Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake #BookReview #BlogTour (@Juleswake) @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaResources @NetGalley #RachelsRandomResources #NetGalley #NottingHillInTheSnow

Notting Hill In The Snow

Delighted to be one of the blogs opening up this tour for the new book by one of my favourite authors today, Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting to me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!

Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.

Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter, Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch and volunteer with Viola.

With the sparks between them hotter than the chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves trapped together in more ways than one…

Apologies for posting this a little late in the day but a combination of an Irish road trip, a flat iPad battery and unreliable hotel Wi-fi have led to this situation and I hope it is a case of better late than never.

This book is a follow up to Covent Garden in the Snow insofar as it has some of the same characters, but it is a whole new story with the focus on a new set of main characters and is easily read as a standalone book. However, you should definitely use this new book to catch up on the previous one which is a great book and one of my favourite Christmas reads of the past few years.

Did this sequel live up to the previous book? Did it ever, and then some. This is an absolutely perfect Christmas story with a cast of warm and wonderful characters, a gorgeous wintry setting and an enticing story line to hold it all together.

Oddly, following on from yesterday’s review, this book also centres around the staging of a school nativity play. This time we are following the story of Viola, a musician at the London Metropolitan Opera Company who is tasked with helping out a a school as a favour to a patron. Viola could do without the added stress at a busy time of year when she has work and the demands of her own, rather inconsiderate family, to deal with. However, working alongside handsome and charming lawyer Nate takes some of the sting out of it and when you throw in some cute kiddies, Viola finds herself losing her heart in more ways than one.

Jules Wake’s writing is as approachable and engrossing as ever in this book and the story really held my attention all the way through. Jules has created a character in Viola who immediately steals the heart of the reader and draws us to her side and into her story from the first page. The situation she finds herself in with Nate and Grace really moved me, and was such a relevant and contemporary scenario, totally relatable to so many people, I was captivated from start to finish.

This is a rewarding and charming festive story that repaid the time that I invested in reading it. It left me feeling moved and warmed and satisfied. Fans of this author will not be disappointed and anyone new to her books will have the delightful prospect of catching up on her back catalogue. Lucky things.

Notting Hill in the Snow is out as an ebook now and in paperback on 12 December and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:

Notting Hill in the Snow Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Jules Wake (2)

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.  

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.  

Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, Notting Hill in the Snow being the latest. 

Connect with Jules:

Website: http://www.juleswake.co.uk

Facebook: Jules Wake

Twitter: @Juleswake

Instagram: @juleswakeauthor

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot #BookReview #BlogTour (@mandybaggot) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @VickyJoss1 @NetGalley #NetGalley #OneChristmasStar #Christmas

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Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!

Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.

Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.

Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour for the new Christmas book by Mandy Baggot, One Christmas Star. My thanks to Vicky Joss at Aria for inviting me to take part, and for my digital copy of the book received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

It’s no secret that I love a book by Mandy Baggot. Her writing is so approachable and comforting that I defy any fan of romantic fiction not to be charmed by her books.

That being said, this one stands out as being something particularly special. Much as I am a huge fan of romance novels and will fight to the (metaphorical) death its many ill-informed detractors, even I sometimes find Christmas romance books a little twee. Not this one. Despite the fact it contained all the usual elements readers expect to find in a book of this genre, this one felt a bit different. It really crept under my skin and into my heart and I was totally enchanted by it.

I have been trying to put my finger on exactly what it was about this book that made it particularly stand out. I thought it might be the central character of Emily, about whom I loved absolutely everything. She was fragile and vulnerable, but also brave and determined, as well as kind and considerate. We meet her as she has been through the mill and is dealing with a good many challenges, but still finds it in her heart to try and help people around her, for no reason other than it if the right thing to do. I think maybe I have made her sound a little sickly sweet, but that’s really not how she comes across in the book, she is not perfect but very down-to-earth and likeable.

Maybe it is the handsome heartthrob, singer Ray Stone, who has all the requisite attractions for a leading romance hero, but is oh so much more. Damaged and deeply vulnerable, he is the perfect foil for Emily and I defy any red-blooded woman not to fall in love with him. However, so far, so standard for a romance novel, so what made this one stand out?

The setting, in a wintry London in the approach to Christmas, is everything you would want and Mandy brings it to life beautifully. Emily’s job as a primary school teacher prepping the Christmas show gives us a cast of cute kiddies who provide comedy and drama and emotion in equal measure (fans of Nativity! will love this book). Emily’s parents are lively characters who create some cringe-worthy moments, and provide the perfect contrast to Ray’s more down-to-earth family. All of these elements add to the book’s appeal.

