Monday, 21 December 2015

2015 Round Up

It is hard to believe that it is already that time of the year to look back on what 2015 has had to offer. 
This has been a tough year especially with losing our home
earlier this year and returning to live with my parents and having to part with my beloved collection of books.
Luckily I have had some lovely bookish moments this year to keep my spirits up, from some wonderful publication parties where I meet many much loved authors as well as the publicists who work so hard behind the scenes and not forgetting some amazing book worms who have become firm friends.

Thanks to all of you wonderful followers I managed to celebrate my 4 year blogversary too this year with party of online giveaways, thank you so much for getting involved and making it such a fun and exciting milestone that I never dreamed of reaching!

Reading back on last years wrap up post I was hoping to reach 4000 followers for my 4 year blogging but I am thrilled that I have smashed that goal and have now hit the big 5000 followers so thank you all for sharing all my reviews and for your continued support on the blog I hope my reviews have helped you to find some real gems this year.

My biggest accomplishment this year was winning the award for The Blog of the Year 2015 award thanks to Love Stories.

To say I was proud and excited when I heard is an understatement, I actually cried like a big old baby but do you know what I don't mind admitting that and I keep having to have a little peek at it I don't think it has still quite sunk in yet!
Thank you xXx

One of the most exciting things ( other than my little award!) was winning the #bookvent from the lovely @TeamBATC I can't tell you how much I have loved waking up each morning to open a new book each day and it is something I would love to do for someone next year to share the love and excitement of books.

This has been the hardest year picking my top 10 books so I have had to try and find the best for each category instead.

1. Favourite Festive Read.

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington
My Review

2. Favourite Debut. 
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey 
My Review

3. Best Twist 
The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

My Review

4. Favourite Atmospheric read.
The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies.

My Review

5. Favourite book from a series.
A Proper Family Adventure by Chrissie Manby.

My Review

6. Favourite Laugh out Loud read.
The Love Shack by Jane Costello.

My Review

7. Favourite crime thriller.
Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

My Review

8. Favourite Thought Provoking read.
We are all Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

My Review

9. Favourite male author's book.
See Me by Nicholas Sparks

My Review

10. Best suspense.
Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan
My Review.
So There so have my top 10 books of 2015, what have been your favourite's this year?

I have already been browsing some of the new releases for 2016 and have made a start on my wish list, I have already read one book which will be out in paperback on the 28th January which is Our Song by Dani Atkins and I can honestly say this will be on my top 10 next year as I really wanted to pop it on this year's list as it had me in absolute tears so pre-order your copy and grab a box of Kleenex!

I managed to reach my Goodreads target this year ( JUST) so I am going to set my 2016 target at 115 books. What is going to be your target this year?

I will be celebrating my 5 YEAR Blogversary this year AHHHHHHH! I will be on the hunt for some quirky gifts for prizes.

So this is my final post of 2015 and I just want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2016. Thank you to all my followers for your continued support it really does mean a lot to me. Thank you to the very generous authors and publishers who have sent books my way to review. Thank you to the wonderful bloggers for helping to bring me out of my little shell and finally able to look forward to and enjoy the wonderful book events without being scared to death ( only half to death now!)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton

Today I am joined by Rebecca Thornton who has a fabulous guest post for us about her writing process telling us   

Hi Rea thanks so much for having me!

How and where did you start?
I had always wanted to write a novel set in an all-girls boarding school.  I find the idea of female friendships – especially in those vulnerable teenage years – endlessly fascinating. I had no idea how to plot and structure a book though, so I applied for the Writing a Novel course at Faber Academy.

