The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

 

Sr-QHuzS.jpg largePublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 7th February 2019

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

One love. Two people. Twenty Years.

From the moment they met, Erin and Dom loved each other too much, too quickly. Everyone said it wouldn’t last. But they knew differently.

A wedding present, a notebook, brings them together through the good times and the bad. On the blank pages of their love story, they write down everything they can’t always say – the secrets, the heartbreak, the highs and lows. It’s where they see the best and worst of each other.

Falling in love is easy but staying in love is where the story begins…

Rating: five-stars

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Erin Fitzgerald and Dominic Carter got married in 1996 – they loved each other unconditionally and they’re expecting a baby. Erin’s father gives them a leather bond book – The Book of Love – to write down what they can’t tell each other face to face. Each letter should end with a message of love. They’re sceptical at first but then the book turns out to be pivotal source for their communication, to be a significant part of their lives.

You can’t help but immediately fell for the characters, for their fates, for their feelings, emotions and unconditional love, and so, very quickly, you find yourself on incredible roller coaster ride through their lives, through the years they have to learn by themselves what life really is about. I experienced everything with them, I could feel their pain, hurt, uncertainty, love, hope and grief. The book offers us everything, through ups and downs, screw ups, struggles, heartbreaks and changes in relationships. All the characters are so well fleshed out, they’re not perfect, they’re full of flaws and secrets and they make mistakes but this only make them much more realistic and relatable. They’re simply human – and after reading tons of books in my life I’ve learnt that it doesn’t always work out for authors to create their characters this way, which only made me appreciate them even more. Each character in this book, no matter if the main or the background one, was authentic and genuine, in every detail and every gesture. The relationships between them – and there were plenty of them, not only this of marriage, but also of being a parent, sibling, friend – were real.

The story begins in 2017 and takes us back and forth through years, starting in 1996, and all those years are testimony of love. It moves smoothly between the timelines, and with ease, and there was maybe a moment or two when I shortly felt a little confused but quickly I was finding myself again on track. And I love the way it was written, as it really was full of surprises. When I was thinking that I know where I’m standing, where the story is going, then bang, and it was pushed in totally different direction.

The end made me really tearful. Such love, as this of Erin and Dom, it doesn’t happen often, I think. You can love but there was such a special bond between them, a bond that was palpable through the pages and that I envied them so much. However, this bond doesn’t mean that they didn’t have problems communicating, because they did, there were things they couldn’t tell each other face to face, and here comes The Book of Love, the gift Erin’s father gave them at their wedding. Sometimes it’s hard to speak up, to tell what’s bothering you for fear what the other half may think of you and so Erin and Dom settled to write their deepest, most intimate thoughts in the book for each other. And it turned out to be a cathartic, emotional experience for both of them, and for us, readers, as well. What makes this book so exceptional is the honesty it’s written with. Love is not only bed of roses, love can hurt, love means loss and grief and sadness, and the book mixes those moments perfectly with joy and humour and believe me, no matter how you’re going to feel at the end, how much of a snotty mess you’re going to be, it’ll be an uplifting read that will restore your faith in love and friendship.

Lately we are literally flooded with descriptions of the books that shout “that final twist!” and that usually leave you lukewarm. Probably those that don’t need such kind of advertising, that speak for themselves, are the best kind of twists – here, in this gorgeous story, I haven’t seen the final twist. It just came and hit me hard on my unexpecting head and left me a) speechless and b) in tears – and this is what I call TWIST.

Fionnuala Kearney can write in such a gorgeous way – her writing style is flawless and effortless, of high quality and so chatty that when you start reading you simply can’t put the book away. She captures all the insecurities and fears and the book is going to make you nod with understanding and agreement, to roll your eyes, laugh and cry. She, as not many out there, can describe human nature and the complexity of it with tons of sensitivity and understanding. “The Book of Love” was incredibly beautiful and brutally honest story of love, marriage and family. It has broken my heart, to mend it and to break it again. It was about forgiveness, showing how true love can knit people together in the face of disaster, tragedy but also happiness. Be prepared that you’re going to be emotionally invested from the very beginning till the end. It was powerful and moving, uplifting and heart – breaking, mesmerising and enduring and I raced through the pages, though it is this kind of book that you also don’t want to end. It was a complex and epic tale full of real people, real stories, real feelings. Deep and intelligent and so cleverly written, for sure my certain contender for the best read in 2019. And after reading it. this is what I call book – hangover. I loved it – mightily.

