I was delighted when I was asked to read and review the new Holly Martin book. I am a massive fan of Holly and have fallen in love with her writing style more with every book. Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky was no exception, in true Holly style it had me both laughing and crying and ticked all the boxes for the perfect read.
Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky follows Piper, a travel reviewer who finds her self heading to the most Northern Island of the British Isles, to review a new Christmas resort and town. Piper “Pip” had visited the Island once as a child with her best friend Gabe, and is keen to revisit as she has fond memories. Pip and Gabe are no longer friends, we learn early on that they had a blossoming romance as well as being best friends, but some unfortunate timing and dramatic events saw Pip leaving her old home and life, moving away forever and spending the next ten years travelling the world.
But of course things are never simple and as Pip arrives at the resort, she soon discovers that the new owner is none other than Gabe, who now has a young daughter Wren. We soon learn all of the misunderstandings that occurred on that fateful day which tore the young lovers apart, it soon becomes apparent that they still have a spark between them but is it too late? And do Gabe and Pip really want to open those old wounds? Wrap this all up with that Christmassy feel and you know you are on to a winner.
I loved Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky from page one, I was hooked and found myself desperately reading on to find out what would happen next. I could easily have read this in one sitting if it wasn’t for the need to sleep (02:30 I eventually put it down). There was something magical about this book and I was immediately drawn to the characters. I adored Pip and Gabe, they seemed so perfect for each other and they have to be my two favourite characters of all time. I loved their shared history, I loved the lives they had led and he people they had become despite all the heart ache, but most of all I loved that they so obviously fit together. I was desperate for a happy ending and to see these two people so perfect for each other back together.
Then we have the delightfully cheeky Wren and her innocence and ability to put a smile on my face. Her love of Frozen reminds me so much of my daughter, I could picture her so easily, cheeky face and all. Wren added that little extra something and really made the story.
There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot of Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky to keep me hooked and guessing where the story would take me next. There were some unexpected blips but each really added to the depth and reality of the book. I was also delighted to see the some old and familiar faces from previous novels, it was lovely to catch up with them.
This was a truly magically delightful novel which needs to devoured, you need to give yourself the day off as this is a book not to put down. It was easy to read and the words flowed easily from the page, leaving me both howling with laughter and sobbing. Holly has a way with words that makes the reader feel what the characters feel and imagine scenes with such clarity, you almost imagine you are really there. This is a Christmas cracker of a read and should be on any self respecting readers Christmas list. I sincerely hope I get to meet Pip and Gabe again one day. Now for book two, I have high hopes…….
Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky
A Town Called Christmas Book 1
Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.
Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.
So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.
But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.
Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?
I’m on a bit of an Erin Lawless roll at the moment, after reading Somewhere only we know (http://compellingreads.co.uk/somewhere-only…w-erin-lawless/), I had to check out The Best Thing I Never Had, so I bumped it up my now rather long Kindle list.
In the Best Thing I Never Had Nicky & Miles are getting married and out go the invitations on a long ago made promise to their friends to be best man and bridesmaid. There’s just one problem, 5 years ago they were all the best of friends enjoying Uni life, but then a secret came between them all and the fall out was messy and painful and led to some of the group not speaking to us since. it’s only Nicky that has remained a constant between the group and with a wedding bringing them back to their old University groups and face to face with each other and the memories from that time it’s sure that drama can ensue.
This has been my favourite Erin Lawless book so far I was transported along with this group of friends into their world and carried along in their group. The friendship between Harriet and Adam was beautiful and *spoiler alert* I was rooting for them throughout the novel, so I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a definate outcome to them… I need more, I want to know if they lived happily ever after & ashamedly I want Leigha to get more of a comeuppance. A sign of an excellent book that left me wanting more of the character! Well done Erin!
Best Thing I Never Had
5th December 2013
Five years ago at university they had been seven friends that laughed hard and loved harder.
Nicky and Miles were the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, not so much…
So when Adam and Harriet grew close during endless days in the library, they did the one thing that changed everything – they kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart.
When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves…
The Best Thing I Never Had is in turns funny and sad, but always honest, about friendship in all its forms and the practicality of second chances.
With thanks to the netgalley fairies for allowing us a copy of this book in exchange for review, having read all of Giovanna’s previous books we were very excited when she announced that our favourite couple Billy & Sophie were returning.
Having just come to terms with being the girlfriend of Hollywood actor and A-Lister Billy Buskin and basking in the life they’ve been living in their little Kent village following the engagement of Sophie’s mum a spanner is thrown into their little bubble when Sophie returns with Billy to meet his family and an opportune meeting calls him back into filming and separating the love birds.
With Sophie throwing herself into work at her teashop, she finally employs someone to help her out and they become firm friends – and when old friend Molly’s son Peter turns up Sophie is thrilled to have a reminder of the friend she lost so tragically, and someone with whom she can share memories with. However dealing with the distance from Billy its a question of can her and Peter just be seen as friends?
Throwing in a bit of old school romance as Sophie and Billy exchange letters to try and breach the distance between them, and with Sophie helping plan her mums wedding you can’t help but wish Sophie to can make the new dynamic with Billy work. I was growing concerned in this book that we might be seeing the end of our favourite couple but the end left me wanting more!
You can’t help but think about how the distance in relationships can affect two people and Giovanna manages to beautifully convey the feelings of separation, from loneliness, tiredness, snapping with anger and then the joy of reunion.
and oh the ending……. 😉
I want more now! I so hope that we will have the next chapter on this couple as it seems that there is so much more story to tell with these two.
