Christmas at Lock Keepers Cottage – Lucy Coleman

Welcome back everyone, the first Christmas book of the year is here! And it’s only the start of September!

It took me like two weeks to read this book for a few reasons. The first being all the shows on TV taking up what little free time I have, the second being my general mental health with the lockdown in my city and finally, I really struggled to fall in love with the characters.

For what felt like the first 75% of the book, next to nothing happened. A lot happened in that final 25% but that doesn’t help me get engaged in the story from the start. Normally I really enjoy Lucy’s books, so this is a bit weird for me.

Maybe because the characters are so straight? And by that I mean, they don’t really drink, they don’t seem to have strong opinions about anything and it felt like they were people pleasers who know what to say to keep everyone happy without ever really having an opinion. I only know one person like this and that mask dropped away once we all got to know each other  better so I know it was more of an “I don’t know how to behave around you yet” thing rather than that’s what they’re like all the time.

To me, I find those kinds of personalities quite fake, so maybe I spent the whole time trying to figure out their angle? What were they trying to achieve? Why wouldn’t they just say what they thought even when they’re “alone”?

For me, their personalities was the biggest detractor. The community spirit, the stuff that goes wrong, the secrets that came out. That was all juicy and great. But it felt like it fell flat a little without the human drama to follow it.

If you’d like a feel good, wholesome, no unnecessary drama, relaxing read about Christmas, then this is the book for you!

If you’re like me and like a little more drama, you may find it’s not as great as you’d hope. It may have also been because my life is so boring in lockdown, I NEEDED more drama. So maybe it’s my fault for reading this while in Stage 4 lockdown?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Who Wants to Marry a Duke? by Sabrina Jeffries. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.


Hopeful Hearts and Glendale Hall – Victoria Walters

Welcome back everyone, I hope you’re all doing well in these difficult times. My city is heading into it’s final (I HOPE!) week of Stage 4 lockdown. Surprisingly enough, work’s been too busy to take advantage of the forced home time to be able to read much.

The third instalment of Glendale Hall is here and it’s not quite what I was expecting. It’s a little bit like Foxglove Farm by Christie Barlow in that it’s about an established couple going through a “rough patch”. But it has its own little quirks and intricacies.

With an ex back in the picture who reminds you of your younger self it can be hard to know your own mind. Especially when things keep going wrong and they keep pointing out how you don’t belong where you are. As suss as that felt to me, I can sympathise with Heather and how she doesn’t recognise the suss nature of it all.

When Heather found her stride I felt so proud, even though she’s just a character and not even one I created! Every little thing she did to move forward felt huge, especially because her loved ones supported her and let her grow. It wasn’t forced, it wasn’t like she’d consciously been doing it. It just clicked and started coming together in such a beautiful way.

Personally, I was hoping for the epilogue to be set on a very different day. I would’ve loved the closure all at once. Although, if there’s a fourth book coming maybe that’ll give me the details I was craving.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Christmas at Lock Keepers Cottage by Lucy Coleman. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of three novels, THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE, SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFÉ, and COMING HOME TO GLENDALE HALL. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Find out more about Victoria by following her on social media.


Summer Island – Natalie Normann

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’m finally making a dint in my NetGalley ARCs. Right in time for that to be spoiled by heaps of new review tours and a few series by authors who are giving me ARCs as well.

So much for reading more of my TBR this year. Maybe next year?

Harper Collins Digital has started letting me know more often when they have new books coming out that they think they’d be interested in. Which is how I heard about this one!

Being set in Norway on a small island I wasn’t expecting the level of drama that happened. Or should I have expected drama because it’s a small community and everyone knows each other?

I really wish I had have had more than 15 minutes here or there to read this because every time I got to read it I was loving it and enjoying the cultural differences and everything that small island life entails. I don’t know much (aka, anything really) about Norwegian culture, but since it’s an own voice kind of story, I think it’s safe to say the use of Norwegian language, culture, festivals etc would be pretty accurate.

I really wish I could describe more of this book but I’m honestly struggling because I read the book in such small snippets and it’s been almost a week since I finished it when I’m writing this review. I know I enjoyed it a lot, I loved the banter between various characters although I did find some moments and interactions confusing.