 

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When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

 

42900679Publisher: Sceptre

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 272

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 17.10.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A tale of a single night. The story of a lifetime.

If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said and done?

This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.

Beautifully written, powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.

Rating: five-stars

 

“When All Is Said” introduces us to Maurice Hannigan, an 84 year old farmer, paying a final visit to Rainsford House Hotel. It is a place he’s got a lot of memories attached to, mostly unpleasant ones. As he sits at the bar, he toasts five special people in his life. People, who were his inspiration, who were significant to him, who actually shaped him, made him who he is. He tells things as they were, the good and the bad moments, all the mistakes he’s made and that he can’t forget.

Guys, this book simply feels so special – it’s a real gem, this one, and it’s really hard to believe it’s a debut novel by Anne Griffin. The author can so brilliantly well capture all the emotions and beautifully writes about feelings, and it had me captivated and glued to the pages from the very beginning till the end. It was touching, it was poignant, it was funny, and written in this special way that only Irish authors can.

I’ve had a gut feeling how it’s going to end and what Maurice’s plan is right from the start to be honest but still it hit me really hard. I really liked his character, and as the story is told from his point of view at the end he just felt like an old friend of mine. I loved the moments he has chosen to reminisce about, to re – visit again, and the group of people he talked about. They were all significant and special to him, and there was so much love in his words, it was really overwhelming and poignant. Maurice isn’t shy of telling things how they were and he also realises that he has made mistakes – but those were the things that shaped him as a man, as a person.

The writing style is exceptional. It’s flowing, it’s engaging, it’s Irish, warm, uplifting and heart – breaking at once. The author has a special way with words. It was so easy to see the connection Maurice had with all his significant people, his brother Tony, his daughter Molly, his sister – in – law Noreen, his son Kevin and finally, last but not least, his beloved wife Sadie. The bond between him and his brother Tony was a special one, Tony was always there for him, he supported his younger brother and was always there to protect him. He understood that Maurice’s strength lies perhaps not in reading but somewhere else. It’s no wonder that Maurice wanted to be Tony when he grows up… Sadie is the last person he toasts but it’s clear that he fell for her head over hills and it was her death two years before that simply broken him. Sadie was the only woman in his life, he loved her unconditionally and now it breaks his heart to see that there were times that he disappointed her, that he wasn’t there for her. Her sister Noreen, without knowing it, unintentionally and because of her love to “sparkle”, also had an impact on Maurice’s life. Then there is Molly, the daughter that has never been and Kevin, longed – for son who now lives in the States, is a journalist and provides his father with rare whiskies.
Maurice realises that he should have been a much more expressive man, that he missed his chance to tell the people he loved that he loves them.

It was a gorgeous, moving book where everything felt so normal, natural and down – to – earth, and also incredibly honest and genuine. It simply feels human and all the joy and dramas are relatable. It explores the important things in life, such as love, family and friendship, but also forgiveness, heartbreak and hope. It’s emotional, but you also find yourself smiling, often through tears and really, it’s so hard to do this book justice – it’s special, it’s unique, it’s a real gem written from the heart. Highly recommended!

 

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup / Blog Tour

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

 

40232719Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 512

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A NAIL-BITINGLY THRILLING CRIME NOVEL FROM THE SCRIPT WRITER BEHIND THE KILLING

Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.

That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.

When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.

Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

Rating: five-stars

“The Chestnut Man” introduces us to Naia Thulin and Mark Hess, two detectives in Homicide’s Murder Squad, trying to solve the mystery of Laura Kjaer’s murder. It doesn’t look like it is a beginning to a series, and that it will eventually lead to a disappearance of Rosa Hartung’s, Minister of Social Affairs, young daughter. The girl’s killer has been caught, but as Thulin and Hess start to dig deeper, his testimony simply doesn’t make sense. And moreover, in the place of Laura Kjaer’s murder they find a figure made of chestnuts with an evidence linking it to Rosa’s daughter Kristine. As further murders occur, with a similar pattern and more chestnut men with Kristine’s fingerprints on them, the race against time begins – are Thulin and Hess going to solve the case on time?

So, there was the best opening ever in this book. I was actually afraid that I’m not going to be able to read it, judging on the opening, on the awful, gory details but I just couldn’t stop reading. There was something in this book that kept me glued to the pages, and even though I’m a little softie when it comes to crime scenes, and if the children are involved, all the descriptions didn’t dishearten me.

Almost every chapter – and there were 130 of them, bear with me! – introduced us to a new character. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but there were tons of characters in this book and it was simply impossible to keep track on all of them, and I quickly decided that I’m not even going to try, even though I couldn’t be sure who’s important and who’s not. However, the few main characters are the most important, although all of them, even the background ones, are really well developed and fleshed out. You can’t help but be wary with all of them, as you don’t know whom you can trust. And I really felt involved in the characters’ lives. Naia Thulin feels unchallenged at her job (that is, until the chestnut man case arrives!) and wants to transfer to NC3 (National Cyber Crime Centre). She’s a single mother to Le. Mark Hess is a bit of enigma but there was much more to him than met the eye. He’s been pushed out of Europol because of some issues and finds himself back again in Denmark, on the case with Thulin – though it’s obvious he doesn’t want to be there (that is, until they find the connection to Kristine’s case and he starts to put two and two together). But their partnership was really sparkling and they were completing each other. Their characters develop throughout the story.

Yes, of course, one could say this book was full of clichés. We have here your usual detectives couple: the clever young girl who, despite her lack of experience, is your top girl, single mother and with great ambitions. The laid – back detective with unresolved issues, discredited, with a tragic past, forced to leave Europol, scruffy and harsh but with a heart made of gold. They make a lot of mistakes and also decisions they really shouldn’t make by themselves, the killer is always one step ahead of them, the colleagues are more interested in their own careers and vendettas etc, etc . But it didn’t bother me and it didn’t take away from the story. I was totally drawn to it, I’ve breathed and lived it and I told anyone that was in my vicinity and wanted something from me to simply go away because this book is so good.

Now, guys, I’ve guessed the culprit. I can tell you exactly what page it was that gave me the tip that made me feel so sure but I’m not going, oh no. However, it didn’t make me feel smug or whatever, no, it made me race through the pages even faster as I desperately wanted to know why – what was the reason, how deep did it sit in their soul, what turned them into a killing monster.

It was an addictive and captivating Scandi – Noir, brutal psychological thriller, very realistic and very sharp and very complex. It was dark and bleak and grimy and so incredibly absorbing. It was a chilling, disturbing and gripping debut novel, full of tension and suspense and the feeling that something is going to happen, that it’s not enough, that something is lurking around the corner – the atmosphere was really well captured. Haunting and truly unforgettable. The writing style was so chilling and so down to earth, yet it simply sucks you in. The author has an ability to write gruesome scenes that will make you feel unsettled. The last part of the book felt much more faster as the first two – thirds, a lot happened then and there and maybe in comparison it should be a little slower. But altogether, “The Chestnut Man” was an exciting and fast – paced book, and the short chapters made it even more pacy, and they were full of twists and turns and cliffhangers that make you hold your breath and lead to a satisfying conclusion. I personally absolutely loved it – highly recommended!

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Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon / Blog Tour

Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon

 

41946727Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

**The million copy bestselling author of Faking Friends and My Sweet Revenge is back – pre-order now!**

Holly and Roz spend most of their days together. They like the same jokes, loathe the same people and tell each other everything.

So when single mum Holly gets a shot at her dream job after putting everything on hold to raise her daughter, she assumes her friend will be dying to pop the champagne with her.

