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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 4 star ratings
4 reviews
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4.5 out of 5
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    Highly recommended!

    A lovely and sweet book, full of emotions and heartwarming. It's more complex and multilayered than the typical Christmas novel as there're themes like homelessness and poverty. I loved the gripping and enjoyable plot, the well written cast of characters and the setting. It's an interesting read entertaining and thought provoking. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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    four-star wrapped up read

    The Christmas Calendar Girls by Samantha Tonge four-star wrapped up read. This could have been a five-star read, but in places it just went on a little, the story made me smile in so many places, it also made me sob in places as well, dealing with the loss of a partner and parent is always hard to do well, but Samantha Tonge did it very well. There is so much heart in this story, with loss and the risk to the food bank closing, as well as several other issues that we all face in life, they were all well done and couldn’t be faulted, it was the glue that held all of those bits together that just didn’t stick enough for me. Kit was the one that surprised me more than I could imagine, he was something I didn’t expect even though I had my ideas about his story from the start, there was still something to surprise and make the story whole.
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    Feel-Good & Thoroughly Satisfying!

    A wonderful, heart-warming festive read which encompasses all the great things about Christmas - and will most definitely leave the reader with a fabulous fuzzy feeling! Fern and her two friends, Cara and Davina are all bringing up children whilst aiming to be part of the local primary and the wider community. As it heads towards Christmas, there is also extra work to be done supporting the kids with all the school activities - but this year there is more reason to be concerned. The local food bank, a lifetime to many, is under threat of closure and desperately need to raise funds to stay afloat; can these three friends help in any way whilst struggling with their own issues? Fern is trying to work out Kit's mindset whilst becoming aware that her feelings towards him are not completely platonic; Cara - normally a domestic goddess - is not her usual efficient self and Davina finds herself with worries over her usually well-behaved twins' demeanour. What is going on? This is a superb read! Steeped in Christmas spirit and packed with the problems all of us face at some (usually several) times in our lives, there is lots to keep the reader glued to the pages. It is a charming book and also a thought provoking one, making us all aware that there is more to Christmas than just finding the perfect gift and buying more food it's possible to eat in a month, never mind a few days! I absolutely adored everything about it and Sam Tonge's creativity and writing experience shine through every part of this story. Feel-good to the nth degree and thoroughly satisfying which makes this a solid 5* read, and one I'm so happy to recommend to all lovers of a darn good festive read!
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    The book is a lovely festive read

    Widow Fern has recently moved to the small village of Chesterwood with her young daughter Lily and has fitted in perfectly. She has made plenty of friends with the mums from her daughter’s new primary school. However, she is struggling to move on after her husband’s death but with the help of her new best friends Cara and Davina, she is slowly starting to feel less pain and maybe thinking about love again. When the local food bank is in jeopardy of closing due to funds for the rent of the building they hire, Fern comes up with an idea, for the village to host a real-life advent calendar that will involve all the villagers. The advent calendar is going to take a lot of planning and effort to make it a success and to earn enough money to keep the food bank open and with it already being the end of October can Fern and the villagers pull it off as well as deal with their own private problems too? Who doesn’t love a festive read? When I first heard about The Christmas Calendar Girls I was thinking this was going to be one of those books about a group of women getting naked and posing for a charity calendar, how wrong could I be! This book is nothing like that, in fact the advent calendar idea is completely new to me and I think it is a great idea – you will have to read the book to see what it is all about. Fern is a lovely woman who has had a few hard years after the death of her husband and is now bringing up her daughter Lily alone. She is at that point where she thinks it may be time to move on and possibly find romance again, but at the same time feels guilty. The villagers are a wonderful community of people and I just wish that more communities came together in real life and helped one another out. My tiny nag about the book is how many times it was mentioned that Fern’s husband had died, especially within the first few chapters, it felt like it was stated on every few pages – I haven’t counted, but it became a little repetitive after a while. The book is a lovely festive read that is exceptionally heart-warming, poignant and a lot of fun. Add it to your festive reads list, you will not be sorry.
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