Christmas novel recommendations!

merry christmas

Today I’m posting a round-up of Christmas books that I’ve read and reviewed this festive period in case you’re looking for a last minute Christmas read or Christmas book gift!

merry mistletoe

I’ve read some wonderful and magical Christmas books this year so it’s near impossible to pick my favourites. I do have a real soft spot for Emma Davies’ Merry Mistletoe as it was different to any Christmas book I’ve read in a long time, not just this year, and I loved all the comforting imagery around feathers and robins. This is a short novel and I highly recommend it, especially to anyone looking for a comforting read this Christmas.

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

I also adored Katey Lovell’s latest Meet Cute short story The Boy Under the Mistletoe. It’s a delicious five-minute read that will warm your heart and will instantly having you feeling more festive!

One Wish in Manhattan

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot became an instant favourite of mine and I know it’s a novel that I will come back to for many Christmases to come. It’s a gorgeous novel set entirely in the build up to Christmas, it has elements of A Christmas Carol running through it and won’t fail to make anyone feel festive.

the mince pie mix up

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce was brilliant! It’s perfect for anyone who loves films like Freaky Friday – I love body-swap books where characters become someone else and literally have to walk in their shoes for a period of time and setting this over the festive period just made it even better. It’s a fab read!

The Winter Wedding

Abby Clements’ latest novel The Winter Wedding is more of a winter themed book than a Christmas one and yet it made me feel so festive. I think it’s the build up to a winter wedding – snow combined with romance is such a magical mix!

Holly Martin released two Christmas novels this year, both set in White Cliff Bay (Christmas at Lilac Cottage and Snowflakes on Silver Cove) but featuring different characters (although if you read both you may spot some familiar characters popping up). I adored both of these novels – Holly just writes with a perfect mix of humour, romance, and festivity!

winter's fairytale (1)

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey is such a perfect Christmas romance. The whole novel is set in the couple of weeks before Christmas so it’s as festive as can be!

What Happens at Christmas_FINAL

T. A. Williams Christmas novel What Happens at Christmas is a lovely Christmas novel. It’s set in a beautiful village, with Chocolate box cottages and friendly locals. I loved it.

how to stuff up christmas

I adored How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake. It’s a perfect mix of being hilariously funny and incredibly heart-warming!

Christmas wishes and mistletoe kisses

I read Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale as part of Bookouture Christmas and am so glad I got the chance to read this novel. It’s a really sweet story about what is really important at Christmas and how spending time with other people can really help us be better versions of ourselves.

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

I just read The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson this week and I loved it. It’s all how opening yourself up to new experiences can lead to unexpected and wonderful things happening.

Snowed in for her Wedding

Snowed in the for her Wedding by Emma Bennet is a short novella, but it’s a lovely story. I loved how a whole community pulled together at Christmas to help their local girl Gwen have her Christmas Eve wedding despite the heavy snow.

christmas at cranberry cottage

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland is a lovely novella. I most enjoyed the nostalgia in this story, as the main character tries to save her Gran’s cottage and reminisces about growing up there and all the Christmases spent in that lovely home.


 

**Amendment 23 December 2015**

every time a bell rings

Last night I finished reading Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington and it simply has to be added to this list, it’s such a gorgeous and utterly perfect Christmas read! It’s inspired by It’s A Wonderful Life and is just magical, go read it! It’s up there with my all-time favourite Christmas reads!


 

I hope this helps you find the perfect Christmas read for over the next week or so. You really can’t go wrong with any of the above books, they’re all wonderful.

Wishing you all a very happy and book-filled Christmas!

 

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My October Wrap-Up Post!

Thank You FreePiK

For my monthly wrap up this month I want start by taking the time to say a huge thank you to all of you who have ever read a post on my blog, or liked, or commented; to all of you who have share a post that I’ve written on social media; to all of you who have clicked to follow my blog. I have been blogging now since the end of August this year and never expected that anyone would read it. I started my blog because I needed a project, something fun to focus on, and a book blog seemed the perfect thing for a bookaholic like me.

