Friday, 29 November 2013

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

Welcome to the most celebrated patisserie competition in Paris – ready, steady, bake! 

Watching snowflakes settle on the Eiffel Tower, Rachel Smithson’s cosy English village feels very far way – as, thankfully, does her commitment-phobic ex, probably already kissing someone else under the mistletoe. But Rachel hasn’t come to Paris to mope she’s come to bake. Hard. Because the search for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice is about to begin! And super-chef judge Henri Salernes is an infamously tough cookie. But Rachel isn’t about to let her confidence (or pastry) crumble. 

She’s got one week, mounds of melt-in-the-mouth macaroons and towers of perfect profiteroles to prove that she really is a star baker. As well as clouds of flour, and wafts of chocolate and cinnamon, there’s definitely a touch of Christmas magic in the air…

Rachel hasn’t come to Paris looking for a fairy-tale romance, but the city of love might gift-wrap her one anyway…

I was really excited to start The Parisian Christmas Bake Off, I love Christmas themed books and I also love books that feature baking but I was also a little worried as I have never watched The Great British Bake off so I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a problem but lucky for me it didn’t effect reading this book at all in fact if you have never watched a cooking program in your life it doesn’t matter you will still enjoy this one.

Rachel is feeling down and thanks to everyone back home they have sent her away for Christmas to Paris to compete to become top chef Henri Salernes’s patisserie apprentice. The heat is on in the competition but Rachel soon begins to put everything she has into her baking and showcases the most tasty treats to try and win not only the completion but to also get her happiness and confidence back again so she can start living again.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book it had a sprinkling of festivity, a touch of romance and a glorious amount of mouth-watering baking! I don’t think I have ever felt so hungry reading a fiction book before. The descriptive writing sets a gorgeous setting of Paris that makes you feel as though you are being transported there with the characters. The authors descriptive writing didn't stop here, when the contestants were in the kitchens competing the tastes, smells, and how things visually looked all seemed to pop out from the book I was like a kid in a sweet shop! I loved Rachel although a couple of times in the book she did really frustrate me but she quickly redeemed herself.  One part of the book that I had predicted completely threw me when it came clear that I was wrong and I do love this in a book, something unexpected. After reading this I will look forward to future releases by Jenny Oliver.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

There's More to Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan

There’s More To Life Than Cupcakes is the first book I have come across by Poppy Dolan. The cover is gorgeous and definitely one that would catch my eye on the shelves I was hoping the story was going to be as good the cover.
Successful job CHECK
Husband Check
Baby ???

It seems like everyone is ready for Ellie to take that next step and join the world of parenting that is everyone apart from Ellie. With the pressure on her to conceive she begins questioning herself as to if she actually wants a baby, tries to weigh up the pros and cons. The cons really seem to out way the pros but will husband Pete be content with not having the baby he has so longed for?

This book really surprised me it wasn’t what I was expecting at all! I must learn not to judge a book by its delicious cover! Although baking and cupcakes are featured in the book it wasn’t a big part, the main storyline is babies, which I have to say I was rather apprehensive about as babies are not really my topic of choice I seem to have missed the maternal gene but as I got into the book I soon realised how alike Ellie and I are! I could really relate to her thoughts on the baby topic.

Ellie was a very natural and witty character ( let’s just say I won’t be in any hurry to let her decorate my wedding cake). What I loved about this book is that there is a rare relationship between Pete and Ellie, they are already happily married when we meet them and they don’t have a dramatic relationship it is a very happy loving relationship which makes a change from a majority of books.

There are a lot of characters in this book and I did lose track from time to time as to who was who but by the end they all began to take shape and they all seemed very down to earth, well other than Pete’s family!
This is an entertaining and humorous read, that is easy to relate to. I would have liked more of the baking/cake side of the storyline but that could be my tummy talking.

An enjoyable read that fans of Sam Binnie would also enjoy.