Characters or plot?  
                The Exclusives started off as a romantic comedy – which is absurd given the direction it eventually went in – but when I gave  the original chapters to my classmates and tutors to read at Faber, the reaction wasn’t quite as positive as I hoped! The structure was all over the shop, there was no voice and it was terrible. I was really struggling with it. I was trying to plot all the time but I still had no bloody idea how! I wanted to give up there and then.
One week, the incredible Sadie Jones come in to talk to us, specifically about character. She made an off the cuff comment about character coming before plot and then they would both eventually meet in the middle. Obviously she phrased it much more succinctly than I just have! But it all made sense. Of course character should come first (for me, at any rate). It’s the characters who drive the plot. I scrabbled around to find a suitable protagonist and the character that came into my head was dark and complicated. Nothing like the original ditzy girl that was in my first attempt. I rewrote it all with Sadie’s words in my mind and the plot totally followed from there. I didn’t plan a single word or chapter, which is why my agent probably nearly had a heart attack when she read the first draft, but I just let Josephine, the main girl, lead me by the hand.

Where do you write?
I write in cafes all over West London. I’m usually in Chiswick or The Coffee House on Acton High Street, trying not to shovel my face with muffins and feeling guilty because I’m making one cup of tea last hours.

What advice would you give to any budding writers?
For any writers out there, my main advice is, I think, probably the same as about ninety percent of every other writer out there. Write your first draft without looking back once. Do not look back. Ever. Or you will turn into stone. And finish writing for the day just when you start to feel excited about something happening. It means you’ll be looking forward to getting back to your desk the next day.
Oh and also, don’t think too much. Just do. If you overthink, you’ll never get into the writing zone, where all the magic (apparently) happens.

The Exclusives is out on December 10th in ebook and in paperback on the 7th April 2016.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five. … He promised to love her forever Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. 

But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late? 

Now forever is finally running out.

Every so often I read a book that draws me in and holds me tight that I never want to end because I then sit with pen to paper but with no words flowing as whatever I go to write just doesn’t feel like it will do the justice the book deserves and that is exactly how I felt with Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. I had heard so many wonderful things about this book but I am not a fan of historical romance so I didn’t think this was going to be a book that would appeal to me especially adding the intimidating 546 pages too, but when I won a copy of this book my intrigue took over I decided to give it a try.

The storyline has a dual time frame with the story of Stella told back in World War 2 and the story of Jess in 2011 and both of the women’s stories are intertwined by the letters in which Stella received from Dan back in the war days. When Jess comes across an unopened letter from Dan trying to get in contact with Stella, Jess is determined to help Dan in his quest.

This story literally broke my heart, it was such a tender and emotive read that had me captivated the whole way through. The characters were so vivid and the storyline so powerful making this a real praiseworthy debut and I am so excited to see what else this author delivers.

I found the structure of the book worked perfectly and kept me alert as it chopped and changed from reading the letters then onto both Jess and Stella’s time frame too. Usually when I read dual time frame books my attention wavers and I always prefer one to the other but I found that in this book they both complimented each other perfectly, slipping a little bit of Jess’s background in to help shape her character but for me Stella stole the show in this book and I think it is because we feel like we know her more intimately. Dan was a true charmer, a character who I warmed to straight away. Their story was a passionate heart-warming one that will stay with me for a long time yet.

I loved watching the relationship blossom and I was really hoping for a perfect end for them. The romance started off as a kind of forbidden romance but we are soon brought around to see that everything happens for a reason and you never know what goes on behind closed doors so you shouldn’t be too quick to judge.

This book will definitely be featuring on my top 2015 reads and all I can say is make sure you don’t miss this one, bump it up to the top of your tbr pile. 

Only The Third Gem of the Year.

Paperback                 Kindle 

Monday, 7 December 2015

A Merry Mistletoe Wedding by Judy Astley

It is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Day!

Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas lights and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated.

Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle . .

I was looking forward to catching up with the characters from It Must Have Been the Mistletoe in Judy Astley’s new release A Merry Mistletoe Wedding. I love revisiting old characters and this book is set a year on from the previous book and is set over the months leading up to Christmas and more importantly Thea and Sean’s winter wedding.

I was a little worried that I had forgotten who was who and what had happened in the previous book but within the first couple of chapters my memory had been jogged and everything fell into place and it soon felt like I had been reunited with friends.

