I’m pleased to be welcoming Rebecca Boxall to Novel Kicks. Today I’m reviewing her latest, festive novel, Christmas at the Cabin.
A festive, coming-of-age tale about an Oxbridge candidate and a young homeless man who find themselves in the bittersweet predicament of falling in love with exactly the right person at exactly the wrong time.
Well-to-do Jed never imagined he’d end up homeless, but family circumstances have made it his only option. Local vicar, Ben, tries to help him but there’s an element of self-punishment to the homelessness that makes Jed continue to put up with his situation – until disaster leads him to re-consider the vicar’s offer of a place to stay.
Hattie is on the cusp of adulthood, frantically trying to persuade her mum that she doesn’t want to attend an elite university, preferring the idea of pursuing her love of art and textiles. When she meets Jed, she badly wants to understand his circumstances and why, when she has everything at her fingertips, he doesn’t.
Hattie’s mum, Christine, has had a hard life and is desperate for more for her only child. When she meets Ben, the vicar who’s trying to help Jed, she finds an unlikely ally, and the two heartbroken souls find themselves drawn to each other. Until they find their relationship suddenly tested to the limit.
One thing’s for certain: none of these characters is looking forward to Christmas. It’s the worst time of year for each of them, for different reasons. But perhaps this year, the festive season could defy all expectations.
Hattie first sees him from the library window, sitting in the doorway of an abandoned shop. When she approaches him and starts a conversation, it changes both of their lives, forever.
Even from the blurb for this novel, I felt there would be a little magic about this book and I wasn’t wrong.by
I’m so happy to be welcoming Laura Carter back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the latest novel in the Brits in Manhattan; Always the Bridesmaid.
A cheeky chappy comedian
Charlie is most comfortable playing the funny man in front of boisterous crowds in London’s comedy clubs. But he’s about to be swapping his routine for wedding speeches. And his new acquaintance Sarah, thinks he is anything but amusing.
The woman who’s got it covered
Weddings are always a difficult time for widower Sarah, but you would never tell – she’s too focused on making the week of her best friends’ wedding as perfect as possible. She definitely has no time for the grumpy and surly Charlie, who it’s clear her friends are trying to set her up with.
And only one room left at the rental…
When a drunken invitation adds more people to the pre-wedding holiday house than Sarah organized for, she finds herself spending A LOT more time with Charlie than she intended. If only they could both let their guards down, they might find they have more in common than they think.
I loved the last book I’d read in the Brits in Manhattan series, Two to Tango and so I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for book four in the series, Always The Bridesmaid.
If you’ve not read any of the books in this series, don’t worry. This can be read as a standalone. I felt there was enough information to keep up. However, I am going to be reading the books I’ve missed as soon as I can.
This novel focuses on Charlie and Sarah, as their friends, Jake and Jess prepare to get married.by
I’m pleased to be welcoming Danielle Ramsay to Novel Kicks and the blog tour to her novel, My Best Friend’s Secret.
Five women; pretty, privileged, perfect, and ultimately protected… but not for long…
It was ‘their’ dark secret. For twenty-two-years ‘they’ kept it buried. Time hasn’t healed my wounds. Instead, they’ve festered. Their actions went unpunished. Until now…
Shamed, scarred, and shunned, I watched, waited and plotted how to shatter ‘their’ enviable lives. Now, finally, they will suffer as I did in ‘their’ cruel hands that fateful night.
Time’s up. I am here for you, Dr Claudia Harper. But first, you’ll witness your childhood friends, one by one, beg for mercy.
And I’ve saved the best ‘til last, so watch your back; I’m closer than you think. I’m here to expose your best friend’s secret. The one you’ve all kept hidden…until now.
A tale of betrayal, dark, twisted lies and long-awaited retribution.
Claudia has just lost her best friend. The biggest question she has is why did Jaz take her own life? Her own life begins to unravel. Who is set on ruining everything Claudia holds dear?
This is the first novel I’ve read by Danielle Ramsay. The premise of the novel intrigued me, so I was so pleased to invited onto the blog tour for My Best Friend’s Secret.
This book caught my attention quickly. It really was impossible to put down and as the questions mounted, I needed to know what was going to happen, especially as things begin to happen in Claudia’s life.by
Please join us in welcoming Sue Moorcroft back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Christmas Love Letters.
A secret romance was just the start of the story…
Tucked into a crook of the Norfolk coast lies Nelson’s Bar – an idyllic village where time seems to stand still. Maddy Cracey has called this beautiful spot home all her life, as had her husband Adey – until an epic row sent him storming out into a blizzard, with no sign of him since that fateful night.
Six years on, and Maddy’s life in the village has settled into a gentle pattern with her young daughter and Great Aunt Ruthie. However, when handsome stranger Raff turns up with a handful of long-forgotten love letters, their quiet life is upended as family secrets from the past are unearthed.
As Raff and Maddy get to know each other, they grow closer and a love story of their own seems inevitable. But when Maddy receives a mysterious message, she can’t help but wonder whether her own past is as distant as she’d thought it was…
The festive new novel about love, family and the power of words from Sunday Times bestseller Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Phillipa Ashley.
Roll on Christmas, then I can read this book again without feeling guilty…scratch that, I’m going to start it all over again, right now! The queen of the Christmas romance has done it again, and you don’t need it to be December to read this story; I should know.
Set in Sue’s Norfolk village of Nelson’s Bar, we meet a wonderful cast of characters from Aunt Ruthie who has a heart-breaking past which comes back to not only haunt her, but her niece Maddy and young daughter, Layla. This is in the form of a series of letters she kept which detail a relationship she kept secret for her whole adult life.
Please join me in welcoming Debbie Howells to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Impossible Search For The Perfect Man.
Imagine for a moment, your husband leaves you. Then through a bizarre twist of events, you find yourself working with the girl he’s left you for – and even worse, she’s pregnant…
Louisa’s not really up to any more complicated relationships. Right now, she doesn’t need them. She has good friends. Okay, so one has a screwed-up husband and the other a very strange horoscope habit. Not to mention her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, who Louisa has somehow found herself giving relationship counselling to. She doesn’t need anyone else with problems in her life right now.
