The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane by Jaimie Admans

Thank you to HQ Digital for a copy of this gorgeous book via NetGalley. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. I enjoyed reading Jaimie Adman’s previous book, The Little Bookshop of Love stories back in July (see my 5 star review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/07/11/the-little-bookshop-of-love-stories-by-jaimie-admans/). The ebook is published this week (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08GS33BGP/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_GZCHFbQ7JYKXD) and the paperback on 10th December 2020.

Synopsis:

Nia Maddison has always believed that wishes come true on Nutcracker Lane. So, when she gets the opportunity to run her own Christmas gift shop on the most magical street in town, it feels like her wishes have been finally granted.

But working late one night, Nia discovers yet another boyfriend has cheated on her. As she trudges home – alone, again – she passes the (supposedly) magical nutcracker and half-joking thinks a wish can’t hurt. Cracking a nut in its mouth, she wishes to find Prince Charming.

The next day Nia gets to work to find another decoration shop has opened directly across the lane from her own, and she can’t resist having a nose around.

Whilst there, she accidentally backs into a human-sized Nutcracker, knocking it over and breaking it. Mortified, she flees from the store but when she gathers her resolve to go back and apologise, she stumbles across the gorgeous shop owner James, who looks exactly like Prince Charming…

Could her Christmas wish from the night before really be coming true?

My thoughts:

I have to admit that after reading the first couple of chapters, that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as the Little Bookshop of Love Stories. However, something magical happened and this quickly became my favourite Christmas book of 2020.

Nia and James are so different, one loves everything to do with Christmas, whilst the other loathes Christmas. However, after literally bumping into each other, they need to work together to bring back the magic of Christmas to Nutcracker Lane.

I loved how Jaimie has crammed so many Christmas traditions into one story – the food, the sweets, the decorations, the board games, the Christmas Carols and the mistletoe. In 2020, when many of us will have to forgo our normal traditions due to the social distancing rules, this book brought the magic of a non Covid Christmas to life.

If you would love to escape for a few hours, then grab a copy of this fabulous festive and romantic read, a big mug of hot chocolate, some peppermint creams and a festive blanket as soon as possible.

All About Us by Tom Ellen

Today I’m pleased to be starting a new month by sharing my review for this gorgeous new book by Tom Ellen, published recently in ebook format. It will be published in paperback on October 15th in the UK by HQ, who kindly sent me a digital proof copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Synopsis:

If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?

Ben usually loves the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

Two loves. Two lives. One destiny…

My thoughts:

I loved this romance/time travel story and I’m gutted that I had left it on my NetGalley shelf for so long (NetGalley had it down as an October 2020 publication date).

As the synopsis states, Ben is wondering what would have happened if he hadn’t got involved with his wife Daphne and had romantically pursued his University Halls neighbour, Alice. This book mixes up Sliding Doors, Doctor Who and A Christmas Carol to provide the reader with a great story, so many ‘what if’ moments and a dose of magic.

I started this book one evening and found myself unwilling to put it down, despite the long list of jobs on my to do list. This is one of a small handful of books I’ve read this year that has been written with a male main character and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also enjoyed the fact that Ben talks about having a lots of ‘mardy’ books on his bookshelf (to try to appear cool). As a Sheffield born lass now living in Wiltshire, when you tell someone they need to stop being mardy, they don’t understand you.

A great story with believable characters, where Ben gets chance to visit certain key dates in his life and starts to realise what is important to him. I have seen lots of great reviews for this book, and I’m happy to add my own 5 star rating – definitely one of my favourite books of 2020. I look forward to reading more books by Tom Ellen in the future.

Tom Ellen:

Tom is an author and journalist from London, England. He is the co-writer of three critically acclaimed Young Adult novels: LOBSTERS (which was shortlisted for The Bookseller’s inaugural YA Book Prize), NEVER EVERS and FRESHERS. His solo adult debut novel is the romantic comedy ALL ABOUT US (HQ/HarperCollins, published October 2020). His books have been widely translated and are published in 20 countries. He is a regular contributor to Viz magazine, and has also written for Cosmopolitan, Empire, Evening Standard Magazine, The Daily Mash, Glamour, NME, ESPN, ShortList, Time Out London, Vice, Stylist and many more.

The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts

I’m pleased to share my review for The Wish List today. Thank you to HQ for providing a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This book will be published later this week.

Synopsis:

Be careful what you wish for…
 
Florence Fairfax isn’t lonely. She loves her job at the little bookshop in Chelsea and her cat, Marmalade, keeps her company at night. But everything changes when her stepsister, Mia, announces that she’s engaged to her boring golf-playing boyfriend. That’s when Florence meets Irish love coach, Gwendolyn.
 
…because you just might get it!
 
When Gwendolyn makes Florence write a wish list describing her perfect man, Florence refuses to take it seriously. Finding someone who likes cats, doesn’t wear pointy shoes and can overlook her ‘counting habit’? Impossible! Until, later that week, a handsome blond man asks for help in the bookshop…
 
But is Rory the one, or is he simply too good to be true? Florence is about to find out that her criteria for finding Mr Right aren’t as important as she thought – and that perhaps her perfect man has been right there all along

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this romantic fiction book – a much needed break from anxiety inducing news and some darker novels I’ve read recently. The story is set partly in a bookshop, one which needs to move forward into the modern day and encourage people to visit it more. Florence also needs to move forward with her life – or so her family insist.

The wish list is what she creates after being sent to see a ‘love coach’ and then Rory arrives, who seems to tick many of the boxes – or does he? This is fun romantic book with some sad topics covered and some laugh out loud moments. An uplifting read for the summer of 2020.