I made it my aim to post something book-related every day and I think I’ve just about managed to keep to that. Mostly I write reviews but I also have my own bookish memories series, I join in with a couple of weekly memes, and I always do a weekly and monthly wrap up post as well. Since the end of August my blog has had almost 1200 visitors, over 2800 views and it has over 600 followers from various places. Last week I earned my Net Galley badge for Top Reviewer, which was a lovely surprise and a real confidence boost.

Through book blogging I have achieved something for me again, I have found something that I can do for myself and I don’t have the words to explain how big a deal that is for me right now (but trust me, it’s a huge deal!). To find that people are reading and sharing my blog posts has given me such a much-needed lift and I am so incredibly grateful.

Thank you so much!


Anyway, on with the books!

I read eighteen books in October and have reviewed seventeen of them (Please click the titles to read the reviews). The list is in the order I read them.

OCTOBER BOOKS 1 OF 3

Dying to be Slim by Abby Beverley

Six Poets: From Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett

The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

24 Hours by Claire Seeber

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James

OCTOBER BOOKS 2 OF 3

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

The Girl with no Past by Kathryn Croft

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

OCTOBER BOOKS 3 of 3

Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

The Little Bookshop on on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin (my review will be on my blog tomorrow as it’s my stop on the blog tour!)


This month’s reading has reminded my of two of the best things about being a reader and a book blogger:

(1) Discovering authors you’ve not read before and enjoying their book so much you feel compelled to buy all of their previous work right away! This month this happened to me FIVE times!! I read Mandy Baggot, Claire Seeber, Lynsey James and Emma Davies for the first time and have now bought just about all of their previous books. I also read my second Holly Martin book, which just confirmed what a fabulous writer she is and now all of her books are on my Kindle waiting to be read soon too!

(2) When an author you are a massive fan of releases a new book! Mel Sherratt’s new book, which was just released on Friday, is the fourth in her Estate series and I loved it (review here). I have read all of her previous books and they’re all completely brilliant! I bought and read Taunting the Dead back when it was self-published, and have been a huge a fan from that point on!


Which books did you read in October? Have you found any new-to-you authors? Please share with me in the comments below (and feel free to leave a link back to your own blog).

My Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves

This week has flown by, I can’t believe it’s Saturday already and time for my weekly wrap up!

#BC banner

Lots has been happening this week and my blog is probably the busiest it’s ever been to date! I’m part of the fabulous publisher Bookouture’s Christmas week over on twitter. Every day between the 22nd and 27th October fifteen bloggers, including me, are posting reviews, guest posts, Q&As and giveaways all to do with Bookouture’s Christmas books.

Here are the links to my posts so far. Please check them out and enter the great giveaways for a chance to win some ebooks.

Bookouture Christmas Week

Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

And here’s a page where you can go straight to the giveaways (I have more giveaways in the coming days so will keep updating this link so please check it out:

Giveaway Page (BookoutureXmas)

BC BOOKS BANNER (MINE) copy


This week I read four books (click the links to read my reviews):

One Wish in Manhattan  get yourself organized for christmas  Christmas wishes and mistletoe kisses  snowflakes at silver cove

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Snowflakes in Silver Cove by Holly Martin (review will be on my blog on Monday 26th October)


I’m currently reading:

robin talley what we left behind

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

I’m still reading this one and very much enjoying it. I had to focus on other books for review this week to meet a deadline but now I’m planning on spending the weekend reading this.

Blurb:

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn’t enough to conquer all.
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.
The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.
While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

record store of the mind

The Record Store of the Mind by Josh Rosenthal

I started reading this yesterday and it’s very good. Anyone who loves, or has ever loved, listening to music on vinyl should go buy this book when it’s released soon.