Monday, 25 November 2013

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien ( Illustrated by Jemima Catlin)

I am not usually one for television and films always preferring a good book instead, but funny enough I hate to admit I have watched and loved all of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit films and yet I have never read one of the books. When the publishers sent me the new illustrated copy to review I don’t think I have ever fallen in love with a book so quickly! I am so disappointed that it is not possible to share with you all how luxurious this book looks and feels, the writing stands out in the shiny gold and the fabric that has been used to cover the book just gives the book such a high quality look to it and makes me feel like I have a real treasure in my hands.

The Hobbit tells the story of the quirky little hobbit called Bilbo Baggins, when Gandalf, a great wizard arrives looking for someone to share in an adventure Bilbo Baggins strongly and politely declines for of course hobbits do not partake in adventures! But that evening to Bilbo's surprise a group of dwarfs arrive one by one to his home in the hill and it soon becomes clear they are off on an adventure and Bilbo has been selected to go with them as their burglar as they head to get their revenge on Smaug who has taken the dwarfs ancestors treasure. The journey to the Lonely Mountain is a tough and dangerous adventure, and things along the way change our little hobbit he is a very different hobbit to the one who left for the adventure.

This is a fantastically magical read that will have you hooked from the first meeting. There are an unbelievable amount of characters in this book and yet I never lost track of who was who. The storyline is so unpredictable and shocking so you are constantly entertained which makes the book a real page turner. It is a very long book for a child or young adult at 374 pages but with this addition because it has illustrations on nearly every other page it breaks the book down a little bit so that the size doesn't feel too daunting.
Jemima Catlin has created some amazing illustrations in this book they really are quite remarkable she manages to capture in picture form what the image actually looks like in my head whilst reading. I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see which picture we were being treated to next. Although I mentioned before that the illustrations in this edition is fantastic for children I have to point out that I am 28 and I fell in love with the drawings and I love this edition so much I have never quite loved a book as much as I have this one and I will not be loaning this book to anyone! If ever I do take the plunge and have children I will enjoy sharing this beautiful book with them ( although they won’t be allowed to touch!)

This book is quite simply remarkable and luxurious and would make any one feel special to own their own copy. It is full of adventure and twists and turns that you could not predict even with your wildest imagination. There is such an amazing cast of characters in this book and the descriptive writing manages to bring not only the characters but the wholes setting to life. I cannot recommend this edition of The Hobbit enough don’t hesitate grab this book as not only a prefect girt but an investment into your families library for years to come.

For more information and to get your copy  follow the link below.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Last Christmas by Talli Roland

For Lucy, the best Christmas present is forgetting the past.

 Eager to banish the ghost of Christmas past - when her boyfriend dumped her on the streets of Paris - Lucy is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She rallies friends and family for an epic celebration that just happens to fall on the same day as her ex's festive wedding. Furious at how she's been treated, Lucy can't help relishing the party v wedding smackdown. But when the wedding is threatened and only Lucy can help, can she find the spirit inside to save the day, or will this Christmas be even more disastrous than the last?

Last Christmas is a short sweet novella written by the talented Talli Roland. It is an easy read and only has a very small group of characters. Lucy is our main character and after splitting with her ex Rob she doesn't have fond memories of Christmas but with the help of her assistant Mimi and the delightful James hopefully Christmas will finally be something to look forward to once again.

I felt like this was the perfect length novella, it didn't feel rushed even though it was a quick read that you will finish in under an hour. For a novella there was quite a lot of content including rejection and heartbreak and more positively new love and forgiveness. Once again the authors fantastic writing style has created the scene perfectly and has got the reader into a lovely positive Christmas spirit. This is a delightful read for your commute home this Christmas and for only 99p!! ( price at the time of review)


Friday, 22 November 2013

Rowena's Key by AJ Nuest


Rowena's Key is not my typical kind of read but every so often I like to try something new to try and broaden my genres, so I thought Rowena's Key was a good choice as it is a romance/fantasy but it is a novella so I thought it would just be a little taster.

