Book Review: Sleigh Rides And Silver Bells At The Christmas Fair.

SleighridesIf you haven’t read any of Heidi Swain’s books before, Sleigh Rides And Silver Bells At The Christmas Fair is the perfect place to start but if you’re already a fan, I predict it will quickly become your new favourite.

As I was reading, it reminded me of something but for ages I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that was – and then it came to me, Jane Eyre.

Not so much the plot – although there are some similarities. Thankfully there’s no Bertha Mason in the attic, although there is something surprising up there, but the two main characters do come of age in one way and the heroine, Anna, is all on her own.

However, it was more Anna’s voice. She seems quite uptight and authoritative but underneath there’s a layer of vulnerability that I instantly warmed to.

Here’s the blurb:

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?

It’s lovely to see the relationship between Anna and the hero, Jamie, unfold. Their chemistry is evident from the start but there are all sorts of things that stand in the way, not least that he is her employers’ son and she has a rule about mixing business with pleasure.

The supporting cast are fabulous and only added to my enjoyment. I loved learning the back stories of various family/employees as well as the healing magic that seems to happen at the hall.

The fictional town of Wynbridge is the backbone of Heidi’s books and while Wynthorpe Hall is out in the sticks, Anna makes multiple visits and it seems especially lovely at Christmas time (some of the stars of previous books also make welcome cameos). She even takes a trip into Norwich and, maybe it’s because I’m a local, but it made me smile to read about a place I had visited earlier in the day.

In fact, the only bad thing about this book is that I raced through it and it was over too quickly.

More please!

Format: Kindle.

Price: 99p:

My rating: Five stars.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about Heidi from my Behind The Book interview here.

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Book Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan.

cover119479-mediumIt’s like Sarah Morgan has been inside my head.

She’s had a rummage about, moved some tumbleweed aside, picked out every single thing I like in a romance and then put them all in her latest book, Moonlight Over Manhattan.

It has the brave yet troubled heroine, the handsome, hot, brooding hero (who also happens to be an ER doctor), chemistry between the two that’s almost palpable, a charming supporting cast, a storyline which keeps you engaged from page one, and, as an added extra, a cute dog.

Tick, tick and tick.

Here’s the blurb.

She’ll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family.

But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi’s temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over, and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all – letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

I’m no stranger to Sarah’s books (this is book six in this series alone, although they can all be read as individual novels) and they would automatically be on my must read pile but I’ve really been looking forward to Harriet’s story ever since her first mention.

Sarah has really delivered with this one, it’s a lovely warm story with plenty of emotion and the romance between them is so well written.

I felt instantly connected to shy Harriet and loved the way she tried to overcome her difficulties. In fact, Harriet and Ethan both seem very real which meant I was invested in their tale and stayed up later than I should have done for several nights while trying to finish it.

A well deserved five stars.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.49.

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to HQ via NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Summer On Firefly Lake.

jengilroyLike eating stew and dumplings on a cold day in winter, reading the second book in Jen Gilroy’s Firefly Lake series left me feeling happy, warm and satisfied.

Actually “reading” is probably the wrong way to describe what happened when I opened Summer On Firefly Lake because it felt more like I’d been invited to pull up a chair and sit for a while. Jen’s writing is so rich in colour that the place felt like home and the characters like friends.

Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes love is better the second time around . . . 

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire-and the one kiss they’ve shared-has turned everything upside down . . .

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city . . . until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted . . . and the woman he can’t live without.

I could use words such as gentle, heartwarming, charming and sweet and still not really cover just how lovely this book is. That’s not to say the story is without action and drama, oh no, there’s plenty of that. While the main characters are Mia and Nick, a wonderful supporting cast definitely help throw in a few twists and turns – and they certainly earn their happy ending.

As I said, this is book two in the series – and several of the characters from the first book, The Cottage At Firefly Lake, make a welcome reappearance – but it works well as a standalone.

And while I might have mentioned winter stew at the start, this book is perfect whatever the season.

I’m already looking forward to book three.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £3.49.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

Thank you to Jen and her publisher, Forever, (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.

Jen also featured in my Behind The Book series where she talks about her path to publication.