Sunday, 29 December 2013

Top 10 must reads of 2013

For my last post of 2013 I thought I would share with you my TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2013. There have been some fantastic books out this year but the following ten books have left a lasting impression on me and I have found myself constantly recommending these books through out the year, so make sure you have these on your to be read pile otherwise you really are missing out on some little gems.

1) By My Side by Alice Peterson


This was really a thought provoking read that is heartwarming and yet hopeful.
Check out my review of By My Side by clicking HERE

Only £1.29 on kindle (at time of post)



2) Take a Look at Me Now by Miranda Dickinson


This has to be my favourite book by Miranda Dickinson. Her writing style in this book was so descriptive I felt as though I was transported to San Francisco! To read my review of Take A Look at Me Now click HERE

Only £1.50 on Kindle (at time of post)


3) The Proposal by Tasmina Perry


This was such a different read by Tasmina Perry, it was great to see another side to her writing and I thought this book was a classy, elegant read that had me hooked. To read my review of The Proposal click HERE

£4.72 on kindle (at time of post)


4)Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher



This book has played on my find. This book had me in tears, I am not talking a lump in the throat I am talking a box of kleenex or two! A very emotional read for me and I loved it! To read my review of Billy and Me click HERE

Only £1.99 on kindle ( price at time of post)


5) Wonder Women by Rosie Fiore


This book surprised me, I loved this because there were strong female lead characters and the detail about the start of a business was very in-depth. To read my review of Wonder Women click HERE

Only £1.03 0n Kindle ( price at time of post)


6) Cupcakes at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown


I remember hearing about this book last Christmas and I couldn't wait for the release date. This is a fabulous read and was also the debut for this fantastic author Alexandra Brown. To read my review of Cupcakes at Carrington's click HERE

£2.99 on kindle ( price at time of post)


7) The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon


I have loved all of Paige Toon's books, I remember I had to wait ages for this as no store near me had it in stock, but it was well worth the wait. To read my review of The Longest Holiday click HERE

£3.99 on kindle ( price at time of post)



8) Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements


This has to be the best book of the Summer! Abby Clements is fast becoming an author to watch, anyone who likes Jenny Colgan's recent releases will love this book! To read my review of Vvivien's Heavenly ice-cream shop Click HERE

Only £1.85 on kindle ( at time of review )

9) The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke


This isn't my usual kind of read but this was a compelling read that I couldn't put down. To read my review of The Sea Sisters click HERE

£2.99 on kindle ( price at time of post)


10) Killer Queens by Rebecca Chance 


This book was one that I was sent to review and I was sure I wasn't going to like it as it has a subject matter that is of no interest to me at all. I couldn't have been more wrong, and so it takes a fabulous read to be able to entertain you with an uninteresting topic! Click Here to Read my Review

£3.49 on kindle ( at time of post)


So there you have it my top ten must reads of 2013!
This will be the last post this year and so I would like to take a moment to say a MASSIVE, great BIG, HUMONGOUS thank you to all of you bookworms who have followed my reviews, left comments and given me recommendations of other books. 
Also I would like to say a big thank you to the authors and publishers who have sent some books my way this year it is very much appreciated, I hope my reviews have helped some readers to find your fantastic books.


I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2014 and I look forward to sharing more great books with you all next year!

Love 
Rea
xXx

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The First Christmas without You by Michelle Betham

Visit

After finishing all my Christmas preparations I decided to sit down with a glass of wine and a quick festive read for the evening and so I opted for The First Christmas Without You by Michelle Betham, that stunning wintery cover was hard to resist.

Jessie is heartbroken, this will be her first Christmas without her husband and so she decided to do something different and jet off to Lapland to do things a little different this year. Will this be the first step to her moving on?


This was a heartfelt, short read that was emotional and yet hopeful. The setting was perfect, what better place to feature a festive read than in Lapland. We have all been there and lost someone close to us and faced the dreaded first Christmas without them so we can all relate to Jessie’s situation. I did find the situation with Mikku was rather predictable but this didn’t dampen my enjoyment of this novella. 

