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realovesbooks (South east London)
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A Cottage in the Country
A Cottage in the Country
by Linn B. Halton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My favourite by this author and a real cosy read too xXx, 6 Dec. 2015
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A Cottage in the Country by Linn B. Halton is such a cosy uplifting read which follows our main character Maddie Brooks as she embarks on a new chapter of her life. As her big 50th is fast approaching she is determined to make this next chapter about her and achieve her dream. I love books about renovation and new beginnings so this was a perfect book for me.

Maddie’s excitement for Ash Cottage could easily be felt through the pages and it was easy to visualise this quirky little cottage thanks to the authors beautifully detailed descriptions. I was drawn into the storyline and was enjoying the transformation of the cottage coming together through the hard work that Maddie and handy man Lewis was putting into the renovations.

There is a sweet touch of romance in this book and the author leads us down different paths trying to keep us guessing as to who if anyone would win Maddie’s heart. We have two love interests in this book handy man Lewis and long time friend Ryan and both men are attractive but both have their flaws too, I found my hopes for each man chopping and changing throughout the book.

The storyline is set on the lead up to Christmas but isn’t very festive so it can be read any time of year. I found this such a cosy feel good read.

The Dead Dog Day (The Cora Baxter Mysteries)
The Dead Dog Day (The Cora Baxter Mysteries)
by Jackie Kabler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected read that I really enjoyed xXx, 5 Dec. 2015
I wasn't really sure what to expect from The Dead Dog Day by Jackie Kabler, especially reading the quote on the back from Eamonn Holmes about a "witty murder mystery" I have never come across a witty murder mystery so I was rather intrigued to see what this book had lurking inside for me.

The storyline starts at a quick pace and is rather eventful with a death of a dog hence the title and in the same first chapter Jeanette Kendrick who is our main character Cora's boss is also murdered. With no witnesses around the search is on to try and discover who the murderer is with the only information to go on the last words Jeanette muttered before she took her last breath "Chris". Speculation starts to arise as to who it could be and throughout the storyline the spotlight turns to a number of different characters who are suspicious.

I personally worked out quite early on who the murderer was which slightly put a downer on the book for me but what I hadn't worked out was the reason why Jeanette was murdered so finding out the reason why made up for me guessing early on who it was.

Our main character Cora is very career focused and like me she seems to have been left out when him upstairs was dishing out the maternal gene so I could relate to her character in some which I always like in a book when I can find a connection with the character but although she is so certain of her career and of the fact she never ever wants children she isn't quite so confident and certain when it came to her love life! I personally find it more than enough having one man around but Cora is surround by men and she still can't make up her mind!

This book is unlike any book I have read before and it took me a while to put my finger on what was so different but as many of you know my preferred genre is always women's fiction/ romance but this year I have found myself reading quite a lot of crime thrillers and what the author has managed to do is merge the two together perfectly. If you are anything like I was a year ago and wouldn't come out of my reading romance comfort zone then this book is the prefect baby step for you, as you still have the light hearted witty humour in Cora's everyday reports and you also have the roller coaster romance surrounding Cora so everything we love is still there but it is wrapped perfectly around this suspicious murder but with out the dark gritty parts.

I am looking forward to book two and I am hoping that the book is as fast paced and enjoyable as this one but the challenge is on to see if Jackie Kabler can keep me in suspense in the next book. Thank you to the author for sending me a copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

A Wedding at Christmas (Proper Family Book 4)
A Wedding at Christmas (Proper Family Book 4)
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fabulous book in the Proper series xXx, 22 Nov. 2015
My favourite series of books recently have been the “Proper” books with the Benson family by Chrissie Manby, I absolutely adore the sparkly festive look to A Wedding at Christmas but I have to admit I can’t help calling it A Proper Wedding at Christmas!

Chelsea and Adam have a Wedding to plan but when is anything straight forward when the Benson’s are involved. The Wedding is brought forward leaving only 12 weeks to pull this Wedding off but with so many big characters and opinions emotions start running high and before long sparks are flying in more ways than one!

