Book Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Many thanks to Holly for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for her new book, billed as “A perfect romance to curl up by the fire with” and I can’t argue with that!

Christmas at Lilac CottageWhat’s it about?

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

My thoughts

Welcome to White Cliff Bay; a small sea-side town where everyone knows everyone else’s business 😉

From the opening scenes you know where this book is going to lead (nudge nudge wink wink)! Henry’s hot and hot-tempered whilst Penny doubts her self-worth and her self-esteem is in the toilet but it’s still lust at first sight. It’s a fun read as they go through all the initial “he likes me, she likes me not” to-ing and fro-ing and then their ensuing relationship antics.

You can always guarantee Holly will give you likeable unpretentious characters; all flawed in some way but totally relatable, just like people you know down the street. This book gives the impression that it’s all sweetness, light and cuteness but there is a deeper theme running through it; in that stuff that happens in our past, affects and shapes our futures, and is always there lingering in the background waiting to mess with our heads. It’s scary how much I saw of myself in Penny even with the 10 year age gap and still do.

Now, I did find Henry’s over-protectiveness of Daisy somewhat grating, having been a single parent to a teenage girl I understand how hard it is but you just get on with it. I did find some of the pussy-footing around Daisy somewhat mollycoddling; then I don’t have much patience for this type of stuff in real life, harsh I know! Also not entirely sure I would have chucked myself in the sea for that child either; heartless maybe, god I sound like the worst human being ever! I would have sounded the alarm of course!

Top marks go to character Jill; think we could all do with a Jill in our lives!

What I do like about Holly’s books is that you do know what you’re gonna get…a heart-felt rom com with likeable characters, a heart-warming story and a happy ending. A lovely Christmas read!

Many thanks to Bookouture for approving me for an ARC via Netgalley, and Holly as always, best of luck with the book!

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

About the author Holly Martin

Holly has been writing for six years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival Holly-Martin-500pxof Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. Holly lives in Bedfordshire.

Connect with Holly

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Book Review: A Christmas Tragedy by Agatha Christie

A Christmas Tragedy Agatha ChristieWhat’s it about?

Whilst dining at the Bantrys Miss Marple is asked to tell a murder mystery. She recounts the time she could tell from a man’s behaviour, that he was planning to kill his wife.

But at the time of the murder he had a perfect alibi…

My thoughts

Here’s a short, quick review for this short story…

I really like the Miss Marple stories but not really sure why it’s called A Christmas Tragedy as there wasn’t any mention of Christmas – I feel a bit robbed!

The usual Christie / Marple template applies to this short story only with Miss Marple retelling the events of the discovery of the body etc and how she manages to work out the how, where and why!

A quick easy read with the usual characters so not much in the way of character development but then we know them all so well from other books and TV.

It’s a clever plot but did feel a little hurried however I still enjoyed it.

Buy the book Kindle

Book Review: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Skipping Christmas John GrishamWhat’s it about?

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition.

My thoughts

So you may have seen the Christmas movie Christmas with the Kranks, well this is the book that this movie is based on and a very rare occasion for me to read a book more than once. This is only the second book I’ve ever read twice.

So Nora and Luthor decide to skip Christmas following their daughter’s trip to Peru. They decide not to partake in any of the usual rituals, no cards, tree, gifts or decorations. They receive various visits from people expecting the Kranks to buy their charitable gifts who are quite rude when they’re turned away.

At times I did think maybe they did go a little bit over the top, I mean they could have sent cards, gone to the works dinner and decorated their house, this wouldn’t have cost them that much and they wouldn’t have fell out with their neighbours. Although, this makes for a better ending as all the neighbours pull together to give Blair her the Christmas she expected (quite selfishly!). Her parents could have just told her yeah we’re having a party etc but we’re on hols Christmas Day – wouldn’t have made for a happy ending though 🙂

I didn’t find it as laugh out loud funny as the film but it’s a fun Christmas read that attempts to highlight the commercialism that for the majority has become Christmas!

Buy the book Kindle