Blurb:

“Josh Rosenthal is a record man’s record man. He is also a musician’s record man. He is in the line of Samuel Charters and Harry Smith. In this age where we have access to everything and know the value of nothing, musicians need people like Josh to hear them when no one else can.”
– T Bone Burnett
Grammy-nominated producer and Tompkins Square label founder Josh Rosenthal presents his first book, The Record Store of the Mind. Part memoir, part “music criticism,” the author ruminates over unsung musical heroes, reflects on thirty years of toil and fandom in the music business, and shamelessly lists some of the LPs in his record collection. Crackling with insightful untold stories, The Record Store of the Mind will surely delight and inspire passionate music lovers … especially those who have spent way too many hours in record stores.
Celebrating ten years in 2015, Rosenthal’s San Francisco-based independent record label Tompkins Square has received seven Grammy nominations and wide acclaim for its diverse catalog of new and archival recordings.

Books I plan on reading this week:

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

I was offered the chance to review this book and I couldn’t resist, it sounds like an excellent read. I’ve been so looking forward to reading it and am really hoping I can start it early next week.

Blurb:

DOES EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAPPEN PURELY BY CHANCE? OR ARE WE GUIDED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED?
Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again, and soon discovers that their connection holds far more significance than she could ever have imagined. And when Jessica strikes an unlikely bond with Alexandra Green, the two new friends are taken on an emotional journey into the world of the supernatural, where psychic mediums pass on messages from beyond the grave. What — or who — is causing the strange goings-on in Alex’s home? What secret is she keeping from Jessica? And who is the young woman who so badly needs their help? In a series of surprising twists and turns, the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and a mystery is unwittingly solved — with life-changing consequences for all involved.
‘Out of the Darkness’ is an uplifting tale of friendship and redemption; of love and loss. And life…after death.

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt edited by Simon Garfield

This is a review copy that I was lucky enough to receive recently, it’s a long book so I expect to be reading it over the next few weeks but it sounds wonderful.

Blurb:

In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt began writing a journal. She continued to write until just a few days before her death in 1986, producing well over a million words in 45 exercise books over the course of her lifetime. For sixty years, no one had an inkling of her diaries’ existence, and they have remained unpublished until now.
Jean wrote about anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare every aspect of her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and her disappointments in love, from schoolgirl crushes to disastrous adult affairs. She documented the loss of a tennis match, her unpredictable driving, catty friends, devoted cats and difficult guests. With Jean we live through the tumult of the Second World War and the fears of a nation. We see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation, and we witness the shifting landscape for women in society.
As Jean’s words propel us back in time, A Notable Woman becomes a unique slice of living, breathing British history and a revealing private chronicle of life in the twentieth century.


stacking-the-shelves

I’m also joining in with Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews), which is all about sharing all the books you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.

Books I’ve bought this week:

aristotle and dante  city on fire  one sarah crossan  a miracle at macys

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

One by Sarah Crossan

A Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman

ARCS I’ve received this week:

how to stuff up christmas  rest of your life   written in the scars   winters fairytale

How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

The Rest of My Life by Sheryl Browne

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Competition Prize:

Christmas Jumper

I was very excited to win a Harper Impulse ebook in a competition last week and even more excited when the book arrived on my Kindle and it was a book I’ve been dying to read. The book is Never Kiss A Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson. Isn’t that just the BEST title for a book? I’m sure it’s going it be a fab read!


So, that’s my week in books! What have you read this week? Have you bought any books that you can’t wait to read? Have you any other book-related news to share? Please tell me in the comments below! 🙂

Review & Int Giveaway: One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

#BC banner

Today I have a review of Mandy Baggot‘s fabulous One Wish in Manhattan as part of Bookouture Christmas! Don’t forget to read the whole post as there is a chance for you to win an e-copy of this book!

One Wish in Manhattan

I knew I was going to love this book from the very first page, it just drew me straight in and never let me go. It was completely and utterly wonderful!

