Friday, 24 October 2014

The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace. Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself . . . 
Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.

The Christmas Party is Carole Matthews 25th book and what an achievement that is! The cover has that unique Carole Matthews look and is beautifully festive too, and after reading the synopsis I couldn't wait to get started on this one and meet the lovely Louise.

Having only been in her new job a short while single mum Louise is nervous about the Christmas Office Party she just hopes that her boss will keep his hands to himself for once. Leaving her daughter Mia home with her mum and dad she makes her way to Wadestone Estate and she feels like a fish out of water in this breathtaking venue but as her colleague Josh spots her he takes her under his wing, her problems seem so small compared to everyone around her!

This book was not what I had expected at all! After reading the synopsis I assumed the book was predominantly going to be about Louise but actually Louise was just one of many main characters, I did enjoy all the scandal that was going on with all of the characters it made it a very entertaining and unpredictable read I never quite knew what was going to happen next as there are a lot of naughty people who work at Fossil Oil! The book is set over only three days, the day of the party which takes up the majority of the book, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the chapters alternate between all of our characters points of view which works really well because we get to see what is going on but through different eyes. What an action packed eventful couple of days and a party full of absolute chaos what is not to enjoy.

This book felt very different from this authors usual books, I normally find her books ( especially her festive reads ) homely, cosy and traditional with a main character who has a heart of gold but is facing a troubling time where as this book is packed full of drama drama drama and only two characters for me had a heart of gold all the others had hearts of ice! I must admit I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Louise because out of all of the characters she was my favourite and her story appealed to me more so than the others but it was nice to have a mix.

As much as I missed this authors usual festive cheer it was great to see something completely different from this author. There were many witty moments in this book from nakedness to magician errors and these points had me chuckling away. This will be another hit for Carole Matthews fans this year.

Overall Storyline
Festive Storyline
Festive Cover

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan

I loved Jenny Colgan's previous two Sweetshop books and so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the third in the series The Christmas Surprise although I was a little apprehensive as so many series don't seem to do well past book two so I was hoping this book was going to show me I had nothing to worry about.

Rosie and Stephen are newly engaged and things seem to be going well for the couple, there is decisions to be made about there Wedding and Rosie is busy helping Tina with the planning of her wedding too. But things never go smoothly for this poor couple and as everything is looking good the couple are faced with a massive blow that will have a big impact on the couple, will their love for each other be strong enough to ride this storm?

I have to start this review by saying that the synopsis of this book was perfect it told enough to get me intrigued and excited to meet back with Rosie and Stephen but it didn't give any of the storyline away at all so when I began reading this book I was in for a big shock!

Like I said before this is book 3 in the Sweet Shop books but this can actually be read as a standalone especially because this fabulous author has written such a great introduction to this book so it gives you a little recap of who is who and what has happened to them in the previous books so you won't lose track of what is going on, but then I have to say the previous two books are such great reads I don't know why on earth you would want to miss out and just start with this one, go on treat yourselves!

I did not manage to put this book down it even came with me to make a cup of tea, so I ended up reading it in one day and I loved every part from beginning to end. It was such a touching read that although it broke my heart in places it also healed it again with a big dose of hope and love that was flowing through this book.

I found the book unpredictable and at one point I actually had to re-read a page I was not expecting what had happened so I needed to re-read just I case I had missed something! I really don't know what it is about this author but she really is one talented lady her writing style is so warm and descriptive and it is so easy to get quickly absorbed into the town of Lipton I was well and truly under Jenny Colgan's spell in this book.

I loved that my favourite little man Edison was back in this book it wouldn't be the same without him appearing. I didn't think it was possible to love our Rosie anymore but after reading this book she really is a firm favourite of mine and I can. It wait to meet up with her again and I am full of hope that this author will bring us another book in this series as it doesn't fell like I.t is ready to end yet.

There was a festive feel to this book but not overly so, I could easily have read this book anytime in the year so don't let the Christmas cover and title put you off reading it any other time. This was a heartfelt read that was also full of hope and love and I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in this storyline. What are you waiting for this needs to be next on your list!