Rowena is an antiques restorer and when she finds herself the owner of an ancestral aromire which contains a hidden key little does she know her life is about to change dramatically.
Through a magic mirror lays another realm and there awaits a hot prince named Caedmon. Rowena struggles to believe this is all real but before long her heart is captured.

This has to be the best novella I have ever read and that is saying something for me as I am not a big fan of novellas. I have never read a novella that has such a deep storyline that has so much content packed into it. It is longer than previous novella's that I have read and so I feel it is more than worth the current price. 

The mystery surrounding the key and the magic mirror to the other realm really had me gripped. There was some hot, passion for all of you who like a steamy read and this was written very well. I was shocked how full bodied the characters were, I felt as though I had been reading about hem for some time. 

What I usually find hard when reading fantasy books is trying to get the normal thoughts out of my head when something unbelievable happens and this is why I love this book because when I started to read this and read about the key and magic mirror of course my initial thoughts were "yeah right"  and what was great was this was the same thoughts of Rowena the main character as she actually assumed that it was a wind up! 

Like most novellas this did leave me wanting more but knowing this is the first in The Golden Key Chronicles I know that I will be getting another fix I just hope we don't have to wait too long. Although I do think the novella could have been a full length novel, I do think having it as a novella builds up more suspense as we await the next installment.

I can not wait to read book 2, this is an ideal read for fantasy fans or romance fans looking for something a little different.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk

 Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…
 • Enormous Christmas tree
 • Eggnog • Eccentric British traditions
 • Gorgeous man

 But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…

My favourite Chick lit series by far is the I Heart series by Lindsey Kelk, each year I look forward to another release and to top it off this year it is a Christmas themed book whoop whoop! This is not a book you will be able to buy and save until Christmas as it sits there twinkling at you so you have to cave in and read it!

As Christmas approaches Angela is like a kid in a sweet shop, she is so excited about all things Christmas that she decides to take time off of work to enjoy doing all things festive with Alex. If only everything was a smooth as that! Where ever Angela is concerned there is always disorder and mischief that occurs and true to form her Christmas is about to be turned upside down thanks to a surprise from husband Alex, a friend in need and to top it all a major change at work.

I loved this book so much. The witty humour is back in full swing and it is such a natural humour that you can’t help but chuckle away. All of our favourite characters are back and in full blown chaos. One thing you can always rely on is that Angela and Jenny will always have some big drama going on in their lives and it sure does keep me entertained. Angela and Alex are now married and I think this is a great direction in which Lindsey Kelk has taken her characters as they are now facing problems that come with settling down.

We get to see a lot more of Angela’s friend Louisa in this book and she is a loveable character. Jenny is still my firm favourite when it comes to the I Heart series she is so unpredictable, spontaneous and hilarious, I would do anything to have a friend like her life could never be dull with her around! I actually found I could relate to Angela’s character in this book ( is this a good thing?!) one of the dilemma’s she faces I can totally sympathise with and the article she wrote about on this topic was hitting the nail on the head for me.

There was a festive feel to this book with the storyline being set on the lead up to Christmas but it wasn’t overly festive so I still feel like this book could be read throughout the year.  I still don’t feel like the I Heart series is over, to me this book has actually set a new foundation for a new book and I am keeping everything crossed that the author does entertain us with another one. This is cetainly one not to be missed and needs to be under all chick lit fans Christmas Tree this year.

It is a fun , festive, fabulous read that you will want to tell all your book friends about but I am not sure you will want to share your copy!

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline


Kindle                       Paperback

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Driving Home For Christmas by Emma Hannigan

Christmas at Huntersbrook House has always been a family tradition - log fires, long walks through the snowy fields and evenings spent in the local pub. And this year the three grown-up Craig children are looking forward to the holidays more than ever. 

Pippa to escape her partying lifestyle and mounting debts in Dublin; Joey the demands of his gorgeous girlfriend who seems intent on coming between him and his family; and Lainey to forget about her controlling ex and his recent engagement to another woman.

