Friday, 16 November 2018

Book Review (+ Excerpt & Author Giveaway): A NOVEL CHRISTMAS by Lynsey M. Stewart



Would a man that didn't believe in romance inspire my greatest love story or leave me with unfinished chapters?




Title: A Novel Christmas
Author: Lynsey M. Stewart
Release Date: November 16, 2018



Go to an island, my publisher said. Reclaim your writing mojo, he added. Be inspired, he suggested. Oh, sexy shenanigans, was I inspired. Drew Carolla would do that to a woman. Reclusive and brooding, an ex-pilot-come-sexy-woodcutter-come-luxury-wedding-venue-owner-come…here.

Writing romance doesn’t come easy when you don’t have a muse, and I was on a deadline. Four weeks to write my next bestseller or face being dropped by my publisher. Thankfully, watching Drew chop wood, sweaty and shirtless, soon had the words flowing like water through Cornish coastline rock pools.

But Drew had his own stories to tell. Why did his luxury wedding venue no longer host weddings? Why did he scoff at the idea of romance? And why, despite that, did he look at me like he wanted to wake up on Christmas morning and find me naked in his bed?

Conundrums. Drew was full of them. Too bad I wasn’t writing psychological thrillers.

Would Drew Carolla, a man who didn’t believe in romance, inspire my greatest love story or leave me with unfinished chapters?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40060946-a-novel-christmas


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*****


A NOVEL CHRISTMAS by Lynsey M.  Stewart was a delightful read. Firstly, it ticks the boxes for reader looking for a romance book that celebrates the holiday season: Cold weather and someone to snuggle with, delicious food, fitting decorations and trips to take in the splendour of Christmas events.

And then there’s our couple, Caroline (Cal) and Drew. Yowsers! The attraction between them is magnetic. Given their circumstances, their hesitation in coming together is understandable but propinquity and an abundance of feelings sees them fascinated with one another.

I thought Cal was a great heroine. I thought she was strong; she was prepared to reveal her vulnerability but refused to be exploited. I appreciated both her and Drew’s openness when talking to each other. As hurtful and confusing as they may have felt, it was never as a result of everyday miscommunication.
As pleasing as Cal’s character was, the star for me was Drew. This is the second book in a short period of time I’ve read where there’s somewhat of a role reversal in a romance novel, and I am loving it. Here it’s Drew that’s been significantly burned by his previous relationship; he’s the one doing most of the doubting about his ability to not only love again but place his trust and love in a woman and, in turn, give her everything she needs. His uncertainty and indecision often incenses Cal but he is always coming from a place of authenticity.

I have enjoyed the author’s previous books but this is one is definitely my favourite to date.


*****



I had set the alarm for 7:30 am. I wanted to get a good start on outlining and possibly write some words that involved more than just planning sexytime scenes. I jumped in the shower, dried off my hair and put on some make-up before changing into a pair of comfy black trousers and a slouchy sweater. Perfect writing uniform. The fire had stopped burning during the night and it was colder than an igloo on the North Pole. I put more wood on the burner before I went to bed, unsure of what to do to keep the cottage warm for the morning. It hadn’t worked. I made a note to ask Drew how to stop chilblains from forming on my feet. It was a typical December day. Grey skies, a chilly wind. Freezing. I made myself a cup of tea and found myself humming, ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ as I fired up the laptop and opened the curtains.

Drew had told me the previous night that the view was amazing. I’d been looking forward to seeing it in the light this morning as I knew this was going to be my writing spot for the next month. I looked across the fields rolling along the skyline. The tops of the barns were poking through, and as my eyes dropped, I saw Drew, his flannel shirt unbuttoned to the navel…swinging an axe.

Ping! A decision was made.

My male lead came to me in the swing of an axe. He was going to be a shirtless woodcutter, strong and muscular. Robust and fit. Looking after the land. Alpha-male dominance. Romance trope heaven.

‘Holy mother of fudge,’ I said as I blew away the steam from my tea. It misted up my reading glasses and I smudged my finger over them like a windscreen wiper. He looked up like he’d heard me, wiped his arm across his head, slow-motion style and still glistening from the man sweat of good honest hard work. He waved before cutting a block of wood like it was as natural to him as giving out a smouldering look.





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Lynsey M. Stewart enjoys writing stories about characters that experience a few bumps in the road before finding their happily ever after (also known as contemporary romance with plenty of heat.) She lives with her husband, her soulmate and muse, along with their gorgeous, precious, ridiculously independent little girl. Lynsey began writing after being inspired by great books, amazing writers and wonderful stories that she couldn't stop thinking about long after reading the last word. If she’s not writing, you can usually find her with her head in a book or singing along to music. She’s hopeless, but she enjoys pretending to be Adele every once in a while.



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