Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill – Jackie Ladbury

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Welcome back everyone, even though the last week’s read wasn’t solely based around Christmas, it had some Christmas moments. To make up for that we’re back to a Christmas book! Yay!

Kirsty and Jake are one of those cute couples that meet by running into each other in the supermarket. I mean, how does that even happen?!

I don’t even know how to talk about this book because one of the issues in the books, the cheating of Jake’s ex-wife, hit home to me while I was reading this. Until reading this book I’d never met anyone who’d been cheated on so the “I can’t believe someone would do that to someone else” was all hypothetical.

The emotional impact of discovering that the person you love with all your heart, who you thought loved you back, is cheating on you is incomprehensible. The lasting impact of this is what Jake is going through — the mistrust, the need to drown your sorrows and the feeling that you’re not good enough for the one you love — and we see this in how he interacts with Kirsty.

I didn’t have much left of the book when I found out about cheating and it put a whole new spin on how I perceived Jake’s actions. I went from thinking he was overreacting and being a bit of a dick, to wondering how he’d stayed so calm and could handle starting a new business and starting a new business.

Writing this review has me thinking about what I found out and I can’t help but feel horrible about that situation. I can truly say I loved this book. Yet at the same time it’s going to be tainted with that memory forever because of the emotional impact it’s had on me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing It’s Not PMS, It’s You by Rich Amooi. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Jackie Ladbury writes heart-warming contemporary and historical women's fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, she determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into her stories. Her life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying as she now lives a quiet life in Hertfordshire with her family and two cats, spending her days making up stories and finding excuses not to go to the gym.

To find out more about Jackie Ladbury, check out her socials:

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You, Me, and the Movies – Fiona Collins

Welcome back everyone, although this isn’t a Christmas story like last week’s review. It’s begins around Christmas. I’m calling it that it’s still in the spirit of this season!

I’m just gonna put it out there. This book is classified as a romance, but it felt more like a self discovery story to me. Yes, this centred around a romance. But I honestly felt like I was reading Arden’s story of growth, pain, change and her friendships.

Arden had her ups and downs, just like anyone does. Her life took unexpected turns that didn’t give her the big amazing life Mac imagined she’d have. But she kept going. She lived for her son. She had the courage to change in the face of adversity, for her son. She found the courage to renew friendships she thought she’d lost and didn’t deserve.

Those actions speak so much louder to me than the romantic connection and memories from her time with Mac. With each chapter swapping between the past and the present, you get a sense of who Arden was, while experiencing who she is now.

I may have imagined it, but it felt like the chapters written about the past were written in a reflective style. Whereas the ones set now felt like there were written in the moment. If I did imagine it then I’m sorry! But I did feel like there was a difference in the writing style which helped to grow and develop the story.

The main thing I loved about this story was the deep meaning and value of friendships that’s displayed throughout the book. The messages coming through during these times were so intense that it caused me to reflect on my own friendships, past and present, to see how I could be a better friend to others.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I go back to a typical Christmas book with Lucy Coleman’s Magic Under the Mistletoe.

A Christmas Kiss – Eliza Scott

Welcome back everyone, getting into the Christmas spirit for me involves a lot of Christmas lights, heat, bars and enjoying our porch or pergola with my partner. Yet for most of the Western world it involves snow, roaring fireplaces and cold.

This book for me gave me everything I’ve ever wished for at Christmas. A small rural town, a cosy cottage, enough snow to toboggan and make snow men and of course a gorgeous dog. At some point in my future I want to spend a Christmas in a town and cottage just like Livvie and Zander do.

With both our characters running away from their pasts and coincidentally running into each other before being snowed in it gives us the perfect backdrop for a nice, cosy, romantic Christmas love story. The drama that’s in this story were quite predictable, as with many romances, yet still enjoyable.

I’m sure many romance readers out there would agree with me, when we read a romance you anticipate that there’s going to be some predictability in the story since they all tend to follow the same formula. Yet, the great part isn’t in not knowing what’s coming, it’s in how the author build the suspense, draws you into the story emotionally and then reveals it bit by bit. Eliza did this well by setting the scene, revealing bit by bit what we kinda knew was going to happen.

OK. I’ll admit. When the first twist happened, I actually thought it was going to be the other person. Yet when Eliza stopped, swapped to the other character and revealed one tiny little clue I realised my mistake in assuming which twist it was going to be. Which gave me that little bit of surprise I wanted. What more can you ask for with a romance?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing You, Me and the Movies by Fiona Collins. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heart-warming stories with happy endings.

Check out Eliza's socials, including BookBub:

US Author Page

UK Author Page

A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall – Jane Linfoot

Welcome back everyone, after a weirdly confusing book on Monday we’re back into the Christmas romance genre! Who can say no to Christmas in a magical castle?

In a way I felt like rather than following two character’s as they discover their love and find their way to each other, we learn several life lessons about recognising our needs, loving ourselves, not judging our lives based on what we see of others and letting love in all its forms into our lives. The whole family is involved in the development of this story and the realisation, acceptance and love of each other.

