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.

ARC Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg


Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
by Charlie N. Holmberg
Published: 28June 2016
Publisher: 47North
Format: Ebook
Pages: 296
ISBN/ASIN: 1503935604 (ISBN13: 9781503935600)

Synopsis:
Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption

My Thoughts:
First I’d like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for my copy in exchange of my review.

I think that this book is just only slightly better than The Paper Magician trilogy. What could be so wrong with cakes and magic? Not a thing it seems!! I’ve read, and fairly enjoyed, The Paper Magician Trilogy.  I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book.  Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet is completely different, but again has magic as a main focus point of the story.

As soon as I started enjoying and finally getting into the book, it just changed.  It didn’t feel, or read, the same as it started out.  Once I got used to that, it ended.  It just… finished.  Too quickly. I didn’t like the ending of the book.  It happened in a way that I wasn’t really expecting, or even thinking about.  I didn’t particularly like the way it jumped from memories to Maire and Fyel and back again.  It confused me, but obviously helped explain a lot of backstory.

I would have been happy to sit there and read about Maire’s life in her little bakery for a whole lot longer than I actually did.  What I mean by it not reading or feeling the same is that it wasn’t the same Maire. She became ‘more’ if that explains it? She didn’t come across of the Baker with magical cakes anymore, she came across slightly as “I’m better than everyone”, or maybe just selfish?  I’ll hold my hands up and say that I liked her in the beginning of the book but not the ending.

Apart from all of that, Maire is a likeable person.  She may have no memories, but that just adds to her character and charm.  I would have liked to have got to know more about Arrice and Franc as they are a huge part of Maire’s story.  Allemas is a strange addition and not easy to like, although it does become sort of clear who is he, and why he’s like he is, as the story goes on.  The addition of what I can only guess are his thoughts at the beginning of each chapter is wonderful.  It gives us an insight into his feelings towards Maire and Fyel.

The authors writing is as magical in this book The Paper Magician Trilogy, if not a whole lot more.  It sparked my imagination in brilliant ways and made me desperately to want to get my bake-on! Some of Maire’s recipes would have been an incredible addition!

I do have a couple of questions as well about the ending, mainly the epilogue.  Was the Mother and Father at the end Maire and Fyel? I’m taking a huge leap and saying yes it was.  Was it Maire’s punishment from the Gods, to touchdown? Or completely their own choice? I’d like to think it was their choice maybe, to fufill Maire’s dream, or even to correct her mistakes.

My Rating: 3/5. Although I eventually enjoyed the book, there was just too much that I didn’t like.

June Wrap-Up!

Well, another month down, well and truly half way into the year, and another stack of books building up on the bookcase.  Yes, I know it’s not officially the end of June but I have a busy few days coming up so while the Child is sleeping – finally, a daytime nap!! – I thought I’d get this in quick!

I’ve not been as bad this month with buying books, instead it has been books from Netgalley.  I’ve read a few of them, and reviewed, but I still have 10 – I think – on my Netgalley shelf/collection.  I’ve also got a few to read from Bookbridgr as well – I’m currently working my way through Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick.  I’m not sure if I’m enjoying it but I will finish it. I’m more determined if anything else to finish it.

So my month of reading.  It’s a grand total of 18 read, 20 purchased, and 17 from either Bookbridgr/Netgalley/Author.  That’s quite horrific to see it put into simple terms like that and not a list – that’s the amount to read, not read.

What’s even worse is that I have only reviewed 5 books in total.  5?? That’s pathetic compared to the actual 18 I’ve read!

My favourite book of the month: Hmm…. it’s either between Can’t Buy Me Love by Jane Lovering or One Hot Summer by Kat French.  First one what would come to mind if put under pressure would be One Hot Summer.  I loved it, cannot praise it enough, and still would very much like to put in an order for my very own Robinson if possible? Please, thank you, pretty please with a cherry on top?  I also really enjoyed We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman – that book was a whole different kind of special.

Least favourite book of the month: Break Up Club by Lorelei Mathias.  This book dragged for me, it wasn’t spectacular or highly funny, just a little amusing.  I dragged my way through it and through a little brain party when it finished.  I sort of wish I hadn’t read it, the amount of time it took me to read it would have been filled with 2 other books that I could have loved even more than this one.

Thoughts for July:
To make a dent in my piles of books, if not a huge dent then a small dent.
I want to get my Bookbridgr books read this month, hopefully anyway.  I’ve got about 10 of them altogether I think but not entirely sure. Maybe I should keep them separate from my other books.

