Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #Rom-Com // On A Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk

On a Night Like This
by Lindsey Kelk


A whole night sky full of stars for this absolutely breathtaking rom-com.


Wow, just, wow this book was just perfect. Chick-Lit with a side serving of very sexy stranger, this was everything I didn’t even know I wanted or needed to read. The author’s entire back catalogue has just shot to the top of my TBR list for 2022. All I can say is that you need to read this, ASAP.


Fran was so utterly adorable, who could help but fall in love with her? And even though we were never meant to be on #TeamStew, I loved that the author also showed us a decent side to him, eventually. Some elements were perhaps predictable and cliched, but how the author included them and just her sheer brilliance at immersing you inside the story made this an absolute page-turner.


Whilst there is a love interest – and boy is he all things tall, dark and ridiculously gorgeous – this was much more Fran’s story. Don’t get me wrong, I adored Evan and was 100% invested in the couple getting their HEA, but I was even more committed to following her journey of personal growth and development. It wasn’t always an easy path, this book definitely played on my emotions and that ending, *sigh*, was so full of feels!


This has just launched itself straight into my Top 10 reads of the year. It’s also left me with a massive book hangover.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Chick-Lit

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57132222-on-a-night-like-this

Synopsis
When Fran Cooper accepts a mysterious temporary job as a PA to a celebrity, she is swept off her feet overnight. Working with internationally famous singer Juliette, Fran is the person charged with getting Juliette to the Crystal Ball, the glittering event when the world’s rich and famous gather on Panarea, a beautiful Mediterranean island, for a night like no other.
What Fran doesn’t know is that on this one night, everything will change for her too – that instead of standing on the sidelines, she’ll be putting on the most beautiful dress she’s ever seen and having the most unforgettable night of her life…




Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #ContemporaryRomance #TBT // A Holiday Romance Duet by GG Andrew

Somwhere Warm
&
Someplace Secret

by G.G. Andrew

A “blast from the past” review.


Somewhere Warm

The only thing that made me pause just a fraction (and led to the loss of half a star) was the incredible speed that things developed between Zoe and Evan. The entire book is set over a handful of hours, I’m more of a build-up to it over time girl and it’s totally a personal preference *thing* rather than a criticism of the book or writing.

So talking of the writing, it’s brilliant. I was drawn into the mood, atmosphere and setting of the scene immediately. The story had me captivated from virtually the first page. The story is written just from Zoe’s POV so Evan, in some ways, remains a bit of a mystery. However, the detailed and evocative writing of the author had me invested in and caring for, both of them fairly quickly.

Whilst the ‘end point’ is almost inevitable, how they got there and the journey taken was anything but predictable. There is some intense chemistry, which confuses Zoe and leads to much ‘to-and-‘froing’ and an ending that leaves you wanting more. This is good because there is a follow-up book called Someplace Secret.




Someplace Secret

This is a continuation of the story started in Somewhere Warm and you really need to have read that first to fully understand and appreciate this story. GG Andrew has a way of writing that conveys a real emotional punch, whilst the book was hugely satisfying it definitely pummelled my emotions!

When we left Zoe and Evan we had a HFN ending that clearly didn’t go as planned. Hayley’s lies managed to cause a lot of damage and Zoe has moved on both physically and emotionally. At least that’s what she’s tried to do. A chance meeting and a snowy few days in Boston leave Zoe more confused and unsure than ever. Evan is trying to win back her heart but Zoe is happy with Fischer, or so she thought.

This is a longer read than Somewhere Warm, and it built really well on that story. I’m not sure if you would understand and feel the connection between Evan and Zoe in the same way without reading it first. There were times I could have shaken Zoe, with her quest for ‘safe’ and her dithering and lack of action. However, her trepidation and worry of being hurt were also so very understandable.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Christmas Contemporary Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25799454-somewhere-warm

Synopsis
What if you fell for your best friend’s ex—the one that had made her life a living hell?
She didn’t expect her car to get hit by a snowplow. She didn’t expect for the icy Maine blizzard to start early. She didn’t expect to be stuck inside Evan’s warm cabin—alone with him—on New Year’s Eve.
And, most of all, she didn’t expect to come undone by the heat in Evan’s eyes.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Christmas Contemporary Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25799454-somewhere-warm

Synopsis
What happens when you can’t get over the past?
It’s been two years. Zoe has moved on. She’s got a great teaching job in Boston, friends, and the sweetest boyfriend.
She shouldn’t still be thinking about the man who turned her life upside down two winters ago…
Trouble is, he’s staring at her from across the bookstore.

Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #ChristmasRomance // The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans

The Post Box at the North Pole
by Jaimie Admans


5 “Northern Lights” sparkling stars for this emotional and utterly captivating Christmas romance. Written entirely from Sasha’s viewpoint I initially found myself struggling to connect with her. However, it wasn’t long, no more than a chapter or two, until I found myself warming to the character who at first sight had appeared to be a bit of a do-nothing doormat. Once I’d gotten to know her, understand how worthless life had made her feel, she very quickly and easily captured my heart. I may also have shed tears for her – and on more than one occasion.

It’s just a sentence, but those are words I’ve always wished someone would say to me. Always wanted someone to feel about me. I’m on the periphery of most people’s vision – there but unimportant. Tav makes me feel like his number-one priority, and it’s a good thing I’m already sitting down because it makes my knees weak and my chest all quivery.

The Post Box at the North Pole is quite simply perfect, I wouldn’t change a single thing. The author created a beautiful and appealing setting, I actually feel quite sad that I can’t journey to Norway to stay in one of the themed cabins, watch the Northern Lights from a glass igloo, send a postcard with a North Pole stamp, see Santa’s home or take a reindeer-powered sleigh ride through the North Pole Forest. Even if something similar does exist it won’t have Tav, Sasha, Perce and Rudolph-slash-Clive, and they were what made this such a good book.


Tav and Sasha were eminently likeable characters, flawed, damaged by life, and a little worn around the edges. Wholly perfect for one another, I found myself delighting in every scene they shared, melting at Tav’s sweet, thoughtful gestures, and hoping beyond hope for Sasha’s dreams to come true. With themes of forgiveness, family and learning to trust, TPBatNP is a truly wonderful story. Even though I guessed the original owner of the North Pole Forest almost immediately I still adored watching how that aspect of the plot played out. The new owner twist took me by surprise though, as did the lists Sasha discovered, despite the generous amount of foreshadowing.


This was a book that I put down only begrudgingly, and that I couldn’t wait to get back to. If you are looking for a heart-warming Christmas romance then this is one I am happy to recommend.

“I don’t want to go,” I whisper into his hands, holding his arms around me.
It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud and there’s freedom in admitting it to myself as well as to him.
“I don’t want you to go.”
Tears. Instantaneous tears. No one has ever said that to me before. No one has ever cared whether I’m there or not, and I didn’t realise how much I wanted someone to want me until he did.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Holiday Fiction

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58871372-the-post-box-at-the-north-pole

Synopsis
Sasha Hansley hates Christmas. As a child, it was her favourite time of year, but ever since the tragic death of her mother, it has completely lost its magic.
But when she gets an unexpected phone call from her eccentric estranged father, she’s forced to dust off her snow boots.
He has been running a Lapland style Christmas village in Norway and after suffering a heart attack, he is on strict doctor’s orders to slow down. Eager to reconnect with her dad, Sasha books the next flight out there. Only she has never actually been on a plane before, let alone to the Arctic Circle.
Met at the runway by drop-dead-gorgeous Taavi Salvesen, they sleigh ride through the snow with the Northern Lights guiding their way.
When Sasha uncovers sacks of unopened Santa mail – letters that children and adults from all over the world write to Santa every year – she realises that she can send a little bit of magic out into the world by replying to some of them.
With Taavi on hand to help, will Sasha rediscover her own excitement for Christmas and find love among the letters?




Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #ChristmasRomance // Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea by Cressida McLaughlin

Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea
The Cornish Cream Tea Novels #5
by Cressida McLaughlin


Oh my word, and sniffle, and swoon, and sigh. What an utterly delightful, heartwarming and perfect-for-the-season book this is. I just wish I could forget it so that I can re-discover it for the first time again!



Meredith and Finn, along with the delightful Cornish setting and the super gorgeous Crumble, totally captured my heart. Meredith, our heroine, is a down-to-earth young woman with whom I instantly felt a connection. Already a very likeable character I enjoyed seeing her overcome those mental obstacles to truly become the best person she could be. Very notable was how authentic that growth felt; whilst Finn was the spark that lit the fuse it still felt as though Meredith had autonomy over her decisions.



