Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Dec 18, 2015

Book Review: Finding the Snowdon Lily by Heather Pardoe

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Review by Suze

Catrin loves the mountains. Her father is a mountain guide in the Snowdon mountains and she knows them well. She helps at the family inn and enjoys working there. Her father wants her to marry and he's already chosen someone suitable. His name is Taran and his parents own a nearby hotel. There isn't much choice when it comes to potential husbands, but Catrin is convinced she will meet her true love and she isn't sure if Taran is that person.

Judith is determined to bring the first picture of the Snowdon Lily to London and she's staying at the inn together with her brother Phillip who is a photographer. Catrin and her father will take them to the mountains to show them the precious flower, but will they be on time? The competition is fierce...

Finding the Snowdon Lily is a heartwarming story about the Snowdon mountains. I love the setting and Heather Pardoe's descriptions of the mountains themselves, nature and the weather. I could picture everything that happened in the story very well. I greatly admire the vivid way she writes. It makes the whole story come to life. I wanted to visit the inn and climb the mountains. The setting is both volatile and romantic and it's absolutely perfect for the story.

I love how Heather Pardoe describes the past. It was fun to read what kind of photography equipment people needed in the earlier days. I also liked that Judith is so strong and that she stands up for what she believes. Catrin is brave and kind, a great combination. Phillips has such a good heart. Everything in this story is exactly right. I highly recommend this fantastic novella.

Dec 15, 2015

Book Review: Pompidou Posse by Sarah Lotz

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Review by Suze

Vicki and Sage have set a garden shed on fire and to avoid the consequences they flee the country and go to Paris. There's only one problem, they don't have any money. They're both seventeen years old and are art school dropouts. Vicki and Sage are optimistic, they're in Paris, they're having a good time and everything will be all right. The longer they stay the harder it will become to make enough money to survive. Going home isn't an option and they're in the city of endless possibilities having fun. They're in Paris where nothing can go wrong, right?

When I started reading Pompidou Posse I didn't expect to read such a raw story. I though this would be a story about two very cool teenagers who were going to have a great time in Paris. They would have lots of luck and everything would go their way eventually. I couldn't have been more wrong. Vicki and Sage have to survive in a city where making money is tough. Pompidou Posse is rough, it's honest and it broke my heart. It's a book I won't easily forget, this story will stay with me for the rest of my life.

It's obvious that both Vicki and Sage are very young and don't always make the right decisions. They're having fights, are gullible sometimes and they aren't always a good judge of character. Their stay in Paris is a succession of problems, of difficult situations to deal with. The girls are resourceful, but they also don't really care about consequences. They're fun and different. I immediately liked them. Vicki has rich parents and Sage knows almost everything about her, but Sage has a lot of secrets. That makes their friendship unbalanced from the start. It was really interesting to see the development. I felt for them and with them from beginning to end. The finale is fitting, but unexpected and I cried a bucket load of tears. Pompidou Posse is a must-read, it's impressive, moving and beautifully written.

Australia Days Book Review: 12 Days at Silver Bells House by Jennie Jones

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Review by Suze

Because her friend Sammy is so happy in Swallow's Fall Kate decides to go there to give herself some breathing space. She has twelve days to make a tough decision. She's also looking forward to some time to relax with a lot of Chardonnay. Only the house she's supposed to stay in isn't free at all. Someone named Jamie has bought it. As Kate has nowhere to go he allows her to stay. That's already the second time he's rescued her in the short time she's there. Fashion designer Kate isn't used to life in the country, yet...

At first Kate is supposed to stay a few days, but Jamie likes her company. While she's sharing his house with him Kate has the time to think things through. She tries to be independent, but the town won't let her struggle on her own. The people of Swallow's Fall make sure they involve her (and Jamie) in the town's Christmas preparations. The inhabitants of Swallow's Fall are charming and Kate is having a good time. Will she be able to leave everything behind when it's time to go back to the city again?

12 Days at Silver Bells House is such a great festive story. I enjoyed the Christmas spirit very much. Kate is a wonderful main character. She needs to find herself again and her stay in Swallow's Fall will certainly help her to do that. Jamie is gorgeous and kind. He does everything for the people he cares about, I always love that in a main character. They have a great connection and fabulous chemistry. 

