The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

 

36380895Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 21st September 2017

Source:  Purchased

Number of pages: 336

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

Rating: five-stars

 

Guys, you don’t have to fear the upcoming winter if you have Rosie Blake’s new novel at hand! Already the opening scene was abso – bloody – hilarious and it set the mood for the rest of the story. It was my first “hygge” book, to be honest and I won’t tell you what I thought hygge is, it turned out to be something different to what I thought, but still I love the idea of hygge, especially now, when it’s so quickly dark and uncomfortable and cold, and now I am a hygge specialist, and I also know a few Danish swear words. Result!

Clara was an absolutely brilliant character and I loved how quickly and without hesitation she jumped at the chance of house – sitting. Running away from her secrets, she was going from one place to another, never staying for long but something in Yulethorpe has touched upon her heart. She was also so incredibly creative and what she’s done with the toy shop was absolutely brilliant – it was also described in such a vivid, colourful way that I didn’t have a problem to picture it in my mind, and really, guys, I would love to have such a shop in my town, and I know what I’m saying as I have a five – year – old daughter. What was also so great with Clara was the fact that she’s not only transformed the place, she’s also made some brilliant friends in the village, also transforming them at the same time. Clara is carrying not only a secret, but resulting from this secret tons of guilt, and this is probably why she wants to help other people, no matter what. And she has such an effect on all people that she meets, I’d love to have such a positive person around me.
Enter Joe, who probably knows as much about hygge as I’ve known before reading the book. Suspicious, not trusting, but ha, he doesn’t know Clara and her plan yet – and you see, it was Clara again, who without a sound, patiently, worked on Joe. Did she manage to transform Joe? Did Joe need transformation? READ THE BOOK and you’ll find the answers.
There are also all those brilliant and funny background characters: Gavin, Craig, Louise, Lauren, and even Roz. All of them full of life and personal opinions but in the end always (almost) sticking together and supporting each other (not all of them, of course not all of them, but we do need bad guys as well). There is not other option as to love them or love to hate them, they just grow on you and don’t leave you alone (sounds creepy, I’m aware, what I mean is that you can’t stop thinking about them because they are so vivid and close to life and so, so funny).

Rosie Blake, in such a subtle, gentle way points out what is really important in our lives – that it’s not money or job or giving people warnings at work but that it’s kindness and not expecting anything in return for it. That it is sometimes so much better to watch a sunrise and to offer something deep from your heart – and it was gorgeous.

This was a cosy, sweet book of new beginnings, second chances, finding your own place and happiness, written in this brilliant Rosie – style, with one of the best one – liners in the history, unforgettable characters, swearing parrots and a few romances. Actually, I was sure I’m going to get it all, because it’s Rosie Blake, right? A story full of hope, that immediately draws you in and makes you feel warmer and better. “The Hygge Holiday” was like a warm blanket, like a hug and I adored it, basta, and in my eyes it fully deserves those big, fat five stars. This was a definition of a perfect, comforting, unforgettable read, and please hurry up Rosie with writing another book! And PS – the cover of “The Hygge Holiday”. The cover! It’s gorgeous!

And now to make a scented, candle lit hot bath. And plump some cushions on my sofa.

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

 

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

 

36510596Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 19th October 2017

Series: The Cake Shop in the Garden #2

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best!

Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing!

Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn’t it?

Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking – especially now she’s on dry land again! – and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights.

Rating: four-stars

Don’t shake your head at me but it was a real surprise for me to see that “Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights” is a continuation of Fay and Danny’s from “The Cake Shop in the Garden” adventures – it being a Carole Matthews’ book I didn’t take the trouble to read a synopsis, as with many other auto – buy authors, and already knowing it’s going to be a fabulous, festive read.

Fay and Danny, deeply in love, are enjoying their nomadic life on the canal boat but when they get a call from Lija that Stan is not good, Fay rushes home to look after him, and also to help Lija, who’s now running the Cake Shop. Of course Fay’s sister Edie also makes an appearance – what is she planning this time? And there are, again, troubles coming The Cake Shop way and the characters are facing really difficult times.