I was wondering at the time whether I didn’t like those interactions because the character was meant to be someone we didn’t like. Or whether this was something that was “normal” in Norway. The only reason I wondered that was because many of the other characters didn’t seem to mind the attitude that I didn’t liking.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Sunday I’ll be reviewing Return of the Disappearing Duke by Lara Temple.


Losing Control – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, I know Thursday’s aren’t my usual posting days, but it’s publication day for Rachael again!

I always look forward to a new Rachael Stewart novel. They’re always short, steamy and suck you in so much it doesn’t take long to read.

In so many ways this one did all that. And yet, something was still missing. It took me a while to place it, and I think it comes down to the lack of details of the characters business and town. In her other books, Rachael has enough detail about these that you know what job people do, you know where they’re living, and you get little details to describe the location as you’re going.

Even after finishing the book I don’t know what the family business does, other than something techy. And even though we got a little bit location description, it was so sporadic and minimal that it didn’t feel like I got to picture the location at all.

On the other hand, the level of detail provided in the characters history, backstory, thoughts, emotions etc was phenomenal. I don’t know if she’s ever done to that level of detail before. But, there’s also a downside to this as well.

I know it’s traumatic, but I did feel like the mention of why Alexa hates Cain so much was talked about too much. It felt like it controlled her life rather than being something that she’s either over, processed or is still processing.

I’m so glad Rachael used this as the sensitive topic for this book. It’s another topic that really isn’t talked about enough and needs to be recognised and accepted so people CAN feel like they can talk about it. I just felt it controlled Alexa too much. But I’ve never gone through that, so maybe that is an accurate perspective of someone who’s gone through it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Summer Island by Natalie Normann. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heartwarmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled on A4 sheets in her loft will attest to, and the lovingly bound short stories that her father would run off at work and proudly share out with his colleagues. Thinking it was a pipe dream to be published one day, she pursued a sensible career in business but she was really play-acting, achieving the appropriate degree and spending many years in the corporate world where she never truly belonged. Always happiest when she was sat at her laptop in the quiet hours tapping out a story or two. And so here she is, a published author, her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Giveaway – Win an e-copy of Losing Control by Rachael Stewart (open internationally)

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Starcross Manor – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, today we find out way back to Love Heart Lane and all the drama that seems to surround this one small village.

One of the things I love about Christie Barlow is that she doesn’t write about “regular” characters. We’ve had someone who can’t have kids, a marriage on the verge of collapse, a relationship going places (but not) and now, a woman turning 40 and yet to find love.

So few of the romances I read have a main character over 32. I think there needs to be greater representation of these women because there will be more and more women in this age group in the future who don’t need to be made to feel inadequate because they’ve put their career first.

Thank you, Christie, for making sure there are books like this available for when these girls are ready to read these stories. And I’m sure it won’t hurt anyone who currently reads romance!

In so many way’s it’s a standard romance done really well. Yet in subtle ways, there’s some things that make this book so amazing!

Those amazing parts are what really stuck with me and make me believe this is worth a read if you enjoy romance. It’s got an element of second chance romance, enemy’s to lovers and even some other trope I can’t even name!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Thursday I’ll be reviewing Losing Control by Rachael Stewart. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the number 1 International bestselling author of ten bestsellers including A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Clover Cottage. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.


As Luck Would Have It – Zoe May

Welcome back everyone, I can’t believe Zoe already has another book on tour. She’s had two books in two months on tour!

I thought this would be an enemy’s to lover’s style trope given the blurb. Who else is with me there?

Yet it turned out to be a second chances trope! Who would’ve thought?!

Set in beautiful Marrakesh we get a tiny glimpse of the sights, the food and the culture. I don’t think it’s enough for anyone familiar with that culture and city to take issues with anything, yet at the same time enough to give us the sense and feel of the location.

We had a little bit of everything in this story. Second chance love, getting over the betrayals of others, learning about a new culture and place, emotional growth, professional development and growth and even finding a new family.

I think my favourite part was when they went to see the Atlas Mountains. Even if I’m not sure that would actually happen in real life, I loved the romanticism of it. The whole time Natalie had been protecting her heart, and the time in the Atlas Mountains really showed her growth when it came to Will.

The ending also surprised me. Well, the main part of it was pretty predictable since it’s a romance. But one aspect of it was something I wasn’t expecting, and it made me so happy! It spoke true to Natalie’s personality and I hope it helps to break down some traditional views. Even if it is only just a tiny bit.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; next week I’ll be reviewing In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she’s not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she’s probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact and follow her on all her various social media channels.