If you're looking for an amazing Christmas story set in Australia you should definitely read 12 Days at Silver Bells House. It's fun and it's got the right Christmas spirit. The extra addition is lovely, such a sweet continuation of the story. I'm a big fan of the Swallow's Fall series and can't wait to read more of it. 

Book Review: The Fix Up by Tawna Fenske

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Review by Suze

Ben is the new CEO of the family company, but he's a geek and doesn't have a clue how to change his image. That's why he hires Holly, to give him a makeover. She helps him with his presentation skills, his clothing and many other things. Holly is the owner of a public relations and branding firm and she desperately needs money. Helping Ben will also help her to keep her business going. Only they don't count on finding much more than just a business partnership when they start working together...

The Fix Up is fun and flirty. There's a lot of chemistry between Ben and Holly, which is actually what most of the story is about. I liked the jokes between them and often laughed out loud. Ben is a geek, I like geeky main characters, so that was a big plus for me. Ben and Holly are great together, they have such a sweet and lovely vibe while the story is also sexy.

The Fix Up isn't a deep and meaningful story, it's easy going and cute. It's a book that will cheer you up and that will put a smile on your face. It's perfect for a grey and rainy day. Ben and Holly are good looking, smart and kind, a combination that works. I like stories written by an author with a sense of humor and think The Fix Up is definitely amusing reading material. 

Dec 14, 2015

Book Review: The Things We Do for Love by Alice Peterson

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Review by Suze

January raises her daughter Isla on her own. It isn't always easy to be a single parent with a daughter who isn't healthy, but January can manage. She loves her daughter very much and having Isla is the best thing that ever happened to her. January works for an estate agent. Her boss is a kind older man who's also a really good friend. Only it's time for him to leave the firm to retire. Ward, his replacement, is a challenge. He isn't as easy to deal with and there's tension between them. He isn't an open person. Will January be able to keep her finally nice and safe life or will there be too many changes all at once?

Alice Peterson is an emphatic author. She knows how to write about feelings in detail and her descriptions are always spot-on. Because of that I always feel involved when I'm reading her books. January and Isla are very close and I loved reading about both mother and daughter. They have a great outlook on life and even though a lot has happened to them they're still cheerful and open people. I liked that very much.

The Things We Do for Love is a beautiful story about love in plenty of different classifications and aspects. It's heartwarming to read about January and the people she cares about. I love how Alice Peterson writes romantic stories that have a lot of depth. There are so many layers in her book when it comes to relationships, history and feelings. The reader will read about every key moment in January's past and present and therefore gets the chance to know her through and through. That's what I liked most about this book, being able to come so close to the main character. The Things We Do for Love is a unique love story, it's special in countless ways.

Dec 13, 2015

Australia Days Book Review: Mistress of Greyladies by Anna Jacobs

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Review by Suze

Joseph and Harriet Latimer have been happy at Greyladies. Then World War I breaks out and the house has to become a hospital. Joseph and Harriet are allowed to stay, but they don't feel welcome in their own home any longer. They want to do anything they can for the country and for the wounded, so they're trying to help out as much as they're allowed to.

Phoebe has a family connection to the Latimers. She doesn't know anything about this though. Her step-cousin Frank, who doesn't have a pleasant character, wants to force her to marry him. Because of the war Phoebe loses her job and she needs to find somewhere else to stay as soon as possible. Somewhere far away from Frank. Fortunately she meets Corin, a Captain in the army who wants to help her. They become good friends, but because of the war they can only spend limited time together. Will Phoebe meet her family eventually? And will she be able to marry a man she loves or will Frank eventually get his way?

Mistress of Greyladies is another wonderful book by Anna Jacobs. It was great to read about Harriet and Joseph again. After reading Heir to Greyladies I wasn't ready to say goodbye to them yet. Phoebe is a wonderful girl who's had a difficult past. She's strong and resourceful though and I liked her immediately. The war makes things difficult for everyone and I always feel sad when I think about all the soldiers who have given their lives. It's good they won't be forgotten and I'm glad there are stories like Mistress of Greyladies to remember them.

Anna Jacobs has a lovely writing style that has an easy flow. I can't put her books down. When I start reading I have to keep going. I love the way she tells her stories, it's gentle and sweet. Greyladies is an unusual house with a fantastic history. I like the idea a lot and can't wait to read more about the next mistress. I highly recommend this series, it's warm and welcoming, just like Greyladies itself.

