Book Review · Books

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

The Love Letter was my first book by Lucinda Riley, and I can’t believe I haven’t read a book by this author before. This is a magnificent book, full of secrets, forbidden romances and unsolved mysteries of the past.

Synopsis:

Set in London in 1995, this book starts off when Sir James Harrison passes away. He was one of the greatest actors of his generation. During his funeral, a lot of people gather, considering how impactful he was. Among them, one old woman, that sits alone in the crowd…

Joanna Haslam is a young journalist, and she is assigned to cover the actor’s funeral. Many famous celebrities will be there, and she can’t miss this moment. But something else captures her attention. An old woman, that shares a secret letter Harrison left behind, which needs to keep a secret forever.

The closer she gets to tracking down the source, the more she realises how dangerous this secret is. Many people are interested to keep this letter a secret, and they’ll stop at nothing.

My Thoughts:

The Love Letter is a book my mum chose for me, when “Mama Pick” came up on my TBR game. It’s a book she really enjoyed and I am so glad I was able to share this with her. I am very excited to see what she’ll pick next when the next prompt comes up for her.

I find it very intriguing that there seems to be a certain mysteriousness of the censure this book received. It was mentioned in the acknowledgments that some obstacles occured with the ability to get it published, due to the fact that there is a royal family involved, even though a fictional one.

The Love Letter is mysterious from the very beginning, when Joanna meets the old lady. Little does she know that she will be involved with keeping a very dangerous secret that happened many moons ago. Things start to get very interesting when the reporter gets close to the actor’s family. Each of these individuals keeps their own little secrets too, and everyone keeps playing games to their own liking.

The storytelling, the characters and the many plot twists were incredible.

I was turning the pages so fast, desperate to see what happens next. Desperate for more. I was eager to discover all their secrets and found myself hoping for their wellbeing. The plot twists would happen in places I would least expect and I loved the ending.

The Love Letter takes you to a very different set of culture, and reading this in 2020, I could easily notice it is set in 1995. There are many small things in the book that happen, which reminded me that time has passed since, and I really enjoyed that. It has been a while since I have read something over two decades ago.

A wonderful fiction, full with secrets, drama, suspense and a bit of romance. I loved every single moment of it. Lucinda Riley is definitely an author I will read more books from in the future.

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Book Review · Books

A Family For Christmas by Viv Royce [BOOK REVIEW]

A Family For Christmas by Viv Royce [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

A Family for Christmas is the first book in the Little Shops on Heart Street series by Viv Royce. It is a wonderful Christmas story about new beginnings, courage, love and kindness, and I enjoyed it so much! I read it on Christmas day, and I am so happy I did! Huge thank you to the author, who suggested this book to me during a random Twitter conversation, as well as Netgalley and the publisher Entangled Publishing, LLC for granting me an ARC copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Emma Miller recently moved to the quiet town of Wood Creek, opening her business and selling chocolates and bonbons to the residents. One day, a small her stops by her shop with a very unique request, and Emma is so intrigued. The little girl needs chocolates for her dad that will make him fall in love with her teacher. Emma can’t deny this little girl and of course, she complies. Little does she know, when Casey’s charming dad comes to the shop to find the creator of the chocolates, they will get on quite well. But she has to remind herself to be careful. After all, she knows that as soon as she gets attached to people, they tend to leave.

The pilot Grant Galloway is surprised by his daughter’s surprise, and he is even more curious about the lady that made these chocolates. After his wife passed away, he is still picking up the pieces of his broken heart. And Wood Creek is only a temporary stop for him and Casey. As soon as he finds a day piloting job, he will move away. He cannot allow to start anything new, especially not now, before the holidays.

Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.

My Thoughts:

Reading this book at Christmas day added a special Christmas magic to it, and I finished it within a few hours. I loved the story, and I loved the characters. There is something about small towns that I miss now that I live in a big city. The kindness of the people, and the closeness. I used to find it intrusive that people knew everything about you, but these days, I find it very comforting, especially when people tend to alienate more and more each day.

