The Holiday by T. M. Logan Narrated by Laura Kirman #BookReview #Audiobook (@TMLoganAuthor) @laurakirman @ZaffreBooks @AudibleUK @NetGalley #NetGalley #TheHoliday

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Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Languedoc-Roussillon.

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one?

As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

My thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of this book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

It’s a nightmare scenario, isn’t it? Being trapped on holiday for a week with people you aren’t getting on with. Even if some of those people are your lifelong best friends, once you have to share living space with them 24/7 for a week, along with their husbands, whom you may not love quite as much, and their children who may not have the same expectations in behaviour as yours do – tensions are bound to arise. Add in too much sun, too much wine, and you have a powder keg ready to explode.

Then, on top of this, imagine that you suspect your husband is having an affair, and his mistress is on elf the very same lifelong friends you are taking a holiday with, the situation will inevitably boil over before the week is out, in a very public setting.

This is the premise behind The Holiday, which was a book widely feted last year, and it certainly provides a book full of intrigue and strain with many twists and turns before its thrilling conclusion. And because it is a scenario so many of us can imagine for ourselves, or may even have experienced (although to a lesser degree, I hope!), it causes an intimate level of stress in our imaginations. ‘There too but for the grace of God, go I’ is always a powerful hook for a novel.

There is a fascinating array of characters in this novel, a lot of personality flaws explored and exposed, and some morally dubious behaviour in evidence, even from the people who are supposedly the ‘good guys.’ It begs the question, what would I do to protect my family, to protect my children from harm? How far would I be prepared to go if I found myself in this situation? Are my principles really as strong as I believe, when faced with a serious dilemma. Thinking of these things can make for an uncomfortable reading experience if you allow the book to take you there.

This book was a great, entertaining read with a fabulous rope of tension running through it and enough twists and turns and revelations to keep the reader hooked. highly recommended.

The Holiday is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Bestselling author TM Logan was a national newspaper journalist before turning to novel-writing full time. His latest thriller, The Holiday, is a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and spent ten weeks as a Sunday Times top ten bestseller in paperback, selling more than 200,000 copies to date. The Holiday takes place over a sweltering summer week in the south of France, as four best friends see the holiday of a lifetime turn into a nightmare of suspicion, betrayal and murder…

Tim’s debut thriller LIES was one of Amazon UK’s biggest ebooks of 2017, selling more than 400,000 copies and winning a Nielsen Bestseller Award. Together with his second standalone thriller, 29 Seconds (2018), his books are now published in 14 countries around the world including the USA, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and the Netherlands.

His next novel, The Catch, is due to be published on June 11, 2020.

Tim lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children, and writes in a cabin at the bottom of his garden.

Connect with T. M. Logan:

Website: https://www.tmlogan.com

Facebook: T M Logan Author

Twitter: @TMLoganAuthor

Instagram: @tmloganauthor

Single All The Way by Karen King #BookReview (@karen_king) @bookouture @NetGalley #NetGalley #SingleAllTheWay

 

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Snow is falling, bells are ringing… and my heart is broken. I pick up the phone to tell my mother about Oliver and me. Then right after I explain, she says, ‘I don’t exactly know how to tell you this, but you’re not the only one who is single again.’

Single together for the first time, 34-year-old Meg and her warm-hearted mother Sally decide to cancel Christmas, and run away to a tiny cottage on the Cornish coast. For Meg, it is the perfect place to heal, away from all the mistletoe, while for her mother it has a special, and secret, place in her heart – from a love story that seems a lifetime ago…

Meg and Sally find they’re getting to know themselves, and each other, better than ever before. But as they are unable to resist getting involved in the village Christmas celebrations, they encounter two handsome local strangers.

Sometimes, it’s being away from home that helps you realise where your heart is. What neither woman knows is that, by the time the new year rolls around, one woman will have fallen in love with their ex all over again, and one relationship will be over for good…

My thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of this book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is another ‘catch up’ post, where I try and review all the books I neglected in December! The only problem with this tardiness is, of course, that this is a Christmas book and it isn’t Christmas any more! Still, some people read festive books all year round. Or, maybe you are just looking for a nostalgic read to take you back to the sparkling, joyful days of the holidays and away from the depressing gloom of January. Or maybe you are starting a list for next Christmas. Hopefully this will help somebody, somewhere, somehow!

