The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin (Blog Tour)

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin

 

39719642Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 22nd June 2018

Series: Sandcastle Bay #1 (read my review of Book 1 here  )

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 234

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham.

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends?

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

Rating: four-stars

“The Cottage on Sunshine Beach” is a second book in the Sandcastle Bay series. It can be read as a stand – alone, of course it can, because it’s following the adventures (and there are plenty of them! PLENTY!) of Melody and James but you would just miss out too much on a colourful, hilarious, sexy and quirky story – telling in “The Holiday Cottage by the Sea”. You don’t have to read them in the right order, I think, just read them both. Just saying.

So we return to Sandcastle Bay and are immediately thrown into the lives of Melody and her jewellery shop, and Jamie, an incredibly talented and sexy as hell sculptor. There is amazing chemistry between those two and Melody has the hots for Jamie but Jamie, sadly, has been badly hurt in the past and he’s holding back. However, Melody doesn’t give up and slowly it seems that Jamie starts to lose his reservations. But can one disaster date, when Melody poisons him, after other disaster date bring them together? Or is it too much for Jamie?

So guys. It is really hard to write this review as I truly am not sure what more should I say about Holly Martin’s writing and this book. I adore this author and her style but it seems that Holly has fallen for a pattern that is very successful and perfectly works for her, and it’s absolutely okay because when something works why should you change it? Sure, I can hear you saying, then don’t read Holly’s books – well, that’s not the point. As I’ve mentioned, I love her stories, they always made me laugh out loud and feel better, I just wish she’d surprise me with something different next time.

Nevertheless, I’ll try to explain what’s so special about this book. Because it is special 🙂

1) the setting – it’s gorgeous. Simply. Holly Martin is the champion of creating the most beautiful, desired places to live and I would move to any of the places she writes about in a couple of shakes.

2) the characters – are brilliant. As usually. They are full of humour and there is this lovely overwhelming community spirit and they all know everything about each other, there are no secrets in Sandcastle Bay.

The characters are so full of understanding and they’re so understanding and lenient that sometimes it’s too much. The guys always know what to say and what to do and sometimes it’s just  too good to be true. Don’t get me wrong here, pretty please, it’s lovely to see real gentlemen and how great they treat their women, how honest they are, there are no secrets between them, they do not lie, and sometimes, just sometimes, I missed a cold shoulder and a serious misunderstanding. To complicate the things a little.

3) the writing style. It’s full of humour and the best one – liners ever, and some of the scenes had made me laugh out loud. Really loud. The descriptions are so vivid and colourful and clear, you will have no problems to imagine them. Holly Martin has talent to effortlessly transport you into the heart of the story with her writing, to live the lives of the characters together with them.

It’s, as always, a little gem of a book that I wouldn’t like to miss out. There is everything you could ask for in a perfect rom – com: enough drama, a sizzling romance, incredible chemistry that only Holly can write in such way about, three – dimensional characters and hidden depths in a hilarious storyline. Truly recommended!

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The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin / #BlogTour

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin

 

38344308Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 12th April 2018

Series: Sandcastle Bay #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 249

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Tori Graham is in need of a holiday. Trying to piece her heart back together after losing the love of her life, she escapes to Blossom Cottage, with its picturesque views of the sea. And plans to spend the summer in gorgeous Sandcastle Bay, where her best friend Melody Rosewood lives.

Tori’s not expecting her summer by the beach to be eventful, until she meets handsome and mysterious Aidan Jackson…

Aidan looks after the holiday cottage Tori is staying in. Healing from past hurts, he wants to avoid any further chance of heartache. But could this newcomer be the breath of fresh air he needs?

Finding herself embracing life in the coastal community, Tori starts to fall in love with Sandcastle Bay and its welcoming cast of residents. But that’s not all she begins to fall for, as Tori is swept away by Aidan’s genuine heart and mischievous sense of humour. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will a simple holiday romance be enough?

As Tori’s stay in Sandcastle Bay comes to an end she has a tough decision to make…. Has her heart found a new place to call home?

A joyously romantic summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

Rating: five-stars

It’s been too long since I’ve read Holly Martin’s book and this is why I was that excited to start reading “The Holiday Cottage at the Sea”, and really guys, I haven’t realised how much I’ve missed Holly’s gorgeous, warm writing and her hilarious characters. So whatever you do, you just have to find time for this brilliant novel – it made me smile so much and it made me feel better. Yes, with Holly’s book you know where you’re heading to and yes, I’d love Holly to surprise us with one huge unpredictable twist, but her books have so many other merits that even the mandatory happy ever after is not something that’ll put me off reading her novels.

