially when they’re all harbouring secrets. One of whom is about to come knocking at their door…

LOVED it! Warm and humane, funny and sad, with a great, twisty plot, Seven Days of Us is absolute pleasure reading from beginning to end. Francesca Hornak is a true talent. Just gorgeous!‘ Marian Keyes

I have read my fair share of emotional books, but this really is up there with the best. Seven Days Of Us is a roller coaster ride of emotions; funny, happy, sad, it fills your heart with so much warmth and makes you really evaluate your own relationship with your family. This is the first I have read by Francesca Hornak and it will definitely will not be the last, in fact I am looking forward to reading more from this talented author because this book is a pure joy to read.

For the first time in years, the Birch family are gathering to spend the Christmas holidays together, but not exactly in the way that they would have wanted. Eldest daughter; Olivia has just retuned from helping to treat a Haag epidemic and she must go into quarantine for a week, just in case she has caught the decease. So the whole family must be locked away in their family home for the week over Christmas, which would be fine if the whole family weren’t keeping secrets from one and other, secrets that could turn their worlds up-side down.

I love that this is written in the perspective of each family member, so you don’t just see the story unfold through one set of eyes but from all sides and that to me really makes this story as captivating and engaging as it is. Each character is beautifully created, and the relationship each have with the other members of the family is realistic and it’s wonderful seeing their individual stories progress throughout, which takes the reader on a wonderfully intense journey, which at it’s heart is family and the trials that the Birch’s go through as one and separately.

I absolutely loved it!! It is a heart-breaking, emotionally wrenching, warm, funny and beautifully written story of family and love. I shed far more tears then I expected, especially with Olivia’s story which for me was the one that really packed a punch and the ending is heart-breaking, and the epilogue is perfect with a hint of sadness. I cannot recommend this book enough, Seven Days Of Us is one of those that anyone can read and instantly fall in love with and I can guarantee that you will need a box of tissues at the ready.

Fabulous!

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Beth!

Seven Days Of Us can be purchased from Amazon.

 

Do check out the rest of the blog’s on this blog tour.

Advertisements

#Review Letters From Home by Regina Jeffers (@reginajeffers) – Christmas Ever After; A Clean Regency Romance Christmas Anthology. #Christmas #Historical #Anthology #LettersFromHome #ChristmasEverAfter

Posted on

I have the great pleasure to share my review of ‘Letters From Home’ by Regina Jeffers, this novella is apart of the Christmas Ever After; A delightful anthology of Clean Regency Romance Christmas stories from best selling authors. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to review the entire anthology before Christmas as I wanted to. But I can guarantee that in the new year, I will post a review of each of the other stories within this anthology. I apologise to the other authors who I missed in this review, but please bear with me, my reviews for all in this anthology are coming.

Letters from Home by Regina Jeffers

She is the woman whose letters to another man kept his hopes alive during the war. He is the English Major who her late husband described as ‘incomparable’. Can Major Lord Simon Lanford finally step from his brother’s shadow to claim happiness with Mrs. Faith Lamont, or will his rise to the Earldom keep them apart?

I am a huge fan of Regina Jeffers work, I always know that whenever I pick up one of her books that I am going to be in for something very special. But even I must say that Ms Jeffers has out done herself with this beautiful story. I have made it no secret at how much I love a good romantic story that features a soldier, for me their journey to happily ever after are far more hard fought for and which makes their ultimate happiness all; the more special and Letters From Home has everything I look for in a historical romance.

Set at a house Christmas party hosted by Major Simon Lanford (or more accurately hosted by his aunt, who has been ruling the estate ever since his brother died) he would much rather just disappear into his rooms, away from the world and his aunt to finally take charge of his life without interference. Unfortunately he is stuck in the Christmas party from hell with various young women who are all wanting the title.

Simon never expected or wanted the title, that was always destined for his older brother, Simon is a career soldier a good officer who knows how to play the battlefield far better then how to manoeuvrer around a ballroom, but as we know life very rarely plays out how we would have expected. He isn’t interested in the gold diggers in attendance, but when he catches sight of Faith Lamont, he is instantly intrigued by her and once he finds out who she is he is taken with her all the more, especially knowing that it was this woman who kept him going through the war.