There are quite a few ‘running away from Christmas’ books around, but I have never read one that involves both a mother and daughter running away together. This USP of the book gives it a really interesting and different dynamic, and explores issues that are perhaps not something much of us give much thought to on a daily basis, beyond the normal mother-daughter relationships to thinking of our parents as separate human beings who have their own relationship problems. This leads to some awkward issues for the pair which the author thoroughly exploits to the benefit of the story.

I loved the location of a cottage in a Cornish village (always a winner!) and the couple getting involved in the local village celebrations. The book has a gorgeous, cosy, festive feel that is just the thing to warm your cockles on a cold, winter day, even when it isn’t Christmas. Beyond the festive fun, though, the book explores some difficult relationship issues with affection and sensitivity. It really moved me in parts, these are extremely common problems that people are dealing with on a daily basis, so I am sure the difficulties experienced by the characters will resonate with readers and give back a little more than festive froth.

The author’s voice is warm and approachable, the book was an easy read, but rewarding as well. A welcome addition to my roster of Christmas reading. I highly recommend it next time you are in mood for a festive book, whatever time of year that is.

Single All The Way is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Karen King is a multi-published, award-winning author of romantic novels and children’s fiction. She has had eight romance novels published to date, 120 children’s books, and several short stories in women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women  Writers and Journalists.

Connect with Karen:

Website: http://www.karenking.net

Facebook: Karen King Romance Author

Twitter: @karen_king

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley #BookReview (@lucyfoleytweets) @harpercollinsuk @NetGalley #NetGalley #TheHuntingParty

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In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.

The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider

The victim.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

My thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of this book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Books about murders amongst groups of people in remote settings seemed to be a bit of a thing for me last year. First up was In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, then In The Dark by Loreth Anne White, both of which I enjoyed very much. This kind of story, with a whiff of Agatha Christie’s Then There Were None about them, must have been having a bit of a moment. Or maybe it was just me and what I was drawn to. Anyway, The Hunting Party was the last one I got to and I did wonder whether there could be a new twist on a set up that I’d already read twice last year. However, this book had so much hype that I was still looking forward to reading it, and it did not disappoint.

Firstly, the author managed to create a great sense of place in this novel. I have spent a lot of time in very remote parts of Scotland, and the sense of isolation and loneliness that can surround you once you get that far from civilisation, particularly during bad weather when places can really get cut off, is very oppressive and quite unsettling for people who are used to living on our densely populated little island. It is quite hard to believe that such remoteness and inaccessibility can exist at not too great a distance from our crowded cities, and its perils and difficulties can be hard to comprehend for those who have never experienced it before. This atmosphere, expertly captured and magnified in the writing, used to its utmost menace in the plotting, really gives the book a gripping and intense sense of threat.

The characters are brilliantly drawn and imbued with depth and understanding. They feel like real people, and not all particularly pleasant ones, which gives us a rich buffet from which to select our murderer, but it is very hard to choose with the plentiful array of suspects served up. I honestly think I suspected every individual at different points within the novel and had no true idea who was going to be guilty at the end, or what their motive was. I must have changed my mind a dozen times as to who had done it, and turned the pages quicker and quicker to get to the resolution. The pacing was perfect and propelled me to the end without any dip in tension.

I set aside one quiet, lazy Sunday to read this book, and I devoured it cover to cover in a single sitting, with only short breaks for food and beverages and a dog walk. This is the perfect book in which to indulge in a proper reading session, one where you forget the outside world and totally immersive yourself in the narrative the author has created until you feel like you are part of the story and as desperate to find out who is the killer as the characters in the book. A fantastic whodunnit in the best traditions of the genre with a modern flair.

The Hunting Party is out now and you can get your copy here.

About the Author

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Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.

Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.

Connect with Lucy:

Facebook: Lucy Foley Author

Twitter: @lucyfoleytweets

Instagram: @lucyfoleyauthor

The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan #BookReview #BlogTour (@GerHogan) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @VickyJoss1 @NetGalley #NetGalley #ThePlaceWeCallHome

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Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…

Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.

Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.

Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.

Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan today. My thanks to the author for asking me to take part and to Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus for my digital copy of the book, received via NetGalley. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially.

We ran out of heating oil on Saturday (due to a combination of a monitor on the blink and the distraction of Christmas – don’t ask.) As a result, our house has been freezing, just as Storm Brendan blew in. Brrrrrr!

Why am I telling you this? Because the one thing that has warmed me through while I’ve been waiting for a fuel delivery is reading this charming novel. It has left me with a happy glow, a bit like the Ready Brek kid from the advert, and I was both loathe and happy to get to the gorgeous ending.

Many of my favourite authors are Irish. Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Emma Hannigan, Marian Keyes all have pride of place on my bookshelf, because their writing is full of life and passion and warmth and real life characters. Faith Hogan is the latest name to be added to my list of go-tos when I am looking for a warm and genuine story full of Irish charm. This book brings Ireland to life within its pages, filling the story with the countryside, scenery and community of rural Ireland and its people. It tells the story of a village, the woollen mill that has put in on the map and kept its populace in jobs, and the family whose responsibility it is to keep the mill running. The story is told across dual timelines as we discover Meredith’s struggles with her grown children now, and her story growing up in Ballycove as a child and young woman, and how the repercussions from events then have shaped the future.

There is a great and realistic mix of characters in this book, not all of whom were likeable. In fact, I was surprised to read a couple of reviews of this book which said that the readers loved all of the characters, because I did not. (Just goes to show how we all react so differently to the same story!) Despite this, they were all believable, because not everyone in real life is likeable after all! I was fully involved in all of their stories from the beginning and, despite wanting to slap some sense into a least one of them, I was happy with the way everything played out in the end, and the very last paragraph made me sigh with happiness.

If you are looking for a gorgeous, feel-good read, with a good depth of story (someone else has referred to this as a saga, and I think it could indeed be classed as a mini version of such), set in a beautiful landscape with characters and a community you can care about, look no further. You absolutely will not be disappointed.

The Place We Call Home is out now and you can get a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour too, for more reviews and other great content:

About the Author

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Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.

She writes crime fiction as Geraldine Hogan – Her Sisters Bones is available now!

Faith gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Connect with Faith:

Website: https://faithhogan.com

Facebook: Faith Hogan Author

Twitter: @GerHogan

Instagram: @faithhoganauthor

Magpie by Sophie Draper #BookReview #BlogTour (@sophiedraper9) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #Magpie

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She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth?

It’s my turn on the blog tour today for Magpie, the second book by Sophie Draper. Huge thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for asking me to take part and for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I have to admit, this book took a little while to get going for me. It is the story of a troubled family, living in a small village in the Peak District. Duncan and Claire have been married a long time, but the marriage is in difficulty, not helped by the problems suffered by their only son, Joe. Claire is on the verge of leaving when Joe goes missing and everything really falls apart.

The book is told from the dual perspectives of Duncan and Claire and, to begin with, neither of them were characters I particularly warmed to which made it difficult to form that connection with the book. It is hard to know which of them is telling the truth about their relationship. As well as jumping between the perspectives of Duncan and Claire, the story also runs on two timelines – Before and After (before and after what is the crux of the story)- this made the book a little difficult to follow, it requires a certain level of concentration to keep up with who is talking and in what point of the story. I am not sure I have read a book that jumps about in quite such a complicated and disjointed fashion.

However, and this is a big however, this book is absolutely worth the perseverance it took to get into the groove. A third of the way through, I became completely hooked on the story and raced through the rest of the book in desperation to get to the end. This story has so many elements that I love in a novel – suspense, deception, atmosphere – and it is extremely creepy. The author does a wonderful job of bringing to life the oppressive feel of remote corners of the Peaks, especially in winter when the looming crags and endless expanse can feel claustrophobic (I used to live in Ashbourne, so I know this area well).

You will find it hard to categorise this book. Is it a thriller? Is it suspense? Is it gothic? It is all of these things and more. It took a while, but it eventually got under my skin and became a compelling story that I had to pursue to the end. I had no idea what was going on for the majority of the story, I did not guess what was coming until very close to the end and it was a story that really took me by surprise. That can be a hard thing to do to someone who reads as much as I do.

