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Blog Tour Book launch Book review Book reviews

#Tuesdaybookblog #Blogtour and review THE CHRISTMAS WISHING TREE. An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March (@EmilyMarchBooks) An enchanted town, the power of believing, a mystery, and the perfect romance

Christmas Wishing Tree Blogtour Banner
Christmas Wishing Tree Blogtour

Hi all:

Yes, I know it’s not Christmas yet, but when I got offered the opportunity to read this book in the summer, I quite fancied it (it was really hot) and the blog tour sounded very appealing as well. If any US readers of the blog fancy a copy, let me know your e-mail address and I’ll make sure you’re entered into the giveaway of a copy of the book. 

The Christmas Wishing Tree. An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March 

Summary:
Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From USA Today bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…

A delightful Christmas novel in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.

Buy Links:

Macmillan

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

Indie Bound

Powells

Author Emily March
Author Emily March

Author Bio:

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Social Links:

Emily March Website

Twitter: @EmilyMarchBooks

Facebook: Emily March

Pinterest: Emily March

My review:

I am thankful to St Martin’s Press for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review and for the opportunity to participate in the blog tour of its launch.

Although I am not a big fan of Christmas, I do enjoy some Christmas stories, movies, and songs (especially out of season, when one isn’t surrounded by it). The offer to read and review this novel reached me in the middle of a pretty hot summer and it felt like the perfect way to combat the heat. It worked, for sure, and although I had never read any of the other novels in the Eternity Springs series, I quickly became enamoured of the place and its inhabitants. I can reassure you, though, that the story goes beyond the Christmas theme, and there are wonderful scenes that take place in other seasons (the Fall, the Fourth of July…) and other locations apart from Colorado (Nashville, Florida, Australia, and the Caribbean).  But I have to agree that the overall theme of the novel, and the spirit that suffuses it, is that of Christmas.

The novel, written in the third person, shares the alternating points of view (and locations) of a part-time resident of Eternity Springs, Devon Murphy (the son of Cam and Sarah Murphy, and brother to Michael, long-term residents of the town), and Jenna Stockton, a doctor specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology whom we meet in Nashville. While Devon seems to be a free-spirited man who loves the sea, boats, fishing, and women, but avoids commitment like the plague, Jenna is a model of responsibility. She is a single mom to Reilly, whom he adopted after looking after his mother, a young woman down on her luck who died when the boy was a toddler. She works hard and would do anything to ensure the safety and happiness of her son. But he has a Christmas wish that is out of her hands. Somehow, luck, magic, or the power of believing puts Reilly and Devon in contact, and in a roundabout way, the destinies of the three of them intersect in the wonderful town of Eternity Springs. Both main characters have secrets (as readers of the genre will probably expect): Devon has a traumatic past in the relationships department and has a lot in common with Reilly, and Jenna’s life is haunted by a stalker who seems intent on upping-the-ante and putting her and her son’s lives at risk.

I liked the characters and their relationship, that follows the well-known formula of will-they/won’t-they so successful in the romance genre (they both have very valid reasons for their hesitation, although if you get easily impatient, I must warn you that the book is quite long and the story develops over close to two years), and I liked many of the secondary characters as well (despite not having read other novels in the series, I got a fairly good sense of who they were, and I did not feel I could not fully enjoy the story because of lack of background information. And I wouldn’t mind getting to know more about many of them), particularly Celeste, her resort, and the wonderful idea of the Wishing Christmas Tree that gives the book its title. She has a touch of the magical and is the fairy godmother of the town and all the characters (and I’d love to meet her).

What I most enjoyed of the book was the town of Eternity Springs. I have read a number of novels that take place in charming towns (islands or other locations) where outsiders come and are quickly adopted by the community, becoming, in many cases for the first time, part of a big family. I always enjoy the fact that the town becomes a protagonist in its own right and when the novels works well, you feel as if you had spent time in a real place and look forward to future visits to the magical location. Eternity Springs is one of those towns, and to add to its attraction, it is located within a marvellous natural setting, and the writer does a good job of introducing us to parks, lakes, mountains, taking us on sledge rides, fishing, camping, and exploring the wonderful facilities and the traditions of the place. Although it has more than a touch of the fairy tale (everybody seems to be well-off, everybody is fairly happy, apart from the main protagonists, temporarily, and even the bad things that happen are pretty mild) and it can be a bit sugary at times, I think it would take a very cold heart to read the novel without falling for the magic of the town and its inhabitant. (And perhaps shed a tear or two. Good tears, though).

