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!

 

My November Wrap-Up Post!

Monthly Wrap-Up

I can’t believe I’m writing my November wrap-up post already, I don’t know where this month has gone! I’m loving blogging more and more as the weeks go by and it’s become such a massive part of my life now, I can’t imagine not being a blogger. It’s absolutely second nature to me now to make notes as I’m reading and to write a review as soon as I’ve finished a book. I’m slowly getting to grips with WordPress too.

This month I added a new section to my blog… a shelf were I can add all my favourite books. Please check that out here. I’ve posted a list on there for now but plan to gradually add mini reviews of all my favourite books that I’ve read previously. This month I added two books to this shelf – the only new additions this year. It takes a lot to be added to my favourites, only the most special of books make it there. I’ve revealed the two books at the end of this post!

My blog has now had over 6000 page views and over 2500 visitors. It amazes me every time I check my stats to find that people are reading my posts, it really has made such a difference in my life to have found blogging and the support from everyone just increases it tenfold!

Thanks to all of you who have read a post on my blog, or liked or commented or shared. Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog, or on social media.


 

In November I read 20 books and managed to review all of them. If I didn’t keep a record of the books I read I wouldn’t have believed I’d read that many, I think blogging has got me reading even more than I was before! Please click on the links below the images to read my reviews.

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

The Boy in the Bookshop by Katey Lovell

The Boy at the Beach by Katey Lovell

What Rosie Found Next by Helen J. Rolfe

Wendy Darling by Colleen Hoover

What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

The Single Feather by R. F. Hunt

Sky Lantern by Matt Mikalatos

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Search for the Truth by Kathryn Freeman


 

This month I have received books for review from authors I’d not read before but I now want to go back and read all of their previous books. I love this part of blogging, it’s got me reading more widely and as a result I’ve found so many books that I might otherwise have missed.

The best thing about this month though is that for the first time this year I’ve added two new books to my favourite books collection.

9781782641759

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith is just such a delightful mystery novel, with a brilliant protagonist in Poppy and I already can’t wait to read the next book! I’m planning on buying copies of this book for friends who I’m sure will also enjoy it.

 

out of the darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan is one of those books that arrived in my life in the most serendipitous of ways and I just fell in love with it. It’s a novel that made me sob my heart out, it made me think about things in my own life, but by the end I felt better. I felt like the novel helped me make sense of things and it made me feel comforted. I was so lucky that Katy very kindly sent me a signed copy to keep and I will treasure it. It literally takes centre stage on my favourites bookcase and it’s a book I know I will read again and again. I’ve already bought couple of copies to give to friends who I know will get as much out of it as I did, and I’m sure I’ll be buying more copies in the future. I just want everyone to read this book!

Weekly Wrap-Up and Stacking the Shelves (28 November)

It’s been another busy week on my blog.

I was very lucky to get to do an author interview with Lynda Renham.

I had a promo post and giveaway of The Lost Girl by Liz Harris.

I’ve joined in with my usual WWW Wednesday and Book Beginnings memes.


My week in books:

I’ve read five books this week and have reviewed all of them. (Please click on the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews)

 

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland 

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

The Widow by Fiona Barton

 


 

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.

Books I’ve bought this week: 

The Past by Tessa Hadley

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales by John Hargrove

Head for the Edge, Keep Walking by Kate Tough

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

ARCS I’ve received this week:

The Boy Under the Mistletoe by Katey Lovell

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

Perfectly Broken by Robert Burke Warren

 


 

 

How bookish has your week been? Have you added any books on to your TBR pile? Have you bought a book that you’re particularly excited to read? Let me know in the comments and feel free to link back to your own blog.

Review: Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

 

IMG_3270

I’m a huge Talli Roland fan, I’ve read all of her novels and novellas and loved them so when I spotted she had another Christmas novella out I couldn’t resist buying it immediately! I have to say that this is more of a short story than a novella – I read it in under ten minutes but it is still a lovely, festive read.

Jess is a high-flying photographer who is currently working in New York but is looking forward to getting back to her childhood home in the UK to spend Christmas with her Gran. A phone call from her Gran with news that Cranberry Cottage is going to be demolished as part of a new high-speed rail line causes to Jess drop everything to return home to try and save it.

I loved this story but I can’t help but wish it had been longer – I think it could have made a perfect novella or even full-length novel. There are glimpses of characters that I wanted to know more about. There is a love interest that held such potential and I enjoyed what there was of the chemistry between Tom and Jess but I would have loved to hear more about the past and to see how their story might have developed further. I adored Jess’ relationship with her Gran, I just wish we could have heard more about the two of them and this gorgeous cottage.

The cover of this short story is so festive and the combined with the description of the decorations inside the cottage just made me want to go there! The descriptions of the kitsch decorations that were years old and often falling apart reminded me so much of my Nan’s home and all of her wonderful Christmas ornaments.

