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Archive for the ‘christmas read’ Category

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS FAITH_FRONT_150dpi

** My thanks to Rachel and Kathryn for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Is it time to love Christmas again?
Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests … 
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy.
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

My Thoughts & Review:

What a lovely book to get in the festive mood with, full of romance and feel good moments with a fantastic setting and lovely characters.

The style of writing in this book makes the story flow easily, gently leading the reader onwards.  The descriptions are utterly wonderful, The Old Mill really came alive on the pages for me, I could see the huge Christmas tree in the lobby, I felt like I was able to wander the corridors of the hotel, such clear images were conjured by Kathryn Freeman’s writing.  The characters are interesting and easy to connect with, I found that the more I read about Faith, the more I liked her.  She’s the epitome of loveliness, so kind hearted and supportive, wants to be there for everyone and help them.  Adam on the other hand, can’t see past his grief.  He loathes Christmas and everything about it, but underneath it all, he’s such a gentle and lovely guy.  Seeing the chemistry between these two was so lovely, and the way its all unfolds makes for entertaining and enjoyable reading.

The plot is packed with everything you want in a feel good Christmas read, ups and downs, laughter and all the subtle moments that make for enjoyable read that leaves you feeling all is right in the world.

You can buy a copy of A Little Christmas Faith via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:5707-2

I was born in Wallingford but have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Social Media Links –

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

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Published: 7 November 2016
Reviewed: 28 November 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Canelo in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Warm your heart with this perfect Christmas love story

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s always a treat to read a book written by Darcie Boleyn, there’s a wonderful warmth in her writing, rich characters that you feel are like old friends instead of new acquaintances but best of all the sense of humour that shines through the narrative is just utterly brilliant.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is wonderfully festive tale that the reader can curl up with and enjoy.
With narration from both of the main characters Lucie and Dale the reader gets a great insight into each character and how they feel, and can understand why these two people who are perfect for each other are not a couple (yet).  And by writing in this way, Boleyn ensures that the reader becomes attached to her characters, becomes invested in their stories and feels like they want to keep reading to see how the story evolves.

All of the characters are well written, including the supporting characters.  They are endearing, realistic, and can be infuriating at times especially Lucie who I think many readers would like to give her a wee shake or bash her and Dale’s heads together.
As always, the descriptive qualities in Boleyn’s writing are spot on.  The settings are so vividly described that I could imagine the scenes in New York so clearly, the carriage ride, the hotel suite.

I suppose the only negative thing about this book is it’s over too quickly, a short but lovely read that I was really sad to finish.  I must add that despite it being a short book, the plot is jam packed and utterly engrossing.  It’s a Christmassy feel good book that deserves to be on your reading list every year.

The perfect book to get you feeling festive!

You can buy a copy of A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas here.

 

 

About the Author:

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

For more information about Darcie’s books go to her website or follow her on Twitter @DarcieBoleyn

 

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Published: 3 November 2016
Reviewed: 10 November 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Canongate Books in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The next magical book in the festive series, begun with A Boy Called Christmas, from Number One bestselling author Matt Haig

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

My Thoughts & Review:

Written as the follow up to A Boy Called Christmas, The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a wonderful tale set in the Victoria era about a young girl called Amelia who has a huge part to play in Christmas this year, she just doesn’t know it yet.  This book can be read and thoroughly enjoyed without having read A Boy Called Christmas first.

This is the perfect book to read in the lead up to Christmas, old and young readers will be delighted by the magic of it all and be swept away on an adventure.  Like many parents, I tend to read a book first to assess whether it is suitable for my child (ok I admit, I read this one because I REALLY REALLY wanted to!) and I can honestly say that even with the rampaging trolls this is still a wonderful book for children and young adults.  There is a richness in Haig’s writing that flows through the pages, you can almost “feel” the spark of magic as you turn the pages.  The spectacular illustrations by Chris Mould fit so perfectly with the tale, they add to the atmosphere in the book and help to bring it all to life.  At times I almost felt that Haig’s writing reminded me of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, creating a tale in a world that’s equally magical and mystical at the same time, the world not entirely perfect but there is still happiness and humour.

The messages that this book sends about hope, caring for each other and the power of believing in magic are important and it is nice to see their inclusion.
This has a feel of a modern day classic, and one that could easily become part of a family Christmas tradition – like reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve or staying up as late as possible to try and see Santa.

Despite having an electronic copy of this book I will be ordering a physical copy so that we can enjoy this together as a family and add it to our Christmas Eve routine.

You can buy a copy of The Girl Who Saved Christmas here.

About the Author:

Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as ‘delightfully weird’ and the New York Times has called him ‘a novelist of great talent’ whose writing is ‘funny, riveting and heartbreaking’.

His novels for adults are The Last Family in England, narrated by a labrador and optioned for film by Brad Pitt; The Dead Fathers Club (2006), an update of Hamlet featuring an 11-year-old boy; The Possession of Mr Cave (2008), about a man obsessed with his daughter’s safety, and The Radleys (2010) which won Channel 4’s TV Book Club public vote and was shortlisted for a Galaxy National Book Award (UK). The film rights to all his adult novels have been sold. His next adult novel is The Humans (2013).

His multi-award winning popular first novel for children, Shadow Forest, was published in 2007 and its sequel, The Runaway Troll, in 2009. His most recent children’s novel is To Be A Cat (2012).

For more information see Matt’s website  or follow him on Twitter.

 

 

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Published: 20 October 2016
Reviewed: 21 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Sphere / Little, Brown Book Group in return for an honest review

Description:

It’s Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne – a time for family, friends and feasting.

Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She’s at her happiest when she’s creating delicious, doughy treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She’s determined that this Christmas is going to be their best one yet, but life doesn’t always work out as planned…

When Polly’s best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly’s past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that’s not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?

