Thursday 31 December 2015

My Christmas Holiday Reading - Part 2

Welcome back, to seeing what I was reading on my wonderful holiday in Fuerteventura. This is the other half of the books I read, again with mini reviews.

Escape for Christmas by Ruth Saberton - 4 Stars
It was great to be back with Gemma Pengelly and friends. I read Escape for Summer last year and enjoyed it, and although its been a while it felt like coming home to these characters. Its a lovely sequel, and I really hope this isn't the end of the Escape series, as would love to see more from Gemma and Cal. 

High Tide by Veronica Henry - 4 Stars
Loved the location of High Tide, and the four different but interesting points of view. Was a pleasure to read.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg - 4 Stars
As I started this, it didn't take me long to realise I may not be quite the target demographic for this book. I felt a bit old to be honest as I was reading it. However at around 100 pages in, when the story starts to take off, I found myself enjoying what I was reading and my reservations started to fade. I found Girl Online to be very easy to read and follow, and that its good light hearted entertainment. I really enjoyed Penny's Girl Online blog posts. 

The SW19 Club by Nicola May - 4.5 Stars
It is very rare for me to wake up in a morning with just one book title shouting over and over its name in my head. I have learnt though that when it does occur and there is a message that strong, that I should probably make it a priority to read that book, and that is what happened with The SW19 Club. And I am delighted that my subconscious was that active, as I found this to be a delightful book, full of quick and easy to read chapters. I kept needing to know what happened next, and as a result I found the book flew past. The SW19 Club deals with a topic that doesn't occur that often in chick lit, at least not in this depth, and does so very sensitively. 

Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan - 5 Stars
I will admit this wasn't necessarily the book I was expecting from Karen Swan, but it was so much better, so amazingly entertaining. I loved everything to do with The Big Blue Bunny campaign, it was hilarious and was definitely the best book I could have picked to read on Christmas day. Fabulous story, with brilliant writing and I am convinced Karen Swan gets better and better every book!
The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey - 5 Stars
I have noticed that Scarlett Bailey has the uncanny knack of being able to write a brilliant Christmas book, in fact I was disappointed there wasn't a new release by her this year. However I luckily still had The Night Before Christmas to read, and I found this story drew me in completely. It is in a fabulously Christmassy location, and in less than a week, its surprising how many lives can change forever, 

The Beachside Guest House by Vanessa Greene - 5 Stars
I loved Paros in Greece, the setting for The Windmill which was the Beachside Guest House. I found Iona's story absorbing and I found myself enjoying her chapters so much more than the others, even though I loved Rosa and Bee's stories too. The whole book was fantastic and I just couldn't put it down for one second. 

Black Diamond by Havana Adams - 5 Stars
With a prologue that hooked me, this is a special book. Lola and Grace are twins that are separated as babies in an orphanage, only Grace was never meant to live. Black Diamond shows us how the two girls grew up and how radically different their fortunes have been. I loved reading both of their stories, An addictive and compulsive read, that is a a rare diamond!

The Mysterious Miss Mayhew by Hazel Osmond - 3.5 Stars
Although I did enjoy this book, I found that at times it was struggling to hold my interest, and it to me just isn't Hazel Osmond's best book. I found the Miss Mayhew character a bit too odd for my liking, and I also struggled to feel an affinity with her. 

Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle - 4.5 Stars
This book had a slightly unusual premise and to be honest the "ghost" of an ex-girlfriend really didn't work for me at all. I'm not normally a fan of ghosts, and this one really just seemed more like a figment of Joe's imagination. Despite that I found the book to be quite emotional in places, and very well written. Its one of those books where you can see what a difference just 1 small decision can make to the rest of your whole life. 

Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood - 5 Stars
Yours Truly is brilliant, entertaining and downright enjoyable. Feel free to include some more superlatives in there at your convenience as they are all deserved. Kirsty Greenwood is a fabulous author and I am eager to read anything else she writes. In parts the storyline reminded me a bit of Liar Liar, but in a very loose way. I loved every single second of this book, which I read in one sitting. 
Winter Wishes: Polwenna Bay 3 by Ruth Saberton - 5 Stars
As you may be able to tell on this blog, I am a huge fan of the Polwenna Bay series, and Winter Wishes is the third installment. I struggled to guess who Danny would end up, either his ex wife Tara, or the vicar Jules, who there has been clear chemistry with in the past. Was good to see more of Jules in this book, as she has been an ever present character, and catching up with the Tremaine family is always good fun. Lovely wintery story, of the standard I have come to expect from Ruth Saberton. 
Girl on the Run by Rhoda Baxter  - 4 Stars
I always enjoy just browsing my kindle to see what I can stumble upon that I may have not overly remembered about before, and Girl on the Run was one of those books for me. I bought it and there it sat for over a year, until I came across it again. I'm delighted that I did, as I found this to be a fast paced, great romance, about a girl on the run from the paparazzi. Large amounts of the story was progressed using text and email between various characters, which gave quick snapshots into a variety of characters, while keeping the focus on Jane. 
The Keeper (DI Sean Corrigan, Book 2) by Luke Delaney - 4.5 Stars
This is the second Sean Corrigan book I have now read, and I am starting to come to the conclusion that Luke Delaney must have a sick and twisted mind, to come up with villains as vile in their nature as the one in The Keeper. Again we get both the police and the villain's points of view, and some of the crimes were making me feel a bit ill. The Keeper managed to keep me awake and alert on the flight home and kept me hooked. Really enjoyed this second book and can't wait to read more of this series. 

And that is it! Wow it has taken me all day to write these two posts, and that is with the help of a notebook with notes on each book.

I promise I did enjoy my holiday, I even went for a swim on Christmas day, and I did talk to other people, as well as have my head in a book or kindle the rest of the time.

All that is really left for me to do is wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope 2016 brings you everything you want. Don't forget to keep checking my publication dates page that I keep updated with all the upcoming new releases.

If I don't post anything else in the next couple of days, then I am definitely back properly on the 4th January!

My Christmas Holiday Reading - Part 1

I am back after 2 glorious weeks of sun and relaxation in Fuerteventura. I saw my sister for a few days for the first time in a couple of years, which was good, and seeing Santa and an Elf arrive by a pool on Christmas day, on a motorbike, and then handing out presents to all the children must have been one of the more surreal sights of the holiday. Also went and saw a fabulous Drag Show, even if the rest of the experience was a complete tourist trap, and watched all manner of shows in the evenings, some live singing and some great miming!

Due to me not really doing much during the days, I got a scary amount of reading done, I believe it is 27 books in 2 weeks, which is a record even for me, and since for once I was organised and making quick notes on each book as I read it, I am hoping to share a set a mini reviews with you for all of these books.

So this is part 1.

Singles Holiday by Elaine Spires - 4 Stars
I found Singles Holiday to be the perfect way to start a holiday, as it follows a group of singles on their holiday every step of the way. Even if don't read much when you are away, I would suggest taking this and reading a chapter a day, following the days of their holiday at the same rate as your own. I was simply amazed at what a group of single travellers could get up to in a holiday, with great ups and downs, and how fast they all bonded. Loved the location of Antigua and it brought back great memories of my own holiday there years ago. 

The Breakup Doctor (The Breakup Doctor Series Book 1) by Phoebe Fox - 4 Stars
Brook Ogden is the expert in helping others through their breakups. However when her own relationship is suddenly over its highly amusing to see how the break up expert deals with her own heart break. This is an entertaining and funny start to the Break Up Doctor series. 

All That Glitters by Vicky Pattinson - 4 Stars
Enjoyed All That Glitters with its hilarious by realistic look at reality TV. I found it to be very easy to read with some great characterization. 

The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill - 4 Stars
Another brilliant book by Melissa Hill, who I always enjoy. Was an absolute pleasure to read, and gave a great taste of small Irish seaside town life. There is a hint of a big secret in the blurb, and I was delighted that it wasn't the sort of secret I was expecting, and was a great secondary storyline. 

Bedside Manners (The Breakup Doctor Series Book 2) by Phoebe Fox - 4 Stars
Lovely follow up to The Breakup Doctor, that is still full of chaos and dating woes. I already have a copy of book 3 of this series on my kindle and hope to be reading it very soon. 

Losing It by Helen Lederer - 3 Stars
I found this book incredibly confusing at the start and that overall it was an absurd story. I will admit I did enjoy the second half of this more than the first, but really think it could have been a lot better. If you want something that is trying its hardest to be funny but not quite managing it, then you may have better luck. Was also shocked that in a book that deals with weight loss in various forms, including some crash dieting, and close to starvation type techniques there wasn't any form of proper health impact on the main character at all these methods. 

