September Wrap Up!

So, September is over and done with.. That went too quick for my liking.  We had a good holiday, if not a little blustery – but what do you get for going to Wales, by the seaside, at the end of September?? We loved it though, the child (and the man-child) were very well behaved, no tantrums, not many tears, it was fab!! I got some decent reading done, with 4 books under the “Read” pile. My Goodreads reading challenge now stands at 124/150.

This month, I’m doing things differently.  Instead of saying what I’ve purchased, I’m going to concentrate on the actual read side of things. On that note, here is what I snuggled up with this month!!

1:  Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Rated: 4/5
2: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant. Rated: 4/5
3: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin. Rated: 5/5
4: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin.  Rated: 4/5
5: All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll. Rated: 4/5
6: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. Rated: 4/5
7: Unexpectedly Wilde by Rose Chen. Rated: 2/5
8: The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley. Rated: 5/5
9: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Rated: 5/5
10: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan. Rated: 4/5
11: Letters from Lighthouse Cottage by Ali McNamara. Rated: 5/5

Worse Read:
Without a doubt, Unexpectedly Wilde. Oh my god, I don’t even know where to begin with it.  Firstly, let me say that I do not normally go for stories with lots of sex, or verging on the “erotica” label. But with this one… The description given on Netgalley was what made me think it wasn’t like that. I was wrong. Now, I’m not a wimp or a prude or anything when it comes to sex, I just don’t really get the whole erotica thing.  Anyway, that wasn’t the only reason why I didn’t like this book.  On one page, the ex-wife’s name was one thing, and then a few pages later it was a completely different name!!!!!! Then another example that I can think of was a friend was on their honeymoon in one place, and then towards the end of the book it was a different one!!! Surely if you’re writing a book you keep track of details, right?? Just makes sense that it all matches up throughout the book.
This book to me, had a huge amount of potential, but it just fell flat on it’s over sexual face.  It was poor.

Best Read:
Well, with the amount of 5/5 I’ve given, I cannot pick. It’s unusual for me to give 4 of them in one month!!!! Each of them had their own fantastic elements to it.
Six of Crows was fantastic to read, I loved the world – having read The Grisha Trilogy earlier this year.  I loved the characters, I loved the ending, I loved everything about it.
Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky was a brilliant start to what is hopefully and ongoing series.  The characters were fantastic, the island was such a beautiful setting (I need to visit), it’s a great read to get you in a festive mood.  The writing was wonderful, and I cannot wait to see if there will be anymore of them after Christmas Under a Starlit Sky.
The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was such a comfort read.  It set me up for my little reading marathon on holiday, it was just perfect.  I sort of wish I could visit the cooking school, maybe have a little one-on-one with Tom?? Just a wonderfully perfect, comforting book.
Letters from Lighthouse Cottage was great.  It was wonderful to read the backstory of Grace, and how she got to her perfect life.  it was done differently, and I loved every moment of it.  The characters in this book were great, we see how they grew, developed from awkward teenagers into adults, parents, spouses.  I loved the idea of Remy, it certainly made the book have a completely different feel to it.

Biggest Surprise:
This is definitely Christmas at the Little Village Bakery.  While I enjoyed the first one, I didn’t actually have high hopes for this one.  The description, in my own opinion, does not match the book at all. Something about Milly’s cousin being too flirty with Dylan, it just didn’t happen in the book. In fact, cousin Darcie was a shy girl, not what I pictured when I read the description.  Anyway, good points.  I loved the fact that the story didn’t actually centre around Milly and Dylan.  It was nice to read about Spencer and Tori, and their worries about getting married, where to live, their completely different parents.  It was nice to read about other characters, I didn’t particularly connect well with Milly in the first book.  Anyway, I think this book is slightly better than the first, but I cannot see if it can be added to with another one – if there is one, I will read it.  The only way I can see it being added to is with Darcie.  I would enjoy reading about her story, where she came from, where she goes.

Any Disappointments:
Not really, which isn’t a surprise.
I did struggle to get into Glass Sword, but I got there eventually. I’m excited for the 3rd book in the trilogy, and very intrigued with where it is going.  As I said, I struggled to actually get into it. I can’t really pinpoint why though, I loved Red Queen, I was very excited to pick this up but it just didn’t start with the Oomph I was expecting.

October Plans:
This is where I struggle. I’ve got to plan an international giveaway for a author (any tips will be gratefully received!), and read and review both her books (watch this space!!).
I’ve also got extra copies of a book to giveaway as well so look out for that as well.
Other than that, no special Blogging Plans. I’m going to be aiming for 2 reviews a week, fingers crossed I can do it! I’m hoping to get one up by the end of the week this week, and then 2 next and every week from then but we shall see.
This month is busy with homelife as well.  We have a 3rd birthday with the child, with another week away visiting Mum.  Our poor feline-baby, Percy, must think we keep abandoning him!

