Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing, the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! The only problem could be her boss… single-dad, Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it?
Let the festivities begin!

I loved Love Me for Me by Jenny Hale so when I see the cover release of her new book A Christmas to Remember I couldn't wait to read another book by this author and knowing it was a Christmas read just appealed to me even more.

Carrie has been working as a nanny for a long time now and she loves her job, she is very good at it too but she feels as though it is time to start making a life and family of her own so she decided that this new job has to be her last as a full time live in nanny. When she arrives at the new job and meets the Fletcher family it soon becomes clear that her last job is going to be an emotional challenging one.

As much as I enjoyed Love Me For Me I have to say that A Christmas to Remember is in a completely different league. I found myself wrapped up in this storyline right from the first meeting of the Fletcher twins and I just couldn't stop reading so I finished this in one sitting. This is one of those few books where you can't help but love each and every one of the characters and even though the handsome Adam had his flaws you still can't help but love him. Carrie was such a fun, caring and down to earth character and she brought a ray of light to the children's lives as she let them be children again.

This book was predictable but it is one of those books where it's not about the ending it is about the journey and this journey was a joy to read. I loved the festive fell to it, it is nice to have a book with a Christmas cover and title that is full of festivity and excited children which really gave it an exciting and traditional feel. The storyline was actually quite realistic and it is heartbreaking to think that there are situations like this out in the real world I just hope they get someone like Carrie to teach them to love!

This was a wonderful read and I loved each and every chapter, I would definitely recommend this book and I can not wait to read another book by this author.

Kindle                     Paperback

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse

As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas... This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there's no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own. But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she's planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?

I have never come across the author Amanda Prowse before but when I saw the cover for her new book Christmas for One it really caught my eye and the title hit a nerve for me because you never expect anyone to have a Christmas for one so I really wanted to read this book.

The storyline is predominantly about single mum Meg and her son Lucas. Meg never had traditional and happy memorable Christmases when she was growing up so she is determined to give her son a better life and happy memories especially not having a dad around. But when Meg has to fly abroad before Christmas for work a chance meeting with a stranger in New York changes  Meg's life.

I was so eager to read this book that I didn't realise that this is a follow on but I still found my way along with the storyline easy enough as a standalone book although now having got to know our main character Meg  and her adorable boy Lucas I would love to go back and read the previous book so I can get to know their background more. This was one of those books for me that I have found really hard to review because I did really enjoy the storyline and the characters, the author also has such an easy flowing writing style so it is a nice read but I don't think this one will be one that I will remember much about in a few weeks time because it really was such a light and easy read. I don't feel like this is a bad thing though as sometimes it is quite nice to read something light and not challenging so if you are in the mood for a book like that then this won't disappoint.

This is a modern day romance that will have you full of hope for poor Meg as she has had such a difficult life you just want to see a happy ending for her. Lucas was a great little character I would have loved to have see a bit more of him in the book. I did find it a bit hard to grasp that a woman whose childhood of Christmases were not good and often abandoned by her family would then find herself able to not spend Christmas Day with her own little boy but I think this is where the modern day love story part comes in love does crazy things to us!

A light easy read with a sprinkling of festivity and nice dash of romance.

Kindle                     Paperback

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Woman who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes

'Name: Stella Sweeney.
Height: average.
Recent life events: dramatic.'

One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life. For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay. She doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car).

But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart. Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad?
For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach.
But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?

It has been a long time since I have read a book by Marian Keyes and in fact The Woman who Stole my Life is the first one I have ever reviewed. After seeing Marian Keyes on Lorraine talking about her new book I couldn't wait to read a new book by her and this one sounded intriguing.

The storyline follows three stages on Stella Sweeney's life present time, her time in hospital and her time in New York. For me my favourite was her time in hospital because I found this part so compelling, it had been very well researched and beautifully and cleverly written. Stella has Guillain-Barre disease which I knew nothing about but the author brings the reader knowledge about the condition and when she writes from Stella's point of view when she is stuck immobile in bed unable to communicate it really fascinated me how she had managed to get into the mind of someone who was caged in their own body. 

