Book Review: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin (Blog Tour)

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I am so happy to be today’s host in Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Holly Martin for giving me this opportunity.

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christmas under a cranberry sky

Blurb:

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

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?

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.

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Review:

Holly Martin made me fall in love. I am in love with Christmas! I want to go there, have a nice vacation, watch merrie dancers, feed reindeers and hang out with village people. I’d also like to eat some delicios food.
Too bad this place called Christmas exists only in imagination, because I am sure it would be a hit, a place so many people would love to visit one day.

It is September, but my Christmas Spirit is fully awake!  Holly Martin can take the blame, but let me tell you the true: I don’t mind. Not at all!

As you might already know, I am a HUGE fan of festive stories. Christmassy/wintery books are my absolutely favorite to read, especially when it’s cold outside.
When I got a chance to read Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky I was thrilled.
This summer I read Martin’s Summer at Rose Island and fell in love with her writing style, so I had a strong feeling I’d enjoy this novel too.

Of course, I was right. The writing style was amazing but simple, easy to read, just as it should be when it comes to chicklits.

One thing that is the most incredible when it comes to this story is the setting. The way Martin described winter, the place and the atmosphere felt almost magical.

The characters were pretty likeable.  Piper‘s life was not easy and you could tell it had shaped her as a person.
I liked the chemistry between her and Gabe and it was nice to watch how they overcame things that went wrong between them.
Wren was such a good child, sometimes even too good for a four year old if you ask me.

However, my utterly favorite were Leo with his gang (those were small savage ponies that disturbed people).
I wouldn’t mind to cross my paths with them one day.

Overall, if you are looking for a read that will wake up your Chrisitmas Spirit, Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky is a perfect choice.
I certainly enjoyed it and now I’m looking forward to read the sequel when it comes out next month.

4,5

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About the author:

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Holly has been writing for six years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. Holly lives in Bedfordshire.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * GoodReads * Amazon Page

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Movie Monday: We’re the Millers

Movie Monday is a weekly feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.

This week I watched a fantastic comedy and enjoyed every minute of it!

 

We’re the Millers

were-the-millersI watched We’re the Millers when it first came out three years ago and really, REALLY loved it. My father, who does not watch comedies often also loved it. Actually, he loved it so much he watched it twice in the same week.
This week, this fantastic movie that made me laugh out tears was on our national TV and, of course, I decided to re-watch it.

I loved it just as much as I loved it the first time. The story is so entertaining, with all the phrases I couldn’t help but laugh to.
The cast is also great. If you ask me, all the actors did an excellent job.

My favorite was Will Poulter who plays Kenny Rossmore (or “the fake son”). This movie was actually the first I saw him in and I immediately knew I want to watch movies he’ll act in in the future and see how his career will develop.

The most hilerious scene was the one with spider bite, no question asked!

I watched the movie in the company of my boyfriend who watched it for the first time. He also really enjoyed it and said it was the best comedy he saw in a very long time.

If you still haven’t watched it. I highly, HIGHLY recommend you to do it.
It will make you serotonin level higher for sure!

 

Note: Picture in this post is not my property but taken from IMDb site and is property of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Novella Review: Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

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Title: Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe
Series: Comfort Food Cafe #2
Author: Debbie Johnson
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Date: September 23rd, 2016
Pages: 187
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

‘My new favourite author’ – Holly Martin

‘A lovely, emotion-filled, giggle-inducing story’ – Sunday Times bestselling author Milly Johnson

The brand new Christmas romance from best-selling author Debbie Johnson and the follow up to ‘Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe’.

The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.

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Review:

This summer I read Debbie Johnson’s Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe and, even though I had a hard time connecting with the main character Lauren, I ended up liking it.
When I heard about festive novella Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe, I knew I wanted to read it because:

a) I liked Johnson’s full time novel, the setting and characters she created so I was glad I had a chance to revisit that imaginary cafe full of positive vibes;
b) Festive stories are my favorite reads so, of course, the curiosity won me over;
c) The novella follows a different narrator. This time we have a chance to read about Laura’s sister Becca, who we didn’t get a chance to meet properly in the book one;
d) The cover is just plain gorgeous and I am weak when it comes to beautiful covers, especially christmassy ones.

