Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT AN OFF-PISTE CHRISTMAS by @JulieHouston2 #Humour

Today’s team review is from Babus, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Babus has been reading An Off-Piste Christmas by Julie Houston


Having not read any of the previous books in this series before I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by the story of Harriet Westmoreland and her family going away on a skiing holiday with the family of her best-friend, Grace and her husband’s business partner. This motley crew of skiers and all the history they share makes for entertaining reading as Harriet bumps into someone from her past and a family secret comes to light. Even though the relationships past and present are a little complex in this group of characters, I found it reasonably easy to follow who had been involved with whom as I read this book.

I found it easy to read and get into this light-hearted book as I could relate to Harriet in her dislike of heights, the cold and finding skiing less than a natural pass-time. With a stunning backdrop of the Alps and the opulence of their luxury chalet, I found this highly enjoyable and recommend this humorous and light-hearted read this season. I may even go back to read the prequels as I liked the characters very much indeed.

Book Description

The last thing Harriet Westmoreland wants is Christmas away from home, particularly when skiing, snow, heights and freezing her backside off are on the menu. While her own family, together with her best friend Grace’s, are soon whizzing down ridiculously high and scary mountains in the fashionable Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Harriet is stuck in the remedial class on the nursery slopes unable, it seems, to remain vertical. 

Tired of trying to stay upright in the dunces’ class, Harriet decides to overcome her fear of heights and take her bruised body off to explore the refugios in the magnificent Dolomites above Cortina. And maybe catch a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in town… But what happens next triggers a totally unexpected avalanche of events which proves that, for friends Harriet and Grace and all their families, Christmas really is a time for little miracles… 

About the author

Goodness, Grace and Me

Julie Houston is Yorkshire born and bred. She lives in Huddersfield where her novels are set and her only claims to fame are that she taught at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old school, her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author Joanne Harris and her friend is about to marry Tracy Emin’s cousin! Oh, and she was rescued by Frank Bough when, many years ago, she was ‘working as a waitress in a cocktail bar’ at the Kensington Hilton in London.

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#Christmas Presents the #BookLover in me would be happy to receive this year #BlackFriday

Christmas shopping love it? Hate it? A guarantee it has to be tackled.

Here’s some items I’d been happy to see under the tree and I hope might give you some ideas for the book lover you know too.

iPad / tablet, kindle, book, lap cushion £7.99 + P&P ebay

Book Marks £16.95 + P&P

Note books for every occasion this one is £15 from Paperchase

How about a coffee mug? Lots out there, this is one of my favourites from etsy £13.19 + P&P

Inflatable bath pillow for the book lover who reads in the bath. Bodyshop £8.00 +P&P

Recycled 100% Wool Throw

How about a recycled wool blanket to snuggle up in whilst reading? Notonthehighstreet £22.00 + P&P

Read. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. (Blue) by Samantha Weldon

T-shirts from £18.67 + P&P

Mustard Book Ends - Katana Samurai Sword Bookends

Novelty Bookends this one is £12.80 from Amazon


Book themed cushions various available from Amazon this one is £8.22

Here’s one which tops my wish list and can be bought last minute, an voucher I can use to indulge in my love of books

NBT Red Wrap

Or how about a National Book Token, they can be bought and spent in book stores or online

Happy Shopping!

EVERYTIME A BELL RINGS by Carmel Harrington @HappyMrsH #Bookreview #IrishFiction

Every Time a Bell RingsEvery Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everytime the Bell Rings is a Christmas themed romance. The story opens with Belle and Jim on Christmas Eve 2005 in Dublin, both love the craziness of Christmas.

Then the book steps back 17 years to December 1988. 8 Year old Belle is being taken to a new foster home, she’s afraid and has stopped talking, but the love shown to her by Tess her new foster mother allows Belle to feel safe and secure and she begins to talk. Her one Christmas wish is for a new best friend and this soon comes in the form of another foster child. Jim Looney’s mother needs a break to get well and Jim is placed with Tess too.

Belle instantly likes Jim and sets out to make him feel loved and wanted, they form a great friendship, which sadly ends when Jim returns to his mother in 1990.