Ivy and Will/Bill are the focus of the story. However, I don’t think their story would be as great, dramatic or real without the rest of the family involved. With Bill coming to terms with a loss he thought he couldn’t control, Ivy trying to come to terms with her guilt and learn to love and accept herself again, Fliss hoping her marriage isn’t ending while trying to stay sane with two young kids, Libby running the show and leading the “perfect” life and Miranda looking like she’s about to get married again there’s a lot going on. What’s Christmas without all that drama though?

The way they come together to support, guide and give a stern talking to each other as and when needed is great. For a Christmas romance I was truly surprised at how many life lessons were packed into one book. I honestly think all teenage girls and young women need to read this to learn these lessons. I’m sure guys could get benefit from it as well.

However, I also feel that there are some uniquely female issues that are displayed and worked through that guys can only empathise with. Although, that might be a good thing to give guys a perspective of what the women in their lives are going through and how they can support them during these difficult times.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I’ll be reviewing Zapata by Harper McDavid. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jane Linfoot is a best-selling author, who lives in a cottage on a Derbyshire hillside with her family and their pets. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket.

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea and wrote her first book by accident. While she loves to write feel good books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines.

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her recent stand alone novels are all set in and around the (imaginary) seaside village of St Aidan in Cornwall. They are: Ivy’s Cornish Christmas, Edie’s Browne’s Cottage by the Sea, The Little Cornish Kitchen. Her four book Little Wedding Shop series are standalone stories, also set in St Aidan. They are: The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, Summer at the Little Wedding Shop and Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop. They are all published by the Harper Impulse and One More Chapter imprints of Harper Collins.

Check out her socials below including her Pinterest.

Giveaway - Win a signed Jane Linfoot book and some chocolates (open int)


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winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7
days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative
winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as
part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be
shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This
will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the
prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the
data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Intimate Strangers – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’ve had some emotionally charges romance reads this month and today is no different. I mean. Wow. Just wow!

Talk about an emotionally draining read!

If anyone wants to see how an emotional rollercoaster should be written, I suggest reading this book and making notes. I really wasn’t expecting it to be QUITE so dramatic. Especially throughout the whole book.

Given that Lisa met someone online I was anticipating there to be a certain level of emotional stress leading up to them meeting for the first time. But that was just the start of it! There were a few other hits in there as well as the comedic release you need during those highly charged moments.

Lisa’s sarcastic and confident (even if she doesn’t feel it most of the time) attitude made her highly amusing. Especially when we also got to read along with the conversations she was having in her own head. As we only follow her, we don’t get to find out what’s going through AJ’s head.

In this case I really don’t think having AJ’s side of events is needed. There are quite a few stories where you need both sides. However, the way Lasairiona has written this means it’s perfect as it is. And having AJ’s side would probably just ruin it.

I’m scheduled to review the follow up book The Good in Goodbye in December. So make sure you subscribe to my mailing list if you want to know the moment that review goes live!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Wrapped up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did - with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself 'home', with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Rewrite the Stars – Emma Heatherington

Welcome back everyone, you might have noticed that I’ve been slowing down in the Rach Random Resources tours lately. Good news is that that means I can spend more time reading and reviewing books I requested from Netgalley or from my own TBR pile.

The title of this book suggested to me that someone, or multiple someone’s, were going to be trying to re-write their love story or correct a bad choice or set of circumstances that’d happened earlier in their life. In a way, this is right. But in other ways it’s so wrong.

Many of us face the inevitable “what if” question all the time. This book explores that following a single character (Charlotte), her relationships and general life choices over the span of like 10 years. To most people I believe we’d agree that Charlotte made the right choices. But all she can see is the “what if I’d gone with him” and “what if I’d never done this”.

I really liked how Charlotte explored these choices and the impacts they’ve had on her life today. Both in the way that they’ve given her a great life, but also in the ways that she missed out on opportunities to be with her family when they needed it.

Even though things hit a kind of bad patch towards the end, I loved how Charlotte reconnected and found out what would have happened if she’d made a single choice when she was younger. By doing that, it felt like she was able to finally put those questions to bed and follow her dreams, and her heart, to the happily ever after she deserved.

That emotional rollercoaster of what if’s was so easy to relate to that I couldn’t help but feel like I was involved in her decision-making as I read it. Even the way the final decision was written left everything in the air as to what choice she’d made. So much so that I needed to re-read it to make sure I had interpreted it right.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Intimate Strangers by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

A Summer to Remember – Victoria Cooke

Welcome back everyone, after doing a book vs movie comparison on Friday I’m back to reviews! Today it’s another tour (because what else have I been doing for the past few months?) with Rach Random Resources.

Although the book starts out quite sad with Sam having lost her husband, we quickly move on to how she’s doing like 8 years after his death. She’s moved to London from her sleepy hometown, found new friends, gotten a cat and is in her dream job.