Faith is in attendance as her cousin; Claires companion, after the death of her husband she had to return to her awful family. She is bullied and manipulated by her cousin at every turn, Claire has her eyes well set on the scarred but devilishly handsome Simon and she has set her mind to do whatever she can to make sure that she becomes the next Mrs Lanford. Faith is certainly taken with Simon, not as though a man as high ranking and brilliant as Simon would ever look at her; a mere plain widow. She knows all about Simon, her late husband served with the might Major; which is where the story becomes so heart-warming, it is their unknown connection with each other that I found really beautiful.

Faith had been writing letters to her husband while he was at the front every week, unknown to her her husband George often shared her letters with his comrades and officers; which included Simon it was through her gentle and caring words or home and love that gave the men a reason to fight and reason to stay alive.

Ms Jeffers has created a very emotional, moving, heart-warming and sweet story of finding true love and moving forward, I can assure you it will pull at the heart strings. This is a wonderful and beautifully written seasonal romance, that will stay with you and one that you will re-read over and over.

A beautiful story and I am looking forward to diving into the rest of this anthology.

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Regina!

Do check out the full Christmas Ever After Anthology which can be purchased from Amazon.

Letters from Home by Regina Jeffers – She is the woman whose letters to another man kept his hopes alive during the war. He is the English Major who her late husband described as ‘incomparable’. Can Major Lord Simon Lanford finally step from his brother’s shadow to claim happiness with Mrs. Faith Lamont, or will his rise to the Earldom keep them apart?

How the Duke Stole Christmas by Alanna Lucas – Can the magic of Christmas melt his frozen heart? Theodore Winslow, Duke of Greystone, has been betrayed too often, and has walled his heart away. Miss Patience Leybourne is spending Yuletide at Castle Greystone, with her own family gone. The Dowager Duchess is delighted. Then Patience discovers that the Duke is the mystery man she so passionately kissed at a masked ball. How will she manage to endure his company — when that fiery attraction is still burning between them?

Courting a Spinster for Christmas by Arietta Richmond – A Spinster who has lost purpose in her life, no longer a companion to the aristocracy, a Vicar who has discovered that loneliness makes everything hollow, a mystery that draws them together, a Christmas where everything changes, an unexpected love.

Kissing by the Mistletoe by Cora Lee – Everyone thinks Maddie Hayward is destined to wed Kit Mathison and expects a proposal… except neither of them wishes it. Thomas Mathison has loved Maddie for years, but hasn’t told her. When she suggests a sham courtship between them, to show she won’t marry Kit, he agrees, but she will be feigning affection and Thomas will not. Can he conceal his feelings from her? Will he have the strength to let her go when he returns to Edinburgh?

Miss Hadley’s Holly by Victoria Hinshaw – After two London seasons, Margaret Hadley has received offers only from fortune hunters, seeking her dowry. Lawrence Lannon means to devote himself to helping others as a physician, without regard to the charms of his patient’s pretty daughter. Their growing attraction seems doomed when she finds out that he is the younger son of an Earl, just the kind of match she must avoid. Can she see past her assumptions? Or is her love doomed?

The Duke’s Christmas Wish by Emma Kaye – Felicity Worthington wants justice – to find the traitor who caused her husband’s death. But the evidence is in the Duke of Marberry’s study — the man she almost married, and still loves. The Duke finds his former fiancée, who he’s never stopped loving, has snuck into his home under another’s name. Why has she returned? And why is she avoiding him? A shocking betrayal once tore them apart. Can they now find a future together? Or will new treachery keep them separated forever?

The Resurrection of Regina by Janis Susan May – When Regina eloped, she ruined her life. Her father disowned her, and her husband abused her. When he was killed, Regina’s father turned her away. Rescued by Lady Howard and her son Sir Nathaniel who want to re-introduce her to Society, Regina is afraid. In spite of herself, Regina finds herself falling love with Sir Nathaniel. Will blackmail destroy her chance of happiness? Can Sir Nathaniel’s love bring about the Christmas miracle Regina needs?