The Secrets We Keep by Jonathan Harvey - 4 Stars
I'm a big fan of Jonathan Harvey, and this book just increased my opinion of him. There are two very distinctive parts to this book, which are both very well written, and there are four very distinctive voices to the telling of this story. What I will say is that the ending is definitely not what I would have predicted. 

The Other Child by Lucy Atkins - 4.5 Stars
Tess's situation really got under my skin, and I was feeling the tension along with her. I found The Other Child to be gripping and enthralling. 

The Wish List Addiction by Lindsey Paley - 4 Stars
I have seen Lindsey Paley around on social media and when I saw her state that The Wish List Addiction was free a few months ago, I couldn't resist, knowing that it would give me a great taste for her writing, pretty much risk free. And I am so glad I did download this, as I loved the story. It is very well written, and held me interest throughout the book, and just shows that dreams can come true. Loved the idea of this "Little Green Book of Wishes" where you dip in and out to try things outside of your comfort zone with varying results. I will definitely be reading more of Lindsey's books in the future. 

Cold Killing (DI Sean Corrigan, Book 1) by Luke Delaney - 5 Stars
DI Sean Corrigan is a fantastic new detective, who uses more than just regular police work to catch the bad guys, for he has a rather unique gift. This was a complete page turner, and I really didn't want it to end, although I hadn't quite predicted the ending. There is a dastardly villain, and the story switches between Sean's point of view and what the killer is up to, with some rather graphic descriptions of violence, but that does help you really get a feel for the evil nature of the villain. 

The Perfect Match by Katie Fforde - 4.5 Stars
As always from Katie Fforde this is a warm and loving romance. There is a great selection of characters but I do have to state that ex-boyfriend Nevil is truly despicable. Alice's romance was incredibly sweet and will give anyone some hope of a happy ending. 

Holly's Christmas Kiss by Alison May - 4 Stars
Holly Michelle Jolly is not that keen on Christmas, and was hoping to have a Caribbean Christmas holiday. However when the flight is cancelled she ends up agreeing to a different sort of Christmas. Very sweet Christmas novella set in Edinburgh at Christmas. 

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy - 5 Stars
One very big house in Devon, three very different families that do all know each other a bit, and one fortnight to see sparks fly. I loved seeing the various friendships and all the revelations that were occurring as no family was exactly as they seemed. This is a fabulously summery read and I really did enjoy all the characters. 

The first half of my holiday produced some fantastic books, and there are even more goodies to come in the second half. 

Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone (and a review of A Christmas in Disguise by Katie Fforde)

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who has followed or supported Rachel's Random Reads, since its start in April, a Very Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a wonderful day. 

So long as everything goes to plan, I will be by a pool still enjoying my holiday in Fuerteventura on Christmas morning, having saved myself at least 1 Christmas book to read on the day, and will be looking forward to seeing my sister over the next few days.

See you all once I am back and I'll leave you on this glorious Christmas Day with a review of a new Christmas short story by one of my favourite authors...

Amazon UK
Title: A Christmas in Disguise
Author: Katie Fforde
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publication Date: 25th November 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

When Jo’s friend Andi asks if she’ll stand in to cook Christmas lunch for her employer, Jo reluctantly agrees. She knows Andi will lose her job if she doesn’t, and wants to help out her friend.

Jo is nervous because Andi’s boss is a well-known celebrity diva, who outright refuses to have anyone but Andi cook for her. But she also insists Andi wears full chef's whites so the girls think they’ll get away with it … it’s the perfect Christmas disguise.

But when Jo runs into one of the guests - good looking and very smart Anthony - things get even more complicated…

A Christmas in Disguise is a perfect Christmas day read, when you just need an hour to yourself, to remind yourself that your Christmas isn't the only that may not be going exactly to plan, then take a quick nip into this short story by Katie Fforde. 

In a short space of time you are introduced to Jo, who has agreed to cook Christmas dinner instead of Andi, for Andi's boss, and pretend to be Andi too. You also soon after meet Anthony, one of Caroline's Christmas day guests who would quite like Jo's help in some subterfuge of his own. 

Jo ends in a sticky situation that is downright amusing, and good fun, and some of the food sounds so tasty. 

A Christmas in Disguise is a story about a Christmas day, and you get quite a bit of depth to the characters, including the other guests, and get a good sense of what the dinner would be like. It feels like a passage of classic Katie Fforde writing, and was warm and well written. 

