After You by Jojo Moyes

After You by Jojo Moyes

 

25255376Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 24th September 2015

Series: Me Before You #2

Source:  Purchased

Number of pages: 407

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

Rating: five-stars

Back in 2012 I read “Me Before You” and I still remember how powerful this book was, and what a snotty mess I was after finishing it. Three years later “After You”, the sequel, was released and even though I bought this novel immediately I haven’t read it – I’m not sure why, maybe it was lack of time, or maybe fear that it’s not going to live up to my expectations, because “Me Before You” was a really exceptional read. But lately I have won “Still Me”, the third book in Lou’s adventures, and it prompted me to read “After You” – and boy, I loved it. I simply loved it.

First of all, I don’t think you can read “After Me” as a standalone – I think you just have to read the previous book to understand how much Will meant to Lou, why she’s in such a mess in this book, that begins 18 months after the previous story ends. 18 months is a long time, right, people change, people move on, people try their best at coping, and it was all so moving – to see how they try to cope with their emotions and feelings.

Lou and her family are wonderful, brilliant characters, her parents (especially her father) and sister adding a touch of so much needed humour. There were some new characters introduced to us in this story, of course – the Moving On Group, a group that Lou was so reluctant to go to, determined not to make friends with those people, and who in the end turned out to be such important part of her life. They provided many moments of sadness but also of laughter and their stories just tugged at your heartstrings.
Even though Will is dead, his presence was so very strong in the book but the author has done a great job here, because I personally think she allowed us to mourn over him, together with Lou, in this story, and then to slowly let him go, to slowly start to accept the fact that he’s no more. I also think that the author has put Sam facing a great challenge – it was impossible not to compare him and Will but in my opinion Sam has won – he’s a great character, with a brilliant personality, a no nonsense approach and a heart made of gold, and even though I was always Team Will, I liked Sam from the very beginning – even when Lou has misunderstood and we thought he’s a different person. There is also one very important new character, and while I know some people despise her, and – I must admit – I also lost my patience with her a few times, Lou has done brilliantly with her, she understood her and her feelings so perfectly well.

This book was a perfect mix of humour and sadness, of hope and feeling pathetic. It was emotional, and moving, close to life and simply beautiful. Jojo Moyes captured all the feelings and emotions of her characters and beautifully put them into words. It was an extraordinary read about moving on but not forgetting. It felt real and it was written with so much gentleness. It made me cry and it made me laugh, and this laugh made characters’ pain bearable, the pain of moving over, of hurts sneaking up on you, of feeling unloved. It was emotionally charged, and about healing, about learning to believe in yourself again. Jojo Moyes knows exactly how to get to the core of your emotions and feelings, and there were moments that hit me really hard, that were shockingly painful but they were also powerful and beautiful. I can’t put into words how well the author has got into her characters’ heads and how well she described their feelings – I was totally invested in Lou’s story and I highly recommend “After You” to you!

 

 

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Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes by Lindsey Paley / Blog Tour

So there – today we have another Blog Tour for you, ha! I love such busy days 🙂 It is for Lindsey Paley’s festive novella “Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” which is the first in the Camille Carter series and it is a real heaven for food lovers! There is also a great giveaway (UK only, sorry guys), and you can win an e – copy of the book PLUS an ACTUAL CHRISTMAS CAKE! How great is it???

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes by Lindsey Paley

 

25758647Publisher: Purple Heather Publishing

Publishing Date: 15th June 2015

Series: Camille Carter #1

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

Number of pages: 178

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.

The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it – she hates the snow, her freezing fingertips, and being forced to look like her Aunt Marjory in a mud-splattered wax jacket and wellies instead of her beloved shorts and sparkly sandals.

She plots her escape but ends up locking spatulas with the estate manager, Fergus McKenzie, who is forced to rescue her before she succumbs to a severe dose of hyperthermia. Things start to improve with the arrival of handsome Sam Morgan, fresh from the beaches and rum shacks of the Caribbean.

Can Millie accept her fate? And will Aisford sprinkle some of its seasonal magic on her troubles?

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is a festive story of love and friendship and reaching for the buttercream icing and edible glitter when life gets tough.

Rating: 3/5

“Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” is the first book in the Camille Carter series and I was very intrigued by the synopsis – I’ve no idea why but I like stories about such Scrooges because usually they end with them changing their mind totally, and it’s brilliant. Moreover, it mentions butter cream icings and something about being stranded because of snow, and so I thought, oh yes, it is for sure a story for me.

