Tuesday 31 December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Oh my goodness! This is definitely the hardest one yet-how do I choose?! I suppose if something really sticks out to me then it's going to be one of my favourites... Deep breath and here we go: 

1. Take a Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson. Loved this one so much, it shot to the top of my favourite Miranda Dickinson novels! It also helps that she is such a lovely author and writes as if she is speaking to me! 

2. By My Side by Alice Peterson. I listened to this one on audiobook even though it has such a gorgeous cover. I was listening to this one at every opportunity and that is why it has made it onto my list. I basically love everything this author writes! 

3. Geek Girl by Holly Smale. Everyone recommended this book to me and I absolutely raced through it. It's got it all, humour, intrigue and it's such a light and easy read I think it should be on everyone's lists! 

4. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. This was such a dramatic novel I devoured every page as quickly as I could-amazing! 

5. This Child of Mine by Sinead Moriarty. Another really dramatic story that I didn't expect to love as much but was fabulous! 

6. Faking It by Cora Carmack. My first introduction into a new adult author and a most excellent one at that! 

7. The Naughty Girls Book Group by Sophie Hart. I've seen this on a few people's lists this year and I certainly know why! This was a fabulous story and introduced me to a wonderful book group and some great other books as well! 

8. The Greatest Love Story Of All Time by Lucy Robinson. Such a fab book that I read right at the start of this yet even though it was released much earlier. I loved this novel and Robinson's next novel, but I couldn't resist including the lovely Dave in my list! 

9. The Mummyfesto by Linda Green. This book made me proper sob on a crowded commuter train, enough said really-read it now! 

10. The Wish List by Jane Costello. I had a bit of a Jane Costello marathon this year and I think each of her books gets better so I've included her latest in my list of favourite 2013 novels! An awesome story with great characters, I ned to get writing my own now! 

11. (I know, I know!) this isn't really a book but I had to include The Arcade Series by Kitty Charles, I've loved the monthly installments this year! And now we have a fabulous omnibus for Christmas too! 

There we go, let me know what you think of my list. If you haven't read Ny of these I nightly recommend all of them. If you think I've missed any major ones, leave me a comment below! Have a great new year everyone! 

Monday 30 December 2013

Review! Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle - bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

Review: this was the perfect book to read at Christmas time, not just because of the storyline but because of the structure! The fact that this was three short stories of about a hundred pages each made this the perfect novel for picking up between Christmas magic & meant that getting to the end of a story before falling asleep on the sofa was not too difficult to manage!

I think the final story by Lauren Myracle was my favourite. It was totally a Christmas carol kind of affair with someone seeing that they need to be a better person and featuring a tea cup pig-what more could you ask for? I liked the fact that the character in this story was nursing a broken heart and had her girlfriends rally round her to help heal that. I also loved that so much of this story was set in Starbucks as I love a good coffee shop in a book. The other thing that made this my favourite of the three was that it kind of wrapped up the fates of the others featured in the previous stories!

The first of the short stories, by Maureen Johnson was definitely the soppiest, it was your typical boy meet girl, boy residues girl, they fall for each other, but this kind of level of predictability is just what you need at this time of year! This one is perfect for all you contemporary fans out there!

I found john green's contribution just totally random, I also found it quote stressful. Three friends are trying to get to the Waffle House but things keep getting in their way & all sorts of mishaps happen in the middle of the night! The ending of this story was awesome though, I found myself cheering & saying aww as it ended, I enjoyed all three of these stories.

I think whether you are a YA/Contemporary fan or not you will enjoy this book and it would definitely work at any time if year. It does, however give you a bit of alternative Christmas during the festive period and is perfect to pick up during this normally busy time. A definite modern classic!

Thursday 26 December 2013

Review! Holly at Christmas by Rosie Fiore

Christmas comes but once a year . . . unless your name is Holly Evans. She’ll be experiencing Christmas four times over. In the course of one year, Holly will see the festive season in all its guises, from the sizzling to the stressful to the hopelessly romantic.

After a rollercoaster couple of years and a three-month holiday in South Africa, Holly is on her way back to London. She has a firm plan for her life – career, money, home, romance – it’s all worked out. Except it looks like nobody let the universe know that. Almost as soon as she touches down in England, Holly’s plans begin to go awry. With no flat, no job and dwindling finances, Holly will need to be brave and resourceful in order to build herself a new life. And what about handsome doctor Fraser John? Where does he fit into her plans? And does he really want to catch Holly under the mistletoe?