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ARC Review: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin


Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin
Published: 22nd September 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Ebook
Pages: 322
ISBN13: 9781786810700
Goodreads

Available to purchase
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis
This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.
So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.
But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.
Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

My Thoughts

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Bookouture, for my copy in exchange of my review.  This book has definitely pulled me out of yet another reading slump.

I found this book to be a delightful, heart-warming read.  It was festive (where can you go wrong with that??) it was loving, it was funny, tearful and just brilliant. There were parts of this book that made me laugh, nearly cry and feel extremely happy.

Pip is fed up with travelling the world, being a mystery guest in some fabulous places.  She decides her next job will be her last for a while.  When she gets to her hotel, the last person she is expecting to see is her teenage years ex-boyfriend, Gabe.  I loved Pip, she is an independent woman, with baggage, with a history.  She was real if that makes sense?

Gabe, for me, was a perfect gent.  Protective, a wonderful father, loving, and for Pip, an amazing lover.  His daughter Wren is a wonderful character, and a true young child! Especially being Frozen mad!!! They make a wonderful little family, and made me feel like I should hug my own child more often!

Other characters that pop up in the book often were fantastic.  They’ve all got their own stories about why or how they’ve ended up on Juniper Island and I would love to hear all of them. Neve and Luke were wonderful additions to Luke’s family, with Neve’s story being the next book.  I hope to hear Luke’s story eventually as well.

Holly Martin has created a perfect Winter Wonderland in this book, her writing style drew me in straight away and I didn’t come up for breath until I had finished every single page.  So much so, that I dived straight back in with Christmas Under a Starlit Sky (review to come next month for publication day!!)

I highly recommend this book to add to any Christmas book reading list! Just superbly wonderful.  I wish that I could visit, and maybe even just move straight in!! Loved it!! A huge, gigantic 5/5 from me!!


A little add on note from me:

I go on holiday for a week on Monday 26th and I very much doubt I will have WiFi where I will be so there will be complete radio silence from me for a while now.  I will be writing reviews but they will all be posted once I’m home and the mountains and mountains of washing is done!!!

Thanks for reading!!!

ARC Review: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery
Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
Published: 16th September 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Ebook
Pages: 273
ASIN: B01HRKTA9M
Goodreads

Available to Pre-order on:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis
It’s time to get toasty by the fire with a glass of mulled wine and a slice of chocolate yule log sprinkled with a little romance. Welcome to Christmas at the Little Village Bakery.
Snow is falling in Honeybourne and Spencer is bringing home his American fiancée Tori for a traditional English Christmas with all the trimmings. But when his hippie mum and dad meet her high-maintenance parents, sparks of the wrong sort start to fly. Then Spencer bumps into his first love Jasmine and unexpected feelings come flooding back.
Millie is run off her feet with Christmas orders at the Little Village Bakery and new baby Oscar. Thank goodness her cousin Darcie is here to help her. Although she does seem to be rather flirty with Millie’s boyfriend Dylan.
Will Darcie ever find true love of her own? And is marrying Tori a terrible mistake for Spencer if his heart is with someone else?

My Thoughts

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy in exchange of my honest review.

I enjoyed this book more than the first, I can’t really pinpoint why though.  It’s not written differently, doesn’t have many different characters, the setting is the same.  But I felt it was a lot better.  Maybe it’s because I knew the characters, and this built up on that? Or maybe it was because it was mainly following a different character’s story?  Either way, it was a fun light-hearted christmas feeling book.

I sort of feel cheated with the synopsis slightly, it makes out that there is a problem with Millie’s cousin being all flirty… I didn’t see that so I must have missed it? Unless someone wants to point it out to me? I liked Darcie, she was reserved and there’s been plenty of room left for her to grow.  I’m secretly hoping the next book will maybe be based around her?  I can’t really see many more options for the other characters.

Spencer’s storyline was eventful, dramatic and heart-warming.  His parents were fantastic characters, and Tori’s weren’t.  I didn’t particularly like her either to be honest, she cared too much about her parents feelings than her actual relationship.  You could say the same about Spencer as well, but I liked him in the first book so couldn’t really see past that for me.;

Set in the same quaint little village of Honeybourne, it felt familiar, homely and about everything else you would associate with it.  I was glad it was set in the same place, just for the fact it made me it feel welcoming.

Written well, with the same quick, quirky, thoughtful tone as the first book.

I can’t really find the right words to explain what else I liked about this book without giving much detail away from the actual plot itself.  It was a happy ending though, so that’s extra brownie points.  A little bit of a cliffhanger as well, which means that I want to find out which way they all go with their lives, and if it’s happy endings all round.

My Rating: With the same likeable characters, the same homey setting, the wonderful writing style, I happily give this book 4/5.