An initially slow-burning novel that turns in to an atmospheric treat with a marvellous pay off. If you are looking for something a bit different and are willing to have a little patience, this is a fulfilling read.

Magpie is out now and you buy a copy here.

Please do follow the rest of the tour for more perspectives on the book:

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About the Author

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Sophie ‘s debut novel, CUCKOO, was published by Avon (HarperCollins) on 29th Nov 2018. It won the Bath Novel Award 2017 (as “The Pear Drum”) and the prestigious Friday Night Live competition at the York Festival of Writing 2017.

Her second book, MAGPIE, is due out on 28th November 2019.

Sophie lives with her family in Derbyshire, in a house filled with music, several cats, too many books and three growing boys. When not writing, Sophie works as a traditional oral storyteller. She was nominated for the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence 2013 (Outstanding Female Storyteller) and performs across the UK, telling stories for all ages at festivals, schools, historic houses, museums and community groups.

Connect with Sophie:

Website: https://www.sophiedraper.co.uk

Facebook: Sophie Draper Author

Twitter: @sophiedraper9

The Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond #BookReview #BlogTour (@TheVenomousPen) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #TheWomanInTheWater

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I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . .

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed.

Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them.

What’s their connection to the body in the river?

Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished?

And can they discover the dark truth of their marriage before it’s too late?

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a book that really made its mark on me this year and is a standout read in this genre. Honestly, I think the author has been so brave in this book in tackling the subjects she does, and does so so sensitively that I found it quite moving and affecting and I was left in awe at the skill and talent she exhibits.

It is going to be quite hard to write the review of this book that I’d like to without including any spoilers, so you’ll have to forgive me if I am a little vague, you really need to pick up the book and read it for yourselves.

The book is shocking and gripping from the opening as a woman is found, barely alive, in freezing water. DS Miles plucks her from the river and, immediately, he becomes closely involved in the investigation into who she is and how she got there. This is a case which stirs up issues from his past and causes tensions in his blossoming relationship with DS Grey, who is trying to understand the effect the case is having on him.

I really loved the closely woven storylines of the police investigation and the personal relationship between DS Miles and DS Grey. This book is as much about the police officers and the effect it has on them as it is about the crime, the victim and the perpetrator, and I think this is refreshing and important because it is very easy to forget that police officers are, first and foremost, human beings with the same problems, hangups and issues as the rest of us and that the things they see and the matters they have to deal with can have profound effects on them and their mental state and they deserve help, support and compassion.

This book is not always an easy read, and may be triggering for some because of its subject matter, but the author deals with the issues sensitively. There are some extremely shocking scenes in the book, even for someone who has not been directly affected by these issues, but they are never gratuitous and always necessary for the story and I applaud the way they are handled, but equally, she isn’t pulling any punches with this book and the reader needs to be ready to be shocked and appalled. This is how it should be, because some things in life are shocking and appalling.

This author is skilled at developing characters we acre about, and the relationship between the two main detectives is one in which her readers cannot help being invested, and I really can’t wait to see where this is going following the climax of this book. She has really upped the stakes for them here, and fans of the author’s books will not be at all disappointed with this latest instalment. If you haven’t read any of Katerina’s books before, what are you waiting for?

The Woman in the Water is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 9 January 2020. You can get your copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for more reviews:

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About the Author

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Katerina is the author of the Sunday Times Best Selling Exeter based crime thriller series – starting with ‘The Teacher’ and followed by The Secret, The Angel, The Promise and Truth or Die Katerina is currently working on her seventh novel which is a standalone.

Katerina also runs the facebook book group CRIME SUSPECT with several other crime authors.

Katerina currently lives in East Kent. Katerina was born in Weston-super-Mare and has lived in various places since including Greece, Cyprus, Derby, East London and Exeter. Katerina watches way too much TV.

Connect with Katerina:

Website: https://www.katerinadiamond.com

Facebook: Katerina Diamond Author

Twitter: @TheVenomousPen

Instagram: @katerinadiamondauthor

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

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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