Matilda ‘Tilly’ Carter has had the week from hell – and now, with all trains cancelled, it looks like Christmas will be too! With a mascara-streaked face, a broken heel and nowhere to go, there’s never been a worse time to run into the man who once broke her heart. Especially when he looks better than ever.
The one that got away…
For Dean, Christmas has always been hard. The Tilly standing before him is no longer the firecracker of his memories—even if the way she makes his heart race hasn’t changed at all. He is determined to uphold the promise that kept them apart nine years ago. But spending a cosy Christmas with Tilly would break a better man and each accidental touch, heated look and stolen kiss is taking its toll on Dean.
After all this time, can the magic of Christmas bring Tilly and Dean together at last?
Aurelia B. Rowl writes sweet yet sexy contemporary romance stories, as well as young adult and new adult romances.
She lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband and their two fantastic children. When she’s not writing, you’ll often find her curled up with a book or out running, making the most of the trails and fells surrounding her home or legging it around her local parkrun.
Too often lost in her own world, she has an alarm to remind her to collect her children from school and regularly wows her family with curious, hastily thrown together meals as a result of getting too caught up with her latest project… or five! She has also developed the fine art of ignoring the housework and makes an excellent taxi for her children’s many activities and enviable social life.
To find out more about Aurelia, or check out her latest news, you can visit her website: www.aureliabrowl.com
4 - Betrayed, homeless, out of a job and now stranded in a train station. Stars!
Another great book by the talented Aurelia B. Rowle. Second-chance love is one of my favorite tropes, so add in a Christmas twist and I am a happy reader.
This quick, sexy, emotive read kept me up well past my bedtime as I just couldn't wait to see if Tilly and Dean would be able to overcome their pasts, so they could have a future together.
If you are still in the Christmas spirit, or are looking for something with a little snow and magic contained within its pages to read, this is the perfect title for any reader to curl up with for a few hours of escapism, and being set in the U.K gives it a little added charm!
ARC generously provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.
Christmas is Cancelled is a second chance at your one true love for Tilly and Dean.
Tilly is having the worst Christmas Eve of her life, stranded with no place to go who suddenly appears in the crowd but Dean her teenage crush who humiliated her on her eighteenth birthday the reason she left home.
Dean is shocked to see Tilly but not the Tilly he remembers she is a shadow of her former self. He cannot leave her stranded at the station so he takes her home over Christmas.
On Christmas Day they go for a walk it is a Christmas tradition for Dean the weather turns into a snow storm and they take shelter in a little hut. To stay warm they strip body heat they soon get physical naked together under a blanket is to much temptation who thought being stuck in a snow storm could be so HOT.
When they arrive back at Dean's house Phil Tilly's big brother is there waiting for them and soon everything changes for the worse. Can some Christmas magic bring these to lost souls together? What is Dean hiding from his past? Can Tilly forgive them both? The epilogue was different.
This is one of the best Christmas reads I read this month I enjoyed the writing style I will be checking out other books by Aurelia B Rowl.
What a great story! I wanted it to go on and would happily read this story again. It's a heart-warming, steamy, passionate, sensual tale of that first love working out after all those years. And I loved it.
Tilly was a great character, she knew what she wanted and she went for it. And boy, did she want Dean. Her love and passion for him was almost addictive.
Then Phil comes along and throws a spanner in the works and everything goes a little crazy and because Tilly doens't know what's happening the reader doesn't either and that was a fantastic piece of writing.
This was a quick Christmas read and really got me in the mood for the festive season. And I just noticed that it's part of a series. IT'S A SERIES GUYS! I can't wait to read about Phil, he was a bit of a dick, but there's definitely something there.
I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
How shall I put this gently...? No. Okay? Just... no.
It pains me to say it, but I was so sure this book will turn out to be a fine, refreshing, light holiday read. The first half of it is great. Seriously. Great! So, what went wrong? And, what's even more important - how could it go so terribly wrong? Let's see...
At the very beginning of the story, Tilly (the heroine) is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She lost her job, her home and her boyfriend. On Christmas Eve, of all days! And, to top it all off, the train that would take her to her brother is not about to arrive any time soon. Well, maybe in a few days. Christmas is officially canceled. So there she is, all desperate and broken, with her one suitcase, when all of a sudden he appears. Dean - the only guy Tilly ever loved. Her brother's (ex) friend. The same guy she's spent almost a decade pining over. The one that never wanted her. Well, that's what she thinks...
See, Tilly's brother Phil made Dean promise he'll stay away from her. Because... hm, because she deserves better. Because there were some rumors about Dean being . And, Dean does not want to break that promise. Even if it kills him. Even if it means he'll lose the only girl that he's ever loved. But, let's get back to the story...
So, Tilly ends up at Dean's house. And, since they are about to spend a couple of days together, maybe Christmas isn't cancelled after all. Maybe there's a chance for the two of them. Dean was really trying hard to resist, poor guy, but when he let go I was hoping this story will (finally) reach the greatest part (with a couple of mandatory downs, of course). Actually, that's when Phil showed up. And, that's exactly when it all came crashing down.
