All about Books, Book review

Book Review: A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Judy Leigh’s A Year of Mr Maybes. Not only did the cover promise some cheer in a gloomy Yorkshire last week, I was drawn to read because of the older protagonist’s search for love. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its promise.

Book Review: A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Book cover for A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh
A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Title: A year of Mr Maybes

Author: Judy Leigh

Publisher: Boldwood books

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release Date: 29th March 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3tpoJmQ

Blurb

Never say never to falling in love…

Val didn’t expect to be starting again in her seventies, but when life gives her lemons, Val is determined to make lemonade.

Settled into her new home – a picture-perfect fisherman’s cottage in the small Cornish seaside town of Lowenstowe – Val is ready to start a new chapter. And with her son due to get married next Christmas, there’s also the little job of finding herself a plus-one to help her face her ex-husband and his new girlfriend.

With the support of her neighbour Connie, and after decades of married life, Val takes the plunge back into the world of dating with trepidation and excitement. But can she remember how the single life works, let alone what her type is? There seem to be plenty of Mr Maybes, but no sign of Mr Right.

As the year passes, and as friendships and community life flourish, Val begins to blossom. And as Christmas approach, she might just decide she doesn’t need that plus-one after all – although never say never… 

Judy Leigh is back with her trademark promise of laughter, love and friendship. The perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Dawn French, Dee Macdonald and Cathy Hopkins.

My Thoughts

Welcome to a year of Cornish loveliness, community and fun. The ease of writing lured me into the Val’s life who proves you’re never too old to search for new beginnings and love. The relationship between her, Connie, and Loveday were a joy to read and the adventures they went on made me want to go on  a road trip to Cornwall and visit the places they visited.

I was expecting a warm, romantic read but this is so much more: it’s a story of friendship, community and how coming together can make big things happen. With older protagonists, it proves romantic stories aren’t just for the young and it provided many memorable moments. I will have the image of a leopard skin catsuit wearing septuagenarian singing karaoke ingrained in my mind forever.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this was a joy to read and Judy Leigh’s talent for painting pictures with words provided a perfect Cornish escape without leaving home. This novel is full of warmth, memorable characters and moments that capture the heart and imagination.

Author Biography

Judy Leigh

Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French HensA Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

Social Media Links –  

Website http://judyleigh.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/judyleighwriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/judyrleigh/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/JudyLeighNewsletter

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judy-leigh

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

All about Books, Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Best Books of 2021: The Year of the Witches

It’s a new year so time for me to share my favourite books of 2021 before I leap into reading this year’s offerings. 2021 galloped by and threw many obstacles my way, but it produced some amazing books though for me, the world of witches and magic have shone above the rest.

In no particular order here are my best books of 2021:

Threadneedle book cover

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas

The book cover for The Woman and The Witch

The Woman and the Witch by Amanda Larkman

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Book cover for Witches of Barcelona

Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight

The Dream Weavers by Barbara Erskine

Midnight in Everwood by M.A Kuznair

The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Other books without a glimmer of magic but I adored anyway are:

The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn – review coming shortly

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Dear Grace by Clare Swatman

2022 looks like it will also be a wonderful year for magic and romance with the publication of the final instalment of the Practical Magic series, The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman and the future publication of Miranda Dickinson’s The Start of Something.

What were your favourite reads in 2021 and what are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments below.

A huge thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources, Random Things Tour, all the publishers who have supported my blog and allowed me early access to these wonderful books and of course, you my readers.

Happy New Year!

Happy reading and writing.

Love

All about Books, Book review

BOOK REVIEW: THE POST BOX AT THE NORTH POLE BY JAIMIE ADMANS

Christmas is coming so I thought I’d share a review for one of my favourite festive books this year The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans.

BOOK REVIEW: THE POST BOX AT THE NORTH POLE BY JAIMIE ADMANS

The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans

Title: The Post Box at the North Pole

Author: Jaimie Admans

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Festive romance

Release Date: 18th Oct 2021

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09DFHFNW3

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DFHFNW3

BLURB

Dear Santa,

I wish I could believe in magic again.

From, Sasha.

Sasha Hansley hates Christmas. As a child, it was her favourite time of year, but ever since the tragic death of her mother, it has completely lost its magic.

But when she gets an unexpected phone call from her eccentric estranged father, she’s forced to dust off her snow boots.