There have been many changes in a year for the family and they have experienced highs and lows. Judy brings a difficult topic in post-natal depression into the storyline and she has dealt with this subject beautifully, it opens our eyes as to how it affects not just the new mum but also the surrounding family members. There are exciting and life changing plans for Mike and Anne and their enthusiasm and excitement could be felt through the pages.

There is a perfect balance between each of the characters storylines in this book and because each couple had something different going on in their lives I found my attention was gripped the whole way through this book.

This book wasn’t overly festive but then It Must Have Been the Mistletoe was very festive so we can’t be greedy and expect the same with this book but this was still a wintery read to curl up with at this time of year. I personally felt like the ending has been left open for the possibility of a third book and because of all the changes the characters were facing in their lives in this book I totally think a third book would work and it would be great to visit the characters one last time.

Paperback               Kindle

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A Cottage in the Country by Linn B. Halton

What do you do when your best friend has an affair with your husband of twenty-five years? Well, you pack your bags, grab half of the equity in the house you've both lovingly restored and run away to an idyllic little cottage in the country. Only, it’s not quite so idyllic when

1) Rustic charm sounds rather romantic, but the reality is something else …
2) The heavens decide to open on moving day and the rain just keeps on coming Maddie Brooks grits her teeth and hires the highly recommended 'man who can', ex-soldier, Lewis Hart.

As he rips out the very shabby, and decidedly not-so-chic kitchen, reality sets in. Not only is he the most abrupt person she's ever met, but the man is a Neanderthal! As the flood waters rise, and the village is cut off, everything that could possibly go wrong, does. Hitting the big five-o is the final straw. No presents, family or friends―just infuriating Lewis, who can’t leave because the flood has now cut off his exit.
How on earth is she going to get through this and put her life back together?
Can Maddie Brooks become that ‘fifty-and-fabulous’ woman of her dreams?

A Cottage in the Country by Linn B. Halton is such a cosy uplifting read which follows our main character Maddie Brooks as she embarks on a new chapter of her life. As her big 50th is fast approaching she is determined to make this next chapter about her and achieve her dream.  I love books about renovation and new beginnings so this was a perfect book for me.

Maddie’s excitement for Ash Cottage could easily be felt through the pages and it was easy to visualise this quirky little cottage thanks to the authors beautifully detailed descriptions. I was drawn into the storyline and was enjoying the transformation of the cottage coming together through the hard work that Maddie and handy man Lewis was putting into the renovations.

There is a sweet touch of romance in this book and the author leads us down different paths trying to keep us guessing as to who if anyone would win Maddie’s heart. We have two love interests in this book handy man Lewis and long time friend Ryan and both men are attractive but both have their flaws too, I found my hopes for each man chopping and changing throughout the book.

The storyline is set on the lead up to Christmas but isn’t very festive so it can be read any time of year. I found this such a cosy feel good read.

Paperback               Kindle

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Dead Dog Day by Jackie Kabler.

When your Monday morning begins with a dead dog and ends with a dead boss, you know it's going to be one of those days. And breakfast TV reporter Cora Baxter has already had the weekend from hell, after the man she'd planned a fabulous future with unceremoniously dumped her. Now Cora's much-hated boss has been murdered - the list of suspects isn't exactly short, but as the enquiry continues the trail leads frighteningly close to home. Why is Cora's rival, glamorous, bitchy newsreader Alice Lomas, so devastated by their boss's death? What dark secrets are Cora's camera crew hiding? And why has her now ex-boyfriend vanished? The race to stop the killer striking again is on.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from The Dead Dog Day by Jackie Kabler, especially reading the quote on the back from Eamonn Holmes about a "witty murder mystery" I have never come across a witty murder mystery so I was rather intrigued to see what this book had lurking inside for me.

The storyline starts at a quick pace and is rather eventful with a death of a dog hence the title and in the same first chapter Jeanette Kendrick who is our main character Cora's boss is also murdered. With no witnesses around the search is on to try and discover who the murderer is with the only information to go on the last words Jeanette muttered before she took her last breath "Chris". Speculation starts to arise as to who it could be and throughout the storyline the spotlight turns to a number of different characters who are suspicious.