It would be nice, wouldn’t it? To find a straightforward man, who isn’t remotely messed up. Now there’s a thought… But does such a man even exist?
She thinks not. But, she resolves, a life of helping other people find their happy-ever-afters is still something. But then handsome vet Marcus walks into her life. And everything changes…
Set in the Hampshire countryside against a background of horses and vets, this is a story about friendship and love, and life’s way of throwing in the unexpected…
Louisa’s life is about to be turned upside down. Not only has her husband left her for his pregnant mistress, but she also ends up having to work with her ex’s new girlfriend. Can Louisa navigate her new single life when her old one continues to slap her in the face?
This is the first novel I’ve read by Debbie Howells. I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for The Impossible Search For The Perfect Man.
Poor Louisa. She is put through the ringer a little at the beginning of this novel. I really wanted to give Arian a piece of my mind. Even as this happens however, I feel there is a strength to Louisa that she doesn’t realise she has. I loved seeing how her character developed over the novel.by
Please join me in welcoming Margo Laurie to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novella, New York Miracle.
A sweet, Christmas ghost story with a dash of romance
Ellie Peach travels to Manhattan for a fan-making apprenticeship.
While staying at a historic boarding house, she meets the charming James Denny. He claims to be a Broadway actor waiting for his lost love. When Ellie offers to help search for her, it leads to old secrets and adventure…
When Ellie Peach arrives in Manhattan to begin an internship with her Great-Aunt, she can’t help but marvel at the amazing city she has idolized and can’t wait to get to know her American relatives. She arrives at her boarding house, St Teresa’s Lodge with optimism. Then she meets James, and her visit takes an unexpected turn.
The premise for this novel intrigued me greatly and I knew it was going to be a unique read. I was delighted therefore to be invited onto the blog tour for New York Miracle.
First, how beautiful is this cover! I love it. It has a whimsical, 1930’s feeling to it, which, when you come to read the novella, which I hope you do, will make a lot more sense.
New York is also one of my favourite places and where I went on my own December honeymoon so to be able to revisit it around Christmas time, even if it was only in a novel was magical to me.by
I’m pleased to be welcoming Romy Sommer to Novel Kicks and wish her a happy publication day for My Fake Italian Marriage.
Cleo Arendse: You know how almost every movie set in Italy seems to be about a woman who travels to Tuscany and is swept off her feet by a charming, gorgeous but arrogant aristocrat? Well, that’s not this story.
British Banker Cleo Arendse is nothing like the women lawyer Luca Fioravanti is used to – both because she’s only in Tuscany to oversee his family vineyard’s business and because she’s impervious to the charm that has never failed him before now.
But Luca has never shied from a challenge, and when circumstances arise that allow him to step in as Cleo’s knight in shining armour, he leaps…right into a fake marriage! The romance may be a ruse but the passion burning between Luca and Cleo is very, very real, and as the ‘honeymoon’ glow envelops the pair, all bets are off…
Cleo doesn’t buy into the romantic notion of going to Italy, being swept off her feet by a gorgeous man and living happily ever after. Enter Luca – the handsome, Italian who is known to be a bit of a ladies’ man.
Cleo wants to focus on the task at hand, saving Luca’s family vineyard. However, when a lie of being married gets out of hand, the couple must deal with more than they bargained for.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Romy Sommer, and I was grateful to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel, My Fake Italian Marriage.
Although this is a standalone novel, it does allude to a previous story, Last of the Summer Vines, featuring characters that also appear in this latest novel.by
Everyone remembers their first love. Jess Thomas definitely does. So, it’s more than a little awkward when Jess’s first love, Jamie Ferguson, turns out to be the best man at the wedding she’s catering for. And more than a little insulting when he doesn’t appear to remember her at all.
Since Jamie broke her heart (via text!), 10 years earlier, Jess has sworn off romance. And with a booming catering business to focus on, she’s doing OK. She has no interest in revisiting the past.
But when Jess’s car breaks down on a country lane, she has no choice but to accept Jamie’s help. Now, Jamie is determined to show Jess he’s a new man. But can guys like Jamie ever really change? And if she gives him another chance, is she setting herself up for a fall?
Jess is a successful businesswoman and hasn’t got time for love, especially when the man she had a crush on and who broke her heart comes back into her life.
However, fate has a way of intervening. Can Jamie prove he has changed?
Just the title alone made me want to read this novel. Yes, I am a Swiftie and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for Never Ever Getting Back Together (the song is going around in my head.)
This is the first book I’ve read by Phoebe MacLeod but it certainly won’t be the last.by
Fall in love with the Christmas romance of the year, full of love and second chances!
Lottie Grant loves the festive season so much that she works at the incredibly successful Christmas shop, Christmas Crackers, in her pretty Scottish home town of Craig Brae. But when the shop is sold, her world is turned upside down, leaving her wondering what she will do next.
Just as she’s about to give up hope on finding a new dream job, an offer comes that she can’t refuse, managing a set of luxury wooden cabins… and opening just in time for Christmas!
As she gets to work decorating the cabins, and hanging lights on the fir trees, Lottie can’t believe her luck. That is until the arrival of Blake Dempster, a moody but handsome hiking expert, who threatens to bring down her festive joy. But never one to shy away from a challenge, Lottie is determined to change Blake’s mind about all things festive.
And as the snow falls and the fairy lights sparkle, will work-obsessed Lottie and frozen-hearted Blake make their Christmas wishes come true?
Lottie has always loved Christmas and as the chance to own her own Christmas shop edges closer, she can’t help but feel positive about the future.
However, when things change and her business plans disappear, Lottie doesn’t know what she’s going to do. However, Christmas works its magic and brings a potential new job. If only she didn’t have to deal with the miserable Blake Dempster.
OK, the cover for this novel is absolutely stunning. I love it and want to go there immediately.