He has been running a Lapland-style Christmas village in Norway and after suffering a heart attack, he is on strict doctor’s orders to slow down. Eager to reconnect with her dad, Sasha books the next flight out there. Only she has never actually been on a plane before, let alone to the Arctic Circle.

 Met at the runway by drop-dead-gorgeous Taavi Salvesen, they sleigh ride through the snow with the Northern Lights guiding their way.

 When Sasha uncovers sacks of unopened Santa mail – letters that children and adults from all over the world write to Santa every year – she realises that she can send a little bit of magic out into the world by replying to some of them.

 With Taavi on hand to help, will Sasha rediscover her own excitement for Christmas and find love among the letters?

The Post Box at the North Pole is like one big romantic mug of hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and a splash of Christmas magic! Fans of Holly Martin, Sarah Morgan and Heidi Swain will love this novel!

MY THOUGHTS

Oh heck! What a Christmas novel, it’s like a perfect festive movie, full of cheer, snow, emotion and everything I love about them.  Not only is the stunning location a character itself and I could imagine myself there happily Sasha is easy to relate to and Taavi with his childish wonder at the Christmas season took my breath away. I loved the descriptions of the North Pole village and as the story unfolded my love for it grew but it was the chemistry between Taavi and Sasha, and her troubled relationship with her father that drew me in. I needed to know how things could be resolved.

Despite being full of warmth, festive spirit and sprinkled with the magic of nisse, there is an undercurrent of deep emotions, secrets and darkness throughout. Without this depth, the idyllic nature of the scenery and theme of this novel could have veered towards sickly sweet but instead was a joy to read.

WOULD I RECOMMEND?

Yes. I’ve still have a few festive books in my stash but this is an exquisite journey to a magical place with a swoonsome love interest and realistic heroine to relate to. With a stunning location that oozes the seasonal magic, this is pure Christmassy escapism with romance, family drama and Santa. It  has to be one of my top festive books on my forever shelf and I’ll be visiting Taavi, the nisse and the North Pole again and again.

With the magic of Christmas and nisse in the background, The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf is excited to sneak this novel on to its shelf on a technicality.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 36-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of several romantic comedies for HarperCollins – The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea, Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm, The Little Bookshop of Love Stories, The Wishing Tree Beside the Shore, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane, and The Post Box at the North Pole.

Social Media Links –

Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/be_the_spark

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Thank you HQ Digital for providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

P.S This review originally appeared on the From Under the Duvet blog.

All about Books, Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: Whispers of the Runes by Christina Courtenay

Today, I’m excited to share my review for a romantic time-slip novel, Whispers of the Runes by Christina Courtenay. Firstly, I was attracted to this by the title as I love runes and wondered how they would be incorporated into a story and secondly the time slip to the times of the Vikings. Ever since, I visited York as a child I have been fascinated by the era.

Book Review: Whispers of Runes by Christina Courtenay

Whispers of the Runes by Christina Courtney

Title: Whispers of the Runes

Author: Christina Courtenay

Publisher: Headline

Genre: Time slip, romance

Release date: 24th June 2021

Blurb

Time is no barrier for a love that is destined to be.

She couldn’t be sure that she had travelled through time … but deep down she just knew.

And her only way back had just disappeared.

When jewellery designer Sara Mattsson is propelled back to the ninth century, after cutting herself on a Viking knife she uncovers at an archaeological dig, she is quick to accept what has happened to her. For this is not the first Sara has heard of time travel.

Although acutely aware of the danger she faces when she loses the knife – and with it her way to return to her own time – this is also the opportunity of a lifetime. What better way to add authenticity to the Viking and Anglo-Saxon motifs used in her designs?

As luck has it, the first person Sara encounters is Rurik Eskilsson, a fellow silversmith, who is also no stranger to the concept of time travel. Agreeing that Sara can accompany him to Jorvik, they embark on a journey even more perilous than one through time. But Fate has brought these two kindred spirits together across the ages for a reason…

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whispers-Runes-enthralling-romantic-timeslip-ebook/dp/B08L6535FJ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Runes-enthralling-romantic-timeslip-ebook/dp/B08L6535FJ/

My Thoughts

This is the first book I have read from Christina Courtenay, though I have others waiting patiently on my Kindle which I need to catch up on. I loved it and though it is the third in the Runes series; it works well as a standalone. This highly readable romantic novel follows a modern silversmith, Sara, when she slips into the 9th century thanks to an ancient sword. I quickly connected to her when she meets a shipwrecked Viking, Rurik. Unlike the traditional stereotypical Viking we all expect, he is chivalrous, kind and unphased by her time travelling because he has met a wanderer before in a previous book. I loved this twist because it meant Sara did not have to pretend to be someone she wasn’t, increasing the speed of the story. Rurik is also a silversmith, giving the characters a common thread to discuss and allow the chemistry between them build. He really is a Viking everyone could fall in love with.

