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Winter’s Gift by Florence Keeling

Winters’ Gift: A heart warming, feel good romantic comedy.

Bea Winters is in desperate need of a fresh start. Being bullied at work is not her idea of fun and she longs to follow her dream of becoming a published author. When an advert appears in her local paper to work in a publishing house in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale, it sounds too good to be true.

She strikes up an instant friendship with gorgeous aspiring author, Eddie Richards and her dashing millionaire boss Scott Summers

But all isn’t as it seems in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale.

How does the local clairvoyant know her name? Who does the little black dog that keeps appearing belong to and why does she keep bumping into the mysterious Charlie?

As she starts to unravel the truth, it seems that everyone in Bea’s life is keeping secrets.

 

My review

There’s an interest combination of mystery, self-discovery and the paranormal in this book, as well as a nod to a few serious contemporary issues such as job dissatisfaction and apparent family failings.

Bea is a bit of a dreamer but she gains a sharper focus as the book progresses. She finds her feet – and more besides! She’s likeable and kind and makes for a pleasant heroine.

The mystery is intriguing and enjoyable.

All in all a gentle bit of escapism.

 

Purchase Links:

 UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Winters-Gift-Florence-Keeling-ebook/dp/B07KDWRWXP/#ace-4131440328

US – https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Gift-Florence-Keeling-ebook/dp/B07KDWRWXP/

 

About Florence Keeling

?Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day.  She is married with two teenage chidren.  Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton.  Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.

 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/florence.keeling.7

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KeelingFlorence

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/florence.keeling/

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JoJo’s French Escape by Lorraine Wilson

Synopsis

For twelve months JoJo Grant has been hiding from a secret too shameful to share.  And whilst her sanctuary might be the beautiful French countryside, JoJo has a horrible feeling that her peace is about to be shattered…because bursting into her life is the hottest celebrity chef around – Callum O’Connor.

Callum knows all about JoJo’s past, her time as a reality star, the scandal that has dogged her, but he isn’t sure why she’s still hiding?  After spending time with Jojo, it’s obvious to him that she has nothing to be ashamed of – she just needs to be a little braver…
But as much as JoJo likes Callum, he thrives on the glare of the outside world.  Can JoJo let go of her past…with Callum by her side?

 

My review

This is an energetic and enjoyable novel featuring fictional celebs and set in France. It’s also about finding the courage to face up to past mistakes and move on.

JoJo is our heroine. She’s flawed but likeable, although it takes a little while to warm to her. It’s time for her to deal with a previous faux pas and rebuild her life. She manages to do this thanks to help and support from her friends. These are Poppy and Callum, with some back-up from a lot of puppies. They weren’t there for gratuitous tweeness – they had a role to play.

It makes for a light, sweet read. Elements of France and French life emerge, but the story is mainly character driven and about starting over.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jojos-French-Escape-perfect-escapism-ebook/dp/B07V9SK8BS

US – https://www.amazon.com/Jojos-French-Escape-perfect-escapism-ebook/dp/B07V9SK8BS

Author Bio

Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for One More Chapter – a Harper Collins imprint – and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She loves hearing from readers and feels incredibly grateful to be doing the job she always dreamt of.

She splits her time between the South of France and Cambridgeshire and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.

 

Social Media Links

Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/lorrainewilsonamazon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorraineWilsonWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Romanceminx

 

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The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn by Freya Kennedy

 

The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn

A gorgeous new romantic comedy about taking chances and realising your dreams.

Libby Quinn is sick and tired of being sensible.

After years of slogging her guts out for nothing at a PR company, she finds herself redundant and about to plough every last penny of her savings into refurbishing a ramshackle shop and making her dream of owning her own bookshop become a reality.

She hopes opening ‘Once Upon A Book’ on Ivy Lane will be the perfect tribute to her beloved grandfather who instilled a love of reading and books in her from an early age.

When her love life and friendships become even more complicated – will Libby have the courage to follow her dreams? Or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

 

My review

This is a sweet, warm story about making your dream rise phoenix like from the ashes that unfortunate circumstances have turned your life into.

