One Day in December by Josie Silver

REVIEW

Beautifully heartbreaking and heartwarming all in one.

Jack and Laurie’s story is a bittersweet love-triangle that becomes a complicated friendship.  Laurie is in love with a mystery man who she sees waiting at a bus stop and spends the next 12 months searching for. When Sarah, Laurie’s best friend, brings home her new boyfriend who she is head-over heels in love with, new boyfriend turns out to be mystery man. Jack and Laurie both deny knowing each other and try to be friends for Sarah’s sake. Not an easy task when feelings are involved.

Laurie is a steadfast friend and although she may have slipped up a couple of times, her heart was always in the right place.  Her friendship with Sarah holds a bond as strong as sisterhood and woe betide anyone who tries to get between them.

Jack tries to do the right thing.  He loves Sarah but he also knows that Laurie holds a certain place in his heart as well.  As the years progress, new loves are found and lost, friendships are broken and mended, and Jack and Laurie seem to be forever in the wrong places, both emotionally and physically, at the wrong time.

A beautifully written story that will leave you wanting more, or at least it did me.  Jack and Laurie embedded themselves into my mind and I could almost feel their pain and heartache with every year that passed. If this book was missing anything it was an epilogue.  I’m a sucker for wanting that final bit of happiness, the glimpse into the future, the happily ever after of all the characters and where they are one, five or ten years on, but that’s just me.  This is a definite winter warmer, curl up on the sofa with a mug of tea, book that you wont want to put down.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38255337-one-day-in-december)

No Match for Love Volume One Box Set: Miss Match, Not Your Match, Mix ‘N Match – No Match for Love #1-3 by Lindzee Armstrong

REVIEW

This is a lovely compilation of romance novels that begins the No Match For Love series.  Based around the workings of a match-making agency, Toujour, the stories bring together couples who may not have otherwise found each other.  Each story focuses on a different couple and follows the ‘will they, won’t they’ plot of a contemporary romance. You will also recognise characters from the other books and see them achieve their happily ever after.

If you want a series to get lost in on a cold winters day, curl up in front of the fire, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the flirty fun that comes when finding your ‘one’!

Rating 4/5

Synopsis

Miss Match Playing cupid may break her heart. With the matchmaking company she works for in decline, Brooke is desperate to sign Luke, her billionaire best friend, as a client. But Luke is more interested in capturing Brooke’s heart. Escape into this lighthearted romantic comedy today, which InD’Tale Magazine calls a “feel-good romance that will leave you swooning.”

Not Your Match Sometimes it takes dating Mr. Wrong to find Mr. Right. Dating the wrong people has convinced both Ben and Andi that what they really want is each other. All that’s standing in their way is a fake boyfriend, a jealous ex-fiancée, and being afraid to risk their hearts. Explore this emotionally-charged romance today!

Mix ‘N Match Fire and ice aren’t meant to mix. Zoey and Mitch couldn’t be more opposite. One passionate kiss has convinced them they’d never work. But two weeks in Paris could change everything. Take a trip to Paris in this fun-filled romantic comedy!

The No Match for Love series follows the matchmakers and clients of Toujour on their journeys to love. Each story can be read as a stand-alone, so start with whichever book catches your interest the most!

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31816677-no-match-for-love-volume-one-box-set)

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

REVIEW

A truly stunning story of family unity, unconditional love, and facing untold fears.

Suzanne and Stewart used to love nothing more than climbing rock faces and mountains and delving into adventures unknown, that is until an horrendous accident claimed the lives of four people leaving three little girls with no parents. Moving back to Scotland, Suzanne and Stewart embark on the next adventure in their lives, following through on a promise and raising the girls as their own.

Hannah, Beth and Posy could not be more different if they tried.  Hannah is a workaholic with her head either in a book or staring at a spreadsheet. Beth is a stay-at-home mum with two young girls, a husband and what appears to be the ‘perfect life’.  Posy is the adventurer – who has never left home.  Each sister envies the others for the lives they live, their confidence and knowing just what they want from life. But, with the 25th anniversary of their parents death looming, the girls are going to find that what is shown on the surface is rarely what lies beneath.