Hayley and her daughter Angel go to New York, supposedly on holiday but Hayley really intends to try and find Angel’s father. They stay with Hayley’s brother Dean. On their first night in New York Hayley meets a very attractive stranger and life becomes a lot more fun, and a lot more complicated.

I loved Hayley and Angel’s relationship, the bond between them and the way they were with each other felt so realistic and lovely. They seemed like real people to me from the very beginning and I was quite sad when I finished the book and had to leave them behind. I miss them already!

I couldn’t help but see parallels between this book and one of my favourite classic Christmas books – A Christmas Carol. Oliver is a hard-nosed business man, he’s self-centred and doesn’t like form to form relationships with women. In his work environment he doesn’t know the name of many of his colleagues and it becomes apparent that a lot of his staff are quite wary around him. Clara, his assistant, is a great character, she’s strong-willed and says what she thinks to Oliver. She’s the Jacob Marley character, except she does make her feelings clear and isn’t fearful of her boss. Having said that, Clara’s home life could be considered a teeny bit like the Jacob’s.

Oliver’s father and brother have recently died and he believes that he is about to die of the same heart defect that kills them. Each time he has a collapse and the closer he gets to Hayley the more he begins to thaw. She is like the ghost of Christmas present, showing him what he could have if he just lets her into his life. HIs father and brother are ghosts of Christmas past, and his belief that he will die soon and alone is his potential future because it is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy if he doesn’t slow down a bit at work. Hayley and Angel show Oliver that life can be completely different if he just relaxes the tight reins a little bit. The way Oliver’s character develops throughout the novel is rather Scrooge-like!

This book is not a re-telling of A Christmas Carol but the parallels between the two books made my enjoyment factor even higher, and now this brand new book has won me over and will take its place beside an old favourite in Christmases to come, and what can be better than that for a book lover? All of this combined with One Wish in Manhattan being about Christmas in New York, which is one of those experiences that always seems magical and beautiful, make this book sheer perfection!

Christmas is a part of this novel from beginning to end and I adored that. I loved how, from the minute they arrived in New York Hayley and Angel kept stopping and saying how whatever they were doing was another reason why Christmas is better there. It kept the Christmas spirit all the way through!

I rated this book 10 out of 10 and highly recommend that this book makes your Christmas reads list this year!

One Wish in Manhattan is out now and available from Amazon.


Blurb copy

Christmas: it’s the most wonderful time of the year … to fall in love
The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish … to start over.

With her daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for adventure. But there’s more to New York than twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has her own Christmas wish – to find her real dad.

While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.

Can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might come true – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they realise life isn’t just about filling the minutes … it’s about making every moment count.


Author Bio copy

Mandy-Baggot-author

Mandy Baggot 

Mandy Baggot is an award-winning author of romantic women’s fiction and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. A contributor to writing blogs and short story anthologies, she is also a regular speaker at literary festivals, events and women’s networking groups.

Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, Corfu and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor and lives in Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two children and cats Kravitz and Springsteen.

www.mandybaggot.com


XMAS BC GIVEAWAY copy

Bookouture have very kindly allowed me to run an international giveaway for one lucky winner to win an e-copy of this fabulous book. Please enter here and good luck! I will be running more giveaways throughout Bookouture Christmas week so please stop by each day for your chance to win!

Please click on this link to Rafflecopter to enter for your chance to win!

Over the course of Bookouture Christmas week I’ll be posting reviews, Q&As, guest posts, extracts and giveaways all to do with these fabulous books!

BC BOOKS BANNER (MINE) copy

My Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves

Last week I decided to do a weekly wrap up post for the first time and I did it on Sunday but looking at my blog schedule I think Saturday might be a better day for me so I’m a day earlier this week but I think I’ll be sticking to this new day!


The most exciting thing that happened this week in my book blogging world was that a list I made of Books about Grief on Riffle (Here’s my blog post with a link to the list: Books about Grief) got picked up by Book Riot as one of the best lists of the week! Here’s the link to their post: Book Riot List: Books about Grief.


