When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

 

Publisher: HQ Digital 41835337._sy475_

Publishing Date: 7th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 269

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet…
Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke.

Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse!

But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

Rating: two-stars

 

Polly has just landed herself a job at a match – making agency, and while she finds she’s good at it, her own love life leaves a lot to be desired. While it’s all fun, living vicariously through her clients, she’s hoping for a great break as a photographer, and she even took first steps in this direction, taking photos for a cook – book. Then her boss Derek sends her undercover to another agency that seems to be taking their clients away. And this is when Polly meets Olly… when the line between being professional and taking things personally starts blurring…

I am not sure why but I didn’t connect with the book completely. There were too many things that felt too forced or too many that were added in, what felt like, an after – thought that didn’t bring much to the plot. It was as if the author has tried too much to write a light – hearted but also complex story. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad read, it had tons of potential and I really appreciate what the author tried to do with the story but it lacked in delivery. The romance was almost not there, and it made me feel confused for the whole time because the title is “When Polly Met Olly”, and they met, and then what? And then nothing. Zoe May tried, I think, to pull wool over our eyes, pointing us in some different directions, making us wonder who is the perfect match for Polly, but maybe she should really focus on the real romance, because there were too little sparkles.

The writing style, even though was not as rounded as I’d like it to be, was easy and brisk and Zoe May has a distinctive voice. The banter between characters was friendly and unassuming.

The story is told from Polly’s point of view, and while she was a very chatty narrator, I think I’d love to hear the other perspectives as well – I think the characters really have had something to tell, and I’d love to know their insights as well. Mostly we were presented with Polly’s monologues, and sometimes the author focused too much on one thing and we were reading about one thought for four pages, and then in the next four pages thousand other things happened.

Altogether, it is a nice, quirky story ticking all the boxes for a chick – lit. The setting was lovely, the secondary characters were jumping off the pages and there were some twists in it. It is easy – going and light read with a promising premise. It touches upon friendship and trust but also it shows how easy it is to have your self – confidence broken. Unfortunately, we didn’t click, me and the book.

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton / Blog Tour

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 48997438._sy475_

Publishing Date: 26th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 480

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

This is a novel about community, love, laughter and healing. Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Cherry Blossom Mews is a miraculous place. It’s somewhere that finds you, rather than the other way around.

Sadie McQueen has leased a double fronted space in this small cul de sac in a culturally diverse corner of central London. The cobbles muffle the noise of double-deckers roaring past the arched gates. Turn right and you are in a futuristic maze of corporate glass monoliths. Turn left and you see a wide street with many different houses. Towering above the mews are the degenerating tower blocks of an infamous estate. The old folks home and the nearby school are both in need of TLC; the private members’ club that set up shop in a listed Georgian building has been discreetly refurbished at huge expense.

Into this confusion comes Sadie. She fell in love with the street the moment she first twisted her ankle on its cobbles. Her double-fronted unit is now a spa. She has sunk all her money into the lease and refurbishment. She’s sunk all her hope into the carefully designed treatment rooms, the calm white reception space, the bijou flat carved out of the floor above.

Sadie has a mission to connect. To heal herself from tragedy. Sadie has wrapped the mews around her like a warm blanket, after unimaginable loss and unimaginable guilt. Her hard-won peace is threatened, not only by the prospect of the mews going under but by a man aptly named Hero who wakes up her comatose heart.
Sadie has a lot to give, and a lot to learn, not least that some ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.

Rating:  five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

Sadie McQueen lives on Cherry Blossom Mews, in a community that – you quickly start to learn – is made up of people that are in troubles, have problems, tragic pasts, feel no hope, and even if they don’t realise this, the landlord of the mews has realised it and amassed all those lost souls together. The residents meet regularly at their association meetings where they are supposed to have an “agenda” but the meetings always end with gossip and exchanging news. They support each other incredibly, even if they do this without knowing this.
The little community means everything to Sadie. It is a place where she can heal her heart and start her life again after a tragic event in the past. She sets up Sakura, a spa, where she employs the incredibly honest and mouthy Fi and, even if she isn’t sure if it’s a good move, Cher, a sister to the local mafia – twins. And then U – Turn, a therapy centre for addicted moves to the mews, even with some opposition from the neighbours, and there is Hero, and Sadie has a chance to move with him, to come out of her shell, maybe even find love, but can she forgive herself for what has happened in the past?

