Monday, 30 November 2015

Review: Return of the Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan

Today, I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Susan Buchanan‘s new book Return of the Christmas Spirit which was released only yesterday. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Please keep reading to the end of my review as there is not one but two fabulous giveaways for you to enter!

I have always been in love with the idea of Christmas and really enjoy watching all the Christmas movies in the run up to the big day. For me curling up on the sofa with the spirit of Christmas and Scrooge is as much part of Christmas as Turkey and mince pies. This book captures the essence of that.

Christmas is just around the corner when Star begins working at Butterburn library, but not everyone is embracing the spirit of the season.

Sixteen-year-old Arianna’s mock exams are looming and she’s feeling under pressure. With her father living abroad and her mother working three jobs, she doesn’t have much support at home.

The bank is threatening to repossess Evan’s house, and he has no idea how he’s going to get through Christmas with two children who are used to getting everything they want.

Patricia’s cliché of a husband, after 23 years of marriage, has announced he’s moving out of the family home, and moving in with his secretary.

Daniel is doing the work of three people in his sales job, as well as looking after his kids and his wife. Pulled in too many different directions, he’s feeling stressed out.

Can Star, the library’s Good Samaritan, help set them on the path to happiness this Christmas?

My Thoughts:

Capturing the true spirit of Christmas this is a delightful book. Not too long and not too short at 150 odd pages it is ideal to relax and curl up with a cup of chocolate or glass of wine in the busy run up to Christmas.

Star the new librarian isn’t who she appears to be. Her timely arrival before Christmas touches all around her but in particular the lives of Patricia her boss and Evan, Daniel and Arianna who frequent the library. With a kind word and a little magic here and there she transforms the library and brings happiness into their lives.

It is very cleverly written; the character and plot development are excellent. Susan successfully takes four seemingly separate and unrelated stories and weaves them together. The characters were very easy to empathise with and I found myself really rooting for each of them. The pace was good, making it a real page turner.

This book also surprised me because it had more depth than I’d anticipated. There are some clear messages contained here about being true to yourself, the value of family and persistence.

This is the second book featuring the Christmas Spirit but stands well on its own. It refers only briefly to the first title “The Christmas Spirit” published in 2013, which I have not read. Had I read it; I would have really appreciated the way this book skillfully linked back to the previous one giving a glimpse into the lives of the characters from that book this Christmas. I look forward to a third book in the series, which will hopefully do the same for Patricia, Evan, Daniel and Arianna.

Will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit....loved it ...

What others are saying:

Nothing yet but there is plenty of praise for "The Christmas Spirit"

ThisChickReads - "I adore Susan's writing style and how each of the character's stories intertwined creating one beautiful, layered tale about love, friendship and family"

  • Format: ebook
  • Author: Susan Buchanan
  • Release Date: 29th November 2015
  • Genres: Contemporary Fiction
    There are 2 giveaways associated with this tour
    Visit Susan’s blog at, where there will be a Rafflecopter giveaway for a £10/$15 Amazon voucher for the duration of the tour and the launch day itself.
    Enter the tour giveaway here to win an ecopy (x2) of Susan’s book THE DATING GAME

    Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony, and their two children. She is the author of three other novels: The Christmas Spirit, The Dating Game, and Sign of the Times. Return of the Christmas Spirit is her fourth book. She is currently working on her fifth book, What If.

    Susan is also a proofreader, editor, and translator, and when not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, loves reading, the theatre, quiz shows, and eating out - not necessarily in that order!

    Connect with the Author:
    Website | Facebook | Twitter

    Sunday, 15 November 2015

    Review: Chez Stinky by Susan C. Daffron

    Spotted this little gem in Amazon's Top Free 100, the good news is that it is currently also free in Kobo and Nook format. Published in 2013 it is the first in a series but can also be read alone.

    Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.

    Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn–with a touch of antique skunk–and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

    When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools).

    Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.

    And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?