But is she just imagining things, or is Roz not quite as happy for her as she should be?

As Holly starts to take a closer look at Roz’s life outside their friendship, she begins to discover a few things that don’t add up. Who is the woman who claims to be her ally?

Perhaps it was a mistake to tell Roz all her secrets.

Because it takes two to forge a friendship.

But it only takes one to wage a war . . .

Rating: five-stars

 

Holly has always prioritised her little family so when, after years, she gets her dream job on a popular TV soap she’s over the moon, and also determined to pass the probation period, to prove that she’s really the right person in the right place. But quickly it turns out that not everyone in the office agree with her promotion, as a not a very subtle campaign full of sabotage and accidents takes place. Holly is in shock and taken aback – who is behind this all? She tries to unveil who the person is, but in the meantime she must be prepared for a life full of twists and turns, sometimes better than in the soap opera she’s working on.

The characters were absolutely brilliant. Not only Holly, but also the side characters that were so well developed and fleshed out. Jane Fallon is perfect when it comes to capturing people’s characters, their personalities and mentalities, and she’s a real queen of revenge novels, guys. The characters always feel realistic, they are engaging and genuine, and the way she writes about friendship dynamics is absolutely brilliant, as she isn’t shy of stirring things up and complicating them. She’s a great and sharp observer of everyday interactions and she can brilliantly transfer them onto the pages of her novels. Holly was so human, with all her insecurities, and the need to prove herself that she’s got the promotion rightly and so she puts herself under a lot of pressure. I can only guess how weird and difficult it must have been for her, suddenly managing people that she used to work with and who are now to report to her but I think she really did her best, even though it couldn’t have been an easy task, especially with all the back – stabbing and the uncertainty of what’s going to happen yet. I really loved to see her growing in confidence, it was the best thing to see. It was also refreshing to see Holly as a single woman, not looking after a romance or a man that she could relay on – she didn’t need it, she had her best friend Dee, and I loved their interactions and how far would Dee go to help Holly.
But I also think we shouldn’t demonize the other character, the one that sabotaged Holly. Of course our sympathy is on Holly’s side, there is no other option, but I think we should also stop for a moment and think what was it that made her act like this, to put people so down. And this also what I so love in Jane Fallon’s novels, the diversity, the way she is able to portray different types of friendship! There is the perfect mix of characters that we love and we love to hate.

This book follows the Jane Fallon’s proven formula and guys, it turns out I could read the books like that over and over again, it doesn’t grow old or boring for me. Though, in my opinion, this novel is not as bitchy and as sharp as the previous books. It’s not a criticism, oh no, it’s just my simple opinion, I am used to much more trouble, fret and paperchase. Also, in the previous books we were not directly told who is the frenemy and here we actually know from the very beginning who’s sabotaging Holly, the question is now – why. But – just as with Ms Fallon’s previous books I was so close to put this book down because I simply couldn’t take the tension! This is why I don’t watch films – because I can’t stand sitting here and not being able to do anything, and it is the same with “Tell Me a Secret”. You’ve no idea how much I wanted to punish the character in question, and I’m usually really a very peaceful person, so that’s saying something, that my blood was boiling and I so wanted her to happen to slip up eventually. Sure, there were things that were perhaps happening too convenient, and right people in the right places so that the plot could flow seamlessly towards the happy end, but honestly, it didn’t bother me.

I do love a Jane Fallon novel, that’s not a secret, and “Tell Me a Secret” was a light – hearted, entertaining novel, full of intrigue and hidden depth. There is the safe and proved Fallon’s trademark that explores the themes of friendship, rivalry, betrayal, jealousy and deception, and it’s sometimes so refreshing to read a book without a romance in it. It explores toxic friendships in such an eye – opening way, with all its ups and downs. It was, just like all the other Fallon’s books, a fast – paced and addictive read that made my heart go faster and me to clench my fists. It was a complex, thought – provoking and clever read, very well developed and written in this brilliant, sharp writing style. Even though it’s pretty sure who the “bad one” is, there are moments that I started to doubt myself, and started to suspect everybody, that I was wondering perhaps they are all involved? The author knows how to complicate the things, how to pool wool over our eyes. Highly recommended!