Lady Eleanor’s Christmas by Becca St. John – Will a mystery unravel Lady Eleanor’s chance at marriage? A lost toy leads her to hidden truths, unveiling hearts in need of a Christmas miracle. The charming, Lord Whittington pays court to her. Lady Eleanor likes him, enough to consider the marriage. Myths haunt his estate so she investigates. A child goes missing, broken dreams are uncovered, love is in the wrong places. Can it be untangled for Christmas? Or is everyone doomed to misery?

If you love regency Christmas romance you’ll love this anthology!

My Top Twenty Favourite Christmas Books #Christmas #Romance

Posted on Updated on

I cannot believe that we have literally a week to go until Christmas! A week until we will be drowned in festive cheer, eat far more food then any human should consume in a lifetime, and basically thoroughly enjoy yourself. But we aren’t there, yet! We are we still have a week to enjoy the run up which means a full week to gather those last minute festive gifts – which I actually mean, get stuck into to some great Christmassy books. I have gathered together a collection of some of my favourite seasonal books, which I’m sure you will love too.

So in no particular order here are my top twenty favourite Christmas books.

The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

All Lydia’s ever wanted is a perfect Christmas…

So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She’s been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies – all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card.

But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year…

 

 

 

Lady Joy and the Earl by Regina Jeffers

They have loved each other since childhood, but life has not been kind to either of them. James Highcliffe’s arranged marriage had been everything but loving, and Lady Joy’s late husband believed a woman’s spirit was meant to be broken.

Therefore, convincing Lady Jocelyn Lathrop to abandon her freedom and consider marriage to him after twenty plus years apart may be more than the Earl of Hough can manage.

Only the spirit of Christmas can bring these two together when secrets mean to keep them apart

 

 

 

The Secret Scottish Christmas by Regan Walker (Book 4 in the Agents of The Crown Series)

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!

Scotland 1819 ~ Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?

Sent As The Vikings Bride by Michelle Styles

She’s the wife he doesn’t want…
…and the woman he needs!

Desperate to escape her murderous brother-in-law and protect her young sister, Ragnhild agrees to marry an unknown warrior, and arrives penniless at his remote island. Only Gunnar Olafson’s belief in love died with his family—he does not want a bride! But as yuletide approaches Ragnhild transforms his isolated existence. Can she melt her Viking warrior’s frozen heart?

 

 

 

I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk (Book 6 in the I Heart Series)

Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…
• Enormous Christmas tree
• Eggnog
• Eccentric British traditions
• Gorgeous man
But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…

 

 

His Mistletoe Wager by Virginia Heath

“Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.”

Notorious rake Henry Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet–until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed!
Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret–her son! Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust–with her heart and her son…

 

 

 

A Winters Tale by Trisha Ashley

A charming romantic comedy about a hard-up single mum inheriting a stately home – and a host of headaches. The perfect novel for curling up with during the long winter nights.

Sophy Winter is not your typical Lady of the Manor. When she unexpectedly inherits Winter’s End – a crumbling mansion in the beautiful Lancashire countryside – it seems like all Sophy’s prayers have been answered.

But the house is decrepit and its eccentric inhabitants are a nightmare. And once it is discovered that Winter’s End played host to a young Shakespeare, the entire village of Sticklepond becomes curious about Sophy’s plans, especially charming Jack Lewis. But is he really smitten by Sophy…or her newly-acquired cash?

Meanwhile, Sophy’s gorgeous head gardener Seth is the strong and silent type. But does his passion bloom for anything beyond the horticultural?

A charming romantic comedy for fans of Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell – guaranteed to thaw the coldest of hearts!

One Night Under The Mistletoe by Laurie Benson (Apart of the Convenient Christmas Brides Anthology)

A convenient arrangement

Three festive Regency romances…In The Captain’s Christmas Journey, by Carla Kelly, Captain Everard is escorting Verity to her governess job—and for propriety’s sake that means a convenient engagement!