Our main character, Camille – or Millie – Carter much more prefers sun to snow, but she’s just landed herself a job running a cookery course in a manor house in England. There is the whole set of circumstances that led to this situation, including a cheating boyfriend, and a sister asking for a favour. But Millie was of course totally unprepared and she arrived in the middle of a snow storm, dressed in a cardigan, without a coat or winter boots. Promising beginning, no? But it is not the end of her troubles yet, oh no, it’s rather a beginning, as when she arrives she learns that because of the weather the course has been cancelled! And because of the weather she is stranded at the manor house for the weekend!

The author introduces us to a whole bunch of characters which, in a novella with 178 pages, could have been confusing, but this time Lindsey Paley has brilliantly managed it. I didn’t have any problems to recognize who is who and to whom they belong, and it’s really a big brownie point for the author. They are all well drawn and they all are so very different, which makes the story this tad more interesting and colourful, and all of them had their own stories, which they of course tell, and some of them are heart – breaking, some of them incredibly uplifting, and actually it requires a real talent to squeeze this all in a novella. Millie seems to be a tough cookie but she also has a softer side to herself. She also seems to be a very prone – accident girl, always ending in the wrong place, usually outside and freezing to death. We have many male characters in this story, some of them more pleasant, some of them less.

Millie is a chef, so there are some very delicious food descriptions and it’s like a real heaven for all the food lovers. But be aware – don’t read it when you’re hungry 🙂 When Millie is in rush she cooks and bakes and the food she creates looks and sounds incredibly mouth – watering.  I was waiting for some recipes at the end of the book, as it usually happens when there is so much cooking in the story but, sadly, not this time.

The author has for sure a great imagination and she can write some very descriptive scenes and yes, I like winter, but I do like summer more, but after reading this story I can’t wait for a real, white winter to come.

However, my own, biggest problem with the book was the fact that I had a feeling that the book itself doesn’t know what it wants to be – a romance, a nice story about a girl with delicious food in the background, a drama, crime… Because there was all of the above mentioned and somehow it just didn’t work together in my opinion. It started as a story about Millie, telling her history and showing how she adapts to the new – and very accidental place she found herself in – and it was OK, but then, suddenly, totally out of the blue there was this very unexpected and very too far – fetched ending including guns, shoots, police and drug smugglers. And I thought, WTF? How come? Why? I think it would much better work in a full – length novel, as here it looks like the author just didn’t have time and enough space to develop an idea or two of hers and nonetheless she added it to the story but for me it felt as if there were two different stories. I also had a small problem with the characters, especially with Millie at the beginning, and with Fergus – I just couldn’t understand their approach, as I didn’t see any reason for them, especially Fergus, to be so arrogant, so hot and cold blowing, and I also didn’t understand where this antipathy was coming from and why was he so – I don’t know: jealous? of Millie if he disliked her so obviously? Something just didn’t sit together here and made me feel a little too confused for my liking. The drama was also far too far – fetched for my liking and when Millie – again! – left the house in her rage I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

Altogether, it was a twisty and turny story with a great potential and I am very sorry that I didn’t love it as much as I hoped for. But there is a festive feeling to it, it has some funny moments, as well as some poignant ones and personally I am waiting to read the next book in the series.

GIVEAWAY:

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Daydream Believer by Lizzie Fayke

Daydream Believer by Lizzie Fayke

 

51wz2bgnz16l-_sx311_bo1204203200_Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Publishing Date: 28th July 2015

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

Number of pages: 476

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Sarah Collin’s world is about to be changed forever by her imaginary boyfriend.
Her dream world collides with reality when she invents Steve, her rock musician lover, in the hope of adding some much needed glamour to her life, while gaining a little respect from her workmates.
As the lie spirals out of control, she finds herself on the Costa Blanca. Could her chaotic holiday actually make some of her daydreams come true?

Rating: 3.5/5

I spotted “Daydream Believer” by Lizzie Fayke some time ago on Twitter and I can still remember how much I adored the cover of this book, which is simply gorgeous! I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the novel and finally I’ve found a little spare time lately to read this book – I was also intrigued by the synopsis and wanted to see if it lives up to my expectations or not.