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25 Days ’til Christmas by Poppy Alexander / Blog Tour

25 Days ’til Christmas by Poppy Alexander

 

cover150320-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 1st November 2018

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas is a time to get together…

Kate Thompson used to love Christmas. But that was before her husband went away with the army and didn’t come home. Now she can hardly stand the festive season.

But Kate knows there is more to life than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What she needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn’t one on its way, she’ll just have to make her own.

So begins Kate’s advent countdown to the best Christmas ever. She has it all planned out, but you can’t plan for the unexpected, and when her life starts to unravel can her friends and the community around her help her save Christmas for all of them…?

Curl up and countdown to Christmas with a heart-warming festive romance, perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin.

Rating: five-stars

Kate Thompson hates Christmas, since her husband was killed four years ago during his service abroad as a soldier. However, her son Jack is desperate to have a lovely Christmas, with a tree and presents. Kate, struggling financially and emotionally, doesn’t know what to do and how to do this. She’s stuck at a low paid job, now she must also sell Christmas trees dressed as an elf and freezing and is not sure what the future is going to bring. Her friend comes up with an idea of doing a special advent calendar with a festive activity to do together for every day in the countdown to Christmas.
Daniel is not looking towards Christmas after the death of his sister. He used to buy Christmas trees from Kate and he knows only as Christmas tree girl. They start to bump into each other more and more and soon realises there is much more to Kate than meets the eye. But Kate’s life is really complicated – can she cope? Will she cope? Can somebody help her?

Kate was a great leading character – there were so many challenges on her way, her life was so demanding and yet she more than often put others above herself. Struggling with money, with being a single mum, she was a realistic, genuine character. It was beautiful and also heart – breaking to see how much she tried to organize the unforgettable Christmas for her son and how far she’s go to guard him. The idea of Kate creating the advent calendar for Jack and making the time so special for her and her little boy was brilliant. The Christmassy things that they were supposed to do in the countdown to Christmas were so nice and so different to everything that we’re used to, and now I really feel like preparing something like this for my family.

The pace in this story was just spot on, and there were many things happening, and the book itself brings together threads of different characters. The chapters are more or less a countdown to Christmas – it is a second book in the last weeks that I’ve read written this way, though they were both absolutely different in style and voice but this way worked great in both of them. I loved how it shows that Christmas is not only about commerce and presents but about what it really is that counts – family, friendship, helping each other, appreciating what we have. It was a real rollercoaster journey, full of ups and downs, filled with feelings and emotions. It tugs at all the right heart – strings, it’s this kind of book that’ll make you smile and cry, that is poignant and uplifting. The author has in such a gentle, subtle way dealt with so many tough and heavy issues and there was the overwhelming festive spirit. She has touched upon different things, some of which I don’t often read about, and it was truly great, thought – provoking and eye – opening. Poppy Alexander is for sure an author to have on your radar, I’m already waiting for her next offering. Highly recommended!

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A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling

A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling

 

 

40540663Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 29th November 2018

Series: Lonely Hearts Bookshop #4

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

A heartwarming and hilarious Christmas romance!

Tis the season to be jolly!

But on Rochester Mews, two unlikely lovebirds are struggling to find their festive cheer.

Star baker Mattie has hated Christmas ever since she had her heart broken on Christmas Eve. The only thing she hates more is the insufferable Tom, who has rubbed her up the wrong way since she started running the tearoom next door to his bookshop. So when Mattie and Tom are left in charge in the frantic festive days before Christmas, it might be cold outside but things are sure to heat up.

Can a bookshop full of romantic novels, a life-sized reindeer and a mistletoe kissing booth persuade two scrooges to fall in love with Christmas… and each other?

