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All I Want For Christmas: Day 21 – Book review: Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks

ImageLexi Anderson runs a show for decorating homes and iis called “the younger version of Martha Stewart”. She knows everything about Christmas and decorating. It’s the job that she loves and knows best. The Anderson family just moves in the Christmas Street. After the divorce, Lexi and her kids finally settled in a new cozy house, with the entire series of Jared Strong crime books reading in bed. It became a family tradition, they all love Jared Strong Series.

Everything was just fine, until one crazy neighbour decapitated their snowman.

In the meantime, the author of Jared Strong Series, Kyle Miller, has a writer’s block. His dateline ends soon, and he has no idea how to finish his book. From the window of his home office, he sees the new neighbour’s snowman and an idea pops up in his mind. Can the weapon be hidden in a snowman? Well, he has to check out. So, he goes to the snowman and tries various methods to hide a weapon, including decapitating  the poor snowman.  But, the owner caught him in action. Lexi is not thrilled by the idea of someone destroying her kids’ decorations, including the snowman. And the neighbours ‘ fight begins.

Next day Lexi receives a package by mistake adressed to Kyle Miller. The adress is the house next door. Is that crazy neighbour who destroyed her snowman actually the writer that she and her kids adore?

I totally fell in love with these two characters. A crime writer who hates Christmas, and a show host that loves Christmas. What a couple! I enjoyed their comic conversations and I laughed so hard on so many occasions. But, the story is not just funny. The characters  were are also very emotional. Lexi lost her parents in a car accident and rushed in a marriage to recreate a family. Kyle lost his mother on Christmas Eve, and ever since he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Can it be that these two people can be a perfect match?

So, if you’re a sucker for a bit of a Christmas magic, then this is a book for you. Check out how under the Scrooge mask there is a warm heart that is just lonely, and how love can enter in your life when you least expect it.

I can’t believe that this book waited so long in my kindle. I had so much fun reading it. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Heather Horrock’s romantic comedy novellas.

My rating: 4/5

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Buy ‘Bah, Humbug!’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Heather Horrocks on her site, facebook and twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 17 – Book review: Revenge of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

When Amy finds out that her ex is among the guests at the Chalet Repos where she works, she decides that it’s time for revenge. The very person responsible for her depression is here, and he is getting married. With someone else. So it’s time for payback.

Amy seems like a nice person, very emotional, very moral. When her fiance left, she tottaly cracked. After the breaking up and a death in the family, Amy feels depressed.  She find herself in a state that cannot dissapear over a night, so years after she still struggles with the consequences.  When she finally manages to pick up the broken pieces of herself, her ex appears again, this time with a new bride.  Luckily  Amy has two of her best friends to look after her and cheer her up. The revenge is actually their idea. The bastard has to pay.

But it seems that Jacob is not a bad guy at all. He made some bad decisions and the timing simply wasn’t right. Seeing Amy after many years, opens up old wounds, but his bride doesn’t deserve this. He made a promise to her, and he’ll keep it. But feeling Amy so close is still such a good feeling…

Overall I liked the book, it is very well written and I liked the writing style. However, I had few issues with the characters, especially Amy, the main character. At first I liked her, then I didn’t, than again she would win my heart.  It all felt kind of confusing really. She seems like a nice person but not much of s strong character. It was really hard for me to connect with her and understand her and her actions. Still, it’s a light and short read I’m sure many will enjoy.

My rating: 3/5

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Buy ‘Revenge of a Chalet Girl’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Lorraine Wilson on her site, facebook and twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 16 – Book review: The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

Image*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

“You are going to Paris.

I’m not going to Paris.

Yeah, you are. To bake with Henri Salernes.”

Rachel loves to cook. She doesn’t have many things in her life, but she has friends that love her very much. So, they sign her up for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice. She travels to Paris to prove herself that she is a star baker. And Henri Salernes is not nice guy at all. Among professional cooks, who step over other peple to achieve their goals, Rachel doesn’t have a chance. Or, maybe she does. Who knows? So, Rachel, ready, set, cook!