This book captured me immediately and Holly Martin’s storytelling is vivid, evocative and absorbing. I am always admiring the fact how easily she adds a word or two that immediately change the mood, this timing is perfect, and the dialogues were full of brilliant one – liners. She has a great hand for all kind of small touches that just make the story complete. It is also full of perfectly hilarious moments, so don’t be surprised when you suddenly start laughing out loud or spilling whatever you have to drink in your hand all over the table – be warned, and it starts already at the beginning with Dobby the turkey. Ha – I have you intrigued there, right?

The banter between the characters, especially Aidan and Tori, was brilliant – so effortless and so hilarious! The one thing that bothered me though was the length of their dialogues, they were all, the other characters as well, incredibly chatty, and often their statements took one page or even more, so eloquent they were, and sometimes I just wanted to tell them to finally get to the point. Sure, it’s nice when you can so beautifully pass your thoughts and feelings, however it doesn’t happen so often when you’re speaking, right? Nevertheless, I immediately warmed to Tori, she was instantly likeable and believable, and I loved her passion to her job. I loved to accompany her on her journey to rediscover herself. Also Aidan, oh my *sigh* *going gooey*, so brilliantly drawn and believable, and he was so utterly perfect, yet not too wishy – washy or too meh.
Agatha was very unforgettable character, guys, and often such characters annoy me awfully but she was just spot on, with her ideas and predictions. Also, Leo, James, Isla and Melody – they were all immediately likeable and realistic.

Holly Martin can, no matter what, always brilliantly capture the chemistry between the main characters. It’s always sparking, sizzling and vivid and I love this, because reading so many books you get all kinds of chemistry, and it doesn’t always happen that it’s so perfectly captured and visible. Yes, there came a moment that I wanted to bang Tori and Aiden’s head together but still, it didn’t mean that the chemistry was lost, oh no, it was there all the time and it was simply marvellous.

So altogether, “The Holiday Cottage at the Sea” was sexy and incredibly romantic and of course, as usual, Holly Martin has set her story in the most beautiful place ever. This tale was full of sunshine, gorgeous places, characters to die for. It was a story about grief, sense of guilt, friendship, close community, romance, love and heartberries – yes, heartberries. A really wonderful book with many hidden messages about second chances and trust – highly recommended!

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Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

 

36044566Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.

But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.

Rating: four-stars

 

So guys,  Ms Martin has just done it again – effortlessly transported me to the beautiful town called Christmas and frankly, each time I came for a breath and looked around I was surprised to see there is no snow and asking where my Christmas tree is. I think Holly Martin is one of the best when it comes to describing places, to being able to transport her readers into her imaginary world and to feel a part of the characters’ world. Therefore I am promoting Holly to Queen of Christmas stories – she can probably describe this season in the best possible way!

Holly Martin belongs to those authors whose books I read without having a look at the synopsis first, simply because I know that I am for a real treat. So I didn’t know what to expect when starting reading “Christmas under the Cranberry Sky” and I was totally surprised by the gorgeous setting and the fantastic idea of placing the story on the Juniper Island, in a town called Christmas – already the names are gorgeous, inspiring and inviting and it is official that I want to live there. Holly absolutely sold this place to me, with the ponies running free and terrorizing the town (but in a sweet way, no? Just imagine those little Shetlands, with their wild manes looking at you askance – GORGEOUS!), or the reindeers with festive names, or The Stardust Lake Hotel itself – it’s decided, I’m moving there! Holly has put a lot of thought to create this place and following her descriptions of all the places I felt as if I am looking at the place through a webcam, such vivid and realistic they were. To say that she brought this place to life would be an understatement, to be honest, she has just created a real fictional town. I think that my favourite part was the Christmas market with all its shops – there was so much care put into every single shop that we visited, the items were described so closely and accurately and with a lot of heart and feeling and I. Want. To. Buy. Those. Things, Holly! And try the many different flavours of the chocolate fountain! There were probably as many shops as there were villagers and I’d gladly read a book only about them and the lovely, beautiful, well – thought and original things they were selling.