Dec 12, 2015

Book Review: Midnight at Tiffany's by Sarah Morgan

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Review by Suze

Matilda's dream is to be an author. Being a waitress pays the bills, but she writes whenever she can. She's living in New York, the city where anything is possible. When one night she has to work at a party hosted by Chase Adams things aren't going the way she planned. The beginning of the night is a disaster and the end of it is like a fairytale... Only, it's a dream, isn't it?

Midnight at Tiffany's is such a lovely romantic story. It's great cheerful reading material. Matilda is endearing. I liked the fact that she's writing and also that she's chasing her dreams even though she's scared. Chase has forgotten how to be a person instead of a money making machine. The only thing he still does is work, but deep down the real Chase is still there. It was fun to see him change. 

Sarah Morgan always writes great love stories. Midnight at Tiffany's has that typical sweet Sarah Morgan quality that makes you fall in love with the story and the characters. It doesn't matter if her stories are long or short I always feel better after reading them. I highly recommend this amazing novella.

Australia Days Guest Post, Book Review & Giveaway: The Near Miss by Fran Cusworth

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Guest post
by
Fran Cusworth

Thanks for inviting me!

Why write? This is a question I ask myself sometimes, and I thought I’d write about it here. People talk about having a book inside them that they have to get out – I have always felt like this, at some stages of my life more than others. From childhood, writing for me was an itch that needed scratching, and I always kept journals. As I grew older and became an avid reader of novels, literature became like part of conversation where I had listened to other people for long enough, and I was bursting to have my own say. As a young adult who was not always articulate or confident enough to verbally express myself, writing became another, better way to get things out. As a new mother, writing novels took on a sudden urgency – I could keenly sense time passing, and felt that if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it. Writing time became ‘me’ time; thinking and dreaming, non-baby time. 

After my first novel was published, I hit a bit of a wall – the dream had always been to Publish A Novel. Now that was done, why was I writing? I had not spent 35 years dreaming of Publishing A Second Novel ... this didn’t have half the weight of motivation behind it. However, as I, my husband and two small sons had just moved to a mining town in the heart of the mining boom, my motivation grew to capture the crazy uniqueness of a modern boomtown; the relationships between the wives of the workers, and the old-town/new-town people, the pressures of international monetary forces on this small and beautiful place. After this came a third novel written within a PhD, and some of the motivations for that one sat a little uncomfortably with me; writing to fulfil the requirements of a scholarship. As much as I could I wrote to capture women’s lives and realities, as I always have done.

Along the way, I accepted I probably won’t make fame nor fortune out of writing, but I have loved the act of writing, and I love it when individuals make contact to tell them a book moved them, or meant something to them. The Near Miss, my recent novel, was really written from a place of fun and pleasure, having discarded ‘great expectations’, and it is telling that it is my favourite of all four novels. I will probably always write to make sense of the world I live in – it’s as good a way as any to do so.

Review by Suze

When Grace's daughter Lotte walks onto the street in front of a car she's being saved by Melody. Melody has a son, Skip, who's Lotte's age. Because she's so relieved Grace invites both Melody and the driver of the car, Eddy, for dinner. Grace and her husband are both hardworking people who don't like their jobs, but they are slaving away to be able to afford their mortgage. Melody is a hippy, a single mother who has just left a community. Eddy's a risk analyst who only has one goal in life and that is to marry his girlfriend Romy. She's unfaithful to him and isn't very keen. Because of the accident the paths of Grace, Melody and Eddy cross and then things start evolving and there's no turning back...

Grace, Melody and Eddy are all very different, but friendships are being formed. That is something I loved about The Near Miss. They're all struggling. Grace because her husband wants to be an inventor. He has done it before and wants to quit his job again to works on projects he loves. Only Grace is afraid that won't pay the bills. Skip and Lotte become good friends, they're an unlikely duo, but they get along wonderfully. Melody's main worry is money. How will she be able to pay the rent and where will the food on her table come from? Eddy is unlucky in love. He wants to keep Romy whatever it takes, but she doesn't want to be kept. All of these stories work. They're interesting, they're fascinating and moving from time to time as well. I couldn't put this book down and loved it from the first page.