In Louise Allen’s The Viscount’s Yuletide Betrothal Eleanor advertises for a ‘suitable’ gentleman to pose as her betrothed over Christmas.

And in Laurie Benson’s novella, Juliet Sommersby’s One Night Under the Mistletoe leads to a marriage of convenience with handsome former love Lord Montague…

 

Fairy Tale Of New York by Miranda Dickinson

Are happy-ever-afters made in Manhattan? Find out in this gorgeous debut, perfect for cold winter nights.Once upon a time an English girl went to New York to live out her very own fairytale…

Florist Rosie Duncan’s life couldn’t be better, she has a flourishing business on New York’s Upper West Side and fantastic friends. Moving to Manhattan feels like the best decision she ever made. Even though at the time, it was her escape route from heartbreak . . .

For the past six years Rosie has kept her heart under lock and key, despite the protests of her closest friends – charming, commitment-phobic Ed, unlucky in love Marnie and the one-woman tornado that is Celia.
Then a blossoming friendship with publishing hot-shot Nate begins to shake Rosie’s resolve at the same time as her brother arrives in the Big Apple, hiding a secret.

But a chance meeting brings Rosie face to face with her past, unravelling the mystery behind her arrival in New York. Rosie is forced to confront questions she has long been trying to ignore, including will she ever get her very own happy-ever-after?
A sparkling, romantic comedy about an English girl who finds herself in the city where dreams can come true – or so she thinks…

Lord Of Ice by Gaelen Foley (Book 3 The Knights Miscellany)

Damien Knight, the earl of Winterley, is proud, aloof, and tormented by memories of war. Though living in seclusion, he is named guardian to a fellow officer’s ward. Instead of the young homeless waif he was expecting, however, Miranda FitzHubert is a stunning, passionate beauty who invades his sanctuary and forces him back into society.

Struggling to maintain honour and self-control, Damien now faces an ever greater threat: desire. A bold, free spirit, Miranda has witnessed the darkest depths of Damien’s soul – and has seen his desperate need for love. But before she can thaw his unyielding heart, she must endure a terrifying nightmare of her own . . .

 

 

 

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Rebecca Mascull

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss MarleyA seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill…

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

 

A Daughters Christmas Wish by Victoria Cornwall

A captivating new story from Victoria Cornwall, perfect for fans of books by Tracy Rees, Fiona Valpy and Dilly Court.
A Cornish Christmas wish sent across the ocean …

Christmas, Cornwall 1919

A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose; the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honour his friend, or whether there is another reason …

 

 

Her Christmas Knight by Nicole Locke

A knight to protect her – this Yuletide

By order of the English King, Alice of Swaffham searches London nobility for the traitor dealing information to the Scots. Little does she know that the mysterious spy she seeks is the man she once loved and thought she’d lost forever…

If Hugh of Shoebury felt unworthy of Alice before, as the Half-Thistle spy, he can never claim her heart. Now he must fight not only to keep his dark secrets – and Alice – safe from a vengeful king…but also his burning longing for her at bay!

Lovers and Legends
A clash of Celtic passions

 

Watch For Me At Christmas by Kirsty Ferry

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 …

 

A Holiday By Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

Awakening His Sleeping Beauty by Janice Preston (Apart of the Regency Christmas Wishes Anthology)

Three Regency tales of festive wishes come true…

CAPTAIN GREY’S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL by Carla Kelly
Captain Grey had been fighting malarial fever in Savannah when he met Theodora Winnings. He proposed by letter – but it’s taken ten years to receive her reply. The answer was ‘yes’! – but is she still free to become his Christmas bride?

HER CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION by Christine Merrill
Faith Strickland’s plan to marry to save her family backfires when notorious rake James Foley sets out to break her unhappy engagement. He’ll storm her twelfth night celebrations and scorch her into surrender!

AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY by Janice Preston
Lonely Diana Fleming knows handsome knights don’t really exist. But can a festive kiss from the man she loves reawaken her frozen heart?