Next to the fantastic descriptions of the setting, the characters also made the book. Not all of them, I admit, but Piper for example was great. She had a really crappy past and I admired her, truly admired, she is a girl that deserves a standing ovation, that she got off safe and sound from all this mess and that she achieved something in her life and not slipped as a drug – addict or something. She also had the best job in the world, probably – travelling the world, staying in the most beautiful places. Yes, there was a disadvantage, as she didn’t have a place to call home, but she seemed really happy with the situation, and she was able to see things that I can only dream about seeing *jealousy alert*. She was great with people, she didn’t have any problems to make contacts with them and I loved how quickly she found a common ground with Wren, Gabe’s daughter – they were the best duet in the world.
I didn’t have any problems with Piper (maybe this little one. I know you can feel insecure and hurt and feeling like there is no one you can trust, but not having a boyfriend for twelve years? Having sex only once in your whole life??? Puh – lease!) but I sadly had some with Gabe. I don’t know, I’m not sure why, but somehow for me he was not the right one for Pip, she has deserved someone who was not so whiny and so uncertain, and Gabe really seemed not to know what he wanted. Sure, I know where he was coming from, what with his little girl needing a routine and stability, but this blowing once hot, once cold was for me unacceptable. He behaved like a child, all the time changing his mind, and he demanded from Pip absolute trust while he himself didn’t trust her. Hello? It was really like going in circles with him.

But altogether I truly loved this novel. It is a second – chance romance, it is about overcoming issues, it is about trust and forgetting about the crap past and looking into the bright future, and I loved how optimistic it is and when I came to the end I really didn’t want to part with this lovely Island. Already looking forward to reading the second book in the series, but in the meantime I highly recommend “Christmas Under the Cranberry Sky” to you!

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Summer at Rose Island

by Holly Martin

 

Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Series: White Cliff Bay #3

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!.

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.

Rating: four-stars

Aaaahh, the lovely Holly did it again – went and wrote a book that feels like your best friend, like your favourite blanket, like a cup of hot chocolate or a sunny day spent in the garden reading your favourite novel!
It was great to be back in White Cliff Bay and I had a feeling that I’ve never left this place to be honest, as Holly’s effortless storytelling threw me directly into the heart of the novel, together with some of my best friends. It’s somehow always comforting, this feeling, and the fact that you know that you’re going to feel immediately at home when starting Holly’s new book.
„Summer at Rose Island” is the third book in the White Cliff Bay series and yes, you can read it as a stand – alone novel, even though many characters from the previous books appear there, and Darcy’s neighbours are Libby and George, but I’d advise that you should read all the books in the series, from a very simple reason of missing too much of Holly’s brilliant writing, sense of humour and lovely stories.

And oh my word, guys, what can I say about Holly’s book that I haven’t said before? „Summer at Rose Island” is the best example of her writing. There were brilliant characters, exceptionally beautiful setting and also the author has touched upon some environmental important issues, writing about things that I’ve no idea about. But about characters. This time Darcy and Riley are the main ones and I loved the way Holly described them. Darcy is lovely, a people’s person, so she doesn’t have any problems to make friends with other people, and her first encounter with her new neighbours – Lilly and George – is bloody hilarious! Darcy is like a whirlwind of activity and whenever she is, something happens, and she often puts herself into awkward situations, as she’s verrrry accident prone. But this clumsiness, and that she always wants to get on people’s best sides and make them happy is what makes Darcy so lovely and likeable, I really immediately warmed to her. My heart also went to her because of the situation with her parents, who – saying that they were not thrilled with their daughter would be an understatement – they only criticized her and never supported her and underestimated her. No wonder that Darcy wanted to flee and start living on her own, so moving to White Cliff Bay, a place that she’d already known because of her late aunt, seemed like a great idea. Moreover, Darcy is a sea – person. She loves swimming and everything that had to do with water, well, she is a marine biologist and sharks are her passion, and thanks to her I’ve learnt some things about them that I didn’t have any idea before. So to be honest, romances and such were not on Darcy’s radar, but then enters Riley – a reclusive American living in a lighthouse – a beautiful lighthouse that means a lot to many of the White Cliff Bay residents but that is intended to demolition! But back to Riley, who’d rather keep himself to himself, that is, until he meets Darcy… I really, really loved how Holly described Riley! He was perfect, with his southern charm, with his „ma’am” – ing, cowboy shoes and big, big, warm and soft heart.

