12 Reads of Christmas: Book 9 – Comfort & Joy by Cathy Bramley

12 Reads of Christmas: Book 9 – Comfort & Joy by Cathy Bramley

Author: Cathy Bramley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Release Date: 13 October 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance Short Story

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The Blurb: 

**Contains Christmas recipes!**

Curl up with this fabulously festive short story from bestseller Cathy Bramley, full of Christmas cheer and sparkle.

It’s been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend.

Good food, family and friends – it’s a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity’s friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too.

But the weather has other plans in store… Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry’s residents. It’s starting to look like this year’s celebrations could be a total washout.

With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?

The Review:

Sometimes your not quite ready to say goodbye to a character. For me this was definitely the case with The Plumberry School of Comfort Food.

When we left them Verity and Tom had finally gotten over themselves and become a couple to be reckoned with. Tom left the cooking school to open his own restaurant Dinner at Tom’s. Verity’s business seems to be going from strength to strength as students are tucked in here, there and everywhere learning everything they need to know for their Christmas dinners.

Rushed off their feet and surrounded by Turkeys and Chocolate Truffles Tom and Verity are looking forward to having a quiet Christmas just the two of them, and their steak dinner!

We also get to be reacquainted with some of Plumberry’s local business owners. Jack the town’s butcher and his lovely other half wine merchant Annabel – who appears to have something up her sleeve for the festive season, as Jack prepares for his children’s arrival.

Then there is cheesemonger Harriet who is taking Kevin, who appears to be the world’s largest turkey further north to Newcastle. That is before the news breaks that York is under considerable amounts of water as the Ouse has broken its banks and that the motorways are closed so there can’t be any non-essential trips for the foreseeable future.

On Christmas morning the rain is still siling down and it doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon. It’s not long before a heartbroken Harriet is knocking at Verity’s door. What is everyone going to do? Are all the homes and businesses safe?

Readers in the UK will see a link to last Christmas in the north of England. The devastating floods that happened in the city of York. Those floods were that vast that some businesses still aren’t open. One thing did happen, the community spirit that rose from the boggy streets and houses was spectacular. The people who left all their plans behind to help those that were afflicted during this time was moving.

Cathy has tapped into this. I could see direct parallels between  what the people at Archbishop Holgate School and the surrounding emergency shelters were doing, and how on Christmas morning surrounded by power outages on hearing about everyone else’s misfortune Verity opens up the cookery school and with the aid of her trusty generator powers up the ovens. Flanked by Tom, Harriet, Pixie and Mags the doors are open to house everyone in need of help and an oven so they could have a warm meal and keep safe together.

This is another Cathy Bramley tale that I will hold close to my heart, and not just because I grew up just a few miles away from York. Verity is the person I hope most people would aspire to be. Fun, loving and generous.

This story also comes with three recipes at the back, the Christmas Chutney recipe is already on my list of things to make this year!

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Blog Tour: It’s Not You, It’s Me by Portia MacIntosh

Blog Tour: It’s Not You, It’s Me by Portia MacIntosh

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Author: Portia MacIntosh
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 4th November 2016

The Blurb: 

An irresistible, feel-good romance, perfect for fans of Rosie Blake, Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.

First comes love. Then comes family…

After a lifetime of kissing frogs, Roxie Pratt has given up on finding her own fairytale romance. That is, until she meets her very own Prince Charming, Mark Wright, and he sweeps Roxie off her feet!

So when Mark finally gets down on one knee and pops the question, there’s only one thing left to do: meet the family! And when everything has been picture-perfect so far, what could possibly go wrong…?

 

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The Review:

Online lifestyle journalist Roxie has met her match in life. The Joker to her Harley Quinn, and is overjoyed when after a year of dating children’s charity PR guru Mark asks her to be his wife.

And while she lives life one relationship top ten to another she soon realises that the time has come for her to meet his parents.

Is the urban legend of the mother in law from hell actually true? As Matt takes Roxie up to Yorkshire to meet his parents for the first time it looks like she is about to find out! But if that’s not enough to handle for one weekend Roxie’s editor is looking for a juicy serial about the journey from proposal to taking him up the aisle!

Portia has created a character that felt like my best friend. Roxie’s voice in my head is so strong. I felt a connection with her almost immediately. The pensive way she holds herself as she is ripped away from where she feels safe and in control and being sprung upon her inlaws to be in the depths of Yorkshire.

I’m also a sucker for a story based around Christmas. The high anxiety and emotions that roll around family gatherings are perfect for floating this fish-out-of-water tale.

One of my favourite scenes in the book is at the end of chapter 6. Mainly this weekend I drove from Yorkshire to Wales and back again stopping at a service station or two. One in particular had a flash mob! This just made me titter.

I’m not going to tell you if Roxie will be accepted into the Wright family’s open arms, because if I do you won’t get to join her on a rollercoaster of emotions – in a book that is over far too fast.

This is a book worthy of being added to your Christmas list.

Book Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Google Play | Goodreads

 

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About the Author:
Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it’s really like for women who don’t find this life stuff as easy as it seems.