The plot spread beyond the mere seasonal romance and incorporated several different aspects that helped move the story forward as well as engage the reader even more! The side plots involving Anisha and her family, the mystery of neighbouring Bernie, the hampers, and the artwork all added a vibrant richness to the book. There were one or two things I might have added to my Christmas list such as having at least a small amount of Finn’s viewpoint – particularly around resolving the issues around his parents.



The author’s voice felt like a warm hug; it has a smooth flow and steady quality to it. It took absolutely no time at all for me to be caught up in the story and invested in the characters. Cressida McLaughlin has a wonderful way with words, evoking strong emotions and precise images without being overly complex or descriptive. I was inside Meredith looking out through her eyes, rather than feeling like an outside observer. There may even have been occasions when I shed a few tears.



The book had so much hidden depth, not only with its themes of grief, family and love but also some of the other topics it touched on. The community aspect, the truth of Britain’s struggling High Streets and the joy of the season all combined into a first-rate story. This was all further enhanced by the beautiful setting and subtle yet solid world-building. The author wove Cornwall into so many aspects of the story, but in such a gentle way that it didn’t detract from the plot.



This may be the first book I have read by Cressida McLaughlin, if it is any indication to go by then I do not intend it to be my last.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Contemporary Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58688991-christmas-carols-and-a-cornish-cream-tea

Synopsis
Warm hearted fun, with a sprinkle of love.’ Holly Martin
Can she spread Christmas cheer in Cornwall this year?
All Meredith Verren has ever wanted is to escape the holiday season without having to wear a Christmas jumper. Her new job at the cosy gift shop in a picturesque Cornish tourist spot is making it impossible for her to maintain her scrooge-like manner.
With their seasonal hampers on everyone’s wish list, Meredith must paste on a smile and fake some holiday cheer. Then she meets handsome new arrival, Finn, who wishes it could be Christmas every day and wants her to feel the same way too.
Can she embrace the holly and the ivy before the decorations are packed away for another year?




Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #HolidayRomance // Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin

Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop
by Rebecca Raisin


f you are looking for a heart-warming, schmaltzy, seasonal romance then Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop certainly fits the bill. The characters were endearing, the humour pleasingly subtle, and the pace engaging. Flora’s escapades had me smiling and giggling, whilst her emotional vulnerability took me to the edge of tears.


Was the book perfect? No, but the sheer warmth and delight that it imbued made up for its very minor faults. The Flora we meet in the first few chapters was quite annoying, stubborn, and more than a little dense. It took rather a stretch of the imagination to believe she could move to another country and set up a market stall! Once Flora reached Finland I found her to be a much more amiable character, one I could warm to and get behind.


The story is told entirely from our heroines perspective, which did leave me unsure of Connor’s feelings towards her, for a very long time. The clever use of different scenarios allowed us to see the type of person Connor was, but this is a romance and in that regard, it felt very one-sided. The story ended far too soon for me, I needed more time to experience the actual romance between Flora and Connor. Flora was not the most reliable of narrators, which didn’t help matters, though the author did attempt to give us an insight into Connor’s thoughts and feelings via conversations.


Whilst the whole story is about a Hallmark-crazy heroine getting her own Hallmark-style romance, I loved that the author didn’t over-cook some aspects. For example, the conflict with Aine was kept fairly low key, used sparingly to avoid an overload of unnecessary angst. Hallmark movie without the kitsch. Flora, Connor, Noel the van and aurora have completely gotten me into the Christmas spirit.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Contemporary Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58859600-flora-s-travelling-christmas-shop

Synopsis
Tis the season for mulled wine, mince pies, and magic under the mistletoe…
Flora loves Christmas more than anything else in the world, so she’s gutted when her Scrooge-alike boss fires her from Deck the Halls Christmas emporium. But now she finally has a chance to follow her dreams – and what better place to start than the home of Christmas?
Before she can say ‘sleigh bells’, Flora’s on her way to Lapland in a campervan-cum-Christmas-shop. She can’t wait to spend her days drinking hot chocolate and taking reindeer-drawn carriage rides, but something Flora didn’t expect was meeting Connor, a Norse god of a man who makes her heart flutter and snowflakes swirl in her stomach. There’s just one problem: Connor hates Christmas.
Can Flora convince Connor of the joys of Christmas – and will she find a festive romance along the way?

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Debbie Johnson, Holly Martin and Jenny Colgan.