A Near Miss is a story with several main characters. I liked that angle. They all have good and bad sides and Fran Cusworth is not afraid of showing them. I think that's a huge strength. It made me love this story even more. It's honest and it's realistic while it's also clearly fiction at the same time, a good combination. Especially since Fran Cusworth knows how to keep her balance. The story is wonderfully chaotic and so much is happening that it sometimes made my head spin, which is something I loved. It's fast-paced, but the story is also easy to follow. I can't express how much I enjoyed reading The Near Miss. it's absolutely brilliant.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a kindle copy of The Near Miss. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dec 10, 2015

Book Review: Raincoats and Retrievers by Cressida McLaughlin

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Review by Suze

Cat's business is going well. She loves walking the dogs and is becoming really good at dealing with them. Can she say the same about their owners though? Will and Juliette are having a tough time together. Cat wants to do something for them, but interfering isn't always the wisest thing to do. She finally has a date with Mark. How will it go? And what about her wonderful housemate Joe? 

Raincoats and Retrievers is another great novella about Cat, her friends and her dogs. I love reading about the animals and their owners. Cat is chaotic and has a heart of gold. She brings color and life in everyone's existence and I love that about her. I enjoy reading about the dogs and their different characters. The men are gorgeous and I can't wait to find out what will happen next in Cat's love life. 

The Primrose Terrace series is fun, cheerful and heartwarming. Reading about Cat and her adventures always manages to put a smile on my face. I like this series a lot and can't wait to read Tinsel and Terriers. I love Cressida McLaughlin's upbeat writing. Cat is a whirlwind who makes people laugh and who brightens their days. 

Dec 9, 2015

Australia Days Book Review: Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly

Goodreads

Review by Suze

Brigid's grandmother Nell is sad. She's lost her husband and misses him terribly. Brigid wants to distract her and tries to cheer her up by asking about the past. Nell loves telling her granddaughter stories about her family. She was born in Ireland as the only daughter in a large family. They all went to Australia and life changed drastically because of it. 

Kim Kelly writes about Nell's life and she does that by telling a different story in each chapter. I fell in love with Wild Chicory from the first page. I couldn't put it down and know I will read it again as this novella is too good to read only once. I loved the beautiful, honest and heartwarming stories. Life wasn't always easy, but the closeness of the family and love managed to heal a lot of wounds. 

Kim Kelly's writing is magnificent and her stories are always interesting. It was great to read about Ireland and Australia, about many generations of people and about different kinds of relationships. Wild Chicory managed to move me from the first page. It's obvious that these stories mean something to the author. That makes them extra special. They went straight to my heart and are there to stay. I highly recommend this brilliant novella.

Expected publication: January 2016

Happy Harper Christmas Book Review, Extract & Giveaway: From Paris With Love This Christmas by Jules Wake

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Review by Suze

Because of her rich French family Siena is used to living in luxury. She can buy whatever she likes, has the most beautiful designer clothes and she doesn't have to work. Unfortunately things aren't as great as they seem. Her fiance isn't a man she should want to marry and because of that she decides to run from home. Her sister Laurie owns a house in England and she promised Siena she'd always be welcome there, so that is where she'll go. 

Siena hasn't spoken to Laurie in a while and doesn't know that someone else is living at her cottage now. His name is Jason and he's quite grumpy. He isn't happy with Siena's company, but she has her own room at the house, so he lets her stay. After a difficult start they're getting to know each other a little bit better. Even though they're from different worlds they're getting along very well. Siena even manages to find some breathing space and she learns how to live her own life now that she's away from her family. Only her stay was always meant to be temporary, she has to go back to France before Christmas...

From Paris With Love This Christmas is another wonderful story by Jules Wake. I also loved From Italy With Love. The books are linked, but they can easily be read as a standalone. The way Jules Wake describes fashion, wine, food and other good things in life, is great. She writes about the rich and the not so rich in an equally comfortable way. I like that about her writing. She manages to make her stories come to life so well. Her descriptions are vivid and colorful. When you read one of her books you can see what her main characters are seeing and feel what they are feeling. 

I'm always a big fan of stories set in two countries and of course I'm also very much in love with France. It was great to read about Christmas in Paris, about the markets and the traditional Christmas food. I loved this book, it has such a good vibe. Siena is resourceful, brave and lovely. Jason is a nice guy even though he's a bit moody sometimes. They both made me smile. I loved how Siena took control of her own life and the lessons she has to learn are valuable. I highly recommend this warm and romantic Christmas story. From Paris With Love This Christmas is a book that will bring readers joy and happiness.

Extract

‘Sorry you’re British. Stupid question. I can tell from your accent. You going home for Christmas?’ 