Holly Martin, as in all her books, makes sure that also in „Summer at Rose Island” her characters are colourful, vivid and different. I always love how she makes them full of passion and how she effortlessly sneaks new facts into her novels, here about sharks and sea life for example. The characters are always complex, exceptional personalities. But also she makes sure that the town is a character of its own and the way she has described everything was just spot – on for me and I could see the things and places clearly in my mind, the shops, the bay, the lovely houses, the beautiful lighthouse.

White Cliff Bay is a town where everybody knows everybody and their business, and even though it took Darcy a little time to get used to the gossip, she very quickly acclimatised there. It is my favourite kind of town, to be honest, not too big, and I think I would even do with the others knowing so much about me, because they were all so friendly and so welcoming, and they supported each other so much, even though the person being supported (yes, Riley, I’m talking about you) was so very reluctant. I liked how Holly thrown Darcy direct into the middle of the events happening at the town, and how the residents welcomed her, making her feel a part of their town immediately.

However, to be absolutely, totally honest with you, I am missing a little of this unique, exceptional sense of humour that Holly got me used to in her previous books, the one that had me snorting suddenly with laughter, frightening all around me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a humorous, light – hearted book, but I missed those moments that made me laugh out loud, so much that I was in stitches. And I also, personally, think that Holly’s book, as much as I love them, are very similar to each other, and sure, I love this similarity, as I know what I can expect, and I adore that I get this what I expect, and I really, truly treasure and value Holly so much and I just would love her to surprise me with such a book like her written under the pen name „Tied Up with Love” – and this is why this time I gave the book 4 stars, not my usual five. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book, it only means that I missed something special, something original – but please don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing, I am only telling my feelings.

„Summer at the Rose Island” is this kind of book that make you feel welcome and warm. It’s full of positive feelings, a gorgeous, charming story that is going to draw you immediately in. Holly Martin’s descriptions of everything she writes about, let it be characters, their personalities, dogs, nature or lighthouse are incredibly vivid and she brings this all so easily to life and makes me feel like a part of this world.
What I also so like in Holly’s novels, and what you of course gets in „Summer at Rose Island” is the fact that, of course, there is always the happy end (but this is why I love the stories so much, a girl is always after a happy end, right?), but the way to this happy end is not always so obvious and full of obstacles. This time these are mostly Darcy and Riley themselves who complicate the things oh so much, only because they are champions of jumping to conclusions and of not communicating. Really, the whole town knows, I know, everybody all around them knows that they are perfect together and only they don’t know it. I adored Darcy and Riley and I adored their stories, and the fact that it felt so honest and genuine, and that they both were so genuine with their feelings, with their awkwardness, that they were so realistic and not so polished because it made them even more relatable and likeable.
Altogether, another cracker from Holly Martin. You can be sure that when you buy a book by this author that she’s going to deliver: a gorgeous, realistic romance, characters that you root for and also swoon over brilliant atmosphere, and that you’re won’t be disappointed. „Summer at Rose Island” is a perfect summery read, a great holiday novel, so be sure to take it with you on your break! It is this kind of a book that makes you feel happy and you can be sure that you’re going to finish your reading with a big, happy grin on your face.

Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin / Blog Tour

Hi guys! I have another blog tour today and I’ll be quick today – it’s for Holly Martin’s new novel “Spring at Blueberry Bay” which I simply adored. If I were to recommend you one book right now it would be this one – just drop whatever you’re doing and buy this story – you will be eternally grateful for the recommendation!

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Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

 

34451662Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 7th April  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 353

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner…

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman.

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?

A gorgeously romantic and heartwarming story to completely lose yourself in. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jane Costello and Miranda Dickinson.

Rating: 5/5

Holly Martin is one of my most favourite authors. No matter how are you feeling, her books will make you feel better, that’s guaranteed. Lately however I had some problems as Holly’s books started to see very similar to each other and I had a feeling that only the names of the characters and the places changed but still they were brilliant, humorous reads with quirky heroines and heroes sexier than sex gods. It’s no different with “Spring at Blueberry Bay” – the book is set on a gorgeous island, it has a bouncy main character Bella and it has sex scenes to die for. Don’t wait long, just buy the book and start reading it, and I am telling you this right now, at the beginning of my review!

