Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng / #BlogTour

Hi guys, hope you are all having a great Thursday – it’s almost weekend, right? Today I’m very thrilled to welcome you to my stop on Celeste Ng’s blog tour – her new novel, “Little Fires Everywhere”,  is out today, as a beautiful hardcover copy, but what is between the covers is even more beautiful – this story took my breath away and I was like glued to the pages. It was an intriguing, captivating novel and I can’t wait for more from this author.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

 

35221049Publisher: Little, Brown

Publishing Date: 9th November 2017

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Rating: four-stars

Celeste Ng’s debut novel, “Everything I Never Told You”, is a part of my ever – growing TBR pile but I’ll make sure to clear some of my reading time to read this book as soon as possible, as “Little Fires Everywhere” has just blown me away – I expected it to be good but not this good, as it turned out to be a very clever, multi – complex book with unforgettable characters, a story about motherhood, manipulations and opinions, an absolutely hooking and captivating psychological mystery touching upon many taboos and controversies.

This book was a slow – burner. For me personally the story took off at around page 150 – I was then glued to the pages, while earlier it was a nice albeit slow read about things and events that at the first sight were not so significant to the rest of the story. But of course we needed this long introduction to figure out all the complex relationships, friendships, family dynamics and battles, and we move on, but in my opinion it was a little on the slow side. However, we get a great picture of what has happened and what has led to this tragic finale.

The characters in this book are incredibly vivid and so caught up in the little fires of the small town Shaker Heights – the author so incredibly well captured the atmosphere of this place, of its residents, the way they were ticking. The characters, the Richardsons, Mia and Pearl, then Bebe and the McCulloughs, they just pulled me into their lives. I was exposed to all kinds of emotions when reading about them and their lives, liking and disliking them, pitying them, feeling impatient with them.
The characters were not the most likeable ones – they were manipulative, they used each other, they were morally corrupt and mostly some of them had a feeling they’re of a better sort. They were full of flaws that they were trying to hide from other, prying eyes and on the surface their lives seemed perfect, even though they were far from it. I’ve been actually changing my mind about them, and it doesn’t happen often that my feelings and emotions vary so much during reading and even now, days after finishing the novel, I still find myself changing my perspective and opinion.

It was a brilliant description of relationships, of how the behaviour of the others may affect you and the way you behave – a great psychological portrait. It is very character – centred and they create a very powerful and intriguing story. I loved the fact that the author isn’t judging any of the characters, letting us to have our own opinions, and even though I was sure on which character’s side I’m on, I started to have doubts as well. Am I right to think so? Are the characters really white or black, good or bad? I love when the stories are not straightforward and make you think, and this was this kind of a story.

It was thought – provoking, compelling and intriguing domestic drama. It was raw, emotional, and sharp observed about small – town politics, about hypocrisy, about tragedies, small and big, full of surprises and brilliantly well crafted characters. However, I must admit that I am not the hugest fan of the end to this story. It is left open, and it is this kind of a story that I’d love to have a closure, to know what has happened then – hence the four stars rating. But apart from this, I was really captivated by this multi – layered and clever story. Recommended!

 

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Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb / #BlogTour

Hi guys. Today I am delighted to be part of the “Last Christmas in Paris” blog tour. I do love a great historical fiction, and I am always intrigued by books written by two authors, and this novel brings both of those things. While I’ve already read and adored books written by Hazel Gaynor – they mostly make me cry like a baby but they are so beautiful! – Heather Webb was a new author to me that I am incredibly happy to have discovered for myself.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

 

34150794Publisher: William Morrow

Publishing Date: 3rd October 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Romance, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Rating: four-stars

I love to read great historical fiction and Hazel Gaynor is for sure one of the authors that can write in this genre. This time she has collaborated with Heather Webb, and together those two ladies have delivered a wonderful, poignant and heart – breaking novel, and a very unique one, as it is written in a letter format. There are literally only letters, and yes, at the beginning it was somehow hard to follow the story like this, without the usual descriptions of, I don’t know, people, their looks, the way they dress, places, weather, without dialogues, but it didn’t take me long to fell in love with the characters and the way the story was told.