Lizzie Fayke has created a very strong heroine in her story. No matter what Sarah Collins did, I kept my fingers crossed for her. She is the title Daydream Believer, and finally, eventually she decides to not only dream but also do, and so she finds herself – alone – on a holiday trip to Spain. Even though all the other think she’s at the French Riviera. Because Sarah is – maybe not a compulsive liar – but she has a very overactive imagination. Though, with such a group of co – workers, it was not a wonder! Sarah is also very accident – prone and if something were to happen, you could bet it would happen to Sarah. She was a little like Bridget Jones, so awkward with her love life, fed up with her job and seeing her other friends on Facebook having better lives and relationships and exotic holidays. Sure, she made me feel desperate sometimes, but her believing so much in Steve was also somehow touching and it made me fell for her and I really wanted everything to work for her and everybody to be nice to her and I wanted to fight her corner for her – so nice was she! It doesn’t happen often that maybe I don’t love the character with my whole heart but I’d do anything for them, and it is such a case here.

So, the book started in a great way and I enjoyed it extremely for a long time. However, at some point, I started to have a feeling that I am reading the same and the same, about Sarah being mopped at work and only talking about Steve and telling people she leads totally different life and altogether, it went a little downhill for me. Also, as much as I appreciate that the author wanted to make up to the main character and to punish the “bad” characters, the events happening were too predictable, a little too far – fetched and all the things that happened were so convenient for Sarah, with right people at the right places and with right connections and things happening at the right moment, which made the reading this bit unbelievable and unrealistic. Sure, it was to make the book much more humorous and adventurous and it worked, perhaps it is this old grumpy in me that sometimes comes up to the surface to complain a little. Also the last chapters dragged on too much for my liking, and those were the chapters where everything went into a line, where everything was cleared and where the good ones were prized and the bad ones punished and it was a little too much for me. I like my closure but I also like it to be a little surprising and not so obvious. But altogether, I enjoyed this story, it was light and easy and with a brilliant dose of great, sharp humour.

Altogether, “Daydream Believer” was a simple, not too complex but very entertaining story that I’ve read with a real pleasure. There was a bunch of eclectic but lovely and strong characters, it was full of really comical moments and sweet, if a little too far – fetched, for my liking, romance. For a debut novel, Lizzie Fayke’s writing style sounds strong and mature and it is very easy to follow – maybe sometimes she has tried too much but overall, it was light and she is a great story – teller. It is a not too demanding story about finding what you really want, about founding the courage to fight for yourself and about not letting others intimidate you, and I am sure it’s going to put a smile on your face. Recommended!

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot + Giveaway

A new day, a new Blog Tour, this time for a book that – even though you can say it’s women’s fiction – is also totally different, as it mixes elements that usually don’t appear in chick lit, which only made the reading much more interesting and the book itself really refreshing and different to what I am reading on a daily basis. You can read my review of „Where is Emma Butler’S Life Plan?” and ALSO enter a giveaway to win a paperback copy of this book – and the giveaway ends soon, so hurry up!

 

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan?

by Julia Wilmot

 

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publishing Date: 16th December 2015

Source:  Copy provided for the blog tour purposes.

Number of pages: 251

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Emma Butler doesn’t know it but she is about to get bit more angelic help than she was banking on. Someone has messed up, or have they? It appears that Emma is about to be ‘recalled’ to heaven but has completed none of the tasks she had set herself for this life time. They must be completed before she is recalled and time is running out. Arch Angel Gregory decides to take over. He will be her Guardian Angel to ensure it all gets done. There’s a lot to do and a very short time to do it in. Gregory is determined that it will all be completed by hook or by crook. But where does that leave free will and what about Jack who has been chosen to be Emma’s love interest? How will this impact him? Jack and Emma have no idea what is going on, but it’s not going to be plain sailing.

Rating: 3/5

 

So, when signing for this blog tour I actually didn’t know what I’m getting into. Sure, I’ve read a synopsis but before I started reading the book I kind of forgotten it and my first thoughts were what am I reading??? Yes, I’ll be honest with you, the first two, three chapters were somehow difficult for me to get into and I was so short from putting the book away, and it was only the fact that I am reading it for a blog tour that kept me reading. Archangels, angels, GOD, and then add to this many rules and life plans and I was truly confused and it took me some time to decipher who is who and why and what’s actually happening. But – I kept reading and after some time I got used to the very descriptive form of narration and to the story itself. And let’s be honest – on the other hand, the plot of „Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan?” was really original and fresh and it for sure makes the book standing out of the many other novels, so similar to each other.