An enjoyable Christmas read, to enjoy when you need a bit of a break from your own real life Christmas festivities. 

Thank you so much to  Random House, Cornerstone and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Tuesday 15 December 2015

See you in 2016!

A few of you may be aware, but I'm off in the morning to Fuerteventura for Christmas, and for a lovely 2 week holiday in the sun. 

I'm staying in this absolutely gorgeous looking hotel and looking forward to a fortnight of heat, reading by a pool, sleeping and on Boxing Day my sister is popping over to visit me at the hotel for a few days, which will also be good. 

As a result there aren't any more posts going up on Rachel's Random Reads until 4th January, where I already have some great reviews lined up, a good amount of books for next year waiting and ready for me to read, and plans in my mind at least for new themed weeks, and at least one new feature starting back up. And Rachel Reads Randomly will also be back. 

Like with my last holiday, I won't be properly reviewing books I read away, but may do short reviews once I am back (depending on whether I remember enough, or jot down some notes). If I have a book of yours that I have promised to review, then I will get to them hopefully at some point in 2016!

This is the stack of paperbacks I am taking with me as well as my kindle. Hope to get through all of these and a lot more. 

All that is left for me to do now is wish everyone a Happy Holidays and will see you all in the New Year. 

And if anyone feels like giving me a suggestion for a book on my kindle that I should read to get my holiday off to a great start on the plane, I would welcome them. 

Book Review - A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

Amazon UK

Title: A Parcel for Anna Browne
Author: Miranda Dickinson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 24th September 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

The gift of a lifetime?

Anna Browne is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Her day job as a receptionist in bustling London isn't exactly her dream, yet she has everything she wants. But someone thinks Anna Browne deserves more . . .

When a parcel addressed to Anna Browne arrives, she has no idea who has sent it. Inside she finds a beautiful gift - one that is designed to be seen. And so begins a series of incredible deliveries, each one bringing Anna further out of the shadows and encouraging her to become the woman she was destined to be. As Anna grows in confidence, others begin to notice her - and her life starts to change.

But who is sending the mysterious gifts, and why?

What does a scarf, a necklace, a pair of shoes and an old record have in common, as well as some other seemingly unconnected items?

They were just some of the parcels that Anna Browne recieves during this book.  Anna is just your average receptionist, working on reception for a big national newspaper. She is happy with noone really paying her attention, and for her life to be fairly ordinary. 

She has a good group of friends, enjoys her job, and is happy pottering along as she is. She has never been a fan of being the centre of attention, and had an awkward childhood.  However all this changes the first time, she receives at parcel at her reception desk, that is for her. 

Anna wasn't expecting anything, and despite her colleagues curious faces decides to take it home to open later. On going to work tomorrow, it seems the parcel has had an almost magical effect, and people are starting to take note of kind, Anna Browne on reception,. 

With each parcel, Anna receives she ends up on a voyage of self discovery, and almost a mini adventure as life suddenly becomes more colourful, with Anna playing a far bigger part in life than she was intending.  As it progresses, she also wants to uncover the mystery of the sender of the parcels, amidst all sorts of conspiracy theories from people she knows. 

This is a story of a personal voyage, of someone who sends thoughtful parcels, friendships and a possible slow building romance. It is a lovely story, and really restores your faith in the possibility that there as potentially selfless good deeds going on. 

I will admit I did suspect the eventual present sender, and also thought the the book felt a bit more drawn out than perhaps it needed to be. Although I enjoyed reading the story, I found it was only towards the last quarter where it became really compulsive to continue, which is when the pace picked up a bit too. 

I know this may sound weird but at times the narration sounded as though it could have been on a Disney film, and I was almost picturing the story as an animation. I'm fairly convinced that add in a few songs, and you would definitely have a hit film. 

Really enjoyed A Parcel for Anna Browne, perhaps not as much as other books by Miranada Dickinson, but still thought it was very good. This is definitely a book for people that love receive mystery parcels, that are seemingly perfect for you. 

Thank you to Pan and Netgalley for this review copy. This is my honest opinion. 

Book Review - A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

Amazon UK
Title: A Night in with Audrey Hepburn
Author: Lucy Holliday
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 21st May 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

A hilarious and heart-warming debut and the perfect girl’s night in. For fans of Summer at Shell Cottage and Game of Scones. LOL funny!!