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings... Actually by Ali McNamara

Movie addict Scarlett O'Brien is finally living the jet-setting life she's dreamed of - but it all hangs by a shiny, golden thread. Flying between London and New York, running two businesses, planning her wedding to handsome fiancé, Sean, with best friends Oscar and Maddie - life couldn't be better. But then Scarlett meets paparazzi darling, Gabriella Romero, and life suddenly becomes even more extravagant and glamorous. As she begins to experience the other side to being rich and famous, it's not only Scarlett's perfect wedding that's put in jeopardy, but her whole world.

Scarlett is back with a bang in this great follow on From Notting Hill with Four Weddings... Actually. This is the third book in the series and I have to say this one is my favourite. Scarlett is meant to be making plans for her wedding but she has made no progress, she is so tired from coming to and from New York and she also has no idea what she actually wants for a dress or venue and it doesn't help that there is something about best man Alex that is making her uneasy. 

I loved meeting up with all of the characters from the previous two books including the flamboyant Oscar who I love to bits he brings a light and witty feel to this series of books and he is a wonderful and loyal friend to the lovely Scarlett. As well as meeting up with old friends of the series we are also introduced to some new characters Gabi who is a glamorous naive new friend to Scarlett and also the sly Best man Alex who had my guard up from the moment we were introduced to him.

Thanks to this authors wonderful descriptive writing style I had such an interest to go to New York and I actually found myself on a travel website looking for prices so I hope Ali McNamara is on commission !

This was definitely my favourite of this series it was an entertaining and engaging storyline that had romance, humor, weddings, glamour and scandal. To me this book was definitely left open for another book in the series and I can not wait to get my hands on it. Make sure this book is on your shopping list this week.
Festive Cover

Festive storyline

Overall Review

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Monday, 20 October 2014

A Most Desirable Marriage by Hilary Boyd

Lawrence and Jo have enjoyed a strong marriage, the envy of their friends.
Even after thirty years they have lots to say to each other, many interests in common and, until recently, a good sex life. But Lawrence seems wary and restless. Something's wrong. Just how wrong, Jo is about to discover... 
Can they use their years of history - all the things they've shared - to overcome a devastating betrayal?

I have read Hilary Boyd's previous three novels and I enjoyed each one because they follow the story of an older character whose love life is in turmoil and unlike the typical romance slash chicklit books I read ( and adore) I actually find that the characters Hilary create seem to feel more life like and also the storylines seem more realistic even if they are not events that occur in most relationships. Having just finished reading her new release A Most Desirable Marriage I have to say for me this is her best book yet.

Jo and Lawrence have had a healthy loving and strong marriage over the years and Lawrence is just about to take retirement, Jo can not wait so they can holiday together but she has. Or iced a change in her husband who seems very uptight but she understands retiring is probably a daunting position for her husband. But soon Lawrence comes clean and tells his wife what is making him so restless, thing is will their marriage be able to stand against this news?

I read this book from start to finish in one swoop I didn't put it down once! I think what reeled me in was the shock of a big twist early on in the book it came from nowhere ( no it's not a spoiler alert as you will not even see it coming even though I have mentioned it) and was straight to the point and I just never see it coming. What I loved was that the book was unpredictable I didn't know what the outcome of the book was going to be right until the last couple of chapters and I love a book that is unpredictable. 

Both Jo and Lawrence were lovely down to earth genuine characters and although I thought I was going to really hate Lawrence I couldn't as he just seems like a really loving, tender confused character. At times I did find I was frustrated with the way Jo reacted to certain things but again I still thought she was a lovely character. It was nice to have the two children's story's weaved in too.

I enjoyed this book and will be picking up this authors next release for sure.

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned… With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s one-bedroom flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again. After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past. Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas?

I have just finished reading Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson which is the story of two sisters Tamsin and Sam on the lead up to Christmas. The woman live two completely different lives Tamsin lives the life of Luxury and has no worries where as Sam has had a very trying time but as Christmas draws around the coin flips and and woman's situations flip and Sam is making a life for herself and her son whilst Tamsin loses everything but can these two sisters be there for each other to help one another? 

I love the amount of festivity in this book, it is so hard finding a Christmas looking cover that has a festive storyline to it and this one didn't disappoint. It is a very light and witty storyline that was easy to follow and there were a few little twists too which helped to keep my interest. 

I did warm more to Sam in the beginning and I couldn't take to Tamsin but as the story roles on and we uncover the real Tamsin I soon warmed to her and she began to make me laugh as she was a great witty character although not intensionally so! By the end of the book I loved both of our ladies and wanted a happy ending for them both.

