Review of Jenny Hale’s (@jhauthor) ‘All I Want For Christmas’ @bookouture

jhx

Blurb.


Snowflakes are falling, there’s carol singing on every corner, and Leah Evans is preparing for a family Christmas at her grandmother’s majestic plantation house in Virginia. It won’t be the same now that her beloved Nan is gone, but when Leah discovers she has inherited the mansion, she knows she can give her daughter Sadie the childhood of her dreams.

But there’s a catch. Leah must split the house with a man called David Forester. Leah hasn’t heard that name in a long time. Not since they were kids, when Davey was always there to catch her.

Now David is all grown up. He’s gorgeous, successful, and certain of one thing: Leah should sell him her half of the house.

They can’t agree, but as they share memories over wine by the log fire, Leah notices a fluttering in her stomach. And by the look in his eyes, he’s starting to feel it too.

Will it be Leah or David who must give up their dreams? Or, with a little bit of Christmas magic, will they finally understand Nan’s advice to them both about living life without regrets … and take a chance on true love?


What does TWG think?


I’m not going to lie, as soon as I read the title of the book, TWG became Mariah Carey. Found my inner diva, not that it was hard mind you. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMASSSSS ISSSSS YOUUUUUUUUUUU.
Uncanny resemblance I know.

Due to the fact that I an additional two words to the title in my head, I automatically thought that the book was going to have the lovey dovey, see a man in the distance, fall madly in love then realise he’s a snowman, type feel to it. How wrong could I have been. There were no snowmen, just uncertain and familiar males.

It’s the festive season and Leah is trying to give her daughter the best Christmas, despite barely being able to make ends meet. Leah’s daughter, Sadie, has a wise head on young shoulders so she understands that her mum tries her best and will give her what she can for Christmas. However, one of Sadie’s Christmas wishes looks as though it may stay just that, a wish. Will Leah be able to work out what her Nan means in the letter that she left for her? Or will Leah’s Nan’s legacy no longer be kept in the family?

It didn’t take me long to work out that this Christmas book wasn’t going to be the fluffy type of read as by the end of the first chapter, I was well and truly gripped by the events that were unfolding before my very eyes. The fact that everything was well and truly up in the air, obviously, made me eager to find out more. I wanted to know what the hell was happening with her Nan’s old business and what secrets were being kept. Incredibly mysterious and very unexpected.

My heart went out to Leah several times throughout the story as I could feel the emotion and fear that she was carrying around with her. She was trying to do her best for her daughter’s future, but it seemed as though all she has ever known was being taken away from her by one single name. I found Leah’s friend, Roz, such a hoot to read about. She had the air of someone who couldn’t give a flying mince pie what anyone thought of her, unless you messed with the ones she loved. Her humour and sarcastic remarks were brilliant, definitely added another dimension to the storyline.

As I read further into the story, it became clear that I was feeling an incredibly strong hidden message, and it is one that goes rather unnoticed. Some people might think that Christmas means loads of gifts, expensive ones at that, or even going to a different country just because. If that’s what you do, then good for you. However, Jenny Hale has unearthed what often goes unappreciated; family. Leah wanted to recreate her family Christmas like the ones she had with her Nan, whilst keeping the magic there for Sadie. I believe that Jenny pulled that off for her main character for sure. The rawness that was unwrapped on Christmas morning within the story, was emotional unnerving. Tears were pricking my eyes over such a minor detail of the book, yet the meaning behind it was larger than life.

The powerful moments didn’t stop there as every situation flowed naturally into another one, every character gelled like old friends, and intense emotions were heightened. Extremely heightened, (for me anyway), I finished the book crying my eyes out. The intensity of Jenny’s words were extremely overwhelming, and very enriching. I felt as though the book just walked into my soul, set up camp and read ‘All I Want For Christmas’ to me.