The only problem is her world is starting to change and she’s finally got the opportunity to go to America for the summer as part of a work exchange program. While she’s there she discovers new friends and finds a new joy in life that leaves her worrying about other factors. While this sounds all well and good, she needs to go home and that makes it emotionally gripping.

I found myself constantly asking “what if?” to everything. All her decisions, all the talks, all the backtracking. Everything.

Although the ending didn’t have a certain fact I was certain would be there, it was amazing as well. I found myself impressed that Victoria held back from adding that one little thing in the happily ever after, unlike so many authors. By doing that it made it feel much more inclusive and real to me.

That real element of her storytelling is something that was woven throughout, but that I hadn’t realised until I got right to the end. I love it and I hope she continues to bring it into her writing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Rewrite the Stars by Emma Heatherington. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, 'The Secret to Falling in Love,' in 2016.

Her third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018.

Giveaway - Win A Summer to Remember by Victoria Cooke and chocolates (UK only)


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*Terms
and Conditions
 –UK
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7
days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative
winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as
part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be
shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This
will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the
prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the
data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Babe Driven – Lizzie Chantree

Welcome back everyone, after a busy August we’re getting back into the swing of reviews once a week. I hope you enjoy returning to this relaxed pace with me.

Babe Driven isn’t just the name of the book, it’s also the name of Harriet’s business. One I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out until it was finally explained to me. And that’s just one example of how Lizzie’s writing style hides information from you throughout the book.

This hidden information isn’t done in a way that makes it difficult to read or follow. Instead it drives up the suspense in a way that leaves you guessing as to what could happen in a way that keeps your interest in the story. An example of this is the information Harriet gains, how she gains it and when it works to her benefit.

Another area I was kept guessing was the love interest for Harriet. I know the blurb mentions a Max and a Mr Grant, but they aren’t the only potential love interests involved. The dramas involved with Harriet’s family and business add another layer of complexity to the story I wasn’t expecting.

When you think you’ve found out all the bits and pieces of the drama you soon discover there’s more. This led to a surprisingly suspense laden story that I was able to work my way through while home sick one day. Although being sick sucked, having this interesting read to keep me amused was pretty good.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing A Different Time by Michael K. Hill as part of a Write Reads Ultimate Book Blog Tour. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office's British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

You can see check her out at her author page, on Pintrest and across her various social media channels.

Giveaway - win a Lizzie Chantree paperback of your choice (open internationally)

Choice of books is Babe Driven, Love’s Child, Finding Gina, Ninja School Mum and If you love me, I’m yours. 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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The Secret Cove in Croatia – Julie Caplin

Welcome back everyone, after yesterday’s cover reveal we’re going back into a review! This one is based in beautiful Croatia, which I can’t wait to see since my Croatian friends keep telling me amazing stories of their country.

My first thought when I started this book was “why the hell am I on a photoshoot in some backcountry town in England if the story is meant to be in Croatia?” Well, it turns out that’s to help set up a couple of character BEFORE jetting us over to Croatia. Which in the long run I was actually thankful for. Don’t think you’ve been duped; those scenes are needed and actually play a pivotal part of the story.

As we go in and Maddie is working on this luxury boat I can’t help but think she’s a little too relaxed and informal for 5 star service. I’ve worked in those kinds of settings (not on a boat coz I get sea sick real bad, and I mean before we even undock I’m sick bad), and if I even showed the slightest hint of the attitude she showed sometimes, I’d have been fired. My bosses wouldn’t have cared if I knew the guests or not. I would’ve lost my job.

I didn’t really like that familiarity with all the guests. I think I would have enjoyed that aspect more if it matched my experiences more closely. But then again, maybe things are different in Europe? Or maybe because it was a small kind of company the appearance of detachment and being unruffled isn’t needed as much?

The rest of the story was pretty dream like though. Imagine sitting on a private yacht in your own bay with crystal clear water, all the sea life and amazing sunny weather? Other than the whole being on the boat thing, this sounds almost perfect to me. If there was a way I could zap my sea sickness into nothing, it would be perfect.

Yes, I liked the romance. But the sights, the relationship building (not just the romance ones, but even their relationships with themselves) and the way I was transported to these breathtaking locations really stole the show for me. Unfortunately for my purse strings, this book has added yet more sights for me to see when I get to Europe! Maybe I can talk my Croatian friends into taking me so we can try and get locals discounts… If there are any.

hank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’ll be doing an author interview with SamanthaParks and next week I will be reviewing Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight by Jenni Fletcher. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands, taking journalists on press trips to awful places like Turin, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and occasionally losing the odd member of the press in an airport. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to eat amazing food, drink free alcohol, hone her writing skills on press releases and to research European cities for her books.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for HarperImpulse.

Under her pen name, Julie Caplin, her twelfth novel, The Secret Cove in Croatia published in ebook format this July.

@JulieCaplin

@Juleswake