Wednesday 20 December 2023

Guest Review: Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh

She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…

Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.

Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.

Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.

The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.

What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…

Reiew: As a lover of Christmas-based stories of all kinds, I was attracted by this book which is described on its striking cover as a hilarious Christmas romantic comedy. I’m not familiar with the author, but it sounded like something I would love to read. I listened to the audiobook, which was well read and kept me entertained for many hours.

The story concerns two people, Molly and Andrew, who have known each other for ten years, having travelled home for Christmas each year on the same plane carrying them to Dublin from Chicago, where they both live and work. After the first meeting on the plane, which was difficult for many reasons, they have gradually become friends but no more than that. Molly professes to being unmoved by Christmas, while it is very important to Andrew. Therefore, when their flight is cancelled due to bad weather this particular year, Molly would happily spend the holiday in her apartment, but Andrew is desperate to get home somehow. Knowing how important it is for him, Molly sets out to get him back to Ireland by any means possible and there follows a hilarious journey taking in many stops and many modes of transport. Somewhere along the way something is changing between the pair; could romance be in the air?

I have really enjoyed this story, which had me laughing a lot, but also anxious as Molly and Andrew gradually inched their way closer to home even as all sorts of obstacles dropped in their path. I loved the way in which the story was told, looking back over the last ten years of their friendship, each time reliving the flight taking them home that year. By the time of this present flight, they know a lot about each other and their families. They are so very different, but it is lovely to watch as they get closer with each passing year. This is a Christmas story with a difference and one which I’m sure other readers will enjoy as much as I have.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Guest Review: A New York Winter by Isla Gordon

Will her dreams come true in the city that never sleeps?

When she was nineteen, on a magical trip to New York City, Ashling created a list of her five life goals. There, she'd felt inspired to dream big, but now, ten years later, with four out of five goals having crumbled before her, she realises she has only one option left to live the life she's always dreamed of: move to New York City, before it's too late.

Armed with a ninety-day visa, she's sure that a winter in the city that never sleeps will help her finally get her life on track. However, after arriving in the Big Apple with nowhere to live, Ashling realises that she may be in over her head, until she meets River . . .

River is miserable. He's newly single, recently demoted and feeling entirely lost, but sensing Ashling could do with the help, he offers her his sofa bed. Despite their clashing personalities, over the course of the winter, outgoing Ashling finds herself growing closer to quiet, geeky River - but is he just shy or is there another reason he's holding back?

With snow falling on 5th Avenue, a Thanksgiving parade and a fun-filled Christmas in the most romantic city in the world, can Ashling once again learn to follow her dreams - and maybe even her heart?

Review: I have read and enjoyed many Christmas stories from Isla Gordon and looked forward to experiencing a New York Christmas and a romance to boot in this book. The book itself has a lovely, colourful cover that beckons the reader in to experience views of New York and Christmas festivities. The story certainly pulled me in from the start and I found myself quickly lost in the Big Apple. 

The story centres on Ashling, who is feeling down because she has now failed completely to accomplish four of the five lifetime goals she set for herself ten years previously. She decided on these goals while on a magical trip from London to New York with her now deceased grandmother, who had had a wonderful time in New York herself in her younger years. With her once successful career in tatters, the one remaining goal on Ashling’s list is to live in New York city, where she is confident that she will be inspired to realise where her life should lead now. She arrives in the city on a ninety-day visa waiver, but finding somewhere to live for that time proves difficult until an ex-boyfriend tells her of a colleague who is out of town and may let her stay in his apartment. The colleague, River, returns from his trip, but reluctantly allows Ashling to sleep on his sofa bed. Having very different personalities, their relationship is difficult to start with, but as time passes, Ashling begins to succeed in getting River to open up to her. As they become closer, Ashling begins to wonder whether they will truly admit their feelings towards each other before she has to return to the UK.