Holly Martin, I am not sure how she does it, but she can perfectly write about blossoming romances. Here the chemistry between Bella and Isaac was Undeniable with a capital U, you could see the sparks and feel the sizzling. This relationship is like the wildest rollercoaster ride ever, with some false starts, with ups and downs which only made it feel so much more realistic and feasible (even with the fact how it actually began, with Bella inviting a strange man to her home and kissing him, but whatever, I did buy it). I also adored both of them, they were great. Bella was not a wuss, oh no, even though she had a much more sensible side to her and it was relatively easy to hurt her, as she wears her heart on the sleeve. There was fire in this girl, she had a great spirit and a heart made of gold. Isaac, oh my word, guys, give me Isaac any time, pretty please. Feisty, romantic, responsible and I could go on and on about him. Yes, I probably fell head over heels for Isaac, the fictional character. Kill me.

At first maybe I thought, mhm, the characters, it happens so quickly, and they are so honest, and they speak so openly and honestly with each other about the most personal thoughts, experiences and sex, mhm, really? But then I though, oh heck, maybe it’s just like it should be, no beating around the bush, just tell how it is. Maybe it was also because Bella is a total opposite of me, I wouldn’t dare to storm into somebody’s office just like she did but you know what? I secretly admired her for her wit, for being so feisty and for not letting sleeping dogs lie and I would love to be like Bella, so direct and to be able to take care about myself in a way she does. So in the end I though, hats off to Holly for writing this story without messing around and only getting straight to the point. There was nothing of this never – ending will they/won’t they plays, the characters got straight down to business and it was so different and so nice to read, without endless introductions and descriptions.

Of course Ms Martin has created another brilliant setting. Hope Island is a place that you immediately want to go and stay for ever. It just seemed so magical, so colourful, the descriptions of the cottages made me long to pack my things and move in there. This novel was full to the brims with humour, the most hilarious one – liners and scenes (just think about naked Bella hiding behind sofa, or her going for the interview and many, many more) and many very intense sex scenes. There was a moment I was scared this book is going to turn into some kind of shades, but no worries, it is all so very well balanced and they are also full of feeling and emotions. This book was really like a breath of fresh air.

“Spring at Blueberry Bay” very strongly reminded me of one of Holly’s previous novels written under a pseudonym, “Tied Up with Love”, which was absolutely my number 1 by this author. So no wonder that in the end I just adored “Spring at Blueberry Bay”. There was just my kind of humour – you know the one when characters talk to each other with poker faces when in fact this what they say is hilarious, and just imagining them telling this had me in stitches. It had one of the most gorgeous yet down – to – earth heros who must be my new favourite character right now and I think he’s going to be my crush, instead of Enrique Iglesias. Just saying. So imagine how brilliant he must be. It had one of the most realistic, warm, smartass heroine with the best one – liners in the world. It had a brilliant plot, it had dogs, it had fantastic setting, it was about family bonds. It had the best sex scenes ever – touching, full of fire, full of humour, beautiful. Yes, the first 20 % dragged on a bit and I had a feeling we are going in circles but after that there was nothing stopping the story and the author – this must me be my second favourite novel by Holly Martin, guys, and it’s telling really something, as I loved all of her novels. Highly recommended!

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Christmas at the Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Christmas at the Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

 

31328526Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

Series: White Cliff Bay #1

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Snow is falling on the charming seaside town of White Cliff bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air . . .

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay and 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 preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing, will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Rating: 5/5

I love Holly Martin and her stories, it’s probably not a secret, and I always wait impatiently for her new releases. They are always full of sparks, humour, gentle moments, with characters to die for – and “Christmas at Lilac Cottage” was not exception! You may not be sure of many things, but you can be sure of one: that Holly always delivers. What always brings tears to my eyes are Holly’s dedications – she never forgets about us, bloggers, and she always says her thank you in such beautiful words, and it always makes me feel sentimental. Really, really appreciated Holly!

I think everything about Holly’s writing and stories was already told, also by yours, truly 🙂 Holly can write incredibly romantic, but modern stories that go straight to my heart, stories that leave me satisfied and content. I don’t know how she does it, really, that I fell in love with all of her books, without exceptions. You know, when I read a new novel by one of my favourite authors I am usually scared if this time the author is going to deliver, if they are going to fulfil my expectations, but to be honest, when starting Holly’s new book, I’m not scared about this, because I am sure it is going to be her next cracker.

