Hello book bloglets,

Well I did it. I completed my challenge of reading and reviewing a Christmas story each week. I must say that this challenge did get me feeling festive. The books I read are:

The Snow Globe by Kristen Harmel

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

I Will Marry George Clooney (…by Christmas) by Tracy Bloom

A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke

Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Zoey and the Nice Guy by Carter Ashby

Secret Santa by Scarlet Bailey

Skating at Somerset House by Nikki Moore

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman

A New York Christmas by Melissa Hill

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories by Katie Fforde

I kind of overshot the mark but never mind. Hope you have all enjoyed my festive feature and I hope that some of these books turn up in your Christmas stockings.

Merry Christmas folks,

L x

Synopsis

A collection of Katie Fforde’s short stories that have previously been published in magazines or only been available in e-book format.

Review

For years my mother has been encouraging me to pick up a book by Katie Fforde. My mother, having read (almost) everything that Fforde has ever written is a big advocate of her work. However, my lingering stubborn inner teenager has always declined to pick up any of Fforde’s novels.

When the opportunity to read A Christmas Feast and Other Stories came up via NetGalley I surreptitiously requested it and decided to give it a read without my mother’s knowledge. Turns out, as is quite often the case, my mother was correct. Mother 1 – Inner Stubborn Teenager 0.

The collection of stories was actually rather good. Personally I preferred the longer short stories but that is because, as I have previously mentioned I find short stories too…well, short. What is wonderful about this collection is that it allows people – such as my mother – to read the stories such as The Undercover Cook, From Scotland with Love (my personal favourite from the collection) and Staying Away at Christmas which have only ever been available on e-readers.

This is a charming collection of short stories and as Katie Fforde says in her introduction it is a perfect read for the busy person over the Christmas holidays because A Christmas Feast and Other Stories doesn’t require the full time commitment of a novel.

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories by Katie Fforde is available now.

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories

Synopsis

The product of a bizarre experiment, Penny Farthing has been left with a clockwork heart by scientist Calvin Warwick. On the day that Calvin Warwick is due to receive judgement for his crimes against nature Penny’s life starts to take one some strange twists and turns. Firstly, her family’s factory is subject to a bomb attack, and then she finds that her family home has been broken in to and that her parents have been kidnapped.

Will all this be too much for her already weak heart to take?

Review

I am fascinated by the whole steam punk genre and style so I was very excited to read Ticker and I was equally excited to be reading a book from an author whose work I haven’t encountered before. Instantly I felt like I was on to a winner.

I was wowed by Ticker. I haven’t read anything like it before. Mantchev managed to create a world that was so believable that I hated putting the book down; the factories, the fashion and the industrialism were painted in such a clear way by Mantchev I felt like I was part of the world. Her descriptions were highly evocative that I couldn’t help but be sucked in by the scenery.

Personally, I felt that the story was sometimes hindered by some stilted narrative and I did find myself drifting and having to reread previous paragraphs. However, the overall story was fast paced and intriguing enough to make me want to keep reading more.

I think what sells this book most is Mantchev’s high quality descriptive talent however, massive praise must be hailed on her for creating such a unique and twisted tale of industrialism gone wrong. I genuinely hope she creates more stories of this ilk.

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev is available now.

You can follow Lisa Mantchev (@lisamantchev) on Twitter.

Ticker

Synopsis

Hannah is 15 and pregnant. She doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t want to say who the father is. She would rather people think that she is a slut and sleeps around than reveal that. However, new boy and fellow classmate Aaron offers to pretend to be the father. Hannah doesn’t know why he has done it but they both agree to keep her secret.

Review

Being that there is less than two weeks left of the year I was fairly certain that I had chosen my favourite book of the year and then I picked up Trouble. I had planned on reading it to vet it for the library in the school in which I work. They wanted to know if it was appropriate for both upper and lower school. Little did I know that I would be blown away. This book – Trouble – is amazing.

Not only is it an accurate representation of teenagers (believe me, I know, I’ve worked with them for nearly seven years) but it is such a clever, unusual and dramatic tale. One that had me drop a few f-bombs as I realised what was about to happen, get angry at characters and actually yearn to protect our protagonist, Hannah.

There are only a few books that I can name that have ever had that response from me. This is when I know I am reading something special. I also know a book is good if I can read it in one sitting…which I did.

Trouble is a book that all kids should read. Ok, some could see it as scaremongering other somewhat promiscuous teens to not get themselves pregnant (remember guys – no glove, no love) but the way I read this story was that a young articulate girl finds herself in a situation way beyond her experience and proves herself to be strong and indestructible by the bitchy cohorts in her peer groups whilst realising who her true friends are.

I am so glad I was asked to read Trouble. My highest praise has to be given to Non Pratt. You have written a remarkable book which will stay with me for a long time. Well done.

Trouble by Non Pratt is available now.

You can follow Non Pratt (@NonPratt) on Twitter.

 

Hey book bloglets,

How are you all doing? I am well, thanks for asking.

Now, I know that we are all waiting eagerly for Father Christmas to deliver us some books for Christmas and that we have a reduced reading week ahead of us but I still wanted to share my TBR Pile with you all.

This last week has been a really big week of reviews for me. The reviews that I have uploaded are as follows:

Hazel by Julie Hearn

Online Girl by Zoe Sugg (also check out the reblog of Clare from A Book and Tea’s review)

This is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy

A New York Christmas by Melissa Hill

Maggie Does Meribel by Nicola Doherty

So I have had a fair amount of reviews done.

I have a few set for this week including:

Trouble by Non Pratt

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories by Katie Fforde

Obviously I won’t be posting a review on Christmas Day because I will be too busy fighting over who gets the last chipolata (of course it will be me).

Now that I am off work I plan to read myself silly but I do have a few blogs coming up before the new year so please check back for them…you know if you want to.

Merry Christmas and don’t forget to eat yourselves silly.

L x