This was an enjoyable, witty read with a nice splash of festivity.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

Mara is a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and mother. Struggling with a devastating illness, she has set herself five days to make the ultimate decision for her family. 

Scott lives a thousand miles away, and is a foster parent to a troubled eight-year-old. Scott is facing his own five day countdown until his beloved foster son is returned to his biological mother.

The two connect through an online forum, and find a friendship to help guide them through the most difficult, and momentous, week of their lives.

I have had Five Days Left sitting on my TBR pile for a couple of months as I went through a faze of reading a lot of emotional reads all at once and needed something a bit more uplifting but I saw this one sitting in the pile today and decided it was time.

The chapters alternate between our two main characters points of view who both have Five Days Left, Mara who was once a successful lawyer who worked long hours and then came home to be a doting wife and mum to Lakshmi. But her life has taken a dramatic change after discovering she is suffering from Huntington's disease and she is losing her ability to control her body and her thoughts which she can not bare so she decides to give herself Five More Days. Scott has Had Curtis living with him and his wife for a year and he has become so close to this little boy but he only has Five Days Left until he leaves them.

This was such an emotional, poignant read that literally broke my heart.this was such a realistic and deep storyline that really touched me. I warmed to both Mara and Scott and their storylines and unusually for me when there are split main characters and stories, I didn't prefer one to the other. 

I surprised myself with my thought process in this book because when I was first introduced to Mara and discovered what she was planning to do there was a part of me that thought she was a bit selfish and how could she plan to do what she was planning when she has a beautiful little daughter and loving husband but as the book moved on and the author shows us what Mara deals with day to day and how it not only effects herself but loved ones around her I began to understand why Mara had come to her decision.

Julie Lawson Timmer has a beautiful, flawless writing style, she manages to keep the reader engrossed from start to finish and she creates such heartfelt emotion in a realistic storyline. I was absolutely captivated by this storyline, this is definitely a heartbreaking and though provoking read.

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Monday, 13 October 2014

The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannigan

Holly Craig's family have lived happily in Huntersbrook for generations but when times grow hard, even she must admit defeat and sell off their once-successful stables. The three Craig children, Lainey, Joey and Pippa find themselves locked in a fight to keep their beloved Huntersbrook; dare they transform it into one of Ireland's most sought after countryside venues? Renovation work is well underway when life rears its ugly head and everything stops in its tracks. The Craig family is forced to reassess what matters and although they no longer live at Huntersbrook, can the house work its magic even so ... and lead them into the light once more?

I first discovered author Emma Hannigan last year when I was doing my yearly Christmas feature and I was sent a copy of Driving Home for Christmas which I loved and I have been read more books by her this year Perfect Wives and The Summer Guest and now I have just finished The Heart of Winter and I am quite sad it is over.

This book revisited our characters from Driving Home for Christmas and follows on with the families plan to open Huntersbrook House up to the public for venue hire. As the family pull together to get everything in place to make this venture work so they don't lose their family home, we begin to see what changes have occurred to Joey, Pippa and Lainey's private lives too.

I loved catching up with these characters and I was surprised how much they wound me up and made me want to throttle each one of them and yet I loved them at the same time! I think if people hadn't read the first book then their opinion of Joey may differ with just reading this book as he seems to have let his career go to his head in this book where as I thought he was a loving character in the previous book so having this background gave his character the benefit of the doubt. Typical Pippa is yet again unpredictable and a walking danger! But I like how her character progresses in this book. Lainey I really struggled with some points I wanted to hug her and I my heart went out to her then on other times she really got on my wick. Each chapter was alternated between each of the three siblings which worked really well for this book.

To add to this book we are also treated to an insight to the lovely Jodi from Perfect Wives who I loved and I was so pleased to see her arrival in this book and see what is going on in her life now.

This was a feel good read great for the cold winter nights ahead to sit and dissolve into this storyline. It reminds us that family should always be there for each other to pull each other through trying situations. There were some sensitive issues that were effecting our main characters and once again Emma manages to write about these in a delicate but informative way. 

I do think this book could be read as a stand alone but I do recommend reading Driving Home for Christmas so you can get to know the background of these characters. This is a book that has a lovely winter cover and a storyline with a touch of festivity but this book could be read any time of year. This is yet another winner for me from Emma Hannigan she has become a firm favourite of mine.


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Overall Review Rating

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