#Review By Lou of A Mother’s Christmas Wish by Glenda Young @flaming_nora @HeadlineFiction @headlinepg @rararesources #ChristmasReads #Saga #FamilySaga #Christmas #BlogTour

A Mother’s Christmas Wish
By Glenda Young

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Feeling Christmassy and/or all hopeful yet? This could be the book for you. It isn’t often that I read sagas, but this caught my eye. Today I’m on the blog tour of A Mother’s Christmas Wish, thanks to Rachel Random Resources and the publisher – Headline. Discover the blurb and review below.

Blurb

A Mother’s Christmas Wish

‘I hope this Christmas is better than last year’s.’

Following a scandalous affair, wayward Emma Devaney is sent in disgrace from her home in Ireland to Ryhope, where she will live with her widowed aunt, Bessie Brogan, and help run her pub. Bessie is kind but firm, and at first Emma rebels against her lack of freedom. Struggling to fit in, she turns to the wrong person for comfort, and becomes pregnant.

Accepting she must embrace her new life for the sake of her baby, Emma pours her energy into making the pub thrive and helping heal the fractured relationship between Bessie and her daughters. She catches the attention of Robert, a gruff but sincere farmer, who means to win her heart.

As December approaches, thankful for the home and acceptance she’s found, Emma is determined to bring not just her family, but the whole Ryhope community, together to celebrate – and to make one very special mother’s Christmas dreams come true.

Review

Behold, December 1923, it was quite a year for Emma and her mother, Nuala. The year they left Ireland to start a new start. They head to Ryhope, after sending a letter to Nuala’s sister, Bessie. Emma is sent there to help her aunt with what seems a high-spirited , lively pub with all sorts of village life within. Emma is feisty and rebellious, sometimes I’ll-tempered coupled with rudeness, but that being said, she still has warmth and that mother’s wish grows within too. She is also absolutely determined to give the pub her best shot and make a go of things to ensure it thrives.

 Her aunt Bessie is however, a kindly soul with heart and warmth, providing hope for the pub’s future too as well as hope that family rifts that occurred, can be healed.

What transpires is a look into small village living where people grow reputation, there’s crime, romance and marriage, employment, poverty. Glenda Young shows it all in a multi-layered story that is well-researched about how some people lived at the time, social views and attitudes and what society was like, especially in small places. It, ultimately gives a great look into the 1920’s (but away from the Flapper’s life) with a bit of grit and a good dose of hope that culminates into an uplifting family saga. This is a book that would be great on anyone’s Christmas list.

As an added extra, did you know Glenda Young also writes cosy crime? There is an excerpt of her next cosy crime novel – Murder at the Seaview Hotel. It gets off to a great start, set in Scarborough and something for readers to also look forward to.

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#Author #Interview Conducted By Lou for The Gentleman of Holly Street By Lotte R. James @lottejamesbooks @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #BlogTour #Christmas #ChristmasReads

The Gentleman of Holly Street
By Lotte R. James

Today I am delighted to be closing the blog tour with an interview session with Lotte R. James about her new historical fiction book – The Gentleman of Holly Street. Discover why she writes in this genre, but not always, the inspiration to themes and the rags to riches tale of her book, what’s coming next and more in 5 questions. I thank Lotte R. James, Mills and Boon and Rachel Random Resources for this opportunity. Without further ado, follow down to the blurb and then the interview.

Will this Christmas…
Change Their Lives Again

When self-made gentleman Freddie Walton rescued penniless Philomena Nichols at Christmas eight years ago, he never imagined that he would build his empire with her. Yet whilst they have created a life together as friends, Freddie can’t let their special connection become more than that. Not when his dangerous past continues to haunt him… But what happens when Freddie’s feelings for Philomena also refuse to stay hidden?

Welcome to my blog Lotte. Thank you for agreeing to take part in a Q&A session with me about your book and what’s next for you. 

  1. What inspired you to write Historical Romance and choose Mills and Boon as your publisher, or did they choose you?

I’ve always loved history, and I think that prompted my interest as a reader in Historical Romance. From there, it was really just wanting to write something in the genre that I loved so much. I did write my debut with Harlequin/Mills & Boon specifically with the Historical line in mind, as it was a literal dream to be part of that collection of incredible authors. It went through quite a few revisions and rewrites, but then I was lucky enough to get the call!

 

  1. You chose to work with some fairly strong themes – Anxiety, Houselessness, Childhood trauma, Mild violence, Mention of suicidal ideation. What inspired you to write about them?

I think all my books feature fairly strong themes to be honest. Merely because we face some very difficult things in life, and it’s important to me to represent that in what I write. I don’t believe all art should be a mirror of reality, don’t get me wrong, but I do feel that I am, and always have been, personally drawn to exploring the grey areas, of people, and of life. To exploring the challenges we all face, and I think to an extent, showing just how incredible humans are.