In Libby’s case she’s lost her job, which she worked hard at, and she’s recently been bereaved too. She achieves two things when she throws her energies and efforts into establishing a bookshop in the village: she fulfils hers and her grandfather’s wish, and she proves to herself that she’s stroner than she thinks. When life throws curveballs it always knocks your confidence, and Libby is no exception.

There’s a strong sense of community in the book, but it’s not overdone to mawkish extremes as can be the case. Libby isn’t above treading on a few toes, and there’s a bit of resentment here and there.

She rubs shoulders with a fascinating host of characters who are a delight for us to meet. We see a lot of the good in people, which is uplifting and affirmative.

In summary, an entertaining, escapist read.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/32fcf1C

 

Join in on social media with #LibbyQuinnBingo

Author Bio –

Freya Kennedy lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and a mad dog called Izzy. She worked as a journalist for eighteen years before deciding to write full time. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cleaning up after her children (a lot) and telling her dog that she loves her.

She has met Michael Buble and even kissed him. It was one of her best ever moments.

She believes in happy ever afters.

Freya Kennedy is a pen name for Claire Allan, who also writes psychological thrillers.

Social Media Links –

http://www.claireallan.com/

https://twitter.com/ClaireAllan /
https://twitter.com/AuthorFreya

https://www.facebook.com/ClaireAllanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/claireallan_author/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/freya-kennedy

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/FreyaKennedyNewsletter

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Summer at the Highland Coral Beach by Kiley Dunbar

Escape to the Highland Coral Beach – where broken hearts can be healed

Beatrice Halliday needs a break from life. Booking a trip to the Highlands on a whim, Beatrice hopes learning Gaelic in a beautiful Scottish village might help her heal her grief after losing her baby, her husband and her much loved job in a space of months.

But Port Willow Bay isn’t exactly as the website promised. Instead of learning a new language, she’s booked in to learn the ancient skill of willow weaving, her hotel room is Princess and the Pea themed (with a stack of mattresses for her bed!) and worse still, her tutor is Atholl Fergusson, grumpy landlord of the hotel where Beatrice is staying – and she’s the only one doing the course.

But as Beatrice finds herself falling in love with Port Willow Bay and its people, and as she discovers the kind heart beneath Atholl’s stony exterior, can she really leave?

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands with this utterly romantic, feelgood book; one visit to Port Willow Bay and you’ll want to come back!

 

My review

This is quite serious for a romcom, dealing with some tough issues of loss. But the author handles them sensitively yet firmly, much as their sufferer does. Beatrice is a much stronger person than she believes herself to be and the healing atmosphere of the Port Willow Bay begins to weave it magic, alongside the baskets she learns to make.

Both scenery and local people hide their real charms behind stern exteriors. It takes time to see the inner beauty, but that’s what Beatrice gradually does. At first she’s somewhat stern too as she’s resolved to cope alone and not let anyone help her, although she herself is keen to help others.

There’s an interesting cast of secondary characters to meet, many of them with scars of various sorts themselves. The setting is distinctly Scottish and well conveyed.

Much to enjoy in this uplifting novel.

 

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2UEMSV3

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2UHgS2w

 

Author Bio

Kiley Dunbar is the author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme.

Kiley’s third novel, Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (coming 27th March 2020) The first of the Port Willow Bay series is on Pre-order right now!!

One Summer’s Night was Kiley’s first novel (published by Hera Books) and is on sale now!
Don’t forget there’s also a fabulous audible audiobook narrated by Eilidh Beaton.

Kiley’s cosy, sexy-swoony, very snowy festive romcom Christmas at Frozen Falls is on sale NOW too!

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

https://www.facebook.com/KileyDunbarAuthor/

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The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess

Synopsis

Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway. Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up! So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways…Five years later, they meet again.

 

My review

This is an enjoyable second-chance novel with a vividly Irish flavour. It’s easy to read with likeable characters and plenty of entertaining action.

We start with Orla and Aiden meeting again, jump back in time to find out more about Orla’s five year plan, and then finish up in the present day. This adds movement and interest to the novel. Was Orla too quick to put her job first? Was Aiden too hung up in his budding career? They make mistakes, they’re flawed but they learn their lessons and have the chance to try again.