The story introduces us to Emma Butler – single, young, attractive, intelligent and loving her job. She’s happy with her life but she’s also unaware that somewhere above her, in the heavenly regions, there is a life plan written for her, just like for any other human on the planet Earth. Moreover, she has absolutely no idea that an error occurred about her life plan and that she has only a week of life left. But, as it was discovered only now by the Archangel Gregory, he and other angels start to work overtime, manipulating and changing, only that Emma can complete her life plan before her very quickly approaching recall date.
Of course Emma has no idea about it, so it is a kind of surprise for her when suddenly she finds that her life is turning upside down. For example she’s supposed to lost her job and it happens, though Emma has no idea what and why it happened. She’s also supposed to fall in love but to fall in love you need a second person, right? So, the smart angels found this person and here is when we are introduced to Jack, owner of the health food shop. Their first meeting was not the most optimal one so the angels rush (of course. Of course!) to plot a plan that includes fire at Emma’s flat or random meetings until eventually the attraction is there.
As well as Emma and Jack, the angels were interesting characters, though I had a feeling that they were lost somehow between the narration and the long, long, very long descriptions and internal monologues, and I also felt that it’s just impossible to get to know them totally and, in consequence, I’ve never warmed to them completely.

The book had its moments, really, when it had me giggling and I that the author tackled the matter of death and afterlife with a lot of subtle and intelligent humour and now I’m seeing that when I’m alone about doing something stupid I am looking around, searching for any sign of my very own guardian angel – but what bothered me was the fact that there wasn’t any female angel and I was asking myself, why? Why couldn’t a woman be a guardian angel and there were only Edmund, Tobias or Gregory and not Anna, Mary or Elizabeth? However I liked how the author described the angels, so very humanly and now, when angels are mentioned, I can’t help but thinking about them running around in a panic, flapping their wings, squabbling with each other and playing little games against each other, just like people.

I was incredibly curious how the author is going to solve the mix – up as – to be honest – I didn’t want to see Emma die. During this race against time there were many ups and downs together with twists and turns and altogether, it was a sweet, not demanding story with some important messages, but also such one that you can take with a pinch of salt. The book mixes humour and more serious issues with spirituality, it’s light – hearted but with a deeper message. It was for sure a different read, interesting read, and it is really giving me shivers that maybe, probably, there is also a life plan for me, somewhere. It is a little crazy, a little too far – fetched, sometimes too predictable and sometimes you’ll be looking at the words with disbelief, but altogether it was an enjoyable, funny novel. I had some issues with the writing style itself, as I’ve already mentioned it was very descriptive and more on the heavy side and for me it didn’t read as easy and effortlessly as I like, but it’s just me and my problem, so there.

 

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A Night In with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

A Night In with Audrey Hepburn

by Lucy Holliday

 

Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 21st May 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Series: Libby Lomax #1

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Actress Libby Lomax has retreated into the world of classic movies, where the immortal lives of her favourite screen goddesses seem to offer so much more in the romance department than her own life.

After a terrible day on set where she embarrasses herself in front of the entire cast and worst of all, it’s sexy bad-boy star, Dillon O’Hara, she plonks herself down on her battered couch to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the trillionth time.

Suddenly, Libby is astonished to find screen icon Audrey Hepburn, complete with little black dress, trademark sunglasses and vintage cigarette holder, sitting beside her and proffering advice.
Has Libby got what it takes to turn her life from a Turkey to a Blockbuster? Perhaps with a little bit of Audrey Hepburn magic, she might just pull it off…

A night in with Audrey Hepburn is the first in a series of three books following the life and loves of Libby Lomax as she blossoms from Z-lister to A-lister and all of the stages in between with a little bit of help from some very special friends.

Rating: 4/5

 

Oh guys, it’s been a while since I’ve read such a light – hearted, funny book! It was just what the doctor ordered and it brought me out from the reading slump and helped a little to cheer me up. I am probably reading too many books, and lately they must be really special, they must have this „something”, to keep my interest – and „A Night In with Audrey Hepburn” was just like this, just what I needed.

So the book. Yes, I must admit, it started a little slow for my liking, but quickly it gathered pace. I must also admit, and as you already know it, I am not the biggest fan of cinema, no matter if it’s the old classics or something modern – I’d rather read books :) But I can understand the whole fascination with those beautiful, exceptional old Hollywood actresses, and in this case, with Audrey Hepburn.