The humour which I loved in the previous books is still present in this book but we also find that parts of this storyline are very emotional too and I found myself reading part of this book on my course which wasn’t a good idea as it brought a tear to my eye. The ending was a little predictable but the way it was handled was so beautifully written so this wasn’t a problem although it still broke my heart!

So often as books progress in a series I find that they start to feel drawn out and lose their appeal but this is really not the case with this book I can actually see that there could be one more book in the series but I can also see why Chrissie Manby may want to leave this series where it is. This could be read as a standalone novel as the important parts of the previous books are recapped during this book but personally this is my favourite series of books and I don’t see how anyone would want to miss out on meeting this family from the beginning so treat yourself to them all as they will all have you laughing out loud and loving this family even more.

I love every single one of the family and they all seem so life like, it is like reading about the family next door and I really don’t want to leave these characters. I usually find it quite hard to read books with children in without them being annoying and childish talk but the children in this book along with the others are developed so well and bring so many witty moments to the storyline, in fact the majority of the humour comes from them especially little Jack and I have to say he is easily my favourite character.

This book gets a massive thumbs up from me and I will definitely be picking a few copies of this book up for friends for Christmas.

The Winter Wedding
The Winter Wedding
by Abby Clements
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars A Sweet read perfect for a cosy Sunday in xXx, 15 Nov. 2015
This review is from: The Winter Wedding (Paperback)
Abby Clements is one of my favourite authors and she has delivered a sweet romantic storyline for us in her latest release The Winter Wedding. Rather than this being a festive read, like the title suggests it is more a Winter read full of romance

When Hazel steps in to plan her twin sister’s wedding for her at short notice she didn’t expect to become in demand from other bridal parties looking for her to take on their Weddings but with all this love in the air will Hazel ever find the love of her life?

Hazel was a very caring and creative character who didn’t seem to know exactly what it was that she wanted to do but she has a great unique talent in making the little sets, I had visions of walking into a room full of loads of miniature dolls rooms ready to coo over! The supporting characters were all likable characters but Hazel was easily took center stage in this book. I loved the friendship which blossomed between Hazel and Amber they had so much in common and also had a kind of respect for each other which is shown in a particular part of the book.

This book seemed very different to the author’s previous books, this was more of a gentle easy storyline compared to the deeper absorbing books I am used to from this author. This isn’t a bad thing it is great to see authors delivering something different and I did really enjoy this book and had to keep snatching chapters here and there but the difference being with this book is I felt like it was all wrapped up where as usually I am left wanting to meet the characters again because of the connection I have with them and their story, I can’t bare to leave them.

This is a wonderful fun and uplifting romantic read perfect for a cosy Sunday in away from the manic Christmas crowds.

Champneys Spa Skin Moisturising Day Cream For Normal To Dry Skin SPF15 - 50ml
Champneys Spa Skin Moisturising Day Cream For Normal To Dry Skin SPF15 - 50ml
Offered by Beyondcosmetics
Price: £39.99

1.0 out of 5 stars A product for dry skin that gives you dry skin! Xx, 10 Nov. 2015
After a recent stay at Champneys the Thalso Therapy pool wasn't working so I was given a voucher to buy a product in the shop and after having a facial and being recommended this moisturiser I decided to buy this one. The packaging looks fresh and professional and the consistency of the cream is perfect but since using this I have found that it has resulted in dry flaky patches occurring all over my skin so I stopped using in case it was this and once it cleared up I tried it again I case it was something else but yet again the dry flaky patches have come up again. I am surprised that a product that targets dry skin would actually dry the skin out! I won't be buying this again and will be putting my remaining bottle in the bin!