As like all time travellers, Sara is faced with dangers from others but this tension is balanced with the everyday life of the Vikings. The highly detailed descriptions of this gave the novel depth and was able to transport me to the tents in the camps immersed in the smells and chat. Unlike some well researched historical fiction the details are perfectly blended with the storytelling and were never a distraction but made it a joy to read.

I can’t wait to be able to nudge the other books in the series up my TBR pile and catch up with the series.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a perfect summer read with the perfect gentle hero to fall in love with, set in interesting times and locations. Living on near the East Coast of Yorkshire, I can’t help love books even more if they are located in places nearby, this novel is no different and makes me long for when I can get to York again.

The magic in the Runes series may be subtle but with swords that allow time travel, this novel has a well-deserved place on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf and will be popular with many witchy and non-witchy customers of The Enchanted Emporium.

Author Biography

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014).  Whispers of the Runes (time travel published by Headline 24th June 2021) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.christinacourtenay.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinacourtenayauthor?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PiaCCourtenay

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ChristinaCourtenayAuthor/

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Whispers of the Runes plus a pair of silver Viking style earrings  (Open INT)*

Click here to enter

Giveaway prizes

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and good luck!

Love

Other blogs on this tour

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: To Catch a Witch by Sharon Booth

My second witchy book review* is To Catch a Witch by one of my favourite Yorkshire author’s Sharon Booth, who we met last year on my sister blog, From Under the Duvet. You can find her interview here. She is also a fellow member of the RNA and is an inspiration when I consider going down the indie path with some of my work. When I listen to her chat, the idea seems a viable option with a chance of success. It is the last novel in the Castle Clair trilogy. Read on to discover more.

BOOK REVIEW: TO CATCH THE WITCH BY SHARON BOOTH

To Catch a Witch by Sharon Booth

Title: To Catch a Witch

Author: Sharon Booth

Publisher: Green Ginger Publishing

Genre: Romance, uplifting fiction, witchlit

Release Date: 28th April 2020

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharonboothwriter

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Booth/e/B00PP5S1X8

Website: www.sharonboothwriter.com

BLURB

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.

It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.

But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.

For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.

The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.

Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

MY THOUGHTS

I was mesmerised by the other two novels based in Castle Clair which tell the stories of Sky and Star St Clair and pre-ordered this one, eager for its release but delayed reading it until now. Why? I did not want the series and the magic to end. Mistake. Big mistake, I could have reread the entire series by now. What was not a mistake was the timing. Celeste’s story begins on Christmas Eve, the 350th anniversary of Blaise St Clair’s death at Witches Leap, making it an ideal book for October with the preparations of both Halloween and Christmas. Witches and Christmas, my favourite things make it a winning combination.

Sharon Booth’s wonderful storytelling invoked the Christmas spirit and drew me into the St Clair’s world. The opening chapters are upbeat, quirky, and full of laughter as well as trepidation of what is to come. The many references to Dr Who to describe the situation made me smile and added to the festive atmosphere. Like the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Dr Who specials make Christmas.

Celeste fast became my favourite witch with her innocent, romantic view of love, believing she will meet the one. Her gentle and kind nature makes her the ideal match for Blaise, the 17th century witch. I enjoyed watching him grapple with the steep learning curve of fitting in to the 21st century, including the changing roles of women and zippers. That scene is one I cannot get out of my head.

WOULD I RECOMMEND?

To Catch A Witch is witchy escapism wrapped up in an uplifting romance that also revisits the other St Clair sisters. With many twists and turns, it was a joy to read and is firmly one of my forever shelf with the rest of the series. This has become my favourite, but it would be wrong to read it again without the others. I can feel a Halloween tradition brewing.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Sharon Booth

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can sign up to Sharon’s newsletter at smarturl.it/sharonsnewsletter

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

* This review was first published on From Under the Duvet earlier this month.