My Naughty List (Including ARCs/Bookbridgr):

The Light Behind The Window by Lucinda Riley
The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot Wright
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
The Dress by Kate Kerrigan
The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan
Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner
The Dandelion Years by Erica James
A Love Like This by Maria Duffy
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore
The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
Spirit Legacy by E.E Holmes
Time After Time by Hannah McKinnon
The House at Sea End by Elly Griffiths
A Room Full of bones by Elly Griffiths

ARC Copies:

The A to Z of Me and You by James Hannah
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown (READ)
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by H. P Wood
A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
Break-Up Club by Lorelei Mathias (READ)
The Story of Our Life by Shari Low
One Hot Summer by Kat French (READ)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Daemoneum by Laney McMann
Crystallum by Laney McMann
Escape to the Riveria by Jules Wake

Bookbridgr:

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale
The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle
The Rumour by Elin Hilderbrand

Other Books for Review:

The Madam by Jaime Raven (READ)

Books Read:

Summer by the Sea by Jenny Hale
Can’t Buy Me Love by Jane Lovering (Review Here)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
The Madam by Jaime Raven (Review Here)
One Hot Summer by Kat French (Review Here)
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown (Review Here)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Everlasting by Candace Knoebel
The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
The Snow Angel by Lulu Taylor
We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman
Break-Up Club by Lorelei Mathias (Review here)
The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths
A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

ARC Review: One Hot Summer by Kat French

One Hot Summer
One Hot Summer by Kat French
Publisher: Avon
Published: June 2016
Format: Ebook
Pages: 400
ISBN/ASIN: B017QZHTUU

Synopsis:
Being married to a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when that celebrity has a very public affair with his co-star…Alice McBride is determined that the one thing she won’t lose in her marriage breakup is Borne Manor, her beloved home, but she gets more than she bargained for when she rents it out for the summer and a sexy cowboy comes to stay.Country music star Robinson Duff has had his own share of heartbreak and needs somewhere quiet to hide out for the summer. Neither Alice nor Robinson are in any position for romance; the timing is terrible and they’re both rebounding like out of control Frisbees.
Can a holiday romance help mend their broken hearts. Or will it just make things even worse when the long hot summer comes to its inevitable end?

My Thoughts:

Firstly, let me thank Netgalley and the publisher, Avon, for the chance to read and review this sizzling book!!

I loved this book, it was a fantastic setting, fantastic storyline, fantastic characters and just a fantastic book all round. It made me angry, laugh out loud, fall in love, near on full-ugly cry, and feel like I was on cloud nine.

The characters.  Alice was a great character, she was wonderfully developed – starting off as a heartbroken mouse, becoming an incredible independent Woman.  Robinson was just…… Every woman needs a Robinson in their life!!!!!!!!! Can I place an order for him somewhere?? He was just…. completely swoon-worthy!! He was written wonderfully.  I can imagine someone like… first bit of eye-candy I can think of being Ryan Gosling, maybe someone a little taller though?? Anyway….. All the other characters were just outstanding! I don’t think they would have fit in to any other setting as perfectly as they did.  Stewie and Hazel were just fabulous!!

The story just flowed perfectly, it was written perfectly and was just… Hot! This book is perfect for a hot summer holiday, or just for that perfect One Hot Summer’s day!
My Rating: A hot, hot , hot 5/5!

Book Review: The Madam by Jaime Raven

The Madam

The Madam by Jaime Raven
Publisher: Avon
Published: May 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
ISBN: 0008171467 (ISBN13: 9780008171469)

Synopsis:
Scars might fade but the memories don’t…
Three years and eleven months. That’s how long Lizzie Wells was banged up inside Holloway prison for, serving time for a crime she didn’t commit.
Six months. That’s how long it took Lizzie to fall in love with a woman inside the prison. Scar, who might just have reason for her name.
Now Lizzie is finally free, the duo embark on a search to find those who framed Lizzie and sent her down for cold blooded murder.
THE BUSINESS MAN. THE COPPER. THE MADAM.
It’s time they paid their price…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, let me thank the author for sending me a copy to read and review!! It had me gripped within the first couple of pages and couldn’t put it down until I knew the truth.