I personally worked out quite early on who the murderer was which slightly put a downer on the book for me but what I hadn't worked out was the reason why Jeanette was murdered so finding out the reason why made up for me guessing early on who it was.

Our main character Cora is very career focused and like me she seems to have been left out when him upstairs was dishing out the maternal gene so I could relate to her character in some which I always like in a book when I can find a connection with the character but although she is so certain of her career and of the fact she never ever wants children she isn't quite so confident and certain when it came to her love life! I personally find it more than enough having one man around but Cora is surround by men and she still can't make up her mind! 

This book is unlike any book I have read before and it took me a while to put my finger on what was so different but as many of you know my preferred genre is always women's fiction/ romance but this year I have found myself reading quite a lot of crime thrillers and what the author has managed to do is merge the two together perfectly. If you are anything like I was a year ago and wouldn't come out of my reading romance comfort zone then this book is the prefect baby step for you, as you still have the light hearted witty humour in Cora's everyday reports and you also have the roller coaster romance surrounding Cora so everything we love is still there but it is wrapped perfectly around this suspicious murder but with out the dark gritty parts.

I am looking forward to book two and I am hoping that the book is as fast paced and enjoyable as this one but the challenge is on to see if Jackie Kabler can keep me in suspense in the next book.

Paperback               Kindle

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Learning to Speak American by Colette Dartford

Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond's last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley. Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how - he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship. As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan's life begins to fall apart.

Learning to Speak American is a beautifully written novel about a husband and wife who have tragically lost their daughter and are learning to live again alongside coping with their grief, but both Lola and Duncan are dealing with it in different ways. 

The story is told from both Lola and Duncan's points of view so we get a good rounded picture of what is going on with both of the characters and this helped at times when I felt that I should be despising a character because of their actions but because we hear their thought process it certainly didn't make things except able but it made me understand the reason behind their actions.

This is such a tender and emotive read that has been so delicately written considering the topics that this book covers. The author really digs deep into the relationship between Lola and Duncan and you can see the mutual love and respect for each other but you could also see the cracks forming as the book progressed from the damage the grief had caused their relationship.

This isn't a book that is full of twists and turns it is a pure emotional journey through a relationship between two strong and caring people who try so hard to repair each other but is there too many cracks to repair or are somethings still worth fighting for?

Through all the heartache in this book there was some light which came in the form of the Treehouse and I loved seeing the change in Lola once she had this to focus on. She seemed to find comfort and solitude in the Treehouse and I longed to be their with her.

I found this a real endearing read with two characters who I loved equally but in different ways and yet had me questioning my own morals and how they would change if faced with the situation these characters found themselves in. I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for future books released by this author as this was a praiseworthy debut.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Friday top bookworm deals.

I am not one to go out on crazy Black Friday but there are some fabulous deals to be had online today.

These are my top picks that I have found today.

First of all this the Kindle Fire with 7inch display at an unbelievable price of £34.99
This is a great tablet that not only allows you to read your e-books but is also great for the internet without the hefty price tag of an i-pad.

Next is the new Kindle Paperwhite at only £79.99
If you are looking for a device purely to enjoy reading e-books without having the glare on screen when you are outside then this is the perfect device for you and this is really easy to use so would be ideal present for Nan and Grandad too.

Chances by Jackie Collins e-book
This year we lost a wonderful lady in the book world and today her first book in the Lucky Santangelo series Chances is only 99p. I haven't read this one so I have grabbed it, will you be getting this one?

This "naughty" man's book is available to pre-order at HALF PRICE! £7.49
I am eagerly awaiting this recipe book and had a little sulk when I couldn't add it to my Christmas list so this has made up for the wait! Joe Wicks is all about real food and Hiit work outs and is getting us to eat more with these delicious recipes! #Leanin15 
It won't be long now until I am shouting Lucy Bee!