It is really, really hard to write review for this book, I actually put it off for the last moment, a day or two before my stop on the blog tour, and the reason for this is very obvious – this book is so wonderful, this book is everything, this book is a gem of a read – what more can I say? I loved it from the beginning to the end, lived and breathed with the characters and yes, it left me in pieces but also feeling so positive.

Juliet Ashton can for sure write her characters, giving them incredibly huge personalities. The banter and interactions between them feel so real, raw and genuine. There is a whole eclectic bunch of them, all so different and with different personalities but all with strong, distinctive voices and you can’t help but immediately fell in love with all of them. Amber and her Yummy Mummy Cafe and Party Emporium, serving all things vegan and showing her perfect live on Instagram. Bob and Mrs. Bob with their cafe, Mary with the dogs, slowly learning about her family betrayal and regaining hope, running officially MOBuk charity shop and, unofficially, another charity that you’re going to learn about when you read the book, Hero with his broken marriage and privileged background, Cher and her notorious criminal twins, Michael with Qwerty bookshop, Fi, feisty, quirky and strong on the outside but so vulnerable inside. And there are some other characters, that I won’t mention but that are so important and significant to the plot – all of them were endearing, all of them broken, all of them needing each other and , deliberately or not, healing each other through their acceptance, friendship and compassion.
And Sadie, who is at the heart of this book, so brave and strong. The more I read, the more I loved this woman, my heart went to her. There were things in the past she’d rather forget, and honestly, if I were Sadie, I’m not sure I’d have enough strength and determination to get back up and try again. She, on the other hand, lost herself to find herself afresh, went where nobody knew her to build a new life for herself. I wished all the best for her, and seeing her coming across every new obstacle that life has been throwing her way, I wanted to give her a standing ovation. Learning about the horrors of her past and her losses helped to understand her wanting to be anonymous, not being able to open to new love, her terrible guilt but also it made me wish desperately that she’s going to find the highly deserved peace.

Each chapter starts with the invitation to the weekly Cherry Blossom Mews Residents Association meeting, and the more you read, the more you start to appreciate them, as they brilliantly capture the nature of the hosts. The meetings themselves are incredibly entertaining, fabulous parts of the book, where more gossip was shared than actual work done but there was so much heart in those meetings! And they actually tell the real stories of the characters, sharing their illnesses, betrayal, deaths, addictions and hopes, while dealt with empathy and understanding from the other residents, showing that also a community of generally strangers can be closer to you than your family. But of course, there are also things happening between the meetings, things that will make you smile, laugh, cry and start to believe that there is hope.

The book is full of poignant moments that are brilliantly written with humour added to them. It’s not too saccharine, not all sugar, and there isn’t always a happy end, and the balance between sad and funny, happy and heartbreak is absolutely perfectly measured. Sure, there were things that were too coincidental, and some that didn’t ring so true to me – though I don’t want to tell you what exactly it was, as I’m immediately going to spoil one of the biggest turns in the story – but really, everything happens for a reason, right, and it did work in this story perfectly well, as the plot was solid, thoughtful, well concocted and believable, even with the little hiccups.

“The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen” was a heart – breaking and heart – mending beautiful story about small community, about friendship, hope, love, loss and grief, filled with secrets, lies and misunderstandings, about finding support and friendship that is stronger than any other bonds. The author, as usual, touches upon many serious issues, she writes about alcoholism, abuse, addictions, social media but she writes with tons of understanding, without judging, giving us a wider spectrum. It’s a gorgeously written book and the characters were full of life, feelings and sentiments, being able to speak about emotions in a way I wasn’t even sure is possible. It shows life how it is, raw and brutal, full of surprises and twists that don’t always lead to happy ends. The book, the characters are going to stay with me for a long time, I will be recommending this book left and right – it’s a MUST read that deserves to be shouted about from the rooftops.