I immediately fell the connection with Rachel’s character. She is the girl next door that everyone loves. She loves children, so she works as a teacher. Rachel has always loved cooking because cooking is the only thing that connects her with her mother who died when Rachel was a child. Her mother owned a bakery, so Rachel spent her childhood helping her mom in the kitchen. Spending a week in the most romantic city in the world is a chance for a new beginning, making a dream come true, to open her mother’s bakery again, and maybe, just maybe, a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe.  Among many professional cooks, Rachel feels helpless, but she is not a person who quits. Because there is always the memory of her mom’s words: “Just one more try hunny, just for me”. She would never step over other people to achieve her own ambitions. All she needs for winning the prize is to cook, and to believe in herself.

I must confess, I love Christmas and cooking. Christmas books with cooking patisseries make me hungry, really hungry. So here’s what I do: read a page, go to the kitchen :).  I hope I won’t gain much weight till Christmas. I loved all those dishes mentioned in the book. I almost could smell the cinnamon cookies.

And Paris, awww, Paris. I loved Paris. I loved the way Rachel saw Paris. I could almost feel the city, like actually being there.

‘The Parisian Christmas Bake Off ‘ is a charming and warm read, one you will not be able to put down once you start reading. It’s a brilliant debut and I’m definitely gonna be on a watch out for Jenny’s next books.

My rating: 4.5/5

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Buy ‘The Parisian Christmas Bake Off’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Jenny Oliver on twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 14 – Book review: Last Christmas by Talli Roland

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

It happens rarely that I give a novella 5*. Actually I think this might be the second time in my life, first one being when I read ‘Swim’ by Jennifer Weiner. Well, it’s not I’m a stingy reader, but I’ve read quite a lot of books and personally think someones needs to be very very good at writing to impress me with 50-100 pages.
But Talli Roland did it! As I read the last page and put down the kindle I thought OMG, THIS IS SO SOOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN I EXPECTED!

The story is centered around Lucy who’s been dumped last Christmas and naturally is not looking forward to this one. Instead of thinking of Christmas as a fun and festive time, she’s reminded of her past and the man who dumped her on very Christmas day. Robert has been his first lover, her best friend, someone she relied on for 15 years. Losing him leaves her more than heart broken. She actually thinks she will never be merry for Christmas. And after just one year of their break up she finds out he’s getting married on Christmas! Trying to get away from an awkward and humiliating situation when meeting Robert and his future wife, she comes up with an epic lie. She tells them she’s gonna host a mega party for Christmas and won’t be able to make it to their wedding. She feels like everything but partying, but ‘when a door closes, a window opens’.

This is a brilliant novella! I totally loved everything about it, from the unique story, the twists I totally didn’t expect to the characters who are brilliantly developed. Lucy is a fantastic girl, she’s not whiny and doesn’t act ll depressed (though she’s heart broken) and she surprised me with how kind she is, despite everything Robert did to her.
This novella was a pretty strange experience (but a good one) for me, I was literally blown away by this read. I do wish it was longer, but still it’s a fantastic story I’m sure everyone will enjoy. It got me immediately hooked and held me till the last page. It’s a fantastic festive and feel good read, one you’ll devour in just an hour (or less). So, do not hesitate and get it now, you’ll enjoy it – I promise! Well done Talli, I AM YOUR FAN!

My rating: 5/5

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Buy ‘Last Christmas’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Talli Roland on her blog, facebook and twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 12 – Book review: Weight Till Christmas by Ruth Saberton

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve always been a sucker for books with plus sized heroines. It could be because I myself have always struggled with my weight, so it’s always really easy for me to connect with these characters.
Ellie is a saleswoman and she’s very good at her job. However, she’s not been recognized for her hard work..sadly, she thinks the reason for that is because she’s not good looking. She’s had a rather difficult year, break ups, funerals and now someone else is getting the credit (and a big promotion) for all her hard work.And there’s Sam, her fabulous colleague who’s so much fun and becomes her dieting buddy. Will Ellie’s life become better and easier if she looses those extra pounds?

It’s quite a short read so I’m really afraid I’ll spoil it for you if I say something more about the plot. However, the topic might seem fluffy but it’s rather serious. It speaks about how people can get obsessive about their looks and how the society reacts to those that are not ‘perfect’. It’s so silly to think one can be perfect, and yet here we are, most of us never pleased with the way we look, striving to be thinner, look younger…it’s a never ending cycle and oh so tiring.

I admit, there were times I wanted to give Ellie a good shake, make her realize she’s trying too damn hard. Her lack of self esteem got me damn annoyed, but I still could understand her and definitely sympathized with her. I cheered for her and hoped she’ll get her Christmas miracle, because she deserves it. I loved watching her grow and transform.