It Started With a Kiss by Miranda Dickinson is FREE today. 
This is one of my favourite authors, if you have never read anything by Miranda before then this is a good one to start with, you will be eager to buy her others straight after!

The Chocolate Lovers are my favourite books by Carole Matthew and are only 99p each!

I hope you have found some great deals today feel free to let us know what you have brought in the comments below.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

A FAMILY TRAGEDY Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life. When a tragedy forces the family she works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now.

A SISTER’S SECRET But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen.

A WEB OF LIES Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves?

Having just finished reading The Secret by the Lake I can say this is easily the most chilling book that I have read this year. I made the mistake of starting this book late at night on my own which wasn’t the best idea as I had some freaky dreams that night!

When the family who Amy used to Nanny for finds their life changed dramatically they move back to the Lakeside Cottage and Amy returns to the family knowing that they need her now more than ever and yet when she arrives at the cottage she is uneasy from the moment she steps inside.  There are mysterious happenings in the house and secrets kept well and truly hidden and Amy has no choice but to get to the bottom of them.

This was such a deep dark and intense read that had me captivated from the first chapter. At points in this book I had goose bumps up my arms and tingles down my spine thanks to the creepy atmosphere that the author created. This was a very descriptive book which made me feel as though I could see, feel and hear everything that Amy could too, a part of me relieved a little of my childhood memories again so I wanted to join Amy in pulling a cabinet in front of the door so nothing can get in!

The book is set at a great pace slowly building up apprehension and intrigue and then the pace quickened as the secrets and clues were all discovered. I found this to be a unpredictable and shocking read that I found very disturbing and heart breaking as well as scaring the life out of me.

All of the characters in this book were so well drawn, I had my suspicions about various characters some which I was right to be and others that I got completely wrong. I found myself becoming quite protective over Viviane and urging Amy to help and protect her especially in something that I had an idea maybe going on.

This was a mysteriously chilling read that I could not put down as much as it was freaking me out.

Kindle                      Paperback

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Wedding at Christmas by Chrissie Manby

What comes to mind when you picture a wedding at Christmas?
A gorgeous white dress accessorised with a thick velvet cape... bridesmaids in red velvet too? 
An arch of Christmas greenery: holly and ivy and boughs of fir. Candles and fairy lights. Snow! 
Chelsea Benson has just twelve weeks to organise her perfect winter wedding. Her family and friends pitch in to help, but sisterly squabbling, issues with money and an Ice-Queen mother-in-law soon threaten Chelsea's plans for her big day. And that's without the firework fiasco... 
Rescuing Chelsea's dream of a proper family wedding might just take all the magic of Christmas...

My favourite series of books recently have been the “Proper” books with the Benson family by Chrissie Manby, I absolutely adore the sparkly festive look to A Wedding at Christmas but I have to admit I can’t help calling it A Proper Wedding at Christmas!

Chelsea and Adam have a Wedding to plan but when is anything straight forward when the Benson’s are involved. The Wedding is brought forward leaving only 12 weeks to pull this Wedding off but with so many big characters and opinions emotions start running high and before long sparks are flying in more ways than one!

The humour which I loved in the previous books is still present in this book but we also find that parts of this storyline are very emotional too and I found myself reading part of this book on my course which wasn’t a good idea as it brought a tear to my eye.  The ending was a little predictable but the way it was handled was so beautifully written so this wasn’t a problem although it still broke my heart!

So often as books progress in a series I find that they start to feel drawn out and lose their appeal but this is really not the case with this book I can actually see that there could be one more book in the series but I can also see why Chrissie Manby may want to leave this series where it is. This could be read as a standalone novel as the important parts of the previous books are recapped during this book but personally this is my favourite series of books and I don’t see how anyone would want to miss out on meeting this family from the beginning so treat yourself to them all as they will all have you laughing out loud and loving this family even more.