If I had to point out some things that readers might have issue with, one would be the mystery element. Jenna’s background story and her circumstances bear heavily upon her actions and how cautious she is when it comes to meeting new people and possible romances. Although the mystery element ramps up the tension and adds to the interest of the story, on occasions it seemed to be more of an afterthought and an opportunity to show Devon and his friends (all male) as a team capable of investigating and keeping everybody safe (and yes, some elements of the rescue fantasy and the knight in shining armour were clearly at work there). Although Jenna herself complains at times about being treated like a weak woman in need of protection —despite being a competent professional who had managed well by herself until that moment— this novel keeps to conventional and traditional gender roles rather than challenging them. I know that such plots and story-lines are typical of many romantic (wish-fulfilment) novels but might not suit all readers, especially those who prefer women in charge of their own destinies. As a reader of thrillers and mystery novels, I did not feel the mystery would have satisfied fans of the genre, as we are not given enough information to solve it (we get some details of the case but others are brushed over quickly and the resolution, when it arrives, is somewhat anticlimactic), and it takes a backseat to the romantic part of the story. Having read other books that mix both genres, and this being a romance with some mystery thrown in, rather than the other way round, I did not think its intended readers would be too disappointed.

There are many other subplots I have not mentioned, including dogs, pregnancies, health scares, fishing, older motherhood, baking, National Parks, love of nature, adoption, social media, stalking, counselling, vocation, tropical storms, family, traditions, Santa Claus, magic, traumatic relationships… There are wonderfully vivid and memorable scenes, the style of writing is easy and fluid, and the descriptions bring to life both the locations and the characters (without going overboard with the physical descriptions of the protagonists and love interests, although yes, don’t worry, they are attractive), and there are some sad moments, some funny ones, and many emotional and heart-warming scenes as well. There is plenty of sexual attraction and tension between Devon and Jenna, but there is no graphic sex and although there are some thrilling scenes, the doors stay firmly closed behind the protagonists when it comes to that side of things.

I know readers of romantic novels expect a happy ending. Well, you won’t be disappointed here. What’s more, I know some readers can get really upset if they feel there are elements in the story that are not fully solved and hate it when they feel that writers are using hooks and unresolved issues to keep them buying books in a series (not everybody feels the same, though). As I have said before, this novel can be read independently from the rest of the series, and all the plots and subplots of the story, even the secondary ones, are solved satisfactorily. So don’t hesitate to pick up this novel just because it’s part of a series. You will feel sad it has ended but it won’t keep you awake at night trying to guess what happened next. I kept imagining this novel as either a movie, or better even, a TV series, and would be surprised if some production company didn’t snatch it up. Done well it would be irresistible.

In sum, this is a novel that takes place in a magical location, in gorgeous settings, with a Christmas theme and a hopeful message, a romance that includes elements of mystery/thriller, with likeable characters that will make you feel home. I, for one, won’t hesitate to visit Eternity Springs again in the future.

Thanks to St Martin’s Press and to the author for this opportunity, thanks to all of you for reading and please, if you have a minute, remember to like, share, comment, click, keep reading, review and smiling. And if you live in the USA and fancy a copy of the book, leave me your e-mail in the comments and I’ll make sure you are entered into the giveaway. Good luck!

 Oh, and I wanted to let you know my blog is featured on the Top 100 Book Blogs UK/Book Review Websites UK, here. Visit if you can, as it is a very comprehensive list and you will recognise a few faces. 😉

Categories
Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview ROSIE’S LITTLE CAFE ON THE RIVIERA by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) A good holiday read for grey weather (in or out)

Hi all:

Surprise! Today it isn’t a thriller but a nice book that I’d recommend for when you need some downtime and to engage with people whose problems aren’t about somebody trying to murder them. Oh, and in the Riviera…

Rosie's Little Cafe on the Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet
Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet

Escape the winter blues with Jennifer Bohnet’s deliciously heartwarming read. A summer of taking chances! Rosie Hewitt’s dream of opening a little French cafe on the Riviera is finally coming true. She’s giving up on love and instead chasing her own perfect recipe for happiness…Only, she never expected the oh-so-sexy, award-winning chef, Sebastian Groc, to set up his restaurant next door – or for his freshly-baked croissants to smell quite so delicious. But with just a few days until she opens her doors and all her sugar-coated dreams crumbling around her, Rosie isn’t prepared to give up without a fight! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Ellen Berry and Caroline Roberts. Praise for Jennifer Bohnet: ‘A beautiful book, a perfect read for when you need a little bit of sunshine to help you through your day.’ – Book Worm Mummy ‘Jennifer Bohnet took me away into a sunny world full of surprises! I read the entire book in one sitting.’ – Urban Book Reviews ‘A great holiday read to chase away the winter blues.’ – Lesley Newton (Good Housekeeping) ‘I loved it so much that I read it in one sitting!’ – Alison Alcroft (NetGalley Reviewer) ‘A fun, feel-good story to lift the gloom of an English winter!’ – Bev Humphrey (NetGalley Reviewer) ‘A perfect holiday book, I felt like I was in the South of France sipping a glass of wine!’ – Alison Robinson (NetGalley Reviewer)

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Rosies-Little-Riviera-Jennifer-Bohnet/dp/0008246076/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosies-Little-Riviera-Jennifer-Bohnet-ebook/dp/B01M1C8573/

About the author:

Author Jennifer Bohnet
Author Jennifer Bohnet

Jennifer is English, originally from the West Country but now living in the wilds of rural Brittany, France. She’s still not sure how she ended up there! The saying ‘Life is what happens while you’re deciding what to do’ is certainly true in her case. She’s always written alongside having various jobs: playgroup leader, bookseller, landlady, restauranteur, farmer’s wife, secretary/p,a – the list is endless but does provide a rich vein of inspiration for her stories.
For three years she wrote a newspaper column in The South Hams Group of Newspapers (Devon)where she took a wry look at family life. Since living in France it is her fiction that has taken off with hundreds of short stories and several serials published internationally. if you like stories set down on the French Riviera, Antibes, Cannes and Monaco, then take a look at Follow Your Star and Rendezvous in Cannes. Her other books too have passing references to the South of France.
Allergic to housework and gardening she rarely does either but she does like cooking and entertaining and wandering around vide greniers (the French equivalent of flea markets) looking for a bargain or two. Her children currently live in fear of her turning into an ageing hippy and moving to Totnes, Devon.
To find out more about Jennifer visit her website:
http://goo.gl/xviqQp

or chat to her on Twitter: @jenniewriter

https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Bohnet/e/B0034OOIKW/

My review:

I was provided with an ARC copy of this novel by the publisher through NetGalley and voluntarily decided to review it.

The French Riviera is the setting of this story that follows a few months in the lives of several British women who’ve adopted France as their home. Rosie, a chef who had worked in yachts for a few years, finally takes the plunge and opens her own café. She dreams of making a go of the business although people tell her she’s going to fail (trying to convince French people they should eat British food is not going to be easy). She has quite a few difficulties to conquer (the hotel next door opening soon, and owned by a chef with not one but two Michelin stars, Seb, a complaint of food poisoning, an ex-boyfriend who never gives up, her mother and her younger boyfriend, and other family issues). Erica, a widow with a young daughter, finds it difficult to move on and make sense of life without her husband. GeeGee, an estate agent whose boyfriend upped and left cannot make ends meet and has to get inventive.

Most of the characters in the novel face personal losses and changes in circumstances they have to deal with as best they can.  They are very different and face their problems in different ways, some by taking time and reflecting, going slowly, others by asking for advice and help and others still by jumping into action and never stopping to think. Apart from two very minor characters (both exes, a male and a female), all the rest are sympathetic (or eventually they become so) and are people most of us wouldn’t mind meeting and spending time with. There are family secrets revealed, happy moments and sad ones, dogs, wonderful food and scenery, a beautiful setting, amazing properties we’d all like to live in, and of course, romance, plenty of it.

All of the characters learn that you must let go (of your preconceived ideas, of the past, of the fear of having to be independent, and also of the fear of being in a relationship…) and that sometimes you have to reinvent yourself and re-evaluate what’s really important. We all make mistakes but it’s important to try and learn from them and make amends when the opportunity presents itself.

The book is written in the third person, from the alternating points of view of the three women, and it flows well, moving with ease from one character to another, with engaging descriptions of locations, objects and food. There are no psychological depths to explore and although there are obstacles to be overcome, there is no excess of drama and the characters’ emotions and reactions feel natural, credible and not forced.