But with the family livery yard in financial trouble, this Christmas could be the Craig family's last at Huntersbrook as they face the prospect of selling the ancestral house. 

As the holiday season gets underway, the family need to come up with a way to save their home, and face the problems they've been running away from in Dublin. And what better place to figure things out than around the fire at Huntersbrook House?

 Driving Home For Christmas is the first book I have read by Emma Hannigan. The cover has a lovely winter countryside setting and I was hoping that the storyline would be festive to help me get into the Christmas spirit.

When it comes to Christmas there is only one place the Craig family want to be and that is at the family home of Huntersbrook House. Thing is this could be the last family Christmas in the family home due to financial problems but this is not known to Joey, Pippa and Lainey who all have a lot of personal problems that they really need a break from this Christmas.

When I first began reading this book I really struggled as there were a lot of characters and they all seemed to blur into one to me but luckily as the storyline progressed they all began to take their own form. Because they story is told from each of the characters points of views their personalities shines through well so we soon get to know the characters well. Pippa was the character who really shone to me, she was a live wire and quite an entertaining character who comes full circle and makes some positive changes.  I loved the importance of family in this book, to all of the family members spending quality time together and looking out for each other is a big thing and it is not something that I see often enough in books or in real life for that matter.

There was some lovely touches of light humour especially around the Christmas presents! There was also an unexpected twist which I love in a good book. I wouldn’t be surprised if the author brought out a sequel to this book as the foundations are already in place for another instalment and I for one would definitely be in line to grab my copy to see what happens next.

This felt like a very realistic and traditional read that you would love to curl up with over these cold winter months. I became so engrossed in the storyline that when I finished and looked out the window I was quite disappointed to see the sun and not a layer of fresh white snow!

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline


Kindle                     Paperback

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Last Kiss by Brigid Coady


This is ideal for anyone who is looking for a quick read on the journey home from work or waiting to pick the kids up from school. At only 1000 words it is an easy, quick read that will be a nice taster for romance fans. You can feel the tension and the passion shine through the authors writing. Obviously because it is only a short story I can't give you much information as to what it is about otherwise it would ruin it for you but let's just say the title says it all! This left me wanting to know more about Ryan and Katie's time together. I like the authors writing style so would love to read a full length novel by her. I would have liked this to be a little longer for the price.

Only 49p (at time of review)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tasmina Perry

Today on the blog I am joined by the very talented Tasmina Perry ahead of her new release, The Proposal.

Favourite Christmas Books and Movies.

I love Christmas so much I had to write a book about it. The holiday season is also a perfect time for catching up with things you’ve wanted to read over the year but not yet got round to, or re-watching or re-reading old favourites that can’t help but put you in the holiday mood. Here’s some of my Yuletide favourites.

Home Alone has got to be in my Top Ten movies of all time. I’ve watched it over a dozen times and now my son loves it – it’s an excuse to watch it all over again. Home Alone 2 – set in New York (like my new novel The Proposal!) is almost as good as the original if only for the location.

I’ve got a very old copy of A Christmas Carol that I try to read each year. It’s so short but it’s without doubt the most brilliantly atmospheric story about Christmas with a powerful, timeless message about the way we should live to boot.

I bought Arthur Ransom’s Winter Holiday because it had such a fantastic cover and because I loved the author’s more famous novel Swallows and Amazon as a child. It’s perfect Christmas reading - chocoblock full of snow-fuelled adventures like igloo building and sledging.

A beautifully illustrated copy of The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern was in my Christmas stocking a couple of years ago. It can’t be more than 5000 words long, but it’s such a sweet redemptive story – and actually formed the basis for the famous Jimmy Stewart movie It’s A Wonderful Life.

My whole family can pretty much recite Trading Places from beginning to end. Very Christmassy. Very funny. Eddie’s Murphy’s finest moment.

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons isn’t quite as good as the novel it spins-off from (Cold Comfort Farm) but it’s still a charming short story that is a perfect quick read whilst you polish off the tin of Quality Street.