Godrej Perspirex Plus Roll-On
Godrej Perspirex Plus Roll-On
Offered by Greens Pharmacy
Price: £9.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the price for this fantastic and effective product xXx, 10 Nov. 2015
This product is my little life saver. I have struggled for so long with wet patches and have literally use every deodorant on the market from known brands to shops own and nothing has worked, I even was given Driclor by my doctor but that stings when I out it on and then makes me itch for days. Perspirex comes in the same styl roll on as Driclor you wash under your arms and dry thoroughly before applying perspirex. You apply the night before then wash as normal in the morning. I have been using this for 3 months now and I am still finding it effective, I only need to use this 3 times a week now. I can not recommend this product enough it is great to have confidence going out now not worrying about those horrible embarrassing patches.

How to Stuff Up Christmas: A seasonal, feel-good Christmas romance featuring festive recipes
How to Stuff Up Christmas: A seasonal, feel-good Christmas romance featuring festive recipes
by Rosie Blake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful romantic festive read xXx, 5 Nov. 2015
I love the cute, sparkly and festive cover for How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake this book is going to look great in the Christmas stockings this year. This was my first book by Rosie Blake so I was excited to see what this author was going to deliver and I was not disappointed.

Christmas is just around the corner and heartbroken Eve doesn’t want to spend Christmas with her family as it will just be a reminder of the previous Christmas and how much things have changed, so she decides to do something completely new to her starting with staying on a houseboat but what she didn’t expect was to meet the handsome village vet Greg who came to her rescue but can he help mend her broken heart too or is he hiding something?

This was such a delightful read that had a sprinkling of humour and a flurry of romance to keep you hooked on these cold winter nights. A lot of humour came from Eve’s poor cooking skills which I could sympathise with ( yes I am also not a natural in the kitchen unless it is reaching for the takeaway menu!) add a pesky Goose and a jealous peeping husband and you have a perfect mix to have you giggling away.

Eve was such a normal every day woman who was a very likable character so it was a joy to watch her on her little adventure to heal her broken heart with her dog in tow that she was holding hostage!
Greg was a perfect love interest, a pure gentleman with a secret that I have to say I guessed very early on but it didn’t ruin the storyline at all and actually there was another twist in the book that I didn’t see coming so that totally had me by surprise.

The storyline was very light and the chapters short so it was an easy read to pick up and put down, I was stealing moments between clients to read a chapter or two!

This is a wonderful romantic festive read which I thoroughly enjoyed and I loved the authors writing style which flowed so easily and made me eager to get back to the characters each time I put it down so this is an author whose books I will be looking out for in the future.

Christmas Ever After
Christmas Ever After
by Sarah Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarah Morgan delivers another magical romantic read xXx, 4 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Christmas Ever After (Paperback)
I had such mixed feelings when Christmas Ever After arrived through the post box, I couldn’t wait to revisit Puffin Island especially at Christmas time but the other part of me really didn’t want to leave Puffin Island.

In this book we catch up with some of our much loved characters from the previous two books but this book centres on Skylar who early on in this book finds herself in a heartbreaking and delicate situation and the last person she expected to come to her rescue was Alec! To say the couple have had a prickly relationship is putting it mildly and yet the charming and caring Alec was on hand when she needed someone. Alec has plans for the festive season but cannot leave Skylar alone so as she joins him she experiences Christmas time that is more warming than she is used to.

This book really should have come with a warning as I sat down to start this book on Sunday evening next time I looked at the clock and it was gone half one in the morning and I had finished the book in one blissful sitting. Yes ok the outcome was predictable but this didn’t matter one tiny bit because the journey to the ending was exciting and comforting and had me swooning away and obviously a little bit hooked too. Watching the relationship blossom with lots of humorous moments made me sit smiling away at the book like a goon.

The setting of the book moves from London to the Cotswold's and to our much loved Puffin Island and all three of these places were all beautifully described and set the festive scene with the chill and snowy back drop, I so long to spend my Christmas on Puffin Island.

