Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran

Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran

 

Publisher: Boldwood Books 47490432

Publishing Date: 17th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 408

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

When Jenny inherits her estranged grandmother’s cottage in Sherwood Forest, she has nothing to lose – no money, no job, no friends, no family to speak of, and zero self-respect. Things can only get better…

Her grumpy, but decidedly handsome new neighbour, Mack, has a habit of bestowing unsolicited good deeds on her. And when Jenny is welcomed into a rather unusual book club, life seems to finally be getting more interesting.

Instead of reading, the members pledge to complete individual challenges before Christmas: from finding new love, learning to bake, to completing a daredevil bucket list. Jenny can’t resist joining in, and soon a year of friendship and laughter, tears and regrets unfolds in the most unexpected ways.

Warm, wise, funny and utterly uplifting, what one thing would you change in your life before Christmas comes around?

Rating: five-stars

 

Jenny has though she has everything under control: her job, her private life, friends, family… That is, until her scheming twin sister gets engaged to Jenny’s “secret” boyfriend at the firm Christmas party, when it was Jenny who was actually expecting the proposal. Ouch. Jenny takes herself to Sherwood Forest – it is there her estranged grandmother left Jenny’s mother a house, and as she doesn’t need the it anymore, she gives it to Jenny. Full of plans and optimism, she turns out at her new place to find it not only in the middle of nowhere, but overgrown with brambles, hence impossible to enter. While trying to force the doors, she meets her neighbour Mack, reclusive, mysterious and very handsome.

After moving to Sherwood Forest, Jenny meets so many brilliant local people – yes, at the beginning some of them are rather sceptic, but quickly she gets drawn into their worlds and lives and becomes a part of their community. For example, the book club (I loved the meetings of the book club as you couldn’t foresee how they’re going to end every time, it was more like a challenge/unexpected situations club, the members of the club were hilarious and I couldn’t wait who’s going to choose the next book and what’s going to happen then.) Or starting a job as a nanny to 5 children, ha. However, Jenny’s biggest worry is getting the house cleaned and cleared, as she doesn’t want to sleep in the tub in the bathroom anymore, and solving the mystery of what Mack is doing, holed up in his house and always appearing on the scenes when Jenny needs help. I quickly guessed what it actually is that Mack does but it didn’t spoil the reveal of this in any way.

The characters had so much depth to them, they were so richly developed, allowing us the view to their lives. Jenny was brilliant. She was full of flaws, she was not perfect and she always kept losing her glasses – she simply felt real in all she did and said – as well as all the other characters. Sure, there were moments that some of their actions felt a bit caricatural but it worked in this book, this craziness was a part of it, of the characters and their world. Jenny’s strength of character and the way she really tried hard – after so many falls, after being held down by others, after being pushed to her limits once too many – were surprising, but it was a positive surprise. She was driven by kindness and loyalty and with the help of her new friends she was growing in confidence, blooming and opening up and facing all the challenges. I kept everything crossed for Jenny, everything, cheering her on the way to becoming New Jenny, to facing her fears and finding the courage for confrontations.

However, don’t be fooled by the Christmassy cover and title of the book, as Christmas itself doesn’t play a great part in this novel. There was only a small part set around Christmas but I think that the general message of this book is to simply make every single day of your life like Christmas, worthful and appreciated, encircle yourself with people that matter and have the courage for new things.
The story intermingle many humorous events and situations with some more poignant ones, and there was also this little mystery about who’s trying to force Jenny out of her house – there was not a single moments flat and I loved how unpredictable it was. One moment I was laughing out loud at the hilarity of the situation, the next I had a lump in my throat.

It was a deep, heartening and uplifting book with unforgettable characters, full of wisdom and lightness. Sometimes bittersweet, sometimes amusing and warming, altogether it was a book that I loved with all my heart and was incredibly sad to see the end of it. The characters in this novel were ones of the best I’ve ever come across in my books, no matter if as a group or a single person. The author has so brilliantly captured all the flaws and virtues and made each of them feel so unique, with all their ups and downs, problems, troubles and quirks, more or less usual hobbies and passions. I was so full of admiration to the way she has written Jenny, and really, she was so well describes, inside and outside that I was able not only to understand her feelings but could easily imagine every expression that she made, and some of her tips on child – minding will stay with me for ever. Shortly, I absolutely loved this book – the more I read the more invested I was. Jenny and the house both needed a clearance, and to be put together, and Jenny’s journey to discover who she really is, to find out more about her past is unputdownable.