Elf is a modern Christmas classic. Will Ferrell is brilliant as Buddy – one of Santa’s Elves. Plus there’s lots of lovely singing from star Zooey Deschanel.

I didn’t fancy the Martin Freeman movie Nativity when it was at the cinema, but my little boy forced me to watch it last Boxing Day and I absolutely loved it. I defy you not to cry!

Everyone loves It’s A Wonderful Life, but a lesser known Christmas treat is Nicholas Cage’s The Family Man, another story of Yuletide redemption.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis isn’t a Christmas novel as such, but all that snow in icy Narnia is perfect fire-side reading.

Tasmina Perry’s The Proposal (Headline) is out November 7

My Review.

I am a huge Tasmina Perry fan, when it comes to her books you can always guarantee that the covers will transport you to some kind of paradise and that there will be a scandalous, strong storyline. The Proposal is Tasmina Perry’s new release and it is not one to be missed. The cover is very different compared to her usual covers but I love it, it is a very simple, elegant cover which does the beautiful storyline inside justice.

The Proposal follows the journey of two fabulous main characters Amy and Georgia. The two ladies couldn’t be any more different and yet thanks to an advert dear Georgia places for a companion to accompany her on a trip to New York the two are brought together and form an unlikely bond.
Amy whose life is anything but perfect from her love life to her career and her empty bank balance would love to go home to see her parents over Christmas but can not afford the flights so when she comes across Georgia’s advert she feels as though she has been thrown a life line.

The story moves back and forth in time from Georgie’s life in the 1950’s to the present day and as Amy discovers more about Georgia through her tale of her earlier years and it becomes clear why she is travelling alone.

This was an absolute delight to read. It was consistently good all the way through, no low points or parts you want to skim are found in this book. The Proposal sees a softer side to the authors writing style, there is of course still a scandal to look forward to so you can still feel that it is a Tasmina Perry book but it was just so much more elegant and warm and just a real classy read rather than her usual modern glamorous and gritty style ( that I also love ). It was lovely to see a different style to the authors writing and it was equally as good.

The storyline is very strong and compelling and not one that I will forget for a long time yet. The characters are fabulous in their individual ways, Georgia is a strong, elegant, eccentric  character who I loved and was in fact my favourite character. Amy is a modern, loveable soft natured character who was a great complement to Georgia. I would love to have a Georgia in my life to give me a lesson or two!

The descriptive writing style was incredible I felt as though I was being transported back in time with Georgia  and I could just picture the elegant dresses and the grand houses.

 It is a very romantic read, with a shocking, unexpected twist which had me so taken aback I had to re-read the paragraph! 

This is an amazing read that I cannot recommend enough, this is definitely my favourite by Tasmina Perry. 

Festive Cover: 

Festive Storyline

Overall review 

The Proposal gets the 3rd Gem rating of the year!


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop by Jenny Colgan

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes large tempting piles of Turkish Delight crinkling selection boxes and happy sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend Stephen and her family flying in from Australia. She can't wait. But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie? Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan's heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations.

I absolutely adored Welcome to Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop, so when I heard Jenny Colgan was not only bringing out a sequel to this book, but it was also going to be a Christmas book, well I felt like all my Christmases had come along at once!

Rosie is so excited about spending Christmas in little Lipton and to top it all off her family are all coming over from Australia to join her. The Sweetshop is dripping with Christmas treats and a perfect snowy scene creates the perfect Christmas setting but nothing is ever quiet and trouble free in Lipton as they are all about to find out.

I am so happy to be reunited with this quirky group of characters. I remembered them all so well but I warmed to them even more in this book as they are so friendly and familiar. Rosie has to be one of my all-time favourite characters, but then that could be the envy of her owning her own sweetshop!

Although the sweet shop is still a part of the storyline, it has moved on to focus more on relationships, the community and a hell of a lot of trouble in this book, but there are still some mouth-watering descriptions of the confectionary so don’t threat!