Overall, this really was an enjoyable read. I just wish it was a bit longer though. I would definitely love to see more of Ellie and Sam. I’ll be checking out Ruth’s other novels too, I’ve heard all of them are fun.

My rating: 3/5

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Buy ‘Weight Till Christmas’ on amazon.co.uk

Find Ruth Saberton on her site, facebook and twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 10 – Book review: Christmas at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

ImageSeems Evie has it all, a new boyfriend and a chance to spend the first Christmas with him. She’s quite looking forward to it, thinking it will be so romantic. Unfortunately, she didn’t know there will be unexpected guests. First it was Ed’s brother Jake, and then her friend Amber. Things are definitely not going according to her plan and lots of drama follows.

Before I started reading this Christmas novella, I really had no Idea that this is a sequel of Lucy Diamond’s  ‘The Beach Café’,  so I wasn’t familiar with all the characters. However, this didn’t stop me from enjoying this lovely short story. I loved Evie and Ed, they seem like such a cute couple and totally made for each other. I didn’t like Ed’s brother Jake though. Now don’t get me wrong, Jake is not a bad person, but he’s a bit jealous of his brother, and this made me like him less. I admired Evie for her spirit and character, the way she solves things out.

Whenever I think of Christmas, I imagine snow. Must be because where I come from, it always snows on Christmas. So reading about a Christmas at the beach felt refreshing and totally different experience for me. And you know what, I totally loved it.

This was surely a lovely, humorous and entertaining read, perfect after a long and exhausting day. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Ms. Diamond’s other books, especially ‘The Beach Café’. Would be great to see what Evie is up to this time. Curl up with a nice cocktail and imagine you’re at the beach.

My rating: 4/5

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Buy ‘Christmas at the Beach Cafe on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Lucy Diamond on her site and twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 6 – Book review: Christmas Yves by Nicola May

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

Just before Christmas, Evie finds herself with no job and no boyfriend. She meets Greg who invites her to do a charity job for Christmas and serve in the homeless shelter. There she meets Yves, a homeless guy whose birthday is around Christmas. Yves might be homeless, but he has the richest soul in the world. He takes Evie on a journey that will bring back her faith in people and in love.

I absolutely adored the characters. There is Evie who has yet to learn how to love herself and how to face her biggest fears. And of course, there’s Yves who takes her on a great spiritual journey, showing her the most magnificient places in London, in order to teach her a lesson.

Christmas Yves is a not only a beautiful festive novella but also a very deep and moving story with wonderful spiritual elements. It’s not just about Christmas and sharing. It’s about believing in yourself and others, and about all the important things in life. It’s an inspirational story that reminded me of ‘The Alchemist’. And I loved that book.

‘Christmas Yves’ is a mesmerizing tale everyone needs to read. You’ll learn lots of great lessons along the way, many lessons you might already know but somehow forget to live according to them. I absolutely loved this novella, it’s short yet straight to the point and I’m absoloutely recommending it to anyone.

My rating: 5/5

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Buy ‘Christmas Yves’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Nicola May on her site, twitter and facebook

All I Want For Christmas: Day 2 – Book review: Spirits of Christmas by Nicky Wells

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

‘Spirits of Christmas’ is a fantastic novella, a short read you’ll devour in an hour or less but one that will definitely leave you wanting for more.
We all know, read and loved ‘A Christmas Carol’ and I personally have read quite a few adaptations, however I admit, this is by far the best and most interesting adaptation of a very famous Christmas story.

Jude is the Scrooge and he’s the lead singer of ‘The Blood Roses’. His arrogance and bad temper are the reasons all goes downhill for the band, they even get booed off stage and kicked out of clubs. He of course, doesn’t realize he’s the reason all band members are feeling down, he’s just so full of himself and bitter. So so bitter. You know, I really really didn’t like him at the beginning, but then again, he’s the Scrooge, noone would like his behavior.

Everything changes one night when few very awesome ghosts pay him a visit and provoke a deep change within him. They show him the good, the bad and the ugly, still he has a choice, if only he’s willing to go through the change and make few sacrifices along.