I thought it was a perfect little read that makes you feel as though there is hope of finding love again after loss. This was an ideal magical Christmas read that also showcased the writing of an author who is new to me and I loved the flow of her writing style so I would love to read a full length novel of hers.





Kindle

Best Christmas 2013 Winner!


After weeks of reading all of the sparkly festive reads that have been released this year it is
 time to select the winning Christmas Book of 2013.

I have read some fantastic books this year and it has been hard to pick a winner.
What I was looking for in our winning book was a festive cover, a festive storyline,
and a story line to remember.

Congratulations Carole Matthews
Calling Mrs Christmas
Is The Best Christmas book of 2013!

Calling Mrs Christmas was the first festive read I read this year and yet even now the storyline is do fresh in my mind that I can still remember it as though I read it yesterday.
The cover of this book is stunning and is definitely one that would catch your eye on the shelf.
One thing I find at this time of year is that there are so many beautiful festive covers but there is barely a mention of Christmas in the actual book, and so this is another reason why Calling Mrs Christmas had to be a winner for me as it is ozzing with festivity!




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Monday, 23 December 2013

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan


Once upon a time Kayla loved Christmas Now she s more dedicated to her job than decking the halls, and can t wait for the most wonderful time of the year to be over.

Until she arrives at the enchanting Snow Crystal ski resort, determined to win gorgeous owner Jackson as a marketing client. But wooing Jackson professionally quickly turns personal as they spend flirty festive nights in this glittering winter wonderland.

With snowflakes swirling and sleigh bells ringing...could Jackson be the one to make Kayla fall back under the Christmas spell?




I have previously read two books by Sarah Morgan which both had two short stories in one book. I did enjoy them both but I was looking forward to reading Sleigh Bells in the Snow because it would be my first full length novel by this author. The cover is beautiful, very wintery and festive and with a lovely sprinkling of glitter!

Christmas used to be Kayla’s favourite time of the year but now she does everything she can to avoid the season. The only thing that makes Kayla happy is ploughing herself into her work.
The handsome Jackson enlists Kayla’s services to try and save the family business Snow Crystal, but the business isn’t the only thing Jackson is determined to save!

This storyline takes place in the perfect setting for a festive read. Snow Crystal was described so well that you just want to be transported to the snowy slopes and cosy lodges with the dreamy hot tub that seems to be calling me!

It was a joy to read a book where I loved each and every one of the characters there were no bad, or nasty characters which I think is perfect for festive reading, the O’Neil family were so welcoming and felt like a traditional loving close-knit family. Jackson is the perfect male lead he is strong, confident and of course devilishly handsome! Kayla was also a lovable character and at the beginning of the book there is a slight air of mystery surrounding her about why she doesn’t like Christmas and I loved that what I had in mind as to what could be the reason was completely wrong!

Not all of the storyline was focused on Kayla and her problem with Christmas there was also the workings of Snow Crystal and also the other characters had their own little story going on too which is weaved into the main storyline perfectly and kept me turning those pages to see what happens to them next. Although there were a lot of characters in this book I didn’t once lose track of who was who, all the characters felt so life like and familiar.


This has to be one of my favourite Christmas books that I have read this year, it has a storyline that has you hooked from the first page, a family feel which is great at this time of year, a perfect setting and festivity and not forgetting a perfect winter romance. Make sure this one is on your to be read list this Christmas. ( Only £1.00 on kindle at time of this review)

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline

Overall Review Rating



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Saturday, 21 December 2013

It's Christmas at Harper Impulse!

We are now only days away until the most festive day of the year. Harper Impulse have a great selection of seasonal reads to get us in the Christmas mood, check out the titles available below, for more information on each book click on the cover picture. Will you be treating yourself to any of them?