Next there is a big time jump, Belle and Jim are married and are now foster parents themselves, but after seeing her 107th child leave to go back home Belle has a mini breakdown. She can’t keep breaking her heart over children, and her relationship with Jim is threatened.

This is a Christmas book so what better way to get to the ending than with a little parallel tale which echoes other famous storylines and films and makes a readers heart melt.

I really enjoyed the fostering stories and Belle’s coming full circle at the end. I wasn’t so keen on the prologue, I felt it was a story spoiler, and for me the book sagged in the middle with the so many Christmas traditions and Fostering/ family dilemmas, but I did like the ending.

This review is based on a free copy of the book I won in a competition.

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Bedeviled & Bah Humbug by @samcheever #Christmas #Shortstories #wwwblogs

Bedeviled & Bah Humbug (Bedeviled & Beyond #6.5)Bedeviled & Bah Humbug by Sam Cheever
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bedeviled and Bah Humbug is a collection of 4 short stories from the Bedeviled series featuring Astra Q Phelps – Demon slayer.
Story #1 Astra Takes Out the Grinch – Astra must take out the Grinch who steals the toys Santa delivers.
Story #2 Astra Gets A Lump Of Coal – Astra must find out why green dragons are escaping hell.
Story #3 The Year The Grinch Stole Santa – Astra is needed at the North Pole to find Santa. Fear that the Grinch is living out the Escendo prophecy where Santa and Christmas will no longer exist, drives Astra and the elves to find Santa.
Story #4 A Elvish Catastrophe – Ninja elves threaten to get rid of all the fake Santas, Astra and her sister must save Santa and Christmas.
Fun quirky stories for adults to make you giggle.

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How To Bake The Perfect Christmas Cake by Gina Henning

How to Bake the Perfect Christmas CakeHow to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake by Gina Henning

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How To Bake The Perfect Christmas Cake is an effervescent piece of chick lit, it’s fast pace whips you through the build-up to Christmas and beyond for Lauren Hauser. A highly successful worker in finance Lauren Hauser lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She’s just returned from Thanksgiving spent with her family in Texas where she met the delicious Jack Walker in the first book in the series “How To Bake The Perfect Pecan Pie”.

But Jack has let her down, he failed to arrive recently at the airport for a visit and Lauren questions if a long-distance relationship will ever work. A while later Jack surprises Lauren, he’s full of apologies, problems at Vintage Estates where he works needed to be sorted before he could come to Lauren. Determined to make up for his failings Jack begins to woo Lauren with a series of gifts related to the Twelve Days of Christmas.

With their relationship almost back on track Lauren makes it back home for Christmas in Texas with her family of crazy characters. Who else would bring the whole family dressed at Elves to meet you at the airport?

A fun light Christmas read with a large cast of film and celebrity mentions, enough to rival any top gossip magazine.

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Apologies if this book is off-season, I just couldn’t get to it in time for Christmas.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Two Christmas Tales from Nicky Wells

Today’s book review comes from Cathy, she blogs at


Cathy chose to read and review these two books from Nicky Wells in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books


Spirits of Christmas
A perfect seasonal read – a novella with a modern twist on an old classic, with the traditional theme of reformation and possible outcomes.

Jude Shaw is the lead singer of the rock band The Blood Roses. They had it made with a platinum album, but have lost their way due in no small part to Jude’s overbearing and selfish attitude. Their downward slide in popularity has been slow but steady and when eventually they are booed off stage Jude predictably blames his band mates, Darren, Tom and Rob.  And to cap it all his girlfriend, Carrie, has left him. Jude can only see misery and loneliness in his future.

That night Jude is visited by the Ghost of Forewarning, who has a very crucial message. He is followed by three more apparitions, all rock legends, who take Jude on incredible journeys to revisit his past, present and his possible future. Jude couldn’t see how antagonistic and indifferent he had become to those closest to him. This was a wake up call like no other. Jude determines to change his ways and devises a plan which he hopes will bring everyone back together.

I loved this very creative, evocative story with the paranormal aspect, which was written extremely well.  The rock ghost references are inventive and fun. Very enjoyable, believable and well defined characters.