 

  1. What sort of empire does your main character – Freddie build up and what inspires you to a rags to riches story?

Freddie builds up a sustainable and ethical shipping empire. I’ve always loved rags-to-riches stories myself, and I think that’s why subconsciously, when I first introduced Freddie in The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall, I introduced him as a self-made man. Throughout history, you have incredible stories of people who succeeded – in a myriad of ways, I don’t mean success here to be merely financial – by being at the forefront of change, and I think that’s an aspect I am often drawn to as well. People who have the vision to make change happen.

 

  1. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write in the Historical Fiction genre?

Be passionate about the period you want to write in, and of course, about the genre itself. It isn’t merely about loving old-time clothes, or more polite ways of courting. It’s about finding why you have to write Historical, rather than any other genre; what you want to say, and represent.

 

  1. What book are you currently reading and are you working on a new book?

I’m currently reading Rogue by Jennifer Bernard – which I’m enjoying very much so far – and yes, I am always working on a new book. Currently, I am juggling three main projects – one Historical and two Contemporary – because my brain will not let me stop… Though I haven’t started my next Harlequin/Mills & Boon yet – that will likely be how I start off 2023!

About the Author 

Lotte James trained as an actor and theatre director, but spent most of her life working day jobs crunching numbers whilst dreaming up stories of love and adventure. She’s thrilled to finally be writing those stories, and when she’s not scribbling on tiny pieces of paper, she can usually be found wandering the countryside for inspiration, or nestling with coffee and a book.

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#Review by Lou of The Cruise By Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #TheCruise #BlogTour #HolidayRead #ChristmasRead

The Cruise
By Catherine Cooper

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for Catherine Cooper’s latest mystery thriller – The Cruise, thanks to Random T. Tours and Harper Collins. Join a deadly glamorous trip of a lifetime and follow the passengers to discover the culprit. It’s a great murder mystery as we approach the festive season of Christmas and New Year. Discover the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, everyone on board becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished?

Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Review

Immanis is is highly glamorous and very large cruise ship captained by Leo. It oozes glamour and the height of sophistication from the start. Just the amount of bars and restaurants are enough to make me gasp! It is a joy to read of such sumptuous surroundings. The cruise ship is so huge, on one hand you’d think it would be hard for someone to go completely missing, with people knowing traveller’s names, and yet on the other hand, so easy as people go about their new year holiday in the Caribbean and because there are so many and it’s so huge. Lola, one of the crew mysteriously goes missing. Superintendent Bailey and Bill are on the case to discover what happened to her, using all the technology they have at their disposal and by conducting the necessary interviews.
There’s also a lot of speculation surrounding her disappearance amongst the crew. It’s also interesting to read about things from the ship’s doctor’s point of view.

The mystery also takes readers to Inverness, a city in the north of Scotland. The book also whisks readers back to 2013, Catford in London. Then the timeline moves again to 2016, a very interesting year and when more of the story comes together, so it’s worth sticking with. It’s intriguing and it intensifies as the story goes on. Between the past and present, it all becomes rather twisty with an unexpected ending.

#Review By Lou of A Little Christmas Panto By Angela Britnell @AngelaBritnell @ChocLituk @rararesources #ChristmasReads #Pantomime #Christmas #ALittleChristmasPanto #readingcommunity #writingcommunity #Bookish #BlogTour

A Little Christmas Panto

By Angela Britnell

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

It is nearing Christmas time and that means one thing – it’s Panto time. “Oh no it isn’t!” “Oh yes it is!” This will be sure to get you in the festive mood. Twinkle step down to the blurb and the review below. Thanks first to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to review and for the publisher ChocLit UK for the book.

Blurb

Can a little Cornish village panto convince a troubled Hollywood heart throb to act again?

Oh no it won’t! At least that’s what Zach Broussard initially thinks when the eccentric Anna Teague tries to railroad him into helping out with her community pantomime production in the run-up to Christmas. Zach has his reasons for leaving Hollywood behind, and his retreat to the remote village of Polcarne in Cornwall signals the start of a new acting free life for him.

But when Zach meets Anna’s daughter, Rosey – an ex concert pianist who has swapped Mozart for panto tunes – he starts to wonder whether he could change his mind, and not just about acting.

If nothing else, will the residents of Polcarne ensure Zach has a Christmas he never forgets?

Oh yes they will!

Review

This book is seasonal, sweet and theatrical. Set in Cornwall, it is just fun and has heart and warmth for this time of year… ‘On yes it does…’ okay, moving on. It is about community getting together and helping each other to try and put on one of those great and uniquely British stage theatre shows – the Pantomime.