    Note: Chez Stinky is a full-length novel (300 pages/80,000 words) that is Book #1 of the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies. It's a feel-good novel that appeals to people who enjoy a little light romance and quirky animal stories.

    My Thoughts:

    This isn't typical of what I normally read but I really enjoyed 'All Dogs go To Kevin by Jessica Vogel' and 'Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson' so was open to another pet story. Personally I didn't like the cover or the title, but the "Chez Stinky" title tickled my curiosity enough to read the book description and download this book. As it turned out I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed this warm and amusing escapist title. Written in 2013 and set in 1995 it is a nice light and relaxing read.

    Kat is a bored and under-appreciated Technical Author who inherits a home in the country. With the odds stacked increasingly against her in the city she moves to Alpine Grove where she makes plans for her new life. But before she can implement them she needs to sort out a few obstacles in her path. The first of which is getting rid of the awful smell and making the house habitable.

    Packed with interesting details and situations this is fun read. Whilst the plot is simple and the pace relaxed it is also very entertaining. I liked that this was more than just another romantic comedy; it is a nice story about family too. It is an intriguing read with romance, humour, a little mystery with great characters and a great location thrown in.

    The description of the house and its inhabitants are lovely and provided the escapist read I was hoping for. All the featured cats and dogs have such lovely and quirky personalities. Once I got into this book I found it hard to put down and was sorry when it ended.

    The first of a current series of seven, I am looking forward to reading more about the inhabitants of Alpine Grove.

    Recommend for pet lovers and readers who love a quirky clean romance.

    What others are saying:

    Chick Lit Plus - "The book was easy to get immersed in, and the characters of Chez Stinky are full of personality and so fun to read about.

    StephTheBookWorm - "I really enjoyed this one and love that it featured animals so heavily. If you’re a fan of chick lit or animals, two things that I personally love, then check this one out! I’d highly recommend it!"

  • Format: ebook and paperback
  • Author: Susan C. Daffron
  • Publisher: Magic Fur Press (September 23, 2013)
  • Thursday, 12 November 2015

    Review: What Rosie Found Next by Helen J Rolfe

    Today, I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Helen J Rolfe‘s new book What Rosie Found Next. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Please keep reading to the end of my review as there is a fabulous giveaway for you to enter!

    A shaky upbringing has left Rosie Stevens craving safety and security. She thinks she knows exactly what she needs to make her life complete – the stable job and perfect house-sit she’s just found in Magnolia Creek. The only thing she wants now is for her long-term boyfriend, Adam, to leave his overseas job and come home for good.

    Owen Harrison is notoriously nomadic, and he roars into town on his Ducati for one reason and one reason only – to search his parents’ house while they’re away to find out what they’ve been hiding from him his entire life. When he meets Rosie, who refuses to quit the house-sit in his parents’ home, sparks fly.

    Secrets are unearthed, promises are broken, friendships are put to the test and the real risk of bushfires under the hot Australian sun threatens to undo Rosie once and for all.

    Will Rosie and Owen find what they want or what they really need?

    My Thoughts:

    Set in Australia, this is an interesting book in which Rosie has to decide what is important. Rosie is engaged to Adam who is the safe choice and offers security. Like a glass of good burgundy it is full bodied, full of flavour and to be savoured. Once opened the desire to finish it in one sitting is hard to resist.

    Rosie needs to allow herself to be happy. When Owen enters her life she starts to develop doubts about Adam. In the beginning she had admired Adam for his ambition, how he knew exactly what he wanted in life and took every opportunity to go for it. But his dreams are different to hers, Rosie wants the simple life. She’d always been independent but for some reason she’d let Adam take control. Adam assuming they want the same things doesn’t ask her what she wants for their future. Rosie knows what she wants, but is it what she needs?

    Owen too is on a journey of discovery; something doesn’t add up. His parents are being evasive but he is determined in their absence to discover the truth. There is also more to Owen than meets the eye.