I'm not sure how it happened. All of a sudden, this cute, fine book turned into... not fine. There was a case of a nervous breakdown (or at least it seemed that way), one partial lobotomy (seriously, I'm not a huge fan of ultimate personality change without a solid reason) and it all became one sobbing, confusing mess. Nothing felt right. There was all that "I forgive you", "I am so sorry", "I was wrong"... but it was too easily solved, way too soon, and it ruined all that fine build up from the first half of the story.
It's such a shame. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but all the oh-so-sweet moments just gave me a toothache. Even those diary entries, at the very end, that were supposed to bring it all together seemed too weak and so out of place. Actually, they are (imo, at least) one of the weakest parts of the story. So, it's like this - what started out as a great, light read with highly likable (and realistic) characters turned into a disappointment. Again. I'll just go and look at my Christmas tree for a while... maybe those twinkling lights will help.
I’ve been dying for this book to come out after interviewing Aurelia and reading the excerpt, so it’s no surprise I finished it the same day. Christmas is Cancelled doesn’t read like a book by a debut author. The sexual tension and conflict sucks you right into the story. It begins with everything in Tilly’s life falling to pieces, and she almost did, but I admired how she held it together and forced herself to go on when I’d have probably crawled into my bed and cried for a week. Poor Dean struggled to keep his hands to himself, and hide his secrets, because of a promise he’d made to his best friend ten years earlier. He’s an intoxicating mix of noble, sensitive, alpha and drop dead gorgeous.
Aurelia mixes the perfect blend of fun, sizzling and anticipation so much so the book is very hard to put down. The conflicts are original, the setting beautiful and she has this way of dragging you into the story so it feels like you are there, standing on top of a freezing cold mountain in the Lake District witness to a saucy snowball fight. I can’t wait for more from this very talented debut author. Soon, please :o)
Christmas is Cancelled is an absorbing contemporary romance. I was immediately captivated by the characters, both by Tilly and Dean. Tilly, the female protagonist, especially piqued my interest. She was so easy to relate to, her emotions and reactions were very realistic, yet they embraced the romantic genre beautifully. This is a testament to the author, Aurelia B Rowl’s, lovely style of writing; it was undemanding yet engaging. The events that unfurl in this Christmas themed book were exciting and moving. Tilly embodies many women’s fears, yet she has a subtle strength to her character, that she gradually embraces more as the storyline progresses. Likewise the character Dean is appropriately dreamy with a mysterious past that we’re clambering to discover.
As their relationship develops and the storyline advances, so does the heat. Christmas is cancelled has several steamy sex scenes that left me needing a cold shower as well as a desiring a little hut to visit during a snow storm! You can positively feel the snow thawing around the passion that this couple creates!
As the story neared the end, I was little perplexed. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ending; I especially loved Tilly’s reaction to the situation that she found herself in – it was really refreshing for this genre. However, Dean’s character dumb founded me a little. His personality became somewhat desperate. I suppose once again, I could argue that this is refreshing, especially for the genre, but I am a sucker for a strong broody man!
If you’re looking for a sexy, emotion driven romance with strong and deeply human characters, then Christmas is Cancelled won’t disappoint. 4 Fabulous fairies.
Christmas is Cancelled is Aurelia B. Rowl’s debut novel, which has since been re-released by Carina. Having already read and enjoyed both of Aurelia’s young adult/new adult books in her Facing the Music series, I was looking forward to reading her first contemporary romance novella. Christmas is Cancelled introduces us to Tilly who is in a bad way. As if being newly single, homeless and jobless wasn’t enough, her Christmas Eve train is cancelled and so she won’t even make it to her brother’s home in time for the festive season. Her Christmas cancelled, Tilly is in a desperate rush to leave the station only to quickly find herself face to face with Dean, a guy she hasn’t seen for almost nine years, a guy who broke her heart…
I liked Tilly straight away. She was a bit all over the place, one second feisty and the next a bit of a wreck, but she was quite endearing. There was a lot of chemistry between her and Dean, it kind of oozed off the pages a little but even though Dean found Tilly hard to resist, there was something holding him back, something to do with a promise he once made.
I had mixed feelings about Dean. I liked him, I really did and I found his story to be interesting but at times I found him to be over-sensitive and it made me cringe a little how soppy he could be. It just ended up feeling a bit weird to me and I don’t really know how to explain that without going into spoiler territory but I just wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him as a character. He did make me smile when he was trying to find a suitable nickname for Tilly – and you just knew he wasn’t going to settle until he found one that worked, even though it did make me wince a little when he used it so often. Dean was the fascinating part of this novella though because there are things nobody knows about him and I was really intrigued, wondering what they could be and wondering how they would affect the dynamics between him and Tilly.
I expected Dean’s secrets to be quite straight-forward and not as dramatic as they were. Though I loved the start to Christmas is Cancelled, I felt like it went off on one in the middle and lost its way. There was a bit of a drama overload for me and I found both Dean and Tilly annoying at this point, never mind the introduction of another character who frustrated me so much. The story seemed to go from having likeable characters with tons of sexual tension to characters who just kept blowing hot and cold and who came to the most ridiculous of assumptions without any sense whatsoever.