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

Today I am absolutely excited to be a part of Beth Moran’s blog tour for her new novel „The Name I Call Myself”. I fell in love with Beth’s writing after reading her previous book „I Hope You Dance” – her books are the perfect blend of bitter and sweet, humour and sadness for me and I can’t have enough of them! „The Name I Call Myself” is one of the best books I’ve read recently and I couldn’t put it down – I didn’t want to put it down! Really, guys, whatever you do, just drop it and treat yourself to this beautiful story about Faith –  and this name is really significant!

 

The Name I Call Myself

by Beth Moran

 

Publisher: Lion Fiction

Publishing Date: 15th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

All Faith Harp wants is a quiet life–to take care of her troubled brother, Sam, earn enough money to stop the poverty wolves snapping at her heels, and to keep her past buried as deep as possible. And after years of upheaval, she might have just about managed it: Sam’s latest treatment seems to actually be working, Faith is holding down a job, and she’s engaged to the gorgeous and successful Perry. But, for Faith, things never seem to stay simple for long. Her domineering mother-in-law-to-be is planning a nightmare wedding, including the wedding dress from hell. And the man who killed her mother is released from prison, sending her brother tumbling back into mental illness.

When secretly planning the wedding she really wants, Faith stumbles across a church choir that challenges far more than her ability to hold a tune. She ends up joining the choir, led by the fierce choir-mistress Hester, who is determined to do whatever it takes to turn the group of ragtag women into something spectacular. She also meets Dylan, the church’s vicar, who is different than any man she has ever met before . . .

Rating: 5/5

After reading and loving Beth Moran’s last release, „I Hope You Dance”, I was waiting impatiently for her new novel. I haven’t read Beth’s debut novel yet and I must eventually treat myself to it but reading her previous book made me fell in love with her writing and the way she tells her stories – stories that usually have much more to them than meet the eye, complicated, beautiful, incredibly sad but also incredibly uplifting stories with the right mix of humour and tears. It was really like Christmas coming in summer when I’ve received an email asking if I want to be a part of Beth’s blog tour for the new novel and when the book itself arrived on my doorstep I dropped everything and started reading it on the spot.

Looking at the cover of this book you may expect a light, fluffy rom – com and partly you get this, but „The Name I Call Myself” mostly concentrates on much more serious issues. However the fact that it is about abuse, violence, mental health issues and women that don’t believe in themselves doesn’t mean that the book isn’t uplifting or optimistic – because it is! Thanks to the writing style the tone switches from comedy to dramatic and this is all so very well balanced and the book is going to make you laugh out loud and cry in the next second. I am lost in admiration how well Beth Moran „does” feelings and emotions, everything she writes about rings the bell, feels so realistic and close to life and I often had desire to shout yes! I know how it feels!

Faith is planning her wedding to Perry, a „millionaire playboy”. However, she very quickly realises that the wedding day is going to be not her own big day but rather her future mother – in – law, interfering mother of Perry, Larissa’s, who has planned everything – also Faith’s wedding dress, the „Ghost Web”. But quickly we learn that the „Ghost Web” and Larissa could be Faith’s least essential problems. She is supporting her very troubled brother Sam and is at his beck and call – there are awful secrets and dark past involved. Even though a fiancée to a millionaire, Faith is struggling financially, as she doesn’t want to accept Perry’s help and is determined to earn her own money and bread. Then, accidentally, when visiting the church her mother went to and its Minister Dylan, Faith finds herself joining the choir, and it is actually then that everything happens – she starts to learn to live again but her dangerous past is suddenly trying to catch up with her and Sam…