The Summer We Ran Away by Jenny Oliver

I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by Jenny Oliver today. Thank you to HQ Books for the gift of a digital copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Julia’s perfect life is in crisis. 

It was meant to be the party of the summer…

In Cedar Road, everyone is preparing for Lexi’s ‘White Hot’ summer party. For one night, parking squabbles and petitions are put aside as neighbours sip Prosecco under the fairy lights and gather by the hot tub to marvel at Lexi’s effortlessly glamorous life with Hot Hamish.

For Julia, it’s a chance to coax husband Charlie out of his potting shed and into a shirt so they can have a welcome break from the hellish house renovation they’ve been wrestling with. And it’s a chance for Julia to pretend – just for a night – that her life is as perfect as Lexi’s.

But when, during the party, one of Julia’s WhatsApp messages falls into the wrong hands and reveals her most intimate thoughts, things reach boiling point…
    
And when all the neighbours know exactly what you’re thinking, there’s only one thing to do.

Run away.

It’s going to be a summer Julia will never forget…

My thoughts:


As we are currently in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic, this book is a timely reminder of the dangers of being in WhatsApp groups (other social media channels are available). Julia broke the number one rule – never share your screen passcode, especially not when you’ve been sharing adult fantasies about the husband of your neighbour with a friend.

The opening chapters of this book are very funny, we know from the blurb roughly what is going to happen but the writing of this exceeded my expectations. I found myself cringing on behalf of Julia.

The rest of the book involves Amber, another neighbour of Julia. I enjoyed how the friendship developed between Amber and Julia, and how they both worked through their life challenges.

This was a fun summer read with some soul searching for Julia, Amber and Charlie. I enjoyed reading the book over a sunny weekend. There are elements of Bridget Jones, Mama Mia, and Thelma and Louise in this feel good read. This is the first book I’ve read by Jenny Oliver and I will now look to read her previous books.


Jenny Oliver:

Jenny Oliver is a bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Twice nominated for the RNA Best Contemporary Novel award, Jenny’s books explore the ups and downs of relationships and an unwavering belief in happy ever after. In the past she has had jobs ranging from an elf in the Disney store, a personal trainer, journalist, editor and now, by far the best, a writer. In her spare time she can be found cajoling her family out to car boot sales, trying to reign in her competitiveness on the netball court and subtly eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations as inspiration for her next book. 

Follow her on Twitter @JenOliverBooks Instagram JenOliverBooks Facebook JennyOliverBooks or go to the website jennyoliverbooks.com to find out more about Jenny, her books and read her blog!

Jenny’s new book, The Summer We Ran Away hit the shelves in June 2020. If you are looking for some bite-size reads why not try her Cherry Pie Island novella series. Or if it’s YA you love – check out Chelsea High, coming August 2020!


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#Book review – Family for Beginners by Sarah Morgan

Publisher comments:-

Who says you can’t choose your family?
When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Being published later this month

My thoughts:-


Thank you to HQ and NetGalley for my digital ARC – my thoughts are my own.

This is the third book I’ve read by Sarah Morgan. I enjoyed the first two but this book was even better!

Great characters – three girls who lost their mothers during their childhoods and are dealing with their emotions (two recently, one over 20 years ago), a widower trying to do the best for his children, a best friend who is unhappy about the secret she was left with, a caring teenage boy (rarely seen in a fiction book). Also loved the inclusion of Chase the dog – I do have a soft spot for books which include a dog.

A lovely book to curl up with and enjoy – no spoilers. Being published in ebook in March 2020.





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A stranger on the beach by Michele Campbell (Paperback publication day)

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb:-

“From the bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband comes a novel about a love triangle that begins on a fateful night… There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house. Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

My thoughts:-


Wow – this was the thriller that kept me guessing until the very end.

I had read the opening chapters on the Readers First website and was intrigued. So I was thrilled to receive a review copy from HQ Fiction.

Caroline is the posh wife of a financier, with a place in the city and the new beach house with a husband who is lying to her. Aidan is a local boy, whose granddad had a small place on the beach which is now replaced by Caroline’s massive beach house.

Caroline and Aiden have a one night stand which was meant to be fun but then the story becomes sinister – Aiden is falling for Caroline whilst Caroline is scared by his infatuation. I found the use of showing the two sides of the story slightly confusing to start with but this certainly built up the suspense. I didn’t know who to believe (Aidan v Caroline) – I recommend that you read it to find out. I read this late into the night to find out the answers – couldn’t fall asleep until I knew.

The author:

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases. 

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels. 

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.



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A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb from Amazon:

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.

My thoughts:

This book was my start of half term treat to myself – a relaxing read (although some sad issues are covered).

The main characters, Maggie, Katie and Rosie are a mother and her daughters, getting ready for the wedding of Rosie in snowy Colorado. As a mum of two teenagers, I found myself relating to Maggie – how often is a mum will be known as ‘mum of’ or ‘wife of’.

This book was a ‘do not put me down’ romantic story and I’m glad I had picked a quiet day to enjoy it.

So grab a blanket and a hot chocolate, ignore the bad weather outside and enjoy this festive romance.

Thanks to NetGalley and HQ books for a digital ARC – my thoughts are my own.



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About That Night by Elaine Bedell *Publication Day 11th July 2019*

About That Night

About That Night by Elaine Bedell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a book full of larger than life characters who are dealing with the aftermath of the death on live TV of Ricky Clough, during his TV show.

The main character, Elizabeth, was the TV producer of Ricky and the book explores her life before and after the death of Ricky.

The book is well written, funny in places, and the pages keep turning as the reader wants to find out more.

Thanks to NetGalley for a digital review copy in return for a honest review.



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