Starlight Over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’m only just starting to get to the books I’ve been wanting to read all year. Those pesky tours keep getting in the way coz they sound so good!

I was a little surprised when Sarah decided not to bring this book on tour with Rachel last year. But I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of me reading and reviewing it. I’ve been looking forward to reading this for like 12 months. That’s crazy since it came out in November last yr!

The first thing I loved about Tristan was that he fell for a curvy girl. Especially coz he did it at a young age.

The second thing I loved about Tristan was that it didn’t phase him that Jess had kids and an ex still in the picture (as the kid’s father only).

Having a friend who’s a single mum and finding out that apparently it’s “not done” to not tell people you have kids up front coz you’ve “lied” to the guy by omission makes this so much more meaningful to me. He knows she’s got kids and there was never a question about whether they’d be welcome in his life and that he’d be a part of theirs.

Fingers crossed good men like this exist in the real world and not just our bookish fantasy’s.

Men, take note! Women don’t need to be sticks and not have any “baggage” (as I’ve often heard kids referred to as) to be worth your time and love.

What I’d forgotten was that all three books take place in the span of exactly 12 months. That’s a pretty short time frame but at the same time it never felt weird. The way Sarah wrote about each triplet just worked. It made sense.

As usual, the depth of Tristan and Jess’s connection is lovely to read and watch grow and develop. I loved how they got to the end and how Jess made all the decisions she needed to make.

Also, can I please have a Christmas like they thew?! Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing As Luck Would Have It by Zoe May.


Lovestruck – Bronwyn Sell

Welcome back everyone, after skipping a review on Monday last week I’m back with an Aussie (ok, fine, Kiwi) author! I’m still counting her as one of my Aussie authors, coz, you know. We take credit for all the good Kiwi things.

Based on the blurb I thought this was going to follow one couple (Amy and Josh) with little smatterings of the rest of the family in there as well.


The main love stories were Amy and Josh and Harry and Sophia. Although the various love interests and stories for the rest of the family were included as well. This definitely made it a tad hard to follow!

Once I figured out we’d be following two main stories, the length of the book (for a romance) made sense to me. I got to the point where I just wanted it to be over. It just got too long. I know it’s only 500 odd pages long, but that’s like double the length of most of the books I read these days and I felt like I would have preferred these to be two separate books.

There’s enough going on in this family that Bronwyn could easily have made this a series and I probably would’ve loved them. But for a single book it was a bit much.

I think it also dragged for a bit because I got a copy off NetGalley and the texts about three quarters of the way through the book were a bit jumbled up and I had to go backwards and forwards to read them in order. I’m sure the final versions wouldn’t have that issue, but it was something that made it difficult for me to stay engaged.

All the characters had a purpose. If you learnt something about them, there was a reason for it. It played a role in the wider story. Whether it be emotional development, drama or backstory development. There was a reason which made it all worthwhile.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing You May Kiss the Bridesmaid by Camilla Isley.


If it’s Only Love – Lexi Ryan

Welcome back everyone, the final instalment of the Jackson family of Jackson Harbour is here!

I’ve always felt that Shay was a great strong character who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t let anything ruffle her feathers. That was until the epilogue of the previous book where it turns out she’s not as strong and unflappable as I thought!

What I liked best about this book was how Lexi included the key events from the past as they impacted the present. When they’re referenced in the present you’re left like “wait what? What are they talking about?” and then the chapter ends and the next one shows us what happened then.

Rather than bombarding us with all that info that we’d have to then remember, or not showing us at all, I thought this was really clever and done perfectly. I loved Shay and Easton together the whole time. But I’m also glad that they had the struggles they did.

Right up to the very end of the book we’re left on the hook and it’s amazing!

The choices both of them made were true to them and their personality right until the very end.

The way a particular other character acted however was just despicable. How anyone can treat another person that they “love” like that amazes me. The way Shay handled that situation was so much more mature than I ever could! If I was in her shoes, I would’ve beaten the crap out of them and hopefully made sure they lost their job. At the very least, the respect of everyone around them.

I finished the book and was left going “THAT’S how you end a series!” Everything about the book was so well balanced, nothing felt out of character, everything felt like it had a reason for being there and it just worked. Seamlessly. I loved it!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Lovestruck by Bronwyn Sell.