This is a sequel and although it could be read as a standalone book, the first book is too good to miss and you just feel like you are returning to old friends when you start this book. The author does give a little summary of the previous book at the start of this book incase you did want to read this one straight away and it is also a great to refresh your memory to remind you who was who and what happened previously.

There is so much going on in this book without giving too much away all I will say is for such a small village there is a lot of heartache and tragedies. There was never a dull moment the storyline had everything you could wish for, a warm, cosy, entertaining read that was very eventful and had a lovely splash of romance. There were also a few pars in this book that really pulled at my heart strings.

I still do not feel that Jenny Colgan is finished with this set of characters yet so I am hopeful for another book. Go and treat your friends or loved ones to this for Christmas this year it will not disappoint!

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline

Overall Review

Kindle                        Paperback

Monday, 11 November 2013

Christmas at Claridge's by Karen Swan

‘This was where her dreams drifted to if she didn’t blot her nights out with drink; this was where her thoughts settled if she didn’t fill her days with chat. She remembered this tiny, remote foreign village on a molecular level and the sight of it soaked into her like water into sand, because this was where her old life had ended and her new one had begun.’Portobello – home to the world-famous street market, Notting Hill Carnival and Clem Alderton. She’s the queen of the scene, the girl everyone wants to be or be with. But beneath the morning-after makeup, Clem is keeping a secret, and when she goes too far one reckless night she endangers everything – her home, her job and even her adored brother’s love.Portofino – a place of wild beauty and old-school glamour, and where a neglected villa has been bought by a handsome stranger. He wants Clem to restore it for him and it seems like the answer to all her problems – except that Clem has been there once before and vowed, for her own protection, never to return . . .

Christmas at Claridge’s is the first book I have read by Karen Swan so I really didn’t know what to expect. The cover is beautiful, a soft, festive look and definitely one that would call out to me from the shelves. The storyline took me by complete surprise I really didn’t expect to find what I found inside this beautiful cover!

Clem Alderton is a typical IT girl, out partying until early hours, looks to die for and friends and family to look after her in every way, she has been well and truly spoilt. From the outside looking in Clem looks like the cat that’s got the cream but a secret she keeps close to her chest, but when her wild ways end up causing so much damage that it looks as if she is about to lose  her brothers love there is only one thing she can do to put things right but at the risk of her secret becoming exposed.

I have sat here trying to put my thoughts about this book down to share with you but I just seem to be sitting here saying wow, wow and sighing heavily but I think you need more than that.

When I first started this book I have to admit I didn’t think I was going to finish this one. Not only did I not relate to Clem who is our main character but I really didn’t like her, she was lazy, spoilt and shallow. I also couldn’t get into the storyline at first with a lot of focus on the bike, it just didn’t seem to flow and I just kept thinking I will give it until the end of this chapter and then stop. I am SO glad I didn’t give in because I really would have missed out on this little gem.  The storyline started to develop more and there was also a touch of humour  and then soon after this the story come full circle and I was gripped, I could not put it down. It was like reading about a completely different woman, things become clear a lot later on in the book as to why she acts the way she does and why she leads the life she leads. 

What really shone for me in this book is that the secret that Clem has kept for so long is so unexpected, there is a shadow that hangs all the way through book as we are waiting for a clue as to what the secret maybe but there was no hint at all. I just had to keep reading to find out what on earth she was hiding. To say I was shocked when I found out is an understatement, I was speechless, I don’t think I have ever read a book that has managed to keep me in the dark until the last few chapters!

There are a vast amount of characters in this book and they all played a fabulous part. Stella provided the entertainment value to lighten the mood at times and Stella and Clem had a very strong, believable friendship. Tom was one of my favourites he was such a loveable character and his love for his sister just oozed through the pages. I loved the mystery that Rafa held and well what can I say about Gabriel that is one guy who will get us all hot under the collar, the passion was in full flow! The character who surprised me the most though was Clem as I said before I didn’t take to her at the start but by the end I loved her and my heart broke for her.