 

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The Choice by Claire Wade / Blog Tour

The Choice by Claire Wade

 

Publisher: Orion 41121395._sy475_

Publishing Date: 26th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘Eat the best, leave the rest! Remember Mother knows best.’

Olivia Pritchard lives in constant fear since Mother Mason came into power. Everything from healthy eating to exercise is controlled by the government, all in the name of health and happiness. Olivia hates being dictated to, but to protect her family she must follow the rules or face a stay in the Shame Box – a perspex box, placed in a public place for everyone to judge.

After Olivia witnesses an innocent woman being violently arrested, she is no longer able to ignore the injustice. The underground rebellion ‘Cut The Apron Strings’ is gaining momentum and for the first time in years Olivia has a choice: keep her head down or join the fray…

Rating: four-stars

 

“The Choice” introduces us to near – future England, led by Mother Mason elected as Prime Minister. Mother Mason, a woman obsessed by healthy living, determined to create a healthy and fit population, has banned all the non – healthy food. You won’t find sugar, chocolate, fat milk, cream, cakes or other fatty products, and baking is now perceived as crime. To make sure everybody obeys the new regulations, everything, the whole nation, are being constantly watched and monitored, and moreover, because of fear everybody is also watching and monitoring – the others. Food is being rationed, fitness club membership is an obligation and weight is recorded on every single occasion.
Olivia Pritchard is struggling with this new reality. She used to be a baker, baked wonderful cakes, so her career no longer exists and her own parents abnegated any knowledge of her and her family. She lives in fear of doing something wrong, something that would hazard her family as Mother Mason seems to know everything. But what choice do you have but to comply? Or maybe there is still a chance to get the old lives back?

“The Choice” is not my usual read but every now and again I more than gladly reach for something that is more out of my comfort zones, and when this book was pitched to me I immediately felt that I want to read it. It turned out to be a dystopian piece of a great work, a story that you immediately feel is going to blow you away, and it certainly did it to me. I found myself almost immediately invested in the characters’ lives, I lived and breathed with them, more than once I found myself wanting to bring Mother Mason down by myself – and it is always a sign of a great read.

I don’t think that the future described in the book is our future, however it nevertheless hits close to home, as the present governments try hard to control us in every possible ways. They’re maybe not as tyrannical and big – brotherly as the one described in the book (yet!) but I think that we slowly start to feel as if we’re monitored much too much. In “The Choice”, Mother Mason has been voted to run the government and she takes this to another level – the health – obsessed woman decides about everything by herself and UK turns to sugar – free, fat – free, diseases – free but also luck – and happiness free country. Everything is rationed, you can’t go shopping without being weighted and measured and without your ID card that stores every single info about you.
Olivia, as a main character, is very well crafted. She’ realistic in all the things she does and says, and she’s not only likeable but also more than often annoying. She used to be creative and loved her life previously, enjoyed her career as a baker, and now she simply can’t come to terms with the new regime, retreating into herself, becoming almost depressed, which is absolutely not a wonder! She’s flawed but also strong and determined, even though this determination of hers made me want to shake her once or twice and tell her to step back, please, as she was making to many silly mistakes.
The other characters are well written as well. There is a relatively huge group of them but you quickly know who is who and to whom they belong. They have their own personalities, more or less well developed, are strong individuals with their own opinions and distinctive voices and are full of secrets. The feeling of tension and of not being able to trust each other was there on the pages, visible and palpable, as neighbours and friends were becoming a threat, and it was brilliantly captured by the author.
I would love a little bit more background on Mother Mason. What has driven her? What has motivated her? Sure, she appears vindictive and I absolutely wanted her down – actually, I was as scared as the characters themselves, really. She was not there but she was also there, an invisible – but also visible – threat. It was a brilliant idea and great use of a character but I’d really love to know what has made her tick this way.

The writing style is addictive, chatty and it quickly draws you in, and the book is written in such a way that after putting it down you really need to look around and check if your chocolate is where it should be. The language used is direct and even though it is vivid and reach, it doesn’t use descriptions as a tool to fill the pages, which was great, as it only added even more sense of fear and distrust. The narration is very descriptive, vividly describing the fictional world that is truly brilliantly created – everything is considered and airtight, starting with the small town of Bunham, its residents, through the markets, Shame – Boxes, the re – education centres and prisons. Yes, there were moments that simply seemed too unrealistic, even for a dystopian novel, things that happened too casually and conveniently that bothered me a bit, but altogether I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would devour it in one sitting if it wasn’t for life getting in the way.