However, this time I have one “but”. Here I had a feeling that I “have been there, have seen this”. The setting of this little town, the sweet, cosy cottage, the job Penny had – carving in ice – even the characters – the main ones, and the supporting ones, the villagers – this all was like a repetition of “Beneath the Moon and the Stars” – can you remember? I have nothing against it, because it was a nice story, but I’d expect something more, something fresh from Holly. She has proved to be a brilliant author whose imagination knows no limits, so I truly expected more from this novel. I adored it, there is no discussion to it, please do not take me wrong, I just felt that I’ve already read this story before.
The story telling was, as usual, brilliant, warm and hooking, and the plot, even though not the most surprising, was fast paced, nevertheless I missed this unexpected twists and turns that are Holly’s brand already, and this incredible humour – it was a funny story, and it was full of this characteristic, belly – aching – laughing moments, but on the whole I wanted more of them – Holly got me used to have them on almost every single page, and in “Christmas at Lilac Cottage” those moments were seldom – apart of few of them, when I was literally snorting and laughing out loud, usually they involved Penny and Daisy and sex, it was a normal story kept on the same level.
But that’s just me. Don’t pay any attention 🙂 And other than that, I absolutely loved this story and I still think it deserves those 5 stars! I totally adored how the chapters were divided between Penny and Henry, and they were telling us their both point of views and thoughts on the same situation – it was mostly hilarious, and Holly brilliantly captured the differences in male and female’s thinking – you know, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Loved it!

The storytelling was exceptional, and so Holly – characteristic. Holly has this talent to over – exaggerate a little, to add a little drama here and there, and yet the story doesn’t feel too pushed, or too forced, it’s not over the top. She also always brings the places to life, with her incredibly rich descriptions – they are really so vivid that I have no problems to picture it all in my mind. I have felt truly festive, reading about the snow falling over the place, decorating the Christmas tree, and could feel the warmth of the fire burning. Also, there is always this lovely, brilliant sense of community between Holly’s characters, and it was the same in White Cliff Bay, with all the characters jumping to help when necessary (well, of course not always to help. Sometimes to meddle and complicate things, too).

What’s more, Holly’s characters are exceptional. To tell that they feel like real people would be an understatement, really – they ARE real people, with all their flaws and imperfections, problems and moods and jumping to conclusions. I had a feeling that any time they’re going to pop out of the pages and give me the biggest hug in the world. Penny was like a whirlwind of warm emotions and love, and it was impossible not to feel her excitement or sadness through the pages. She was so bouncy, bubbly and full of life and I hated to see her hurt. At the beginning Henry seemed to be a grumpy person but deep, deep inside he was sooo lovely, and no wonder Penny was attracted to him – I was as well! Holly is also the Queen of sparks flying between the characters, she can write the tension and chemistry in such a good way and make it feel so realistic, and it was the same here, and this “will they/won’t they” made it even more genuine.

So yes, Holly can make it happen – make you forget about the whole world and your duties and responsibilities. This story was full of action and events, there was not a single second flat, because Holly manages to squeeze a lot between the covers of this book: single parenthood, starting in a new place, coming to terms with a horrible past, learning to trust other people, and this all was told with so much empathy and with understanding, without judging. And I felt so comfortable with Penny and Henry. The story just flowed so well and was full to the brim with this wonderful, Holly – like, feel – good factor. “Christmas at Lilac Cottage” is really sweet, charming, sparkling with snow festive read, but I am sure reading it in summer would be as enjoyable as in winter. I highly recommend this heart – warming, lovely story!

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin / Blog Tour

Hi again guys, hope your Thursdays is running very smoothly – if it is, but also if it isn’t, you can do one thing: treat yourself to a copy of “Christmas Under a Starlit Sky” by Holly Martin. It is a second book in The Town Called Christmas series, and, as usually, it is full of festive spirit, ups and downs and loveable characters. There is something magic in Holly Martin’s writing, something warm and uplifting and you can always be sure that her books will brigthen the days. So don’t hesitate, order your copy and enjoy Juniper Island!

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin

 

31700615Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 19th October 2016

Series: A Town Called Christmas #2

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley  in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 252

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island.

