Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Rachel's Mexican Holiday Reading - Part 1

I arrived home yesterday after an incredibly relaxing fortnight at the Grand Riviera Princess in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. 

Please don't ask me about the resort, as I didn't leave the hotel, and did very little at all for the two weeks. I spent a lot of time shade-bathing (which was warm without being the stifling heat of sun bathing), reading quite a lot, napping, and then watching entertainment in the evenings. 

I did exactly what I wanted for two weeks, with no need to answer to anyone, or anything, and really enjoyed my nightly dip in my jacuzzi bath tub. And the all inclusive cocktails were wonderful too, I kept drinking Chocolate Martinis while listening to music! 

 The hotel itself was wonderful on the whole, and I loved watching the Coatis (little scavenger, raccoon type creatures) running wild all over the resort, as well as seeing Iguanas soak up the sun. 

If you are facebook friends with me I hope to upload photos as soon as I can. 

Over the course of two weeks, I managed to read 28 books (well I finished the last one last night in a state of heavy exhausted daze!). Due to there being 28 books, I am going to split this post into two parts, so here are the first 14 books I read, plus some quick thoughts on each of them. 

Amazon UK
Fat Chance by Nick Spalding - 5 Stars

This was a hilarious look at the diet and fitness industry and most of the observations made, were so true but written in a way that couldn't help by make me laugh. What I am noticing the more I read Nick Spalding, is that he has a knack of describing relatively simple scenes with a great wit, and this was a fabulous way to amuse myself on the first half of my flight to Mexico. Fat Chance is funny and uplifting and I loved every second of it. 

Amazon UK
The Toy Taker by Luke Delaney - 4 Stars

This is a book that had an interesting villain , which had me guessing a lot. As the third book in the DI Sean Corrigan series, it can definitely be read as a standalone, and I found it to be a great installment to the series, which has left me eager to start book four. There were insights into the villain's mindset, but I was just as interested in just how DI Sean Corrigan was able to look into solving a crime where, there are very few clues to go on. 

Amazon UK
The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond - 5 Stars

I loved the alternating view points from the two step sisters, one who have lived very different lives. Rachel's kids who Becca has to look after, while Rachel is recovering, are all a joy to read, and felt very realistic in their portrayals. Becca is a character who I wasn't keen on at the start, but that I grew to love. I found The Secrets of Happiness was a book I absorbed incredibly fast, and was a pleasure to read. 

Amazon UK
See You Soon Broadway by Melissa Baldwin - 3 Stars

I found this to be a quick and easy read, with a nice writing style, However there was no real depth to the book, and I thought the characters weren't as fully formed as perhaps they could have been. That being said it is the first in a series so there is definitely room to learn more about the characters in future books! There was a partially interesting mystery in the book, but I think what really disappointed me was that although Maris has always dreamed of being on Broadway, there were very little talk of musicals or Broadway, other than in a "I should be there "feeling.  I did like the book and would happily give the author another try. 

Amazon UK
The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon - 5 Stars

I believe this is the first book that I have read with identical triplets as the main characters, and its was wonderful getting to know each of the three girls personalities, as the story rotates between the three of them. They have all fallen in love with the same man, but it takes until towards the end of the book, for you to see just who Angus's soul mate really is, as at some point or another he is close to all of them. The storytelling is compelling to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing just how the story developed. This is definitely one of Paige Toon's best books to date. 

Amazon UK
Burning Moon by Jo Watson - 4 Stars

Absolutely adored the setting of Burning Moon, which was predominately set in Thailand. It is a humorous story which carries with it a huge sense of adventure. There are some stand out memorable moments, some which had me giggling out loud including everything to do with Lilly's plane journey over to Thailand. I loved seeing what would happen next with each chapter, and is the sort of book that just really appealed to me. I found Burning Moon to be a promising debut, and I am already eager to read more from this author, and more of her Destination Love books, as I love romance and exotic settings. 

Amazon UK
Honeycote by Veronica Henry  - 4 Stars

There is a huge cast of characters in this story to get to know, which is rather overwhelming at the start. As a result there are also a fair amount of storylines to try and keep track of, which you may thing would be confusing, but it did work for me. I however to start with didn't feel that strong an affinity with any characters, although as the book developed, I did start to feel sorry for Liddiard family. This is an early book by Veronica Henry and feels quite different to her more recent releases, but it was still  an enjoyable story, and I am definitely interested the town of Honeycote, and am looking forward to eventually reading the rest of the trilogy of books set in Honeycote. 