I absolutely loved this wonderful book that takes the reader on a Christmas break in New York city without leaving home. It covers everything that a visiting tourist would want to experience on such a break if they possibly could. The writing absolutely transported me to the Thanksgiving parade, the snow covered streets, the wonderful shop window displays, the ice skating rinks and the excitement of the ball drop in Times Square. Ashling was a really interesting character. Her world could be falling apart around her, but she just won’t let it go. How brave to set off on her own confident that everything will work out for her. She could hardly be more different from shy, reserved River. It was heart-warming to watch as a romance slowly developed between them, although time was running out and I began to despair of a happy ending. This is a lovely Christmas book, perfect for reading in the warm on a crisp winter’s day. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Thursday 7 December 2023

November 2023 Reading Wrap Up: Nonfiction and Netgalley Reads...

November was a great reading month for me because I LOVED everything I read! I managed 4 nonfiction books and 2 netgalley reads so I'm happy with that!

As always, I will break it down into the types of books that I read...

Physical Books


Tuesday 5 December 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Mainstream Authors I Still Have Not Read


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

There are loads of authors that are popular around the book blogging world and booktube that I still have no read so I loved making this list...

Monday 4 December 2023

December 2023 TBR-Everything I Want to Read Before the End of the Year!

 It's the last month of the year, I think that always makes me panic in terms of my reading because it's a feeling of everything I haven't read and want to try and squeeze in knowing that December is such a busy month and won't be giving me a lot of time for reading....

That being said, I've decided on a couple of things I want to complete coupled with some festive reads...

Finishing off books/series

December Releases

Festive Reads

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Guest Review: Winter at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples

Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton.

Working shifts at the Dog and Duck pub and running her own doggy-daycare business, Ellie's looking for a simpler way of life in this idyllic English setting.

But Little Leyton's landscape is changing: Johnny Tay, Ellie's ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie's heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life's looking a whole lot more complicated.... Can Ellie overcome all the challenges to finally find her one true love?

Review: This is the first book in a series from Jill Steeples featuring the Dog and Duck, the thriving pub in a small English village. I am new to this author, but was attracted to what sounds like a romantic holiday read.

The story centres on Ellie Browne, who has returned to the Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton after living and working in London for a few years. Taking a break from her successful career in accountancy, she is currently working at the local pub, the Dog and Duck, and also building up her dog-walking business. With her parents spending a few months abroad, Ellie is living alone in the family cottage. Her ex-boyfriend, Johnny, seems keen to rekindle their relationship, but she is not sure this is a good idea. Meanwhile, she has met newcomer to the village property developer Max Golding, and there is a definite attraction between the two of them. When there is a rumour of doubts over the future of the Dog and Duck, Ellie is concerned not just for her job but for the community as a whole. With life becoming more complicated and suspicions that Max might not be totally honest with her, Ellie begins to consider where her future lies.

I have very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy a romance with a festive theme; it is not strictly speaking a Christmas story, but it has a festive feel, especially towards the end. I loved the central players in the story; both Ellie and Max were strong characters, not afraid to reveal their feelings. The author cleverly introduces doubts into the reader’s and Ellie’s mind regarding the motives and character of Max in particular, and I was never very sure how things were going to turn out. The village of Little Leyton sounds very pretty and it was easy to picture it with the pub very much central to activities. There are three more stories in this series for readers wanting to follow the fortunes of Ellie and indeed the pub.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Guest Review: Four Weddings and a Christmas by Phillipa Ashley

Can the spirit of Christmas reignite an old flame?

With her thriving business Cottage Angels, Freya Bolton prepares the Lake District’s holiday homes for Christmas visitors. It’s her job to think of everything, from cinnamon-scented candles to tasteful decorations and hampers of seasonal treats.

If only her love life were such a success… After being burned by past relationships, she’s now determined to steer clear of love for good.

So when she bumps into gorgeous – and single – ex-boyfriend Travis, a no-strings festive fling seems perfect.

But when her feelings for him begin to develop, is she on track for another romantic calamity? Or could this Christmas give her the gift of true love?

Review: Phillipa Ashley is one of my ‘go-to’ authors. For me, she always brings to life the characters and places in her books. I have enjoyed many a trip to Cornwall through her writing. This year, Phillipa’s Christmas book is a romance set once again in the Lake District, acknowledged as one of the prettiest areas of the UK, and one with which I am very familiar. The book has a wonderfully Christmassy cover, promising lots of snow and fun.