The little town is beautiful, and Emma’s shop was described so well. I could almost see and taste her amazing chocolate creations. And same goes with Grant’s family business and the town fair that they were organising and decorating, right before Christmas.

I am always looking around for a romance novel, and I enjoyed Grant and Emma’s story. It wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to, but the book was quite short, and I think it was due to that. I still loved their little moments as well.

My favorite character has to be Casey. After knowing what I know, I can see how brave it was for her to come into Emma’s shop and ask for that favour. And that just says how much her dad’s happiness means for her. She is so selfless and kind, and oh so brave. Especially with the other surprise that she plans for her dad.

If you are looking for a lovely Christmas romance during your Christmas or winter holidays – grab this book. It has everything – the lovely town and lovely people, a family atmosphere, a lovely romance and a Christmas miracle magic in the end with a perfect happy ending. I am so glad I read this!

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Book Review · Books

Silent Night by Danielle Steel [BOOK REVIEW]

Silent Night by Danielle Steel [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

It has been a while since I last read a book by Danielle Steel. Silent Night was available as an audiobook from my library, so I gave it a try, and it didn’t disappoint.

Synopsis:

Paige Watts is the ultimate stage mother. The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Paige channels her acting dreams into making her own daughter, Emma, a star. By the age of nine, Emma is playing a central role in a hit TV show. Then everything is shattered by unforeseeable tragedy.

A car accident changes Emma’s world. Her mum is no longer there, and in her place is her aunt Whitney. Unlike Paige, Whitney was always the studious older sister, hating the cult of celebrity that enveloped their childhood. Instead, she is a psychiatrist who lives for her work and enjoys a no-strings-attached love affair with a wealthy venture capitalist. But at a moment’s notice, Whitney drops everything to help her niece.

Once famous, outgoing, and charismatic, Emma is now a shadow of her former self–without speech, without memory, lost and terrified. But with her aunt Whitney’s help, along with a team of caregivers and doctors, Emma begins to find her way, starting her young life all over again–and changing the lives of everyone around her.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis immediately caught my attention, because I love drama. And the scenario is so heartbreaking, that I knew this book would give me all the feels. And it did.

I loved Emma. She was such an amazing character, and a wonderful fighter as well. She goes through a very big trauma, and never stops trying. What I truly loved is the relationship that she develops with her auntie Paige, who gives up her old life to look after Emma. Because there is no one else she has in this world now…

The strength that Whitney carries within her is to be admired.

She is so selfless and caring, not afraid to give Emma all the love in the world, despite the challenges. And especially at the beginning, it’s so hard. It was really hard for me to see Whitney go through rejection, the anger from Emma, not knowing how to process everything that is happening. She had to stay strong, for her and her niece’s sake. To be strong for both of them.

Danielle Steel did a magnificent job trying to show us the reality about people suffering with mental issues and trauma. How hard and frustrating it can be for them, when they can’t express themselves and are not understood. And how hard it is for their loved ones, to come to terms with the “new normal” and adjust, and to provide all the love and support. Recovery is a very slow and painful process, and there are good and bad days. Sometimes you make one step forwards and three steps back, and other times, recovery is not an option at all. And in Silent Night, Danielle Steel perfectly captured these experiences and emotions.

The bond between the niece and auntie is unbreakable, even though it took a long time to build. I loved the slow progress we could see in their relationship, and how they were both slowly healing as time went on. It was also very lovely to see how they both would also speak about Paige and work on healing and forgiving her as well.

I enjoyed the romance that Whitney experiences, and I also loved the fact that she was able to say “no” to a person who couldn’t accept her niece as part of the “deal”. Even though, I also respect his side, and how open he was about expressing his opinion. He was a very selfish person, true, but at least he was honest with her. This actually allowed Whitney to realise he wasn’t the right match for her and she was able to open up her heart to someone more deserving of her.

A very interesting part of this book is Emma’s acting career.