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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Holly at Christmas by Rosie Fiore


Christmas comes but once a year . . . unless your name is Holly Evans. She’ll be experiencing Christmas four times over. In the course of one year, Holly will see the festive season in all its guises, from the sizzling to the stressful to the hopelessly romantic. After a rollercoaster couple of years and a three-month holiday in South Africa, Holly is on her way back to London. She has a firm plan for her life – career, money, home, romance – it’s all worked out. Except it looks like nobody let the universe know that. Almost as soon as she touches down in England, Holly’s plans begin to go awry. With no flat, no job and dwindling finances, Holly will need to be brave and resourceful in order to build herself a new life. And what about handsome doctor Fraser John? Where does he fit into her plans? And does he really want to catch Holly under the mistletoe?


One of my favourite books that I have read this year is Wonder Women by Rosie Fiore. One thing I did find was the ending was left open and I had so many questions about what happened next for our three leading ladies, so when I saw that Rosie Fiore had released a sequel in the form of a Christmas novella I felt as though Christmas had come early!

The storyline focuses mainly on Holly which is great as out of the three characters it was Holly’s story that was really left hanging. We do get to see how both Mel and Jo are doing though. Holly needs to make a choice is she going to spend her life in South Africa or come back to London?

Unlike a lot of novellas this really didn’t feel rushed and you do feel as though you are getting a good amount of content for the price. I really enjoyed this novella, it was a perfect treat to let us catch up with the lovable characters and I do now feel that everything has been tied up nicely.

In my opinion I think you need to have read Wonder Women first to truly appreciate Holly at Christmas. I am pleasantly surprised how much the author has managed to pack into this novella.


This is a fabulous fast pace novella full of romance, friendships, day to day challenges and a touch of festive cheer.


Kindle

Friday, 13 December 2013

From Scotland With Love by Katie Fforde

Katie Fforde is one of my favourite authors and I have read every one of her books so I wasn’t going to miss out on reading her novella From Scotland With Love. 

Daisy heads to Scotland to get the bad tempered author Rory McAllan to sign his book plates the last thing she expected was to be snowed in with him over Christmas!

This was a very enjoyable little novella. Katie Fforde always creates such loveable deep character in her novels and she has even managed to do this in such a short read too. This is definitely a winter warmer read to curl up with. The cover is beautiful and represents the story inside perfectly.

The pace flowed perfectly and didn’t feel rushed as is often the case with novellas. I really enjoyed the storyline and even the ending was tied up nicely too. 

There is an added little treat at the end of the book too, a sneak peek at Katie Fforde’s new novel that is coming out.

A perfect heart warming storyline.



Kindle

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Yves by Nicola May


It’s two days before Christmas - and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day. Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks. A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?


I am a big fan of Nicola May, she always seems to write what we all would say and think in our heads but not be brave enough to say out loud or put on paper which makes her very edgy and stand out from other authors. 

When I was offered to review her new novella I was intrigued even though I am not a fan of short stories but because I have never read anything by Nicola May that I haven’t liked I felt I had to give it a try.

Christmas is looking bleak for Eve, she is jobless and has just split with her boyfriend and looks like she could lose her home too. She befriends a homeless guy named Yves with a Y who attempts to show Eve what is really important in life and what can really make you feel good, but will this be enough to help Eve?


This is a great thought provoking read, that had a fabulous unexpected twist that was very moving. It has lovely touch of festive magic but it also has a storyline that sends a great message and really gets the reader to put things into perspective which is needed especially at this time of the year.

There is always at least one character in Nicola May’s books who is on the line and entertaining and in this book that character is Bea she brings a light hearted and fun side to the storyline. Eve is a very realistic character and a great lead.

This is a great little novella it seems Nicola May has yet again brought us another entertaining read. 



Kindle

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Here's Looking at You by Mhairi Mcfarlane


Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Mills & Boon moments.

Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget. So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down.

But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right?
 So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?


You Had Me At Hello was an amazingly good debut for author Mhairi Mcfarlane I have been long awaiting her next release to see if she can match such a great book.