I adored this book.  The bond between the sisters may appear strained and ready to snap but when they are needed they are there for each other.  The lives that they lead are so different but in the end they all want the same thing… to be loved. I really sympathised with Beth. Raising two boys there were many times that I wish I’d done what she did (I didn’t), being a mum can be very daunting but the rewards vastly outweigh the pressures and working as a team is vital. I never gave up work so I still had that adult contact but the overwhelming worry and protectiveness is always there. Hannah’s fears of love and rejection stem back to her early childhood and have ultimately effected her relationships with her sisters, parents and men. Posy is fiercely loyal to the only parents she has ever known, so much so that she dampens down her own wants and desires in favour of theirs. And all Suzanne wants is to see her children happy.

The story is beautifully written with wonderful characters that are easy to relate too. The men in the story are adorable! And each is perfectly suited to the woman they love. My heart did go out to Jason but he stepped up to mark and did Beth proud.

This is only the second book I have read by Sarah Morgan – ‘How to keep a secret’ was the first – but she is fast becoming one of my favourites. There is love and romance in this story but the main premise is the relationship between the sisters and overcoming the tragedy that shaped their lives.

Get the fire going, snuggle up with a hot chocolate and let the lives of The Christmas Sisters into your heart.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

The McBride sisters all have different reasons for finding Christmas challenging, but their adoptive mother is determined this year will be different. As the countdown to Christmas Day begins and the sisters return to their childhood home in the Scottish Highlands, arguments, connections and secrets start bubbling to the surface. The McBride family was made, not born – but will the sisters be able to make this the magical family Christmas their mother has always dreamed of?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39775954-the-christmas-sisters)

 

 

Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan

Allegra Fisher lives for her career.  She works all the hours she can only taking time out to visit her sister or her mum.  No man deserves her time unless he can improve her profit margin.  When she meets Sam Kemp on a business flight she gives in to her basic needs with no intention of ever seeing him again, only to find out his is to work alongside her.

The town of Zermatt in Switzerland, holds more secrets than anyone realises.  When their lives become entangled again Allegra finds that she must keep her head both professionally and personally around Sam or she could lose her heart.  Trust versus loyalty. Who do you trust?  Who should you be loyal to?

 

REVIEW

Having to deal with arrogant men on a daily basis and being disappointed by men in the past, Allegra Fisher does not trust easily.  When Sam enters her world both personally and professionally she finds that the two worlds collide and not in a happy way.  Secrets are being kept and Allegra does all she can to find out the answers.  Her character is jaded and filled with mistrust but through the course of the story she has to learn to let go and trust in herself.

This is almost like two books mixed into one.  The story around Sam and her work makes for an exciting read and a good story in itself.  When you then mix in the story about her grandmother and the whole incident relating to her family in Switzerland, which again could be a book by itself, you have an intriguing and thought-provoking story. The relationship between Allegra and her sister Isobel is lovely.  After everything they have been through they know that they still have each other.  Their mother has Alzheimer’s and I found that this was written in well and conveyed the effects that the disease can have on the family.

A beautiful story set mostly in the picturesque background of the Swiss Alps with secrets revealed and love conquering all.

Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

When Jessica Gold meets the enchanting Dominic Lacey on Christmas Eve she does not realise the course of events she is about to set in motion.  Now, trapped in his apartment, no way out, no communication with the outside world, and with no-one knowing where she is, Jessica is about to have the worst Christmas of her life.

 

REVIEW

I love a good psychological thriller, mainly because I like seeing if I can work the plot out before the reveal, and this one had me guessing most of the way through.  It is set in two parts – The time of Jess’s kidnapping and the time after she is found.  The series of events that unravels in the second part has you seeing the first in a whole other light but there is more hidden behind the scenes than is originally thought.

