Mile High by Rebecca Chance – My Review

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What’s it all about:

First class is about to get dangerous . . . Pure Air’s new LuxeLiner is flying from London to LA – its inaugural journey – with a first-class cabin packed with A List celebrities. As the feuding crew compete to impress their famous passengers, the handsome pilot tries to win the attention of a pretty young stewardess.

But one VIP singer is battling something seriously sinister: watching her every step is a very determined stalker, someone who will go to any lengths to get the star to satisfy their desires. At thirty thousand feet there is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide . . .

Review

Book provided by Pan Macmillan via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I want to start by saying I’m a massive fan of Rebecca Chance and couldn’t wait to read Mile High. The cover caught my attention straight away and I couldn’t wait to devour it on holiday.

The premise of the book is the first flight of Pure Air’s Luxe Liner flying from Heathrow to LA containing the who’s who of the celebrity world; the piece de résistance being Catalina, a pop star at the height of her career and the one to help create the biggest buzz about the airline. The only problem is that the prologue lets us into a dark secret that Catalina certainly isn’t expecting….her stalker will be on that flight, and they intend to join the mile high club with her. The prologue sent chills up my spine, it was utter brilliance and I felt my eyes widen with every sentence.

Throughout the book, (which is purely set on the plane aside from the flashbacks we get of Catalina) we’re given an insight to the private life of the pint-sized popstar. We read about when she discovered she had a stalker, the dependency she has on her best friend and assistant, and the current heartbreak she is suffering from. For me, she was the most surprising and I felt that she was a down to earth young woman who was just going through hell.

Of course, the flight is filled with more drama than you can shake a stick at. A bitchy senior stewardess out to destroy the career of the new girl with her gay sidekick, a randy celebrity chef on the lookout for someone to have a bit of fun with, a British actress pining for her personal trainer, and a publicity director trying to do as much damage control as humanly possible. Not an easy task.

I found myself on edge throughout most of the book when people were trying to get Catalina on her own; when a fan approached, when someone from her past showed up, it was all very tense.

Overall, I did enjoy the book but found it hard to get into, despite the prologue dragging me in at breakneck speed. I found that some chapters were maybe a bit too long or were just drawn out longer than necessary which meant that it was a slow read in parts and wasn’t a book that I flew through. It wasn’t one of my favourite Rebecca Chance books but was definitely full of twists and turns so expect the unexpected.

3.5 stars

Buy the book: Amazon UK / US

Follow Rebecca on Twitter

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Hello!

Helloooo. Hello, hello, hello!!

Just a super quick post to check in. I’ve been pretty pants recently keeping up to my blog but I’ve been thinking more and more about starting vlogs. I’ve done one or two before but I think this might be a much better way for me to keep up with you all. What do you think?

Christmas is almost upon us too, can you believe it? Where has this year gone *shakes head* The good news is that I have ten book reviews coming up soon for you once I get my sorry backside into gear and write them. This is my task for the weekend, I promise! As well as buy and decorate the tree. And buy a Christmas jumper. And finish my shopping. Gulp.

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Are you all ready for Christmas?? Do let me know how you’re all doing – and by that what I obviously mean is please make me feel less crap about not having bought and wrapped all of my gifts let alone defrosted my freezer. God I’m so rock n roll it hurts!!

 

Well, I just thought I would check in with you all and keep it short and sweet. And, ya know, let you know I’m still alive and all that jazz. I’ll post again soon with an update about vlogs and my top reads of 2015.

Mucho love

E xoxo

Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley – My Review

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What’s it all about:

Appleby Farm was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the café round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything…

The farm is in financial trouble, and it’s taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape.

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price?

Review

The moment I saw Appleby Farm in Asda, there was no question, no hesitation, just a swift pluck of a book from the shelf and it was mine. And isn’t the cover just beautiful?

Like Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm was originally published as four parts, four separate ebooks, but I decided to wait it out to own the paperback instead.