The cast of characters is brilliant! They are all not only vivid, larger than life people with their own personalities but they feel like 3 – D people. They’re dimensional, they’re relatable and all of them have their own stories. Faith. Oh my word, Faith. Independent, strong on the surface but inside she was carrying the weight of the whole world on her shoulders and she had scars that will probably never heal. She’s only 25 years old but she seems so much older and so much wiser for her age, I was actually surprised when I learnt that she’s so young, but it’s not a wonder that she is like she is as her past was not a bed of roses. What I so adored in her was that even though Perry was incredibly rich and offered her money at every turn, Faith wanted to be independent of him and insisted to work, which sometimes led to very hilarious situations, let’s only mention Faith’s engagement party. Faith’s past was so, so sad, and all the time new facts came to the light, there was always more to know, and I admired her for the fact that she always tried to keep her chin high and look forward. The way she was telling the story made me feel like a part of it, as if I knew faith personally for a long time.
Larissa may be considered your clichéd future mother – in – law but the scenes with her, as much as they made me desperate to bite her head off, were brilliant and added so much fun to the story. She’s a true nightmare, Larissa, and I know it is so easy to say that Faith should have just say no to her – I think it was impossible. I wouldn’t dare. Even Perry wouldn’t dare, and he was his son, so we can’t expect it from Faith, the strong, brave Faith.
The story of Sam was at the beginning truly engaging and heart – wrenching, though I must admit that through the course of the novel it started to knacker me out. He had no idea how lucky he is with the two women dumping everything and everybody when he was in need. Sure, I can’t put myself in his shoes, and I even don’t want, I truly can’t imagine what has happened to him and I am certain it was freakingly difficult for him but on the other hand, he got so many chances, he had so many possibilities and still he wasn’t strong enough. It doesn’t mean his story didn’t move me, because it did, I am just incredibly sad that after all the things he and Faith went through he just gave up.

The biggest highlight of the book is, I think, the choir and its members. It was a very special choir and let me tell you this one thing: if you had such a group of friends around yourself, you needn’t fear anything. With those women you could move mountains and they’d walk a mile in the rain to help you out. It’s not a wonder that Faith finds solace in the church and its choir group, even with the choir master Hester who – yes, sometimes terrifying – gives the women what they need – confidence, makes them feel comfortable in their own skin, even if in a controversial and sometimes very adventurous and dangerous way. Being in the choir helps Faith to find herself and to open up to people. It was incredible, this choir, only reading about it and seeing how strong Hester was made ME feel stronger and like ME better. Because of the choir members there are many characters in this book but they are all so incredibly vivid and life – like that I’ve never had a problem with who is who, and they all added tons of depth to this book. I loved them all and I fell for them all and I kept my fingers crossed for them. They were strong, believable characters that you root for and the author so effortlessly brings them all to life.

The romance element is there, of course, and I found it a little misleading. For a very long time I was thinking Perry to be a really great guy, the real Prince on a White Horse, the perfect showpiece and the friendship (or more) of Faith and Dylan was – even though really sweet and full of understanding and seeming as if those two were a real match made in haven – confusing. I couldn’t understand why Faith feels such reservations towards marrying Perry (I’d better not mention Larissa here. It would be enough to end all relationships and engagement), even though she’s agreed to marry him, they’re engaged. It was confusing, because Perry was always there for Faith, he didn’t ask questions, he helped her, so it was a kind of mystery to me and it took a long time before the situation was cleared.

Beth Moran in a perfect way blends and covers so many issues in one story – it is about families and friendships, abuse and violence, mental health, love… She somehow manages to combine all the threads together and delivers an emotional, moving and terrific story that is thought – provoking and so light to read. Ms Moran has already placed herself at the top of my favourite authors list and I am already waiting for her next book (and in between, I’m just hitting the „Order” button for „Making Marion”). I would compare this book to the novel written by Marian Keyes – full of sadness and difficult issues but also full of hope and lightness, bitter – sweet novels about brilliantly drawn characters with many layers. „The Name I Call Myself” is full of surprises, it is brutally honest and it can easily break your heart, but it is also uplifting, optimistic read that shows that with some work you will eventually find your happiness. It is this kind of story that stays with you for long after you turn the final page, which is a magnificent feeling. It is this kind of book that you wanted to finish as soon as possible to see how it’s going to end but you also want to last and last and never end. It is a book with a soul, it’s deep, it’s incredibly gripping and it feels really genuine. The author puts her characters through so much and together with them we are taken on an incredible, funny and sad journey through ups and downs, twists and turns. It, in a beautiful way, describes friendship, love and trust. Just like with the last book, this time the author has offered us the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, of dark and light, of hope and hopeless and I adored every single second of it – highly recommended!