Rating: five-stars

In “A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews” we’re back to Happy Ever After, the best romantic fiction bookshop in the world, and to the adjoining tearoom run by Mattie Smith, a very talented patisserie chef. She’s been running it for two years already, after coming back from Paris – heartbroken and disappointed and badly judged. This all happened around Christmas, so it’s not a wonder that she’s not the biggest fan of the festive season. Or men. Tom Greer still works in the bookshop, wearing cardigans with patches on the elbows, and the only thing that he has in common with Mattie is the fact that he also hates Christmas. Other than that, it seems that they rub each other only the wrong way. But after Nina moving out from the flat above the bookshop, Mattie and Tom become flatmates – how is it going to end?

There are so many things happening in the bookstore and at the tearoom! Posy is heavily pregnant and ready to cry at any given moment, Nina is back at the shop and is determined to bring the festive atmosphere there, and so with the reindeers in their original size, mistletoe photo booth it slowly starts to look like “Christmas vomited over it”, which for Tom and Mattie, both total anti – Christmas, is at least one common ground to complain.

This time the story focuses strongly on Tom, the enigmatic and enigma – like member of Happy Ever After team who hates romance, and Mattie, who always wears black, runs the tearooms by the bookshop and hates all man. Again, those two, as well as the rest of the gang, and they’re all mentioned in the book, hallelujah, they were just my kind of characters – believable in the way they were, with their ups and down, secrets and troubles, with days that were sometimes better and sometimes worse and their banter, and you know, it is often that you want to bang the characters heads together for them to see the light eventually – and I didn’t want to bang their heads together! They were simply brilliant as they were. Although, I must admit, there was a moment that I felt so sorry for Mattie, when she was blanked out by the others after revealing Tom’s secrets, and I mean, they all – Posy, Verity and Nina, all wanted to know them, right, and then Tom also blanking her out and it was just soooo unfair.
I love how all the characters have their own stories to tell. Mattie’s heart was badly broken in the past and the return of her ex – boyfriend Steven doesn’t bode well. Tom, the very modern feminist, was so full of surprises and well, he always meant really well, even though it might not have looked like this at the first sight. The way those two were starting to find each other in this very complicated and uncomfortable arrangement of living in the same flat above the bookshop was absolutely sweet, hilarious and uplifting. Annie Darling, just like Debbie Johnson, can so brilliantly write about feelings and emotions, they’re so beautifully captured and they simply sound genuine and honest.

I’ve finished reading this book grinning from ear to ear, there was so much joy and optimism here, it really made me feel better and lighter. It was a delight to read and it was almost as good as the first book in the series, “.The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” though, to be honest again, it is probably one of the most gorgeous novels in the world and of all time. I really could read more about the Lonely Hearts Bookshop, it’s one of my absolutely favourite series, and I so hope to see more from the characters in the future, though guys, to be totally honest, the last sentence in this book looks like the very final one, sniff.

Altogether, this book was a perfect read – I loved every single moment of it. It was full of fantastic characters that are down – to – earth and brilliantly funny and comic moments, but it also touched upon some heavier issues. There was the Christmas spirit, bookshop full of romance books and mouth – watering festive baking – I don’t need anything more! Highly recommended!

 

The Mother of All Christmases by Milly Johnson / Blog Tour

The Mother of All Christmases by Milly Johnson

 

40200649Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 15th November 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 528

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Eve Glace – co-owner of Winterworld – is pregnant.  This sends the whole of the theme park into baby mania, especially as the baby’s due date is 25th December. But their joy is soured by the fact it appears someone is trying to sabotage the Christmas celebrations.

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child.  Now, Annie thinks she is going through the menopause and any vestige of hope has been extinguished.

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will give her a helping hand out of the gutter in which she finds herself.  But when the couple split up just after she finds out she is pregnant, she is left carrying a baby she never wanted in the first place.

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor, who was Palma’s first love at school.  Though their lives have gone in very different directions, will this group help each other to find happiness and peace as Christmas approaches?