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Fairy Tale In New York

Fairy Tale In New York by Nicky Wells

Fairy Tale In New York by Nicky Wells

Twelve months on from Jude’s transformational Christmas he and the band, along with Carrie and baby Maya, have just finished a successful US tour. Jude and his family are scheduled to fly home from New York. While waiting in line at the airport check in they swap flights with a man needing desperately to get to London. What’s another day? Unless, of course, one day turns into more. As a white out hits the city and all planes are grounded Jude, Carrie and Maya are stranded.

The hotel they’ve just left is full and no rooms are available anywhere. Jude, Carrie and Maya are facing a dismal and lonely Christmas. Or are they? A chance meeting changes everything. Little did either Jude or Carrie realise their good deed would result in an enchanting Christmas and totally unforeseen long-term benefits for them all.

A story full of Christmas spirit and joy of the season. A magical city covered in snow, making special friends, giving sick children in hospital a very special Christmas and an impromptu wedding. I love the perception that Christmas isn’t about how much you have and the commercialism but more to do with love, kindness and the benefits from helping other people.

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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews Home For Christmas by Margaret Langstaff

Today’s book review is from Noelle, she blogs at


Noelle chose to read and review Home For Christmas by Margaret Langstaff

Home For Christmas



Home for Christmas is a compendium of Christmas stories from years gone by, assembled by Margaret Jean Langstaff and the Editors at Cedar Press. These editors intended the collection to be a reminder to its readers of what Christmas really means and what every Christmas gives to the human heart. I will tell you about a few.

How could you not like a book with a wonderful cover illustration of a horse-drawn buggy wending its way past snow-covered cottages of Christmas stories and then opens with O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi? That story tugged at my heart strings when I first read it in high school.

In Christmas Day in the Morning by Grace S. Richmond, older parents are facing another Christmas alone because their children are too preoccupied with their own lives. But this year one of their sons decides to plan a surprise Christmas for his mother and father, an old-fashioned one with just their children and all of their old traditions. How will he pull it off?

Christmas with Grandma Elsie by Martha Finley, author of the Elsie Dinsmore series, dates from before the Civil War, so the customs, attitudes and traditions are somewhat strange and clash with current norms. However, it provides a peek into our past, and even though I would say the writing is treacly and spun-candy sweet, it draws you into the innocence, simplicity and unbridled joy of the Christmas season.

Uncle Noah’s Christmas Inspiration by Leona Dalrymple is set on a plantation just after the Civil War and tells the story of Uncle Noah, an elderly slave whose only friend is a turkey named Job. When his master, who has fallen on hard times, asks him to kill the turkey for Christmas dinner, Noah must find a way to save his feathered friend and at the same time give his master and mistress a traditional Christmas with plenty of food for a change. The story is touching, although the master’s demeaning references to Uncle Noah and other slaves can bring the reader up short, reminding us all how far this country has come since that time.

The Mouse and the Moonbeam by Eugene Field, is a children’s story dating from Victorian times, but perfect for adults. You probably know Mr. Field, humorist and author of poetry for children, from his work Wynken, Blynken and Nod. The Mouse and the Moonbeam is populated by wonderful characters: Miss Mauve Mouse, Squeaknibble, the Old Clock, and of course the moonbeam, who relates what it saw on the night of Christ’s birth. How can you not fall in love with a story that begins “While you were sleeping, little Dear-my-soul, strange things happened…”

The Christmas Angel by Abbie Farwell Brown, who co-wrote the song “On the Trail”, which became the official song of the Girl Scouts of the USA, is a story of a female Ebenezer Scrooge, who for many years has not celebrated Christmas and has refused to let her brother visit her. When she finds a box of her old toys in the attic, Miss Terry tosses the toys one by one onto her snow sidewalk and then watches to see what happens, to prove to herself that the people who find them are selfish and uncaring. But when the Christmas Angel, which graced her home for many years, is kicked aside, she rushes to rescue it. The Angel then comes to life to show her the real destiny of each toy. The results reveal the true meaning of Christmas.

