Review of Christmas at Strand House

 

Christmas at Strand House

Linda Mitchelmore

HQ Digital

December 4, 2018


Blurb: A holiday to change their lives forever!

A festive feel-good holiday read, perfect for fans of Lilly Bartlett, Tilly Tennant and Eve Devon.

When Lissy inherits her late godmother’s seaside villa, Strand House, she decides to turn her life upside-down and move to the seaside. Continue reading

Advertisements

Review of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by [Callahan, Patti]

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Patti Callahan

Thomas Nelson

October 2, 2018


BlurbIn a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her Continue reading

Review of A Vicarage Wedding

 

A Vicarage Wedding

Kate Hewitt

Tule Publishing

July 16, 2018


Blurb: Rachel Holley has always dreamed of a wedding—the white dress, the fairy tale, and of course, the happily-ever-after. But when her fiancé breaks it off the night before, claiming she doesn’t love him, Rachel’s fairy tale ends in ashes.

Homeless, hopeless, and feeling like her life has been completely derailed, Rachel must start over in all sorts of ways—and hold her head up high in the fishbowl of her tiny village. The last person she expects to become a friend is Sam West, the taciturn owner of The Bell, Thornthwaite’s rougher pub, and a little rough around the edges of himself. Continue reading

Review of a Cosy Candlelit Christmas

 

A Cosy Candelit Christmas

Tilly Tennant

Bookouture

October 26, 2017


Blurb: All singleton Isla wants for Christmas is to be left in peace, but a surprise trip to the Alps means there’s a chance for romance in every snowflake that falls…

It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make amends with the father who abandoned her.  Continue reading

Review of The Beachside Christmas

 

The Beachside Christmas

Karen Clarke

September 26, 2017

Bookouture


Snow is falling and there’s romance in the air. Curl up for a cosy Christmas by the fire at Seaview Cottage…

When thirty-year-old Lily Ambrose’s latest relationship ends in disaster, she remembers happy childhood holidays in the seaside town of Shipley and decides it’s the perfect place for a fresh start.

But when Lily arrives, the town’s spirits are as low as her own: the local celebrity due to turn on the Christmas lights has gone on a cruise instead. Keen to prove herself, she calls in a favour and secures gorgeous reality star Ollie.

Lily’s neighbours are initially thrilled, but Ollie is as uncontrollable as he is good-looking. He can’t remember the town’s name, calls the Christmas decorations tacky, and manages to offend everyone. And whilst handsome but stubborn cameraman Craig tries to help, even he can’t stop Ollie’s madcap plans to stage a romance with Lily…

Will Lily be able to keep Ollie under control and bring the Christmas cheer back to Shipley – and find herself a real kiss under the mistletoe?

An addictive, heart-warming and uplifting read about friendship, romance, and Christmas spirit. Perfect for fans of Phillipa Ashley, Cathy Bramley and Debbie Johnson.


SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW

As I did last year, I’ll be reviewing some of the Christmas offerings that are going on sale soon. (Unfortunately somehow I missed Halloween 😦 , but that’s been the theme this year…not Halloween, but missing things.) I have a feeling that like last year these novels are going to run the gamut from slapstick funny to charming and sweet. So here we go…

While it took me a few pages to get into Karen Clarke’s The Beachside Christmas, once I did I had a very enjoyable time reading about the eccentric characters of Shipley, a fictional seaside town in Dorset.

Lily leaves London for Shipley because of the wonderful holidays her family used to have there when she was young and because those memories involve her beloved Dad who died three years earlier. Also, as a result of a bad relationship and an embarrassing altercation, Lily feels like she needs to start over.

Because she wants to ingratiate herself to her neighbors, she volunteers to find a celebrity for the Christmas lights celebration. Her best friend, Erin, a talent agent, recommends Ollie, an actor who was made somewhat famous by a reality tv series, but who had gotten booted off when he hit someone. He’s hoping to redeem himself.

Ollie is handsome and charming and Lily is attracted until she gets to know Ollie better and realizes he’s a bit of a goof.

The Beachside Christmas is just the sort of book to start the holiday season with. It’s extremely funny, but sweet, a feel good romantic comedy.

