Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan

Allegra Fisher lives for her career.  She works all the hours she can only taking time out to visit her sister or her mum.  No man deserves her time unless he can improve her profit margin.  When she meets Sam Kemp on a business flight she gives in to her basic needs with no intention of ever seeing him again, only to find out his is to work alongside her.

The town of Zermatt in Switzerland, holds more secrets than anyone realises.  When their lives become entangled again Allegra finds that she must keep her head both professionally and personally around Sam or she could lose her heart.  Trust versus loyalty. Who do you trust?  Who should you be loyal to?

 

REVIEW

Having to deal with arrogant men on a daily basis and being disappointed by men in the past, Allegra Fisher does not trust easily.  When Sam enters her world both personally and professionally she finds that the two worlds collide and not in a happy way.  Secrets are being kept and Allegra does all she can to find out the answers.  Her character is jaded and filled with mistrust but through the course of the story she has to learn to let go and trust in herself.

This is almost like two books mixed into one.  The story around Sam and her work makes for an exciting read and a good story in itself.  When you then mix in the story about her grandmother and the whole incident relating to her family in Switzerland, which again could be a book by itself, you have an intriguing and thought-provoking story. The relationship between Allegra and her sister Isobel is lovely.  After everything they have been through they know that they still have each other.  Their mother has Alzheimer’s and I found that this was written in well and conveyed the effects that the disease can have on the family.

A beautiful story set mostly in the picturesque background of the Swiss Alps with secrets revealed and love conquering all.

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Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

When Jessica Gold meets the enchanting Dominic Lacey on Christmas Eve she does not realise the course of events she is about to set in motion.  Now, trapped in his apartment, no way out, no communication with the outside world, and with no-one knowing where she is, Jessica is about to have the worst Christmas of her life.

 

REVIEW

I love a good psychological thriller, mainly because I like seeing if I can work the plot out before the reveal, and this one had me guessing most of the way through.  It is set in two parts – The time of Jess’s kidnapping and the time after she is found.  The series of events that unravels in the second part has you seeing the first in a whole other light but there is more hidden behind the scenes than is originally thought.

Needless to say, Dominic is not a nice guy. Yes, he has his kinky perversion which in itself is fine, each to their own, but as you find out more about him you realise that he really is just not nice.

Jess is not the sweet and innocent she makes out to be either, the mere fact that she goes with Dominic in the first place when she has a boyfriend at home leads to this conclusion. I wouldn’t say that she deserves what she gets but as learning curves go, it’s a huge, wide arc.

The introduction of the detective and following her thoughts and feelings is an interesting side story.

The only complaints I have about this book is the ending. I like a book to finish (unless it is a series).  What I don’t like is being left with questions and although there weren’t many I had to read between the lines to figure out the ending. For some it might ruin the feel of the story but for me I would have liked to have had a bigger epilogue, focusing on the Detective, as she does become a large part of the story, explaining what happened to some of the other prominent characters in the story, and also a bit more of Jess, not just the teaser we get.

An interesting, intriguing read with a Christmas twist.

Winter at the Dog & Duck – Dog & Duck #1 by Jill Steeples

When Ellie Browne was made redundant from her high-flying consultancy job in London she decided to take some time for herself and moved back home to Little Leyton.  Taking on a part-time job in the local pub, ‘The Dog and Duck’ and starting a dog-walking service, Ellie finds there is more to life than working all hours.

When the arrival of a strange and handsome man arrives at the Dog and Duck, Ellie finds that she is fighting for more than her heart when the heart of the community could be at stake.

 

REVIEW

Beautiful story that takes the reader into the heart of an English countryside.  Ellie is forced to return home when she loses her job and leaves London.  Finding the beauty of the great outdoors she begins dog-walking and finds herself face-to-face with Max Golding, the new, handsome, Lord of the Manor.

Max is a charming man but behind the charm he is keeping secrets.

The attraction between Max and Ellie is undeniable but I think I would be exactly like Ellie is my mistrust after he kept so many secrets.  She is looking for someone reliable but turns away the one man who is.

Interesting story with a HEA – although it does continue in a follow-up book called Summer at the Dog and Duck, where maybe all is not as happy as we left it.  I will be reading this, probably in the summer.

The Christmas Mail Order Bride – Holiday Mail Order Brides #1 by Kit Morgan

Summer James had spent her entire life in a orphanage now it was time to leave.  With her options being as they are she enlisted the help of a mail order bride service. Arriving at the small town of Nowhere, the last thing she expects is to be shot by her own fiancé.

Sheriff Clayton Riley finds out on the day she arrives in town that his brother has brought him a wife for Christmas. Clayton has been married before and does not want or need another wife, but when he sees his new bride he just might change his mind, that’s if she doesn’t change hers after he shoots her.

Can Summer earn the Sheriff’s trust and friendship enough to make their relationship last and in turn can Clayton prove to Summer that he is not the loveless man he seems to be? Or will outside influence end the marriage before it has even happened?

