My top 5 reads of 2016

image

This year I have read 41 books maybe 42 if I get ‘Christmas Under a Starlit Sky’ by Holly Martin finished today.

Reading has been my saviour towards the end of this year due to having horrible panic attacks and not feeling myself – reading really relaxes me so helps take my mind off my anxiety problem.

Anyway here is my top ten books of 2016 in no particular order, I loved them all.

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky’ by Holly Martin. 

I adored this book and its characters especially Pip and Gabe, the main characters who are reunited after 12 years and still have an incredible chemistry. Although it is set in Edinborough I couldn’t help but picture Lapland whilst reading this and it made me want to return there. 

The Plumberry School of Comfort Food’ by Cathy Bramley 

This book really appealed to me as I am a Foodl Technician in a secondary school, so I assist the students when they are cooking. The story flowed really well and was full of great innuendos. Verity hasn’t cooked so much as a fish finger sandwich since her best friend Mimi died, so when Mimi’s mother Gloria needs a hand with her cookery school, Verity agrees and goes to her aid. Verity is revived through the cookery school and makes lots of new friends. I especially loved Mags, she had a good sense of humour and was a loyal friend to all. 

The One We Fell in Love With’ by Paige Toon

My all time favourite author Paige Toon released this beautiful heart-breaking but uplifting book this year and so far it is my favourite Paige Toon book although there are still some I have not read ! The main characters in this book are triplets Rose, Phoebe and Eliza. I loved it how although they were identical triplets they had such different personalities. This is a book that had me crying at times. 

One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay’ by Zoe Cook.

A fantastic debut novel set in Cornwall. This book was so well written that I wouldn’t have thought it was a debut. A story full of twists. Lucy gets a letter from an old flame Tom, asking her to go back to Cornwall and although Lucy is unsure whether to or not she does return to where she grew up and she softens from the selfish woman she had become. There are lots of secrets within this story. 

Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery’ by Jenny Colgan.

Christmas is not complete without a Jenny Colgan festive read. It was so nice to be reunited with Polly, Huckle and Neil but also we get to know Kerensa more in this story and realise she is not as stuck up as you may think. As always Jenny included recipes at the end which are always a nice touch I think. 

For more of an insight of what I thought of these books and many more please visit my reviews.

Happy New Year , here’s to many more great books xx

My latest book bargain

image

I got these 2 from The Works, as you can see they were in a 3 for £5 deal (the 3rd book was for my son, so you can mix and match).  I was planning on buying these with my Amazon gift card that I got for Christmas but now I can spend that on other books.

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

image

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again. Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

A magical story that will make you believe in fate and true love – perfect for fans of Paige Toon, Lucy Diamond and Carole Matthews.

I really, really enjoyed this story. I was reading it at every opportunity I got. Holly Martin writes in such a way that you feel as though you are there in the story amongst the characters. I envisioned Lapland whilst reading, so this really helped me get into the story. I had a clear picture in my head of the village, the lodges, the hotel, even the frozen lake, thanks to my trip to Lapland.

Gabe and Pip’s love story was absolutely beautiful. What they had was true love right from when they were just children and fate brought them back together again in a magical place. The chemistry between them was electrifying, the suspense of would they get back together was keeping me on the edge of my seat. I especially loved how the story was told from both Pip and Gabe’s  perspective.

I can’t wait to get stuck into ‘Christmas Under a Starlit Sky’ to get to know Neve better and hopefully be reunited with Pip, Gabe and the cute Wren.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read and review this in return for an honest opinion.

image.jpeg

This is Santa’s house in Lapland, this is how I imagined the lodges to look like but 2 storeys.

Falling Softly by Maria Duffy

image

Holly Russo couldn’t be happier.

Christmas, her favourite time of year, is only seven weeks away and her boyfriend has just popped the question. David is steady and reliable, and Holly knows he’ll give her a wonderful life. The kind of life she’s always wanted. Right?