It was great to be back with Fay Merryweather and Danny Wilde and all their friends and relatives. I adored seeing them together, the sparkle was still there and you could see those two are made for each other, that they found each other. Fay, as before, puts everyone before herself but I noticed – with satisfaction – that she’s also grown a backbone, that she’s able to stay her ground and I felt like giving her a standing ovation and shouting you go, girl! There was also a new character Rainbow, helping in the cafe, and she was as colourful as her name. I think she added tons of humour and warmth to the story and while sometimes I couldn’t stand her blabbering, I appreciated the way she has lightened the atmosphere up. Lija and her foul mouth had made me smile more than once, I loved her directness! Altogether, the characters were – as usually – brilliantly and beautifully written, they had a great depth to themselves, they had personalities and the way they acted and reacted was realistic and so close to life. Their lives are not bed of roses and probably this is what makes them so close to your heart – that they struggle, that not everything is handed to them on a plate, just like in a normal life. Lija’s one – liners and sharp comments were an absolute highlights, and Rainbow, being Rainbow, so bubbly, bright and always happy just gave the book this little element of so much needed relax. Because the story touches upon so many heavy and difficult issues, guys – however, it’s not depressing or too overwhelming, or no, not to worry – and the author writes about them with so much intuition and understanding.

The title may be a little misleading, as the story only brushes a little on Christmas but the plot is so full of other things and happenings that I didn’t even feel disappointment – and so the book can be read with no regards to a season. As already mentioned, this newest release is a follow – up to “The Cake Shop in the Garden” and I think it could be read as a stand alone – just. I’d rather advise to read the books in the right order because even though “Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights” gives us a brief re – telling of what’s happened before, it’s really brief and to fully enjoy the book you should really start with the “Cake Shop”.

Altogether, it was a lovely, heart – warming story about friendship, friends pulling together, family bonds and love. Of course there wouldn’t be a Cake Shop without some great cakes, and the descriptions of Lija and Fay’s incredible creations were gorgeous and so vivid, and I can bet anything they’ll make your mouth water – they did it with me. The story was so comforting, just like your favourite reading place and a hot chocolate. It was warm and uplifting and so true to life and genuine. And it is Ms Matthews’s 30th book, so it’s for sure a reason to celebrate!

An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe

An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe

 

35824143Publisher: Viking

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 163

Genre:  Humour, Nonfiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“My mother is not a foodie. But for as long as I can remember, once a year, she becomes possessed of a profound and desperate need to serve up a perfect roast turkey. Faced with a walk into the village though, she might think ‘oh, f*** it’ and decide to get a frozen one from Bejams on the 23rd and leave it to defrost in the downstairs toilet for not quite 48 hours.”

From perennially dry turkeys to Christmas pudding fires, from the round robin code of conduct to the risks and rewards of re-gifting, An Almost Perfect Christmas is an ode to the joy and insanity of the most wonderful time of the year.

 
Rating: five-stars

 

I adore Nina Stibbe’s books, and as soon as I spotted “An Almost Perfect Christmas” on NetGalley, I immediately downloaded it (ah, the benefits of being pre – approved, I love it!) and started reading it. Of course I didn’t bother to read the synopsis – well, duh, it IS Nina Stibbe, right, so there is no need for it, because no matter what she writes about it is exceptionally brilliant, but this time I was surprised, as this book is not a story but actually it’s full of short and very funny essays on Christmas. And oh my word, guys, I loved them!

I love the way Nina Stibbe views Christmas, good – naturedly, and what an relief it was to see that I am not the only one non – perfect organizer of Christmas. The essays are short, funny and sharp, family based which only made them so much more relatable, and I found myself nodding more than once – they bring a smile or smirk of recognition. Nina Stibbe’s writing style is so light – hearted in this book, it is so easy to follow and even the most boring things she skilfully turns into funny events with a great dose of sarcasm and not treating herself too seriously.

