This Week in Books (19 Dec 2018)! What are you reading this week? #TWiB

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

Now

2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

I’ve had this on my TBR for quite a while now so when I noticed it was set at Christmas I decided now was the time to read it! I’m only a few chapters in so far but I feel like I’m really going to love this book.

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

This is a rare re-read for me as my Christmas reads this week have been disappointing for the most part so I wanted to a festive read that I knew I would love. Last time I read this but this time I’m listening to the audio and it’s every bit as good. This is so festive, it’s gorgeous!

The Advent Killer by Alastair Gunn

I had to put this book to one side for most of the week as I needed lighter reads but I’m looking forward to getting back to this this week as I was really enjoying it.

 

Then 

A Lonely Dog on Christmas by Patrick Yearly

I found I had quite a few Christmas short stories that have been on my kindle for years now so decided to read them this week while I wasn’t feeling well. Unfortunately this one was such a disappointment. It’s told from the perspective of the family dog, which I thought might be quite cute but it just didn’t work for me.

A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson

This is another festive short story and it was enjoyable enough but not very memorable. I wouldn’t read it again.

Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vanetta Chapman

I was looking forward to this Amish short story set at Christmas but it just fell flat for me, it felt like a draft for a story rather than a fully rounded story. It was an okay read but not the best.

Attend by West Camel

Thankfully Orenda never let me down and Attend was a brilliant read. I very much enjoyed this and it’s absolutely a five star read. I’ll be reviewing this on Friday so look out for my thoughts then.

The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

I listened to this on audio and enjoyed it. It wasn’t as festive as I was hoping it would be but it was still a really good listen. I’d recommend this one.

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

I enjoyed this book too, it’s a lovely festive novel and does help to get you in the Christmas spirit. I hope to squeeze a review in for this before Christmas!

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

This is another book that was enjoyable enough but, for me, it wasn’t really a Christmas read. It’s more about the main character furthering her baking career and there was way too little about Christmas.

The Christmas Bucket List by Ella Fairlie

I did really enjoy this novella and it was full of Christmas spirit and fun! I’d had this on my TBR for ages and I’m so happy that I finally read it this week. I definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a short read to get you in the festive mood!

Next Christmas Will Be Different by Pauline Barclay

This was another short story and it was an okay read. I would have loved for this to be longer and to see more of this family at Christmas.

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

This is another audio book that I listened to and it was a sweet, romantic novel but again the Christmas part was really lacking for me. The book ends right before Christmas and I found this such a shame.

Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Mary Jane Forbes

This is a sweet Christmas fantasy story and was really enjoyable. I was a little confused about aspects of it because it’s not fully explained but it’s definitely Christmassy so I enjoyed that element.

 

Next

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Becca Mascull

I bought this book on publication day and have been saving it to read right before Christmas and I’m so excited to finally get to it this week. I’m sure that I’m going to love this one!

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

I bought this book last Christmas and ran out of time to read it over the holiday so I definitely want to read it this week. I’ve heard good things about it so I’m really looking forward to it.

The Present by Charlotte Phillips

This is my last Christmas ARC so I must make time to read this in the next couple of days so that I can get my review up before Christmas. It sounds like a lovely read so I have high hopes for it!

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

This Week in Books (12 Dec 2018)! What are you reading this week? #TWiB

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

Now

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

I’m really enjoying this Christmas novel and am looking forward to getting back to it!

The Advent Killer by Alastair Gunn

This is a serial killer crime novel set over Christmas. It’s really fast-paced and I’m intrigued to read more!

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

This is my current audio book. I’ve enjoyed previous Christmas novels by this author so thought I’d try her latest. It’s not got to Christmas yet but it’s a sweet, enjoyable story.

 

Then 

Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

This is one of my favourite Christmas novels, I think I’ve read it most years ever since I first bought it! It’s a gorgeous novel about a stockroom girl who’s determined to help save the department store where she works. It’s full of vintage inspiration and is just gorgeous!

The Xmas Factor by Annie Sanders

I recently bought this on a whim as it sounded very festive and I enjoyed it. It felt like it took a while to get going but once it did I really liked it. It’s got so much Christmas in it and definitely helped lift my spirits when I was feeling unwell.