Entertaining and lively.

 

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.fr/s?k=9780008378783

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Sometimes in Bath by Charles Nevin

Synopsis

The stories and History of ‘Britain’s most elegant and intriguing city’. Sometimes in Bath is a captivating story-tour through the city’s history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist. Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, young Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of Britain’s oldest resort and premier purveyor of good health, happiness and romance for the last 2000 years. Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail – and giving visitors useful links to Bath’s many sights and fascinations. Sometimes in Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.

My review

This book is tremendous fun! I’m not quite sure how else to categorise it since it’s a mixture of history, geography, fact, fiction, social commentary and humour. This all makes for a fascinating read.

Even if you’ve never been there, the many mentions of this spa town in literature mean that pretty much everyone has heard of it and probably seen photos. It’s a distinctive city and in this equally distinctive book proves to be a very worthy setting. We get many glimpses of it alongside the interesting and eccentric characters we’re introduced to. In fact, it’s the only place you could get away with juxtaposing famous Admiral Nelson and fictional Mr Bennet so successfully!

The book is alive with humour. As well as appearing in unlikely combinations and situations, the characters are all wonderfully rounded and frequently ridiculous. In the first chapter alone there’s one named Britt Bakoff, and another cook, Sally, who in frustration utters the cry “Bloody health and pastry” when asked to bake a less calorific bun, and which is directly inspired by how the Bath Oliver biscuit came about. I know this for a fact because, since we’ve caught him red-handed in rewriting history, the author admits at the end of every chapter that he’s used his rich imagination in creating each fic-fact tales and he gives the relevant background explanations and biographies.

Immensely entertaining as well as educational, grab yourself a copy!

Purchase link: www.amazon.co.uk/Sometimes-Bath-Her-Stories-History/dp/1912881829/

About the author

Charles Nevin has written for, among others, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph, The Times and Sunday Times, and the New York Times. Sometimes in Bath is his second book of fiction following Lost in the Wash with Other Things, a collection of short stories. He has also published three books of non-fiction – Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love, a paean to the neglected romance of his native county, which was as praised by Jeremy Paxman and Joanna Lumley. The Book of Jacks, a history and lexicon of the name and finally, So Long Our Home, a history of Knowsley Road, the famous old ground of St Helens Rugby Football Club. Charles lives in an old watermill near Bath, which is ideally placed for his forays into the enchanting city.

 

 

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Marrow Jam by Susan A King

Blurb

Some people would describe Beattie Bramshaw as a pillar of the community. Many would applaud her numerous successes in the bakery competition at the annual village show. A small number might say, if pushed, that they find her a little on the bossy side. And one or two might just whisper the words ‘interfering’ and ‘busybody’ behind her back.

But no-one would have her down as a murderer.

So why is she being questioned in Dreighton police station after being found in the local allotments, at the dead of night, wielding a kitchen knife just yards away from where local lottery winner, Yvonne Richards, was found stabbed to death? And what does all of this have to do with Doug Sparrow’s prize marrows?

Marrow Jam is a comedy crime caper in the spirit of Agatha Raisin. It will have you chuckling all the way through many a cup of tea.

 

My review

The blurb hasn’t got it right at all– you’ll be far too busy enjoying this story to want to stop and make a cup of tea!!

It’s a wonderful read – funny, clever, incisive and thoroughly entertaining. You really get the atmosphere of neighbourly hostility at the village show, and can hear the grinding of teeth when a certain person wins yet again!

The book is constructed ingeniously with a little bit of jumping between after, before and during, always at just the right time to heighten the dramatic tension.

Super writing, crafty inspiration and total success.

 

 

Get the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marrow-Jam-Susan-King-ebook/dp/B085RB6SWN/

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Art and Soul by Claire Huston

Synopsis

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake.

 

My review

What a delightful book!

Our heroine is single mum Becky, who’s a fixer, but when it comes to client Charlie then ironically there are a few things in her own life that won’t get fixed if she helps him to the extent he wants her to. What to do?