Review: Now I have to confess that I haven't read Wonder Woman yet, I do have it on my kindle ready to go because I really liked the sound of it and I'm hoping to get to it in the new year, but I couldn't resist reading this one as the premise sounded so good. I think perhaps I should really have read Wonder Woman before reading this as I would be able to identify with the characters a bit more. I found this novella a little slow going, it took me nearly. Week to red it when I had been racing through some other Christmas novellas prior to this. I liked the character of holly and so I know I'm going to love reading about her in Wonder Woman. I thought she was strong and in control of her life, and as you know I love a strong female lead.

Unfortunately I found myself hating her love interest Fraser. I found him to be selfish and was willing holly to get rid of him at every tune in this novella! I really disliked the way he felt that because he was a doctor, he could control the decisions and control what holly did with her life. When his do race came through I the novella, he went to pieces and holly simply supported him and a looked him to get so drunk he was sick, practically holding his hair back as he indulged in his selfishness. I know this is fairly realistic in relationships nowadays but it just made me hate Fraser even more.

I liked the storyline with the clothing line and holly friend Jo, I found that really interesting, I wasn't sure about the beginning of the airy though with new year in South Africa... I liked the fact that holly had difficulty getting a job when she returned to the UK as this is realistic and her struggle to find a new flat, also very realistic. Overall this novella wasn't too Christmassy which depending what mood you're in, could be a good thing or a bad thing, but I definitely think you nee to have read Wonder Woman to fully enjoy this offering. I will definitely be reading Wonder Woman ASAP! 

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish all of my followers a very merry Christmas. I hope Santa brought you all that you asked for and that you are a wonderful Christmas Day. I will probably be snuggled up on the sofa watching a Christmas movie or reading this

Or maybe this, 

Or maybe this, 

You can think of me tomorrow shopping for some bargains with the crowds!

Merry Christmas, and if I don't see you...have a FABULOUS new year! 

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This is definitely a fun one, there are so many books I could include on here, but I'll jump straight into it! 

1. Anna and the French Kiss. Everyone keeps telling me to read this one and I really really want the hardback of it, so I'm hoping that Santa might bring me this one. 

2. Another one that people recommend to me and I'd like the American hardback edition is Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell.

3. Another book that's have to be the lovely hardback cover would be The Statistical Probability of Love At First Site by Jennifer E Smith. I have This is What Happy Looks Like in hardback so I'd want the matching cover! 

4. the Nearly Weds by Jane Costello. I've read everything else by this author and so I neeeeeed to get myself a copy of this one! 

5. Bonkers by Jennifer Saunders. This is the celeb autobiography that I would like this year! 

6. Fractured by Dani Atkins. I was asked if I would like a review copy of this book and I said that I'd really love to read it but one never appeared and I've been wanting to read it ever since so this is very firmly on my wish list! 

7. Down London Road by Samantha Young. I read On Dublin Street earlier this and year and so I'd like to explore the other novels by this author! 

8. The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski. This has been on my wish list for a while so I'd like this from Santa definitely! 

9. The List of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt. I saw this book in Waterstones in the translated section one day and I thought it was so beautiful. This one would definitely be proudly displayed on my shelves as I'm a massive button fan. I love the cover of this and so I'd love if this was in my stocking! 

10. Ending the same way as I began, I would like Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Again I love the hardback version of this one and would love to sit down one weekend and consume them both at once! 

This was so fun, I think I should've sent sant this very list, even though they're already on all the wish lists on the websites I shop on. I'd love to see what you'd like to be brought by Santa. Leave me a link and let me know what you think of mine! 

Monday 23 December 2013

My Birthday Books

Today is my birthday and so I asked some of my lovely bookish friends what books they would buy me for my birthday, so what we have here is my hypothetical birthday book presents. It's always exciting getting some different book recommendations & who knows...maybe I'll get book tokens for my birthday & I'll be able to buy some of these books. I'm excited to share all these books with you, if you've recommended me one-thank you very much!

The lovely Laura Lovelock would buy me...This Is A Love Story by Jessica Thompson because it's one of the best books I've ever read and will stay with you long after you've finished!