This book is a real gem and one not to be missed. The storyline for me was breathtaking and so beautifully written. The author has a very clever writing style in concealing things from the reader in a way that doesn’t leave any room for guessing but that you never get bored of you are just eager to find out the truth. This will definitely pull at the heart strings, it certainly brought a tear to my eye. After reading this book I will certainly be picking up this author’s previous books. 

This needs to be under everyone’s tree this Christmas.

Festive Cover

        Festive Storyline

Review overall

Kindle              Paperback

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Just For Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

Her best friend's wedding... When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants is to be alone - and as far away from Edinburgh as possible. Moving to a Cornish cottage, which comes complete with the world's scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan - and somehow Alex doesn't want to be alone this Christmas after all. But having lost one fiancé, Ruan has no intention of letting anyone get close to him again...

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a book by Scarlett Bailey! This is by far my favourite cover of hers it is a perfect winter setting with its ice blues and the extra touch of glitter just adds that little bit of Glitz that will catch your eye on the shelves making it impossible to walk past without a copy falling into your basket!

Heartbroken Alex needs to get away from her life as she knows it so she can finally be herself. After a hidden secret comes to light and to top it off the love of her life is about to marry someone else. She takes a job miles away in the village of Poldore, but will running away from her problems be enough or will everything catch up with her eventually?

Bouy the smelly old dog was the star of this book! I am not a big dog fan but he is a wonderful addition to a great set of characters although with his antics I have to say I don’t think the front cover is any real resemblance as I could never see this strong willed dog being put on a lead! There are a real quirky mix of characters in this book and Alex is an independent, tomboy character, she has grown up without a female role model around so she has had no guidance when it comes to any kind of women’s problems or fashion sense so she is quite unlike our usual chick lit female leads, and I loved her for this. Alex finds a friend in Lucy who also has her fair share of problems but the friendship that grows between the two of them feels very real.

What makes this such a perfect winter read is it isn’t too challenging, and the warm friendliness of the village folk makes this such a cosy read. The time scale of the book is set around Christmas time and there are some Christmas features too so this is a great book to get you in the Christmas spirit.

One thing you can always count on with Scarlett Baileys books is that there will be a troubled romance, and this book doesn’t disappoint. There was also some light humour which was a great touch to the storyline and there were also some great little twists which to me were an added bonus to a great book. This is an enjoyable light read that you will fly through in no time.

Festive Cover

       Festive Storyline

Overall Review

Paperback               Kindle

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson follows the tragic story of Saffron Mackleroy. 18 months ago her husband was murdered and the killer was never found, Saffron is now trying to deal with her grief as well as keep working to keep a roof over her family’s heads and if that wasn’t enough she is then called into her 14 year old daughters school to be dealt another hand of devastating news. Trying to deal with all of this alone is more than a little challenging and so the last thing she needs is letters from the killer. Can Saffron protect her family or have things gone too far?

It took a while to get into this book mainly because of the structure of it as it constantly jumps through different periods of time from the present day to then various time periods before or after husband Joel’s murder. Once I got used to the layout I then began to enjoy the storyline and before long I was intrigued and found myself flying through the pages.

The story is told from Saffron’s point of view so we really get to know her on a more personal level, I wouldn’t say I connected with her character but I think this is because of her loss she has put barriers up to protect herself from people and I felt that these barriers were also up between her and the reader which I actually found was a great touch.

I loved the suspense that Koomson creates in this book, each time I had my suspicions about someone I soon was being led down another path which then put someone else in the frame. There are so many different situations in this book that you are constantly on edge waiting for something else to be thrown in the mix.