Revisiting Dorset and „exploring“ it during winter was a pure pleasure. It was so nice to see how Laura‘s life is going after the Summer is over and how her relationship, but also the lives of all the side characters I already knew improved.

This novella has 187 pages, so it is on a longer side. Honestly, it felt like a novel to me.
Nevertheless, I think it is just about perfect leight because it reads like a complete standalone story that left me satisfied. I wouldn’t want it to be longer or shorter.

Becca was a narrator I found to be easy to connect with. Because of that, I enjoyed Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe so much more then it’s predecessor.

This is a standalone novella and you can it read even if you haven’t read Summer at the Comort Food Caffe. The writer explained everything that happened before and the story is easy to follow.
However, you should be warned that going into this novella you will be spoiled for the book one, so if you plan to read both stories, I suggest you to read them in order they were published.

The writing style is simple and easy to read.
The story is written in first person from Becca’s POV.
Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe consists of three parts: Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.
The first part is written in third person.

Some parts of the story were little rushed (ex. the wedding), some were a bit predictable (ex. a big thing that happend to Becca closer to the end), but overall it was a good festive read that I would suggest if you’re in the mood for something quick that will put you into Christmas Spirit.

3,75

Book Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

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Title: The One That Got Away
Author: Melissa Pimentel
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: September 22nd, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .

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Review:

When I first heard about The One That Got Away few months ago I was very excited.
The premise sounded like something right up my alley and the gorgeous cover made it even more appealing.
Saying that I was happy when I got a chance to read an early copy of this novel would probably be an understatement. I was beyond thrilled.

As you can probably imagine, when it comes to my expectations for this book, they were pretty high.
But guess what?
I finished this book satisfied with what I read.

The One That Got Away follows the story of Ruby, a woman in her early thirties who has to attend her sister’s wedding where she’ll meet Ethan, her ex boyfriend and the only man she ever loved, who she broke up with ten years ago.
Will the feeling she once felt come back to light or is it really over with her and Ethan?

I had so much fun reading this book.
The writing style was pretty good and easy to read, with fine sense of humor and pop culture references it made the reading experience rather pleasurable.

The story is told in, to me, somewhat unusual way. It follows two different times simply reffered as Now and Then.
Now is written in first person, from Ruby’s point of view.
Then is written in third person and it tells the story of Ruby and Ethan’s relationship.

My favorite part when it comes to The One That Got Away are characters Melissa Pimentel created.
They were believable, gray as I like to say, with their good and bed sides that made them realistic.
While I was reading about their lives I couldn’t help but feel like I knew them already.
I welcomed that feeling because it, in some strange way, reminded me of home.
My favorite was definitely Ruby’s father who would probaby go on some reader’s nerves, but from my perspective he was captured like the most realistic one. I think Pimentel dosed the right amount of his greedines, his atypicall sense of humor, the way he cared about people close to him and brang one certenly interesting and lifelike character to life.
I’d also like to mention that I liked Ruby’s and Piper’s relationship with their stepmother.

The story takes place in Edinburgh.
I was never there, but the way the author described that place, with all the castles and nature, made me go and google images of  that city.

This book did not just put me into happy place, but, at times, it also wretched my heart.

According to publisher, The One That Got Away is a „A smart, funny and modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.“
In my opinion, they got it right. It was smart, and it was funny.
I can’t say how close to original Persuasion it is because I have never read it.
But I can tell you that bacause I haven’t read it, I wasn’t sure how the story’s going to end, and it made me nervous. The closer to the end I got, the more and more I was afraid of absence of Happily Ever After I so wanted to happen’.
In the end, I was satisfied with the way the story ended.

Overall, this was pretty enjoyable read that I would recommend to women’s fiction fans.
I’m not sure how long the story will stay with readers after they  finish it, but I am pretty sure that they will have a pretty good time while reading this novel.

4

UnBe-Leaf-Able September To Remember Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to the UnBe-Leaf-Able September To Remember Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It.

In this giveaway I decided to give you a chance to win 20 US$ to spend on books on The Book Depository. You can choose one or more books, whatever it suits best for you.