Appleby Farm is all about Freya Moorcroft, a lively young woman with a twinkle in her eye and passion in her heart. She appears to be loved by everyone she meets, and this is perfectly understandable. I found myself wishing she was my friend too, she is just so relatable as a character and most definitely not one of those characters that needs to be saved by a man. Of course, she does already have her very own handsome fireman, Charlie.

In the past, Freya has found herself unable to settle anywhere, nowhere feels like home for too long, and we get the feeling that although she has Charlie whom she clearly loves, she is just convincing herself that Kingsfield really is home. But then a phone call from her Auntie Sue throws everything out of the window and sees Freya heading straight up to Lovedale, a small village in the Lake District, to help her Aunt and Uncle.

The moment Freya arrived in Lovedale, I knew that I would get lost in this book and it would be one of my favourite reads of the year. There is something magical about the way Cathy describes the scenery in the Lake District, and as someone who has just recently been on a break there myself, I felt like I was coming home. What a strange feeling, but it was so true. I felt like Cathy was pulling me into this family, making me feel like I belonged at Appleby Farm and it became a place that I never wanted to leave.

The set of characters that Cathy introduces us to when Freya returns to Lovedale are endearing, quirky, and such a caring bunch that you feel invested in each and every one. From Eddy who looks after the cows on the farm, to Uncle Arthur who has suffered a recent accident yet is stubborn as a mule and will not rest, to Lizzie who becomes an instant friend to Freya. Freya throws herself into life at the farm, just a temporary arrangement over the Easter period she tells herself, but on her return to Kingsdale once again, another frantic phone call sends her rushing back to Auntie Sue’s side, this time her stay becoming as long as she is needed. Which poses a slight problem for her relationship with the ever patient Charlie.

The longer she stays at Appleby Farm, the clearer it becomes that the farm is in trouble, and Freya needs to come up with a plan to save it, and plan she does. Freya thrives as she plans Appleby Farm Tea Rooms, along with a few other brilliant ideas, and though there are a few bumps on the way, with meddling and malicious characters, you can’t help but feel Freya’s positivity rub off.

Appleby Farm is such a fun, engaging read with the sense of community evident when times get hard for Freya’s family, one disaster hitting them after another. I cannot stress enough how brilliant Cathy’s writing is. If you’re looking for a read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside, Appleby Farm is the one for you. Buy it people, buy it now!

5 STARS

Buy it now:

Amazon UK / US

Follow Cathy on Twitter

Cathy’s website

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton – My Review

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What’s it all about:

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true.

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household she realizes the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?

Review

I’ve had this book for a while now, sitting on my bookshelf waiting patiently as I pluck other books from around it or choose one of my many eBooks to read first. This weekend though, I finally picked it up and found it hard to put down.

The book begins at the funeral of a mystery person, from the point of view of a woman in the crowd, watching both the revelers and the mourners, her distaste evident.  If this isn’t enough to feed your curiosity and encourage you to continue then I don’t know what is.

The book then starts properly, part one introducing us to Nella Oortman from Assendelft, stood waiting patiently on the doorstep of her new husband’s house in Amsterdam. Nella has married wealthy merchant, Johannes Brandt, a much older gentleman, and is expecting to start her new life as a married woman with her husband, but she soon realises that she will be spending more time with her new sister-in-law, Marin, and their two servants, Otto and Cornelia, than her husband.

Johannes is constantly absent, meaning Nella spends much time alone, even when Johannes is home from work, trading one thing or another, he is usually locked away with one of his faithful dogs rather than joining her. Eventually, we get the feeling that Marin, who is far from shy, has words with him and one day, Johannes returns from work with a doll’s house. A toy, Nella feels, to occupy her and fill her days, decorating and furnishing as she wishes.