In short, Libby’s life looks disastrous. She has a family that doesn’t support her, mother and sister interested only in their own careers, and a father that isn’t interested in her at all. She has (or doesn’t have, it depends!) a job that she hates. She’s just moved into a flat that she thought is much bigger and has a bathroom. But does Libby wallow in self – pity? Oh no, and this is what I so adored in her. She is incredibly prone to accident and if something is supposed to happen, then you can be sure it’s going to happen to Libby. We were witnesses to plenty of very embarrassing situations with Libby in the centre.
Whenever Libby’s mother or sister entered the scenes I wanted to bang their heads together – it is amazing how many negative feelings they brought out in me. First Libby’s mum, who not only forced Libby to pursue career as an actress, but who also treated her like a servant. And those were the moments that I also wanted to shake Libby – she was too nice, too submissive and she wasn’t able to stand for herself up against those two selfish women. I mean, I would never speak with my sister if she treated me like Cass treated Libby in the club. I think I would kill her and then stop speaking with her. But Libby… No, Libby was ready to run errands for her after she treated her this way. A little too far – fetched for my liking, though I can imagine it’s possible! But I just wanted Libby to grow a back – bone and to tell Cass some words of wisdom. Libby was just what you can call a dogsbody for her family.
But Libby has also friends! She’s not alone in this world, oh no, and those friends are Olly and his sister that she got to know years ago, during one of the castings. I loved seeing that this developed in such a strong friendship, and Olly, you know, Olly was brilliant. And I can see things that Libby doesn’t see, so there (can’t wait for the next part to see if I’m right. Or not. I do hope that I’m right)! Sometimes Olly seemed to be a little childish, as he was jumping to the wrong conclusion, and was very easy to offend, but altogether I have a feeling there is so much more to him – he seemed a little lost in the world but it was charming.
We have also Bogdan, and Bogdan, Son of Bogdan among the characters, and they were hilarious, and believe me, no matter if those were main or backgrounds characters they were all so expressive, larger than life people with large personalities, and I didn’t have a problem to connect with them, which made the reading even more easier and nicer.
There is also this big old sofa that turns out to be one of the main characters in this novel. It almost doesn’t past in the flat, and it’s seen better days, as it’s now smelly and lost the colour, but soon Libby is going to discover some secret connected with this old, battered Chesterfield.

You can say, seeing Audrey Hepburn??? What??? THIS Audrey Hepburn, giving our Libby advice and learning how to work coffee machine and getting to know internet? Just like that, without any reason? Yes, I am also sceptical, but believe me, this time it worked incredibly well!

What is great is the fact that the book is the first in the series, and „A Night In with Marilyn Monroe” is already waiting for me! This was a great, enjoyable novel, a light read with many funny scenes, such as the ones including the alien suit or the incident in the spa, or Libby being sure that she has the terminal split personality disorder. It is written in a very nice, easy to follow writing style, brilliantly capturing the funny, fluffy atmosphere. And even this unusual storyline, with Audrey appearing out of nowhere, worked wonders and I bought it completely. Looking forward to more from Lucy Holliday.

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan / Book Review

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

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 Publisher: MIRA

Publishing Date: 22nd October 2015

Series: Puffin Island #3

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world-renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead-up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be either merry or bright.

Alec has learned the hard way not to trust beautiful women—and Skylar is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But as he watches her throw herself into his family’s festive chaos, Alec realises there is far more to this blonde bombshell than meets the eye.

With Christmas around the corner, Alec and Skylar return to Puffin Island, a tentative bond forged between them. Neither intends to fall in love but as the nights become darker, and the fire between them grows hotter, could this be the chance for Alec and Skylar to find their own happy ending?

Rating: 4/5

 

Even though Sarah Morgan has written plenty of books, Christmas in the Snow is only my second read by this author, though even with only two books under my belt I can see where this love that so many readers feel for her is coming from. Personally, I loved Maybe this Christmas that I read last year, and after hearing only lovely things about the newest release, I couldn’t wait to dive into my copy.
I knew that Christmas Ever After is the third book in the Puffin Island series and having not read the previous books I was really afraid to start this one – I was scared that perhaps I should read them in the right order. But after being assured that I can read this novel without reading the previous two, I more then happily obliged. And that’s true – despite the fact that there is a group of friends who know each other really well, who share some history, and who are connected through Puffin Island, Christmas Ever After can be easily read as a stand – alone book. Nevertheless, I will be trying to squeeze reading the earlier books somewhere between all my review copies, as Skylar and Alec’s background sounds just brilliant, and I’d love to see their interactions from earlier.