The story is a feel-good read, with some sad and darker moments and with many stories intertwined (that means not all the characters are fully developed but it’s easy to find somebody to root and care for). A light-hearted story, recommended for the icy days of winter (meteorological or emotional) and a good substitute for chocolate and/or a holiday. (Also a good holiday read.)

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for the novel, thanks to all of you for writing and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!

Categories
Miscellaneous

#MerryChristmas Thank you for reading and enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

Hi, all!

Incredibly, another year has gone by and it’s Christmas again.

Árbol de Navidad de luces, centro comercial las Arenas, Barcelona
A Christmas Tree, more or less

I don’t know how your year has been. Mine has been… trying, to say the least, but hey, there’s another one around the corner. And so I wish you a fabulous time if you celebrate it. Enjoy it, don’t get stressed (it’s not an exam), and live the moment.

Belén en Plaça Sant Jaume de Barcelona
The nativity in Plaça Sant Jaume (St James’s Square) in Barcelona is a bit special this year

If you don’t celebrate it, I hope you have a quiet time and survive the upheaval as best you can. Reading always helps.

I wanted to thank you for reading, for sharing and for being around all this time and for all your support. I have a new book coming out next week, and then I hope to take a bit of time to reevaluate the blog (yes, New Year calls for that kind of thing). In the meantime, do enjoy!

Un belén en Sants
In the neighbourhood of Sants, a bit more traditional

Merry Christmas, my dear friends!

Categories
Book review Book reviews Escaping Psychiatry launch Writing

My own #newbook and what’s to come in the runup to Christmas

Hi all:

The end of the year is approaching quickly and I was trying to work out how best use the blogging days left. I have accumulated a lot of book reviews that I’d like to share before the end of the year, in case you’re looking for books to either purchase for others or to help with the festive season. Yes, I’m one of those people who finds all the Ho-Ho-Hos a bit too much at times. Trying to catch up on all of them might mean to either share several in one post (but I don’t want to tax people’s patience), blogging more often (we have the patience issue again), not featuring new books (unless I’ve read them too) or… Perhaps I’ll see what I come up with and join books by genre. I have at least one Christmassy book I want to share close to the date too. Well, we’ll see.

I know I’ve been talking, on and off, about the next book in my Escaping Psychiatry series. I’m only waiting now for some work on the paper cover to get finished (I’ve decided to publish the novel with the prequel as extra content in the paperback version). But no matter that, I’m set on publishing it before the end of the year, paper version ready or not. As it’s not very Christmassy, I’m thinking about trying to make it coincide with the time between Christmas and New Year. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make it available as a pre-order or not (other than knowing everything is there, it won’t make any difference, and in my case it hasn’t worked as a promotional strategy before).

I thought I’d remind you of the book:

Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies
Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies

Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies

A woman shot dead. No enemies, no motive, only a story about how she swapped bodies with another woman found on her computer. The other woman in the story, the owner of the swapped body, goes into labour and won’t talk.

When FBI Agent Dave Dean asks psychiatrist/writer Mary Miller for her assistance, she doesn’t know that The Case of the Swapped Bodies is not the only mystery in Port Haven. A hit and run, an armed robbery gone wrong and questions about family traditions, priorities and legacies come into play and complicate matters. The line between fact and fiction is more tenuous than anybody realised and suspense is on the menu.

This is the third book in the Escaping Psychiatry series and it poses new challenges for Mary Miller. And not all the challenges are professional ones. How do you carry on when you’ve survived the unthinkable?

Here is the blurb:

In Port Haven, and idyllic small town in California, a career woman appears shot dead in her own apartment, a pregnant mother of three who won’t/can’t talk is the main suspect in the murder and the only evidence is a suspenseful story about swapped bodies found on the victim’s computer.

In this psychological thriller, psychiatrist and writer Mary Miller, a recent survivor of a rape and attempted murder, gets to collaborate for the first time with the FBI agents who saved her. Agent Dave Dean, her would-be suitor, is not himself. The sheriff’s men aren’t cooperating. And the case is like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Will Mary manage to see beyond the lies and fiction?

I have shared a couple of the chapters here before, but if you prefer you can also check them in Wattpad.

Thanks to you all for reading and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK if you fancy. 

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