Stoopid, as ‘perhaps Mary’ pronounced it, wasn’t so stupid. Officially, Siena was as British as Marmite and Twinings tea which Maman insisted on having for breakfast every day, but she’d lived most of her life in France. She thought she felt French but then how would she know if what she felt was French or English? Sometimes, quite often really, she had no idea what she should feel about a lot of things.

‘No I’m going to stay with my sister. I have to be back in France for Christmas,’ she blurted out. Back at the Chateau for Harry’s sixtieth birthday party on the twenty-third. She looked at her watch and worried at her lip. They’d have missed her by now. The dinner reservation was for eight thirty. Yves, her almost fiancé, would be cross, her mother furious and Harry, her stepfather, disappointed perhaps.

‘How lovely, dear.’ Mary’s face dimpled with a gentle smile. ‘I love spending time with my sister.’ 

Siena flushed. Mary would think she was a terrible sister. She hadn’t seen Laurie for two years despite the open invitation. Resolutely ignoring that chain of thought, she focused on her possibly celebrity neighbour. Had she read somewhere that Mary Steenburgen had a sister? Siena did know she was married to that guy from Cheers and CSI. There’d been pictures of them out walking their dogs in Hello or Grazia. 

‘She older or younger than you?’ 

‘Sorry? What?’

‘Your sister, older or younger?’

‘Older. Eight years older.’ 

‘You close?’

Siena swallowed. ‘We text. Facebook a bit.’ That sounded rubbish. With a sigh she added, ‘It’s a bit complicated. A lot complicated actually. My parents split up when we were young. I lived with my mother in France. Laurie stayed with my father in England. I only met her properly for the first time two years ago.’ So no, not close at all. 

‘Oh, my!’ America’s perfect mom actress, if it was her, looked horrified. ‘That’s an unusual arrangement.’ Then with a sympathy laden smile she added, ‘How lovely that you’re going to see her. Will you be staying long?’ 

That was the million dollar question. Siena crossed and uncrossed her legs, staring down at her recent manicure, admiring her Santa Scarlet glossy nails. The text she’d sent Laurie asked if she could stay for the weekend. The note she’d left her mother said she’d be back in a month. Neither was quite true. 

‘I don’t know yet. Until I’m ready to go home, I guess. Spur of the moment thing, you know.’ 

That sounded better. Spontaneous. Fun. Not a desperate and pathetic escape. Sisters hanging out. Spending quality time together. Not arriving completely out of the blue with only five hours’ notice. 

‘You gotta stay for Christmas. I love London at this time of year. The stores. Hyde Park. The lights.’ Mary gave a self-deprecating laugh. ‘What am I talking about? You come from Paris. Now there’s a city at Christmas.’ 

Siena closed her eyes at the quick punch to her heart. Galeries Lafayette’s exterior, encrusted with the brilliance of thousands of sparkling lights and of course, the tree. The fir lined Champs-Élysées lit up and glittering, refracting diamond shards of white into the night. That swoosh of skates on ice at the Eiffel Tower and the breathless bump when you hit the sides. Tartiflette, hot and warming, from the Christmas Markets at Notre-Dame and the Trocadéro. 

She loved the build-up, but somehow every year when Christmas finally arrived, the sparkle had burnt itself out. The actual holiday itself never seemed that enjoyable. 

So why had she stupidly promised in her note to go back in time for Christmas when she could be lonely anywhere? 

Giveaway

Three very lucky readers of my blog will receive a paperback copy of From Paris With Love This Christmas. Good luck!

Visit every blog on this tour for more great information, reviews and giveaways.



Happy Harper Christmas Book Review: The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke

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Review by Suze

Mollie MacKenzie can't wait to go home for Christmas. She's left Liverpool to work and live in London, but she misses her friends and family. She also misses Jake, her brother's best friend. After a wonderful kiss they haven't spoken to each other for an entire year. Jake's part of their family, he's like a second brother, but is he really or is he more than that?

The Kiss Before Midnight is a fun and festive holiday story. I loved the cheerful MacKenzie family and the way they celebrate Christmas. Molly is a sweet girl who wants to prove that she can make a success of anything she tries. She doesn't have a lot of self-confidence, but that makes her extra charming. Jake likes Molly, much more than he should and he knows his best friend isn't going to be happy about that. Jake wants nothing more than being part of the family. Is that why he likes Molly so much? I couldn't wait to find out...