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

Top Ten Books in 2015

So guys, here we are, at the end of the year – can’t believe it, to be honest. The older I am, the quicker the time passes by. Nevertheless, what a year it was, with its ups and downs, but let’s concentrate on the books. I read 211 books in 2015, most of them I rated with 5 stars, because… well, because they were absolutely brilliant novels! I discovered new authors to me, fell more in love with „old” authors, was part of many wonderful Blog Tours, interviewed many great people, was honoured to post many fantastic Guest Posts… And today I am going to tell you about my top reads in 2015 – and believe me, it was a very tough choice! The books haven’t been put into order – it would be impossible!

 

I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran – a book that took my breath away. A bitter – sweet, true to life story exploring family life – fantastic!

 

My Everything by Katie Marsh – one of the best debut novels I have EVER read – so very maturely written cracker of a book about journey through life, about developing , about getting to know each other again, about following your dreams, compromises and backing down in the name of love.

 

The Silent Hours by Cesca Major – another incredible debut. After reading this book I couldn’t settle for another novel for a long time, as it left me with a major bookish hangover. This rare gem of a book that you are going to lose yourself in and forget about everything that’s surrounding you. It’s going to leave a large impact on you and your feelings.

 

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts – I love good historical fiction, and this book is for sure a VERY good historical fiction. It’s a perfect mix of history, romance and drama. The writing style is hooking, realistic and so very vivid and the story was, in fact, unputdownable. I’d recommend it to all, no matter if you like historical fiction or not, because it’s one helluva novel!

 

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees – this book was one of the biggest surprises this year, I really haven’t expected it to be SO good! A brilliant, compelling story that takes us on a journey through early Victorian England and gives us a bunch of strong female characters, some male characters that look so weak in comparison to our girls, but also some that are really worth to make acquaintance with, and of course give us a look at the society, with all its stereotypes, as well as intriguing mystery.

 

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson – a year without Lucy’s book is a lost year. I can’t imagine not having Lucy in my life and all her novels were rated by me with 5 stars. „The Day We Disappeared” is an incredible story of secrets, friends, family and honesty. I can only say, drop everything you do and go and buy this book – and you don’t have to thank me for recommendation this time.

 

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor – it was my first book by Hazel Gaynor and it left me speechless. It was a wonderful, beautifully written novel that is going to stay with you for a very long time, a book that comes upon once in a while and a book that you don’t want to leave, to depart with.

 

Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley – though I think I should put here all books by Cathy Bramley, as they all deserve to be mentioned! There is everything you could wish for in a book, humour, sadness, love, friendship, hope, together with fantastic writing and brilliant characters. And who knows, maybe you’re going to discover that you do have green fingers after reading the book? Highly recommended, this book for sure is going to lift your mood up and it could be a perfect escape for some time! I have read it twice already!

 

The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester – another fantastic debut this year, I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for a long time! There was everything that I could wish for in a book: brilliantly created atmosphere, fantastic times, vivid characters, mystery, drama but also a lot of dark and sharp humour. Full of twist and turns, surprises and gasps from me.

 

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin – last but not least, and I think this book has the biggest impact on me, and if I were forced to choose my absolute winner I guess this would be THE ONE.  Be prepared that when you start reading the book, you won’t be able to put it down. I have found myself reading it and reading, thinking only one more page. You know what’s going to happen, you know there is no hope, but nevertheless, you keep reading because you just want to know. After I finished this book I couldn’t move for some time, and it’s good that I was home alone, that nobody’s seen the tears pouring down my face. I knew how it’s going to end, but nevertheless, it didn’t make it easier for me. But it was without a doubt one of the most stunning, moving, beautiful books that I have come across.