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review 2019-01-01 15:35
Murder on a Winter Afternoon - Betty Rowlands

Melissa Craig,a successful crime novelist, is asked to finish the late Leonora Jewell her final book. Leonora died rather unexpectedly after a nasty fall in her cottage. As Melissa is trying to get as much information as she can in order to accomplish her task successfully, she encounters some discrepancies in different stories ,some things that do not match and all of a sudden poor Leonora's death is perhaps not so straightforward after all...

This is a blend between a cozy/cosy read and a typical English village murder. But it works,it doesn't sound too simplistic, the characters are not overly "vaudeville"and people do more than drink tea and have a chat with the vicar. 

And then,an English(Cotswolds I think) village in the winter is always a bit of a winner.

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review 2018-02-20 00:00
The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop: The perfect, feel good romantic comedy to curl up with this Christmas!
The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop: The p... The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop: The perfect, feel good romantic comedy to curl up with this Christmas! - Caroline Roberts Emma has always loved making chocolates which led her to open her own shop, The Chocolate Shop by the Sea. The holiday seasons are always busy, especially Christmas. Her hearts finally starting to heal after it was broken in a tragic way many years ago. Emma has a good friend Bev and she has a loyal employee, Holly. Emma's dog Alfie brings her much joy and comfort. The one thing that Emma is missing in her life is someone to love.

Emma gets a letter from her landlord letting her know that her rent is being raised. Not wanting to lose her shop Emma with help from her family and friends she decides to add a cafe area to the shop. When Emma meets Max she's not sure is she's ready to have a man in her life, but she finds herself liking him more and more.

This is a great feelgood story which is a combination of romance, love, friendship, and life. The characters are well developed, charming, realistic and funny.
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review 2017-11-06 17:20
The Cosy Christmas Teashop - Caroline Roberts

Squints real hard.


So this is not going to be pretty.


Look away, look away.

This book was awful. Let's ignore the typos galore, the freaking continuity errors, the lack of dialogue that was happening. This was barely a Christmas book. At this time of the year, I freaking crave Christmas romance books. I can't help it. It gets me in the holiday mood. I love to decorate, put on some carols, drink some alcoholic eggnog and just relax. Reading this book at 11 p.m. and finishing it up around 3 a.m. just made me angry. Angry because this could have been a nice slam dunk and a great second book. Instead I wonder if this was even edited by someone based on the typos I saw and highlighted on my Kindle. That was the only thing keeping me awake at that point.


"The Cosy Christmas Teashop" takes place three years after the events in book #1. Ellie and Joe are happily married and running the castle and teashop respectively. 


Now that Ellie and Joe are settled, they are dealing with having the castle open up to host weddings as well as there regular tours/teashop hours. Ellie and Joe are also now trying to have a baby now that they are bit older. 

Unlike with the first book, there is no back and forth between Ellie and Joe. The main character is Ellie. And at times though she is only 31, she sounds like a woman twice her age. We barely get any dialogue in this one, and when we do, Ellie sounds like a stereotypical character from a British soap. She calls another woman her same age "pet" one time. She sounds matronly and old though is near times most of the story.


And I hope you like reading about Joe's penis. Cause it's referenced a lot. There are no hot sex scenes like we had in book #1, we just read a lot about how much Joe/Ellie like to have sex or really Joe likes to have sex. Wait, there may have been a sex scene, but I have blocked it out. Yes, I think I remember one. The other one was just terrible with the author talking about how they danced on each other's bodies and I don't know. What the hell does that even mean?


Ellie barely speaks to anyone and vice versa. It drove me up the wall in the end. I don't even get why she and Joe are even together since they seem to have zero things in common. I love romance series cause you get to see the same couples over and over again and you get why they are together. In this one I was perplexed since they seemed like two strangers who enjoyed having sex with each other. 


There is no development with any other characters either. I think it's weird that Ellie's best friend from back home is referenced, but never talked to. We do get a scene with Ellie talking to her dead grandmother though. So there's that. 