Here’s Looking at You is about the lovable Anna, she was a big target for bullying at school, as the tormenting grew worse there was one little shining light which was the school heart throb, James Fraser, has asked her to perform on stage with him but Anna soon finds out in a cruel way that James is like all the others and has just put the final nail in the coffin.

Years later Anna has a job she is passionate about, some wonderful friends, there is a bit of a problem on the dating front and she has changed a lot from school but when James Fraser happens to walk back into her life she has to relive the pain all over again.

This is an amazing second book by Mhairi Mcfarlane it is easily as good as You Had Me At Hello, even maybe slightly better. The author really has a knack of creating really engaging characters, you really feel as if you know them. Anna is a lovable, fun, slightly vulnerable character who in my eyes is an inspiration, after all she went through hitting rock bottom she still pulled herself up and made something of her life. I really wanted to hate James but as much as I tried I really liked his character too even if I was appalled by his actions.

The storyline had me hooked, it covers a very emotional topic of bullying and it was written about very carefully, not only do we get to see what happened and how she felt in her school years but we also get to see the effect it has on Anna in later years, which is something people don’t think about enough it shows that with bullying it always leaves awful scars. Although the main topic of the storyline is a serious and emotional one it is lightened with a great sense of humour in other parts such as Anna’s disastrous dating! The humour was a great touch as it gave a book that could be all doom and gloom a great lift.

This is an excellent read that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others it has romance, challenging issues, emotion, fabulous characters and humour what more could you ask for in a great book. I am sure this will be another big seller for Mhairi Mcfarlane.



Grab it quick on kindle at only 99p!! ( Time of review )




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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge


Swapping downstairs for upstairs…

How hard can it be!? Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!

The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion. 

So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward. 

 Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…


I have just finished reading Doubting Abbey which is Samantha Tonge’s debut novel. I love the cover to this book it is very fitting for this time of the year, I was just hoping that although I have never seen Downton Abbey I would still understand this and enjoy it!

Gemma is as down to earth as they come she is a true commoner and very lovely with it. When she removes her amateurish make up she has an uncanny resemblance to her best friend Abbey, to help her best friend out she agrees to pretend to be Abbey and go to her families aristocratic family country estate and take part in a reality tv show Million Dollar Mansion.

Gemma has to learn how to be more lady like and blend in with the family, no one must know who she really is as the family really need to win the show to win the money for repairs that are urgently needed on Applebridge Hall.

This novel was not what I was expecting at all. Let me just put your mind at rest for those of you who like me have never watched Downton Abbey it really doesn’t have any effect on this book at all. I really enjoyed it. This really was a humorous read, Gemma is such a witty character who always seems to get herself into mischief, I never expected this book to be a witty read but it was the humour that kept me hooked.

As stuffy as Lord Edward was I still loved his character, his blog was a lovely touch and I enjoyed seeing him let himself live a little. The storyline was predictable but I still enjoyed watching the events unfold.

This is a fun light read but surprisingly not a quick read. I was hoping that the storyline was going to have a festive feel to the storyline but the book isn’t Christmassy at all so don’t expect this to get you in the festive mood but none the less it would still make a perfect gift as it can be read all year around.


This was a fantastic debut for Samantha Tonge and I look forward to more of her books. This is an unbelievable price on kindle at the moment so get in quick.

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline (0)


Over all Review





Kindle 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Emma Hannigan Chocolate Christmas Tree and Giveaway.

Today on the blog we have Emma Hannigan who is going to tell us come to make a Chocolate Christmas tree yummmmmmy!!


Chocolate Christmas Tree!