Nella tries to probe into the life of her new family, find out more about her husband, about how she can become a real part of his life but Marin, although seemingly kind in parts, has a cold exterior that continually pushes Nella away. Nella’s only friend becomes Cornelia, their maid, but even then, it feels like a lonely existence for Nella.

Deciding to solicit the help of a miniaturist for her replica house, Nella decides to make the best of what she has. After all, she does need something to distract her from her absentee husband and impending boredom. But when her first collection of miniatures arrive, there are a few more items than requested, all eerily identical to items that live in her house, including two miniature models of their dogs. Unsettled, Nella writes to the miniaturist but unrequested items continue to come. Each time they unsettle Nella more and more and become wicked premonitions of what is to come, yet remain overlooked by Nella until the event happens.

There were more twists and turns in this book than I ever imagined. The secrets that lie within the Brandt household could never be guessed from the outset, each one more shocking than the last. Each of the five parts of the book is given a date, so we get an idea of the timescale of events, and each of the first four parts contain not quite cliffhangers, but shocking endings nonetheless.

It’s hard to leave a full review of a book with numerous twists and turns without giving away spoilers, but what I will say is that this book hung over me last night like a thrilling cloak of mystery. I couldn’t get it or the house and characters out of my head, feeling like I had become a part of their story, invested in what happened to them all. I finished the rest of it this afternoon and although I did indeed love it, my only complaint was that Nella never got to meet the miniaturist. I feel like we missed out on a piece of a puzzle here, on who this woman was and how she did the things she did. Aside from that, and the fact I had to concentrate at first with the bits of Dutch thrown in (which is understandable given the setting) if you enjoy a book that will pull you in and feed you nuggets of wonderfully twisted information bit by bit, a book that is hauntingly addictive and gives you characters that you can both feel empathy for yet question their actions at the same time, move this beauty up your TBR list. Or add it if you haven’t already.

4 STARS

Buy it now:

Amazon UK / US

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Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1) by Holly Martin – My Review

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What’s it all about:

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Review

Book provided by Bookouture via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Anyone that keeps up with my reviews will know that I am a massive fan of Holly, something about the way she writes takes you to a magical place where you forget about the monotony of day to day life and find yourself wrapped up in the warm blanket that is the latest Holly Martin book. I am yet to read a book by Holly that I don’t like and Christmas at Lilac Cottage was no different.

Firstly, can we just take a moment to really appreciate the cover of this deliciously festive book! As soon as I saw it I fell in love, and the excitement was just too much.

Christmas at Lilac Cottage follows the lovely but lonely Penny Meadows who lives by herself with her dog at Lilac Cottage overlooking White Cliff Bay. She has decided to rent her annexe out to Henry and Daisy Travis, who she believes to be a married couple, and is excited about the prospect of having some new friends close by. However, even her homemade mince pies and mulled wine aren’t enough to encourage Henry – who turns up without his ‘wife’ – to stick around for any pleasantries when he arrives. Cue some initial misunderstandings and awkwardness about who exactly Daisy is and his tactile behavior later that evening when he tries to apologise for his behaviour.

When Daisy does arrive, it’s clear that she and Penny will hit it off and as Daisy, Henry and Penny begin to spend more time together, bonding over home cooked meals and trips out together, their unit begins to grow tight and more like a family than ever. Henry likes Penny, Penny likes Henry, and although the pair eventually manage to get over their apprehension and admit how they really feel, there are still a few obstacles in their way, and these obstacles aren’t exactly small.

One of the many things I loved about Christmas at Lilac Cottage was that we’re told the story from both Penny and Henry’s point of view, which as a reader I really enjoy. It gives you a better idea of the feelings that are involved and the issues each character are trying to overcome.

The characters appeared so real that it was as though they had become friends, they felt a part of my life. It was hard to reach the end of the book because it genuinely felt like I was leaving old friends behind and I struggled for a few days when searching for my next read. Nothing felt unrealistic at all with these characters, they were so genuine, they had flaws, and weren’t overly dramatic to the point they had you rolling your eyes and skimming.