I’ve read another one by Nicky, ‘Sophie’s Turn’ which is the first part in her Rock Star Romance Trilogy and I loved it. So when I started to read this novella I was a bit worried I won’t like it because of the darker atmosphere. But I thoroughly enjoyed, it’s well written and thought-provoking. What I enjoyed the most in this modern, rock’n’roll version of A Christmas Carol is Jude’s transformation, I could feel his emotions, his anger, despair, pain.

This is indeed a perfect Christmas read, one you’ll devour in just an hour or less. Put some music and ROCK ON!

My rating: 4/5

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Buy ‘Spirits Of Christmas’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Nicky Wells on her site, facebook and twitter

All I Want For Christmas Day 1 with Nicky Wells

We have the absolute pleasure to kick off our Christmas Countdown with lovely Nicky Wells, an author whose books we adore. Today she’s here to talk about Christmas and her latest novella ‘Spirits Of Christmas’. We’ll be reviewing it tomorrow so stay tuned and in the mean time read her awesome post and get ‘Spirits of Christmas’ which is currently on promo and is only $0.99 on amazon.com and 77p on amazon.co.uk. You won’t be disappointed, we can promise you that.

And now off to our lovely guest, Nicky Wells.

As the song goes, “I don’t want a lot for Christmas…” Really, all I want for Christmas is to see the big beaming smiles of my children and husband, and for all my family to be there, and be well. If we’re talking perfect Christmas, throw in some candles, some nice food (it doesn’t have to be turkey; in fact, anything but turkey, LOL), music, and snow. Snow would be good!! We don’t get enough snow at Christmas in the UK. I would love a few inches, please, and more of the heavenly stuff falling all through Christmas day. I wouldn’t object to a howling gale, either. That would be very Christmassy indeed.
As for actual presents… well. I struggle with the whole present thing. I love giving presents, but I’m not very good at receiving them. I get all emotional and embarrassed and uncomfortable. I don’t know why, really. I didn’t used to be like that as a kid! Maybe it’s because my perspective has changed with time, and now the absolutely best thing — and the thing I want most — is for people around me to be happy and have a good time.  (And snow. Did I mention snow?)
 
Wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas indeed ~ and now I want to know what YOU want! 🙂
Yours
~Nicky Wells
ImageSpirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol (the blurb)
At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.
Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.
Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?Spirits of
Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.
Buy ‘Spirits Of Christmas’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

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Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies!

Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

Find Nicky Wells on her site, facebook and twitter

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Book review: Flights of Nancy by Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

Let’s get something straight, Jennifer Gilby Roberts is a great chick lit author and creates uberfun chick lit stories. Few months ago I read another short story by her, ‘Wedding Hells’ and absolutely enjoyed it. I found it hilarious and think it’s definitely one of the best short stories I have ever read.

Naturally, I had high expectations for ‘Flights of Nancy’. I was immediately drawn by the cover, it’s very chic and girly, and I’m such a huge sucker for pretty covers.

The story is cute though pretty unrealistic, but I didn’t mind that really. Nancy dreams of becoming a chef and having her own restaurant. When she was younger she was predicted (by a fortune teller) she’s gonna meet Mr. Right on her very 24th birthday. So, the big day is here and somewhat strange (but cute) guy comes into her life with a very weird (but oh so cool) offer. He offers her a stay in a 5* hotel in Greece, and there’s no catch – he just needs some company. Could he be her Mr. Right? Why is it then she doesn’t feel the spark?

Ok, as I said, being offered a trip to Greece by a stranger and accepting does sound silly and unrealistic. But, I’m not gonna over analyze it because it’s obvious that this is humor and main intention is to entertain and make you laugh.

Nancy is sweet and though it’s a short read I could actually feel her energy. I do find it hard to connect with characters from short stories/novellas because I almost always feel I didn’t have the space and time to get to know them well. Of course, if there were more pages I could see more sides of her personalty, but still I saw the big picture and what I saw I definitely liked. Nancy is pretty upbeat and such a sweet girl. Bit naive too, but then again she’s only 24 and has her whole life ahead of her. I cheered for her and wanted her to have her HEA and make her dream come true (become a chef).

I did expect few more laughs, because like I said ‘Wedding Hells’ was hilarious, but still it’s fun and enjoyable. Easy and short, it will definitely cheer you up after a long and exhausting day.

My rating:3/5

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Buy ‘Flights of Nancy’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Jennifer Gilby Roberts on her blog, facebook and twitter