Hello my lovely people,

I have had a boss week of reading but oh man it has felt like a long week. I was only in work for four days (and it was after a week off) but man it has been a difficult slog. I did, however, get plenty of books read. They are:

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

A Place for Us Part One by Harriet Evans (Review posted but read last week)

A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce

The books that I have finished this week but are set for review this week are:

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

A Place for Us Part Two by Harriet Evans

Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Actually, I’m rather pleased with that amount. I’ve not felt overwhelmed by them or like I needed to read more or stressed that I didn’t have enough time so yep, go me!

I’m currently reading

The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke (which I am loving)

Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

The First Year: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis by Jill Sklar

Now this week there are plenty of books due to be read but I am definitely going to read the following few:

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings…Actually by Ali McNamara (449)

Say it With Sequins by Georgia Hill (256)

A Place for Us Part Three by Harriet Evans (107)

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson (222)

I am rather excited about this week’s books. I do love a good read-a-thon.

In other book news I have managed to get my NetGalley review percentage up to 27.4% – with this week’s four books and The Kiss Before Midnight let us see if we can get that number up to 30%…it could happen if NetGalley don’t put up any irresistible books for me to request. I am not holding my breath on that one.

Hope you all have an excellent week of reading my bookish buddies J

L x

A Beginners Guide to ChristmasTitle: A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas

Author: Jennifer Joyce

Pages: 61 pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ruth has been roped in to a more active role in her family’s Christmas celebrations. Her mother – incapacitated after falling over a rogue toolbox – has been forced to buy presents, entertain guests, cook Christmas dinner and create the perfect festive event. But is the pressure just too much?

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

This book, whilst being short – a half an hour read – is the perfect tonic for those dreading the festive season. There is something about Christmas that fills people with dread. They love the whole holiday spirit and the whole gift giving and receiving and the eating until you get the met sweats but the lead up to Christmas can be fraught with all kinds of unnecessary drama and expense.

What Jennifer Joyce does in her story A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas is remind us of all the fun times ahead whilst also offering rather precise interludes of advice.

This short story will get you in the mood for Christmas but will also remind you that preparation is the key!

A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce is available now.

For more information regarding Jennifer Joyce (@Writer_Jenn) please visit www.jenniferjoycewrites.co.uk.

4 Stars

 

Title: A Place for Us: Part One

Author: Harriet Evans

Pages: 137 pages

Synopsis

Being part of the Winter clan is something incredibly special. Equally, being part of the Winter clan can be an albatross. The Winter’s, like most families, harbour many dark secrets; stories that they have failed to share. For although they are a close family there are some things that you just keep to yourself.

When Martha Winter, mother and matriarch of the family, calls all her children and grandchildren back to Winterfold, the family home, everyone is beyond curious. Hidden as an excuse to celebrate Martha’s 80th birthday, the family know that there is more than meets the eye to this party.

The house of Winter is about to be rocked to its very foundations.

Review

I love Harriet Evans. Never have I read a book by her and not been entranced and completely in love with the setting, the characters and the story. I was a little disappointed in myself that I found A Place for Us: Part One so difficult lose myself in. Don’t worry, it happened, just not as quickly as I had imagined it would.

Personally, I think I initially struggled with the multi-character perspective. This is not something I usually struggle with however, what I initially saw as a detriment actually turned out to be one of the great strengths of this book. Each character became distinctive. Their foibles and problems and desires and similarities became more and more evident as the tale went on. The everyday soap opera dramas juxtapose so easily with the long standing secrets making this book all the more intriguing.

The best way I can describe it is that A Place for Us is like going into the attic and finding a box of old photographs of people that look familiar that you don’t quite know. You try and piece together their story and it is only as more and more snapshots are revealed that you realise that you have an epic saga on your hands. That is what A Place for Us felt like for me.

I love stories that have the ability to make me want to be part of the featured family and help uncover the shocking familial revelations. I can honestly say that I have not read a saga like that in years – possibly since the Sweet Valley Sagas released in my teenage years.

Cleverly, Evans has serialised her novel which now has me chomping at the bit to read the next instalment. Well played, Harriet Evans. Well played, indeed.

All four instalments of A Place for Us by Harriet Evans are available now.

You can follow Harriet Evans on Twitter @HarrietEvans

A Place for Us Part One

Synopsis

Delia Moss has made a decision. It is the 21st century and she wants the world to know how much she is in love with her boyfriend of ten years, Paul. She plans to propose to him. However, as with all best laid plans things start to go a bit awry. Especially only moments after accepting her proposal, Paul incorrectly texts Delia a message intended for his mistress.

Heartbroken, Delia flees to London – away from the life that she knew, a life she was comfortable with and a life that she really wanted. However, London has a few tricks up its patriotic sleeves to help Delia realise that she is better, stronger and wiser than her northern upbringing initially reveal.

Review

It is silly just how much I loved this book. Within the first few pages I was hooked. I was blindsided by just how much emotion I was feeling towards Delia’s situation. I mean, it could be argued that the protagonist wronged by her partner is a storyline done to death but Mhairi McFarlane had me wheezing with panic over the happenings of Delia’s love life. Suffice to say, the whole cheating scandal is probable every hopeless romantic’s worst nightmare and imagining myself in Delia’s situation was utterly heartbreaking even though it was through the vicarious activity of reading rather than facing it myself.

What McFarlane manages to do though is offer light at the end of this dark and melancholy tunnel. She shows us how strong a character can be, in fact how strong we can be in that self same situation. Furthermore, what is most noteworthy about this author is that she takes risks. She won’t go for the easy option or the one that her readers will agree with and plenty of times throughout this story I did yell at the book. However, it is an impressive thing when an author will monkey with your mind for the purpose of the better outcome. For this, I salute Mhairi McFarlane.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is a juggernaut of a chick-lit with so many emotions, so many adventures and so many possible outcomes it will keep you guessing until the very end. This should be on every readers Christmas Wish List…heck forget Christmas, buy it now and just hide for the weekend and read it all.

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

You can follow Mhairi McFarlane on Twitter @MhairiMcF

It's Not Me It's You

Synopsis

Fed up with his life surrounded by abusive women (his sisters) Martin Moone makes the mature decision (well mature for an eleven year old) to get himself and imaginary friend. Cue hysterical tales of misbegotten adventure and wacky circumstances.

Review

The much celebrated Moone Boy: The Blunder Years has been released in book format and it is jolly good fun. It is very much a similar ilk to the Tom Gates books or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series but actually much better. The comedy is much more fun and at times taboo for the age group – think innocent conversations about pimping your elder sisters boobs out for protection from schoolyard bullies and you will see where I am coming from.

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years, along with its fabulous illustrations, is the perfect book for your younger brother, or cousin or next door neighbour or random kid in need of some giggles. Basically you should just buy this book as a stocking filler for a loved one and then proceed to ignore everyone come Christmas day whilst you sit reading it instead.

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy is available now.

Moone Boy