However, I think what made it extra special were the issues dealt with in the book. They are relevant, current and tricky dilemmas that are often shied away from in this genre of book, but which affect thousands of people on a daily basis and Mandy manages to weave them into the story with sensitivity, understanding and a lightness of touch that perfectly addresses the problems without making the tale too heavy for the genre but not making light of the seriousness of the issues either. It is skilful, truthful and moving and I was really impressed by how she achieves the balance.

Everything about this book comes together to make the perfect Christmas romance for people who want more than a fluffy read for the season, who are looking for a real story that will both move and entertain. I applaud the result wholeheartedly, a really rewarding and satisfying read.

One Christmas Star is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 14 November and you can buy a copy here.

Do check out the rest of the blogs on the tour as detailed below:

About the Author

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Connect with Mandy:

Website: http://mandybaggot.com

Facebook: Mandy Baggot Author

Twitter: @mandybaggot

Instagram: @mandybaggot

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft #BookReview #BlogTour (@SueMoorcroft) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #LetItSnow #Christmas

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This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…

Family means everything to Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia, and growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’d always believed – and is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known; an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a memorable romantic encounter along the way…

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this wintery delight, Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft. My thanks to Sabah Khan from Avon Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my digital copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This book surprised me from the off by tackling a situation I have never seen addressed in this type of book before so I knew I was in for something a bit different from this novel from the beginning. We are thrown straight in to the extraordinary life of Lily and her start riding the wave of her unusual circumstances along with her.

Once I got past the dramatic prologue and in to the story proper, I was enchanted by the setting of Middledip and the community that centres around The Three Fishes pub. Sue has created a cast of characters that are immediately warm and enchanting people to spend time with, and it was a joy to spend time here, learning about their lives. By this point I was in love with Lily and desperately wanted things to work out for her, and was delighted when the delicious Isaac came into her orbit, but of course the path of true love never runs smooth…

The inclusion of the snowy trip to Switzerland, with carol singing and Christmas markets, gives this book the perfect Christmas flavour and made me want to jump on the first plane to Zurich in a set of sexy thermals. My favourite romance books always include a wishlist travel experience and this book did not disappoint in this respect. I defy any reader not to be yearning after Swiss chocolate and cuckoo clocks by the end of the novel.

Aside from the Christmassy flavour and the lure of armchair travel, the heart of this book is the story of love and family. The family you are born into, the family you create and the family you find in the hearts and company of the people you choose to have around you. The story is warm and enchanting, addressing some difficult and unusual topics in an approachable and sensitive way, and giving the reader that warm, fuzzy, contented feeling we have come to expect from a Sue Moorcroft novel.

The perfect book to curl up with on a cold, autumn evening and escape into for a few hours. Fans of the author and the genre will not be disappointed.

Let It Snow is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some alternative reviews of the book, please visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Connect with Sue:

Website: Sue Moorcroft, Author

Facebook: Sue Moorcroft Author

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

We Met In December by Rosie Curtis #BookReview #BlogTour (@karamin) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #WeMetInDecember #NetGalley #Winter

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What if you couldn’t get away from the one who got away?

Unlucky in love Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling Notting Hill house‐share with four strangers. On her first night Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but as far as Jess is concerned, the connection is instant. She lets herself imagine how their relationship will grow over the following year.

But when Jess returns from a Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else – beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams… and the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and survive the next twelve months… but love has a way of hampering even the best laid plans…

I am excited to be taking part in the blog tour for my first wintery book of the season, We Met In December by Rosie Curtis. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my ecopy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I thought this was going to be my first Christmas book of the year, but this actually contains only passing mentions of Christmas. However, it is a lovely book to read at this time of year, as it does feel very…autumnal…. to me, something to do with the change of the season heralding new beginnings and new challenges, which is one of the themes of the book.

We meet Jess and Alex as they are both undergoing big changes in their lives. Jess has moved from Bournemouth to London to start a new job in the city she has dreamed of living in. Alex has made a drastic career change, a decision that led to seismic changes elsewhere in his life that he is still coming to terms with. They both end up with rooms in the same house share and have an instant spark of attraction, but the path of true love never did run smooth, as we know.

This is a really, sweet, gentle and heart-warning story. it is told from the dual perspectives of Alex and Jess, and gives a great insight into how two people can get in a muddle when they don’t articulate their feelings and make assumptions about how the other person is feeling. It is a totally authentic portrayal of trying to negotiate the tricky world of romance, as anyone who has been young and besotted with be able to tell you. We’ve all been there, so the story is universal and everyone will be able to relate to parts of it.

The two main characters are both easy to like and relate to, so they carry the reader through the story effortlessly. I cared what happened to both of them, and really wanted things to work out, which is the make or break hook for a romance novel. This one worked really well. The story, whilst seeming ordinary, was very touching and true. Rosie also peopled the book with a host of other attractive characters to assist the plot along, the whole thing just meshed together perfectly.