Image result for stares real hard gif


There are continuity errors galore in this which drove me up the wall. Ellie's brother was only 17 in book 1, it's been three years since they got married or five years since the first book, which would make him 21 or 22 depending. Roberts has him at 26. I wanted to scream about that. Especially since in book #1 it is mentioned that Ellie is 9 years older than her brother. 


There are also typos all over. I hope you like reading "Jo-oe" "o-kay" and "Mr and Mrs" with no periods anywhere. There was also I think a couple of times extra "s" in certain words and I refuse to go look that mess up. The funniest/saddest one was Ellie saying Lord H when referencing Lord Henry that is never used again. I assume they forgot to spell out the rest of his name. 


The book is also repetitive to the point that I think that it could have easily lost 20-30 pages if things had been cut out. We get that things are okay between Joe's mother and Lord Henry even though there was initial awkwardness. I get that Ellie is going to make some lemon drizzle cake. I know that the rooms that Ellie and Joe live in need to be overhauled. Repeating it more than once was not necessary.

If Roberts wanted to make more an impression there should have been more of a Christmas element to the book. At the end of the book we get some of that (it snows), but other than that, there is no description of the decorations or people in any great detail. You would think that most of the book is just the same 8 or 9 characters mentioned over and over again. And honestly, I was expecting some recipes to appear in this one. It would have made the book better if we had some of Ellie's grandmother's recipes. 


 Task 9- Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR–Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf.  Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page.  Post your results.  –OR–Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!


Bonus task:  Read a book in one night.


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review 2017-11-06 16:57
Strong Romantic Element, Flow Hampers Story-line
The Cosy Teashop in the Castle: The Bestselling Feel-Good ROM Com of the Year - Caroline Roberts

Hmm I did like the first book in this series better than the second book (more on that in another review). Roberts decides to tell her story through two characters POVs (Ellie and Joe). Ellie is a 20 something working a job she doesn't love. Still at home with her parents and wishing to make her dream of opening a bakery a reality, Ellie interviews for a job at a castle running a tea shop. Though she has no real world experience besides baking for family and friends, Ellie thinks she can make the tea shop a success. When she gets the job she finds herself pulled more to the general manager of the castle, Joe.


I did like the central plot. Young woman decides to move away from home (just an hour) in order to follow her dream of owning her own bakery. Ellie loves to bake and has her grandmother's old recipe book in hand. When she moves into the castle though you see that she has not thought everything through. It would have been great if Roberts had included more missteps by Ellie such as ordering too much or not enough for visitors. Learning how to make other recipes. Dealing with difficult customers, something. Instead we have Ellie having some minor difficulties with one of the older waitresses and having to go and ask Joe for help and almost crying because he was harsh with her for not knowing how to run a bakery. Did I mention that Ellie lied during her interview? Yeah. I would have been harsh too.


Joe's story was much more interesting. I don't want to spoil for potential readers though. I found him less interesting as the story went on since Roberts just focuses on how sexy Joe is finding Ellie and when the sex scenes start that is just the rest of the book really until the end. 


The writing was okay. I think it just got way too repetitive for me towards the end. We know that Ellie is worried about making the tea shop a success, we get that she's worried about what to order and bake. I just really wanted something more. We know she had a broken engagement, but it's given no real depth in the book. I wish we had gotten a prologue or something with the ex fiancee or something. He was just some faceless character.

The flow was wonky between segues of Ellie and Joe's POV. 


The setting of the castle should have been played up more than it was I think. I love the idea of a castle with a tea shop attached to it. We also know that Lord Henry (the owner) is dealing with the costs to keep up the place and I loved the reality of owning something like that and the taxes and other things you need to worry about. 


The ending was okay but felt flat. Things felt very rushed to me and I wish we had more time with the main character with them interacting and talking more. Seriously, towards the end there was just a lot of boom chick a wow wow. I love that in a romance, but I didn't see a connection between Ellie and Joe. This book made me long for the Escape to New Zealand series (the first few books). That's the way to give you some red hot romance with plot/tension mixed in. 

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text 2017-11-06 12:57
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Cosy Christmas Teashop - Caroline Roberts

Not good at all.


Finished around 3 am and was annoyed at the typos, repetitiveness, and lack of dialogue.


Bah humbug!


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