Book Tag: Mid-Year Freak Out 2016

I saw this tag on Keeper of Pages and Jill’s Book Cafe and really enjoyed reading their posts so I thought I would do my own!! Why don’t you head over to their posts and read about their mid-year favourites??

Best book you’ve read yet in 2016

I’m going to have to pick my top 4 of the year so far.  I’m stuck between these 4:
Letters to the Lost   One Hot Summer: A laugh-out-loud love story   Last Dance in Havana   We Are All Made of Stars

These books have all made me laugh, feel happy, gripped me and made me lose sleep.
Letters to the Lost
One Hot Summer
Last Dance in Havana
We Are All Made of Stars

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016

Again, I can’t choose.  This time it’s 2 books.  I always tend to start a series and rarely finish it, but these are the sequels I’ve made sure I’ve read.  Neither are newly published books, but I don’t think anyone really cares do they?
The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)   Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
The Invasion of The Tearling
Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm introduced one of the best characters of the series, and The Invasion of The Tearling has left me with even more questions than I started with!!

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

This one is easy, as it was published a few days after I finished the first book, An Ember In The Ashes. The sequel, A Torch Against The Night, has been on my wishlist ever since!!
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, Book 2) by [Tahir, Sabaa]
A Torch Against The Night

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I’ve got this on my Kindle reading for reading and reviewing and I have loved every other single book by her.
Small Great Things by [Picoult, Jodi]
Small Great Things

But, saying that, Victoria Hislop has a new book being published as well so maybe I’ll add that:
Cartes Postales from Greece by [Hislop, Victoria]
Cartes Postales from Greece

Biggest disappointment

I’ve been disappointed by so many books this year!! There’s been loads that people have raved on and on about, building the hype and they’ve just fallen flat on their face for me. The 4 I can think of straight away are:
The Girl on the Train   All the Light We Cannot See   The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane: The funny, feel-good read of the summer  The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline   Roberts

The Girl on The Train
All The Light We Cannot See
The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane
The Cosy Teashop in the Castle

Biggest surprise

Hands down, it has to be Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake.  Anyone who read my review will remember that I tried starting this book god knows how many times and failing to get into it. I was determined and stuck with it and ended up giving it 5/5.  I loved this book and still highly recommend it!!!
Escape to the Riviera
Escape to the Riviera

Favourite new author

This one is Kat French.  The 2 books I’ve read this year have been fun, funny, romantic, and her men are real men who I have falling madly and deeply in love with (I’m still looking of my order form for my own Robinson).  I laugh, cry, fall in love, fall out of love, and feel every other emotion when reading her books!! I’ve added another of her books to my bookcase in the last few weeks as well.
Her books published so far are:
Undertaking Love   The Piano Man Project   One Hot Summer: A laugh-out-loud love story
Kat French Amazon Page

Newest fictional crush

This book is on a roll on this post!! This will be the third time it’s popped up! It’s Robinson from One Hot Summer by Kat French. Complete knee weaking, swoon-worthy hunk of an American cowboy… Gosh….  I can imagine Scott Eastwood **Fans myself from hot-flushes!!** playing him if it ever gets made into a film.
One Hot Summer: A laugh-out-loud love story

Newest favourite character

I have two, both from the same book.
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
Laia and Elias from An Ember in The Ashes.  They worked perfectly together, had a great chemistry and were written beautifully.  It was great to read his story as well as hers, we always just get the girls!

Books that made you cry

This one is easy, there have been a few this year.  It’s been an emotional year for me, and I do love to have a good weep from time to time!!
We Are All Made of Stars   Letters to the Lost   The Last Letter from Your Lover

Book That Made You Happy

What book doesn’t make me happy?!  But I’ll say this one as it’s the first one I thought about:
Late Summer in the Vineyard
Late Summer in the Vineyard

Favourite book to film adaptation

Hmm.. This is a tough one.  I don’t think many of the books I’ve read have been turned into films recently so I’ll say:
Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)
Me Before You
Me Before You has to be my book of 2015.  I’d been putting off reading it for months and months, probably even years but then I thought to myself “It’s Time”.   So I read it, I cried.. A lot.. And the more I thought about the book afterwards, the more I cried.  I watched the film when it was released earlier this year and guess what, yep, I cried. A lot.  they portrayed the book perfectly I thought, and although I originally couldn’t see the people cast in the roles, it worked out wonderfully.

Favourite post you’ve done this year.

Probably this one. I’ve only got one Blog Tour under my belt, with another on the way.  I’ve yet to do any author Q&A’s or giveaways.  Plus, this one has made me really think about what I’ve read this year.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year

Just a select few from my shelves (or should I say the ones I remember???):

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)   Christmas at the Little Village Bakery  Holding                               You And Me, Always   The Thousandth Floor