I love every single one of the family and they all seem so life like, it is like reading about the family next door and I really don’t want to leave these characters. I usually find it quite hard to read books with children in without them being annoying and childish talk but the children in this book along with the others are developed so well and bring so many witty moments to the storyline, in fact the majority of the humour comes from them especially little Jack and I have to say he is easily my favourite character.

This book gets a massive thumbs up from me and I will definitely be picking a few copies of this book up for friends for Christmas.

Paperback               Kindle

Friday, 20 November 2015

Meet Me in Manhattan by Claudia Carroll

Today it is my stop on the Meet Me in Manhattan Blog tour I am joined by Claudia who is talking to us about which Literary worlds she would want to live in. Please stop by the other blogs on the tour to see what their thoughts on Meet Me in Manhaatan are.

If you could be taken into a book's world, which world would it be? 

I'm highly suggestible and so automatically find myself inside whatever world the author has created for us. Reading Persuasion and suddenly I'm strolling through the Crescent at Bath in a corset and bonnet on my way to 'take the waters' at the Pump Room. Ditto with anything by the Brontes; suddenly I'm back in the Yorkshire moors in the wild wind and rain running away from Hindley Earnshaw. As you do. 
 One of the most perfectly evoked worlds to me though, has to be Oxford during the early 1920's in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisted. I was a student in UCD at the time I first fell in love with the book and can still remember cursing the whole 'concrete jungle' feel of the Belfield campus and longing for the spires of Oxford with boys in straw boaters and jackets punting past on the river. Dream on, says you! 
 Nancy Mitford is another author who excels at creating her own perfect little Mitford-ian sphere too and her characters, all loosely based on her own large and eccentric family are so vividly realised, that you're right in there with them. And I'm also a big fan of Young Adult books too and the more dystopian the better. I'd challenge anyone to read Susan Collins' The Hunger Games series and not imagine that you're marooned on that awful district with a gang of other teens, all of whom are after your blood. And of course I'd have to give special mention to the Harry Potter books, which I adored too. I've got seven Godchildren and each and every one of them fell in love with reading thanks in no small part to the genius of J.K. Rowling. They all want to go to Hogwarts and be taught by the likes of Severus Snape and Professor Minerva McGonagall, presided over by a wise and benign Dumbledore. 
 Mind you, kids books in my day were very different. I grew up on Enid Blyton's Famous Five and all I wanted to do was have adventures and solve mysteries with my brothers. I was a great comic reader too as a kid, although I did keep a few of my old Bunty's and Judy's and can't get over just how many heroines there were who fought crime in what looked suspiciously like their underwear. The Adventures of Valda in Mandy comic, anyone?

My Review
I have such a longing to visit New York so I can not get enough of books that are set there so you can imagine how thrilled I was as I was working my way through the Christmas books on my TBR pile and found Meet Me in Manhattan by Claudia Carroll. 
Holly Johnson has turned to the world of internet dating to try and find romance and as she gets talking to pilot Andy McCoy she starts to believe she may have found someone. After their arranged meetings hot some problems she beginnings to suspect something isn’t quite right so she decides to surprise him by flying over to Manhattan but will she be welcomed with open arms or will they both receive a surprise of their lives?

I did actually find this book a little difficult to get in with and I have to say twice I started reading this book and put it aside thinking it just wasn’t for me but I think this is because I have never done or had any interest in the whole online dating thing. I am so glad that I picked this book up again as once the storyline progressed to Holly jetting off to Manhattan the book really picked up the pace and took me in hook line and sinker. 

The author takes us on a journey of New York but not just our typical iconic landmarks but some pretty impressive hidden gems too which really got me hankering after New York even more. The way she described each of the places made it feel so life like and magic just reading about it I felt like I was there. 

There was a journey of emotions in this book, I was in complete shock with what Holly discovered on arriving in Manhattan I couldn’t have predicted what was revealed. As we get to know Holly a little more we begin to see her background story and this pulled at the heart strings and explained the reason why Christmas is not an exciting time of year for her and also shows the reason why she has built up so many barriers. There were exciting and humorous parts in the book alongside showing the dangers and repercussions of internet dating and identity fraud.