She started off young and her mum organised everything and planned her life. After all, it was her childhood dream that she now re-lived with her daughter. But when the aunt takes care of Emma, she has a completely different mindset, but is also under a lot of pressure from the media and the TV show director. I have to admit, I loved how Whitney handled this part, and ultimately lets Emma make the decision on what she wants to do once she is older.

In conclusion, Silent Night is a very emotional, but beautiful book. I am so glad I read it, and I’m looking forward to reading more books from Danielle Steel in the future.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

This January, I read Virgin River and watched Season 1 of the Netflix TV Show. And I fell in love. With the small town, with the characters, with Robyn Carr’s writing. When the team at Mills & Boon offered me a chance to Return to Virgin River, I couldn’t say no.

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Synopsis:

Return To Virgin River is actually the 19th book in the series. But the amazing thing is that you can read each book as a standalone as well. Each book is set in Virgin River, but it focuses on different characters and their lives in the same town. It is just the chronological part that changes.

In this book, we follow Kaylee. Her mother passed away recently and she rents a house in Virgin River to try and get back to writing and to cope with her grief. But as she arrives, she finds out that the house had burnt. Devastated, she goes to Jack’s bar to figure out what’s next. Yes – the same Jack we meet in the first book. He still has his bar, and the same old charm.

As she meets more people and spends more time in Virgin River, Kaylee slowly starts to heal. And not only she heals, but she starts to find happiness, love and motivation again. Because there is no better place to mend a broken heart than Virgin River.

My Thoughts:

I loved Virgin River, but I loved Return to Virgin RIver even more. Coming back to this town and reading again about Mel, Jack, Preacher and the other characters felt good. It felt like seeing your long distance cousins for Christmas, and talking like no time has passed. And I felt this, after only reading the first book. I can only imagine how people that have read all the books might feel.

I think it was also the happy tone of the book that I loved as well. Despite the sadness, grief and stress Kaylee was going through, this book shouts with positivity. The long walks, the caring people, the caring for the animals and the kindness – it filled me with positive vibes. And reading it during the Covid pandemic felt like the perfect escape. There is something about a small, fictional village that offers second chances that feels like home.

I highly recommend it to everyone that may need to find a little bit of escape. Or to people that love heartwarming stories, and second chances in life and love.

And don’t forget that there is a Netflix TV Show of this as well – with the new season coming out. Season 1 was incredible, and I cannot wait to see Season 2 as well – I am sure it will as good!

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Book Review · Books

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls is a beautifully written book. It takes you back to a 1919 Christmas setting and leaves your heart warm, days after you’ve finished it. Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Andersen Press, for sending me a copy of this book, alongside all the amazing goodies as well.

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiance Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.

Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the Vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James?

My Thoughts:

I loved The Silent Stars Go By as a whole. Margot is an amazing character, and I felt for her many times throughout the book. The love story between her and Harry was so beautiful and pure. A love like that is so hard to find in today’s world, and this is perfect for those romantics out there, that strive for loves like their grandparents had. I loved the letters and the communication between them. It’s so refreshing, compared to today’s relationship drama. It reminded me of my late grandparents, who would always have something to talk about, and do little things about each other. Not for the public, or for their social media, but just for their significant other.

Considering the secret Margot and her family had, I was expecting more emotions, drama and pushbacks. But I am glad things happened the way they did. And even though the ending was emotional and painful, it’s also heartwarming and full of hope.

“Father once said,” she said thoughtfully, “that it never does to compare your troubles to other people’s. That grief is grief, and you can’t know how heavy someone else’s is unless you carry it.”

A certain topic floated to the surface in this book. And even though not a main plot discussion, it’s a very important one to mention. There were times, before 1926, when adoption was illegal in Britain. Even though orphanages excited, the mother always remained the legal guardian of her child. Sadly, many of the mothers weren’t told this information, and they believed they lost all rights to ever see their child again. The book briefly touched on this topic, and I really wish that it focused a bit more. Nevertheless, it was mentioned, and it is worthy of noting.

The Silent Stars Go By is a book that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s so beautiful and real, with a Christmas to top it all up.

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