This short story is absolutely worth buying and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a very quick, Christmassy read. I so badly want to rate it higher because I did enjoy it but I was left wanting so to know so much more. I rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage is out now and is available as an ebook from Amazon.

My Weekly Wrap Up and Stacking the Shelves!

I’ve decided to attempt to do a regular post where I wrap up everything bookish I’ve done over the previous week!

This week I read and reviewed four books:

six poets

Six Poets: From Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett, which is a joy to read.

the lies we tell

The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter, which is a great debut thriller.

pretending to dance

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, which is one of her best books to date!

24 hours

24 Hours by Claire Seeber, a brilliant thriller that I honestly could not put down!


I started reading:

Broken Heart Book ClubThe Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James (Out tomorrow on Amazon!)

Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…
Luna Bay hasn’t changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!
Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’, Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can’t wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

wendy darlingWendy Darling by Colleen Oakes (Out on Tuesday from Amazon)

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 one night, 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 into Neverland, an intoxicating island of 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.

The Good Neighbor

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan (Out on Tuesday from Amazon).

Izzy Lane never thought of herself as a liar. In fact, she’s always played by the rules. She’s an excellent mother, has loyal friends, and a rich career as a school counselor. Fresh from a new divorce, however, Izzy feels like she needs a little fun. So when, on a whim, she starts a blog it seems like a rather benign indulgence. But as her online quips begin to gain traction, Izzy makes a slip. Somehow a new boyfriend winds his way into the picture. The problem? Izzy makes him up.

What, at first, feels like a harmless fib quickly spins out of control and Izzy must figure out how to balance fantasy and reality. Keeping up appearances while managing an absent ex-husband, two very nosy friends, a toddler son, and full-time job soon prove impossible, and Izzy feels utterly lost. It’s only when her long-time neighbor and surrogate mother, Mrs. Feldman, re-enters her life that Izzy begins to see the mess she’s made. And it’s with Mrs. Feldman’s guidance that Izzy learns to face reality, find comfort in new norms, and open herself up to the possibility of real love.


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.

So Books I bought this week:

maple syrup farmSecrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin (currently 99p in the Amazon Kindle autumn sale)

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

cranberry cottageChristmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

With a whirlwind lifestyle travelling the world, the one thing Jess Millward relies on is Christmas with her gran in cosy Cranberry Cottage. When her grandmother reveals the house is directly in the path of a new high-speed railway, Jess is determined to fight.
Can Jess save the cottage from demolition, or will she have no home to come to this Christmas?

very big house countryA Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy currently (only 59p on Amazon).

‘Holidays are about surviving the gaps between one meal and another.’

For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he’s loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she’s gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.

By the pool, new friendships blossom; at the aga door, resentments begin to simmer. Secret crushes are formed and secret cigarettes cadged by the teens, as the adults loosen their inhibitions with litres of white wine and start to get perhaps a little too honest …

Mother hen to all, Evie Herreras has a life-changing announcement to make, one that could rock the foundations of her family. But will someone else beat her to it?

life or deathLife or Death by Michael Robotham (currently 99p on Amazon).

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he’s due to be released?
Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

surviving the rachelSurviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis

Bree Logan is ready to start her post-college life, but when she’s dumped by The One, unable to land a professional job, and has to move back in with her parents, she doesn’t think things can get worse until she ends up with her hair chopped into The Rachel, the infamous haircut made famous by the show Friends. Which is not good since it’s no longer 1994. But sometimes you have to go through challenges to get what you really need, and for Bree, could that include a different career and a romance with Jack Chelten, the boy-next-door?

sw19 clubThe SW19 Club by Nicola May

What would you do if you were told you could never have children?
Faced with this news, Gracie Davies is at an all-time low. But with the support of some new Wimbledon friends, an unorthodox therapist, her hippy-chick sister Naomi and Czech call-girl Maya, she sets up The SW19 Club and begins her rocky journey to inner peace and happiness. Add in a passionate fling with handsome landscaper Ed, a fairytale encounter with a Hollywood filmstar and the persistence of her adulterous ex, life is anything but predictable…

believarexicBelievarexic by J. J. Johnson

Asking for help is only the first step
Jennifer can’t go on like this—binging, purging, starving, all while trying to appear like she’s got it all together. But when she finally confesses her secret to her parents and is hospitalized at the Samuel Tuke Center, her journey is only beginning.
As Jennifer progresses through her treatment, she learns to recognize her relationships with food, friends, and family—and how each relationship is healthy or unhealthy. She has to learn to trust herself and her own instincts, but that’s easier than it sounds. She has to believe—after many years of being a believarexic.
Using her trademark dark humor and powerful emotion, J. J. Johnson tells an inspiring story that is based on her own experience of being hospitalized for an eating disorder as a teenager. The innovative format—which tells Jennifer’s story through blank verse and prose, with changes in tense and voice, and uses forms, workbooks, and journal entries—mirrors the protagonist’s progress toward a healthy body and mind.