There were some points in this book where I really struggled to hold back my fits of giggles – I’m talking actual tears. I won’t give away any spoilers but I will say that imagine having to talk your way out of a 16 year old hearing you have sex……utter brilliance and I’m still smiling now as I remember that scene.

If you are looking for a read that you can snuggle up with this Christmas, that will warm your heart through and give you hope at the most magical time of year, then I urge you all to buy Christmas at Lilac Cottage. I was completely lost in Holly’s world and truthfully didn’t really want to come out of it. I wanted to go and buy my Christmas tree (and will be using Daisy’s tips this year!), I wanted to nestle into a comfy chair with a mug of hot chocolate to watch the twinkle of fairy lights and most of all, I wanted to learn to carve ice! Crazy. I give this addictive, festive read a well deserved:

5 STARS

Christmas at Lilac Cottage is released on 25 September 2015

Pre-order here:

Amazon UK / USA

Follow Holly on Twitter

Holly’s website

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Spinster Wedding: A Novella by Nikki Mahood – My Review

Nikki

What’s it all about:

The Wedding is on it’s way, thanks to the meddling mothers in ‘Spinster Christmas’ and ‘Spinster Valentine’. Can Cara and Ronan plan their special day to suit the whole wedding party, or more specifically ‘the mothers?

Review

This is the third book (so far, I hope for more) in the Spinster series following Spinster Valentine and Spinster Christmas. I’ve read both of Nikki’s previous novellas and I absolutely love the story of Cara and Ronan. Childhood friends (after a fair few years apart and then reconnecting years later) the pair are in crazy, stupid love.

Spinster Wedding follows Cara and Ronan as they attempt to plan their own dream wedding while trying to contend with their Irish, meddling, but ultimately quite loveable, mammies. They find themselves making plans just to appease their mothers and we have an insight into Cara’s mind as she begins to have doubts about the wedding – not the marriage – but the wedding that is no longer becoming what she envisioned on her own Pinterest boards; instead of elegant and classy with rustic touches it’s becoming something to rival Katie Price’s first wedding. Think bling and lots of it. Poor Cara. I really did feel for her a couple of times knowing how hard it is to plan the wedding you want but still having to make everyone else happy.

Cara and Ronan are very clearly in love, and the support that Ronan does offer Cara is so heart-warming and still realistic that I found myself awwwwing out loud a couple of times.

Nikki really has written a wonderful novella that feels perfectly paced and doesn’t leave me with questions like some novellas can. The ultimate outcome for their wedding was so romantic that it had me wanting to plan my own wedding again and again!

If you’re looking for a quick light-hearted read with meddling mammies that will make you smile and frown at the same time, a romance that is realistic and yet still makes you want a Ronan of your own, then I definitely recommend grabbing Spinster Wedding. In fact, they’re all such bargains at 99p each that you may as well just buy them all while you’re at it 😉

5 STARS

Buy the books

Spinster Christmas: Amazon UK / US

Spinster Valentine: Amazon UK / US

Spinster Wedding: Amazon UK / US

Follow Nikki’s blog

Follow Nikki on Twitter

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A quick Bank Holiday treat y’all!

Wahooooo, it’s Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK which means celebrations all round. Unless you think about this being the last one before Christmas….that’s quite a depressing thought given that it’s still a few months away! Anyway, I digress. I’m just popping on here today to share my exciting treat for you all but you have to be quick with this one because before you know it, it will be gone in the blink of a Tuesday morning, never to be seen again. Are you ready?

PROMO FREE

YES! Dear Darling is FREE this weekend! If you want to get your grubby little paws on a copy of this hit summer read then what are you waiting for? Click the link below and have at it 😉

Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/2bui5u
Amazon US: http://ow.ly/2bui5z

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I hope you’re all having a great weekend with lots of reading!

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