This week I read and reviewed four books (click the links to read my reviews):

Broken Heart Book Club The Good Neighbor  13 mins the girl with no past

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James, which I adored.

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan, this was different than what I expected it to be but I really enjoyed it.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough This was an outstanding book and will definitely be in my top books of this year!

The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft, a brilliant thriller that I read in one day as it was too hard to put down!


I’m currently reading:

One Wish in Manhattan

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

I’m really enjoying this book, it’s just one of those perfect Christmas reads that you can completely lose yourself in.

Blurb:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to fall in love
The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind…to start over.
With her nine year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue – they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps.
But there’s more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own – to find her real dad.
While Hayley tries to fufil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with Billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.
Determined to make her daughter’s dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?
Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count.

robin talley what we left behind

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of this so far but it’s very good.

Blurb:

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn’t enough to conquer all.
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.
The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.
While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

get yourself organized for christmas

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season by Kathi Lipp

I couldn’t resist requesting this book when I saw it on Net Galley as I’ve read Kathi Lipp’s book about clearing clutter and it really helped me blitz my house, so I’m happy to have her guide me through being more organised for Christmas! I’m really enjoying it so far, Kathi’s style of writing is so accessible – it feels like a friend helping out!

Blurb:

Have you lost your Christmas joy? Does the thought of jam-packed malls, maxed-out credit cards, overcrowded supermarkets, and endless to-do lists give you the feeling that maybe Scrooge was on to something?
In Get Yourself Organized for Christmas, Kathi Lipp provides easy-to-follow steps to reduce the stress of the holiday season, including tactics for how toput together a holiday binder you’ll use year after yeardetermine a budget that won’t break the bankgather your elf suppliesget your gift list together (including ideas for various ages and relationships)collect your recipes and prep your kitchen
By putting into practice Kathi’s tricks and tips, you’ll finally be able to fully enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

wendy darling

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

I started reading this last week and was really enjoying it. I’m still enjoying it but I’m just not sure about Neverland, I think I need to read a good chunk of this book in one go to see if I can get better engrossed in the story. I do love Wendy’s character in this, I have to say.

Blurb:

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning, to Neverland, a intoxicating island of feral freedom.
As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her—have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.


stacking-the-shelves

I’m also joining in with Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews), which is all about sharing all the books you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.

Books I’ve bought:

every time a bell rings

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

An angel gets its wings…

Belle has taken all the Christmas decorations down. This year they won’t be celebrating.

As foster parents, Belle and Jim have given many children the chance of a happier start in life. They’ve loved them as if they were their own. They shouldn’t have favourites but little Lauren has touched their hearts. And now her mother is well enough to take her back and Belle can’t bear the loss.

Hence, Christmas is cancelled.

So when Jim crashes his car one icy December night, after an argument about Lauren, Belle can only blame herself. Everything she loves is lost. And Belle finds herself standing on The Ha’Penny Bridge wishing she had never been born.

But what happens to a Christmas wish when an angel is listening…

12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin (I’m on the blog tour for this book so will be reviewing it on 2nd November. In the meantime I was lucky enough to be given an excerpt from the book to post on my blog yesterday. Here’s the link: Excerpt from The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

cherry tree cafe

The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

Lizzie Dixon’s life feels as though it’s fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there’s only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.
Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie’s sewing skills are just what she needs.
With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago…?

dear cathy love mary

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary: The Year We Grew Up — Tender, Funny and Revealing Letters From 1980s Ireland by Catherine Conlon & Mary Phelan
It’s the era of Dynasty, Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M and MT-USA on the telly, Kajagoogoo, Culture Club and Chris de Burgh in the charts. And also a time of mass emigration and creeping social change.
In 1983 in Carrick-on-Suir two 18-year-olds take tentative steps into the future: Cathy to become an au pair, Mary to study accountancy. For a year they exchange long gossipy letters.
The letters are touching, funny, tender and gutsy. They show the girls’ growing pains as they make sense of their new lives, dream about finding love, and start to realise that the world is a more complex and challenging place than they had ever imagined.
Most of all, Cathy and Mary’s letters are filled with the eternal optimism and sense of wonderment of youth.