Though I felt like this book went off on a tangent, I did think it got brought nicely back together towards the end with a surprise or two. I was impressed by how much Aurelia fit into this novella and the book developed at a whirlwind pace. Even though Christmas wasn’t really on the agenda for Tilly or Dean, I liked the fun festivities we did see in the story, especially all the snow which as it does in real life, brought chaos and fun all at the same time. Overall Christmas is Cancelled was a heart-warming story, a nice little read for that day you’re sat in front of the fire and in need of something to lift your spirits. The ending was something a bit different and I thought it was a touching way to end the story.
This was a Christmas read unlike any other. The story had lots of twists and turns taking me as reader on a journey of how people's lives are affected when they defend the ones they love and how those their actions can brand them for the rest of their lives.
The main characters were Tilly, a spirited young woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown due to having lost her home, her job and her boyfriend all on the same day and not just any day but Christmas eve. Stranded at the station, with her only possessions packed into a suitcase and a broken shoe she is more than ready to just give up.
But by the grace of a Christmas even wonder she bumps into her one and only true love,Dean once best friend to her brother, but also the one man that never wanted her. And a really miraculous tale unfolded. One of two people clearly meant to be together yet kept apart by a promise and Dean being branded as a murderer.
Yes you read that right murderer! Tilly and Dean go through the motions of hot and cold for each other as Dean fights with all his being to not let his passion for Tilly get the better of him, after all he promised. Tilly however wants Dean with a fire as blazing hot as her once red hair colour,and she tries her hardest to let him know, only he keeps pushing her away.That is until they both get so consumed with their passions for each other and both let go.
Right here is where I thought oh joy finally! But then a unexpected turn of events and a lot of meddling from Phil,Tilly's brother let it all crumble,and that my dear friends really made the book! It was so unexpected and the truth being revealed by the author kept me glued to my seat!
The characters where both stunning,secondary characters brought the book into more perspective for me and the twist of a visitors book made the plot oh so much more compelling.
The author did a brilliant job of taking a happy event and turning it into mystery, intrigue and suspense,combined with romance, truth being revealed and a decade long secret finally setting a torn man free by the one woman that has always held his heart in her hands.
Christmas tale with a twist ~~ excellent work Aurelia!
5/5 star review
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
It is of course, a Christmas-set story and has a lovely festive (and yet pink and pretty!) cover – but don’t let that put you off. In my opinion, Christmas stories can be read at any time of the year!
Tilly, the heroine is sure that her Christmas has been cancelled. After all, she just caught her boyfriend cheating on her with her friend, and subsequently lost both her job and home. It’s the last straw when the train taking her to her brother for the Christmas holidays is cancelled – and distraught – she stumbles into a very important ex – Dean.
I really warmed to Dean straight away, trying to make an effort to make Tilly’s Christmas better, and inviting her to stay at his home. The hero and heroine soon find that are falling in love all over again (if indeed they ever stopped). Only – Tilly’s brother and some ghosts from the past have to be dealt with before they can have their happy ever after.
I really liked having a different setting too than a lot of the modern romances I have recently read. The hero and heroine re-connected in the city of Manchester, and Dean’s home is in the Peak District, another area I hadn’t really encountered before – that sounds really beautiful. The tenderness and reconnection between them is also nicely dealt with, and you are cheering them on to be together again – despite Tilly coming straight from a recently ended relationship, and perhaps against the reader’s own instincts.
I did find the revelations that Tilly’s brother brings into the story a bit jarring at first, but once explained the story was soon back on track for me, and came to a satisfying conclusion.
Dean’s diary at the end of the story was very touching and a nice addition.
This is a nice Christmas read (and whenever else you might want to read it!) and an enjoyable début from the author. I would be happy to read books by her again.
From the moment I stating reading this Gem of a Christmas story, I couldn’t stop. Dinner dish and kitchen cleanup be damned, I had to finish this book.
We are introduced to our heroine, Tilly, in the middle of having the worst day of her life. She has just lost everything, her job, her home, her boyfriend and her best friend. And it’s Christmas Eve!
Things couldn’t get any worst. Guess again, in the mist of having a mental breakdown, Tilly is found by her brother’s best friend, the man she has been in love and rejected her almost 10 years earlier.
What she doesn’t know is that Dean had made a promise to her brother all those years ago to stay away from Tilly. His heart also yearns for Tilly, yet he feels honor bound to keep his promise. But can he just leave her on the streets, alone on Christmas Eve? To make matters worse, Dean has a deep dislike for the Christmas season.
This story is full of emotions and sexual tension as Tilly and Dean reconnect. Both fight their attraction, till they become so consumed in their passion, finally realizing they are fighting a lost cause. Those scenes where so full of tenderness and love, that at one point I unknowingly let out a deep sigh. Hubby looked over asking if I was ok *bashfully grinning*
This was a sweet, very romantic Christmas Love story. You can bet I’ll be reading this again next Christmas.