Rating: 5/5

So guys, it is official now, not only is Holly Martin the real Queen of Christmas stories, but Juniper Island stays my absolutely favourite fictional setting! This picturesque island has just got under my skin and even though I am much more this person who’d rather spend her days enjoying the warmth of the sun, I’d make exception for Juniper – please, take me there any time! And the more snow, the better! The story picks up right where “Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky” ended, introducing us to a very shocked Neve seeing her ex – boyfriend arriving at the island, and this time the story focuses closely on their relationship and their will they/won’t they. In theory you could read “Christmas Under a Starlit Sky” as a stand – alone novel but I’d advice you to read the book in the right order, as there is just too much to miss!

“Christmas Under a Starlit Sky” is the perfect mix of the most beautiful Christmas spirit, drama, humour and gorgeous settings. However, I really liked the fact that this time Holly Martin put a stop to too many descriptions – don’t get me wrong, I love her descriptions, I think you could show Holly a gray stone and she would be able to write about it in the most beautiful, descriptive way, totally bringing it to life, so what I mean by saying that she put a stop to them is that she described the island and its surroundings in a very detailed way in the first book in the series, and in “Christmas Under a Starlit Sky” she focused more on characters. And apropos characters – boy, am I glad that I’ve read “Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky”, as I think I’d be a little too overwhelmed by the number of the heroes just entering the scenes – there were many of them, but all of them already known to me, so I didn’t have any problems with knowing who is why and why and what they’re doing – but, to be really honest, I think if I haven’t read the previous book, I’d be confused, as Holly didn’t explain who are all the people, which is only obvious, as we got to know them before.

I enjoyed both the storylines running in this book, this of Neve and Oakley and this of Ivy and Adam – though I have a feeling that the second was a little too chopped, too far – fetched at the moments, but of course I do understand where both of them were coming from and why such reactions. But still, I totally enjoyed the fact that Holly Martin didn’t make the romances go too smoothly, that they were not so straight – forward and that, to be honest, every outcome  was possible.

As usually, the characters were created with so much love and feeling! They were all enjoyable and full of depth and for me it is impossible not to fell for Holly Martin’s characters. They make mistakes, they often have some life – changing decisions to be made and they always feel so realistic and true to life. They are also always full of stories, and often they are heart – breaking, but with this author you can be sure one thing, that they are going to get their happy ever after after all – because they all deserve it! I adored Adam and kept my fingers crossed for him and the misunderstanding between him and Ivy made me feel so, so desperate and so, so mad, especially as I liked also Ivy, and I so, so wanted that everything would work out well for them! You know, sometimes you just know better than the characters themselves, you have the feeling that they should be together no matter what, and I had this feeling with Adam and Ivy this time. There are also some mentions of Gabe, Pip and Wren and it was lovely to see them all again, going strong. Holly just always makes it so easy to like her characters, to grow attached to them, and it is always a great joy to see them all again.  

Oakley Rey was a very macho character and I have to admit, I had some troubles to get to like him. He was just too confident for my liking, too straight – up and he behaved as if we owed him. Sure, yes, I get it, a film – star, but still, the introducing scenes where he’s just come to the island and behaved as if he was expected there, and going straight to Neve’s room were too much for me. However, quickly I started to warm to him and even if I can’t say that he’s my favourite character, I liked how hard he was on the outside and soft inside, and how he wanted to win his love back – even though it turned out to be not so easy task. However, this time, I had some issued with this love that was to be won back – Neve. I’m usually not so bothered when the characters make decisions that are controversial or are not up to my street, because why shouldn’t they, right, but Neve has reached a totally different level here, in my opinion of course. I don’t want to spoil the reading for you, so I won’t say what was it that bothered me so much, but let me just tell you that it was childish and the never – ending “sacrifices” of both sides were too much.

There was this overwhelming warmth in this story and the feeling of being welcomed and I found “Christmas Under a Starlit Sky” really unputdownable – I wanted to know how it’s going to end and how many curveballs the author is going to throw at the characters. It is a wonderful, festive romance, full of poignant and humorous moments, and it is really all what I could ask for. This story blends secrets, lies, surprises, hope, accidents, misunderstandings together and the end result is a hooking, atmospheric and down – to – earth novel with characters that you root for. I loved to be back to Juniper Island, immediately felt at home there and it was great to be back with the characters that truly felt as your best friends. There is all the time something happening, there is a lot of drama, but it is also full of happy moments. I highly recommend it – and not only to the fans of Christmas, because I am sure that everyone will find something to love about this book.

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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