 

The Ice Monster by David Walliams

I listened to this on audiobook and very much enjoyed it. I highly recommend it on audio as it has a cast of famous people doing the different voices of the characters and I’m sure kids would love listening to it.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

I fell in love with this novel – it’s so beautiful and utterly stunning. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my thoughts on it here if you’d like to.

White Christmas by Emma Lee-Potter

I’ve had this short novella on my TBR for a few years and finally picked it up this week. I needed something short to read as I was really ill over the weekend and my concentration wasn’t up to a longer book. This was an okay read but it felt like it took a while to get going and then the ending was a bit rushed. It’s quite festive though so I appreciated that.

All I Want for Christmas by Claudia Carroll

This is a short story that has also been on my TBR for ages. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this one at all. It’s clearly not a standalone story but a prequel to a novel and it doesn’t work on its own. This isn’t made clear in the blurb so it was a let down for me.

It Started With Christmas by Jenny Hale

I enjoyed this Christmas novel, it wasn’t quite as festive as I hoped but it was still a lovely book. You can read my thoughts in my review here if you’d like to.

 

Next

The Present by Charlotte Phillips

This is the last Christmas ARC that I have on my TBR so I’d like to get this read and reviewed asap. I’m looking forward to it.

Murder at the Mill by M. B. Shaw

I love the sound of this book – it’s a murder mystery set at Christmas so now seems the perfect time to pick it up.

2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a couple of years now and I believe it features Christmas so I’m going to try and get to it in the coming days.

Dickens at Christmas by Charles Dickens

This is another of the gorgeous Vintage Christmas editions that I got as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. I usually read A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve every year but I haven’t read many of Dickens’ other shorter stories so I’m planning to read one or two a day over the next couple of weeks.


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Weekly Wrap up and Stacking the Shelves (2nd January)

It’s time for my first weekly wrap up of 2016! Firstly, I’d like to take the time to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me as I found my feet in the book blogging world, I am more grateful than I can say. Starting this blog was one of the best things I did in 2015. I never expected that people would read my reviews or follow my blog, and I never knew that I would make genuine friends as a result of becoming a book blogger. It’s really not an understatement to say that starting this blog has changed my life already.

I last did a weekly wrap up post on 19th December so I’m going to use this post to recap all that has happened since then. My reading pace has slowed down massively since I was poorly at the start of December. I’m still not 100% well and due to my physio schedule becoming more intensive I’m exhausted and in increased amounts of pain a lot of the time and reading is near impossible when I feel like that. As a result of illness I barely blogged in December and I’m not going to be back at full blogging speed for a while yet. I am planning to post regular posts from now on though, they just won’t be daily as they were before.

Anyway, my recent posts have included:

My Christmas Novel Recommendations, where I shared my favourite Christmas reads of 2015.

My Favourite Ten Books of 2015, which was so hard to compile as I’ve read so many great books this year.

I also shared the 2015 Year in Review post that WordPress emailed to me.

Yesterday, I posted about My Most Anticipated Books of 2016, where I shared some of the books I’m most excited about reading when they’re released this year.


 

I’ve read five books (since 19th December) and have so far managed to review three of them, I hope to review the other two soon (click on the links below the images to read my reviews).

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington 

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (which was my first read of 2016!)

 


stacking-the-shelves

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

 

For Christmas I received four books, which was fab! Three were from my husband and the fourth was a gift from the publisher HarperImpulse.

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My husband gave me:

Spectacles by Sue Perkins (which I’ve been wanting to read since it was published back in October, so I’m very happy to have a copy now)

Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy (this is a gorgeous, illustrated poem that I adored. I now want to collect her previous Christmas poems!)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (I have an ebook of this but haven’t read it yet as I’ve been saving it – as I often do with books by favourite authors – I’m thrilled to not only now have a hardback copy but it’s also signed by Judy!)

HarperImpulse sent me a copy of Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman, which was a lovely surprise!


 

Books I’ve bought since 19 December:

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov

The Green Road by Anne Enright

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

A Daughter’s Secret by Eleanor Moran

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Love, Love Me Do by Mark Haysom


 

Books I’ve received for review (since 19 December):

The Chimes by Anna Smaill (print copy)

One More Day by Kelly Simmons (ecopy)

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft (ecopy)


 

 

What have you been reading this week? Did you get any books for Christmas? Have you bought any new books? Please feel free to link to your wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! 🙂

 

WWW Wednesday (23 December)

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

 


 

What I’m reading now:

a boy called christmas

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and a boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.
From the winner of The Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. With illustrations by Chris Mould.

