Friday, 19 December 2014

Thursday, 18 December 2014

My Top Ten Books of 2014

Yesterday I shared my book awards for 2014 and today I'm going to reveal my top ten books this year...

The One Plus One
by JoJo Moyes
 
 
Click here to see my review of The One Plus One
 
 
The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me
by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice
 
 
Click here to see my review of The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me
 
 
Liberty Silk
by Kate Beaufoy
 
 
Click here to see my review of Liberty Silk
 
 
No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday
by Tracy Bloom
 
 
Click here to see my review of No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday
 
 
The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe
by Romain Puertalos
 
 
Click here to see my review of The Extraordinary Journey on Novelicious
 
 
Little Mercies
by Heather Gudenkauf
 
 
Click here to see my review of Little Mercies on Novelicious
 
 
I'll Take New York
by Miranda Dickinson
 
 
Click here to see my review of I'll Take New York
 
 
Shifting Colours
by Fiona Sussman
 
 
Click here to see my review of Shifting Colours on Novelicious
 
 
Before I Go To Sleep
by S J Watson
 
 
Click here to see my review of Before I Go To Sleep
 
 
Wake
by Anna Hope
 
 
Click here to see my review of Hope
 
 
What have been your favourite reads of 2014?



Wednesday, 17 December 2014

My Book Awards 2014

I've read just over 80 books during 2014 so whittling down the winners of my chosen categories was a bit tough but I've somehow managed to. And here they are:

Book of the Year 
 
This was probably my easiest choice of all. I read The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes as part of The Novelicious Book Club as well as reviewing the book here on the blog and I absolutely loved it! I didn't want to put the book down as I was immersed in the story of Jess and her dysfunctional but loveable family.
 
 
You can see my review of The One Plus One here
 
 
Cover of the Year
 
There have been some gorgeous covers this year but I had to go with The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman as it's utterly beautiful with its vibrant colours set against the plainer grey background. I loved it!
 
 
You can see my review of The Dead Wife's Handbook here
 
 
Summer Read of 2014
 
I read some fab books over the summer (you can see my summer reading list here) but my favourite was Liberty Silk by Kate Beaufoy. Sweeping across several decades and generations, it tells the stories of Jessie, Lisa and Cat
 
 
You can see my review of Liberty Silk here
 
 
Festive Read of 2014
 
From summer to winter! My favourite festive read this year was It Must Have Been The Mistletoe by Judy Astley, which I thought was a fab, fun and festive read that had me craving mince pies within the first few pages!
 
 
You can see my review of It Must Have Been The Mistletoe here
 
 
My Hero of 2014
 
There were some very swoon-worthy heroes during my 2014 reads but, for me, Ed from The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes was a clear winner!
 
 
 
My Heroine of 2014
 
A heroine is usually the main female character of a book but my heroine is actually one of the supporting characters from A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews. I loved exotic dancer Crystal and thought she was such a warm and likeable character. She's fun and exuberant but she's also caring too.
 
 
You can see my review of A Place To Call Home here 
 
 
Villain of 2014
 
There have been some great villains in the books I've read in 2014 but I chose Luke from The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings because there was such a depth of character for him. He wasn't a pantomime villain in any way and I enjoyed seeing the different layers of him and learning why he turned out the way he did.
 
 
You can see my review of The Judas Scar here
 
 
 
Couple of 2014
 
I loved The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice and I thought that Holly and Alex made such a cute couple with a lot of history. I was rooting for them the whole time!
 
 
You can see my review of The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me here
 
 
Fictional Animal of 2014
 
There have been some lovely fictional animals this year (mostly dogs but a certain puffin too) but my favourite was the slobbery, smelly Norman the dog from The One Plus One!
 
 
 
You can see all my reviews from 2014 here
 
You can also view my Pinterest page for the books I've read in 2014 here
 
 
I hope you've all read some fantastic books in 2014 too!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Festive Short Stories

There are only a few days left until Christmas (which is both exciting and terrifying) so I thought I would draw your attention to my festive short stories! I've been writing a festive short story each year since I set this blog up in 2011 and posting them in December just for fun.


My latest short story, A Box of Christmas Chocolates was posted on the blog last week. As well as A Box of Christmas Chocolates, there is:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Don't forget, you download A Beginner's Guide To Christmas from Amazon too - and it's free! At around 8,000 words, it's a bit longer than the festive short stories posted here on the blog but it's still a quick read if you're running low on time (and aren't we all at this time of year?)
 