Altogether, “The Choice” was an excellent debut novel, not too overdone, ambitious and unique, much better than some of the debut novels in the same genre so highly advertised last year – well, I personally think this book doesn’t need to be pushy advertised because it’s great and it will simply fly from the shelves.
It was a compulsive, addictive and disturbing read, thought – provoking and realistic, exploring morality, freedom of choice, showing that we always have the Choice, no matter what – we only need to find the courage. It is insightful and controversial and the author explores so many possible scenarios, giving us a great view of “what if”. It shows the strength and importance of family and friends and asks how much the society is able to withstand and where are the limits of oppression, how far is too far. And it is probably more realistic than we may initially think! Hugely recommended!

 

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Those People by Louise Candlish

Those People by Louise Candlish

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 42427483._sy475_

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you! / Purchased

Number of pages: 384

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 26.12.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Could you hate your neighbour enough to plot to kill him?
Until Darren Booth moves in at number 1, Lowland Way, the neighbourhood is a suburban paradise. But soon after his arrival, disputes over issues like loud music and parking rights escalate all too quickly to public rows and threats of violence.
Then, early one Saturday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: Booth did it.
But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree with them.

Rating: three-stars

 

Lowland Way is a quiet, community – and family friendly street in South London. The neighbours are a tight – knit community and they were even awarded for a great concept “Play – Out Sunday” that allows children to play safely on the street when it’s closed to traffic on a Sunday. Until everything changes, when one day the Booths move into number 1, immediately starting with the bad neighbour things such as loud music at all hours, noisy renovations, running the illegal car dealing business from home, taking all the free parking spaces there are on the street, forcing the residents to look for a space somewhere further away. And generally, they’re unfriendly and not willing to cooperate.
The neighbours gather their strengths again the Booths but the complaints go unheeded and it seems nobody can do anything, their hands are tied. They can’t even sell the houses it they wanted because the prices radically went downhill. And then someone dies – but is it really so obvious what has happened? It turns out the list of suspects is as long as Lowland Way itself…

The characters were brilliantly drawn, however none of them were especially likeable but I guess it was intended. However, they feel like real people and I could really follow their frustrations, desperations and anger. But no matter my own feelings towards the characters, I really felt empathy for them, and I could easily imagine how the whole unfairness of the situation made them feel. What was interesting was the way the characters were portrayed – there were many of them, and it takes time to eventually get them all under control, knowing who is who and to whom they belong, and, as I have already mentioned, not likeable at all, and all of them seemed so happy with their lives on the surface, but it turned out that all of them, literally all, had murderous tendency – though, perhaps, it’s not a wonder in those circumstances. However, as much as I was a bit disgusted with them, I thoroughly enjoyed their stories. Because of the multiple points of view it takes time for the mystery to unfold, to actually begin, but the characters were honest and genuine, so we really know what they think. Louise Candlish has a great sense of observation and she really knows how to write about domestic dynamics and manipulation, and it was really sometimes shocking to see the real faces of the characters as the cracks started to appear after not everything runs as smoothly as they wish.

I liked how much interpretation there is left to us about “those people”, because I’ve found myself, more than once, wondering who’s really worse. I mean, I wouldn’t accept breaking down walls, playing loud music, parking wherever you want, not following the general rules but then, on the other hand, would I accept neighbours policing the neighbourhood, meddling everywhere, thinking they have the right to decide about what’s good and what’s wrong? Oh my, I am blessed with my neighbours, really… I also liked the pace of this book, it was fast and the changing points of view made it feel even quicker. It was great to read not only about their feelings about the new neighbours but the author also gave us a deep insight into their private lives, letting us see what’s really happening behind the closed doors.