I've got one of Jessica Thompson's books and so this would be a brilliant gift. Laura's blog is SheLovesToRead & she also has a fab YouTube Channel which you should check out! Laura kept me going through NaNoWriMo and so a special thank you to her for that too...

Pat @feetpaintwords said: Okay, here we go; firstly you say you're a book fiend, a shoe fiend and a coffee fiend. Considering you're a three fold fiend I thought you might like to read a romance about the biggest fiend of all. The book is called: The Sorrows of Satan: Or the Strange Experience of One Geoffrey Tempest, Millionaire, a romance by Marie Corelli, a favourite of Queen Victoria. 

This sounds really interesting and not something I would normally pick up so definitely a good idea for me!

The lovely Kerrie from Read and Repeat would buy me Night School by CJ Daugherty. The book follows Allie who has been sent to the mysterious Cimmeria Academy where things aren't all as they seem. It's got mystery, romance and a kickass lead, It's quite different from the normal YA books and I think you'll really enjoy it. 

I know Kerrie is a massive fan of this series and she knows the kind of books that I like so this one is definitely going on the wish list! 

Simona @skydreamersimi would buy me The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman, because it's a great story of a girl trying to fulfill a list, also trying to be a teacher and it's beautifully written. Laura Delve also  mentioned this book: This has been one of my favourite books of 2013 and I honestly think everyone should read it. It makes you look at life a little differently. It shows you how you shouldn’t be afraid to do what you really want to. Don’t just do something or stay with something because you think it’s the safe or correct thing to do. It is definitely a feel good, pick me up book that we have you will enjoy.

I read this book in the summer and loved it so these followers have clearly got their head around the kind of things I would like and this would make an excellent birthday present for me! 

Sam from Sam's Book Corner said: well not sure if you have read it but I would say A tap on the window by Linwood Barclay as it's a fab thriller that will have you Hooked from beginning to end! it's is really a fabulous thriller I got hooked and bought one of his on the strength of the review one. Never read Anything by him before but I defintely would now - when I get round to it from my huge TBR pile! 

I've heard about this one recently, Laura was talking about it on her YouTube Channel and so this one is definitely going on the wish list and well done Sam for finding something else I wouldn't have picked up otherwise!

Jenny @jennymarston said Just had a quick look at the list of books you read this year so If I was to buy you one it'd be Fractured by Dani Atkins If you haven't read it already! I finished it in a few days and it's had SO many 5 star reviews! I think you'd enjoy it judging by what you read! Everyone I've come across hasn't had a bad word to say about it! It is such a heart-warming and emotional story but It's one of the must-read's. Plus the author is absolutely lovely!

This on is already on my wish list and I've heard so many good things about it so thanks for that one Jenny!

The lovely Kelly Rufus also got in on the birthday action, here's what she had to say... Your birthday book - Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. When you asked what book I would get you and why this book instantly popped into my head. although an old book, it's still fantastic. In fact the whole series is great. It's both gripping and thrilling, whilst also breaking your heart! What more could you want from a book 😊 I don't want to spoil the story but you MUST read this book! 

This sounds lovely and always good to read something a bit older. Thanks Kelly! 

One of the ladies from Sophie Hart's Naughty Girls Book Club Vanessa said, i would send you unholy romance by Derrick Hudson because its a great read and had me giggling all the way though even in public got some strange looks.

This sounds fabulous and just the kind of thing I should be reading for our book club! 

Liam @lifeofathinker suggested An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. John Green is likely to become even more popular after the success of "The Fault in Our Stars" "An Abundance of Katherines" is a heartwarming tale of romance and a singleton's (quite literally) attempt at finding true love.

I'd really like to read this one actually and have bought it as a present for a friend so this would be an awesome present to buy me!

The lovely Louise @jaustenrulesok said this... It was difficult to find a book that wasn't on your list already but. I would give you Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman as I know you read YA. It's powerful, beautiful and a real page turner!! 

This is sitting on my shelf along with Noble Conflict so you made a good choice there Louise!

Debbie from Snuggling on The Sofa blog and YouTube channel suggested The Vet Series by Cathy Woodman. This sounds like good chick lit and so Debbie definitely chose well there!

I've really enjoyed having everyone's input for this post and it's been fun hearing what hypothetical birthday book presents everyone would buy me!

I've still got one more top ten Tuesday & then it's Christmas YEY! If anyone else is celebrating this week too then many happy returns!