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Take one Queen Bee: Annabel Buchanan, with a perfect house in the country, a rich husband and a beautiful daughter, Izzy . . .
. . . and one large, loud family: the Bensons.
What happens when their worlds collide?
When Izzy suddenly falls dangerously ill, adoptee Annabel has to track down her biological family to see if they can help her daughter. But can she see past the Bensons’ brash exteriors to the warm, loving people they are at heart?
With December just around the corner, is it too much to hope that the Bensons and the Buchanans can have a proper family Christmas?

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…

Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable ‘ripped from the headlines’ novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there.

She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes . . .


What I recently finished reading (Click on the links under the images to read my reviews):

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

Snowed in for her Wedding by Emma Bennet


 

What I plan on reading next:

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (1)

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin …
At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.
To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.
Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

How To Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens (1)

How to Get Ahead in Television by Sophie Cousens

Poppy Penfold desperately wants a career in television. After months of dead-end applications, she gets her big break with a temporary job as a runner for RealiTV. But to land a permanent role, Poppy will need to go head-to-head with fellow runner Rhidian: arrogant, highly competitive – and ridiculously good looking.

Poppy goes all out to impress, but somehow things don’t go to plan. Whether failing to prevent a washed-up soap star from becoming roaring drunk during Scottish game show Last Clan Standing, or managing to scare the horses during the filming of Strictly Come Prancing, Poppy gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. With highly strung presenters and distractingly handsome producers in the mix, it’s Poppy’s determination that will see her win or lose her dream job, and maybe her dream man too…

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

the children's home charles lambert

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden.
One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free rein of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper, Engel. Then more children start to show up.
The Children’s Home is an inversion of a modern day fairy tale. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque -as well as the glimmers of goodness- buried deep within the soul.


 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

 

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!

 

Review: The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

 

Joy is in her late 80s and has decided to make one last trip in her beloved RV before moving across country to be nearer her two sons. Miranda is Joy’s neighbour and good friend, and she is very down on her luck at the moment – her husband has left her and her home is facing imminent foreclosure so she has nothing to hang around for and decides that she will accompany Joy on her trip. This is a trip with a difference though – Joy runs a Christmas website and has recently had a competition running for people to win the chance to have Joy spread some Christmas joy in their lives.

I love that Joy had this plan to spread Christmas cheer to the six competition winners but that she also had plans for Miranda. Joy made sure that Miranda would accompany her on this trip and that it would change her friend’s life for the better.

Miranda and Joy set off on Route 66 and stop off at various points along the way to decorate homes and businesses. Joy begins to find the driving extremely tiring and so Miranda steps up to take her turn. Miranda soon finds her confidence growing at driving the RV and with life in general.

I found this novella a little slow to get going but once as I found out more about Joy and Miranda I found myself engrossed. I love how Joy was so wily and that she subtly made sure that Miranda would go on this trip with her. It’s always wonderful to read about older people who are still feisty and who still have ambitions and dreams for the future. The idea of an octogenarian planning to drive Route 66 in an RV is just fabulous, I want to be just like this when I’m old!

I was willing Miranda on as she began to realise that she could move on from the hurt in her past. It was lovely to see her come out of herself as she took on more of the Christmas decorating and organising at each stop. I was very much hoping that Joy might give the RV to Miranda so that she wouldn’t have to return to her old town, I became so invested in wanting Miranda to have a happy ending.

Melody Carlson’s novels always have an element of faith in them but she has such a delicate touch that this novella will feel fulfilling for readers of faith but it is done in such a way that readers who are not religious themselves will not feel it is being forced upon them. I tend not to read Christian fiction and yet have always enjoyed Carlson’s novels, as she strikes just the right balance.

The Christmas Joy Ride is a wonderful and heart-warming novella. It won’t fail to spread Christmas joy to everyone who reads it this festive period.

I rate this novella 4 out of 5.

The Christmas Joy Ride is out now and available from Amazon.

I received a copy of this novella from Revell via Amazon in exchange for an honest review.