Amazon UK
The Canal Boat Cafe by Cressida McLaughlin - 5 Stars

Originally released in four parts, all of which felt like they could stand alone on their own two covers, I really feel this was best read as the combined version, so that I didn't have to wait to see how the next part would develop. What is not to love about this book, it features dogs, cakes, boats, a rather cosy atmosphere, a gorgeous guy, and some rather eccentric characters too, all put together to make a delightfully fantastic book. This may only be the second book by Cressida McLaughlin, but I think she is becoming a must read as soon as the book comes out author for me, as I have adored both so far. 

Amazon UK
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena - 5 Stars

From the moment I first read the blurb to this book I was hooked, and thankfully the story inside kept me gripped the entire time. It was easy to follow the action from the multiple view points. What was trickier though was to guess the overall outcome, as I kept thinking one thing or another, and then finding I was completely wrong. There really are surprises galore, as we discover just how the crime was committed and who was really behind it all.  The Couple Next Door made me question just how well you can really know anyone. 

Amazon UK
The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene - 5 Stars

A captivating story of friendship, which I found to be really inspiring. There is a lot of depth to the story, including a medical diagnosis that I don't see too often in books, but I had a personal connection to the condition, which added to my interest. Yet the story also features plenty of fun, and even some bucket list style challenges to be completed, by not necessarily the person who wrote the list. This is definitely my favourite of Vanessa Greene's books, although I have  a feeling I may have said that at the time about the previous one! 

Amazon UK
All That Glitters by Holly Smale - 4 Stars

Earlier this year, I read the first three Geek Girl books in just one weekend, and from that I was hooked. I absolutely adore this series, despite being an adult, and really love Harriet Manners, and all of her facts. In All The Glitters, Harriet has a new modelling job of sorts in Morocco, and I loved the section of the story set there. Meanwhile her in school life, she is trying her hardest to gain some new friends, and the ways the goes about it are well meant, if a little clumsy and not fully thought out. My lasting impression of the book was that there is a message about being yourself, and not trying to be someone or something your not. 

Amazon UK
Forget Me Knot by Mary Marks - 4 Stars

I am really partial the occasionally crafting mystery with an unlikely female sleuth, and in Forget Me Knot there is a very strong female protagonist, who is determined to work out who killed her quilting friend, and also stole some quilts. I learnt a lot about the different sorts of quilts, and about the hobby in general,  There are quite a few interesting threads and theories in the story, and I would definitely be interested in seeing just how this series progresses. 

Amazon UK
The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger - 4.5 Stars

I found The Singles Game to be an exhilarating and exhausting look at the world of female singles tennis on the professional tour. The book took place over the year, and charts Charlie's recovery from injury while she attempts to win a Grand Slam, while changing her coach from a mild woman to a harsh ex-pro player who want's to give Charlie's whole image a makeover. Over the course of this, she gets more endorsements and becomes a brand image, but whether she can really still live with herself as this new cutting edge persona is another matter. I really liked Charlie, and despised a lot of her support team and management team, but as a Tennis fan, I loved all the locations they went to play, the small bits of glamour that dotted about the book, 

Amazon UK
All About The Hype by Paige Toon - 5 Stars

I am absolutely gutted that this is a series that has now finished, I have loved all three of the Jessie Jefferson books, and All About The Hype, is probably my favourite of them, as it builds to a fantastic conclusion. I am so invested in the series, I can't say how well this would work as a standalone, but if in doubt read all three of these books, as they are so well written, really easy to read, and all around brilliant stories. I couldn't believe it when I had tears pricking at the start of the book, and then again later on too, as the story takes you on a roller coaster, of highs and lows for Jessie. There is also a far more fatherly side to Johnnie this time, and I also was keen to find out which of her two potential boyfriends she would end up with.  I felt really connected to Jessie and really hope this isn't the last we have seen of the Jefferson family. 

Well those are the first 14 books that I read in Mexico. I hope to have part 2 written on Friday or Saturday, with a bit of luck, when I can spare another couple of hours to decipher my scrawled notes on each book!

Really hope you enjoyed this look at what I have read, and that you will return to see the conclusion of this post. 


  1. That is an impressive amount of books! Sounds like utter bliss but not too sure about a chocolate martini xxx


  2. Goodness!! Off to the Sensimar in Mexico in Feb. Don't think I'll read half this amount!!

  3. Very impressive, Rachel ... thank goodness for chocolate martinis, I'm sure!


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