A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson (Apart of the Four Season’s Series)

Tis the season to be jolly… But can Eve find happiness through the frost? A heartwarming and hilarious novel from the bestselling author of Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe and The Queen of Wishful Thinking.

Eve has never liked Christmas. So when her adored elderly aunt dies, the last thing she is expecting is to be left a theme park in her will. A theme park with a Christmas theme …

And that’s not the only catch. Her aunt’s will stipulates that Eve must run the park with a mysterious partner, the exotically named Jacques Glace. Who is this Jacques, and why did Aunt Evelyn name him in her will?

But Eve isn’t going to back down from a challenge. She’s determined to make a success of Winterworld, no matter what. Can she overcome her dislike of Christmas, and can Jacques melt her frozen heart at last?

A Wager For The Widow by Elisabeth Hobbes

‘I SUPPOSE A KISS OF GRATITUDE IS OUT OF THE QUESTION?’

Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!

As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?

 

 

Scandal At the Christmas Ball by Marguerite Kaye and Bronwyn Scott

Twelve days of Christmas, two Regency love affairs, one scandalous house party!

A GOVERNESS FOR CHRISTMAS by Marguerite Kaye
At the glittering Brockmore house party, former army major Drummond MacIntosh meets governess in disgrace, Joanna Forsythe, who’s desperate to clear her name. Both are eager to put their pasts behind them, but their scandalous affair will make for a very different future…

DANCING WITH THE DUKE’S HEIR by Bronwyn Scott
Heir to the Dukedom, Vale Penrith, does not want a wife, and certainly not one like Lady Viola Hawthorne. So why does London’s Shocking Beauty tempt him beyond reason? Dare he try and tame her, or is a Christmas seduction the best way to bring her to surrender…?

 

Highland Fling by Katie Fford

A fine romance? A wonderfully romantic novel from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Recipe for Love, A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

When ‘Virtual Assistant’ Jenny Porter’s boyfriend accuses her of being impulsive, soft-hearted and unbusinesslike, dashing off to Scotland to sort out a failing mill for one of her clients may not be the best way of proving him wrong. And promising to help run a mobile burger bar before she’s even found her feet doesn’t help matters. When she finds herself determined to save the mill – whatever her client’s wishes – it seems that Henry’s accusations may have contained more than a grain of truth.

So when Jenny’s awkward encounters with the abrasive but disconcertingly attractive Ross Grant develop into something more complicated – just as Henry arrives in Scotland to reclaim her – it’s time for Jenny to make some decisions. Should she do the sensible thing and follow Henry back to London? Or is her Highland adventure more than just a fling…?

There is obviously hundreds more brilliant seasonal books out there, but I couldn’t write them all down so I stuck with my top twenty, but I would love to know your favourite’s. Do you have a favourite Christmas book? Or just a book that you love to re-read during the festive season? I would love to know!

#Review Miss Marley; A Christmas Ghost Story, A Prequel To A Christmas Carol by Vanessa Lafaye & Rebecca Mascull (@rebeccamascull) @HQDigitalUK #MissMarley #AChristmasCarol

Posted on

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My View

This is utterly breath-taking! There is no other words for this beautiful book, once I closed the very last page, I was left in stunned silence and with tears in my eyes, this is the brilliance of this book the emotions that Miss Marley evokes in the reader is incomparable. It is full of tragedy, sadness and it is heart-breaking, as well as portraying the most beautiful message of just being kind to others, that money isn’t everything in life, what is important is family, love and living life itself.

This is the first I have ever read by the late Vanessa Lafaye and it saddens me to know that I may have missed out on something special, so I am unbelievably honoured that I got the chance to review this book. Ms Lafaye and Ms Mascull (who lovingly finished the book on Vanessa Lafaye’s sad passing) have written an atmospheric, realistic and touching story, the sights, smells and life of Dickensian London is brilliant captured which makes this book even more special.

This is the prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and it tells the story of Jacob Marley through the eyes of his little sister; Clara Belle Marley. The story opens when they are nothing but children who are staving on the streets, after their parent’s died and their cruel uncle foisted them off into the workhouse they have nothing but each other. With Jacob’s intellect and wiles they soon find themselves off the street and into the nefarious world of ‘Money lending’. The story doesn’t he hard facts of life on the streets of the money lending business, it is raw and unashamed-idly real.

