One Day in DeccemberTitle: One Day in December

Author: Shari Low

Pages: 296 Pages

Publisher: Aria Fiction

The Blurb

By the stroke of midnight, a heart would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed forever, One Day in December.

One morning in December…

Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies.

Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover’s wife of their secret affair.

Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved.

And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back.

One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny…

The Review

There are two types of book that I like more than most. One is the coming of age story and the other, the style that Shari Low has created with One Day in December, is what I refer to as the “Love Actually” style of story. One were the lives of the characters seamlessly interweave.

In this story we meet Caro, a girl who is confronting the abandonment of her father due to the imminent loss of her mother. Her potential sister Lila is a sexy vixen who is stringing two men along: Cammy, a man on the verge of proposing and totally unaware of his girlfriends philandering ways and her lover Kenneth, an arrogant and selfish man, cut from the same cloth as her father. Then there is Bernadette who is Kenneth’s long suffering wife who is trying to find her way out of a loveless marriage.

Basically it is an episode of Jeremy Kyle waiting to happen…except all the characters appear to have all their teeth (at least they did in my head) and don’t seem to want to air their dirty laundry on television.

Shari Low has created a wonderful cast of characters and a story that is just so very cleverly written that One Day in December was an absolutely joy to read. I wish it had been longer.

One Day in December by Shari Low is available now.

For more information regarding Shari Low (@sharilow) please visit www.sharilow.com.

For more information regarding Aria Fiction (@Aria_Fiction) please visit www.ariafiction.com.

4 Stars

Seven Days of UsTitle: Seven Days of Us

Author: Francesca Hornak

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK/Piatkus Books

The Blurb

Seven Days of Us is the only family drama you need to read this Christmas. It will warm you up, make you cry, but ultimately leave you feeling fabulous. For fans of One DayLove Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

A week is a long time to spend with your family…

It’s Christmas, and the Birch family are coming together at their second home in Norfolk. Emma and Andrew’s daughter, Olivia, is back for the first time in years, and while Emma is elated, her younger, more frivolous daughter Phoebe is braced for inevitable clashes.

But aid worker Olivia is only home because she has nowhere else to go. Having recently returned from Africa, where she’s been treating a life-threatening virus, she has been instructed to stay in quarantine for a week, and so, too should her family.

For the next seven days, no one can leave the house, and no one can enter.

It doesn’t sound too hard. But a week with your nearest and dearest can feel like an eternity, especially when they’re all harbouring secrets.

One of whom is about to come knocking on their door..

The Review

In a classic Lisa move, I chose to read Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak because I liked the pretty cover. If you look at the cover and think that it may be the best thing about the book then you will be wrong. Very wrong.

Seven Days of Us is a story that focuses on the family dynamic. In particular, the dynamic when put in a compromising situation. In this case, a seven day quarantine over Christmas. Told from multiple perspectives we see just how difficult familial relationships are.

Olivia is struggling with normal life after working as an aid worker in Africa. She can’t adjust to regular life and how her family are just not affected by world issues like she is. Her sister Phoebe whose life centres around the nicer things in life who thinks that Olivia needs to accept that not everyone is as socially conscious as she wants them to be. Andrew, the father, who doesn’t have the best relationship with Olivia or his wife Emma; he is struggling with a 30 year old secret that is about to be revealed to his family and shake its very foundations. And Emma who is just trying to hold her family together and who is harbouring a life changing secret herself.

Seven Days of Us is so much more than your average novel set at Christmas. It is heartbreaking, all consuming and all too easy to relate to. Families are difficult to manoeuvre and Francesca Hornak has displayed this so well. You feel like you are a secret extra member of the family who is privy to all the pitfalls of family life and the confident to all the characters.

It was a wonderful read and has personally made me excited for future books from Francesca Hornak.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak is available now.

For more information regarding Francesca Hornak (@FrancescaHornak) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group UK (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

For more information regarding Piatkus (@PiatkusBooks) please visit www.piatkusbooks.net.