My Thoughts & Review:

As much as I am a fan of crime and psychological thrillers, there’s something about Jenny Colgan’s writing that makes me do a meerkat impression whenever I hear she has a new book coming out and this one was no exception.  Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery is a heartwarminly wonderful slice of Christmas and it sees the return to the beautifully described coastal village of Mount Polbearne.  Even more exciting was “seeing” one of my favourite characters – Neil the puffin.  Yes, ok the other characters are alright too I suppose…..

I should point out that you can read this book as a standalone, if you’re looking to start your Christmas reading list this is an excellent book to include.  You don’t have to read the entire series to make sense of what happens in this book, the who’s who and why etc but with a series as lovely as this why would you want to miss out on the preceding books?  They are Little Beach Street Bakery and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery.

We are reunited with Polly Waterford who is a great character, with baking skills that would rival any in the tent at the Great British Bake Off I reckon.  She has grown so much over the course of the previous books and the development of her character has been wonderful to watch.  This Christmas all she wants is a quiet time with her boyfriend Huckle, but alas, things never go as planned for her.  Throw in familial issues, friendship worries, trying to save the puffin sanctuary and trying to juggle running a business and it’s only a matter of time before Polly is faced with making some uncomfortable decisions about her present and her future.  The test of her character comes when trying to remain loyal to those she loves and keeping them all from being hurt by revelations that could ruin everything.

I absolutely loved catching up with the residents of the wee village, their stories are intertwined and it’s so lovely to see the community spirit between them all.  The fact that Polly has “pet” puffin living with her and Huckle is so funny and endearing, even more so when Colgan depicts him as such a heat loving, affection giving bird – the idea of  him warming up by the Aga made me chuckle.  I also loved the fact that because he’s overweight Polly and Huckle took him for a walk….expect Neil had other ideas and slept in a backpack.

Jenny Colgan writes with such a wonderful flair, the vivid descriptiveness means the reader can easily visualise the village, the crossing to get over to the island (tide permitting), the people and the mouthwatering bakes that Polly creates.  There is an easy going feel to the narration, almost as if the reader was having a chat with Jenny, the conversational tone really works and makes this such an enjoyable read that you don’t realise how quickly you are reading the book whilst savouring each detail.

The plot is filled with humour, romance, loyalty and friendship.  The festive feel of it all is cozy and uplifting.  It’s the perfect Christmas read!

A huge thank you to Jenny for the recipes at the back of the book, but don’t think that this will let you off the hook for making this the last book in the series!  I will be sad to say goodbye to Mount Polbearne and the villagers – especially Neil but I can honestly say it’s been a real delight to follow such a lovely series.  And it does mean that I will have to move on to Jenny’s next set of books, whatever they shall be!

You can buy a copy of Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery here.

About the Author:

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels – Little Beach Street Bakery and the Top 5 bestseller Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2013. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was also a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, and won the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance 2012.

Jenny is married with three children and lives in Scotland. For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @jennycolgan

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Dashing Through The Snow

Author: Debbie Macomber
Published: 19 November 2015
Reviewed: 27 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Random House UK  in return for an honest review.

1 out of 5 stars  

 

The new romantic Christmas story from New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Ashley Davison is desperate to spend the holidays with her mother in Seattle. Dash Sutherland has an interview for the job of a lifetime in Seattle and must arrive by 23 December. Both frantic to book a last-minute flight out of California, Ashley and Dash collide at the airport to learn that there are no flights and only one rental car available. After a rocky start, the two reluctantly agree to drive to Washington together. But their journey isn’t without obstacles, and a misunderstanding with the law threatens to ruin their holiday plans altogether. 

Will Ashley make it home in time to surprise her mother? Will Kevin report to duty as expected? And most importantly, will they both have the opportunity to discover the greatest gift of all?

Ashley finds herself unable to get a flight to Seattle to spend Christmas with her mother, not realising that she’s actually on the FBI’s no fly list.  Dash Sutherland needs to get to Seattle for a job interview and cannot afford to hope for a standby ticket.  When they meet at the car rental desk it’s decided they will rent a car and drive to Seattle together (well Ashley has to agree to this, the rental firm don’t hire cars to anyone under 25). 
Along the way Ashley and Dash bicker, chat and generally get along like two strangers in a car.  Dash is the dark, brooding character, he was in military intelligence.  Ashley is the ying to his yang, she’s chatty, cheery and wants to know about Dash.
While Ashley and Dash are going along their merry way to Seattle there’s an FBI investigation tracking Ashley Davison down.  She’s a home grown terror suspect that has evaded the FBI for years and they’re not about to let her escape again, not when they find out she may have taken a ex military man hostage.
This is where the story becomes completely nuts, apparently the FBI believe that Ashley is a criminal mastermind, she knew where the cameras were in the airport and knew to avoid being seen by them, knew how to lay trails to outsmart detectives etc.

Whilst the pace of the book is ok, the ending seemed very rushed and the FBI element to the plot was completely pointless to me.  From the good things I’d heard about this author I expected so much more, but I’ve finished this book (thankfully!) and I can honestly say I won’t be looking out for anything else by Macomber.  I really didn’t enjoy this at all, it felt very confused, it wanted to be a Christmas story, it wanted to be romantic and heart warming but in the end it was a muddled read with characters I didn’t really care for and a story I found I wasn’t overly bothered about. 

The book blurb made this sound a whole lot better than it turned out to be, and I’m still in the dark about who Kevin is, he’s mentioned in the blurb but for the life of me I can’t think who he was. 

I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone, unless they wanted a quick read, something easy to flick through or if I didn’t really like them. 

Many thanks to Random House UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 19th November 2015, a copy can be purchased here Dashing Through The Snow (UK Kindle Version)

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