As the years go by, the siblings raise themselves from the streets, in due course Jacob meets his soon-to-be business partner; Ebeneeza Scrooge and is from here we see just how Jacob Marley found himself destined to reside for all eternity in chains; as we see in A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley isn’t entirely a selfish man as he does have his moments when he cares for Clara, but there really isn’t an ounce of kindness in him. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ebeneeza in a different light to the heartless, lost creature we all know him to be. In this there is a glimmer of goodness in him, but being around merciless Jacob has it’s effects on him, it was interesting to seeing the two men when they were young to see how the famous story began.

But the backbone to this is Clara Belle and her absolute love and loyalty to her brother, she is the absolute opposite to Jacob. Where he is hard, cold and ruthless she is kind, warm, caring and always wanting to help if she can. She has a good heart who tries in vain to change her brother’s ways, she has her own story to tell one that can melt the coldest of hearts, and one that will have you weeping.

Magical, charming, festive, beautifully written, heartfelt, captivating, reminiscent of Dickens himself, this is the perfect Christmas gift and one that I can see becoming a classic in its own right and one that will be repeatedly read year after year.

The most heart-warming and beautiful book I have read, perfection!

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Joe at HQ Digital UK for my copy.

Miss Marley is available at Amazon and I urge everyone to buy it, highly recommended!

#Review Sent As The Vikings Bride by Michelle Styles (@MichelleLStyles) #VikingRomance #Christmas #YuleTide #SentAsTheVikingsBride @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

Posted on

She’s the wife he doesn’t want…

…and the woman he needs!

Desperate to escape her murderous brother-in-law and protect her young sister, Ragnhild agrees to marry an unknown warrior, and arrives penniless at his remote island. Only Gunnar Olafson’s belief in love died with his family―he does not want a bride! But as yuletide approaches Ragnhild transforms his isolated existence. Can she melt her Viking warrior’s frozen heart?

My View

Now this is how a Viking romance is done, this is absolutely fabulous! Michelle Styles really is one of my go-to authors for Viking romances, this brings together everything I love Vikings, history and Christmas romances. What’s not to love? And I love this so much, it is a truly magical, seasonal read, that will be pulled of the keeper shelf to be read and re-read over and over again.

Gunnar has hung up his warriors sword to make a new life for himself on is new farm on a remote island, where he can have the peace and sanctuary he has been desperately wanting for most of his adult life. He life of going to war, drinking himself into oblivion and bedding any female he finds with a pulse all so alleviate the pain he has to endure daily over what happened to his family, is now becoming wearisome. Even he knows that the way he was living is no good, so when he gets the opportunity to start afresh Gunnar takes it with both hands. He has set his heart against anything to do with romance and love, that idea died to him long ago.

Gunnar is a complex man, he appears all brooding, monosyllabic and actually rather rude and a tad arrogant, but that is just a mask of the real man beneath. He is actually quite sensitive, lonely, he feels guilt ridden over what happened to his family and because of that he has closed of his heart to love, he thinks that if he allows someone in they will leave him in one way or another. He thinks all he is good for is fighting, which is far, far from the truth. He is a wonderful, passionate, stubborn, kind, sympathetic, loyal, sexy – and oh, my goodness is he sexy, or what? I was definitly swooning especially when he was chopping wood  😉 – but apart from sending me into a dithering mess, he just needs some love and kindness. (Me, me, me!! I’ll love him)

Which is where Ragnhild comes in, she and her sister are fleeing her brother-in-law who is all set on murdering both the sisters. To save herself and her sister from an unthinkable fate, she accepts the position to be the wife of a warrior who has now set himself up on a deserted island. She doesn’t know what to expect as she has never even laid eyes on the man, but she knows that this is their only chance. Their first meeting doesn’t exactly go well to begin with, he is so damn rude but she senses there is something beneath all that grumbling.