Sadly, I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Ms Candlish’s previous novels. There were moments that made me feel wow, especially the accidental death, I couldn’t get by it, but there weren’t enough of those moments. When I finished reading, I though, and that’s all? The ending, in my opinion, felt a bit too rushed compared to the fact how long the main story was, and I don’t know, but it was not completely this what I was expecting.

“Those People” is for sure a gold standard example of domestic noir/suspense, a genre that Louise Candlish has already proven herself in. Her writing style is so vivid and descriptive, and really, I could easily imagine the horrors of the new neighbours, could hear the shrills, thrills, loud music through her words. Altogether, it was, sadly, not my personal favourite by this author. I think there was so much potential in it but the execution just missed the mark for me, this “something” that I always found in Louise Candlish’s books.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom

 

Publisher: Penguin 43201773._sy475_

Publishing Date: 17th October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

On a winter morning she lost a piece of her heart. Can she find it?

Evangeline isn’t feeling festive this December.

The frost and fairy lights only remind her it’s been a year since she lost the mother who took her in as a baby and raised her.

She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity. And where to find her.

A lifetime and thousands of miles have separated Evangeline and Bonnie. Now, travelling to New Zealand could be Evangeline’s chance to confront the woman who gave her up.

But is she ready for what she’ll find there?

The answers she’s been looking for, a new family to heal her . . . Or someone she could never have expected?

Rating:  five-stars

 

Genie isn’t feeling festive this year. She doesn’t feel great at all in fact. It’s almost a year after her adoptive mum died in an accident Genie is blaming herself for. Encouraged by her adoptive dad to meet her birth mother Bonnie, hoping it will give her some answers and lessen the guilt and reconnect her with the world, Genie dares to start the journey around the world to New Zealand, where Bonnie lives. It could be a chance to confront the woman who gave her up but on the arrival Genie discovers that not only Bonnie embarked on a journey to England to probably find Genien but also meets Tui, a girl who’s going to change her whole world. Is she ready for what she’s going to discover?

I am so, so happy that this book has read like Isabelle’s debut novel, it was really close to perfection this time – there was this really hard to capture, and also to describe, feeling that you have in your heart and belly when reading, a feeling that makes the book a brilliant experience and I’m so glad to report to you that “One Winter Morning” is such a book. Isabelle Broom’s first novel was great and I loved it, then I had some problems with her next books and it made me feel desperately sad because I knew that she can write such great stories, and now she’s back with this newest release and I can’t stop praising it.

The author has so wonderfully and skilfully captured the whole range of emotions here – the book was oozing in them but it doesn’t mean that it felt too emotional, no, there was the right amount of them, to make it poignant without making it too sugary. There was love, loss, grief, friendship and hope, combined with challenges that we have to face every day. It was truly a magnificent read that easily transported me into the characters’ world.

The characters felt like living and breathing people, and of course I loved Genie immediately, what with her love of horses. Actually, I warmed to all of them quickly, right after getting to know them. But Genie was a great leading character, full of flaws as well but it made her even more realistic in my eyes, and her struggle to move forward was genuine. I adored being with her on this journey where she learns how to process her grief and learns how to trust in other people, that she’s not alone.
The chapters told from Genie’s point of view are intertwined with those told by Bonnie, which added a bit of mystery and kept me glued to the pages as I wanted to know what has really happened, and while it was not so hugely dramatic, just a normal story that could happen anytime and anywhere, Isabelle Broom managed to keep it intriguing enough, revealing something about Bonnie’s past and then switching the narration back to Genie, leaving me wanting more. Eventually, the two stories merge into one, and the ending made me feel really satisfied, I couldn’t wish for a better one.
Genie’s developing friendship with Kit and Tui were absolutely realistic and genuine, and those two were also adorable characters, I really liked what the author did with Tui’s character, loved her cheerfulness, openness and “jeez”.

Isabelle Broom is already known for the settings she chooses for her books, and this time she didn’t disappoint, taking us on a journey to New Zealand. Without making the book feel like a tourist guide, there were enough vivid, colourful descriptions of the places and beautiful scenery. It felt a bit different, to spent Christmas there where it’s actually summer, but it was a change.