Always With Love
2nd June 2016
Sophie's got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.
But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she's totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy's controlling mother.
And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there's more than just miles between them.
Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . .
First of all I would like to thank Natasha Harding from Avon for inviting to me a part of the blog tour for this book.
Reader, I Dumped Him is a book that caught my attention early on and sounded exactly like the book for me. The plot follows a group of friends whom all experience relationship break downs around the same time, they decide to form a club to help them get over their respective breakups and help them back on their way to happiness.
All starts off well and there are laughs a plenty as we discover the list of rules by which the group agree to live. I felt this was a brilliant starting point and really helped me get in to the story, it was certainly clever.
I loved discovering and learning about the members of the club Holly, Bella, Harry and Olivia. Holly was probably my favourite character, her reasons for breaking up with her boyfriend were perfectly plausible and I could not understand why it had taken her so long to get to that point. Her ideas for her job with a bad reality TV show ranged from OMG never to hilarious.
My main criticism with this book is that it just felt to drag a little too much over the middle section. I found myself becoming frustrated and bored as we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with the plot. But I am definitely glad that I persevered as things really picked up towards the end and really made this an enjoyable read.
This book is full of subtle wit and humour that had me laughing out loud on numerous occasionally. As I reflect on it, I can’t help but marvel how cleverly this book was written. Whilst slow at times this book has plenty of good points, the conclusion was brilliant and I certainly could not have predicted where we would end up. I was so pleased for Holly.
This was a book that left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s a bitter sweet tale of love and friendships. Definitely one to read!
Reader, I Dumped Him
This story is a celebration of the people that bring you back to life when your world closes in: your mates.
Relationships come and go, but the Break-up Club membership never truly expires.
Holly Braithwaite and loveable loser Lawrence have been together for five years. But the obvious cracks in their relationship can no longer be ignored and Holly soon finds herself saying ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’
In the shock aftermath of their break up, Holly finds unlikely companions in Olivia, Harry and Bella. Together, they form the Break-up Club, as they support each other through their mutual melancholy and find ways to love, laugh and function as human beings again.
Break-up Club meets every Sunday. Each week, as the comedy and drama unfolds, they discover a new BUC ‘rule’. And, one by one, the rules become vital markers on their journey to recovery . . .
To our members, we’re the first emergency service
As a fan of Sylvia Day when this book popped up on my amazon reccommended list i thought I’d give it a try. I’m always on the watch for another series to read and this one seemed like a good choice.
First Touch is the story of Emily, voice actor on a popular television series, we met her as she first meets the billionaire Reeve Sallis. It’s clear from the outset that Emily has a motive in wanting to meet the billionaire and this is revealed to be because he is the last known person to have been involved with her former best friend Amber.
Amber has left a message using an old safe word as a voicemail, but she’s disappeared without a trace. Although Emily has hired a private investigator, she’s decided that she can find out more by getting close to the billionaire herself, but she isn’t expecting to be as drawn to him as she is.
As Emily gets more involved with Reeve it’s clear he has some dubious connections, but is he responsible for her friends dispperance? & can Emily avoid her feelings for Reeve when it’s clear that they are both drawn to each other.
The plot flowing through this story was so compelling I was unable to put this book down as I hoped to find out the truth about Reeve and Amber, and the relationship growing between him and Emily was also believable. There’s a great cliff hanger at the ending which leaves even more questions then answers, and for me the most important of those questions is when is the next book out, becuase I need more answers now!
A cracking read – if you liked Sylvia Day’s Bared to You series you’ll love this book even more!
About the author
Laurelin Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of the Fixed Trilogy. She loves a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably signing or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International, although she doesn’t do anything with the organisation except use it as material for her bio.
First & Last
29th December 2015
When Emily Wayborn receives an answerphone message from her former best friend Amber, she knows something is seriously wrong. Emily hasn't spoken to Amber in years, and when Amber uses a safe word in her message that Emily recognises -- a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild partying days -- she knows Amber needs her help. But when Emily tries to find her, she discovers that Amber is missing.
Determined to track her down, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis. Renowned for his shady dealings and playboy reputation, Emily is convinced that Reeve knows something about Amber's disappearance. To try and discover the truth, Emily sets out to seduce him. But when she's forced to decide where her loyalty lies, how will Emily choose between saving Amber and saving her heart?
I bought my copy of Erin’s Somewhere Only We Know at the launch for the book and have been trying to get through my to read pile as quickly as I could to read it. Having seen Erin read from part of the book it sounded hilarious and having read the book I wasn’t disappointed.
Dan is plodding along in his job at the home office when a unique application hits his desk.
Nadia is facing deportation from the UK, a country she has called home since being packed off to boarding school by her Russian parents. A place where she has made friends and a life packed full of fun.
When Dan and Nadia’s paths cross the become great friends and Nadia is determined to teach Dan how to live a little, experience new things and make fantastic memories.
I loved this book from the very first to the very last page, it’s impossible not to like Nadia and her sense of embracing life. Just like her friends in the book I was routing for her to be able to stay and for and Dan to get together! I can’t reveal if either of those things happen, but what I can say is that you should read this book! It’s a great one for a short read and a great one to share among your friends.
Somewhere Only We Know
11th June 2015
Boy meets girl…
Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.
Girl meets boy…
Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.
Girl gets deported?
It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.
From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?