Tilly is in quite a state. She's stranded, because her train has been cancelled and all of her possessions are in one suitcase. She's lost her job and she's on her own. Then she meets someone from her past which is a huge surprise. Dean is the man who has broken her heart ten years ago and it's the first time they see each other again since that awful event. Even though she's still hurt she can't stay mad at him and when he offers her a ride she has no choice but to say yes. Dean is happy to see her again, but he's promised to stay away all those years ago and he's still bound by his honor. Now that she's standing before him, it's so hard to say no to her. Tilly and Dean have to spend Christmas together, does this mean they will finally get what they both want or will they get into serious trouble?
I read this novella in one sitting. I loved the story and was happy that this was quite a long novella as that meant more fabulous reading. There's a lot of chemistry between Tilly and Dean, but that doesn't mean they can do whatever they want. There are secrets that might be standing in their way. I wanted to know what those secrets were and I had to keep reading until I found out. This is a story that kept me glued to my seat and I really like it when I have a real page turner in my hands. Aurelia B Rowl has such a great writing style. There are several hot scenes and there's also a good story, which is a perfect combination.
It’s Christmas eve and Tilly is having the worst day of her life, she just lost her job her Live in boyfriend , her best friend and her home in one big blow. Now heading to her brothers for Christmas she finds the train is cancelled. Just when she thinks things can’t get worse she runs into her first crush that broke her heart nine years ago and the reason she is there in the first place after he humiliated her. Dean has his reasons for not liking Christmas (you will have to read the book to see what they are) He is wealthy, prosperous and handsome but found no woman measured up to the one he let get away years ago. But promises are promises and he has his honor. This was a very sweet romance. Nicely written and fast paced. Both characters are intriguing and the storylines entwine and unravel brilliantly. If you’re looking for something to add a little heat into your life or a nice Holiday setting to cool you down this one is for you! I loved how this ended with his journal entries form the travel lodge * you will need a tissue here but its happy tears* Recommendations: If you like a nice steamy romance, a sweet love story, a sexy snowball fight and a story set around the holiday season this one is awesome!
So I bought this book totally hooked in by an excerpt that kept lingering in the back of my head...I then found a spare couple minutes to take a peek and begin the story. Well Aurelia B. Rowl took my couple minutes and turned it into one sitting of reading this book! This is her debut novel and I applaud her work!! I absolutely love her style and the connections she makes to the reader right off the bat! I was hooked and glad I finished this! It's freaking fantastic! It's cute, funny, romantic, sexy, steamy, and serious all in one! We meet Tilly when she's down on her luck. Going through a rough time and of course as fate would have it...Dean the one man that's out of her grasp for reasons unknown to her comes right into her path. Will these two get through the hurdles that have kept them apart all these years? Find out! You will fall head over heels for this love story that makes Christmas a new found joy for someone who lost hope in the happiness the holiday brings. I give this book my thumbs up!
What a deliciously sexy Christmas love story. I loved it from the very first page. I put it down once, just to get some sleep.. only to pick it up again first thing in the morning. Tilly just hit rock bottom when the story kicks off. Although you don't know the specifics of her breakdown from the start, you instantly take pity on her and start rooting for a better outcome. Who would wish for someone's Christmas to get cancelled? Then along comes Dean. From the moment he makes his appearance, you're just as smitten with him as Tilly is. And just like her, you're intrigued to find out what's keeping Dean from giving in. It was a heartwarming, romantic, sexy and moving read. Go and get your Christmas wish-list, this novel should be on there.. somewhere at the very top. http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.be/
Milly is trying to catch a train when they are all cancelled- meaning that her Christmas is also probably cancelled. She’s very upset when she meets an ex boyfriend who was ‘the one that got away’. He also has great memories of the girl she used to be. Can spending some time together rekindle old passions? A sexy , emotionally charged book. A great Christmassy read.
Fairly light read with hot sex scenes, believable characters and emotional obstacles. It wasn't great, but I don't have any complaints. Although I did get over halfway through the book before I realized it was located in the UK. Whoops.
No one wants to spend Christmas alone, especially after being dumped, having found your partner cosied up with your best mate), losing your job and your home all in one day. So, Tilly made the executive decision. She played it safe and decided to head off to her brother, Phil's, house for the holidays. At least she would get to be with family.
However, Tilly seems to be having the worst run of bad luck ever, as her heel breaks, her train is cancelled and she whacks her shin as she tried to escape the suffocating madness that is becoming her life.
Now she is stranded, alone and on the verge of a mental breakdown, all on Christmas eve, but she never would have expected what would happen next.
As she tried to gather her thoughts, or at least hide the waterworks that seemed to leak, she recognised a familiar, long-lost voice, but it couldn't be...he wasn't up here, was he?
She didn't dare have a look, especially in her state, but with all times you want to remain hidden, she must have had a beacon and a neon sign glaring above, reading ' It's Tilly!,' for the man stopped. Little did Tilly know things were just about to begin.
I loved this book. I am hit and miss on contemporary romance, as sometimes I find it is rather bogged down, taking away from the fun and adventure in finding a lover/partner. However, Aurelia's writing still wow'd me, when I read A Girl Called Malice and Popping the Cherry, so I knew to expect great things from this book.
I dove in, expecting to enjoy the book, but I didn't know I would be completely addicted to every word Aurelia fed me. I couldn't put it down! So much so, that I devoured the entire book in one night.