I’ve read this book within two days and I wanted it to go on and on. I love Nina Stibbe’s sense of humour and her views on different things and really close to my heart, and this little book has fulfilled all of my expectations. It was laugh – out – loud funny, it was full of embarrassing moments, just what the doctor ordered. It was wry, down – to – earth and it rang a bell more than once, and it was great that the author was so open about her own life. If you feel yourself overwhelmed with Christmas preparations, just take this book, read one story and you’re going to feel much better, I can guarantee! “An Almost Perfect Christmas” – highly recommended!

 

 

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

 

36044566Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

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.

But 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?

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.

Rating: four-stars

 

So guys,  Ms Martin has just done it again – effortlessly transported me to the beautiful town called Christmas and frankly, each time I came for a breath and looked around I was surprised to see there is no snow and asking where my Christmas tree is. I think Holly Martin is one of the best when it comes to describing places, to being able to transport her readers into her imaginary world and to feel a part of the characters’ world. Therefore I am promoting Holly to Queen of Christmas stories – she can probably describe this season in the best possible way!

Holly Martin belongs to those authors whose books I read without having a look at the synopsis first, simply because I know that I am for a real treat. So I didn’t know what to expect when starting reading “Christmas under the Cranberry Sky” and I was totally surprised by the gorgeous setting and the fantastic idea of placing the story on the Juniper Island, in a town called Christmas – already the names are gorgeous, inspiring and inviting and it is official that I want to live there. Holly absolutely sold this place to me, with the ponies running free and terrorizing the town (but in a sweet way, no? Just imagine those little Shetlands, with their wild manes looking at you askance – GORGEOUS!), or the reindeers with festive names, or The Stardust Lake Hotel itself – it’s decided, I’m moving there! Holly has put a lot of thought to create this place and following her descriptions of all the places I felt as if I am looking at the place through a webcam, such vivid and realistic they were. To say that she brought this place to life would be an understatement, to be honest, she has just created a real fictional town. I think that my favourite part was the Christmas market with all its shops – there was so much care put into every single shop that we visited, the items were described so closely and accurately and with a lot of heart and feeling and I. Want. To. Buy. Those. Things, Holly! And try the many different flavours of the chocolate fountain! There were probably as many shops as there were villagers and I’d gladly read a book only about them and the lovely, beautiful, well – thought and original things they were selling.

Next to the fantastic descriptions of the setting, the characters also made the book. Not all of them, I admit, but Piper for example was great. She had a really crappy past and I admired her, truly admired, she is a girl that deserves a standing ovation, that she got off safe and sound from all this mess and that she achieved something in her life and not slipped as a drug – addict or something. She also had the best job in the world, probably – travelling the world, staying in the most beautiful places. Yes, there was a disadvantage, as she didn’t have a place to call home, but she seemed really happy with the situation, and she was able to see things that I can only dream about seeing *jealousy alert*. She was great with people, she didn’t have any problems to make contacts with them and I loved how quickly she found a common ground with Wren, Gabe’s daughter – they were the best duet in the world.
I didn’t have any problems with Piper (maybe this little one. I know you can feel insecure and hurt and feeling like there is no one you can trust, but not having a boyfriend for twelve years? Having sex only once in your whole life??? Puh – lease!) but I sadly had some with Gabe. I don’t know, I’m not sure why, but somehow for me he was not the right one for Pip, she has deserved someone who was not so whiny and so uncertain, and Gabe really seemed not to know what he wanted. Sure, I know where he was coming from, what with his little girl needing a routine and stability, but this blowing once hot, once cold was for me unacceptable. He behaved like a child, all the time changing his mind, and he demanded from Pip absolute trust while he himself didn’t trust her. Hello? It was really like going in circles with him.

But altogether I truly loved this novel. It is a second – chance romance, it is about overcoming issues, it is about trust and forgetting about the crap past and looking into the bright future, and I loved how optimistic it is and when I came to the end I really didn’t want to part with this lovely Island. Already looking forward to reading the second book in the series, but in the meantime I highly recommend “Christmas Under the Cranberry Sky” to you!