#BookReview By Lou – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn @HollyH_Author @TeamBATC @harriet_col #simonschusterUK #TheLittleShopOfHiddenTreasures

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures
By Holly Hepburn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am excited to present my review of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures. It has layers of history, romance, poignancy and chips away at you to make you curious amongst the cosyness.
Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for gifting me a physical copy of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures cover pic

Blurb

**The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde.**
Originally published in four parts this is the full story in one package. 

When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life.  

Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings.

But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?

The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of Coming Home to Brightwater Bay

Review

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures cover picHope Henderson is into antiques and needs a job. What can be more perfect than a vacancy at The Ever After Emporium – Purveyors of Treasure Great and Small in York. Her love of antiques started at Portabello Market in London, but then she moved to York where she finds the antique shop founded in 1902 where the proprieter is James T. Young Esq. What makes it seem all the more perfect is the post is part-time and no experience is required.

Charlotte is Hope’s sister, grappling motherhood with her daughter, Amber who is of a young age that she keeps growing out of things, something many parents with toddlers (and older kids), will be able to relate to. 

There’s an interesting Egyptian puzzle box that belonged to Will’s mother in the emporium that piques at the curiousity of Hope and will readers alike. This is where the plot begins to thicken, now it’s already captured my attention by its relative cosyness, which I am sure many readers will be able to feel and be reeled in even further between the past and present, linked with a letter written around an exhibition to Egypt in the early 1920’s. This note, secretly hidden away, sends Hope on an adventure of investigative research into Tutenkhamun, Lord Canarvon and the exhibitions. So, although this is a fictional story, it does mention real people and real excavations. The author intertwines fact and fiction well and holds interest. This book, what with all the interest in the Canarvon Family due to the location of Downton Abbey, may then find you wanting to investigate these exhibitions yourself too and that’s where good writing comes in, to pique interest that much.

On-top of the mysterious letter and the history is also deep poignancy about grief. What is said is incredibly truthful and wise words indeed within this book that has certain interesting nuances within it.

There’s also quite the love story to follow through this book too that keeps you guessing what the ending is going to be and what choices are going to be made. There’s also some great humour with certain film references and more general humour, between Hope and her sister Charlotte, creating some great sisterly fun. There’s also some really heartwarming moments among other characters too.

This is ulitmately a lovely book that is heartwarming and a joy to read.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures BTG (1)

 

#BookReview By Lou – The Arctic Curry Club By Dani Redd @dani_redd @AvonBooksUK #TheArcticCurryClub #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #Food #Community #UpliftingFiction

The Arctic Curry Club
By Dani Redd

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Arctic Curry Club, Dani Redd, Heartwarming, Xmas Romance, Love, Contemporary Romance

One of the recent books that was gifted in in a lovely care type package with flavoured coffee that has long since gone, although a bit strong for me but loved this touch and drank it all the same, was The Arctic Curry Club. It’s different and yet uplifting and good for foodies and people exploring different settings for that Christmas, wintry feel. Find out what it’s about in the blurb and then my honest review… Please note, the opinions are my own and not influenced by anything I was gifted.

The Arctic Curry Club

‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’

Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.

In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.

But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…

A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!

The Arctic Curry Club 2

Review

The Arctic Curry Club is mosty about trying to discover your roots and where you feel like you actually belong. Maya is part English and part Indian. She has a boyfriend who is the opposite to her. He is fit and sporty, she is plump, small and also full of anxiety about so much. 

The book is set between England, India and the Arctic. Her boyfriend leads her to the Arctic where he really feels he belongs with the husky dogs and sleds etc. She is more unsure and her anxieties rise as she becomes increasingly scared of getting lost. Later they come across someone running a tour guide business, which she becomes involved in, or at least coaxed to, to cook Indian food. One issue is she doesn’t really know how to, which sends her in a different direction, to find out more about her Indian roots, which she can’t recall too much of, not since a family tragedy.

Later, she opens up her mother’s cookbook and starts to make a go of things, trying to fit in and become part of the community, who start to rally around and friendships are soon forged and her confidence grows with this and her new job as a chef. It is fun reading about how she adapts some recipes, depending on what ingredients she can get, especially from Norway, shows an element of fearlessness in the kitchen to experiment, even if it doesn’t always work out as planned first time. This is where the uplifting side of Maya’s life comes into the story, along with that friendly community feel.