Becky is likeable, determined, strong and energetic. She has her vulnerable side too, and whilst it seems she can indeed cope with and fix anything, that doesn’t necessarily extend to matters of the heart. Charlie is interesting too, something of a typical self-doubting artist but he finds the motivation to do something about it. For a while it seems, though, that he can’t appreciate what’s under his nose.

This is an uplifting romcom with the obligatory at cross-purposes, will they won’t they elements that we love about this genre. The plot is fun and the writing is thoroughly engaging. Definitely one to read.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Soul-heart-warming-uplifting-generous/dp/1911505653/

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That Night in Paris by Sandy Barker: sparkling and fun

Synopsis

Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.

Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.

A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.

Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?

 

My review

With the current Covid-19 crisis going on, the only way we can travel at the moment is through books. That Night In Paris is a great one to widen your horizons beyond lockdown. And keeping the travel theme going, it’s great to be at the departure point of this book’s tour. So clamber up the steps with your over-the-limit hand baggage with me, beat that old lady to the last window seat and enjoy what I’m sure is going to be a wonderful ride!

Our heroine Cat joins a European Tour at the last moment to flee a romantic entanglement. She bumps into several other people on the coach with her who are also escaping various issues. I think it’s fair to say that anyone who signs up with this particular travel company has to be fairly desperate in one way or another. Some of their stopovers are a little dodgy. However, coach travel itself is a wonderful way to see places on a tight budget, so I’m glad it’s featured in this novel, even if not always in the most flattering way!

There’s an element of travelogue in the novel, with good descriptions and a pervading sense of place and hurried movement. There’s are many warm and convincing interactions between various characters, and to spice things up there’s a touch of romance.

The story is entertaining. Cat with her faults and foibles undeniably makes for an interesting central character, although she’s not the most sympathetic or easiest to like. She’s the sort who’ll always fall on her feet, when the occasional landing on her head is what she deserves and what would perhaps sort her out a bit!

The book is part of a series – The Holiday Romance series – so that’s good news as it means there’s more to come from this author.

All in all, this is a fun, sparkling and enjoyable read.

 

Purchase link

https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B07ZG8C6L3/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_fr-21&linkCode=ur2&camp=1642&creative=6746

 

About the author

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story. Follow her on Twitter @sandybarker

 

 

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A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs: publication day promo

When Maisie accepts a celebrated author’s invitation to mentor her, she finds herself leaving Cornwall behind on train tracks bound for the glitter city of Paris. Instead of making beds and serving coffee at the Penmarrow hotel in Cornwall, she’s making notes on her manuscript while sitting in a French cafe, meeting famous writers at private dinner parties, and trying to ferret the secrets behind the author’s unfinished future novel. It’s glamorous, it’s breathtaking … but it’s also an ocean channel away from the place that she loves, and, more importantly, the person to whom she just recently confessed her deepest feelings. Separated from Sidney by distance and circumstances, Maisie fears that their connection will be lost despite her words to him – and maybe because of those words, and the ones she didn’t allow him to say in return.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of things in her new life trying to distract her – the professional editor hired to critique her novel, the eager young literary agent who sees pie-in-the-sky potential for Maisie’s talent, but Maisie finds solace in the eclectic group of amateur writers into whose midst she finds herself by accident. Their critique and advice is fast becoming as important as the editors – maybe even more important than the published author Maisie believed held the keys to refining her skill.

But it’s missing Sidney that fills Maisie’s thoughts the most, along with her life back in Port Hewer, and she can’t stop wondering whether his feelings are the same as her own. His unspoken answer has become one of the most important pieces of her life, even as she struggles to match the pace of her new life and keep her dreams in sight. And when she unwittingly becomes privy to a seeming literary conspiracy, she must decide what to do in light of its truth – and decide what’s most important in her quest to become a professional writer.

Join Maisie in a whirlwind tour across two of the world’s greatest cities, filled with questions, dreams, and a chance for fame that she believed far beyond her grasp, as she discovers herself as a writer, and how to embrace an unexpected future on her own terms.

Purchase link:

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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