Sophie Pembroke knows how to tell a good Christmas story. I love the way she describes the food, the family traditions and the presents. The MacKenzies know how to celebrate. I loved that about them. They're such a great, warm fictional family. Sophie Pembroke manages to make them come to life very well, I wish I could go to one of their parties and meet them... I highly recommend this fabulous holiday read. 


Dec 8, 2015

Australia Days Double Book Review: What Rosie Found Next by Helen J Rolfe

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Review by Suze

Rosie combines her new job with house sitting. She temporarily moves to Magnolia Creek and instantly falls in love with the area. Rosie has a boyfriend, someone who's safe and secure. She wants a stable, dependable future. Only her boyfriend is working abroad, so her dreams can't come true yet. Rosie expects to be on her own in the house she's supposed to take care of, but Owen, the son of the owners, wants to stay at the house as well. He's searching for something and it's important he's doing that while his parents aren't there.

At first Rosie and Owen don't really get along, but soon they become good friends. Rosie loves her job and her surroundings. She's dreaming about a beautiful house and everything that comes with it. Owen needs to discover what happened in the past, something that has everything to do with him, but he isn't allowed to know what it is. Will both of them find what they are looking for?

What Rosie Found Next is a lovely, sweet story about two people who haven't had the easiest childhoods. Rosie has been through something very sad and she could use some more cheerfulness in her life. Owen loves to travel, he's a free spirit and he's a tough guy who rides a bike. Underneath he has a heart of gold and I immediately liked him very much. Rosie is kind and caring and she has a lot of love to give. I really liked that about her. I enjoyed reading about their friendship and interaction. I love how Helen J Rolfe lets food play a vital part in her stories. What they like and how they prepare it reveals so much about people, about who they are and what's important to them. She uses it to make her characters come to life and it works.

Magnolia Creek is prone to fires. It's a beautiful setting, but the area isn't risk free. It was interesting to read about the firefighters. They're doing such a meaningful and brave job. The story taught me more about what they do and how they do it. Fire plays a key part in the book, something that's being revealed bit by bit. 

For me the best part of this story was the interaction between Rosie and Owen. I read the book in one sitting as I kept being curious. Something else I really enjoyed reading about was Christmas. It was fun to read about the way both Rosie and Owen were celebrating the holiday and even though What Rosie Found Next isn't a Christmas story it definitely has enough Christmas magic in it to make me feel festive. I love Helen J Rolfe's writing. All of her books are amazing and I highly recommend them.


Review by Tanya

What Rosie Found Next is a fantastic book set in Australia during the Christmas period. It was very strange to read about a very hot climate that was used to experience bush fires compared to the cold and often raining that we get here in the UK.

Rosie is a house sitter and just starting a new job in Magnolia Creek house-sitting and working part time in a local hotel that holds weddings. She is slightly unnerved by the prospect as it is in a place that is prone to bush fires and there is a lot of maintenance needed to combat it. She also has other reasons, but it’s a while into the book before you find out why. Whilst house sitting she is surprised with the appearance of Owen Harrison, the son of the couple who owns the house. He is there to try and find what secret his parents are hiding from him.

There is a definite fizz between the characters even though Rosie currently has a boyfriend named Adam. He is overseas working and tends to turn up and unsettle the apple cart at various times. 

I loved how Rosie became so much stronger through the book and started to make decisions for herself. Owen helped her to find her confidence and was there for her in some very dark situations. The other characters in the town, including the owner of a local cafe who serves the most amazing sounding scones, are friendly and caring. It makes the little town sound like an ideal place to live. It all starts to grow on Rosie and she finds herself looking at a dilapidated house with the idea of living there.

The book is very well written with lots of twists and turns and the insight as the onlooker to the full story is great. I certainly enjoyed the story and even though it was a different Christmas the meaning is still there. 

Australia Days Book Review: Naked by Eliza Redgold

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Review by Suze

Lady Godiva is the woman who rode naked on a horse through Coventry. She rode through the town only covered by her beautiful long hair to make sure her husband, Lord Leofric, would lower the sky high taxes he demanded of the people of the town. 

Lady Godiva meets Lord Leofric when her people are in danger. They form an alliance, but it will cost her more than she'd ever thought it would. Lady Godiva is fierce, she isn't afraid to fight and she loves her people. She wants to rule them fairly and kindly. She's strong willed and stubborn and also absolutely stunning. Lord Leofric is dangerous, but also handsome and intriguing. Lady Godiva has a lot to lose, including her heart...