Lily is a nice woman who goes out of her way to make people like her, which includes buying an odd assortment of expensive delicacies she doesn’t know what to do with when she’s told Ollie (rather posh and schooled at Eton) is going to be staying with her. Craig comes across as a tough nut at the beginning, but the reader soon realizes he’s a nice, sensible guy, loyal with good values, and steady. No characters are over-the-top mean and even the ones who seem a bit sharp initially are softened over time. Most are fully developed characters.

Even the magical, life-saving cat, Marmite, is a fully developed, if still enigmatic, character.

While I understand that this is part of a series, it wasn’t obvious. This can very much be read as a standalone novel.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


rating: 4-butterflies

4 out of 5 butterflies


 

Review of The Way to London

 

The Way to London

Alix Rickloff

September 19, 2017

William Morrow


Blurb: From the author of Secrets of Nanreath Hall comes this gripping, beautifully written historical fiction novel set during World War II—the unforgettable story of a young woman who must leave Singapore and forge a new life in England.

On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever.  Continue reading

Review of The Art of Hiding

415xtk2rrnl

The Art of Hiding

Amanda Prowse

Lake Union Publishing

July 18, 2017


Blurb from Goodreads:

Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Continue reading

Sky Bruised, Wine Bled #amwriting

Thanks to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction for providing and hosting this prompt. If you’d like to participate, click here.

© A Mixed Bag

Sky Bruised, Wine Bled

You know how you’re in the midst of a situation and realize while it’s fun, it’s all wrong?

Continue reading

Damages

 

Exchange Student XII

Previous installments of Exchange Student can be found here.

He looks dead.

His face is pale. There’s caked blood under his nose, along the ridge of his upper lip, on his chin. I glance around me before approaching him, surprised that he’s by himself.

“Eddie,” I whisper, half-afraid that he will not respond, half-afraid that he will. I take his hand in mine and squeeze. It’s warm to the touch and just that dissolves some tension.

His eyes open. For a moment he frowns as if trying to place me. “Posh. You’re here.”

I smile. “What happened?”

“I got pissed and went for a walk,” he says, a slur in his voice. He closes his eyes again, but his thumb rubs over the knuckles on my hand, letting me know he’s still awake.

I lift his hand to my lips, kiss his fingers.

The curtain opens with a rasp of its rings on the metal rod. A gray-haired man enters, his blue eyes flicking over me with something like disdain.
“Who are you?” he demands.

“I’m Eddie’s friend,” I say.

“Ah, the little American from the show. The controversy,” he says in a clipped accent as if I should understand what this last bit means. “I’m afraid you’ll have to go now. Edward’s on his way to a rehabilitation centre.”

Two male attendants appear as if on cue.

“Father, give me a moment with Posh,” Eddie says.

“Posh,” his father repeats. “No. We have no time. We must get you admitted into the facility. I have an appointment.”

Eddie clutches my hand as if it were a life-preserver. “You’ll visit?”

“Not possible. Only family,” his father says, summarily dismissing me.

Tears sting my eyes as I see the distress crease Eddie’s face. I lean over to kiss him when he grabs me by the upper arms and almost hauls me onto the hospital bed. He smells of beer and vomit and antiseptic.

“Don’t forget me,” he says, his voice urgent, almost panicked.

“That’s enough, Edward,” his father says. He then gestures to the attendants.

I watch them wheel the bed down a long corridor. There’s a strange silence around me, a vacuum. I feel almost afraid to move, as if movement will shatter calm. No one looks at me. I feel as if I am invisible. I fold my arms across my chest, tuck my chin downward, and walk into the permeating chill rain.

Tomorrow at this time I will be on a plane just hours out of Norfolk International Airport. My family will pick me up, be relieved to see that after a semester abroad I am unscathed.

My former crazy has been tamped down with the help of a soul nearly as broken as mine and I will think of him, nearly constantly at first, wondering about his hours and his welfare, wondering if he thinks of me, or if a new smiling visage inspires his heart. And I will daydream that somewhere down the years we will meet, perhaps at the Tonys or the Academy Awards or the BAFTAs. We will be elegant and charming and witty outwardly, but inwardly we will still be two kids, Posh and Eddie, who once fell in love.

 

end 3/18/2017

S. Darlington