Lizzie and Scar are fantastic characters, I liked them both a lot – in fact I liked all the characters in the book which rarely happens for me.  They were developed well, although I think we could have had a little more backstory about Scar.  I’m not complaining though!!!!! And I liked even more when we found out why she was in prison to begin with! (I won’t give details but it’ll make a man cringe)

To begin with, Lizzie comes across as unstable, determined and just out right insane.  But by the end of the book, she’s proved she is determined but not unstable or insane.  She was a great character, one of the best I’ve come across this year.  I don’t think it was important if they were lovers or not, it’s not really defining point of the story for me.  It worked though, and made a strangely nice change from the normal female-male way of things.

I kind of predicted who the bad cop was about halfway through, but I didn’t care as it could have gone either way with it.  It was predictable in a lot of places but it didn’t change a thing for me.  I still enjoyed the book immensely, and as I said I couldn’t leave it alone!! I even found myself reading it through my lunch break at work instead of spending the time with the child (this being a big thing it being a sunday!!!!)

It was an excellent, well written story with enough twists, blood, violence, drama, and everything else you could ever want in a book like this!! A huge 5/5 from me!!

Book Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

The Shadow Queen by C. J Redwine
The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)
Published: February 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Paperback
Pages: 390
ISBN: 1407170600 (ISBN13: 9781407170602)

Synopsis:
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

My Thoughts:

I’m going to be honest straight away, my rating for this book is somewhere in between 3 and 5 stars.  I really, really do not know what to rate it.

My reasoning for not knowing is for many reasons.  To start with, making me want to rate it highly is that I loved the fast-paced action, even the romance, which wasn’t a great deal, added to the book.  I liked the writing style, and I liked the characters – shame a good one died though, and I enjoyed the setting, which was described perfectly and has left me wanting to know more about both Kingdoms.
Lorelai is a great heroine, along with the help of Kol and the rest it makes a great story.  I even really enjoyed the fact that it’s a retelling, or extremely similar, to Snow White.  Lorelai is a great Snow White, with Irina as the Evil Queen and Kol makes an even better Huntsman.  Also, the fact that apples have a huge role within the book as well! The were a few parts that actually made me chuckle to myself as well!

My reasons for wanting to give it a low rating.  How many stories are there now about a girl who is trying to reclaim her throne from the evil hands of a relative are there now? I get the genre is for Teenagers/Young Adults but for once I’d like a late 20 something fighting for her place!! (Sorry I’m going off track here)
Anyway – I didn’t like the fact that one of the best characters gets killed off, just devastating!!  I think that they would have made the book that little bit more enjoyable if they were in it all the way through.
There were parts that dragged, a lot.  The ‘conversations’ between Lorelai and Kol were a tad awkward in places and I skimmed over them.

So, I’m in a bit of a predicament.  I honestly don’t know where I should put the rating.  It’s 3-5/5.

I will add, I understand why it’s been giving a lot of terrible reviews.  If I didn’t actually enjoy it as much as I did, it would have gotten a worse review from me.  And I know I’ve sort of contradicted myself by saying about the romance between Lorelai and Kol was great, and then the next I’m saying it’s awkward.  I just feel that there could have been some better interaction between them in places.  I loved the fact that he was there right at the end, as a surprise.  It did surprise me, and I really, really want to read about them again!!

Book Review: The City’s Son by Tom Pollock

The City’s Son by Tom Pollock

Published: June 2013
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 454
ISBN: 1780870094 (ISBN13: 9781780870090)

Synopsis:
Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets.

When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London’s ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul’s Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love

My Thoughts:

I was determined to like this, really determined… I’m so disappointed that it didn’t live up to my expectations. Very disappointed. Still, I stuck with it. And got confused, baffled, discombobulated and everything else in between.
I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, nor any sort of emotions whilst reading it. They came across as a bit… Stiff? And Beth was just a pain in the backside. Filius needed a bit more work, but was by far the best character, and any other characters who made a random appearance were forgettable. And don’t even get me started on her Dad!!! Christ, that was a bit weird!! Oh, and what the hell?? Why did that even happen???  Not going into details but I don’t get why the thing I’m going on about even happened.. Was another disappointment right there!!

 For me, it was a brilliant idea for a story but was poorly executed.  There was a lot of promise, and the storyline may have improved immensely with the next 2 books but I keep debating if I even want to bother with them?

I can’t even decide if it was written well enough for it to flow, or just shifted along groggily. I’m very undecided. It was quick paced, I’ll give it that. There was some quiet action scenes, but not enough to even get me excited about it!

So, along with only saying it was quick paced, had promise but poorly executed and annoying stiff characters my rating: 3/5