There was a lovely amount of festivity in this book with the book being set completely over the Festive period so it was a perfect read for this time of year. I am so pleased I gave this book another chance as I thoroughly enjoyed it after the slow start. 

Paperback                Kindle

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel's expertise soon spreads. 

But Hazel's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say 'I do'? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?

Abby Clements is one of my favourite authors and she has delivered a sweet romantic storyline for us in her latest release The Winter Wedding. Rather than this being a festive read, like the title suggests it is more a Winter read full of romance

When Hazel steps in to plan her twin sister’s wedding for her at short notice she didn’t expect to become in demand from other bridal parties looking for her to take on their Weddings but with all this love in the air will Hazel ever find the love of her life?

Hazel was a very caring and creative character who didn’t seem to know exactly what it was that she wanted to do but she has a great unique talent in making the little sets, I had visions of walking into a room full of loads of miniature dolls rooms ready to coo over! The supporting characters were all likable characters but Hazel was easily took center stage in this book. I loved the friendship which blossomed between Hazel and Amber they had so much in common and also had a kind of respect for each other which is shown in a particular part of the book.

This book seemed very different to the author’s previous books, this was more of a gentle easy storyline compared to the deeper absorbing books I am used to from this author. This isn’t a bad thing it is great to see authors delivering something different and I did really enjoy this book and had to keep snatching chapters here and there but the difference being with this book is I felt like it was all wrapped up where as usually I am left wanting to meet the characters again because of the connection I have with them and their story, I can’t bare to leave them.

This is a wonderful fun and uplifting romantic read perfect for a cosy Sunday in away from the manic Christmas crowds.

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I want to brighten someone else’s day with this book so I have a copy of The Winter Wedding up for grabs and this giveaway is open world wide so Good Luck everyone x

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

To Las Vegas . . . and beyond! 

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she's on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family. She's determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...). 

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! 

So can she save the day just when they need her most?

The books that got me reading again as an adult were The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella and to me it is like Christmas has come every time a new one is released as I can never get enough of Becky Brandon’s antics so when Shopaholic to the Rescue arrived I put my current read to one side and started on this one straight away.

Becky is determined to track down her missing father even if it means traipsing around Las Vegas with all her friends and family and not forgetting Alicia Bitch Long Legs! As ever Becky has dramatic plans to help her friends and family on this mission.

In this book we see the pressure on the friendship between Suze and Becky and I wasn’t sure if their friendship could survive or if they had just reached a point where they had grown apart and so the whole way through I was waiting with batted breath to see what the outcome would be.

As we have come to expect with the Shopaholic books there were laugh out loud moments my particular favourites involving Janice and her drug smuggling at the beginning of the book and my favourite part of the whole book the Mutton Bustin which had me laughing out loud around the side of the pool in Champneys Health Spa which was in silence apart from my snorts of laughter!

I never expected to say this but I actually thing the Shopaholic series has done all it can now, the storyline, although still enjoyable and entertaining it didn’t have the spark that the rest of the books have and Becky didn’t stand out in her crazy joyous way she usually does, I am so used to there being an upbeat lively feel surrounding Becky but this was lacking in this book. The storyline centered around characters who we are not familiar with and felt like our lovable characters were weaved around them rather than taking center stage.

I still found myself flying through this book and finishing it in a day because the author has such a enjoyable and easy writing style and I would still recommend this book as it is a great read but I do think here is where I will say goodbye to my favourite fictional heroine Becky. This is a hard book to rate as compared to the rest of the series I would say it is a 3 star book but trying not to compare to the other books and thinking of it as a standalone read I would still say it is worthy of a 4 star rating.

Hardback                Kindle

Thursday, 5 November 2015

How to Stuff up Christmas by Rosie Blake

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen. But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat?

I love the cute, sparkly and festive cover for How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake this book is going to look great in the Christmas stockings this year. This was my first book by Rosie Blake so I was excited to see what this author was going to deliver and I was not disappointed.