This book looked magical and I couldn’t wait to get started and was so pleased to be invited onto the tour for The Highland Lodge Getaway.by
When Christmas-hating Sam moves to Holly Cross, he thinks he’s found the perfect home, until he discovers that, each year, Holly Cross transforms into the most Christmassy village in the whole country…
Blythe is just one sale away from being Real Estate Agent of the Month, so she twists the truth to sell a home to city boy Sam, who is looking for the perfect house in the perfect location. Little does he know he’s just bought a cottage in the middle of the most Christmassy village in the country. And if there’s one thing Sam loathes, it’s Christmas.
Sam’s arrival puts Holly Cross’s chance to win the title of Britain’s Most Perfect Christmas Village now in jeopardy, and the villagers are soon up in arms. Meanwhile, Sam is in his own personal hell surrounded by fairy lights and everyone is looking to Blythe to fix things.
But as the festive season looms, maybe there’s more than just Christmas in Holly Cross for Sam to fall in love with…
Blythe is determined to make twelve months as the top estate agent but to make it and beat her annoying colleague, she must tell a small lie. It’s not going to come back to bite her…. right?
I’m always excited when a new book by Bella Osborne is released and it being Christmas themed just made it all the better. I was so pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The Perfect Christmas Village and couldn’t wait to get reading.by
The scrap of paper looked as if it had been torn from a diary. The words written in faint pencil. The letters rounded, almost childlike: Please look after her. Her life and mine depend on you not trying to find me.
When Detective Alana Mack arrives at Clonabee police station, in a small Irish seaside town on the outskirts of Dublin, she doesn’t expect to find a distressed two-year-old girl sobbing on the floor. Abandoned in a local supermarket, the child tells them her name is Casey. All Alana and her team have to go on is a crumpled note begging for someone to look after her little girl. This mother doesn’t want to be found.
Still recovering from a terrible accident that has left Alana navigating a new life as a wheelchair user, Alana finds herself suddenly responsible for Casey while trying to track down the missing mother and solve another missing person’s case… a retired newsagent who has seemingly vanished from his home.
Forced to ask her ex-husband and child psychiatrist Colm for help, through Forensic Art Therapy, Alana discovers that whatever darkness lies behind the black windows in Casey’s crayon drawing, the little girl was terrified of the house she lived in.
Then a bag of human remains is found in a bin, and a chilling link is made – the DNA matches Casey’s.
Alana and her team must find the body and make the connection with the missing newsagent fast if she is to prevent another life from being taken. But with someone in her department leaking confidential details of the investigation to the media, can Alana set aside her emotional involvement in this case and find Casey’s mother and the killer before it’s too late?
Heart-pounding and totally addictive, The Puppet Maker is the first in the Detective Alana Mack series.
When Detective Alana Mack arrives for work one day at Clonabee Police Station, she didn’t expect to not only have to look after an abandoned two-year-old girl but would also need to investigate the discovery of human remains.
The hunt is on to find a murderer and to reunite a mother with her daughter. Can Alana and her team solve the mystery in time before another life is lost?by
Alisha Jones, or Princess Christmas as she is affectionately known, is joint heir to her Grandpa Frost’s family fortune, but being third behind an older sister and brother means she has to work three times as hard to prove herself.
Marsha Underwood, her Grandpa’s PA and ever-present thorn in her side, is determined to undermine her at every turn and Alisha finds herself powerless to prevent this.
An encounter with a fortune teller at the Frost Christmas Ball leads to a bewildering dream of the future; and the added complication of Tom Walker, the son of Frost’s new business partner leads to a tumultuous year.
With her friends by her side, will she be able to turn things around? And what exactly does the strange dream mean?
A story of family, friendship and love at first sight with a sprinkle of Christmas magic.by
Sophie Potter’s job is helping people deal with the worst, because Sophie Potter knows what the worst feels like.
An expert at keeping moving, with her trusty motorhome and faithful dog Muffin, Sophie has built her life around keeping her loves and loyalties as few as possible.
Fabulous fifty-something Hattie Langford has kept her heart and past safely stored away too. But for reasons she’s only willing to share with a stranger, Hattie needs to tell the story her family has been hiding at Riverbend, their home in Sherwood Forest. There is a history of heartbreak and hurt that Hattie is ready to face.
As Sophie helps Hattie uncover the secrets of generations of women who have lived at Riverbend, along with the stories of the men they have loved and lost, they start to see echoes in their own pasts. And as Riverbend shares its biggest secret of all, can Hattie and Sophie finally embrace the lives they’ve put on hold for so long, and risk their hearts to men who can break the Riverbend curse?
Sophie is far more comfortable helping other people get through their grief and pain than facing her own.
However, from the moment she meets Hattie, the course of her life will change forever.
I am always so excited when a new Beth Moran novel gets released. I have become such a big fan of this author and so I was honoured to be invited onto the blog tour for Take Me Home.
The cover is beautiful and I knew from the blurb that it was going to make me cry and make me cry it did.by
Colmar, 1353 CE
Gritta, Appel, and Efi managed to survive the Black Death, only to find that they are in desperate need of money. With limited options and lots of obstacles, they band together to become alewives – brewing and selling ale in the free Alsatian town of Colmar. But when an elderly neighbor is discovered dead in her house, the alewives cannot convince the sheriff and the town council that her death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. As the body count piles up, the ale flows and mystery is afoot!
Set in the tumultuous years after the most devastating pandemic the world has ever experienced, The Alewives is a playful romp through a dark time, when society was reeling from loss and a grieving population attempted to return to normal, proving that with the bonds of love, friendship, and humor, the human spirit will always continue to shine.
Gritta, Appel and Efi are in desperate need of money. With limited options and a town reeling in the aftermath of the Black Death, they soon work together to brew their own ale.
However, when women in the area start getting murdered, are the three friends safe? Who can they trust?
The premise for this novel intrigued me so I was excited to be invited onto the audiobook blog tour for The Alewives.
This book is based on an element of history I’m not really familiar with beyond knowing about the Black Death. It has certainly piqued my interest in learning more about the Alewives and their place in history.