Then her new neighbour moves in.
Josh O’Toole is also approaching the festive season with joy. He loves his teaching job. He’s about to have a baby with his adored girlfriend Stephanie, and they’ve just moved into a new home to begin their life as a family.

But as Josh and Stephanie settle into their new house across the road from Holly and David’s, things begin to get complicated …….

A magical , heart-warming story that will stay with me forever.

I absolutely loved this book from the first page, it was one of those stories that you do not want to put down but when you have to, you find yourself constantly thinking about it and wanting to read more.

The characters were so life like. I didn’t warm to Stephanie at all, I thought she was selfish and I predicted what would happen with her !! David got on my nerves too, he was such a mummy’s boy and not good enough for the lovely Holly. Holly was a good, strong character who was very likeable for her general loveliness. As for Josh, I loved him from the start especially as he had a love for books !  Oh and not forgetting the interfering mother-in-law to be from hell Doreen, whenever I read about her I instantly thought of Jane Fonda in the film ‘Monster In Law’. I couldn’t stand her but I thought Maria Duffy wrote the relationship between her and her son David perfectly, men can never say no to their mothers.

This is the sort of book you can read anytime of the year, as its not Christmas throughout the story. I would love to see this as a film. Maggie Grace would be excellent as Stephanie, that’s who I pictured whilst reading. I even have a song in mind for the soundtrack – Matt Terry ‘When Christmas comes around’ seems very apt.

A story full of love, fate and betrayal, perfect for fans of Paige Toon, Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern.

Thanks to Netgalley and Hachette for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book, I will definitely be reading more by Maria Duffy.

 

The Cosy Christmas Teashop by Caroline Roberts

image

From sleigh bells to wedding bells …..

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?

A fantastic sequel to ‘The Cosy Teashop In The Castle’  . I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. I had been struggling with  reading because my concentration had gone , so I was  pleased to be able to get into this book straight away and then I didn’t want to put it down.

It was lovely to  read how Ellie and Joe ‘s relationship had  blossomed  and  how they continued to be close throughout the story. Even when times were tough their love for each other was so strong. Joe reminded me a lot of my husband , in how supportive he always was towards Ellie.

I especially thought it was great how fundraising for charity was mentioned, especially the Air Ambulance.  This was inspiring and just  goes to show how if everyone works together , big changes can happen. This applied all throughout the story – not just with the fundraising, the village people  and castle staff were always supporting each other .

A book full of love , laughter and a few tears , perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley and  Jenny Colgan.

Thank you to Netgalley  and Harper Impulse for allowing me to read and review this.

A Picture of You by Jolie Davison

image

Ollie have been best friends for years – until he concealed something devastating from her.
Almost a year later, Ollie invites Jessica to stay at his family’s manor home in Cornwall as a last-ditch attempt to mend their friendship before heading for pastures new. In need of a kick-start in her own life Jessica agrees, concealing a dubious agenda; however, from the moment she steps into the Taylor household she’s on the back foot. The manor is peppered with feisty females, champagne parties and secrets; her delicate relationship with Ollie is a daily test; his antagonistic, workaholic brother, Matt, a puzzle and their village committee member mother, ambitious for her own glory, has set her sights on Jessica as a potential ally in her latest endeavour. So when the village committee’s charity ball is adjudged to be heading for disaster, ex-events manager Jessica is swiftly roped in to try to save their blushes. Can she save the high profile event from being an embarrassing failure?

A feel good read , like hot chocolate on a cold night.

For a debut book this was very well written, there was never a dull moment in the book or in the Taylor household for that matter !

Initially I thought there was a connection between Ollie and Jessica but as soon as Matt appeared on the scene, that thought went out of my head, the attraction between Jessica and Matt was very obvious from the start. Matt came across as quite sullen at times but this added to his attractiveness in my opinion. Jessica came across as down to earth yet feisty.

I loved the references of things from the 80’s, I’m an 80’s child so it brought back lots of memories.

This story will make you laugh (lots) and cry (only a little).