What I love about Ragnhild is that she isn’t what would be classed as beautiful, she’s not this frozen goddess with flowing blonde hair, she is a very an ordinary woman with scars and flaws. She is feisty, protective, loyal, strong, kind, caring, nurturing and has so much love bottled up just waiting to be unleashed on someone. But she has been through a lot, and because of her past she is highly self conscious, fragile, frightened and unaware just how remarkable she is. She is just a wonderfully real and relatable character, who I instantly connected with.

Reading this is like a feature length episode of Viking’s, all those glorious Viking warriors, history and superstition and they really were a superstitious lot, weren’t they? Intriguing, romantic, entertaining, alluring, enchanting, beautifully written and engaging are just a few terms to describes just how magical this book is. I love the how detailed it is from the traditional Viking Yule season to all the superstitions from lucky charms to catching the Nissar – you have to read the book to find out about that one. The character’s are beautifully created, the journey to their happily ever after is fraught with distrust, having to over come personal misgivings’ and learning to open their hearts to love. They are a compelling and courageous couple who really are the backbone of the story.

This is the perfect festive Viking romance, one which I cannot recommended enough.

This was a ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Michelle!

Sent as the Viking’s Bride is to be released on 27 December and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#Review A Daughters Christmas Wish (Cornish Tales #4) by Victoria Cornwall (@VickieCornwall) #WW1Romance #Christmas #ADaughtersChristmasWish #CornishTales @ChocLitUK

Posted on

A Cornish Christmas wish sent across the ocean …

Christmas, Cornwall 1919

A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose; the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honour his friend, or whether there is another reason…

My View

This is a beautiful book that captures a moment in history, that really emphasises the emotional suffering that gripped the country. Set after the great war , The Daughters Christmas Wish focusses on the aftermath of that horrendous war. The main character’s Rose and Nicholas have both lost and now trying to move on with their lives, which I think Ms Cornwall has portrayed beautifully, not that I’m surprised as she is a wonderfully skilful writer who can enchant and engage the reader from the very first page.

It’s 1919, the great war is finally over and people are attempting to move on and rebuild their lives after years of heartache and suffering. Nicholas is back home, after the war he couldn’t face returning home without his best friend so he re-enlisted for another year but now he is back to fulfil a promise he made to fellow soldier and fallen friend; Sam. That was to go back to home to Cornwall and give Sam’s fiancée; Rose the best Christmas she could ever wish for. I love the way he comes to make her Christmas special and how she wanted it, he took a poem that she wrote to Sam about Christmas and made every line of that poem reality for her. Which really is the most romantic thing that you have ever read and really shows just what an incredibly kind and honourable and gentle man Nicholas is. He too has been affected by his experiences from the war, those experiences have imprinted on him a sense of needing to over come loss.

Rose doesn’t really feel like celebrating Christmas, she is deeply unhappy, her whole life has completely changed, but not for the good. Rose and her family have all been scarred by the war, her brother Arthur and her fiancée Sam have both been killed on the front which has left her in a deeply unhappy state and that of her parent’s too, who have become grief stricken to the point that they are stuck in the darkness and forget about their daughter. My heart broke for Rose, she is clearly in pain, she is struggling and a bit lost, but she has an inner strength that makes her get up and put one foot in front of the other.

I loved this book, it’s a beautiful and poignant love story that is written with absolute care and sensitivity for the era and subject. The character’s are realistic to the time, they have a heart-breaking tender and sweetness about them that will make you fall in love with them. This is an emotional book that will have you reaching for the tissues and fill your heart with love and joy for the festive season.

I am in absolute love with this book, simply stunning!

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

The Daughters Christmas Wish is available from Amazon.

#Review – Love and Lies at The Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh (@PortiaMacIntosh) #Blogtour #Christmas #Romance #LoveAndLiesAtTheVillageChristmasShop @HQDigitalUK

Posted on

I have the great pleasure to be the last stop on this great blog tour, and to be sharing my review of Love and Lies At The Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh.

Blast the Michael Bublé, wrap your hands around a cinnamon latte and enjoy this warm, hilarious Christmas novel!