The story itself is based around Gritta, Appel and Efi.by
An unwelcome guest?
Still in shock after the tragic death of husband Richie, Cassie Macreddin hopes that her new home, historic Hindon House, is the place where she can heal her pain and hide her secrets.
But Hindon House has secrets of its own…
Cassie soon realises that not everyone is pleased at her arrival and that someone is actively trying to make her leave Hindon House….but who? And why?
As events escalate, Cassie must fight to save her home…and maybe even her life.
Don’t miss the brand new thriller by Valerie Keogh! Perfect for fans of Sue Watson, Shalini Boland and K.L. Slater.
Cassie, having just bought Hindon House is hoping for a fresh start after the loss of her husband.
Wanting the work done on the house as soon as possible so that her dream of a B&B can be realised, she refuses to let a few strange things going on with the house to derail her plans but someone is determined to stop her and how far will they go?
The premise was intriguing and it didn’t take long for me to get pulled into this story.by
Family is everything…
In the years since her death, Gemma has been running her late mother’s café with devotion, and when an opportunity comes to buy out her next-door neighbour and expand, she jumps at the chance.
She knows she will do her mother proud – keep her legacy going strong – but deep down she knows there’s still something missing. With her mum in her mind more than ever, and the knowledge that she may never start a family of her own, she can’t stop thinking about what life has in store for her.
But sometimes family are those you choose, or those who choose you! And with a growing community of supporters cheering Gemma on – including some new faces at her blossoming bistro – and maybe one in particular, will she really spend the rest of her life alone?
Gemma is running her late mother’s café in Driftwood Bay and when she has a chance to buy the property next door and expand, she doesn’t waste any time.
However, her love life isn’t as successful. Can Gemma find romance and find that thing she feels is missing?by
Single mum Ellie is shown a missing person post on Facebook.
It’s of her three-year-old son, Tyler…
But he’s right there, holding her hand.
Surely this is some kind of prank – she knows her friend Louise can go too far with her jokes sometimes. And Ellie is used to the other mums gossiping at the school gates…
But now the other parents are questioning whether Tyler is really her child.
Ellie does everything she can to prove the post is fake, but the longer it goes on she knows it is malicious. Who would do this to her? And why?
It could be her ex, Darren, but deep down she knows it must be linked to what happened all those years ago – the night she’s been doing her best to forget…
All she knows is that she has to keep her son safe – no matter what.
Ellie is trying her best to raise her young son alone after her ex split with her, adamant that he’s not Tyler’s father.
When a poster is distributed in her neighbourhood, Ellie is shocked and frightened. The poster claims a child has gone missing and the picture looking back at her, is a picture of her own son.
The first thing I will say is wow! From page one, this compelling psychological thriller had me gripped and on the edge of my seat. The plot throws you straight into the action and, in my opinion, the twist and turns don’t stop.by
Whatever the question, the answer is wine!
They’ve swapped the dark and lonely baby days for school gate chaos, but Aisha, Sophy and Mel are discovering that there are new parenting pitfalls just waiting for them…
Influencer Sophy, is trying to keep on top of home and work life but is finding it all a bit tough! Everyone thinks she’s living her best life, but the pressure to maintain perfection at the school gates when all she wants to do is cry, is taking its toll on Sophy.
Aisha doesn’t know what to do with all her spare time now her twins are at school. Maybe it’s time to focus on herself and the dreams she’s put on hold? But when her mum suddenly begins to feel unwell, Aisha has to rethink everything.
And when Mel is offered a chance to live her dream, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – notably, her ex-boyfriend who makes it clear that he wants another chance to prove he the one she should be with.
Can the three mums navigate this new stage of motherhood together and keep their friendship and their sanity? Or could life be about to change for them all over again?
The members of the 3am Shattered Mums’ Club have swopped the sleepless nights with their children for the school gates but that doesn’t mean they still don’t need each other.
Can Sophy, Aisha and Mel navigate all of this and come out the other side?
I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The 6pm Frazzled Mums’ Club as the story sounded interesting and I am a big fan of Nina Manning’s novels.
I was a little worried as I had not read the previous novel in this series, The 3am Shattered Mums’ Club. However, I found that I could quite easily keep up with everything that was going on. Enough back story is given without the current plot being impeded. So, if you, like me, haven’t read book one, don’t worry.
It didn’t take me long to warm to the three main characters. There is someone for everyone if that makes sense.by
A king, old and frail.
A challenger filled with vengeance. A kingdom’s fate at stake.
Sven the Boar is Jarl of Ribe once more. He and Charles try to settle into their new lives, but trouble and treachery are never too far away.
Tormented by recent events, Charles struggles to adapt to life amongst the heathens that mock his Christian God and the arrival of a priest from the south only makes things worse.
Meanwhile, Sven is burdened with the responsibilities of being Jarl again and protecting his grandson from those hunting him.
When forced into an alliance with King Horik’s nephew who is raising an army to challenge his uncle for the throne of Denmark, Sven makes an important decision.
As the threat of war becomes real, Sven rides to fight a battle that will change the destiny of Denmark.
But whilst he fights, will Charles remain safe or are other games in play that threaten him?
Having read Odin’s Betrayal, the first book in this series, I was keen to see what was next so was pleased to be asked to review this book for Donovan Cook’s blog tour.
In book two, it pretty much picks up from where Odin’s Betrayal ended – with Charles struggling to be a practising Christian amongst followers of the Norse religions. Meanwhile, his grandfather, Sven must cope with a town who won’t accept his leadership and the continuing threat of attack with enemies at every turn. He feels the gods are mocking him. The only thing that matters to him is defending his grandson which brings its own challenges.by
It’s the most wonderful time of the year on Castle Street, and there’s a paw-some new business opening….
It had always been Tabby’s dream to work with cats and an inheritance from her beloved nanna has finally made that a reality. Idyllic Castle Street in Whitsborough Bay couldn’t be a better place for pastry chef Tabby to open a cat café with her boyfriend, Leon.