There are various delicate situations that are included in this book and each of these were written about in great detail and felt very realistic, I have never read a book with so many delicate, challenging situations included and written about so well. This is a great book if you are looking for something slightly chilling and unpredictable.
Kinde                       Paperback 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Christmas at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown

Georgie Hart loves Christmas time at Carrington’s Department store. Running the luxury handbag department, Georgie adores helping customers in the hunt for the perfect gift for the perfect someone. And this year is no exception – now she has the hunky Tom, Mr Carrington himself, to spend the special day with. But when Tom springs a surprise, Georgie’s plans are thrown into chaos. Carrington’s is getting a fresh lease of life in a hot new reality TV show, featuring formidable retail guru, Kelly Cooper.

As the first show airs, Georgie is shown in a far from flattering light. Worse is to come when Kelly’s vile daughter appears to get her claws into Tom. Georgie fears this will be the worst Christmas ever, but Santa still has a little surprise for her stocking this year – she’ll just have to wait until Christmas to find out…

One book I have particularly been looking forward to this Christmas is Christmas at Carrington’s by the lovely Alexandra Brown. I loved her debut novel Cupcakes at Carrington’s and I had a feeling she was going to be an author to watch out for and after just finishing Christmas at Carrington’s I know my feelings were right as this book is fabulous.

Christmas is Georgie’s favourite time of year and this will be her first Christmas with the gorgeous Mr Carrington! Things are finally looking picture perfect until Georgie and Sam sit down one night and tune into a new retail reality show hosted by retail guru Kelly but Georgie gets the shock of her life when her rear end is dancing away on the tv screen!

As Carrington’s begins to get a help in hand to boost sales figures, it is soon clear that having the tv show take place in Carrington’s is going to make things very complicated for everyone involved in more ways than one.

This was a great follow on to Cupcakes at Carrington’s. I devoured this book one Saturday morning I literally didn’t put it down, it felt like I was meeting with friends again as all of the characters felt so friendly and familiar to me. If you liked the first book then you will love this one as it has a similar feel to it although it has a lot more humor and excitement in this one and of course that touch of festivity. Each chapter starts with a countdown to shopping days until Christmas and there were some other festive features in this book but the main story is heavily based around Carrington’s and Georgie’s love life.

My favourite character is back once again, the flamboyant Eddie although he doesn’t feature quite as much in this book, but I really looked forward to him appearing throughout the storyline. I felt I really got to know Georgie’s best friend Sam more in this book and she is such a warm, friendly character and the friendship between the two is so believable, I do love a good solid friendship in a book!

The author has tackled a more serious situation in this book and I think because the story is very lively and entertaining when it come to the more emotional part it really hit me as we are built up to a high with the storyline and then suddenly we are brought to a tragic low which was a very clever way to write this into the storyline so the reader feels the emotions that the friends would be feeling.

My one and only complaint about this book is I would have loved to have Tom feature more but to tell you the truth this is probably my hormones talking! I know why he couldn’t be in the book as much as this is a big part of the storyline I just wanted to drool some more!
This is yet another entertaining and glamorous read by the talented Alexandra Brown.I cannot wait to revisit Carrington’s again so I hope the lovely Alexandra Brown is tucked away busy writing the next book.

**WARNING** read book with caution the descriptive writing when describing the bags make you feel that you must have these little beauties and so I headed to the shops after to treat myself to my first designer bag !!!

Festive Cover

Festive Storyline


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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Spirits of Christmas by Nicky Wells

Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol 

At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction. 

Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas? 

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.

About Nicky Wells:

Romance that Rocks Your World!
Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies! Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

My Review

This year author Nicky Wells is joining in  on the festive spirit by bringing out a Christmas novella. Spirits of Christmas is a very unexpected take on A Christmas Carol, which is one of my favourite Christmas books of all time so when I began reading Spirits of Christmas I was very unsure if this take was going to work!
Luckily as usual Nicky Wells pulls it out the bag again and brings a modern twist to a true classic.

Jude is our rock God who is on a slippery slope about to lose everything until the " Ghosts of Christmas" come to show him his ways. I loved how Nicky still managed to bring characters from her previous books to weave into this storyline .

This was a fun, festive novella that is very cleverly thought out. A must read if you are looking for a quick Christmas read. A 5* Novella read.

Kindle                       Paperback