4 Stars

One Christmas Kiss in Notting HillTitle: One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill

Author: Mandy Baggot

Pages: 448 Pages

Publisher: Penguin/Ebury Publishing/Ebury Press

The Blurb

Curl up by the fire with the ultimate seasonal romance, from the bestselling author Mandy Baggot!

‘I absolutely love Mandy’s books’ Milly Johnson

Imagine the perfect Christmas Kiss…

His strong arms around her waist, her hands on his face, the snow slowly starts to fall…

It’s enough to make Isla Winters cringe! While her sister can’t get enough of this – increasingly common – sight on the streets of London, Isla’s too busy trying to stop Hannah’s wheelchair from slipping on the ice, and making sure she’s not too late to her dream job at Breekers International.

But everything changes with the arrival of Chase Bryan, fresh from the New York office. He’s eager to learn everything about Isla’s beloved Notting Hill, but as the nights get colder, will cosying up to him come at a price?

The Review

There is nothing better than a honest to goodness Christmas romance story and dammit that is what Mandy Baggot has delivered with her brilliant new novel One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill.

Isla works for a company that helps get buildings built. She does this with a good conscience as she tries to get hospitals built and whilst doing that trying to keep the unique fingerprint of London alive but when she gets the chance to work on a new project it seems that a conflict of interest is going to hinder her – and the projects –progress.

Throw into this a 20 year old sister who happens to be in a wheelchair and who desperately wants independence and a hot new boss who Isla is having inappropriate feelings for, she feels like her world is moving too fast and she cannot keep up.

Will this year be Isla’s worst Christmas ever?

I really enjoyed this story and what was brilliant about it is that the character arc came from the secondary protagonist. Isla stayed determinedly herself throughout. She is the heart of the novel and everyone is infected by her Britishness and her sense of history.

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill was a joy to read and was as much as a lovely romance novel as it was a love letter to a specific area of London.

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot is available now.

For more information regarding Mandy Baggot (@mandybaggot) please visit www.mandybaggot.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Books UK (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

For more information regarding Ebury Publishing (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/ebury/.

4 Stars

 

Kiss Me in New YorkTitle: Kiss Me in New York

Author: Catherine Rider

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Kids Can Press

The Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC. Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd. Charlotte’s flight is cancelled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex.

For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together. Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other. Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

Part Before Sunrise, part Sleepless in Seattle, this delightful story will appeal to anyone who sees the romance in a swirl of snowflakes at the top of the Empire State Building, or anyone who’s wondered if true love was waiting at the other end of the airport ticket counter.

The Review

Can someone please take me to New York and kiss me…like now!

Oh be still my heart, Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider is like one gorgeously long meet cute. Charlotte and Anthony meet in inauspicious circumstances but being in one of the most magical and romantic cities in the world (and at Christmas time no less) works its power.

Charlotte and Anthony’s epic adventure sees them traipsing the city on Christmas Eve following a self-help book’s advice. It really is a charming story that I was unique, fresh and seriously entertaining.

If this is the type of YA novel that we can come to expect from Catherine Rider then I am very excited to see what else she has in store.

Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider is available now.

For more information regarding Catherine Rider (@CRiderYA) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Kids Can Press (@KidsCanPress) please visit www.kidscanpress.com.

4 Stars

A Very Merry Manhattan ChristmasTitle: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas

Author: Darcie Boleyn

Pages: 201 Pages

Publisher: Canelo

The Blurb

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

The Review

Oh I do love a good romance. Oh and I love Christmas. Oh and I do love New York. Combine these three things and you have the fabulous romantic read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn. Winner winner.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is the wonderfully festive tale of two friends who are meant to be together finding love and discovering something that had been there all along. Lucie and Dale have been friends for forever and even though everyone around them can see that they are meant to be together they are really tentative when it comes to actually making that leap.

What was lovely about A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is that the love between the characters bounced off the page. When it was compared to less successful relationships in the story you can see how well suited Dale and Lucie are.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas isn’t a long story, at only 201 pages it could easily be read in one sitting. It is the perfect book to get you in the festive mood.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn is available now.

For more information regarding Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) please visit www.darcieboleyn.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Canelo (@canelo_co) please visit www.canelo.co.

3 Stars