A Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Publication Date: 18 October 2015

One lost dog. Two lonely hearts. A Manhattan Christmas full of magic.

Shy homebody Charlotte is planning her usual quiet Christmas celebration: Turkey for two for her and her beloved pet dog Hudson. Only, this year, little Hudson decides to take matters into his own paws and give his favourite human a holiday adventure she’ll never forget.

When Hudson runs away the week before Christmas, Charlotte is devastated. She’d rescued him from the trash years before and gave him a place in her home – and her heart. But with the help of uptight Englishman Henry, Charlotte ends up on a magical treasure hunt around Manhattan to find her furry, four-legged bestie.

Spotted in Central Park as one of Santa’s Little Helpers, or last seen in the arms of a supermodel in Times Square, Hudson leads Charlotte and Henry on a very merry dance around the Big Apple, where love, (or should that be Christmas?!) actually is all around.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publishers for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I was initially attracted by the cover but when I read the blurb I knew I just had to read it – dogs and Christmas are two of my favourite things!

I thought Charlotte’s relationship with her dog Hudson was wonderful, probably because it reminded me so much of my own relationship with our dog Flint. There was a definite mother and child thing going on between them.

Charlotte seemed very awkward around people to begin with, she was a homely person with a passion for cooking so she spent a lot of time indoors with Hudson. This was why, when Hudson went missing, Charlotte was so far out of her comfort zone. I really enjoyed watching her character grow as the storyline progressed and the hunt for Hudson intensified.

The sights, scents and sounds of Christmas in New York were beautifully described and paraded vividly through my mind as I read.

There were plenty of funny moments – Vijay in particular was a hilarious character and a real favourite of mine. This was combined with some magically romantic scenes which kept me flipping the pages.

Although it was pretty obvious where the storyline would end up, even just from reading the blurb, I still thoroughly enjoyed the journey to get to that point.

A Miracle at Macy’s was a feel-good, Christmassy read that put a smile on my face.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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BUY THE BOOK

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Under The Stars by Linn B Halton

For those of you who don’t already know, The Quintessential Gemini by Linn B Halton has had a stunning makeover by Endeavour Press and has been born again as Under The Stars.

I wanted to re-share my thoughts on it and show you how it looks now because I just adore this new cover, it’s so pretty!

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“Katherine Dale lives her life according to her horoscope. When Katherine finds James has been writing her daily horoscopes rather than Mark, Katherine’s life explodes in confusion as the three lives become inextricably tangled. 

Now Katherine has to learn that the stars might be telling her that love is going to feature in her life

None of the men in her life are love interests – so what exactly does fate have in store?”

MY REVIEW

I was lucky enough to win this eBook from a giveaway on Jera’s Jamboree, I loved the sound of it and was looking forward to getting stuck in especially after reading and enjoying The Restaurant @ The Mill by the same author.

Immediately upon starting this book my mind was filled with questions – Why was it day one of the rest of Katherine’s life? How did she fall over? Why was the cat called No.4? and so on. Obviously I had to find out the answers so I kept on turning those pages and found the explanations I required.

The astrology side of the book was fascinating for me, as was Katherine’s addiction to reading her horoscopes – I couldn’t imagine making any decisions based on my horoscope let alone an important one!  One particular sentence summed up her feelings nicely:

“It’s not that I can’t make a decision; it’s more that I’m scared of making the wrong decision.”

The writing style was comfortable and there were many fun, laugh out loud moments, a few of my favourites being an awkward dinner party, some heated emails and a journey into writing that led to unexpected and, at times, unwanted attention!

James was wonderful, his thoughtfulness and romantic nervousness endeared him to me and the things he did for Jake, his elderly neighbour, were truly lovely to read about.

And now I move on to No.4, Katherine’s cat, and I have to say that for me he was the star of the book! The relationship between him and Katherine was brilliant and something I could totally relate to because I’m just the same with my pets.

A lot of major things happened all at once towards the end so that when I put the book down it took a minute for my brain to catch up!  A sad event made my heart sink, followed by an unexpected announcement that made it lift again and finally a big question which didn’t quite happen because this was when the story ended (my heart didn’t know what to do at this point).

So, after drawing my own conclusions, all in all this was an enjoyable and entertaining read.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Website | Twitter: @LinnBHalton | Facebook:  Linn B Halton and Author Linn B Halton | Pinterest | HarperImpulse author page | Romantic Novelists’ Association page | Editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts – Lucy Dillon

lost dogs and lonely hearts

“When the abandoned strays from a local dogs’ home are matched with brand new owners, it turns out it might not just be the dogs who need rescuing.

Rachel’s aunt has left her a house, a Border Collie and, despite knowing nothing about dogs, a crowded kennels. But since her life has collapsed she’s not sure she can deal with any more lost souls.

Zoe’s ex-husband has given their children a puppy. The kids are in love, but she’s the one stuck training Toffee the impossible Labrador. She’s nearly at the end of her tether – until Toffee leads her to a handsome doctor…

Meanwhile Natalie and Johnny’s marriage hasn’t been easy since they started trying for a baby. But is a fridge-raiding, sofa-stealing Basset hound like Bertie really the child substitute they’re looking for? 

As the new owners’ paths cross on the town’s dog-walking circuits, their lives become interwoven. And they – and their dogs – learn some important lessons about loyalty, companionship and unconditional love . . .”

This was another birthday money purchase and is the first book I have read by this author – I had read a couple of good reviews for it and as you may or may not know I’m a huge animal lover so it sounded right up my street.