Needless to say, Dominic is not a nice guy. Yes, he has his kinky perversion which in itself is fine, each to their own, but as you find out more about him you realise that he really is just not nice.

Jess is not the sweet and innocent she makes out to be either, the mere fact that she goes with Dominic in the first place when she has a boyfriend at home leads to this conclusion. I wouldn’t say that she deserves what she gets but as learning curves go, it’s a huge, wide arc.

The introduction of the detective and following her thoughts and feelings is an interesting side story.

The only complaints I have about this book is the ending. I like a book to finish (unless it is a series).  What I don’t like is being left with questions and although there weren’t many I had to read between the lines to figure out the ending. For some it might ruin the feel of the story but for me I would have liked to have had a bigger epilogue, focusing on the Detective, as she does become a large part of the story, explaining what happened to some of the other prominent characters in the story, and also a bit more of Jess, not just the teaser we get.

An interesting, intriguing read with a Christmas twist.

Winter at the Dog & Duck – Dog & Duck #1 by Jill Steeples

When Ellie Browne was made redundant from her high-flying consultancy job in London she decided to take some time for herself and moved back home to Little Leyton.  Taking on a part-time job in the local pub, ‘The Dog and Duck’ and starting a dog-walking service, Ellie finds there is more to life than working all hours.

When the arrival of a strange and handsome man arrives at the Dog and Duck, Ellie finds that she is fighting for more than her heart when the heart of the community could be at stake.

 

REVIEW

Beautiful story that takes the reader into the heart of an English countryside.  Ellie is forced to return home when she loses her job and leaves London.  Finding the beauty of the great outdoors she begins dog-walking and finds herself face-to-face with Max Golding, the new, handsome, Lord of the Manor.

Max is a charming man but behind the charm he is keeping secrets.

The attraction between Max and Ellie is undeniable but I think I would be exactly like Ellie is my mistrust after he kept so many secrets.  She is looking for someone reliable but turns away the one man who is.

Interesting story with a HEA – although it does continue in a follow-up book called Summer at the Dog and Duck, where maybe all is not as happy as we left it.  I will be reading this, probably in the summer.

The Christmas Mail Order Bride – Holiday Mail Order Brides #1 by Kit Morgan

Summer James had spent her entire life in a orphanage now it was time to leave.  With her options being as they are she enlisted the help of a mail order bride service. Arriving at the small town of Nowhere, the last thing she expects is to be shot by her own fiancé.

Sheriff Clayton Riley finds out on the day she arrives in town that his brother has brought him a wife for Christmas. Clayton has been married before and does not want or need another wife, but when he sees his new bride he just might change his mind, that’s if she doesn’t change hers after he shoots her.

Can Summer earn the Sheriff’s trust and friendship enough to make their relationship last and in turn can Clayton prove to Summer that he is not the loveless man he seems to be? Or will outside influence end the marriage before it has even happened?

 

REVIEW

With the orphanage as the only home she has known and being rejected her entire life, Summer James finds it hard to trust in anyone but she has also lead a secluded and sheltered life.  Venturing out into the big wide world is a scary prospect but moving to an entirely different state to marry a man she has never met goes far beyond scary.  The relationship between Summer and Clayton is strained from the start.  Clayton is still living in the past and trying to atone for the death of his first wife.  Everyone, well almost everyone, in town is encouraging Clayton to give Summer a chance and when he finally does realise his feelings it could be too late.

There is a build up to a threat against Summer at the beginning of the book which I really think could have been used more in the story. I appreciate that it is the reason that Summer doesn’t return to New Orleans but I kept expecting something to happen and it wasn’t what I expected.  I suppose this could be viewed in two ways: disappointing that there was a build up with nothing happening, but interesting that what you thought might happen doesn’t but something else does instead.  Kept the story a little less predictable.

On the whole a nice story of growing love and Christmas miracles.