How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake – My Review

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What’s it all about:

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone…
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat?

Review

As soon as I saw Rosie’s new cover appear on Twitter way back when, I knew I had to have it and I’m so pleased to tell you lovely bookish folk that it was a highly anticipated read that didn’t disappoint one bit.

How to Stuff Up Christmas follows Eve, a recently single woman after discovering her arse of a fiancé was cheating on her with someone who is quite partial to sending picture messages of their ladygarden…..can you imagine?! So Eve would like to avoid the festive period if she can. This doesn’t mean she’s a humbug, because she isn’t, she’s simply a woman who would rather lock herself away with a bucket of ice cream than spend the day with her family and the reminder of how perfect the Christmas before was when her fiancé proposed. Who can blame her, right? So this year she decides to escape and enrols in a pottery class in the quaint little village of Pangbourne and rents a houseboat. From this point on the world around me disappeared! Emails were avoided, meals were burned and husbands were ignored (it’s fine though, we have a snack cupboard he raided!) Seriously though, Pangbourne was a truly delightful setting and I could just imagine myself walking through the village, watching the world go by on the river…..and attending pottery classes.

In Pangbourne, Eve meets local vet Greg under comical circumstances and it becomes clear that the two of them will hit it off, but Greg has something mysterious going on in his life which means he can be frustratingly elusive and it doesn’t help that he doesn’t seem to want to open up to Eve. To be fair, she is a stranger but I still found myself pleading with him to go visit Eve more, to not misinterpret her distance with disinterest. Their story is heart-warming and I loved watching them get to know each other better.

The supporting characters were also wonderful and realistic and I found myself laughing along at the antics of Eve’s sister and brother in law, best friend Daisy, Eve’s dog, Marmite and a special shout out goes to the geese; they made me snort with laughter. So attractive.

If you’re looking for a festive read that is jam packed with Christmassy romance, festive recipes (what a bonus!) and humour that will have you spitting out your mulled wine, then How to Stuff Up Christmas is a must read for you. I would also like to add that I fell so deeply in love with this book that it inspired me to attend a pottery class myself in a local village not too far from me. It was one of the best experiences and I have the lovely Rosie Blake to thank for that.

5 STARS

Buy the book: Amazon UK / US

Follow Rosie on Twitter

Visit Rosie’s website

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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

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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