This book is fast – paced and full to brims with action – I don’t want to tell more to spoil the reading for you, but there was not a single moment flat, even with those dragging on a little passages, there was all the time something happening. The author takes us on a journey from snowy London, to the British countryside, to Puffin Island, and being in all those places with the characters felt just great. One of the best things in this book is the relationship between Sky and Alec – for me, who didn’t read the previous books, it was obvious they have a history, and that it is a very turbulent history. To say they don’t like each other would be an understatement – but the fate was throwing them together again and again, and the tension between them, and then sparks were absolutely brilliantly captured, felt so incredibly realistic and the descriptions of their emotions just touched at my heartstrings. Seeing them growing together was one of the highlights, as it was not so obvious they’ll grow together at all. Ha! And I really liked their characters. Yes, the situation with Sky’s parents and the way she let them tell her how to lead her life was one of the weakest links for me, but she turned out to be a clever woman, and her ripostes were to die for. She was so talented, I loved her ideas and the jewellery she made, and it pained me to see how self – depreciating she is, how she holds back because of her parents and controlling boyfriend. Also, I was not sure why she doesn’t like Alec so much, Alec – who, apart of being a little bitter and cynical (and he had his reasons!), was a great person, inside and outside.

As I have already mentioned, the subplot with Skylar’s parents and Richard didn’t work so much for me. I mean, no matter who the parents are, we live in 21st century, right? The way Sky’s relationship with Richard was „organized” just didn’t sit with me, it was much too far – fetched for my liking, much too impossible and somehow, it just didn’t fit Skylar and her personality. It took her really long to realise that the expectations of her family (the way she called her father „Judge” or when she reminded how they were forced to „Object” at the table just gave me shivers) and her own expectations don’t have anything in common, that she must live her life according to her own rules, but when it happened, I felt really proud of her. The difference between Sky and Alec’s families was like day and night and I fell in love with his family as quickly as Sky did – they were so incredibly warm and open, and I adored the way the were. They were the whole package, the full service, as they came not only with two labradors, but with mulled wine, mince pies, noisy younger sister and an overwhelming feeling of being welcome, and I just loved it, because they were so much like my own family.

I definitely found the part of the book taking place in London and at Alec’s parents’ house much more appealing, much more quicker, and much more funnier than when they moved back to Puffin Island – I was just so drown in Alec and Sky’s story that all the mentions of their friends, their problems just made me feel I am being pulled away from my favourite characters. Also, this was the part that dragged on too much for me, when the two were working on if the relationship can work or not, it was like watching too long tennis play, and it made me a little frustrated, this never – ending will they/won’t they, can they/can’t they, all the time comparing Sky to Alec’s ex – wife – there were too much repetitions, the scenes were being mulled over and over again, and as much as I like Sarah Morgan’s beautiful writing style, I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes and hurrying to new information, new scene.
I also couldn’t help the feeling that Skylar’s hair were the separate character in the book, or at least that they were mentioned almost every second page – they were always in her way, they were flying in the wind, they were always fanning out on the pillow and they were the central point everywhere she put her head to.

But Sarah Morgan’s writing style is exceptional. It’s full of warmth and feeling, and her descriptions are so very vivid, bringing everything she writes about to life. It was a great, warm, light – hearted story, funny, flirty and romantic, a great read, and not only for Christmas. Even though it is a tad predictable, I didn’t reach for this book because of its unpredictability – no, I wanted to read it because I was sure it’s going to be a story that will cheer me up – and I was right. This book has also this what I adore in my novels – that under all this brilliant humour, there are also some more serious, darker issues hidden, and the author has balanced them in a great way. Add to this wonderful, snowy settings, the possibility of being snowed – in for Christmas, strong main characters and spectacular love scenes, and you’ve found your perfect read. Recommended!

Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan / Book Review

Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan

26019502

Publisher: Pan
Publishing Date: 5th November 2015
Source: Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:
Christmas on Primrose Hill is a romantic Christmas tale from the author of Christmas at Tiffany’s, Karen Swan.

On Primrose Hill . . .

Twinkling lights brighten London’s Primrose Hill as Christmas nears – but for Nettie Watson, it’s not parties and presents that she wants.