    I really enjoyed this book; both characters have great chemistry, are substantial, interesting and well developed. The plot too has plenty of surprises and whilst Adam’s character is less developed than Owens I enjoyed the way contrasts were drawn both between their personalities and their relationship with Rosie.

    The book has a good plot; the love triangle provides the continuity but is only part of it. The setting in Magnolia Creek is charming despite the ever present bush fire risk. This is my first book by this author but having enjoyed it so much I will be looking out for more.


    What others are saying:

    RatherTooFondOfBooks - "I really enjoyed this novel, it was different to what I had been expecting but I loved that parts of it surprised me. It has a real depth to it and I became so invested in these characters and was really willing them on to find happiness.

  • Format: ebook and paperback
  • Author: Helen J Rolfe
  • Publisher: Fabrian Books; 1 edition (3 Nov. 2015)
  • Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women's fiction. She enjoys weaving stories about family, relationships, friendships, love, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Her books feature strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.

    Helen has a Business degree and worked as a Computer Programmer before realising her dream in 2003 of being a writer. After pursuing a career in journalism and having written for women's health and fitness magazines she is now the author of two published novels "The Friendship Tree and "Handle Me With Care" published in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

    Born and raised in the UK, Helen spent fourteen years living in Australia before returning home. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and children.

    Her passions next to reading and writing include yoga, Pilates and chocolate.

    Connect with the Author:
    Website | Facebook | Twitter

    Tuesday, 3 November 2015

    The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James

    This book has been on my TBR list for a while, who good resist a book with such a gorgeous cover.

    Secrets never stay buried for long...

    Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid...

    Luna Bay hasn't changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!

    Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also 'The Broken Hearts Book Club', Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can't wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

    One way or another, Lucy must finally face the secrets she's kept buried for so long - or spend the rest of her life on the run...

    My Thoughts:

    I really enjoyed this relaxing, feel good read. There was so much lot I liked about this book. I really liked the plot and the teasing nature of the writing, but I loved the opening. The opening immediately sparked my curiosity and fuelled my need to know more. I quickly warmed to Lucy, she was easy to empathise with. The story was told from her perspective, her character was well developed and grew as the story progressed.

    Lucy returns after an eight year absence to attend her beloved nana's funeral. Whilst the reasons behind her absence is hinted at throughout it is in the closing chapters when we find out the truth. She had only planned on staying a few days but having been left "Rose Cottage" in nana's will she decides to stay.

    The general theme is moving on and the love interest is not without complications. Lucy has spent her life running away it is time for her to take a stand and leave the past behind.

    "If you give up, you'll always be wondering what would've happened if you'd tried.
    Trust me that is worse than falling on your face."
    All together this is lovely well written light and relaxing read. Set in Yorkshire, Luna Bay sounds like a great place to live. It is somewhere you can easily escape to and lose yourself in. I really enjoyed the way we were introduced to the village, it's pub, residents and local shops. It was nice reading their stories and seeing how Lucy tried to help them, even when her efforts seemed in vain. My only criticism is that I missed the voice of the other key characters who were less developed. Personally I would have liked the story to have been told from different perspectives as well as Lucy's. I would have liked to get to know George better too who featured heavily in the first half of the book and am hoping there is a serial in the works. Rumour has it that Lynsey quiet fancies a trip back to Luna Bay...


    (Review copy gratefully received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.)

    What others are saying:

    Rachels Random Reads - "The Broken Hearts Book Club is a fantastic book, which has a lovely story and a lovely location in Luna Bay.

    What the author is saying:

    Lynsey James as guest blogger on Hello ChicLit - "My second novel The Broken Hearts Book Club is set in a gorgeous little place called Luna Bay. It’s a village on the Yorkshire coast ...."

  • Format: ebook
  • Author: Lynsey James
  • Publisher: Carina; 1 edition (12 Oct. 2015)
  • Connect with the Author:
    Blog | Facebook | Twitter