The true meaning of Christmas shines through and Skylar gets to see how other families and her friends spend Christmas and how different they are to the Christmases she has always know.
This book was just as good as the previous two and I think this is one of the few series of books where I don’t have a favourite as they all bring a little something different but then we are treated to little snippets of what is going on in the characters from the previous books so we always have that comforting and familiar feel to them.

I will be so sorry to leave Puffin Island behind, I really hope that Sarah Morgan revisits again in another book as it would be great to see how things have progressed with all of the characters as I really don’t think these characters are going to go away quietly as they still have little stories to tell ( this could just be me being greedy and having separation problems hehe).

This could be read as a stand alone but I urge you to read all three as they are wonderful books that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. This book gets a big thumbs up from me and so far from the books I have read this year this one has the most festive feel to it.

Every Time a Bell Rings
Every Time a Bell Rings
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating read that will bring a lump to your throa, 27 Oct. 2015
I have just finished reading Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington and I can put my hand on my heart and say that this author has put her heart and soul into this beautiful storyline. She has created such warm, loving and caring characters that you can’t help but admire and hope for a happy ever after for them.

The storyline is told over three parts covering the back ground of our main character Belle in her early years progressing through to the current day and along the journey we meet a wonderful group of characters who have a strong influence on her life from the trusting Tess who is bursting with love and of course not forgetting Jim who has his own troubles but has a strong bond with Belle from their first meeting and to see their relationship blossom was wonderful to watch. There were a number of foster children who we also meet along the way all who touched my heart and brought something special to the storyline as well as to Belle’s life.

This time of year I love all the Christmas books coming out and as I pick each one up I am secretly hoping for that warm, sparkly and uplifting feel to flow through the pages but with this book it is so much more, Christmas is a time for friends and family and this book reminds us of the importance of family and that there are so many unfortunate people who do not have the happy Christmas we all know and love. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a doom and gloom book that will depress you before the run up to Christmas as there is a beautiful touch of festivity in the book and there are new beginnings and at times giving children love and hope.

Carmel Harrington has such a delicate and stunning writing style that gets right to the heart of some very tender issues that I am aware of but she takes things deeper and usually ends up breaking my heart! Broken homes and Foster care is the main focus in this book and seeing how the events that happened in Belle’s past she carried with her all through her life and were actually holding her back in life and to see that she blamed herself just made my heart go out to her character.

This book sure is a captivating read that will bring a lump to your throat and will have you being more thankful for the life you live and sparing a thought for others. Well done Carmel on another thought provoking read that pulled at my heart strings.

One Wish in Manhattan: An uplifting, romantic Christmas story
One Wish in Manhattan: An uplifting, romantic Christmas story
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mandy does it again xXx, 25 Oct. 2015
I have read every one of Mandy Baggot's books and her writing has blossomed over the years with this year's Summer release Truly, Madly, Greekly being the best of them all but when I first laid eyes on the stunning festive cover Bookouture has produced for her new novel it looked like a promising read that could possibly knock it off of my top spot with the help of it being not only a Christmas book but set in Manhattan too. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

We are introduced to some wonderful characters in this book, our little walking talking encyclopaedia, Angel who was adorable and comical all at the same time and was a true credit to single mum Hayley who was a very grounded and warm character whose love for Angel shone through the pages and she was determined to make Angels wish come true and find her father whilst they were spending Christmas with her brother Dean in Manhattan.

American Billionaire Oliver was the perfect love interest, clearly hiding behind barriers he had built up so high and yet charming women and granting their wishes but not letting them close. He should be a character you sneer at and yet I loved him from the moment we were introduced as it was quite easy to see that this flawed character had a warm heart hidden away.

The setting was described perfectly and created an idyllic winter and festive feel I would have loved to be there ice skating and falling on my bum with them! The storyline will bring so many emotions, laughing one minute and the characters antics, feeling hopeful that their wishes will come true and it will also bring a lump to your throat as true feelings and secrets are revealed.

This was a sparkly festive read that swept me away with the storyline, it didn't quite knock Truly, Madly Greekly off of the top spot for me but it did come close.

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