“One Winter Morning” brilliantly touches upon the complicated and complex family relationships and dynamics even if the plot is simple and realistic – the thing the author has chosen to write about is probably happening right now, somewhere in the world. She managed to make it realistic, with a special touch of romance and humour. It was a lovely journey of new beginnings and finding yourself, heart – warming and charming that I highly recommend!

The Cornish Villahe School – Christmas Wishes by Kitty Wilson

The Cornish Village School – Christmas Wishes by Kitty Wilson

 

Publisher: Canelo 47167328

Publishing Date: 9th September 2019

Series: Cornish Village School #4

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 254

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Penmenna…

Teaching assistant Alice has sworn off men, which is fine because with Christmas coming she’s super busy organising the school Nativity. This should be a blast with the help of best friend and village vicar, Dan – if she can just ignore those more-than-just-a-friend feelings she’s developed for him…

Dan is more than happy to help Alice – his secret crush – but not only is his beloved Granny Annie about to be made homeless, the church choir has disintegrated and he’s battling some dark demons from his past.

With meddling grannies and PTA wars thrown in the mix, can Alice and Dan overcome their past hurts to move forward? Will they be spending Christmas together as friends… or something more?

A festive feel-good romance perfect for fans of Tilly Tennant and Holly Martin.

Rating: four-stars

 

Alice is a teaching assistant in Penmenna village school and this year she’s given the job of organising the class four nativity play. Determined to make it the best one, or at least better than the one from last year with the earth giving birth, she loops her best friend Dan, who is a village vicar, to help her. Actually, Alice would love to be more than friends with Dan, however she’s so unsure of herself, she can’t see why any man would be interested in her, and there were some bad experienced for her in the past and Dan, well, Dan has some reasons as well to hide his feelings.

One of the biggest strength of the book are for sure the characters. The cast is simply brilliant, living and breathing, with flaws and troubles. Dan was a perfect vicar, so very un – vicar like, which only made him even better. His background was really heart – breaking and you could really understand all his commitment issues. But Marion Markshot must have been the best character ever, oh my god, so fierce and so vulnerable, I loved her and her ways, and I really wouldn’t like to have her as a fiend. And really, you can say whatever you want, that she was cruel, self – obsessed, whatever, but oh my, I so fell for her! Because no matter what, the characters felt human and true to life, finding themselves in a position of having to go on, to get on with things, just like we are. And Alice, the lovely, kind and full of energy Alice, so unsure of herself, not realising how great she is – she was a fantastic leading character.

What I also adored is that the series centres around school and teaching. And even though I’m now working in kindergarten and not at school, once a teacher, always a teacher and I like stories set at school, especially such lovely ones. I loved Alice around her pupils and I loved her approach to the organization of the Nativity Christmas Play, she’s truly the right person in the right place, her love to her job shines through the pages.

I adored this book, I really did, but what annoyed me a bit was the fact that you actually knew, from the very beginning, how it’s going to end (I know, I know, everybody hates this sentence) and it simply felt too long, no matter how entertaining, to come to the final conclusion. I mean, there were almost no obstacles, no challenges and the will they/will they/oh yes they will was too long. It just felt, I don’t know, too wordy, as if it has lost its track from time to time.

But altogether, it was a hilariously funny and also wise and heart – warming read with incredibly vivid and lively characters with intelligent and sharp sense of humour. I have only read the third instalment in the series before – sadly, it’s a huge mistake, really, because the books are so, so entertaining! “Christmas Wishes” is full of mishaps, family, friendship and love, beautifully balancing humour with poignant scenes. The banter, and there is a lot of banter in this book, is humorous, witty, sharp and quick and there is a huge amount of lovely romance, of letting go of the past and moving forward, and it is already filled with festive spirit. Hugely recommended!

Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans

Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans

 

Publisher: HQ Digital 44799648

Publishing Date: 9th October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

All she wants for Christmas…

Leah Griffiths has woken up after a few too many glasses of Prosecco with a hangover – and discovers she’s accidentally bought a little Christmas tree farm in Scotland!

At first she’s horrified, but perhaps it’s the perfect way to forget all about her cheating ex.