Promises are made

For Nettie, Christmas only serves as a stark reminder of the life she used to have . . . One day she made a promise to never leave home, and so far she’s stayed true to her word.

Promises are broken

Under the glaring spotlight of the world’s media, Nettie is unexpectedly caught up in a 21st century storm . . . Her exploits have made her a global name and attracted the attention of one of the world’s most eligible men – famous front man, Jamie Westlake. But now she has his attention, does she want to keep it?

Rating: 4/5

As there couldn’t be Christmas without Karen Swan’s book – I personally can’t think about my Christmas TBR without Karen’s new novel – here we can enjoy her newest release, Christmas on Primrose Hill. I love Karen’s books – she has incredible way with words and she has this exceptional talent to make you feel like a part of the characters’ world – and it was the same with this tale. Lately books featuring our social media’s world are popping out one after another, but I think it’s just unavoidable, and when the books are so up – to – date and so greatly written as Christmas on Primrose Hill, the better, and as soon as I started reading it, I was hooked – and never expected anything else, to be honest.

This was a very modern story where some of the current trending hashtags were playing a big part, what with a Blue Bunny Girl having to copy them – and this is a little minus point from me, because I thought Karen could think about something totally new and exceptional, right? Nevertheless, it was really up – to – date, with the campaign going viral quicker than we can say “hashtag”. It just perfectly captured how, in fact, the modern technology controls our life, but what I liked is that Karen Swan has decided to use this internet obsession for good reasons.

Karen Swan has again gave us what we are looking for in her books, first and foremost brilliant characters. I can’t remember her book where I wouldn’t like the main heroine, and this time I also fell for Nettie mightily. Then we have Jamie, the impossible happening possible. I loved Nettie and Jamie’s story, they were so genuine in all that they did or said, and what I liked most was that the relationship was not the easiest one, not the obvious one. – there was never a certainty to how it’s going to end. The characters have, of course, quirks and they make mistakes, they jump to conclusions and complicate their own lives – just like we normally do, and this is what make me like them more.
I truly liked Nettie, she was so normal and so believable and really, I immediately warmed to her and there was something in her that just drew me to her. It was brilliant to go on this trip with her and see how her alter – ego Blue Bunny Girl amasses so much interest in internet, and how she desperately tried to keep the interest from her doorstep and focus on the campaign. Because there is also a secret to Nettie, a secret that turned out to be really sad and heart – breaking… I really admire the way the author tackled this problem, I could feel all Nettie’s emotions and her pain, but also her anger and confusion and living in uncertainty. She had a great relationship with her father, and I loved the scenes with both of them, they were funny but also touching.
As for Jamie, hmmm… Oh well, he was also brilliant, and in my opinion his personality was greatly described. I mean, he was a pop – star, right? And as much as he was also a normal guy, he could behave like a pop – star as well, which is IMO great and made him even more believable in my eyes. No matter what Nettie believed in or what she thought, there was a damn great chemistry between them, and the way the author described this relationship was believable and, what’s more important, possible to happen!

It’s truly a great escape, this novel, and the twisty storyline will keep you hooked. There are many layers to this book and it kept me on my toes, I couldn’t wait to see what’s expecting me when I’ll turn the page. I loved the setting of this story, the very modern London, with all its Christmas decorations and trendy places to be and see.

And as usual in Karen’s novels, under the surface, under all this lightness and humour, she’s plotted some very serious messages there. We can see what happens when the social media craziness goes wrong, how – even when you are the most normal person in the world – when the media got a wind of something that might be juicy in their opinion, there is not a hiding place for you. The author also emphasizes men’s health this time, and I really liked the way she has weaved it into this story. There is also the case of Nettie’s mother, which adds a lot of seriousness to the story – but all those things only make the reading more realistic and more likeable for me.

Although, I must say this, I had a feeling that the book is incredibly dragging along. It was as if the author wanted to fill in the pages with words – and as much as I liked those words, I couldn’t help thinking that it’s just going round in circles and takes us away from the real plot, from this what’s important. You know me – the longer the book the better for me, but in this case it could be much shorter and not lose on the quality, on the contrary, it would be much more gripping in my opinion. But I adored this story. It is such a typical Karen Swan’s tale, with outstanding characters, full of twists and turns. There was a great romance in there (which girl hasn’t dreamed of something like this happening to her???) and enticing, complex storyline. I really liked this book and can’t wait for more from Karen Swan!