As you know over here at the party it’s Christmas book week. I don’t have all the Christmas books out there as they are legion, just pop down to your local book seller or internet outlet for lots more. Anyway sticking with the ones invited here’s a look at what people are saying. Just click on the link to take you over to Amazon. Finally tomorrow it’s the turn of the delightful Maxine Morrey, who’s book ‘The Christmas Project’ is available to pre-order. It comes out on my wedding anniversary so I think a little treat is in order.
Ava Blissham is a couture milliner whose plans and career aren’t going to plan. House-sharing with her friend Izz in Camden, she’s invited to Izz’s works do where she meets Sam Jermyn (who runs the agency) and also bumps into her ex-boyfriend Harvey who has some explicit pictures of her on his phone. Making a connection with Sam, though curtailed both by Izz’s crush on him and Harveys actions, Ava agrees to a series of faux-dates with him after meeting his very ill mother who mistakenly thinks they’re in a relationship. As Christmas (a season Ava hates) gets closer and their meetings get more frequent, could the faux-dates be turning into something else? And then the photographs appear… I’ve been reading Sue Moorcroft’s novels since she began publishing and love the warmth and continuity of her Middledip books (though her last was set in Malta) and was unsure how setting this in trendy Camden would work but it does. The London scenes are well worked, the ‘twist’ with Harvey and Ava is well-thought out and brilliantly executed, driving the plot even when you don’t realise it and the Christmas atmosphere is nicely sketched. As with all of Sue’s books, the characterisation is superb, defined often with the lightest of brushstrokes but all of them come alive – we care for Ava and want the best for her, grind our teeth at Harvey and are surprised at further betrayals). So, a new direction but filled with solid writing, expert characterisation, some nicely raunchy scenes and a great sense of pace, this is another winner from Sue. Very highly recommended.
This romantic Christmas story had all the perfect ingredients: hope, as the heroine Melissa and her son William learn to trust again; a developing love story; glamour (Melissa is a model turned fashion designer and Daniel, her son’s tennis coach, is a former champion) and drama, due to the threatening background presence of Melissa’s controlling ex. And then there’s a fairy-tale ending to look forward to! I also loved Kathryn Freeman’s attention to more minor characters. Melissa’s ex’s new partner is convincingly poisonous and Daniel’s sister (also Melissa’s friend) is delightfully forthright
If you’re looking for fabulous festive fun with friends and a sunny twist, The Holiday Swap has it all. Zara Stonely always delivers pacey, well written fiction, and she’s done it again here. Her characters are grounded and believable, and then there are the beautifully drawn Cheshire locations. This time she’s gone a step further and tossed in the glamour of Barcelona too. Alongside snowy Tippermere, with its cottages and toasty log fires, we have beaches and tapas bars, which means this story fits equally well as a sun lounger read, or a sofa curl up. The two story strands follow heroines, Flo and Daisy, who couldn’t be more different. But exchanging homes lets them see their lives more clearly. With lots of humour and a touch of love along the way, this refreshing new take stands out from the crowd. A lesson in seeing second chances, and grabbing them by the collar. Which reminds me to mention the animal stars too. If you’d enjoy falling in love with delicious heroes, or a wonderful wolf hound, step this way.
An eerie tale about a young girl arriving at a remote boarding school, which seems to possess secrets within its ancient, ivy-covered walls. A chance discovery of a mysterious heritage soon reveals her true personality. This short YA story had all my favourite ingredients, gothic buildings, mystery, magic forces, which pulled me into the story right until the finish. The writing style flowed perfectly, painting vivid pictures, without overdoing it. This is a prequel to The Invisible Hand, part one of the Shakespeare’s Moon series of books, and I must say convinced me to pre-order the main book. Check it out, can highly recommend it!
Clio has to get out of New York fast, she has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons….telling her client to pull out of her wedding on the morning of the event because she didn’t love him when he was a famous movie star was not her best move! As luck would have it Cedarwood Lodge from her home town comes on the market and Clio is determined to buy it and turn it into her own events location. So with the help of her childhood friend Micah and the cool surfer dude Kai she starts to renovate the property that has been derelict for many years. This is the first of three in the series and perfectly sets the grounding for the following installments……romance and intrigue are definitely on the way
I have been waiting for this book to come out so I could find out what happened to Eva. Would she find love like her two best friends had or would she end up an old maid? I need not have worried as yes she did find love and with a handsome and rich writer. (Are all writers handsome and rich I wonder).
Once again when I started Sarah’s new novel I couldn’t put it down, I was held captive trying to find out what happened from start to finish. It was nice that the whole book was based around Eva and Lucas and only had a few mentions of the other friends as the other books devoted lots of words to all three of them. I think this for me was the best book of the three. I especially loved the rapport between Eva and Lucas and the fact that she didn’t like the books that he wrote (nor would I). I am now wondering what happens next, do we get another one to follow the last three, Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park and now Miracle on 5th Avenue as I would love to hear how the girls got on with their weddings and also how their business progresses.
I’ve read and loved several of Mandy’s books now, she’s got that light-hearted and fun read thing down to a pat, with characters that feel real and plots that aren’t totally improbable but could really happen. I love that, a story you feel could very well be real. This is a fun read, but not my favourite – but still a great escape from reality for a while and I adored Julien.
So Ava is escaping, running from her cheating ex, hiding from her somewhat overbearing mum. She runs a model agency and has been putting Ava though her paces out in front of the camera since she was just four. Ava loves her mum but feels pushed into modelling, its not her choice, not what she wants to do but her mum ( AKA Rhona Rhinestone by Ava and Debs!!) is something of a steam roller, always pushing her to lose weight, stand tall, do yet another fast, try the latest beauty regime, things like that. Poor Ava is 24 ( I think) now and yet still can’t stand up to her.
Her parents are divorced and best friend Debs mum and stepdad have been a friendly, accepting substitute, embracing her with all the love they have for Debs, welcoming her to all the family get together, showering her with treats, lovely fattening food, lifts everywhere – in fact Ava calls stepdad Gary TaxiDad.
Debs is a great friend, slightly scatty and yet devoted to her job, loves her family, and is great for Ava. She can see how much Ava is upset by her mum’s latest diatribe, booking her on a spa and fasting retreat in Goa for yet another modelling job Ava doesn’t want to do. She tells Ava to grab her things, they’re off to Paris for some research for articles for magazines. Off they trot…
I loved the first book in the series so had this on pre-order. It was great to catch up with Poppy and Rafe again, but I have to admit it was the fact this story involved sisters that really grabbed my attention. I’ve got sisters, was married last year and am addicted to Cornwall – so how could I resist? The story didn’t disappoint – with two hunky best men, the type of disasters that leave your heart in your mouth, and the most gorgeous wedding this is a real laugh-cry-swoon kind of book. It left me with a warm fuzzy feeling and ready for the festive season.
This was my first Christmas read of the year, and I couldn’t have picked a better one.
Available to pre order here
Available to pre order here
Happy reading folks
I was a RoNA judge this year, which was amazing. I got to read cross genre romances that I would never dream of reading and found I expanded my TBR because of – not good.