Jenny writes with such ease and authenticity that her words usually stop me in my tracks. She has THAT edge. Whilst Jenny’s other books are brilliant, she has outdone herself with her latest as this is now my favourite book of hers.

All I Want For Christmas is a soul hugging, emotional and poignant read that highlights the true magic of Christmas, and family. An undeniably joyful yet emotional read that will stay in my heart for a very, very long time.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for my unbiased views.

‘All I Want For Christmas’ by Jenny Hale, published by Bookouture, is available to buy from today! Happy publication day to Jenny & Bookouture!
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

Book Review – ‘The Holiday Swap’ by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @HarperImpulse

zs1
Blurb.

Florence Cortes has the perfect life – an apartment in the trendiest district of Barcelona, a job she loves and a boyfriend who’s whisking her away on a romantic break to Paris to no doubt propose.
Only, he’s planning something far different, and Flo soon realises her life isn’t so perfect after all.

Home loving Daisy Fischer is perfectly happy in her idyllic home in the Cheshire countryside, with an on-off boyfriend who might be slightly dull but is totally dependable. Until he issues an ultimatum, and Daisy suddenly realises that there might be a whole different world out there that she’s missing out on.

Have Flo and Daisy come up with the perfect solution to escape festive heartbreak?
Can a snowbound Christmas in Cheshire – with aristocratic, handsome Hugo as her neighbour, a house full of animals and a leaking roof – help Flo mend her broken heart, and remind her of what she really wants in life?

Can a sunny break in beautiful Barcelona – with the dishy but brooding Javier, a never ending supply of cava, and a sea view to die for – prove to Daisy that playing safe isn’t always the answer?

Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas – and in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it, but where will they be for New Year?

What does TWG think?

Thank you to the TBConFB family for allowing me to get all festive in August!

I’ll be honest, the first thing that came to my mind when I read the title was the movie ‘The Holiday’! I think my fingers were slightly crossed for it to be similar because I ADORE that film, but I have never read a book that had the same feel to it. Until now.

I am quite ashamed to admit that this is the first book of Zara’s that my eyes have had the pleasure of reading! However,  it is safe to say that after reading ‘The Holiday Swap’, I will quickly become her groupie and buy her other books!

Florence and Daisy both live lives that people would dream of living but in completely different ways. Florence classes Barcelona as her home now, yet Daisy knows ‘no place like home’, after all, she hasn’t flown too far from the nest. Despite having quite obvious differences, both ladies have something in common; men. As both ladies try to figure out the next step in their love life journey, a change of scenery becomes their only option for self happiness. But how far are they willing to go?

I am probably not the only person that will dislike both men, I thought that they had been dragged up and not brought up! One of them was living in their own arrogant dream world, and the other, well, what an absolute…..read the book, the character can explain himself more than I ever could.

Every chapter of the book that I read, gave me the excitement and cosy feeling  you get when you’re unwrapping a present on Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to find out more about the characters, their lives before and their lives now. Would Florence and Daisy get a happy ending? It was a question that didn’t leave my mind the whole way through. Zara’s cosy and warm writing pulled me into the book with such force, I just yearned for the ladies to be happy and to live with no regrets. They had such a fantastic opportunity, a chance to find themselves, it would have been a travesty not to go for it.

For me, the storyline was quite predictable. That said, it didn’t ruin the enjoyment that I got from reading the book as it was such a joy to read. I didn’t have to think too much, I literally curled up on my sofa with my Kindle and surrendered myself to Zara and her enchanting words within ‘The Holiday Swap’.

‘The Holiday Swap’ is a story about second chances, grabbing life by its baubles and making every single moment count. It is also a book that will reignite the magic of the festive season, bringing the true meaning of ‘family’ and ‘love’ to the forefront of my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Holiday Swap’, a lovely, easy to read book to curl up with any time of the year.

The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley, published by Harper Impulse, will be released on the 2nd September 2016, but is available to pre-order right now from Amazon UK.