But when Leon leaves her in the lurch, the pressure mounts for Tabby. With Christmas fast approaching, she has to open the café on her own – a daunting prospect, especially when she’s been hiding her health issues from the ones she loves.
Faced with local resistance to the café – and somebody seemingly determined that she won’t succeed – Tabby will need her friends, family and cats more than ever to recover her broken Christmas spirit and pull together for a Christmas miracle.
Will the cat café bring the festive joy to Castle Street as Tabby had hoped or will it be a cat-astrophe? And can the magic of Christmas on Castle Street mend Tabby’s broken heart as well as her business?
Tabby’s dream has always been to work with cats and, with the opening of her very own cat café looming, the only thing that would make it perfect would be for boyfriend, Leon to return so they can run it together liked they planned. However, not everything runs smoothly.
My third Christmas themed novel in so many days and I’m totally ok with it. I am a big fan of Jessica Redland and her Starfish Café series so I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her new standalone novel, Christmas at the Cat Café. Christmas and cats! No brainer.
It isn’t hard to like Tabby. She’s a cat lover, she’s going after her dream and even when life throws relationship issues at her, she keeps going but also learns to accept her limits.
I’m so pleased to be welcoming Helen Rolfe back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern, which is book six in the Heritage Cove series.
A wonderful story of love, friendship and opening your mind and your heart to new possibilities that will enchant fans of Holly Martin and Heidi Swain.
The Copper Plough is at the heart of village life for the residents of Heritage Cove, and never more so than at Christmas, when the tree glows in the alcove and the smell of mulled wine carries out onto the street. So when new owners for the beloved pub arrive and decide to shake things up, not everyone welcomes the changes with open arms.
Local bakery owner Celeste is ready to keep an open mind. But she’s shocked to discover that one of the new landlords is Quinn, a former Navy sailor with whom she had a short but powerful romance years earlier.
Fate may have brought Quinn and Celeste back together, but life seems determined to keep them apart. Can the villagers learn to embrace the newcomers this Christmas? And will Quinn and Celeste find a way back to each other before snow falls over Heritage Cove?
Celeste, along with her sister Jade, own and run the bakery in Heritage Cove. There is nothing they like more than the Cove at Christmas, especially when it means a drink in the local pub. It’s where the village can embrace the festive atmosphere by celebrating by the real Christmas tree and the roaring fire. So, when the pub changes hands and name, the whole village is worried about how much their local will change. For Celeste, the new owners bring another problem.
I was so excited to be invited onto the tour for Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern. Not only because it’s a festive themed novel but also the cover is beautiful. The Star and Lantern Pub also has a lovely ring to it.by
In Mistletoe Gardens a legend exists: anyone who kisses underneath the mistletoe will be guaranteed another year of love…
When local baker Essie Browne discovers that Mistletoe Gardens is to be demolished in January, she’s determined to save the place she loves so much. So Essie proposes building a life size gingerbread house to bring in the crowds…just how hard can it be?
Well, quite hard actually. Essie can bake gingerbread blindfolded, but she hasn’t got a clue how to build an actual house with it! She needs help – and fast!
Enter local builder, Joss Hallissey. Essie is convinced that with Joss’s help they can pull this off. There’s just one tiny problem: Joss hates Christmas, gingerbread, and… well, just about everything else too.
Joss the Grinch makes it clear that her idea is ludicrous and pointless, but he reluctantly agrees to help with her plan.
Will the gingerbread house be enough to save Mistletoe Gardens? Or will Essie’s chance for a magical kiss under the mistletoe be lost forever?
When Essie discovers that her town’s beloved Mistletoe Gardens is going to be demolished at the end of the Christmas period, she is devastated; especially as there is so much history attached to the Gardens.
She then has an idea to build a life-size gingerbread house that will then house Father Christmas in the build up to the festive season. To begin with, no one believes in her idea which is a problem as that includes the builder she needs to help bring her vision to life.
Can Essie bring the residents of Folkhornton on side to help her save Mistletoe Gardens before it gets demolished and turned into flats?
She’s a self-made fitness sensation. He’s a billionaire mogul. They’re sworn enemies and rivals… aren’t they?
Blake Avery knows all about hard work. She’s gone from making videos in her teenage bedroom to founding a booming fitness business and opening a state-of-the-art Manhattan gym. Now she’s on the cusp of realizing her wildest dreams, and she’s not going to let anyone stand in her way.
Certainly not man-of-the-hour Gabriel Mercer. He might be one of the biggest names in the fitness world and set women’s pulses soaring more than a grueling HIIT workout, but he grew up in a billionaire dynasty and had everything handed to him – or so Blake thinks.
But when Blake publicly criticizes Gabriel, she sparks a feud that neither entrepreneur is willing to back down from. And in an industry that seems determined to keep pushing them together, can Blake hold on to her grudge? Or will she finally warm up to Gabriel’s charm?
In ten years, Blake Avery has managed to turn making fitness videos in her bedroom for You Tube, into a very successful company. She is on the verge of taking it public and so has no time for distractions or spats.
That doesn’t stop her from calling out billionaire, Gabriel Mercer and his claims that he is self made despite coming from an already rich family. As you can imagine, he doesn’t take it well.
I loved Love Quest by Camilla Isley so I was so happy to be invited onto the tour for Not in a Billion Years.by
A high-intensity personal trainer
The secret to Brooks’s success as a Manhattan gym owner? Being motivated to disprove everyone who ever doubted him. So he’s not about to let a perky newcomer like Izzy tarnish his reputation. Even if watching her lead a salsa class on his premises gets his own heartbeat raised…
His beautiful British rival
Every time influencer Izzy slams Brooks in her fitness blog, her book sales soar. But when their escalating media feud forces them to be up-close-and-personal for two weeks, she realizes there’s much more to Brooks than that lean and muscled body.
And a competition that’s got their hearts racing…
Soon Izzy and Brooks are finding all kinds of creative ways to work up a sweat. A passionate workout is easy, but can their rivalry give way to a lasting partnership?