At the back of the book, there is an interesting note from the author about how she spent time in both India and the Arctic Circle. The story itself shows how she became inspired by these places to write a fictional uplifting story. The settings, especially the Arctic make this book quite different for the universal themes to occur in.

#BookReview of The Call of the Penguins By Hazel Prior @HazelPriorBooks @TransworldBooks #Christmasread #CallOfThePenguins #Fiction #Wildlife #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #GeneralFiction

The Call of the Penguins
By Hazel Prior

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the author of Away with the Penguins - Call of the Penguins is out this Autumn

The Call of the Penguins will have you wanting to whisk yourself to them in a heartbeat!
Thanks to publisher – Transworld Books for gifting me a copy to review. Find out more in the blurb and my full review below.

Call of the PenguinsA delightfully feel-good new novel from the No. 1 bestselling author of Away With the Penguins – sure to become a firm favourite with readers!

At eighty-seven, Veronica McCreedy thinks her days of travelling the world are behind her. But when she’s invited to take part in a TV nature documentary that will take her across the globe filming her beloved penguins, she leaps at the prospect of a new adventure . . .

 

Review

'Penguins represent bravery, determination and resilience'

Set, initially in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, The Call of the Penguins has charm and warmth and that call for a new adventure for Veronica McCreedy. The book is warm but tackles worldly issues within its cosyness of the penguins. There’s a new colony of penguins being introduced as well as updates on the penguins in the Antarctic. This brings a fresh and brings a new slant to human and animal stories.

The chapters are split between Veronica, Patrick and Terry. Readers get to know their trials and tribulations of life, such as family, health, relationship issues and more… It makes for an interesting read as they take you into the heart of the animal or at least penguin kingdom, as well as their own lives that have their ups and downs as do the penguins. In saying that, it does have a feel-good factor that will give you a cuddly warming feel, without being sappy as it deals with some of what can be found in hard-hitting headlines about the environment and conservation. Veronica McCreedy, although is trying to do something good in conserving penguins, isn’t without attracting her own headlines of controversy to a point.

This is a rather enjoyable book with all the adventures you’ll go on and the characters you’ll meet along the way as you cosy up from the cold winter days.

'The perfect fireside read' Trisha Ashley, 2021

 

#BookReview By Lou – Celebrations At The Chateau By Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #Christmas #CelebrationsAtTheChateau

Celebrations At The Chateau
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Celebrations at the Chateau is coming soon

A cosy feel good novel set in France, Celebrations At The Chateau is a book that entertains. Thanks to    Take a look at the blurb and then my full review below…

Celebrations at the Chateau

Blurb

'Another gem from Jo Thomas' Kate Fforde 2021A wonderfully romantic, feel-good new novel set in a French château over the most magical time of the year! From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse.

When their grandfather dies, Fliss and her sisters are astonished to inherit a French château! Travelling to Normandy to visit the beautiful if faded house, they excitedly make plans over delicious crêpes and local cider in the town nearby.

But they soon discover the château needs major work, a huge tax bill is due . . . and there’s a sitting tenant, Madame Charlotte Cadieux, to whom they owe a monthly allowance!

Unable to sell but strapped for cash, Fliss determines to spruce up the elegant old rooms and open a B&B. But why are Jacques – Madame’s grandson and the mayor – and the other townsfolk so hostile? How did Fliss’ grandfather come to own the place anyway? And will Jacques and Fliss be able to put their differences aside to save the château?

It seems like nothing but trouble. But as the old year gives way to the new, it could be a new beginning for them all . . .

Inspired by Escape to the Chateau, this is a cosy and uplifting novel to curl up with, from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

Review

There’s work to be done and a chateau to save in this feel-good book. Fliss and her sisters have a large task on their hands in France. They end up with a chateau that needs doing up. They also need to decide what to do about a sit-in tenant they were not expecting. It very much makes me think of channel 4 series – Escape to the Chateau in many ways in that it needs so many reparations. It’s such a huge undertaking to save it. It’s entertaining to see what unfolds, but hardship also hits them as a huge bill arrives. The locals are not pleasant and are far from welcoming to these new incomers. It shows how society can be towards new people, or at least, part of it. It’s a big undertaking and one that makes for a fun story to escape into.