The one thing that set this book a little apart from the mainstream of romance novels was its passionate portrayal of London. The author really brings the city to life, you can feel what a love story of London, as much as Jess and Alex, this is and she pretty much captured how I feel about the city. This was a London I recognised and love when I visit, and I really enjoyed experiencing a visit to the capital via the pages of this book. It did have a very ‘Richard Curtis movie’ feel about it, which no doubt was deliberate given the mention of Jess’s love for them, so if this is something that appeals to you, as it does to me, this is a great book for you to pick up.

This book was a very easy, pleasant and satisfying read that is perfect to carry you through the cooling days of autumn and towards winter. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a heart-warming romance to while away a few happy hours.

We Met In December is out now and you can get your copy by following this link.

To read some alternative reviews of the book, check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

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About the Author

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Rosie Curtis was born in the Highlands of Scotland, and now lives with her family in a 150 year old house by the sea in the north west of England. She loves travel, happy ever after stories, and daydreaming. Her favourite book character is a toss up between Anne Shirley and Jo March. Rosie also writes adult and teen fiction as Rachael Lucas.

Connect with Rosie:

Website: https://rachaellucas.com

Facebook: Rachel Lucas Writer

Twitter: @karamina

Instagram: @rachellucas

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye with Rebecca Mascull #BookReview (@rebeccamascull) @HQstories #Christmas #MissMarley #VanessaLafaye

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Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

Any of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook will have seen the picture of me finishing this book over a cup of tea in Sainsbury’s cafe on the morning of Christmas Eve, after I’d finished my shopping and at that point I was filled with Christmas spirit, due in no small part to this book.

For any of you who have not heard the story behind the publication of this book, it was the creation of author Vanessa Lafaye, who unfortunately passed away in February of this year after a long battle with cancer, before she was able to finish it. At the request of Vanessa’s publisher and her husband, the book was completed by Vanessa’s good friend and fellow author, Becca Mascull. This tragic and moving story meant there was a lot of buzz about this book on social media and in the blogging community and I was desperate to read it. I am a huge fan of A Christmas Carol, so the premise behind the book was enticing, and it sounded like the perfect Christmas read.

Oh, but this book is even more beautiful and moving than I expected. It is the story of how Jacob Marley becomes the person who ends up as the tormented spirit that haunts Scrooge at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. To tell his story, Vanessa has given him a sister, Clara, who is witness to the circumstances that shape him. This device is so clever, and executed so beautifully that it immediately pulls you heart and soul into their story and transports you back to Dickens’ London and the world inhabited by Scrooge and Marley. Both authors have perfectly captured the essence of Dickens’ story telling in this book so that it is very easy to believe that this is exactly how Marley and Scrooge end up as the mean-spirited, uncharitable old misers that we have come to know.

The period and setting of Victorian London is brought vividly and perfectly to life through the language and descriptions, and the whole book has a lovely, festive feeling to it, despite the melancholy story. I absolutely loved the character of Clara, she is warm and vibrant and extremely sympathetic, and she makes Jacob Marley’s story sympathetic too. You cannot help but care about her plight from the beginning, which makes the book enthralling and moving and kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

I have such admiration for the skill of both authors. I don’t know how Becca managed to complete this book whilst grieving for a beloved friend- it must have taken a strength of will and a huge amount of love to get through it. In the interview I have linked to below, Becca says she felt like she was almost channelling her friend as she completed the book, and I can believe it as it is impossible to tell where the two parts join. The voice and narrative are so consistent throughout; there is no jarring change of tone or pace and it ends perfectly. These were two friends so obviously in tune and their story has completely moved me to tears.

This book is a beautiful testament, both to the authors’ love of A Christmas Carol  and to their friendship and it will delight anyone who is a fan of this timeless Christmas tale. I believe that a festive read of this book will become a new Christmas tradition for me to cherish. I highly recommend you pick up a copy now.

Miss Marley is out now and you can get a copy here.

About the Authors

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Vanessa Lafaye

Vanessa Lafaye was born in Florida and studied in North Carolina. She moved to the UK in 1999 (having been deported once). She is the author of two previous novels, her first book Summertime, was chosen for Richard and Judy in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Award. Vanessa passed away in February 2018.

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Rebecca Mascull

Rebecca Mascull is the author of three historical novels and also writes saga fiction under the pen-name Mollie Walton.

If you would like to read more about the heart-breaking story of the writing of Miss Marley, you might like to read this article.

A Winter Beneath The Stars by Jo Thomas #BookReview #BlogTour (@jo_thomas01) @headlinepg @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Christmas #AWinterBeneathTheStars

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On a courier trip to Tallfors, deep in Swedish Lapland, everything is going to plan. Halley has her bag, with two precious wedding rings inside for delivery… until she doesn’t.