I can't even begin to express how much I loved Naked. It's a story that went straight to my heart and it will always remain there. I can and will reread this book over and over again. I love Eliza Redgold's beautiful writing, her heroic main character and her vivid descriptions. This story is special in so many ways. Eliza Redgold has made Lady Godiva come to life in such a fantastic way. She's strong, she's powerful, she can stand up for herself, she's passionate and she stands for what she believes in while at the same time she's vulnerable and is looking for love just like everyone else. In other words, she's a great example and a lady to love. 

If you like an intelligent story that has a good flow and is pleasant to read you will love this book. It's one of those rare gems you only come across every now and then. Naked is a book to love and cherish. I hope that Lady Godiva's life was exactly like Eliza Redgold describes. It's romantic, raw and pure. I fell in love with this book from the first sentence and am very sure you will as well.

Dec 7, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Book Review: Santa Wore Leathers by Vonnie Davis

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Review by Suze

Becca is a reporter and she has a blog. If she manages to gather enough followers that will earn her a column in the paper she's working for, that's her number one wish. Becca is living on her own. She's been badly hurt in the past and doesn't want to give her heart to someone again. She's going to spend a quiet Christmas, one without any disturbances... 

Becca's next door neigbor, Wolf, is the current star of her blog posts. He's got a bike, he's gorgeous and he's entertaining lots of women. There's plenty to write about. When Wolf tries to charm Becca she doesn't want to give into this. He's a womanizer and she doesn't want to have a broken heart again. Is this really the best decision?

Santa Wore Leathers is a sexy story about two beautiful people who both deserve some happiness. I loved the chemistry between Becca and Wolf. They have such a great connection. Another thing I really liked about this story was Becca's dog. He's absolutely fantastic and his actions managed to put a smile on my face many times. 

Becca is vulnerable and Wolf has a difficult past. Vonnie Davis has given her characters some heavy baggage. That made it easy to feel for them and to like them even more. Fortunately there were some unexpected twists and turns, I love to be surprised. I really enjoyed reading this Christmas story and highly recommend it if you're looking for a hot holiday read.


Dec 6, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Book Review: All Wrapped Up In You by Sun Chara

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Review by Suze

Ellie and Peter have been married for several years already, but Ellie isn't happy. The only thing she can do is get away from Peter. She loves him deeply, but she's fed up with the life they're leading. He doesn't want to give things up so easily and tries to win her back. How well do they actually know each other?

All Wrapped Up In You is a passionate Christmas story. Ellie has made a drastic decision and Peter tries to change her mind. There's clearly a lot of attraction. Ellie had her reasons to leave. Peter is intelligent and very rich. Ellie had a wealthy and secluded life with him. At first sight it might have looked ideal, but was it really? This story is all about feelings, about love, lust and understanding.

I liked this Christmas novella a lot. I was fascinated by the story and I read it in one sitting. It isn't very long, so All Wrapped Up In You is perfect for when you want to sit down for a little while during those busy times around the holidays and read something festive.


Australia Days Book Review & Giveaway: Secret Santo by Carla Caruso

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Review by Suze

Holly is a book blogger who works at a bookshop during the day. She's invited to a big publishing party and she can't wait to meet her favorite author there, AJ Ruffo. His thrillers are fantastic and she secretly dreams about this mysterious writer. At the party she meets Santo. He looks exactly like the AJ Ruffo from her dreams, but she can't be sure it's actually him. He tells her he's the author of the book she hated intensely and slagged off completely on her blog earlier that day. Holly really likes Santo, but will he still like her when he finds out what she wrote about the book?

Secret Santo is a sweet and romantic Christmas novella. I loved the fact that Holly is a blogger and that she's going to an event. She has a great time with Santo at the party and they immediately have a wonderful click. I really liked the flirty way they talk to each other. I especially enjoyed reading about how and where they would spend their Christmas. A party is already festive and Carla Caruso's vivid descriptions made it come to life straight away for me.

Secret Santo will definitely get you into the right Christmas mood. It has lovely main characters, it has a great setting and a merry atmosphere. Holly and Santo both have sparkling personalities and I liked their chemistry. This novella is fun and it made me cheerful. I think it's a fabulous Christmas read.