Each of these stories is about loss and redemption and provides a new and often different look into the heart of Christmas. I enjoyed reading them, not only from a historical perspective but because they lifted my spirit.

Find a copy here from


Fairy Tale In New York by Nicky Wells

Fairy Tale in New YorkFairy Tale in New York by Nicky Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food and no presents?”

We meet Carrie Collins and Jude Shaw who first appeared in last year’s Christmas book “Spirits of Christmas” this book continues with their story but is just as good as a stand a lone read. It’s just before Christmas and Jude and Carrie are at JFK airport checking in for a flight home after the band Jude plays in has just been on tour. 17 gigs in 21 days. My Whyte is at the front of the queue a desperate man, his wife has gone into early labour and he is desperate to get on a flight to London to be with her, but all flights are full in the holiday rush.

Jude looks down at his own baby daughter Maya and remembers how if felt to be rushing to the hospital to be there for the birth and he offers to give up his seat on the plane. The airline arrange for Jude and his family to fly home the next day and Mr Whyte offers them his hotel suite for the night in exchange. This looks like the easiest option until a snowstorm comes and New York is shut down leaving Jude and his family stranded with no where to go on Christmas eve.

Read the tale of kindness and Christmas cheer which will leave you all warm and fuzzy.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

5 - FTNY_Teaser_2

Fairy Tale in New York


New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.


When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…


No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.


Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.


How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.



Fairy Tale in New York is now available in Kindle and paperback editions from all Amazon domains, including: |

Nicky Wells

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!


Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!


Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.


Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!


Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

| Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York


Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+


Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

Good Deeds Challenge, Year 2, Week 26

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I an into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

October 12th – This morning I had an extremely hard decision to make about a book, I was asked to read and review Obstacles by Chris Reardon after 14% I could read no further, for me the book needed to be seriously looked at by an editor, so I stopped reading and decided to write an appraisal of what I had written. I think this is only the second book I have been unable to write a review for. Looking on Amazon the book has a varied selection of reviews, several people gave similar thoughts to me, whilst others raved about the book. I do hope the author is open enough to consider the points I made.

Have taken on 3 more books to review today in my ever growing pile. Posted my review of Shared Skies by Josephine O’Brien, a YA fantasy set in the UK which I really enjoyed. Next up A Fairy Tale In New York for Nicky Wells who will be launching her book in December ready for Christmas.

October 13th – My morning helping at school, then a friend had some books she had finished reading and offered them to me, I took some for me and others to give away. Picked up litter on my way home.

October 14th – Launched my new feature Rosie’s Avid readers today. Reviews from real people who might say “I’ve just read this really good book…”.  Dropped some money into a Macmillan cancer collection box.

October 15th – Cleaned my house from top to bottom and threw out some old clothes. Am reading Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth and really enjoying it.

October 16th – Walked into town this afternoon, to borrow some books from the library and picked up litter.

October 17th – An overdue haircut this morning, left a tip. Launched The Friday Challenge with Shelley Wilson, inspiring people to try new things and change themselves for the better.

October 20th – Today I’m reading Craving by Sofia Grey A biker psychic and a girl who just might be his salvation. Now I do enjoy a psychic read so I have been snuggled on the sofa for most of the afternoon. Posted my review of Midnight Sky for Jan Ruth.

Twelve Days – The Beginning by Jade Reyner

Twelve Days -The BeginningTwelve Days -The Beginning by Jade Reyner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve Days is a contemporary romance which deals with domestic violence. All the action takes place in just 12 days. It suits the pace of the book by revolving around Christmas, a fast paced time of year when people often throw caution to the wind. I was appalled at the violent situation that Elise remained in, but I realise that there are many women in the world who do suffer from domestic violence. This book reaches out to them and if it gives just one person the strength to break free then the author has done a good job. Throughout the book I was undecided about the character Vaughn, I wasn’t sure if he showed signs of obsessive dominance which Elise was trying to escape from with Dale. By the end he had won me around and a cliff hanger ending left me wanting to know what happened to him. I’m glad there is a sequel for us to read the rest of the story of the relationship between the couple. This book does contain adult content.

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