Title: One Perfect Christmas and Other Stories

Author: Paige Toon

Pages: 390 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

One year after movie star Joseph Strike swept schoolteacher Alice off her feet, they are spending Christmas together in snowy Cambridge. But despite the romantic setting Alice can’t help but question whether life in the spotlight is really what she wants. Will a Christmas provide some perspective? Or will the life she’d be leaving behind be too much to lose?

In this irresistible collection, bestselling author Paige Toon reunites a much-loved cast from across her fifteen novels, including Johnny Be GoodThe One We Fell In Love With and Thirteen Weddings. Fall in love with nine witty and heartfelt romantic stories, published in print for the very first time.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The first time I came across Paige Toon’s work was in Dublin Airport. Some friends and I had been to the OXEGEN Festival at Punchtown Racecourse and we were all shattered waiting for our flight back home to Liverpool. One of my friends tootled off to WHSmith to pass the time and came back with Johnny Be Good – a perfect title of book for three book loving girls (and Back to the Future was said friends favourite movie – see, the stars were aligned on this one). We all took turns reading the book and we all loved it. This was the start of my book love towards Paige Toon.

In her latest collection – One Perfect Christmas and Other Stories – we get to go back and visit much loved characters. We get to either see scenes from different perspectives or extension stories which let us know how they are getting on now. Some people don’t like this style of book but I personally love getting back in touch with old characters.

If you are a Paige Toon fan you will appreciate this book. If you have not read anything by Paige Toon before and you want a taste of her writing style this could be the book for you too. I loved it and I have to thank Sara-Jane from Books and the City for sending me a copy.

One Perfect Christmas and Other Stories by Paige Toon is available now.

For more information regarding Paige Toon (@PaigeToonAuthor) please visit www.paigetoon.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandchuster.co.uk.

Title: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes

Author: Holly Bourne

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Usborne

The Blurb

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at ‘normality’ for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

A raw and compelling exploration of mental health, friendship and the power of compassion from the acclaimed Holly Bourne.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Wow. Holly Bourne has really raised the bar with her young adult novel Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

This is Olive’s story. Olive is a girl who is watching her mental health fall apart and feels the sheer isolation and horror over what is happening. She knows things have happened that have lead to her episodes but she can’t even begin to contemplate what they were. She just wants to get better.

When she is offered the chance to go to a summer camp that promises to help her get better she makes the brave decision to go. As she is expected to delve more and more into what her problems are we begin to realise that Olive is her own worst enemy and the saddest part is that she has no control over it.

Olive’s story really broke my heart. Bourne has tapped into the contentious topic of mental health and has given a realistic and shocking account of what mental health is and how it can impact on a person’s life. Furthermore, she has highlighted the growing concern over mental health among teenagers and how society needs to help those most at risk.

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit www.hollybourne.co.uk.

For more information regarding Usborne (@Usborne) please visit www.usborne.com.

Title: A Gift from the Comfort Food Café

Author: Debbie Johnson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Blurb

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

The Review

I love the frequent visits to Budbury. This time it is through the eyes of Katie. Katie has been somewhat of a mystery in the Comfort Food Café series. A bit reclusive, keeping herself and her young son out of arms length but now we get to see why.

As we watch Katie unfold and start to appreciate the closeness of the regulars of the café we get to understand exactly what made her this way to begin with. You constantly shout at her to keep those arms open and accept everyone’s metaphorical hugs because you get the sense that one bad move and Katie will be out of Budbury asap.

I genuinely love the Comfort Food Café series. I eagerly anticipate each new release and I am not ashamed to admit that I pre-order them and count down the days until each new story will be with me. If that is not a big enough reason to buy and read and love each of these books then I really don’t know what is.

A Gift from the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) please visit www.debbiejohnsonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulse.com.

Title: What Girls Are Made Of

Author: Elena K Arnold

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Anderson Press

The Blurb

When Nina Faye was fourteen, her mother told her there was no such thing as unconditional love. Nina believed her. Now she’ll do anything for the boy she loves, to prove she’s worthy of him. But when he breaks up with her, Nina is lost. What is she if not a girlfriend? What is she made of? Broken-hearted, Nina tries to figure out what the conditions of love are.

The Review

What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold was probably the most striking book that I read this year. In stark contrast to any young adult fiction that I have read before, this book opens up the question about female sexuality and how teenagers begin to explore this.

It is unapologetically bold in its delivery and the elements of art history add a layer of depth to the story.

I really enjoyed What Girls Are Made Of as it is the sort of story that stays with you long after reading. I don’t know if you can automatically tell if you like the actual story but its resonance indicates that it has had an impact on you.

What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold is available now.

Hello folks,

It is that time of the month again (no not that time) when I tell you what I read this month. To be honest, November has not been kind to me book-wise. I fell into a bit of a reading slump. I have only read a few books which is not like me at all. It has picked up towards the end of the month but something knocked the wind out of my sails and I really struggled to gain momentum again.

Anywho, here is what I read:

  • The Nightmare Stone by Finian Black (eBook)
  • Look at Me by Sarah Deguid (NetGalley)
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Audiobook)
  • Make Trouble by John Waters (Hardback)
  • The Crimes of Grindlewald by JK Rowling (Hardback)
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Hardback)
  • JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume One – Extraordinary People and Fascinating Places by Jody Revenson (Hardback)
  • JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume Two – Curious Creatures by Ramin Zahed (Hardback)
  • A Gift From the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson (NetGalley)
  • JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume Three – Amazing Artefacts by Bonnie Burton (Hardback)
  • One Perfect Christmas and Other Stories by Paige Toon (Paperback)

So yeah. Eleven books man. Feel like I have let myself down. Ah well.

I am currently reading about five books (I think I now see my problem – oversubscription). They are:

  • Paper Avalanche by Lisa Williamson
  • The Librarian by Sally Vickers
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James
  • Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home by Mark Lowry

Hopefully, December will be a kinder month and I can get a lot more read.

Hope you are all well.

Lis x