We've all been there, just like Tilly, where we feel like all hope is lost and we truly have nothing left. Tilly, or Basmati, lives the dream, in her holiday story. Just when she is about to give up the most amazing, yet wholly trusting, confusing and often hilarious thing happens. I loved reading as Tilly and her new found, or old, flame rekindle something that was never lost. Yet, unlike most romances, this one is realistic. They don't just meet up, jump a carriage and ride of into a distance, Tilly being wooed away without a concern. They have the real world to contend with, including old secrets, supressed urges and long-lost promises.
We venture on a roller coaster of emotion and sexual frustrations with them, hoping with each word that we will finally read the moment when Tilly we consumate her feelings for him, if only life wouldn't get in the way!
I truly felt every frustration, every moment of breakdown and even the passion in this book. The emotions and personalities were written so well that I felt like I was there, as if I were Tilly myself. I wanted nothing more than to be Tilly, to experience the vivid things she was and the writing was done by Aurelia in such a way that I really felt I was.
I loved the ending, and the final chapters leading to it. It was steamy, real, heart wrenching, nurturing and left me wanting to know more. I want, no need to know what happens next.
With all the cards laid on the table, I loved seeing where Tilly's life would go this Christmas, but I must know where it goes next. I LOVE this book and reading all about Tilly and her family.
I highly recommend this read, for yourself or as a gift to someone you know. It is the perfect Christmas read, especially if you like a steamy, passionate one!
Is there such a thing called fate? For Tilly and Dean there might be! Christmas Is Cancelled will take you on Tilly and Dean’s whirlwind romance.
Tilly, a young woman who is on her way to her brothers on Christmas Eve, gets stranded when the train tracks at the train station malfunction. Now with nowhere to go and nowhere to spend Christmas, what is Tilly to do?
Tilly just found her boyfriend and best friend sleeping with each other in his office, where Tilly was his PA. Since she shared a house with her boyfriend, she is now homeless, single, and jobless on Christmas Eve.
But, fate intervenes after almost 10 years. Tilly and Dean run into each other in front of the train station. Dean…just the last person she needed to see.
Dean was Tilly’s brother’s best friend, her first love, even if he didn’t know and was the reason she ran away from home and everyone she knew.
Was she being punished?!?
Dean couldn’t believe who was standing in front of him. Even though she is now a grown woman and her beautiful red hair is now dyed brown there was no way he could have missed his…Basmati.
Seeing Tilly is stranded with nowhere to go on Christmas Eve, Dean offers Tilly a place to stay and Tilly agrees.
With both of their walls up, can they let each other in, or will they build the walls even higher?
Dean is having a hard time with his feelings for Tilly. If she knew the ONLY reason he was holding back was because of his promise to her brother, that he wouldn’t pursue Tilly. Why did he make that promise?
With Dean putting up a tree for Tilly and taking her on a hike to make his Christmas ritual of writing in a visitors log at the cabin, walls come crumbling down. Only to have something, or someone, make Tilly run away again.
Will Dean get the girl he let go so many years ago back? And if so will she believe him when he tells her the truth about his past? Can they both let each other in without running away or building up new walls? Was Christmas being cancelled the best present they could have received?
Christmas Is Cancelled was a great read. I read it in less than 5 hours and enjoyed it. The characters are well developed, with great back-stories that make you dive more into the book. If you can get pass the British “talk”, which was kind of hard for me…then you will enjoy the book. Great love story, with a well-developed plot that keeps you wanting more, and that’s what the author gives you. I GIVE CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED 4 STARS!
Quotes from the Book:
“It’s taking everything I’ve got not to brace you against a tree and have my wicked way with you.”- Dean
“What part of being stranded in a shack and risking hypothermia is romantic?”- Dean
“Then what the hell is it? You blow hot and cold all the time. It’s bloody obvious you want me too, but you keep pushing me away.”- Tilly
“Christ, Dean, I’ve been in love with you for as long as I can remember, but even I can take a hint eventually.”- Tilly
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I met Aurelia B. Rowl in an online writers’ group over a year ago, when she’d just taken up writing. She was an eager newcomer, brimming with enthusiasm and absolutely made for the kind of camaraderie writing bloggers share. I also remember her announcing to the group.that she’d put a piece of short fiction up on her blog and asking the group members to come over, have a look and share their thoughts. I remember going over and reading the story. An intriguing story which flowed well. In fact, Harlequin Mills & Boon author Abby Green paid a visit too and remarked on Aurelia’s ‘engaging voice’. There was something about the story that didn’t sit too well with me, I just couldn’t figure exactly what it was back then. I’d recently suffered a spate of writing rejections for what I’d considered to be some of my best work and like the seasoned campaigner I was, I remember not being too complimentary about the story. It was probably cynicism born of disappointment.
Now I’ve just read Aurelia’s first published novel. And all I can say is ‘wow, Aurelia!’.
Now I know what the problem with that story was. It was too big a story for a double page spread. Aurelia needed a bigger canvas. She’s a born novelist. CHRSTMAS IS CANCELLED is an emotional, insightful, sexy and extremely moving read. Yes, Abby was right, the engaging voice is certainly there. And it’s not only the voice which is engaging. The characters are engaging. The story is engaging. You’ll be drawn in from start to finish.