Christmas is just around the corner and heartbroken Eve doesn’t want to spend Christmas with her family as it will just be a reminder of the previous Christmas and how much things have changed, so she decides to do something completely new to her starting with staying on a houseboat but what she didn’t expect was to meet the handsome village vet Greg who came to her rescue but can he help mend her broken heart too or is he hiding something?

This was such a delightful read that had a sprinkling of humour and a flurry of romance to keep you hooked on these cold winter nights. A lot of humour came from Eve’s poor cooking skills which I could sympathise with ( yes I am also not a natural in the kitchen unless it is reaching for the takeaway menu!) add a pesky Goose and a jealous peeping husband and you have a perfect mix to have you giggling away.

Eve was such a normal every day woman who was a very likable character so it was a joy to watch her on her little adventure to heal her broken heart with her dog in tow that she was holding hostage!
Greg was a perfect love interest, a pure gentleman with a secret that I have to say I guessed very early on but it didn’t ruin the storyline at all and actually there was another twist in the book that I didn’t see coming so that totally had me by surprise.

The storyline was very light and the chapters short so it was an easy read to pick up and put down, I was stealing moments between clients to read a chapter or two!

This is a wonderful romantic festive read which I thoroughly enjoyed and I loved the authors writing style which flowed so easily and made me eager to get back to the characters each time I put it down so this is an author whose books I will be looking out for in the future.

Paperback                Kindle

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world-renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead-up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be either merry or bright.

Alec has learned the hard way not to trust beautiful women―and Skylar is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But as he watches her throw herself into his family’s festive chaos, Alec realises there is far more to this blonde bombshell than meets the eye. With Christmas around the corner, Alec and Skylar return to Puffin Island, a tentative bond forged between them. Neither intends to fall in love but as the nights become darker, and the fire between them grows hotter, could this be the chance for Alec and Skylar to find their own happy ending?

I had such mixed feelings when Christmas Ever After arrived through the post box, I couldn’t wait to revisit Puffin Island especially at Christmas time but the other part of me really didn’t want to leave Puffin Island.

In this book we catch up with some of our much loved characters from the previous two books but this book centres on Skylar who early on in this book finds herself in a heartbreaking and delicate situation and the last person she expected to come to her rescue was Alec! To say the couple have had a prickly relationship is putting it mildly and yet the charming and caring Alec was on hand when she needed someone. Alec has plans for the festive season but cannot leave Skylar alone so as she joins him she experiences Christmas time that is more warming than she is used to.

This book really should have come with a warning as I sat down to start this book on Sunday evening next time I looked at the clock and it was gone half one in the morning and I had finished the book in one blissful sitting. Yes ok the outcome was predictable but this didn’t matter one tiny bit because the journey to the ending was exciting and comforting and had me swooning away and obviously a little bit hooked too. Watching the relationship blossom with lots of humorous moments made me sit smiling away at the book like a goon.

The setting of the book moves from London to the Cotswold's and to our much loved Puffin Island and all three of these places were all beautifully described and set the festive scene with the chill and snowy back drop, I so long to spend my Christmas on Puffin Island.

The true meaning of Christmas shines through and Skylar gets to see how other families and her friends spend Christmas and how different they are to the Christmases she has always know.
This book was just as good as the previous two and I think this is one of the few series of books where I don’t have a favourite as they all bring a little something different but then we are treated to little snippets of what is going on in the characters from the previous books so we always have that comforting and familiar feel to them.

I will be so sorry to leave Puffin Island behind, I really hope that Sarah Morgan revisits again in another book as it would be great to see how things have progressed with all of the characters as I really don’t think these characters are going to go away quietly as they still have little stories to tell ( this could just be me being greedy and having separation problems hehe).

This could be read as a stand alone but I urge you to read all three as they are wonderful books that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. This book gets a big thumbs up from me and so far from the books I have read this year this one has the most festive feel to it.

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