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dec 5, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Book Review: Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson

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Review by Suze

Maggie is a single mother of an eighteen-year-old daughter, Ellen. She's in her early thirties and lives for her father and Ellen. Only they don't need her as much as they used to any longer. Of course she also has the customers of her shop, but that isn't the same. Maggie spends her days making women shine on the best day of their lives. She's caring and committed and she strives to make other people as happy as she possibly can.

 There's someone who does need her very much this Christmas though. Because of a joint accident she's getting to know the American Marco a lot better and he's now in her care. It's the first time she has a man staying at her house, one she really likes too. Marco is a gorgeous man who wears Christmas jumpers. What is Maggie supposed to do, she isn't used to company of her own age at all...

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper is a sweet and romantic Christmas story about two people who haven't found the right person yet. I immediately loved both Maggie and Marco. They're such kind people and even though they're from completely different worlds they get along very well. Maggie is on unknown territory and there's a lot she needs to conquer. I felt for her and wanted to push her in the right direction several times. I always like it when I care so much about what happens to the main characters of a book.

If you're looking for a great feelgood Christmas story Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper is an excellent choice. It has the right Christmas spirit, it's heartwarming, it has good-looking and lovable main characters and there are a lot of adorably awkward scenes. I loved the setting, the unique situation Maggie and Marco are finding themselves in and the perfect winter weather. This book made me smile plenty of times.


Dec 4, 2015

Australia Days Book Review: The House on Burra Burra Lane by Jennie Jones

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Review by Suze

Sammy needs a fresh start and therefore she moves to Swallow's Fall. She's purchased a house there that needs a lot of work, but she's determined to love and cherish it and to make it a wonderful place to live. While she's only been there shortly she meets vet and carpenter Ethan. He's the one she needs for help with her home. They come to an agreement, something that will suit them both, but isn't as easy for Ethan as it may seem. Of course this means spending more time together. They instantly have a connection, but both Sammy and Ethan also have a past...

The House on Burra Burra Lane is such a wonderful romantic story. The whole town wonders if Sammy is going to stay or if she will leave. Sammy doesn't want to go back to the city, not at all. She has a creative profession and she can work from home. I loved that about her character and enjoyed reading about her designs. She's cheerful and determined, but she's also been through a lot and that makes her uncertain of what the future will bring. Her past might eventually catch up with her, so Sammy is never completely at ease. Ethan is a great guy, but he has so many insecurities because of childhood memories and because of a certain family history. Both of them deserve some happiness, but it isn't easy for them to open up to someone. 

I loved the unusual chemistry between the main characters. Jennie Jones has written a great romantic story, one that has a nice twist. It's different in a good way. I liked the way Ethan and Sammy communicate and I kept being curious to see how things would develop. I also loved the setting. I'm a big fan of small town romance and I instantly fell in love with Swallow's Fall. The gossip and bets are fabulous and I immediately liked the inhabitants. I'm planning to read another Swallow's Fall book very soon. I'm intrigued and can't wait to learn more about this amazing town.

Dec 3, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Book Review: The Kiss Before Christmas by Sophie Pembroke

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Review by Suze

Dory has a PA job in New York. She moved there to live a dream life, but things didn't work out the way she planned. She doesn't even have the money to fly back to Liverpool to be with her family. Tyler, her boss, has a proposition for her though. If she spends Christmas with his family he will pay for the plane tickets to the UK, so Dory can spend New Year's Eve with hers. There's one condition, she has to pretend to be his girlfriend. Of course she says yes, but the price she has to pay to earn the ticket is quite high. Tyler's parents are cold and distant and they don't think she's good enough for their son. Fortunately there's Lucas, Tyler's brother, who has disappointed his family, so Dory isn't the only one they don't approve of. He's her ally, but he's also smart and might be able to see through Tyler's plans if they aren't careful...

The Kiss Before Christmas is such a wonderful romantic Christmas story. It has the right festive spirit. There's cake, there's mistletoe, there are a lot of misunderstandings and there's a gorgeous man. What's not to love? Tyler's family is wealthy and they're living in incredible luxury. Dory tries to make a good impression, but that isn't easy. She has to put up with a lot to earn that ticket, which made the story interesting and fun. This novella definitely put a smile on my face, which is exactly what a great Christmas story should do. If you're looking for something to brighten up a cold winter evening I highly recommend this warm and sweet Christmas novella.


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