As a storyteller, Aurelia is extremely skilful. You don’t get a bit of backstory until you’ve begun to care about the characters. The book opens with Tilly, jobless, homeless and without a friend in the world, trying to get a train to Southampton to spend Christmas with her brother. She’s unable to get that train so Christmas is effectively cancelled. Then she bumps into Dean, her brother’s old friend. She has nowhere else to go, so Dean takes her home for Christmas. We gradually come to know that this couple actually has a history. The rest of the novel is about removing the darkness from their perceptions and bringing the two together into the light and into love.
CHRITMAS IS CANCELLED can be described as a Christmas story because Christmas is about dispelling the darkness in the world and bringing light and hope. Something similar happens to the characters in this story.
The love scenes are powerfully written. The story will keep you enthralled until the very end. Both Dean and Tilly are memorable characters. As a romance novel, I give it 5/5 for delivering the goods.
This book was a different kind of read. It was unusual, but still good at the same time. It's rather difficult to explain. It was like a POW, BANG, BOOM at the beginning and then an umm okay toward the end.
The chemistry between the two main characters was off the charts. Their passion for one another singed the pages of my e-reader. Seriously, there is nothing like reuniting with a forbidden love. All the why-didn't-we questions were answered for Tilly and Dean...eventually. Ghosts from the past were finally laid to rest and this couple was able to be free enough to love each other.
The background stories of Tilly and Phil, as well as Dean seemed so similar. I was able to understand where they came from, what they had to overcome, and what shaped them, but somehow, I felt like there was still an incomplete story.
The actual romance in this book - scenes, language, activities - was so sweet. It kicked the star level up for me. The first kiss, the hike, the snowball fight, the run, the Xmas gift, and so many other things gave this love story a nice touch.
About the Characters: Tilly: This woman was impulsive, fearful, thoughtful, repressed, loyal, and fiesty. She was shy one minute and ready to detonate in the next moment. I liked her, but I felt that she needed more consistency. The running was a tell for her. I was left with the impression that she still had a lot of growing to do.
Dean: This character came across like a bad boy gone good. Life circumstances could certainly have led him on another path, but it's funny how he landed on two feet, right in front of Tilly. I liked Dean, but I felt like he was a little too sensitive. I don't know that I have read about a man crying or becoming tearful so much. It didn't quite work for me.
Phil: All I wanted to say about this guy is that this dude needs his own life.
Rating: 3/5 Recommend: Yes Pacing: Good (This was a very fast-paced read.) Audience: Adult Status: M Chemistry/Intensity: Yes Conflict/Drama: Yes Family Dysfunction: Yes Second Chance Love: Yes HEA: Yes
A complimentary copy of this title was made available for review by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest critique. The words I have expressed are my own.
I had the opportunity to read this a while ago. I wasn't able to get to until recently. I missed out. But thankfully was able to get to it. Any one you has read my reviews knows I’m not a big fan of novellas. Lately, some authors are making me eat my words. Aurelia B. Rowl is one such author. Christmas Is Cancelled left me pleasantly surprised. One thing that I always enjoy in a read is geographic/ cultural slang. I have always found it interesting to compare to North American/Canadian slang. Rowl is from the UK so she did not disappoint in providing some of these phrases and words throughout the story. Often times a novella lacks in development in both character and plot. Through the story and the epilogue Rowl did a good job of keeping the gaps from getting to loose and losing the essence of her story. She played the characters against and with each other that you knew just who they were and what they wanted. Dean and Tilly have a past that is so entwined and connected to each other that it was never severed even after so many years. Tilly is a strong woman but not so scorned that she doesn’t hurt. Her heart still bleeds and aches. She is also quick witted and warm. Dean is handsome not only in looks but his soul as well. He holds true to his word even if it means he is hurt. His heart never waivers although his resolve… One other thing that I found Rowl did quite well was write the story of a secondary character into the main plot. Novellas often have the secondary characters as fluff and insignificance. In Christmas is Cancelled, Phil plays quite a major role. In fact, you wouldn’t mind seeing where his character could go in another book. One particular area of the story that I enjoyed is the epilogue. There are some letters or rather journal entries that solidify the story. They give it some soul. You’ll have to read to find out more. Being a novella, Christmas is Cancelled is a quick read. It is a good one to read in between full lengths while you decide what is next on your list or even to take you out of that book hangover. I look forward to reading more from Aurelia B. Rowl. D 3.5/5
We meet Matilda Carter on the day when she has just lost everything – her job, her home, her friend and her boyfriend – all in one day. That’s what happens when you are dating your boss and catch him cheating on you with your friend. Then she at the train station on the way to visit her brother only to bump into the one man she has always loved but been rejected by! Oh and did I tell you that these all happen on Christmas eve? With nowhere to go to and no one else to turn to ‘Tilly’ accepts Dean’s offer to let her stay at his place. When these two people finally meet again after years, sparks fly and emotions are all over the place. Tilly knows that there was never anyone else for her, but why did Dean leave? Dean on the other hand is caught between his heart and his promise – which will win out in the end?