A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is available from Amazon UK & Amazon US
 


Monday, 15 December 2014

My Festive Reads: My Farvourite Festive Read of 2014

 
I've read some great Christmassy reads during November and December but there is one that's standing out for me this year and that is It Must Have Been The Mistletoe by Judy Astley.
 
 
The book is fabulously festive and had me craving mince pies within the first few pages. I loved the idea of a big family Christmas, with older siblings and their parents getting together in a cosy cottage with their own families. Of course, the dash of romance was a welcome addition too!
 
 
You can see my full review of It Must Have Been The Mistletoe, see my festive reading list for 2014 or click here to view all My Festive Reads posts
 
 
What has been your favourite festive read of 2014?

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson

 
Claudia and Seth are in a bit of a rut. They've been together for five years and the romance has taken a serious nose-dive. Wanting to re-ignite their relationship, Claudia sets up a date - their first in a long, long time - at the ballet. But the date doesn't go to plan and Claudia is left with the prospect of spending Christmas alone.
 
But with her best friends Penny and Nick to prop her up, Claudia finds herself experiencing new things as she goes on a series of dates in the run up to Christmas.
 
After reading Lisa Dickenson's You Had Me At Merlot during the summer, I was looking forward to reading her festive book and I wasn't disappointed. The Twelve Dates of Christmas is full of fun and festivity, with plenty of snow, gingerbread lattes and mulled wine. Claudia is a fantastic character for a romantic comedy; she's fun and flirty but also a bit flawed. She isn't exactly sure where she wants to end up in life and I liked that she started to discover a bit more about herself as the book progresses. As well as Claudia, there are loads of great characters, from her best friends Penny and Nick to barman Billy and Claudia's dad, who I thought was brilliant. He was caring yet had a wicked side that I loved and he was part of some of my favourite scenes in the book. Then there is Seth, who is a bit of a shit but a great character to throw in the mix. I was constantly waiting for him to get his comeuppance for the way he treated Claudia!
 
I thought the book had such a brilliant premise and I looked forward to seeing where Claudia would end up on her next date. Some of the dates are sweet, others hilarious and some are just plain awful (but while they were a disaster for Claudia, they were funny for the reader). The book has a lovely festive atmosphere that is sometimes missing from Christmas-themed books and I loved Lisa's humorous style of writing. I'm very much looking forward to reading more books from Lisa Dickenson in the future! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Blog Tour: I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Miranda Dickinson's I'll Take New York, with a review of the book!

 
 
Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James is tired of being let down by her boyfriend, Otis. When he fails to turn up to dinner with her family - at an event that he planned - Bea decides she has finally had enough and ends their relationship.
 
Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann has recently split up with his wife, Jessica and, as divorce proceedings begin, he moves from San Francisco to New York, where he grew up and his brother still lives. When he meets Bea at a party where they are the only single guests, they make a pact. They've both been bruised by their past relationships and decide the best option is to stay single.
 
I was excited when I heard that Miranda was writing a sort-of-sequel to Fairytale of New York as I'd loved the book (plus it was the first book I read on my Kindle, so that makes it extra special). I couldn't wait to read the book and I wasn't disappointed! While this book focuses on Bea and Jake, we catch up on what Fairytale's Rosie and Ed are up to now, as well as their friends Celia and Marnie. It was great to catch up with some familiar characters while getting to know some brand new ones too. I immediately warmed to Bea and I felt her frustration as she is let down by her boyfriend for the final time. I thought she was a great character full of warmth and wanted her to find the happiness she deserves. Another character I really liked was Bea's grandmother who is back at home in the UK in her own bookshop. Grandma Dot is such a fantastic, wise character and I would so like to curl up in Great-Gramps' chair with Grandma Dot's secret stash of sweeties!
 
For me, New York itself was a character and you can feel the vibrancy and quirkiness of the city through the pages. Bea and Jake both adore New York and their passion for their city shines through. Within the city, we have the fabulous location of Bea's bookshop as well as a return to Kawolskis, Rosie's flower shop from Fairytale of New York.
 
I loved Miranda's writing style as I instantly found myself immersed in Bea and Jake's world, relaxing as the words and the city took hold. I thought the book was a gorgeous, heart-warming read full of romance and captivating characters and settings.