Brooks is the owner of the most successful gym in Manhattan. He’s worked hard and he intends to keep it that way. What he doesn’t count on is a visit from the successful Izzy, who wants to use his gym to record one of her famous salsa classes.
It’s not long before the pair clash but can they work through their differences to get through a challenge to swap workout routines for two weeks?by
Lambing season always brings the unexpected… But no one expected murder
Jude Gray never thought she’d find herself widowed and running a working farm full-time, but here she is, living in the small Malvern village her husband Adam spent most of his life in.
After a particularly gruelling lambing season, she is looking forward to some time off, but there’s no rest for the wicked, especially when she finds the body of one of Adam’s oldest friends on her farm.
Jude refuses to believe the official line, that Sarah’s death was a suicide, and starts an investigation of her own. But as the body count rises, danger creeps ever closer to Malvern Farm.
A killer is on the prowl. And all that stands in their way is one woman – and her dog.
After the death of her husband, Jude finds herself running a farm in Malvern. As a gruelling lambing season is about to end, Jude finds herself facing another challenge – solving the mysterious death of her friend. The trouble is, how do you solve a death that everyone else thinks is suicide?
Murder on the Farm is the first book in the Malvern Mysteries book series and I’m already a fan.by
A getaway to remember…
It’s Holly’s best friend’s hen do and the plan is a week away in the South of France.
With little Hope still so very young, it’s going to be difficult for Holly to tear herself away, but Ben is the perfect co-parent and her own parents are just down the road, so – Holly decides – there’s really nothing holding her back, is there?
Will the sunshine and sea air help her get back to who she really is? Or will this be the perfect distraction, a chance to have a holiday fling?
Bask in the sunny skies of France with everyone’s favourite sweet shop owner – because everyone deserves a break, don’t they?
Holly is on her way to the south of France to celebrate her friend’s hen do. With Hope being so little, Holly is finding it hard to leave her daughter but with ex-boyfriend, Ben being such a great co-parent and it only being for four days, she is eventually convinced to go.
Looking forward to celebrating with friends and having a brief rest, she doesn’t count on meeting the gorgeous Evan.by
How can life be too busy for love?
Phoebe Dashwood is living the dream. She’s running her own successful vet practice, Puddleduck Vets, alongside her grandmother’s animal sanctuary.
She’s also dating the gorgeous, yet slightly broken Rufus Holt, the most eligible bachelor in the New Forest.
So why isn’t she blissfully happy?
Both Phoebe and Rufus are consumed 24/7 by their own commitments. Their relationship is always last on the list.
Phoebe juggles quirky, yet demanding clients and their pets whilst widowed Rufus is consumed by his anxieties, responsibilities of fatherhood and the unenviable tasks of being a Lord in waiting with a huge estate to manage.
Phoebe knows that when you’re a vet, there isn’t always a happy ending. But will there be a happy ending for Phoebe, Rufus and everyone else at Puddleduck Farm?
Is it ever really possible to have it all?
Things seem to be going well for Phoebe Dashwood. Her Veterinary Practice is doing well and she is now in a relationship with Rufus Holt, the handsome lord of the manor.
However, as both of them try to balance their work and relationship, can it survive?
It was so lovely to be able to catch up with Phoebe, Maggie and all the people at and around Puddleduck Farm.by
New beginnings don’t always mean painful endings . . .
A fabulous, timeless story of friendship set in Devon from bestselling author Jennifer Bohnet.
As time ebbs and flows over the summer both Katie Teague and her godmother Mattie Cranford discover their lives are at a crossroads
Mattie shackled to the family wool shop for over 50 years, feels life has passed her by. She dreams of seeing the world and shaking off a lifetime of regrets.
When Katie is made redundant, Mattie seizes the moment and asks Katie to move back to her home town of Dartmouth and breathe new life into the rundown wool shop and to her surprise Katie agrees.
As Katie settles back into the rhythm of Devon life and renovating the shop, Mattie sets off on a luxury cruise.
But the arrival of Katie’s ex-boyfriend with an unexpected dream job offer threatens to unsettle the calm waters.
Will she sacrifice the shop and Mattie’s happiness – or her own career?
Haunted by the past and determined to keep the grief to herself, Mattie has never allowed herself to venture beyond the seaside town she grew up in. Taking over the family business when she was young, she resigned herself to that life.
However, when a need to spread her wings in later life begins to take hold and on hearing that her Goddaughter, Katie is in need of a job, Mattie begins to formulate a plan; one that may change more than just her life.
Having previously read Christmas on the Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet, I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for High Tides and Summer Skies.by
July, 1936. As the Queen Mary sets sail across the Atlantic, Alice can’t wait for the summer of adventure that lies ahead. She’s excited to explore the huge ship, with its shops, animals and even celebrities on board.
As Alice’s sailor father focuses on winning a prestigious race, she witnesses a shocking attack. Alice and her new friend Sonny start to uncover a dark plot to sabotage the race, and as they investigate gold bars, anonymous notes and lost silk gloves, secrets in their own lives come to the surface.
While fog threatens the boat’s journey, and dangerous enemies show themselves, Alice and Sonny are in their own race to solve all the mysteries unfolding. But what they discover might change both their lives forever…
I have reviewed the book bel0w but first, here is an extract from the book. Enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
A buzz of anticipation and excitement made Alice’s fingers tingle, as she stepped away from the station platform and onto the dock. Grey smoke puffed lazily from the red and black-tipped funnels of the Queen Mary into the hot July air, like three simmering pots preparing to boil. She sucked in a breath of awe. It was the largest vessel she had ever seen, its riveted hull so tall it blotted out the sun. Her father had said that, if the ship was placed vertically from bow to stern, it would even be taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris!
Looking around, Alice saw that the other passengers from the train she had travelled on to Southampton docks had already hurried off to the baggage hall, leaving her alone. She glanced at her watch. Her father had promised to meet her from the train and he was late. As she looked for him, the clamour of noise was like a discordant band as motor cars expelled expectant passengers, and giant cranes with claw-like feet sent packages cocooned in rope nets into the ship’s cavernous hold.