Ingredients:

110g butter
335g good quality chocolate
3 tablespoons golden syrup
225g broken rich tea biscuits (crushed small)
2 packs of 2 finger Twix bars (chopped)
1 pack of Munchies
3 Crunchie bars (bashed in their wrappers with a rolling pin)
Extra chocolate for drizzling over the top & sticking the tree together


Method:

1.   Prepare your shapes first of all, as the chocolate biscuit mixture sets rapidly! Using 6 separate pieces of baking parchment paper, draw 6 crosses in decreasing size – the largest should be approx. 16 inches then 12, then 8 etc.
2. Melt the butter, golden syrup and chocolate, taking care not to burn. Stir to combine. Don’t fret if it looks slightly curdled.
3. Break the biscuits into small pieces – but not as fine as breadcrumbs. This can be done by whizzing in a food processor or for the more therapeutic method, bash satisfyingly with a rolling pin!
4. Chop the Twix bars into pieces approx. ½ inch in width.
5. Using that therapeutic rolling pin method assault the Crunchie bars (with closed wrappers) until they look very sorry.
6. Mix all the chopped, bashed and assaulted ingredients into the chocolaty goo!
7. Once it’s all well combined, spoon some mixture onto each of the crosses and smooth it down so each one is nice and chunky.
8. Leave in a fridge to set for at least an hour.
9. Melt more chocolate and drizzle generously over the top of each cross shape.
10.Place the 16 inch cross on the serving plate and add some melted chocolate to the top centre.
11.Stack the 12 inch cross on top and so on until all the shapes are stuck together. Remember to rotate each cross so the arms are not directly above one another. This way it will look like a Christmas tree!
12.For a snowy effect, dredge the finished tree with icing sugar!



Wow I will definitely be giving this a try although I am not sure I will be sharing my tree!
Don't forget to check out Emma's new release Driving Home For Christmas

As an extra treat we also have a UK and Ireland Bumper Giveaway too thanks to the lovely little elves at Headline.










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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper


The perfect Christmas swap? All Juliet, frazzled single mum and Yuletide domestic goddess, wants for Christmas is a joyful family celebration (even if she does have to wrestle with last-minute angel costume making and mad shopping centre dashes). All her single sister Gemma, an assistant director, wants is a Christmas in the sizzling Caribbean sun, away from diva actors and Hollywood tantrums. Until a sisterly squabble prompts new plans: a Christmas swap. Gemma will spend a cosy, snowy Christmas with her nieces and nephews - not to mention Juliet's gorgeous neighbour Will - whilst Juliet takes Gemma's tropical holiday and unplanned adventures. It's not the Christmas they expected, but it could be about to make all their wishes come true...


This is my first book by Fiona Harper. I love to try new authors and what a perfect book to start with, a Christmas themed book.

The storyline follows two sisters, Juliet and Gemma. They both live very different lives, Juliet is a mother of four who has split from her husband and is struggling with day to day life and trying to plan another perfect Christmas for everyone, everything about Juliet’s life needs to be organised an perfect.

Gemma is foot loose and fancy free. She works on film sets and is not looking forward to the prospect of Christmas with her perfect sister so she books a 5* holiday instead. In a twist of events Juliet is soon jetting off on the 5* holiday whilst her sister is taking over the Christmas preparations and looking after the children.

This is a lovely light read and yet it is really thought provoking. The sisters have a very strained relationship because of the way the perceive each other. Because the chapters alternate between each of the characters points of view not only do we get to know each of the characters really well but we also get to see what they think and feel of each other which lets us form an unbiased opinion and this made me want to knock the girls heads together and say “talk it out” !

I loved both of the sisters and I think each reader will find they will relate to either one or the other sisters, for me I related more to Gemma. One thing that I couldn’t get past in this book is that although I know this is a fiction book and I get that Juliet needed some time out for herself but I can’t believe that any mother would leave her kids and go on holiday especially over Christmas that is meant to be a family time.

My favourite character was neither one of the sisters but the delightful neighbour Will! If he was wrapped up in a bow he sounds like he would be every woman’s perfect gift! I loved the twist with Will it really kept me guessing. Often with Christmas books they don’t seem very festive but with this book thanks to Gemma’s preparations in the lead up to Christmas and also Christmas day itself we had a lovely festive feel to the storyline. The resort where Juliet stays sounded out of this world thanks to the authors fabulous descriptive writing.


I enjoyed this book it was fun and festive and made you think that how you view others may not be quite as things seem. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline

Overall Review Rating



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