fates and furies

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

spill simmer falter wither

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

You find me on a Tuesday, on my Tuesday trip to town. A note sellotaped to the inside of the jumble-shop window: COMPASSIONATE & TOLERANT OWNER. A PERSON WITHOUT OTHER PETS & WITHOUT CHILDREN UNDER FOUR.
A misfit man finds a misfit dog. Ray, aged fifty-seven, ‘too old for starting over, too young for giving up’, and One Eye, a vicious little bugger, smaller than expected, a good ratter. Both are accustomed to being alone, unloved, outcast – but they quickly find in each other a strange companionship of sorts. As spring turns to summer, their relationship grows and intensifies, until a savage act forces them to abandon the precarious life they’d established, and take to the road.
Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a wholly different kind of love story: a devastating portrait of loneliness, loss and friendship, and of the scars that are more than skin-deep. Written with tremendous empathy and insight, in lyrical language that surprises and delights, this is an extraordinary and heartbreaking debut by a major new talent

three and a half heartbeats

Three-And-A-Half-Heartbeats by Amanda Prowse

Grace and Tom Penderford had a strong marriage, a comfortable home in the Hertfordshire countryside, and a healthy baby girl. They were happy. They were normal.

But soon after Chloe turns three, tragedy strikes. A disease called Sepsis claims the life of their daughter, devastating their little family. The Penderfords had never heard of Sepsis – a cruel, indiscriminate disease that claims a life somewhere in the world every three and a half seconds. Now, with their world crumbling, they must mend each others broken hearts… and try to save their marriage if they can.

To find out more about this tragic disease, please visit http://www.sepsistrust.org. All the proceeds from this novel will go straight to the Sepsis Trust. By buying it, you will help in their battle to save lives. Thank you for making a difference.

Arcs I received (which I’m beyond excited about!):

beautiful broken things

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble
Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

shtum

Shtum by Jem Lester

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.

When Ben and Emma fake a separation – a strategic decision to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal – Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben’s elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.

As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths. Jonah, blissful in his innocence, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled.

the silent dead

The Silent Dead by Claire McGowan

Victim: Male. Mid-thirties. 5’7″.
Cause of death: Hanging. Initial impression – murder.
ID: Mickey Doyle. Suspected terrorist and member of the Mayday Five.

The officers at the crime scene know exactly who the victim is.
Doyle was one of five suspected bombers who caused the deaths of sixteen people.

The remaining four are also missing and when a second body is found, decapitated, it’s clear they are being killed by the same methods their victims suffered.

Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is assigned the case but she is up against the clock – both personally and professionally.

With moral boundaries blurred between victim and perpetrator, will be Paula be able to find those responsible? After all, even killers deserve justice, don’t they?

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of A Fist

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of A Fist by Sunil Yapa

A heart-stopping debut about protest and riot . . .

1999. Victor, homeless after a family tragedy, finds himself pounding the streets of Seattle with little meaning or purpose. He is the estranged son of the police chief of the city, and today his father is in charge of one of the biggest protests in the history of Western democracy.

But in a matter of hours reality will become a nightmare. Hordes of protesters – from all sections of society – will test the patience of the city’s police force, and lives will be altered forever: two armed police officers will struggle to keep calm amid the threat of violence; a protester with a murderous past will make an unforgivable mistake; and a delegate from Sri Lanka will do whatever it takes to make it through the crowd to a meeting – a meeting that could dramatically change the fate of his country. In amongst the fray, Victor and his father are heading for a collision too.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, set during the World Trade Organization protests, is a deeply charged novel showcasing a distinct and exciting new literary voice.