An epic battle where heroes fight and die to protect a Kingdom from Viking invasion…
King Aethelred the Unready’s Kingdom of the English is threatened. Olaf Tryggvason and his fleet of Viking warships snap at the coastal edges like ravenous wolves, and Sweyn Forkbeard, King of the Danes, has landed in East Anglia with an army of battle-hardened warriors.
Ealdorman Byrhtnoth of Essex must stand against them faced with overwhelming odds, forging his legend in the blood of his deadly enemies.
By his side, his Thegn, Beornoth, a brutal warrior and savage Saxon fighter is torn between his need to protect his loved ones, and his duty to fight for his Lord.
As the Vikings raid and slaughter, Beornoth is forced to fight for the survival of his oath sworn brothers, his Lord, and the Kingdom itself when all roads lead to the fateful Battle of Maldon.
A thrilling story, packed with war, vengeance and visceral combat.
Olaf Tryggvason and his vikings have set up along the coast, threatening the way of the life for the Saxons as they go from town to town taking and killing all that they can. Ealdorman Byrhtnoth of Essex, along with his Thegn, Beornoth stands against them but can they withstand the threat or will Olaf triumph?by
When it comes to saving yourself, who will you betray?
Louise has a shadowy past that she wants to break free from and when she develops an unlikely friendship with Isabelle, her neighbour, she finally finds the family she’s always yearned for.
But Louise knows more about Isabelle than her new friend realises, more specifically about her imprisoned husband – and the circumstances behind his arrest.
Louise is faced with a choice: to continue lying to her only friend or tell the truth and ruin any chance she has of starting over…
When Louise befriends her new neighbour, Isabelle, she sees a chance to break away from her past.
However, Louise is keeping a big secret. One that, if it comes out, could ruin the new life she has found for herself.
This was the first book by Alison Stockham I had read. The premise for the book intrigued me so I couldn’t wait to get started.by
Wartime secrets, smugglers’ caves, skeletal remains. And the holiday’s only just begun…
July 1923 – Iris Woodmore travels to Devon with her friends Percy Baverstock and Millicent Nightingale for her father’s wedding to Katherine Keats.
But when Millicent uncovers skeletal remains hidden on the private beach of Katherine’s former home, Iris begins to suspect her future stepmother is not what she seems.
The police reveal the dead man is a smuggler who went missing in 1918, and when a new murder occurs, they realise a killer is in their midst. The link between both murders is Katherine. Could Iris’s own father be in danger?
Iris Woodmore is traveling to Devon to see her father marry Katherine Keats. Iris can’t help but be suspicious of her future Stepmother.
When she and her friends find a skeleton in the caves below the home Katherine used to share with her first husband, this does nothing to soften Iris’s fear that Katherine is keeping secrets.
Can Iris solve the mystery before her father marries Katherine and potentially marries a murderer?
I fast became a fan of Iris and her friends having read the previous novel in the series, The Body at Carnival Bridge. Therefore, I was looking forward to the next in the series, A Killing at Smugglers Cove. If this is the first book in the series for you, don’t worry. I haven’t read all of them yet (I plan to,) and I could keep up well.by
She didn’t go to the jungle to meet the man of her dreams. Luckily, Dr Logan Spencer is NOT the man of her dreams!
As epic meet-cutes go, travel photographer, Winter Knowles thinks finding a gorgeous naked man outside her Thailand villa is pretty perfect. But then she discovers the naked heartthrob is none other than Dr Logan Spencer, her gruff standoffish (but sexy as hell) jungle expedition leader.
Dr Logan is on the mission of a lifetime. There’s a lost city of gold to discover and he doesn’t need any distractions – especially not the stubborn, sassy beautiful photographer type! His reputation is on the line.
These arch rivals get off on the wrong foot. But when the heat rises in the jungle, Winter and Logan are forced together in the face of danger. Is trusting someone with your life the best meet-cute of all?
(This title was originally published as From Thailand With Love.)
Photographer Winter Knowles is about to embark on a jungle expedition. Problem is, her new boss, Logan, is as unfriendly as you can get. Will Winter and Logan get through the expedition in one piece?
This didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this book or my ability to keep up with what’s going on. I will be adding the first book to my TBR pile though.
I really did fall in love and became invested in these characters.by
Tasha Jenkins has finally found the courage to leave her abusive husband. Taking her teenage son with her, Tasha checks into a hotel the night before their flight out of D.C. and out of Kordell Jenkins’s life forever. But escaping isn’t so easy, and Tasha soon finds herself driving back to her own personal hell. As she is leaving, a white woman pounds on her car window, begging to be let in. Behind the woman, an angry man is in pursuit. Tasha makes a split-second decision that will alter the course of her life: she lets her in and takes off.
Tasha and Madison Gingell may have very different everyday realities, but what they have in common is marriages they need out of. The two women want to help each other, but they have very different ideas of what that means . . .
They are on a collision course that will end in the case files of the D.C. MPD homicide unit. Unraveling the truth of what really happened may be impossible‒and futile. Because what has the truth ever done for women like Tasha and Madison?
Madison and Tasha meet by chance. Tasha wants to leave her abusive husband and Madison has found out her husband might be having an affair.
A plan is hatched. Both husbands must die but will both women follow through with it?
Warning- a few spoilers ahead!
To use the word enjoy to describe how I feel about this book would feel strange considering the themes it explores – domestic violence, child abuse, revenge, affairs, murder.
Compelling would be a better way to put it I think.
Madison is a VERY complicated character and my sympathy for her and the empathy I felt was a bit of a rollercoaster. She has a very intricate history which involves abuse from a parent. This is enough to give anyone a skewed view of the world. It doesn’t excuse her actions but it at least gave me an understanding of them.by
Will one summer in Sicily change her life for ever?
After her marriage falls apart, Ursula Quinn is offered the chance to spend the summer working at a hotel on a beautiful island off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Excited by a new adventure, she sets off at once.