The plot is plain and simple at a glance. But as it progresses it takes a few unexpected turns revealing a mystery. As for the characters, Dean is a handsome man with sense of honour and a caring heart. Matilda, is a strong and spirited woman who has had to deal with her share of ups and downs. Another character that you will not help but notice is Tilly’s brother Phil. There is something about him that made me want to get to know him better. But it is the dynamic of Dean and Tilly’s relationship that carries the book through. Totally in love with each other yet not being able to put it out on the table has them blowing hot-and-cold against each other.
This romance with a hint of mystery in it, but the author has maintained the plot as a romance novel should – focusing on the elements of the relationship of the protagonist. Her style of writing is fluid and easygoing. I am one of those people who always likes to know more and in this case since the author has provided just enough details for this story, but I wish I could know a bit more about both Dean, Tilly and certainly a lot more about Phil. But I am guessing that there’s going to be a different book about Phil (atleast I certainly am hoping for it) and I have to wait and watch out for it.
Overall, it was a fast, light and enjoyable read that I finished in one sitting.
Warning: The following review is slightly spoilerish.
This story had a great deal of potential. It is interesting, quite engaging, and does a decently good job of building suspense. That is, until about 60% into the book, when things seem to take a wrong turn. At this point we know that something happened on Tilly’s eighteenth birthday, and that is what drove the then friends apart (though, sadly, we never get the expected and anticipated flashback). We know that Dean agreed not to pursue Tilly back then. And we know that something awful happened to Dean on a Christmas Day as a youth.
But right at the cusp of the story, Tilly’s brother Phil shows up, and we’re launched into a conversation that makes no sense at all. All about Phil suspecting Dean of possibly having something to do with their sister’s overdose, and being dangerous and untrustworthy. And I suddenly feel like I have somehow picked up the wrong book, because amongst other things, this is the very first mention of another sister. The whole scene is bizarre and reads as a huge info-dump that is very abrupt and out of place. Additionally, I am left wondering why on earth Dean and Phil were ever friends, let alone best friends, if Phil always saw him this way.
There is just so much of the book that ends up being very vague. From the very beginning, we are told that Dean and Tilly were friends. We are told that she threw herself at him and he shot her down. We are told quite a lot of things, but we aren’t shown all that much.
But my biggest issue with this book has to be the ending. The couple’s HEA—which encompasses the last 20% of the book—is written entirely in a synopsis style. The text goes from dual perspective, first person, in the moment narration to how you would describe yesterday’s events to your best friend or your diary. It makes the ending feel quite rushed and glosses over what should be some of the best moments of the story.
For the sake of full disclosure it must be stated that I received this book, free of charge, from Netgalley.
This review was originally posted on Star Crossed Reviews I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Firstly thank you to Carina for providing me with this book via Netgalley. I love Christmas and as soon as I read the summary I knew I wanted to read this book. I was thrilled when it got approved.
We start off on Christmas Eve, with Tilly at the train station her suitcase in hand, panda eyes and a broken shoe, she thinks things can't get any worse when she finds out her train is cancelled and there are no more until after Christmas. With no job, no home and no way to get to her brother's for Christmas Day Tilly finds herself slumped on a bench. Tilly wasn't expecting to run in to the love of her life. The one she always compared every man to. Her brother's best friend Dean. After 10 years of course this was the time she would bump into him. I really liked Tilly, she is feisty, independent and strong. After what she went through I don't think I would have made it out of bed for weeks.
Unbeknown to Tilly, Dean has always liked her. Even when he broke her heart on her 18th birthday. He didn't do it because he didn't love her. He did it because he is a man of integrity. He made a promise to Tilly's brother and he will do his damnedest to keep to it. Even if after 10 years she still gets his heart racing. Dean is a good man. He's been through a lot. He has his secrets and I thought he was very brave for what he did and for telling Tilly and Phil. I had little tears in my eyes when he was telling them.
This is a sexy short christmassy read that will have you laughing, screaming and crying. This book is very moving and Aurelia has a way of dragging you right in to the story. I have 2 more books by Aurelia on my TBR pile and I cannot wait to get stuck into them.
Looks like my Christmas got a whole lot better once this book came into my hands! This has a different tone from Rowl’s previous two books, Popping TheCherry and A Girl Called Malice but it's still fun.
Tilly is stuck at the train station the night of Christmas Eve adding another blow to an already wretched day. Overcome by stress, she quickly dashes out of the station only to run into an old friend and crush Dean, who in my imagination is played by Richard Armitage. They haven’t seen each other in ages so they don’t recognize each other initially but once they do, the sparks are still alive. Tilly is a physical and emotional mess so Dean provides her sanctuary by inviting her back to his place to stay the night. She takes him up on the offer, after all, she has no other options. At his place, Tilly tries to manage her rattled nerves so she can appear lighthearted while Dean struggles to keep his desire under wraps with his sexy broodiness. Now it's just a matter of who breaks first.
Naturally, there has to be a reason these two have been apart. In fact, there are many including Dean’s promise to her brother and some personal things he’s been wrestling with privately. This is where secrets become misunderstandings which lead to an abrupt end to an otherwise unique but lovely (read: hot) Christmas "magic time".