Unlucky in love, failed actress Libby Lomax has retreated into the world of classic movies, where the immortal lives of the screen goddesses offer so much more in the way of romance than her own life.
After a terrible day on the set of a cult TV sci-fi series where she has proved herself to be the antithesis of feminine poise and embarrassed herself in front of heartthrob actor Dillon O’Hara, she plonks herself down in front of her trillionth viewing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Relaxing on her battered old couch, salvaged from the props department by her best friend Olly, Libby is gob smacked to find actual Screen Icon, Audrey Hepburn, sitting beside her. Dressed in her little black dress, wearing her trademark sunglasses, Audrey proffers advice to the hapless Libby between ladylike puffs on her vintage cigarette holder.

And so, Audrey becomes Libby’s confidante and friend – but has Libby got what it takes to turn her life from a Turkey to a Blockbuster? With a little bit of Audrey Hepburn magic, she might just pull it off…

A Night in With Audrey Hepburn is the first in a series of three books following the life and loves of Libby Lomax as she blossoms from Z-lister to A-lister and all of the stages in between with a little bit of help from some very special friends.

What an enjoyable and entertaining story, so long as you can suspend your disbelief at Audrey Hepburn suddenly appearing in Libby Lomax's new apartment, with no viable explanation for it. 

Libby Lomax is an extra, pushed into the career by her mother, and sister. Her sister Cass is an actress, and years of being made to audition for the productions that Cass is also going to be in, has lead to Libby having no other viable career options. Libby also appears to be a general dogsbody for her family. She luckily though has a good friend in Olly, who helps her finally move out of her mums house, to a tiny flat of her own. 

When Libby is fired from the set of a sci-fi series, where she embarasses herself infront of the gorgeous Dillon O'Hara, in a fabulous scene involving an alien costume and a cigarette, she then has her first night in her new apartment, with the sofa Olly acquired for her. 

While sitting and watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, on her new sofa, suddenly from nowhere Audrey Hepburn appears. And throughout the book, Audrey seems quite at home in Libby's apartment, but you are never sure if its a ghost or a hallucination, or something else, as actions Audrey make have an affect on the real world!

I did feel at points the story just didn't feel like it was moving along particularly fast, but, this is the first book in what I believe is a trilogy, and thus it could just be this was all the building blocks being put into place for books 2 and 3. 

There are loads of funny moments in the book, including an incident at the spa, the alien incident already mentioned, and a drink being thrown in Libby's face all spring to mind easily. 

A Night in with Audrey Hepburn is written in a light hearted style, that is easy to read and understand. Libby has two main men in her life, one as a friend and one who is more, and I can't wait to see how the story progresses between the three of them, in the next book. 

My review of the next book in this series, A Night in with Marilyn Monroe, will be up very shortly. 

Monday 14 December 2015

Book Review - As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden

Amazon UK
Title: As Weekends Go
Author: Jan Brigden
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Choc Lit
Publication Date: 4th December 2015
Rating: 3.5 Stars

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend? 
When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her. 

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more … 

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it? 

For the most part I really enjoyed As Weekends Go, however I felt it sort of dragged out a bit, and although the lovely ending did go some way to improving my overall feelings about the book, I just couldn't quite get past the bits that I wasn't so keen on. 

Rebecca's whole marriage to Greg is my main issue. I really hated Greg, and how he treats Rebecca, and also found I was getting frustrated with Rebecca to not have the balls to stand up to Greg and to try to fix her life. 

The first half of the book, I loved. The trip to Hawksley Manor Hotel, and seeing what Rebecca and Abi got up to, and the descriptions of this magnificent, and luxurious hotel were great. I had a great time imagining myself that I was there with them. While they were staying in York, we also got to see what Greg and Nick were up  to. 

Greg as I have already mentioned is a nasty piece of work, and we learn very early on, some of what is causing him to act the way he currently is. But yet we only have the author's word through Rebecca, that he ever had a nicer side. I never saw any evidence of it, which in some respects made him feel slightly one dimensional to me. 

Nick is on a stag weekend in Spain, and is having a great time reliving his youth and drinking plenty.  Meanwhile back in York, Rebecca stumbles into top footballer Alex, and you can see there is an instant connection there. 

All the scenes between Alex and Rebecca I loved, and I was really rooting for that to go somewhere, or for us to have seen a lot more of Alex than after the weekend is over. 