The only way to save the wedding is to team up with mysterious reindeer herder Bjorn, the one person who can lead her across the snowy tundra to be reunited with her bag.

On a journey of a lifetime beneath the stars, with only the reindeer and a bad-tempered stranger for company beside the fire, Halley realises that she will need to confront her past heartaches in order to letthe warmth of love in once more…

I am so delighted today to be taking my turn on the blog tour for A Winter Beneath The Stars by fellow RNA Member and somewhat of a personal hero of mine, Jo Thomas. My huge thanks for Anne Cater for giving me one of the coveted places on this tour and to Headline for my copy of the book, which I have renewed honestly and impartially.

I absolutely love books that take me away to foreign climes while I am sat at home in my chair, so I can indulge my passion for travel mentally while I’m not actually travelling myself. For this reason, Jo Thomas has become one of my favourite authors in recent years and I was very excited to see what she would do with a winter book. Having read it, I can say with certainty that it did not disappoint me.

This book follows the story of Halley, who travel for a living delivering valuable items overseas, and how she comes to be stuck in Swedish Lapland with a gruff reindeer herder. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, you’ll need to read the book to find out how she ends up in this predicament. Suffice it to say, a series of mishaps and some suspended disbelief is the order of the day.

Jo brings the setting of Swedish Lapland vividly to life. Her descriptions are beautiful and so evocative that you can smell the trees, feel the bite of the wind on your cheeks, hear the click of the reindeers’ ankles (I never knew they did that, but now I can imagine what it sounds like), taste the wild mushroom soup, see the sparkling sprinkle of stars across the winter sky. Her writing is a feast for every sense that transports you directly to the heart of the setting. What I particularly love about this book is that she captures the real place, not just the tourist side, and explores the life of the indigenous population that have lived on the land for centuries. It is this kind of detail and insight that makes me want to read and I think it is unusual to find that level of care about authenticity in a romance novel, which is why I love Jo’s book so much. I would absolutely love to have Jo on the blog to talk about her research for the book, I know it will be a fascinating tale which is touched on in the acknowledgements. Not that I’m hinting or anything!

Now I’ve waxed lyrical about the setting, which is the huge strength of this book, let’s talk about the plot. It has everything you could want in a book of this kind. Romance, humour, emotional revelations, exploration of love and loss and grief and how, as human beings, we navigate these emotions. All of this is done so warmly and wisely, with such honesty and empathy that you can’t fail to be moved by the experience of reading it. To be honest, I guessed quite early on what the situation was between Halley and her husband but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the story at all and I had total understanding of where she was coming from and her reactions. It took me a couple of chapters to warm to her, but once I did, I was firmly on her side and going through the wringer with her every step of the way – the elation and despair which the author so cleverly draws out with her writing.

Bjorn took a little more fathoming, but I warmed to him over the course of the book, and I am sure the author has paced his character development deliberately so that the reader’s feelings towards him develop in much the way Halley’s do. She has thrown them together in the most extraordinary of circumstances and my favourite part of the story was watching Halley find her feet and her confidence in dealing with experiences totally outside of her comfort zone. This story is as much about Halley finding herself as anything else and this gives the story a real depth and poignancy that raise it above the standard of the every day romantic novel.

There are plenty of light-hearted moments provided by secondary characters, particularly Lars whom I loved, and the novel is beautifully balanced in this regard. Actually, it is just beautiful and once you’ve read it, you’ll want to rush out and buy the rest of Jo’s books to try and maintain the feelings her writing will evoke in you. She writes the way I aspire to write, if I only I were this skilful.

A Winter Beneath The Stars is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you check out some of the other reviews of this book by my fantastic fellow bloggers by following the tour:

Winter Beneath The Stars Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Jo Thomas Author Picture

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013, Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Connect with Jo:

Website: https://jothomasauthor.com

Facebook: Jo Thomas Author

Twitter: @jo_thomas01

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Nearly there! #Giveaway #bookbloggers #blogginggoals #BooksOfTheYear #MerryChristmas #HappyNewYear #amreading

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I just got very excited when I realised that I am only 33 followers away from reaching two thousand on my blog!

I can’t believe how much this has grown the past twelve months from the little personal project it started out as, and I want to thank everyone who follows me and has supported me and comments on and shares my blog posts. It means more to me than you will ever know.

Anyway, I would love to reach the magic number by the end of the year so, to incentivise you all, I will be giving away a bundle containing my top five books of the year to one of my lucky followers, if I reach the magic two thousand by midnight on 31 December 2018. So getting signing up and you could be starting of 2019 in style with five of the best books of 2018 heading your way!

If you would like to know what these books are, watch out for my countdown of my ‘Top Ten Books of the Year’ post on New Year’s Eve.

Thanks again for all your support and here’s to another great year of reading in 2019.