The only thing that may baffle readers is the very quick resolution. Yeah, that kind of got me but then I thought, why not? This is a Christmas story and of all the times of the year, aren’t miracles supposed to happen then? So if you’re craving some feel-good feels where the sexy heroine gets her sexy man and everyone is all sexy smiles at the end, read Christmas Is Cancelled. Everyone should get a happy ending and have their greatest wishes come true, especially at Christmas!
This is a romance where you aren’t quite sure everything will work out as there are so many obstacles in the path of true love - even when you think things are going to go well someone throws another spanner in the works!
Fate seems to be totally against ‘Tilly’ Carter having anything go right for her at the start of this contemporary romance and, to top it all, the train she should be catching to spend Christmas with her brother is cancelled and there’s no way for her to get there! Too many other things have gone wrong for her when sobbing and in despair, she leaves the station only to be recognised by Dean, the man who broke her heart when she was just 18 years old. Ten years later, he’s still a handsome hunk who makes her dream of happily ever afters gone missing.
Dean is the one that got away. He hates the memories he associates with the festive season and can’t believe the change in ‘Tilly’, she’s no longer the firecracker he always loved- she’s even dyed her brilliant fiery hair a mousy brown colour and her clothes are drab colours, too! He is determined to rescue her without breaking the promise he made to her brother all those years ago but will fate take another twist, and can Christmas magic work on them both to bring them together at last?
The characters are well portrayed, the setting is Manchester, the Peak District and Sheffield - all familiar locations to me - and beautifully described. The book is a great festive read and I’ll be looking out for other books by this author!
Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley too for letting me read this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
Christmas is Cancelled I volunteered to the author to review this book, it is the Christmas season and I love to read at least a few books with Christmas being an underlying theme along with the romance and fun. I picked well!
The name itself tells that the main protagonists are not having a very good festive season. But that is only the beginning and from the moment Matilda and Dean meet it is all bells and whistles, sparkling stars and moonbeams!!
A very fast paced read with all the right elements and a lot of mush, chemistry and some hot sizzle, this is definitely the book to curl up with during these cold long nights. In fact that is precisely how I read the book, nonstop in a couple of hours really late into the night.
The characters are well written and the familiarity they have due to a shared history is well explored. The author has pulled a convincing tale of promises, scorned love, guilt and that yearning deep inside the heart. She has expressed the suppressed emotions so clearly that you fell like yelling at Dean; come on!! Take action!!
Another novel perhaps for Phil; the meddling, strict elder brother? In spite of him being a drag at times he was super cute. I found the story to be a bit stretched out right at the end and I felt it could have been shortened but the nice surprise that came along was a pleasure to read ;)
I think Aurelia has done a terrific job with this romantic read –just perfect for bringing some Christmas cheer to your week! What are you reading this week? Is it Christmas Is Cancelled?
Where to begin, where to begin? Maybe the beginning? No, that is absolutely no fun, so let's just slip to the middle of the story... Seriously, do you believe that I can do that to you? I could, but I wouldn't. Enough sass from me you say? Hey, it will soon be Christmas Day! I am giving you a delightful Christmas read here with this review. Rowl has a magical touch, and she brings it together in this sensual, passionate tale of love lost, found, lost again, and then found permanently at last. Spoiler? I don't think so. You need to get to know the characters, dive into the history that they have, and the issues that they have faced. You need to know the who, the what, and the when. The beautiful thing is, Rowl delivers all of this information so precisely and effectively you don't realize it because you are simply caught up in the love affair. This book was one of those that kept me awake, because I had to finish it, I could not go to sleep until I read that very last sentence. The only tiny critique that I have of the book is actually more a less a thought that I had about the ending. I would like to see the Epilogue as the final chapter of the book, and the final focus on the "diary" to be the Epilogue. I felt the epilogue was a tad longer than you would normally see, and that the perfect ending involved that special book. This is her debut contemporary romance novel and I hope she writes plenty more of them.
Christmas is Cancelled, may be a touch on the short side, but it definitely packs a punch. It is fast paced and fits in a fair amount of back story, especially with regards Dean's character.
Dean comes back into Tilly's life after a 10 year absence and its clear there is still something between them. However out of misguided loyalty, Dean is determined not to act on his feelings and is just trying to help an old friend out over Christmas.
Tilly on the other hand has nothing left to lose, on Christmas Eve, she lost her job, best friend, boyfriend and home all in one go (doesn't take much to guess what happened), and then her train to Southampton is cancelled, so she can't visit her brother over Christmas. Tilly does declare her heart to Dean and from there the book gets really good.
I loved the reveal of Dean's past, and the way the book ended was really clever, and let us in that little bit more. This feels like a whirlwind romance, with only one other character present, and is fairly frenetic in its non stop action. It is not plain sailing, but the drama adds to the charm of this story.
Quite a sexy romance novella for Christmas, and as the title suggests its not full of Christmas spirit or magic, but is a story between two people, one of those has had bad experiences in Christmas pasts, and needs the other more than they will ever believe!
Thank you to Aurelia B. Rowl for this book. This is my honest opinion.