Rating: five-stars

“The Mother of all Christmases” by Milly Johnson – when you read this book you’ll appreciate how adequate this title is! – follows stories of three very different women, Palma, Eve and Annie. Palma is the one from the wrong side of the town and with a painful past and finds herself in a very difficult situation. Because of her financial troubles she agrees to become a surrogate for a couple who can’t have children. Eve and her husband Jacques run the Christmas themed Winterworld park and are up to their noses with organizing things. Eve knows her husband want a baby with his all heart and well, she doesn’t say no as well, but there is never the right moment for a baby, right? And Annie and her husband Joe, who run a cracker company have been desperate for a baby all their life but it just never happened. There were failed IVFs, a failed adoption and well, they came to terms with the fact that it’s only the two of them. Until it turns out that it’s not the menopause Annie thinks it is.
The three women meet at the Christmas Pudding Club, a club for pregnant women, and they hit it off immediately – their friendship start and they go together through happy and hard times, and there are going to be plenty of those for them.

I don’t know how Milly Johnson does it but each and every book of hers is simply brilliant – she for sure keeps her standard high, and “The Mother of all Christmases” is another cracker (pun intended) from this author. This book was so full of surprising moments, there were twists that I haven’t seen coming and that broke my heart more than once, but then mended it again. It made me cry ugly tears and it made me laugh out loud. It was clever, poignant, uplifting and simply beautiful.

What I found so brilliant and clever was the fact that we already know some of the characters in the book, and not only this, but also The Daily Trumpet, with all its hilarious spelling errors is back. Eve and Winterworld we’ve got to know in “A Winter’s Flame”, as well as some other characters and places from Milly’s previous books and it was so nice to be back with them, to see what’s happened to them and how they’re doing.
However, no worries, it is absolutely a stand – alone novel! But it’ll only make you wish you had read the other books as well, so be prepared, and maybe have the books on pre – order already, if not at your side already.

There are relatively many characters being introduced to us in this book but I coped! Actually, very easily. I had no problems to quickly get who is who, why and to whom they belong. All the characters tell their own, beautiful, sometimes very poignant, stories. The female leading characters Palma, Annie and Eve, even though they don’t know each other yet, have one thing in common – they’re all find themselves pregnant. It took some time for all of them to realize that they’re pregnant, especially in Eve’s case, and yes, she made me feel desperate at the fact that she didn’t notice/didn’t want to notice things that were obvious but well, she had her reasons. All the pregnancies were different – one that might be considered a controversial one, then a very unexpected one, and one simply a nice surprise. I loved all of the three characters though, probably not surprisingly, my heart went to Palma. Her story was so heart – breaking and it will probably stay with me for a very long time yet.
And I must mention one of the male characters – Tom. Guys, he was Mr. Perfect. Milly Johnson has so brilliantly captured the essence of him and has made him, a boxer, so human and so vulnerable, and the things he said to Palma… well, if somebody told me such things I’d print them, put them in frames and hang them on the wall.
The thing with Milly Johnson is that, even if it’s crystal clear that she herself loves her own characters, she gives them all her whole heart and soul, and she makes their lives happy and lets them look optimistically into their futures – then bang, and something happens. Something unexpected, something that turns their worlds upside down. There is actually a tension detectable through the pages, I personally couldn’t shake off the feeling that something bad is going to happen, and I kept everything crossed that it won’t happen. It doesn’t happen often that I’m so deeply involved in the characters and their lives, but in this book I actually lived and experienced things together with them, I fell for them and I couldn’t bear the thought that something could go wrong for them.

“The Mother of all Christmases” deals with many issues, some of them lighter, some heavier, and with Milly Johnson’s writing that is full of heart you’ll find yourself laughing, crying, smiling and laughing again. It is truly Milly Johnson at her best. She deals with the stuff that life throws at her characters in such a down – to – earth, casual way, she’s not afraid of throwing many challenges at her characters, of making their lives complicated and difficult. It is so well written, so full of events and there is not a single flat moment, the story is just flowing and you together with it. It was a story about friendship, sisterhood, loss, love, grief, relationships, second chances and many other things, beautifully and seamlessly binding all the threads and events together. It didn’t feel too overloaded, the pace was perfect and you’ll quickly find yourself engaged in the characters’ lives. Highly recommended!

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