It is amazing how one weekend can change  five lives, forever, in different ways. However after the focus on the weekend away, I just felt that the rest of the book was lacking that certain something to keep me hooked. 

A good debut from Jan Brigden, but its just a book that didn't gel with me properly, I'm sorry to say. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Choc Lit for this review copy. This is my honest opinion. 

Book Review - A Wedding at Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Amazon UK
Title:  A Wedding at Christmas
Author: Chrissie Manby
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 19th November 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

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...

A Weddding at Christmas is a proper farewell to the Benson family. This is as far as I know the last planned book about this wonderful family, and as such it is left without many loose ends, and in some respects comes full circle. 

This book will definitely work as a standalone, as all the key moments of the previous books have been mentioned in passing, and the family tree at the front of the book is useful too, not only to newcomers, but also to returners to the family, as its a quick and easy way to remind yourself, who is connected to who. Of course if you haven't read any of these, I would recommend you start the series at the beginning, as they are all a brilliant as each other, and better combined. 

Once again this book is written in lots of very short chapters, so even if you are busy, you could fit in a quick chapter or two in between going about your daily life, and still move the story along. Each chapter has a heading telling us who the focus is on in it, which is very helpful when you have four generations, and many different characters stories needing to be heard. But it is not confusing at all and you will soon settle into a nice easy rhythm of reading this book and ignoring the outside world.

I will admit there are elements in this book, that I could see coming quite a bit before they occurred, but it didn't really bother me, as the storytelling is so great, I wanted to see the characters reactions to certain events. 

There are many laugh out loud moments in A Wedding at Christmas, and as you would expect from the Benson family, nothing ever runs smoothly, especially not a wedding being put together in only 12 weeks, with Chelsea, Ronnie and Annabel all having such different opinions on what a wedding should be. Family tensions are high, add in Chelsea meeting her fiancee's dead wife's parents for the first time, and all manner of other dramas. 

I'm surprised that this book wasn't called A Proper Family Wedding, as that is exactly what it was, but a wedding at Christmas, with a festive feel to it. 

I have loved every second of this book, and in fact of this whole series, and really can't wait to see what treats Chrissie Manby has for us next. A Wedding at Christmas is a fantastic story about family, friendship, pulling together in times of need, and most importantly of love.  

Sunday 13 December 2015

Cover Reveal - Match Me If You Can by Michele Gorman

I'm very excited to be able to reveal today, not only the UK but also the USA version of the cover for Michele Gorman's new book Match Me If You Can.

The question on everyone's lips though is which version do you prefer? Let me know.

Michele Gorman
14th January – EB & PB

What if Mr Right was just a click away?

Meet best friends Catherine, Rachel and Sarah.

Yet to find Mr Right, they’ve been settling for Mr Right Now.

But when Catherine, London’s finest matchmaker, gets the girls to join her dating site where they can rate and recommend their ex-boyfriends, they soon realise that anything could happen . . .

There’s someone for everyone, right? These best friends are about to find out for themselves!

Pre-order now on Amazon UK

Personally I prefer the colour of the USA cover, and the design of the UK. If they were merged it would be perfect. What do you think?

Very excited to read this, and have my hands on a copy already, so expect to see a review from me, hopefully around the 15th January 2016. 

Book Review - The Prince George Diaries by Clare Bennett

Amazon UK
Title: The Prince George Diaries
Author: Clare Bennett
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 5th November 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

The Prince George Diaries is a new comedy about the Royal Family told from the inside out.

Great diarists have changed the course of history, charted the swell of revolutions, the rise and fall of empires through the power of their pens. But for the first time ever, the gimlet eye of a tiny literary colossus - small in stature but mighty in influence - unlocks the closely guarded secrets of the British monarchy. How? He's one of them.

The Prince George Diaries is a no-holds-barred exclusive never-before-seen fly-on-the-wall, behind the scenes rollercoaster exposé written from the inside. From David Cameron's weekly meetings with the Queen ('I've given up bread, Ma'am - can you tell?') Princess Anne's terrifyingly combative party game tactics ('Who's got the cojones to take me on?') to Prince Harry's lessons on family history ('Did you know Great Grandpop's first pet was a dinosaur and that he invented fire?') - it is all here. And much, much more.

But George's position as the world's most influential baby is suddenly under threat, following the shocking news that he's going to have a sibling. He knows how to be a media superstar. He doesn't know how to be a brother. What will the future hold now an imposter looms large on the horizon...?