Friday 20 December 2013

Review! The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

Welcome to the most celebrated patisserie competition in Paris – ready, steady, bake!
Watching snowflakes settle on the Eiffel Tower, Rachel Smithson’s cosy English village feels very far way – as, thankfully, does her commitment-phobic ex, probably already kissing someone else under the mistletoe. But Rachel hasn’t come to Paris to mope she’s come to bake. Hard.

Because the search for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice is about to begin! And super-chef judge Henri Salernes is an infamously tough cookie. But Rachel isn’t about to let her confidence (or pastry) crumble. She’s got one week, mounds of melt-in-the-mouth macaroons and towers of perfect profiteroles to prove that she really is a star baker.

As well as clouds of flour, and wafts of chocolate and cinnamon, there’s definitely a touch of Christmas magic in the air… Rachel hasn’t come to Paris looking for a fairy-tale romance, but the city of love might gift-wrap her one anyway…

Review: What a fun Christmas story! I loved the sound of this one and it was just as scrumptious as I had hoped! The bonus for me at the start of this novel was that it starts out in a school, I totally wasn't expecting that! Rachel is a teacher and she is having a bad year so her fringed decides to send her off to Paris to a baking competitions for Christmas, knowing that she wouldn't be celebrating at home anyway! I think this is a fabulous concept as I know there are days at school I'd rather be whisked somewhere else. It's all wonderful and Christmasy with kids doing nativities and people decorating trees but Rachel jets off to Paris, not knowing what she has let herself in for. 

I didn't love Rachel to begin with, she was definitely a character that grew on me, I prefer a strong female lead and Rachel is quite weak but that is because circumstances have left her that way, she gains in strength as she goes through this novella and by the end, she makes a decisions that I was actually really proud of her for making. The storyline involving the bake off itself was seriously funny, the competition is quite intense and some of the things the contestants say and do to each other are almost pure slapstick comedy. There are some real characters in the group, all of them believe able, even the chef himself. 

There is a love interest or two for Rachel as well, don't worry, and that particular storyline is classic chick lit and something which I really enjoyed! Of course I have to talk about the setting, it's Paris at Christmas. There is the Champs Élysées, snow, bicycles and baked goods. Even though I am not a fan of Paris myself, I appreciate a well described city setting like this, and some of the best scenes in novels have been set here! 

Overall I am so glad I added this book to my Christmas reads list! It had elements of all the best chick lit novels and was satisfying right up until the last page. I found it a compelling and quick read and would recommend adding this to your lists too! 

Thursday 19 December 2013

Review! Christmas Yves by Nicola May

It’s two days before Christmas - and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.

Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks.

A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?

Review: now I'm a big Nicola May fan and so when I found out that she had a Christmas book on the way I was extremely excited because I'm also a massive Christmas fan. When I learnt that this was a stand along novella I was even more excited, I think novellas are very important at this busy time of hear when we don't necessarily have e nought time to sit down and read a whole novel in one sitting. This is the perfect novel to read beside this Christmas tree at home one evening between wrapping presents, or on your commute to the Christmas party and the storyline of this novel will make you remember just what Christmas is all about! 

I really liked the character of Evie, I thought she was very realistic, finding herself job,was and am less just before Christmas, it is a Christmas that a lot of other people will be facing and so to have her as a main character was a good choice on the part of this author. Her friend Bea is also really real and I enjoyed reading about her too. There is a definite element of the fantasy about the character Yves. I really liked him as a character but I wasn't sure if he was a ghost or a real person, or even some break off from Evie's own character. I thought he tied the novella together beautifully, pushing Evie to do things and see things that she definitely wouldn't have, had it not been for him, Gregg makes a great love interest for Evie and the fact that he spends his Christmas doing charity work will make many readers fall in love with him too! 

I wasn't entirely convinced by the ending of this one. Although things were tied up nicely, I wasn't sure that the way things turned out for Evie and for Greg would really have happened in real life. I loved the ending that Yves had, however, and so I felt really warm and fuzzy after finishing this one. This is definitely a pleasure you should allow yourself in a moment of clam this Christmas. At just over 50 pages, it is the perfect length for squeezing in a bit of me time, and if you are a Nicola May fan, you won't be disappointed. This novella contains the perfect mix of romance, and the humour that is always in this writer's novels as well as a very real and very necessary Christmas message. 