 

REVIEW

With the orphanage as the only home she has known and being rejected her entire life, Summer James finds it hard to trust in anyone but she has also lead a secluded and sheltered life.  Venturing out into the big wide world is a scary prospect but moving to an entirely different state to marry a man she has never met goes far beyond scary.  The relationship between Summer and Clayton is strained from the start.  Clayton is still living in the past and trying to atone for the death of his first wife.  Everyone, well almost everyone, in town is encouraging Clayton to give Summer a chance and when he finally does realise his feelings it could be too late.

There is a build up to a threat against Summer at the beginning of the book which I really think could have been used more in the story. I appreciate that it is the reason that Summer doesn’t return to New Orleans but I kept expecting something to happen and it wasn’t what I expected.  I suppose this could be viewed in two ways: disappointing that there was a build up with nothing happening, but interesting that what you thought might happen doesn’t but something else does instead.  Kept the story a little less predictable.

On the whole a nice story of growing love and Christmas miracles.

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop: Sequins and Snowflakes – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea #2 by Jane Linfoot

Seraphina East loves her little corner of the world.  The Little Wedding Shop where she creates her beautiful designs is about to be hit by a snow storm…in the form of Sera’s sister, Alice.

Alice has dreamed and planned her perfect wedding for the last three years, every detail is accounted for, right down to the snow. Even though she hasn’t asked her sister to design her dress she has still enlisted her help in ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

With not one but two best men, who don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, can Sera protect herself as well as the wedding or will everything end up frozen?

 

REVIEW

Seraphina is not so much the shy type as the ‘can’t be bothered with people’ type.  She is happy in the little Cornish town where she has made her home and has a select few friends.  Yes, she had big plans when she was younger but, like for most of us, those plans got changed along the way. Now she is a successful wedding dress designer and content with her life. That is until her sisters wedding.  For years she has not had interest in any man, then two turn up on her doorstep – one new and one a blast from the past.

The twists and turns, will she won’t she, and who do you trust, that poor Sera has to cope with, along  with trying desperately to keep her sister’s wedding on schedule makes this book a very entertaining read.

The male characters are great:

Quinn, Best Man #1, is so much like Sera that they seem like the perfect pair.  Unfortunately Quinn is very much the player but Sera gives him the benefit of the doubt if he can help her with the wedding. Sparks fly of the romantic kind but Sera is a little more cautious these days.

Enter Johnny, Best Man #2 and a former friend of Sera’s who she thought might be the man of her dreams.  Seems those dreams where not to be but they all come flooding back when Johnny turns up to help.

Sera has her hands full keeping these two in line and away from each others throats, not to mention away from her!

A funny, heart-warming and enjoyable Christmas read to get you in the festive spirit.

A Yorkshire Christmas – Christmas Around the World #2 by Kate Hewitt

All Claire Lindell wanted was to escape the ‘perfect’ New York family Christmas her mother had planned and have a quiet few days in the country. When she accepted her God Mother’s offer of her cottage in the English countryside she doesn’t expect to be pushing a sheep out of a river, having her car stuck in a snow drift, or having her heart tugged by the local farmer.

 

REVIEW

This is a short but lovely written story of love found at Christmas.  Both Claire and Noah are reluctant to engage in a relationship not least because of the obvious difference in living arrangements.  Noah has been caught out by a flighty rich girl before and wants nothing to do with another well-bred woman.  Claire was escaping a  romance that wasn’t quite what she thought it was and had no intention of getting mixed up with anyone, least of all a grouchy farmer from a small village in Yorkshire.

A feel-good romance with a touch of Christmas spirit.

 

A Christmas Code – Code Breakers #2 by Jacki Delecki

Growing up, Lady Gwyneth Beaumont used to follow her older brother and his best friend, Viscount James Ashworth, around, much to their annoyance.  Now she is the one being followed. As one of the most beautiful debutantes of the season, Lady Gwyneth is in high demand but her eyes and heart are still set on Ash.

Arriving back from a three year assignment in France, Viscount Ashworth, known as Ash, hasn’t seen Gwyneth in all that time. Now coming home and finding her a woman he is grave danger of losing his heart.

With a mission at hand to prevent the assassination of the Prince Regent, Ash is reluctant to accept Gwyneth’s help but she proves to be more than just a beautiful distraction.  Can Ash keep Gwyneth safe and save the Prince or will it be Gwyneth who does the saving?

 

REVIEW

Great twist on a historical romance.  I will admit that I have not read the first book in this series but that was not essential to enjoy the second.  Gwyneth’s brother is the head of His Majesty’s spy service and Ash is his number 2.  The story is enjoyable and based around the  Christmas ball where deadly plots are being planned.  There are a few red-herrings to keep you guessing and some unexpected turns along the way.

Gwyneth and Ash are a great couple and even Gywneth’s brother is accepting of their union.  Gwyneth has loved Ash since she was a little girl, perfecting her spying techniques by following him around the grounds, but this year she has decided that he needs to notice her for the woman she is not the child she was…and boy,  does he notice!

Heat, passion and intrigue all mix together to make this an exciting Christmas romance.