I did enjoy both the present and New York parts too but for me it was her time in hospital and her interaction with Mannix that really gripped me in this book. The book is a whopper at 531 pages and I do think in truth it was a little too drawn out especially the New York part.

There are some wonderful characters in this book some I loved like Stella and Mannix and some I loathed! In particular Stella's son Jeffery oh this boy needs some discipline he is so rude I couldn't bare him each time he appeared in this book.

I loved that the whole way through the book I had no idea what was coming next it is not a predictable read which is always a big bonus for me. I found the storyline really engaging and at times I found it slightly emotional, intriguing and also at times comical. Once you get over the hefty size of the book and the structure of the book with its to and thro style you will thoroughly enjoy this read. It was great to read another book by this author and I feel like her writing style has taken a new path and I loved it.

Kindle                     Hardback

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey

A self-confessed Christmas queen, Sue Montaigne prides herself on organising the annual nativity pageant in her small Cornish village of Poldore.
But this year, what with having to deal with the repairs on Castle House after it was wrecked by a terrible storm, training a new – and frankly flighty – Virgin Mary and managing a Joseph who is allergic to sheep, she is distinctly lacking a little bit of ‘me time’. And then there are the auditions for the new Santa.
But nothing prepares her for the beautiful man who turns up, a twinkle in his eye and a promise to make her Christmas dreams come true…

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t have a festive story released by the Queen of Christmas novels Scarlett Bailey. Although this time it is a novella ( which I am not usually a fan of) I couldn’t not have my Scarlett Bailey fix and I really wanted to catch up with the village folk of Poldore!

Sue Montaigne is usually the one to keep everyone in line in Poldore, she is obsessively organised and she is always ready to do whatever she can for everyone who lives in Poldore even open up Castle House to everyone when they really needed shelter. But Sue isn’t living a perfect life everything is crumbling around her but will someone be there for Sue in her hour of need?

I didn’t want to give too much away with what happens in this book because with it being a novella it would ruin it. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella I usually feel like I have only had a little taster when I read novella’s and so am left disappointed but with Secret Santa it really felt like a packed read, I think it is helped by the fact we already know and love Poldore and its characters. Sue has obviously appeared in Scarlett Baileys previous book so we know of her but I can never say I really warmed to her she seemed like a bossy annoying woman to me but I actually really felt for her in this novella and I was really hoping that her Christmas wishes would come true.

This novella is full of Christmas spirit so you will definitely get your festive fix with this one, we all love an appearance from Santa!

Yet again Scarlett Bailey has delivered another festive delightful read and I do feel like Sue’s story was best told as a novella so I have to hand it to Scarlett Bailey she has got it spot on again! This is easily my favourite novella of the year.

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster

Hollywood movie star Maggie and friend and manager Zoe need an escape from their complicated star-studded lives in LA.
With its history and Christmas charm, London feels like the perfect getaway. But can they truly leave their realities behind? In their luxurious quarters, the girls meet Holly who is ideal at showing Maggie and Zoe the sumptuous sights and sounds of London in their most glittering light.
But behind her bright fa├žade, Holly is hiding a secret: suffering from unrequited love, she’s looking for a Christmas miracle. 
Desperate to see an unattainable love story for Holly come together, will our LA starlets succeed in providing a Hollywood ending before the dawn of Christmas Day?

Kate Forster is a wonderful author and she has now sprinkled some festive spirit for us in her new novella The Perfect Christmas.

Maggie is a famous actress but although her career is flying high things are not good in her home life and as she faces Christmas alone now she turns to her best friend Zoe for a Christmas trip to remember.

This is a light hearted, festive read that will get you in the spirit on your commute to work over this festive season. Maggie and Zoe have a lovely friendship and know how to have fun, they fully embraced the Christmas London style and they also brought a nice helping of romance to the story too. I really enjoyed this fast paced read and it really makes you think about what you can do to help someone else’s dreams come true this time of year.