The relationship between Rosey and Zach is lovely to read and see develop. There is also the concerns about how the Panto will go ahead and if Zach, who has left LA, will join in and act.

It being Christmas, it is joyous, but not all is straightforward as the Panto is thrown into doubt as an accident occurs. There is also a bit highlighting hard times around Christmas for some but also the resilience to enjoy the season anyway. To find out if they pull off the Panto you need to read the book.

So throw yourself into Christmas with A Little Christmas Panto. This was the first book I’ve read by this author and it hits the spot.

#BookReview By Lou of What The Ladybird Heard At Christmas by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks #JuliaDonaldson @LydiaMonks @@MacmillanKidsUK #ChildrensBook #ChristmasRead #Christmas #WhatTheLadybirdHeard #WhatTheLadybirdHeardAtChristmas

What The Ladybird Heard At Christmas
By Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A delightful seasonal addition to What the Ladybird Heard… series for preschoolers and young primary school aged children. Discover the blurb and my review below. First, thanks to Macmillan Kids for gifting me a copy of the book to review.

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Blurb

Packed full of fun, What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas is a fantastically lively rhyming adventure from the bestselling picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks.

In a big old house, the ladybird is visiting her friend the spider for the festive season. But those two bad men, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, are up to no good again. They have a devious plan – to steal the children’s Christmas presents from their stockings! It’s a good thing that the clever little ladybird has overheard their awful plotting, and she has a cunning plan to make sure they don’t get away with it.

The fifth title in the Number One bestselling series from the award-winning team of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, which has been enjoyed by over four million children worldwide.

Enjoy more adventures with the clever little ladybird in What the Ladybird Heard, What the Ladybird Heard Next, What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday and What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside.

Review

This book takes young readers into Christmas with a rhyming story that Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks are synonymous for. Seek out the ladybird on every page and meet a spider and its friends. All is not as it seems, when instead of Santa, as they are expecting, it is 2 burglars. Will Christmas be saved?

The book is short and sweet, with just enough mild trepidation to capture the gaze of young eyes and to enthrall their enthusiasm for a book. This is a series many children will be familiar with, starting with – What The Ladybird Heard. Children delight in trying to find the ladybird, thus using their skills of observation and to gasp a small bit when there’s something bad about to happen amongst, what is rather a cute scene, to find comfort in knowing all is well again in the end. The illustrations are perfect at depicting the words on the page. They are bright, fun and just as engaging as the story itself.

This is a book I highly recommend for Christmas stockings or a pre-Christmas read.

A Christmas Carol – By Charles Dickens Adapted By Dave McCluskey, Narrated By Liam Scott- @demccluskey1 #Audible Version #Christmas #AChristmasCarol #ChristmasReads #Classics #ChristmasClassics

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted By Dave McCluskey
Narrated By Liam Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I have a review of the audio version (available on Audible) of a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Thanks to Dave McCluskey for gifting me a free code to access this for honest review purposes. To listen to this for yourselves, I have a link after the review…

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Blurb

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life. 

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions? 

Review

There are many re-tellings of A Christmas Carol and I am sure you know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 spirits visiting him, but this has been done differently. It is in rhyme.
Each time a new version is produced, I admit, I have reservations, but listen, even though with an air of trepidation and hope that whatever is produced is done well and does the original text by Charles Dickens justice. This one is surprisingly done well. At just over an hour long (bearing in mind the book itself is actually surprisingly short), this is easy to fit into anyone’s day for some family entertainment for Christmas.

The piano music in the beginning sets the atmosphere and is pitch perfect. It has been adapted well by Dave McCluskey, who has clearly paid attention well to the original as it is all very recognisable. This is re-written in quite a bit of rhyme to it and is easy to listen to and makes this accessible to many ages, which brings me onto the narrator. Liam Scott narrates all the parts well, bringing atmosphere and all the characters to life with some good voice acting. From his opening lines and then throughout, he has a good, strong rhythm, heard with all the pronouncing of the words, sometimes emphasising certain words. The rhythm that is set brings good pace and interestingly sounds between being Shakespearean in some places and Pantomime in others places.
Throughout the story, Liam Scott reads this iconic Christmas tale with conviction. Each character is brought to life by Liam Scott by the different voices he does, Ebenezer Scrooge sounds his age and the ghosts sound haunting enough. There is also some humour in this tale of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Still to Come.

This is overall a pretty good adaptation and may become part of people’s ways of listening to this well-known story and for those who have not yet read or listened to the original text, then this may encourage people to do that too.

To listen click on the link that will take you to Audible – Amazon – A Christmas Carol