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Review! Last Christmas by Talli Roland

For Lucy, the best Christmas present is forgetting the past.

Eager to banish the ghost of Christmas past – when her boyfriend dumped her on the streets of Paris – Lucy is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She rallies friends and family for an epic celebration that just happens to fall on the same day as her ex’s festive wedding. Furious at how she’s been treated, Lucy can’t help relishing the party v wedding smackdown.

But when the wedding is threatened and only Lucy can help, can she find the spirit inside to save the day, or will this Christmas be even more disastrous than the last?

Review: aww what a lovely Christmas Novella! I totally didn't know what to expect from this one as I haven't read anything by this author before. I know she writes some lovely Christmas stories but this one got me hooked in right from the start! I was drawn into the action of Lucy arranging the best Christmas party ever to try and combat the fact that her ex was marrying someone else after rejecting her proposal just a year earlier. Her friend is amazing in this book, she encourages Lucy every step of the way and I fell just as much in love with her as with Lucy herself! 

The setting of this one is fabulous as well, I thought all the scenes were well described and just as they would be at Christmas time! The venue that Lucy hires sounds typical for that kind of party too. The relationships in this novel just build and grow. Lucy's relationship with her mum, her relationship with her ex and his family, and also a romantic relationship along the way! I thought it was wonderful that so much could be included in such a short number of pages! 

The whole novella felt like A Christmas Carol for me, but with all the festive spirit of the kind of novels Trisha Ashley and Scarlett Bailey write! Even though it was a novella, nothing felt rush or squashed in, just jam packed and full of action! This is the perfect length for reading in the bath or on the commute home (if you're lucky enough to have a commute where you can read) so I high,y recommend you grab  a couple of mince pies, a mug of mulled wine and get yourself this novella now! 

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Because I've started my blog this year, there have been several authors who are new to me that I've discovered this year so I'm really pleased to be able to showcase them here this week. Some of these authors have had a debut novel this year, and some are those who I've only recently discovered, mainly through recommendations from other blogger, but sometimes through them contacting me with books for review. So here goes...

1. Holly Smale. I've loved Holly's Geek Girl Series this year, she was new to me and a lot of other bloggers and one of my favourite this year! 

2. Emma Garcia. This author had a debut novel this year which I loved and I hope she has something else out again really soon! 

3. Tamara Ireland Stone. I discovered her novels and marathoned them earlier this autumn. I love her writing and the storyline of both these novels was fantastic! 

4. Cora Carmack. I read Losing It and was them able to follow that up with Faking it and have since devoured everything else this fabulous New Adult author has come up with. I was lucky enough to meet her earlier on this year and am definitely glad I discovered her this year! 

5. Mia March. I downloaded The Meryl Streep Movie Club at the start of this year and was overwhelmed by how lovely it was. I can't wait to read her latest novel Finding Colin Firth and am definitely glad I found this author this year! 

6. Sophie Hart. Not only did I love this authors novel, the Naughty Girls Book Club, but she has since started hosting a monthly book club herself and I have so enjoyed taking part in that this year, it has been fantastic and am looking forward to reading whatever she comes up with next! 

7. Paige Toon. As a massive chick lit fan, you would think that I'd have read something by this author sooner but I only actually began my Paige Toon education this year after being encouraged by Victoria to pick up her novels. I still haven't read them all but I was lucky enough to meet her as well this year and I have just a few left to read. I will be continuing to enjoy her novels next year I am sure! 

8. Beth Reekles. This young author blew me away with her debut novel, The Kissing Booth earlier this year and then her next novel, Rolling Dice was even better. I think it is amazing that she manages to write such mature novels at such a young age and am pretty jealous to be honest. I am very glad that I discovered her this year though! 

9. John Green. My friend made me read the fault in our stars this year and then I discovered John Green's YouTube channel as well, and it's been fabulous fun, so pleased I read that book! 

10. Sinead Moriarty. I only discovered this author at the end of the year but i was so bowled over by this novel, the drama and the heartache that it contained. I do have another of hers on my kind,e to read and so I shall look forward to that in the new year! 

I could list a whole other ten authors that I've discovered this year as there have been so many good ones, but I think narrowing this down to 10 has been good for me. I like reflecting on the books and the authors that I've read so this has been fun. Leave me a link to your top ten or any thoughts that you have on the authors that I've debuted this year.