Wrapped Up In You
by Carole Matthews
Published by Sphere
A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right ...but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide - and fully fledged Maasai Warrior - Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him? Packed with unforgettable characters, romance and laughter, Wrapped Up In You is your very own perfect Christmas Carole!
Carole Matthews was one of the authors I discovered at last year's Festival of Romance, although it's taken a while for me to make a start on her books. I didn't know what to expect with this one, but in the end it was utterly charming interspersed with stretches of tension and moments of high drama. Dominic was far less of the fish out of water that I had feared he would be, making friends in unlikely places, even as other people took longer than expected to warm to him. There were a couple of minor points that felt like a little too much of a stretch in reality, but overall it was wonderfully entertaining.
Swept Off Her Stilettos
by Fiona Harper
Published by # Mills & Boon
Published: 05 August 2011
A little finger isn't properly dressed without a man wrapped round it...Clothing connoisseur Coreen Fraser's film-star style never leaves her wanting for male attention! But sourcing outfits for a 1930s murder-mystery weekend stops being fun when she discovers she has to wear a tweed suit and sensible shoes! Meanwhile Coreen's best friend Adam Conrad has his own plans for the weekend...And one moonlit kiss later Coreen's blinkers fall from her eyes. Adam is the only man who knows the girl underneath the skyscraper heels and scarlet lipstick. But is she brave enough to invite him to kiss it off any time he likes...?
I met Fiona Harper at last year's Festival of Romance, and she was the one that introduced me to Nikki Logan's books. She's also a super author in her own right. Coreen is a delightful character, although possibly a little too over the top as a friend. This story had quite a large cast for a category romance, but there was a definite sense of everyone fitting into the larger picture. Lovely to have a plus-sized heroine and a friendship-to-romance story all in the one book too.
by S. J. Bolton
Published by Corgi Books
Now You See Her...Gillian is haunted by the disappearance of her little girl two years ago. A devastating fire burned down their home, but she remains convinced her daughter survived. Now You Don't...Ten-year-old Tom lives by the town's neglected churchyard. Is he the only one who sees the strange, solitary child playing there? And what is she trying to tell him? Now You Run...There's a new vicar in town - Harry - and he's meeting the locals. But menacing events suggest he isn't welcome. What terrible secret is this town hiding?
A gripping story that kept me guessing all the way through. As well as a very unconventional vicar, we had a psychiatrist with problems of her own, as well as a believable physical disability. Sadly I felt a little let down by the epilogue, which not only played bait and switch as to who had survived the big showdown, but also removed the promise of redemption for some of the characters I'd been rooting for even as others got happy endings I hadn't expected.
by Stephen Booth
Published by Five Leaves Publications
On the wild moors of England's Dark Peak, a conflict has been raging for years. The discovery of an illegal haul from the bedroom of a terraced house is a clue to what might be at stake - not only the fate of local wildlife, but perhaps the entire future of one of the most prized landscapes in the Peak District National Park.
Derbyshire police detective DC Ben Cooper, on assignment to the Rural Crime Squad, finds himself stepping into the middle of the conflict, without being quite sure whose side he's on. The predators come in all shapes and sizes - and in this battle, not all the victims are human...
A reread of this novella, since I recently gave a copy to Mum and she and Dad have been wanting to talk about it. A slightly less fictionalised Peak District than in some of Booth's other books, although some of his common locations also make an appearance. I missed seeing the regular cast of characters alongside Ben Cooper, although I seem to remember that one of the characters from this story has shown up in later books. A short read that helped pass the time while the ponies were being fed.