Rachel’s life had changed dramatically in a very short space of time so when she was sat in a solicitor’s office being told about her inheritance she was understandably a bit dazed.  She was about to enter a whole new phase in her life and a very different one at that! I must admit that I enjoyed her reaction to her new surroundings, I chuckled at her interactions with the dogs and also with the local vet George who was very abrupt (but rather handsome so we’ll forgive him ;)).

There was something about Rachel’s aunt Dot (who left her the inheritance) that was slightly mysterious but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.  When all was revealed I have to say that it wasn’t what I was expecting at all!

Natalie and Johnny’s struggles to start a family really touched me, I felt that the author handled this sensitive issue with care and created a believable atmosphere.  Zoe was adapting to life as a single mum and once again the author carefully detailed the more difficult aspects of her life.  The characters were all strong, each one of them was as enjoyable as the other and before I knew it I found myself completely caught up in their lives.

The rescue kennels were at the heart of all the activity in the book, this was something I liked because I really got the sense of being there.  It took me back to my own experiences of volunteering at a local rescue centre and on more than one occasion I filled up with tears over the dogs and their histories.

This was a lovely read that pulled on my heart-strings, I look forward to reading more from this author.

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Lucy Dillon:

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The Village Vet – Cathy Woodman

“In Talyton St George, vet nurse Tessa Wilde is on the way to her wedding…

It should be the happiest day of her life.  But then her car hits a dog, and though the dog is saved thanks to Otter House vets, her wedding is not.

Animal welfare officer and part-time fire-fighter Jack Miller spends his life saving animals and people.  As one of Tessa’s oldest friends, he feels he has the right to interrupt her wedding and rescue her from a marriage that can only end in tears.

But does he? Tessa is sure she doesn’t need rescuing, least of all by Jack.

When they begin to work together at the Animal Rescue centre, however, Tessa begins to wonder whether being rescued by Jack might not be such a bad thing after all.”

Having read and enjoyed other books by this author (review of It’s a Vet’s Life here) I couldn’t resist buying this one which is number five in the Talyton St George series.

Before the story begins there is a little map of Talyton St George, this is something that I really like because it gives me a clearer picture in my mind of where everything is.

The only issue I have with books about vets is that I find it very difficult to read about hurt/injured animals, even fictional ones, so seeing as this book started off with a dog being hit by a car I kind of felt like I couldn’t read on.  Obviously I did carry on reading and I’m glad I did because, as always with books by this author, the personal lives of the villagers are so entertaining that I can forgive a little bit of upset and tears over the animals (I just have to keep reminding myself that they aren’t real!)

Tessa’s wedding day was brilliant, it was very eventful and ended with a bizarre confession from her great-aunt!  I was pleased when she decided to take on the running of the animal sanctuary as I felt it would be a fresh start for her, it certainly brought about a lot of changes in her life – some good and some not so good.

I really enjoyed reading about the day-to-day running of the sanctuary, having done some volunteer work at an animal sanctuary myself I loved all the memories it brought back.

The romance side of the story was good, the tension between Tessa and Jack was so exciting to read but just when I thought I had it all figured out something happened that completely shocked me!

There was also a sinister side to the story with Tessa being secretly watched and when all is revealed she found herself in quite a scary situation.

This is another fantastic read from Cathy Woodman, creating a mixture of emotions throughout.

The Village Vet can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Cathy Woodman visit her website here.

Somebody To Love – Sheryl Browne

“After that idiot of a husband ran off with that broomstick of a girl, single-mom Donna thinks there’s no sunshine in her future. What she needs now is a hunk of a guy who loves her and her three-legged dog with no complications.

Solution? Call the police.

Mark is a single dad with two big worries – protect and serve, and his autistic son Karl. Desperately he wants someone who’ll love him and his son without question and with no complications. He’s been hurt before and Karl needs stability – not short dates. So he’ll do anything for his kid – even lie to protect him.

Can these two get it together and get together? Is Mark the hunk Donna needs? Is Donna the rock Mark can lean on? If they look hard enough, they’ll find Somebody to Love.”

I got this eBook when it was available as a free download from Amazon (its current price at the time of writing this review is £1.98).

I was quickly absorbed by the story and ended up staying awake until past midnight with the old ‘just one more chapter’ routine.  This meant that I finished the book in less than a day – I was just so engrossed in the characters lives that I had to know what would happen next for them.

When Donna and Mark met for the first time they got very friendly very quickly and I was a bit surprised when they began blurting out their feelings for one another – at that point I thought the story would be over before it had started!  Things soon cooled down and actually appeared to move backwards instead of forwards, this was one of the things that kept my interest so fully because I was wondering if or when they would get together.

The characters were all interesting, with the only exception being Donna’s ex-husband who was definitely the villain of the story.  There were also lots of pets in the story and this always gets a few extra points from me because I’m such an animal lover, Sadie the three-legged dog was a particular favourite.

Now to mention Mark, lovely lovely Mark, he was adorable and I have to confess to falling a little bit in love with him.  He was kind and caring but tough and gorgeous as well, I loved him and Donna as a couple because they were so much fun together.  His son Karl had autism spectrum disorder, something I didn’t really know much about so this side of the story I found incredibly interesting.  The story showed how the disorder affected the family as well as the child and Karl, the child in question, quickly became my favourite character.  I loved his interaction with Starbuck the dog, it was really touching to read, I had tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face many times whilst reading about Karl’s progression.

This book had funny and sad times, many misunderstandings, heart-warming moments and towards the end things even took a sinister turn.  All this combined made Somebody To Love a fantastic page-turner that I would definitely recommend.

To find out more about Sheryl Browne visit her website here.