It’s lovely reading about the renovations as they get underway and all the food and drinks that wash over the book, creating the cosy factor with interesting characters.

 

#BookReview By Lou – Underneath the Christmas Tree By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @harriett_col @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC #UnderneathTheChristmasTree #ChristmasRead #Fiction #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour

Underneath the Christmas Tree
By Heidi Swain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Halloween is now over, so now is the time that is ripe for thinking about Christmas. I am pleased to be on the blog tour for Underneath the Christmas Tree for some festive cheer. I thank Simon and Schuster for the book and for the other gifts too (please note my review is not influenced by this). Please find more in the blurb and then head down to my review.

Underneath The Christmas Tree pic

Blurb

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

Underneath the Christmas TreeWynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

Underneath the Christmas Tree is the perfect festive read, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Review

It’s a joy to return to Wynmouth, on the Norfolk coast, and this book has so much warmth to it that makes it great for cosying up with thick cosy jumpers, doors locked and a nice drink and snacks so not much moving is required, until the end. Underneath the Christmas Tree is heartwarming in the colder weather, with life decisions to be made and a good dollop of Christmas cheer to brighten the darker days.

Things aren’t always easy or comfortable for Heidi Swain’s characters and this time it is Liza Wynter who has choices to make, especially about the Christmas Tree business – Wynter’s Trees that was once her dad’s. The business is full of Christmas cheer within its grounds and there’s a sense of heritage, of preserving what went before, which I like and appreciate and think is important, except this isn’t without its issues within the business itself as Liza wants to give up her shares in Wynter Trees, which she has with David and Edward (Ned). There’s the decision how to tell the public to be made, but there is also a feeling of gumption as she tries to do what she feels is right for her in deciding whether forging a new path, knowing the business could still be in good hands, is for her or not. There are sad an bittersweet moments with memories for Liza about her dad.

There is also Maya and a some jealousy emerges from Liza, even though Liza herself is more popular amongst the customers than she thinks. Tangled up in this is Ned and there comes a bit of a love story.

As with most books by Heidi Swain, there is some lovely sounding food and drinks to also get your appetite going.

This is a book that I thoroughly recommend to get you in the festive Christmas mood.

Underneath the Christmas Tree Blog Tour

#BookReview by Lou of Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley @ZaraStoneley @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #Fiction #OfficeReturn #OfficeRomance #Humour #Uplifting

Hot Desk
By Zara Stoneley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot Desk provides great escapism that is packed full of delightful entertainment  with really good humour and romance.

Thank you to One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK) for gifting me a copy of Hot Desk and giving me the opportunity to review.

Follow onto the blurb and my full review below.

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Blurb

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
 
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
 
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review

Hot DeskHot Desk is set post Covid-19 and people are adjusting to being back in the office with new working practices. Something so many office workers would now be able to relate to. This reality is there, but it’s not all about Covid-19. This is about Alice and how she handles going back to the office of ‘We Got Designs’. It presents itself, even from the first page, to be a very funny book indeed. The comic-timing in the writing is divine. A little bit further in and there is the clear signs of romantic frission between her and fellow colleague – Jamie and it is so well written. It’s great that this is set out near the beginning and then to see how this progresses. It’s a bit like listening into office gossip when reading Hot Desk. It’s all rather a deliciously enticing book that is so entertaining that it compels you to read to see how it all plays out.

There are serious notes to the story too, one being the real fear of the office’s future. There is also the whole fear of hot desking looming and then becoming a reality, with all the terms and conditions attached and the emotion that goes with it. Readers will be able to relate to how things can be when a desk is no longer your own. Alice finds out she has to hot desk with Jamie, so confides in her friend Lou quite a bit.

There is a sweet growing romance that sprouts in the office and yet in a light way, also brings endangered animals and conservation into the conversation. It’s lovely to organically watch Alice and Jamie getting to know each other.

Ultimately this is a rom-com that is properly funny and properly romantic. The mix of these ingredients with the premise of returning to the office and having to share a desk works wonderfully well and makes me smile. Readers can watch this office to see if the spark of their romance grows further into a sizzle or not, even with all the new things to get to grip with, this element still lives on.
After a hard day’s work, whether you’re in an office or not, Hot Desk provides entertaining, sweet and touching escapism that hits the spot very well indeed.