I have no idea if I am the correct target audience for this book. I am on the whole fairly indifferent to the Royal Family and politics, and I wasn't suffering baby fever at the birth of either of the young royals. However this book is utterly hilarious, and such a great piss take of the family, despite being rooted in reality. 

It takes us on the journey from George's first birthday until he turns two, includes all of Kate's pregnancy as seen from the eyes of a 1 year old, and of course living with Princess Charlotte for the first few months of her life. 

I loved the voice of this book, its very fresh, and seeing George with his team of advisors for every little part of his life, as well as his various classes in every aspect of what it is to be royal. He has a unique take on life, and if this book is to be believed George was instrumental in some of his fashion choices for  all the publicly released staged photos and public appearances. He has is own team to check how public opinion is, he has his own strategy team, presents team to keep track of all the presents he receives daily, stylists, advisors and even a latin teacher! 

George may not be able to verbalise his thoughts, but this diary gives a great idea of what he must be thinking, even if it is giving him slightly more grown up thoughts than perhaps a child of that age is capable of. 

I would love to see some sort of sequel, as the characterisations of all members of the family are so memorable, I especially love David Cameron's weekly visits with the Queen, starting the talk each time with his diet, and then helping himself to loads of tea, before even deigning to talk about running the country. 

Prince Harry is portrayed as a lovable uncle, that is often found clowning around with his family. We also see William start his air ambulance career, and all sorts of public appearances which are all based on reality for those correct dates. And then there is George's understanding of special occasions and family events, all hilarious. I especially love the discussions on who is required to curtesy to who in the extend Royal Family!

I found myself laughing and smiling my whole way through this book.  Its a hard book to explain fully, but if you are looking for a good laugh and some light hearted entertainment that doesn't require too much thought and doesn't take itself seriously then this is definitely the book for you. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Michael Joseph for this review copy. This is my honest opinion. 

Saturday 12 December 2015

Book Review - Callie's Christmas Countdown by Julie Ryan

Amazon UK
Title: Callie's Christmas Countdown
Author: Julie Ryan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Brook Cottage Books
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 4 Stars

Callie is an event planner, organising weddings and corporate parties. What she'd really love however, is to organise the perfect Christmas. How difficult can it be after all? She simply needs to get her divorced parents talking to each other, sort out a Christmas Eve wedding for the daughter of a millionaire and wait for her hunky, rich boyfriend to propose. What could possibly go wrong?

Callie's Christmas Countdown is a funny look at a long run up to Christmas. Callie loves Christmas, and while her friends are spending the August bank holiday, on a beach in Devon, she has stayed home, so she can plan how, she and her friends and family can have the most perfect Christmas this year. 

As part of her plan, she wants her parents to get back together, to have a brilliant Christmas meal with her flatmates, and for things to get more serious with her boyfriend. 

Callie also has a Christmas Eve wedding to organise for work, and the bride barely has time to see Callie or talk to her about anything. 

Between friends and colleagues not acting as you would have expected them to, things don't go that smoothly in the run up to Christmas. Callie continually jumping to the wrong conclusions about her boyfriend don't help. 

There is a good cast of supporting characters, and although I didn't really take to Callie's boyfriend, her flatmates are lovely, especially Rosie (who seems to be in a world of her own, most of the time). Laurel, the bride of the wedding that Callie is organising, and Annabel, Nathaniel's friend (Callie's boyfriend), who rom appearances seems to be up to no good. 

All the chapters are very short, so if you like dipping in and out of a book for a chapter or two at a time, you can easily do that with Callie's Christmas countdown. 

Callie's Christmas Countdown is Julie Ryan's first Christmas book, and first attempt at a chick lit story. It works really well, and is a great novella to get your excited for the Christmas season. There is a lovely sense of humour in this story, and I loved how Callie seemed to care more about others than herself. 

Thank you to JB at Brook Cottage Books for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

About Julie Ryan

Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and two cats, a rescue cat and a dippy cat with half a tail.  She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance, as she can’t bear to get rid of any! They have been attempting to renovate their home for the last ten years.

She is the author of the Greek Island Mystery series, Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret and Pandora’s Prophecy, each of which can be read as a standalone. She considers Greece to be her spiritual home and visits as often as she can.

Twitter  @julieryan18

1.£5.00 amazon giftcard uk OR $10.00 paypal int
2. ebook Callie's Christmas Countdown

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