The story features Freya Bolton, born and bred in the Lake District and owner of a company that prepares holiday homes in the area for visitors. With her attention to detail and excellent customer service, she has built up a successful business. As she is busy putting the finishing touches to one cottage, ready for Christmas, she is startled to find that the incoming tenant is someone she knows well - her former fiancé and now renowned photographer, Travis Marshall, who has come back home to open a business of his own. As the days pass, it appears that there is still a strong attraction between them, and Freya suggests a secret relationship with no commitments. However, things are not that simple, as feelings develop in both of them and it seems this may be more than just a fling.

I really enjoyed this trip to the Lake District. The book was full of interesting characters and well-described settings. Freya and Travis were both likeable people for whom the reader is bound to want a happy ending, although, of course, there were many bumps in the road along the way. I admired their dedication to their businesses, but there was no denying the attraction between them. In addition to the central story, there were other interesting subplots involving Freya and Travis’s families and friends, including a few weddings, as the title suggests, and lots of Christmas-themed events. This is a lovely, light and heart-warming festive book, particularly perfect for reading by the fire on a cold wintry day.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Thursday 9 November 2023

October 2023 Wrap Up: I Was Definitely Overly Ambitious With My TBR This Month!

 Well here's what I read in October, I was so hopeful I would read loads in the last couple of weeks of term and then loads more on my flights but alas, I forgot how tired I would be in both those times and so ended up only watching movies/napping on the flights and listening to just one audiobook in that last week of term despite my best efforts!


Physical Books


Wednesday 8 November 2023

Guest Review: Christmas at the Highland Flower Shop by Lucy Coleman

Four months. One impossible task. It's time to save Christmas at The Highland Flower Shop...

Bella Reed has worked at The Highland Flower Shop ever since she left college and now her Aunt Jane has handed the keys and the lease over to her. With the business under her reign, Bella is ready to hit the ground running - until she's dealt a massive blow. They're being evicted.

When dashing businessman Maverick McIntyre turns up in Fort William, Bella discovers the reason they're being kicked out. He has no intention of honouring a ridiculous deal his father made many years ago.

As Maverick and Bella lock horns, they both begin to see different sides to one another and before long the two strike up the most unexpected of friendships. Bella knows she has to keep business separate, but when her head and her heart are saying two different things, life starts to get complicated.

Review: Although Lucy Coleman is a prolific author, I have somehow read only a few of her books. This one caught my eye immediately, with its bright wintry cover and subject matter of a Christmas romance in the highlands of Scotland. The book is set in the Highland Flower Shop, which is located in Fort William, a town sitting at the foot of Ben Nevis.

The story concerns Bella Reed, who has suddenly become the owner of the flower shop where she worked for her aunt for many years. As well as the challenge of becoming responsible for the business and its staff, Bella is faced with the shocking discovery that the building they lease is being sold and, unless an alternative solution can be found, they are going to need to find new premises. She must deal with Maverick McIntyre, son of the man who set up her aunt’s lease, but he is a hard businessman, and the pair don’t hit it off. However, after a few meetings, Bella and Maverick begin to warm to each other, which makes life hard for both of them as they have to remember that business is business while their hearts are telling them otherwise.

I very much enjoyed this gentle Christmas romance. The story has a wonderful setting and some lovely, warm characters. I thought Bella was a remarkably strong business woman, given her age and lack of experience in taking responsibility for running things, and I was cheering her on all the way. I was glad that she was faced with an adversary who wasn’t quite as gruff as he appeared; in fact, he was a perfect gentleman and very handsome with it. I think this makes a marvellous book to read this Christmas, and it would make a perfect gift for readers who enjoy romantic fiction.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Would Make Great Headlines!


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

I love this list! Let me know what you think in comments or if you have any to add...

Monday 6 November 2023

November 2023 TBR: Nonfiction and Netgalley Reads!

 It's November which is always an exciting month for me because it is an excuse to read some non-fiction, not that I need the excuse. It is always Netgalley November which is when we try and read items from our Netgalley shelves which we know we do tend to neglect sometimes! I have half and half in my TBR this month, a few leftovers from last month and I am excited to share everything I want to read with you. Please do let me know in comments what you're planning on reading this month!

Here's what I have to choose from:

Nonfiction TBR

Netgalley books I still need to read