At Residenza dei Tringali, Ursula receives a warm welcome from everyone except Alfio, son of the Tringali family. He gave up his life in Barcelona to help his mother Agata with the ailing business, and is frustrated with Ursula’s interference – and she in turn is less than impressed with his attitude. As they spend more time together, though, they begin to see each other in a different light.
But what with Ursula’s ex-husband on her tail, family secrets surfacing and an unexpected offer that makes Alfio question his whole life, there’s plenty to distract them from one another. Can she face her past and he his future, and together make the most of their Sicilian summer?
I’ve been a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s for years now and was so pleased when this new book, ‘An Italian Island Summer’ landed in my lap.
As always, Sue doesn’t shy away from telling a romance with added grit. Ursula is coming out of a bad marriage and her family believes she’s a lot more ‘vulnerable’ than she believes she is, for reasons I’ll let you find out. In need of a change of scenery as well as of job, she plans on going off to Italy to learn about ceramic decoration.by
Chef Maria is running a successful cookery school in her home village of Petalidi, Greece – but she is also running from the secrets of her past.
Food journalist Kayla thought this was going to be just another work trip. But right before she leaves for Greece, she discovers that her whole life is built on a lie.
Jewellery-maker Alessandra has always lived according to her own rules – despite what it has cost her to do so. But she has just had some devastating news.
As these three very different women come together at the house in the olive grove, unlikely friendships blossom and a season of self-discovery begins. Will the sumptuous flavours, sapphire waters and golden sands of Greece give each of them the answers they so desperately seek?
Three women, all facing their own demons.
Maria has been running her cooking school in Greece for ten years, having come back from New York with both physical and emotional scars. However, the village she grew up in is not very keen to have her back.
Kayla is a celebrity chef who has come to Greece to interview Maria. However, secrets and past trauma threatens to bring her perfect life down around her.
Alessandra is bold and doesn’t hold back but behind the bravado lies heartbreak.
Can these three women hold each other up when outside forces want to see them fall?by
He’s a detective, a dancer, he has no respect for authority - and he’s the best hope Blackpool has for keeping criminals off the streets. Meet Detective Declan Miller.
A double murder in a seaside hotel sees a grieving Miller return to work to solve what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. Just why were two completely unconnected men taken out?
Despite a somewhat dubious relationship with both reality and his new partner, can the eccentric, offbeat Miller find answers where his colleagues have found only an impossible puzzle?
DS Declan Miller is back to work following the murder of his wife.
His first case is a double murder. Can Declan cope with a new partner, a complicated case and his continuing need to go against authority?
The first detective series in 20 years from author, Mark Billingham – you bet I’m excited.
I am a big fan of the Tom Thorne novels so I was intrigued to see if Declan Miller could immediately step out of Thorne’s shadow. Short answer… YES.by
Cheerful text and whimsical illustrations bring alive this heart-warming story of kindness and inclusion featuring a character with Down syndrome.
When young Jana receives heaps of beautiful socks from her parents after learning how to put on socks all by herself, she can’t wait to show her friends at school. They are always kind and patient with Jana when they play together. Jana decides to share a pair of her new socks with each and every friend. This calls for a school sock parade! All of the children had so much fun showing off their colourful socks together that they gave a very special and huge gift for their kind and generous friend, Jana, a box of more socks!
Author Sally Fetouh was inspired to write this touching story by her own daughter who has Down syndrome, feeling it was important for her and other children like her to be able to see themselves in literature. Two years ago, after reading a different story about a girl with Down syndrome to her daughter’s preschool class, Sally says, “The children were so engaged in the story and asked questions. They were very accepting and loving of their friend—my daughter. I left with a heart overflowing with emotion and that inspired me to write my story.”
Jana loves her colourful socks and has just learnt to put them on by herself.
She wants to share this love with her school friends.
This book is so wonderful. I am honoured to be part of the Book Birthday Blitz.
Jana is such a sweet, loveable character and you can’t help but warm to her. Also, I want her sock collection.by
A forbidden romance in occupied Norway…
Narvik, 1940. After Laila awakens to the sight of warships in the fjord, it isn’t long before she turns resistor to the brutal Nazi regime. She is horrified when local girls begin affairs with enemy soldiers, yet against her own principles, she finds herself falling in love with German soldier, Josef.
Josef is not like the others. He becomes involved in helping her and the locals with resistance activities, risking his life on more than one occasion.
But then Laila finds out she is pregnant. With Josef sent to the Russian front, and Laila cast out by her family, she turns to a home for women which promises to care for her and her unborn child. But instead, she finds herself caught in a system of evil far beyond what she thought possible…
Laila has watched her hometown of Narvik in Norway fall under German occupation. As the locals adjust to the new rules, Laila meets Josef, a German solider. He seems different to the others, but she’s determined not to get close to him. Instead, she wants to do what she can for the resistance.
However, she is pulled to Josef and soon they are in love but with what consequences?
This novel. Wow.by
How deadly is the fight for equality?
It’s 1922, and after spending a year travelling through Europe, Iris Woodmore returns home to find a changed Walden. Wealthy businesswoman Constance Timpson has introduced equal pay in her factories and allows women to retain their jobs after they marry.
But these radical new working practices have made her deadly enemies.
A mysterious sniper fires a single shot at Constance – is it a warning, or did they shoot to kill? When one of her female employees is murdered, it’s clear the threat is all too real – and it’s not just Constance in danger.
As amateur sleuth Iris investigates, she realises the sniper isn’t the only hidden enemy preying on women.
Iris has just returned from Europe and in 1920’s Britain, she knows her trip will have raised some eyebrows. She is soon kept busy when someone attempts to shoot local business owner, Constance Timpson.
When one of Constance’s employees is found murdered, Iris finds herself unravelling another mystery. Can she find the answers before someone else gets hurt?
This was the first book I have read in the Iris Woodmore Mysteries series. I could keep up with what was going on but reading the first two books would enrich the knowledge around these very established characters if you wanted to read those prior to reading The Body at Carnival Bridge.by