And when she meets grumpy (but ridiculously gorgeous) pumpkin farmer Noel underneath the mistletoe, Leah begins to believe that at Christmas time, anything can happen…

Rating:  four-stars

 

The morning after finding her boyfriend/boss in a compromising position, Leah Griffiths wakes up not only with a huge hangover after downing few bottles of Prosecco, but also as a new owner of a Christmas Tree Farm in Scotland that she’s just won on an internet auction. And paid for it. £50,000, all the money left after selling her parents’ house when they died.
But hey, the farm looks lovely on the pictures, right? As she has no job in London anymore, her parents are dead and she has only one best friend, there is nothing stopping her back, and really, how hard could running a Tree Farm be?
Well, it turns out it can be hard, especially as the farm has been empty for four years, most of the trees are dead/unsellable, and the grumpy neighbour Noel knows lots about trees but he doesn’t believe that Leah will stay at the farm after realising how much work it needs, and after seeing that the house has no windows and only half roof left. And it’s very cold and raining all the time.
But Noel doesn’t know Leah and her determination. But will the determination be enough to start over? Will Leah stay at the farm?

I really don’t remember when I laughed so much when reading a book. Right now I’m even not afraid to make a drunken impulse buy, honestly, even if it’s of abandoned Christmas Tree Farm in Scotland – I could keep horses there! It was a read full of laughs, giggles, embarrassing but also poignant moments, brilliantly capturing the cheer of a small town and its community.

Jaimie Admans writes in a way that made me immediately fell in love with all the characters and the setting. Leah was a brilliant leading heroine, full of humour and best one – liners, often jumping to conclusions but also optimistic and never giving up. Well, how many of us would stay after realizing they have bought an abandoned and run – down Christmas Tree Farm, right? Not Leah – she was stubborn and determined and had some of the best ideas how to revitalize the farm and to keep it going, not forgetting about the community! We get to know her at a very low point, and she’s also lost so much when her parents died, so she really knows what suffering and grief mean, and she has moments when she feels so desperate and lonely, but she’s also so funny and so human and I was really rooting for her, wanting her to have her own happy ending.
Our lovely Leah is surrounded and supported by a great group of characters, charming, friendly and immediately likeable, brilliantly written and amusing. Some of their antics at the market were peculiar but please, do let me focus tightly on Noel. And let me swoon about Noel. Noel should have his own book – even though he had a Chihuahua and not a rottweiler, he was perfect. Noel, the usual broody and moody neighbour, the pumpkin farmer from the adjacent land, sexy, handsome, irresistible… you get the picture. With a soft side to him as well, I loved how he was around another people, his mum and dog, always willing to help but not too overwhelmingly helpful, you know what I mean? A softie but still a real man, give me him any time pretty please. Oh, be still you stupid heart, really.
The interactions and banter between him and Leah were the most brilliant parts of the book, and they were mostly my favourite scenes, so actually almost the whole book. The way the author has pushed them together felt obvious, yes, but also natural and genuine and the chemistry between them was sparklingly funny and believable.

The author has for sure researched how much work running a Christmas tree farm involves and learnt her lesson about trimming a tree or whatever it is you have to do with them. I’ve never realised it, I mean, you go, you choose and then buy the most beautiful Christmas tree, right, but I’ve never given a thought to what is needed to grow this perfect specimen. She dedicates a lot of pages to the actual work involved in farming, and it’s rich in details and information but it doesn’t slow down the action, oh no, it rather propels it forward, is rich in details but never too dull.

It is a fast – paced, seamlessly written, chatty and engaging read that yes, you know how it’s going to end, and yes, you know there are going to be obstacles on the way, but still it is a great fun to read. Jaimie Admans’s writing style is easy – going and easy to get along with and chatty and her descriptions are vivid and colourful. This novel was a lovely, romantic, atmospheric and full of snow read, right for the Christmas season. The idea of the plot was great and refreshing and there was this lovely message in it, that when you want something badly to succeed, simply go for it, just go out there and get it – it may not be the easiest thing sometimes but everything is possible. Warm, cosy and comfortable, an engrossing and hilarious festive journey about second chances and fresh starts, but also about grief, betrayal and hope, and you very quickly will fall under its spell. Hugely recommended!