A beautifully written modern novella by a very talented author that will spread the Christmas spirit.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Maybe this Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Brenna’s not dreaming of a white Christmas… As a professional skier she’s already had too many to count! Brenna’s more concerned about finally spending the season with the man she’s loved as long as she can remember – her best friend Tyler. Single dad Tyler is determined to make sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. He can’t afford to be distracted by Brenna moving into his family’s snow-capped ski resort. Especially as that mistletoe magic has him looking at Brenna in a whole new light.
Until a surprise kiss means the relationship Brenna’s always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. 
Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true? 

I have loved each of the O'Neil books by Sarah Morgan and so as I was making my way through my Christmas reads I saw Maybe this Christmas twinkling away at me! It is such a beautiful festive sparkly cover and I couldn't wait to start this one to see what is going on at Snow Crystal now.

Brenna is still trying to keep her feelings for Tyler under wraps but when her girlfriends find out about her true feelings they decide it is time to intervene!

As the plan falls into place Tyler starts to question his true feelings but with daughter Jess now living with and facing her own troubles can Tyler really think about a relationship or does he just need the support of his best friend by his side?

Snow Crystal is the perfect setting for a festive read, Sarah Morgan has set such an idyllic scene for us with the chilly snowy backdrop, family and friends all together and a splash of romance too. I loved getting to know both Brenna and Tyler more they are both wonderful exciting characters and after their brief appearances in the previous books I was looking forward to getting to know these characters and their story more.

Although this is the third book in the series I do believe this can be read as a stand alone but I don't think you would want to miss out on the other two books because each of the O'Neil brothers just ooze sex appeal so you wouldn't want to feel left out!

The storyline is slightly predictable but its not always about the ending its about the fabulous journey to the end that matters and Sarah Morgan creates a fabulous storyline to keep us all hooked.

This was a book that I loved from start to finish and one that I think will be a great treat for the bookworms in your family this year.

Paperback                Kindle

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas

Dooleybridge, County Galway. Population: 482 (or thereabouts). The last place Fiona Clutterbuck expects to end up, alone, on her wedding night. 

But after the words 'I do' have barely left her mouth, that's exactly where she is - with only her sequined shoes and a crashed camper van for company. One thing is certain: Fi can't go back. So when the opportunity arises to work for Sean Thornton, the local oyster farmer, she jumps at the chance. Now Fi must navigate suspicious locals, jealous rivals and a wild, unpredictable boss if she's to find a new life, and love, on the Irish coast. And nothing - not even a chronic fear of water - is going to hold her back.

Join Fi on her romantic, unpredictable adventure as she learns the rules of the ocean - and picks up a few pearls of Irish wisdom along the way...

 I have just finished reading The Oyster Catcher, I literally didn't put it down and ended up devouring it in one evening! The author Jo Thomas has such a beautiful and skilled writing style and she manages to draw you into the storyline with such ease. Never before have I read a book or even had any kind of knowledge when it comes to Oyster Farming so I was surprised at how. Ugh my interest was piqued in this book, I found myself getting quite tense and mad with the arrival of Pirates!

Our main character Fi quite clearly has a dramatic reason for arriving in Dooleybridge and I loved how the author slowly fed us snippets and clues as to what had really happened to her. Fate seems to occur when she is in desperate need of a job and lodgings she meets Sean who is also in desperate need for someone to help on his Oyster Farm. Sean was a lovely if somewhat spiky character but I soon felt he had a hard shell ( see what I did there!) with a soft centre. There were some wonderful characters in this book and also some wonderfully bad characters, I found the characters were all so engaging. 

There really is so much to commend in this book, from an interesting and unique storyline, a well written romance, a lot of down to earth humour, the odd touch of secrets and scandal, well written characters and a big dose of community spirit, what more could you ask for?

I was so excited and immersed in this storyline that now I am finished I feel a little flat! This is such a wonderful read one of my favourites of the year, I do love it when I find a new talented author and I am so shocked to find that this is a debut as for me this book was flawless, I can not wait for another book by this author.

Kindle                    Paperback
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