Ivy loves Christmas. As owner of Christmas Every Day, the year-round festive store, you’d expect nothing less!

The only thing missing in Ivy’s life is a dash of romance – something her twin sister Holly will not let her forget…

When her mother passed away, Ivy vowed to take over the running of her mother’s store and keep the Christmas spirit alive in the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

But all this changes when an enigmatic businessman moves to the town, threatening to bulldoze her beloved shop to make way for a holiday complex.

Can Ivy save her shop before Christmas? Could there be a different side to the newest resident of Marram Bay that would make all her Christmas wishes come true?

The brand-new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller Portia Macintosh. Perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley and Tilly Tennant.

My View

Well this is splendid, what a great way to get yourself into the festive spirit! I will admit that this is ashamedly the first book I have read by Portia MacIntosh, where have I been to let this wonderful author pass me by? Anyway, I will definitely be seeking out more of Ms MacIntosh’s work because this was wonderful.

For Ivy there is nothing better in this world than Christmas, she loves it’s, breathes it and lives it everyday something that she shared with her dear late mother. So it will comes at no surprise that she runs a Christmas shop; ‘Christmas Everyday’ which used to belong to her mother. Situated in the little Yorkshire town of Marram, Ivy has vowed that she will always be here and run her mother’s shop as she would have wanted it to be run.

I really like Ivy, she gave up a lot for the Christmas shop and her family, she gave up a brilliant carer as a chef, everything she has done has been for the shop and her family. She is a glorified book worm, she is more than happy sitting quietly in a corner reading. She is by far one of the most selfless women, she has given up her dreams of being whisked of her feet by a handsome stranger, her entire life solely revolves around the shop and I for one can relate to her. At times Ivy was so real to me it was like reading about myself, I have never related to a character as much as I have Ivy she spoke to me on a level I have never experienced before, I understood her. This for me is what makes this book such a winner, Ms. MacIntosh has created this real and likeable young woman who is very normal. There are no airs and graces about Ivy she is a normal, working class young woman who is in need of a boost of self confidence.

But all is not fine in the shop, Ivy is struggling to get people through the door other then at Christmas. After all not everyone is like he and her late mother, some are like her Christmas hating twin sister; Holly. Honestly you never have though that these two completely different women were even related let alone, twin sisters, they are like chalk and cheese and in many ways I think people will relate to Holly just as much as Ivy. She believes that there is more to life then Christmas trees, decorations and carol singing and she worries that her sister has given too much for their mothers Christmas shop legacy, I can see her point of view too. When Ivy finds out that he land lord is selling the shop to a mysterious stranger who wants to turn her precious mothers shop into holiday lets she now must fight for her mother’s legacy and for herself, especially once she meets the very man who could change her whole life.

Seb and Ivy are such a cute couple, even though they are in competition there is a lot of flirting, giggles and good natured bantering between them. He is a sexy, confident and kind man who knows what he wants and will do what ever he can to get it, even though that does sounds as though he is ruthless, but to me I think it’s more the fact that he is a charmer and everyone falls under his spell.

I have to say that even though Seb is mightily attractive and a decent man, I was more drawn to the rough around the edges, heavily tattooed and a but scruffy Gaz, and it has nothing to do with the fact that as soon he appeared in the book I envisioned Tom Hardy, oh, alright it has more or less everything to do with that  😉 he’s a bit gruff, but there is something very enticing about him.

Love and Lies and the Village Christmas Shop is a light-hearted, witty and seasonally perfect romance. The plot is fun, easy to read and entertaining, there is a lot of laugh-out-loud moments to be had, especially from the witty banter from all character’s. The cast of character’s are each brilliant in their own way, each one has his/her own style and quirkiness that you will instantly love. Ms. MacIntosh’s writing is a real joy to read, there is a lot of passion for the story and the character’s that really comes through in the story.

An utterly charming and feel-good festive romance that will have you reaching for the hot chocolate and fluffy socks and settling in for the night.

This was an ARC copy via the publisher for this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Love and Lies and The Christmas Village Shop can be purchased from Amazon.