Evie Elliott’s brother Will and his best friend Thomas leave to serve in World War 1. They all hope that war is going to end soon and that they’re going to see each other in a few months, in time for Christmas. They stay in touch via letters in which they describe all things that happens, their deepest thoughts, hopes and fears – out of those letters arises a story between a young and ambitious girl who wants to fight the war in her own way and becomes a spirited journalist, her reserved but loving brother and his best friend, those two new – minted soldiers, believing in all things good – that is, until they realise what war really is.

 There was one thing that didn’t really work so well for me, and it was the romance aspect between Evie and Tom.  All the time they were best friends and the sudden explosion of the love was this little bit unrealistic and out of the blue. I had a feeling that the authors concentrate on all things but the blossoming feelings, and then suddenly, towards the end, the love exploded and it felt much too rushed for my liking, too flawless. Also, the change in Evie after she went to the war was too forced for me, it just didn’t ring true, and was also too quick.

 But altogether,  it was a great love story, about dreams, disillusions and loyalty. What made it even more better was the fact that the authors so skilfully smuggled a lot of clever, sharp humour that was so needed when we faced all those tragedies. It was thoroughly researched and I didn’t have a feeling that it was written by two authors, maybe it was even better that it was written by two authors because the letters had their own distinctive voice and didn’t sound similar, as if written by the same person. Both authors writes in such an engaging, descriptive and rich style and they effortlessly transported me to a different times and different places.

In the end we receive a wonderful, touching and unique story that tugs at the heart strings. It made for a very fast read and it was, in fact, unputdownable – because it was always “just one more letter” and because it was so hooking and captivating. You somehow felt just like a part of the characters’ lives, probably because thanks to the letters, as they were so honest, there were no secrets, you knew all their feelings. Beautiful and poignant, a great book for fans of historical fiction – recommended from me!

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

 

35922915Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 12th October 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 269

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to Devon for blustery walks along the beach, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and proof that miracles really do happen, especially at Christmas.

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way!

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But will it be enough to save their marriage?

Chloe came to Appledore in search of her Christmas sparkle, but when the snow clears, will she finally find the way back to her husband’s heart?

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly-hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: two-half-stars

Each time I see a new Sue Watson’s book I’m getting really giddy with excitement – yes, it never dies, this feeling of seeing a new book by the author you adore, no matter how old you are. I really like Sue’s down – to – earth stories with brilliant leading heroines who have experienced a lot in their lives and they really know what they’re talking about. And “Snowflakes, Christmas Cakes and Second Chances” looked and sounded so inviting and so Christmassy, and I thought, well, what can go wrong?

Unfortunately, and I’m really not saying this easily, almost everything went wrong for me. I started reading the book with such great hopes and with every page turned you could see my hope and enthusiasm going downhill. The main character, Chloe, was also the narrator, everything was told from her point of view. It felt like reading someone’s memoirs, that were also very repetitive, as I had a feeling we are reading about old same, old same all the time. Chloe seemed to me as if she didn’t know what she really wants from her life and I was soon tired with all this what I want/what I don’t want – she was too old and too experienced for this blowing cold and hot all the time. I felt sorry for her, and that was all actually, but for me it was just the case of you make your bed, you lie in it…
And let’s start on Gianni. Oh my God. I’m not sure if he was supposed to be cute with his temper and va – va – voom, funny with the things he said to his customers and critics, if I should appreciate his “honesty” but he so didn’t work for me. There was not a drop of charm in him for me, he was a whiney, spoiled, arrogant piece of work and no matter what you’re going to say it won’t change my mind about him.

This is a third instalment in the Appledore series, however you of course can read this book as a stand – alone. The characters from the previous books do enter the scenes here but the story focuses on brand new characters, Chloe and Gianni. I love the setting of Appledore and this is why I am really sorry and upset that this book didn’t work for me, and even Sue Watson’s writing style didn’t help this time. I love books with the idea of second chances and for people coming back to each other but this one didn’t deliver. However, I can see it already has tons of fans so don’t let my review to put you off reading this story.

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!