The giveaway is international as long as TBD ships to your country.

After you enter this giveaway, don’t forget to visit other blogs for more giveaways.

 

You can enter here:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

DISCLAIMER:

  • This giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.
  • You must be 18+ old to enter or have your parent’s permission to enter (because I’ll need to ask you to give me your adress so I could send the book to you).
  • I am not responsible for the shipment, but am responsible to order a book on time (The Book Depository is responsible to deliver you a book on time and in a good condition).
  • Once chosen, winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to reply, otherwise another person will be chosen as a winner
  • NO CHEATING! Cheaters will be disqualified

Good Luck! :)

 
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Waiting On Wednesday (#15): A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom

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Waiting on Wendesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This week I am eagerly anticipating:

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A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: November 17th, 2016

Summary:

Three women. Three love stories. One city.

For Megan, visiting Prague with her friend Ollie is just business. Nothing more. Because if she admits the truth she might lose everything.

For Hope, this trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she’s struggling to enjoy the city when she knows how angry her daughter is. And that it’s all her fault.

For Sophie, Prague has always been magical. And now she’s counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her in the city that holds so many of their memories . . .

Why am I waiting?

This year I read Isabelle Broom’s My Map of You and fell in love with her writing style and the story in general. My Map of You is honestly one of the best novels I have read this year, so I can’t wait to read Broom’s future work.
She did such an amazing job describing Greece and making me want to visit there. Now, her new book is taking place in Prague, the city I actually visited once.
I am the most curious about how Broom’s going to describe the beauty of it using words, but am also intrigued by the plot and I can’t wait to meet Megan, Hope and Sophie.

Dragonfly Nightmare: Book Blitz + Gveaway (INTL)

Dragonfly Nightmare
Erin Richards
(Once Upon A Secret, #1)
Publication date: September 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult

To be a normal teenage girl.
To forget about the past.
To fall in love for the first time.
Is that too much to ask?

Sixteen-year-old Allie Bailey just wants a break—a break from her overly-protected life. And Dragonfly Meadows summer camp is the answer. A summer away from her parents in the California Sierras with her best friend is exactly what she needs.

But once at camp, Allie notices that things are a little off. Paid excursions are cancelled and staff is replaced with shady new people. When the camp’s founder goes “missing,” Allie starts to worry. Unable to let it rest due to her past, she starts to investigate, enlisting the help of Logan Montgomery, her best friend’s older and adorably geeky brother.

When hauntingly familiar flowers appear in Allie’s cabin, she’s not sure what to think—has her past caught up to her? Yet, after Allie stumbles across a murder conspiracy and chases down the truth, she becomes a target. Pushing through her paranoia and fear to find strength, it’s up to Allie to save herself and the campers from a deranged killer before it’s too late.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / ARe

Are you a book reviewer?
You can request a review copy of Dragonfly Nightmare here!

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EXCERPT:

My life turned a corner today to a kickass summer. A glorious day sliding past go and collecting $200 on the highway to my freedom, two days after the ultimate Independence Day. I wanted to shout my bliss to the world, but I refrained from killing my mother’s eardrums any further. Nerd, much?

For the first time in my short sixteen years, I was headed to summer camp. How stupid exciting was that? For others it was no big deal, or even lame. For me, camp meant paradise, considering I’d begged my parents to let me go for the last four summers and got the big, fat no every flipping time. It wasn’t even about money. Just major overprotectiveness due to The Incident That Shall Not Be Cloned.

Although I was joining the Teen Leadership Program as a Cabin Leader, I was coming apart at the seams to revel in the whole camp experience. Not all would be work, though. My best friend slash partner in crime, Laurel Montgomery, and I had dibs on fun. Escaping the house for two weeks was a major step toward more freedom in my life. I just wished my parents held my same excitement. The thought deflated my insane joy.

My gaze bounced to Mom’s white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. I brushed my fingers over her thigh. “It’ll be okay. You have to let me go sometime.” The four black beads rolled on my leather cuff as I withdrew my hand from her leg. I spun the beads around the band, ignoring their significance for a change.

“I know, Allie. I’m just—”

I curbed the urge to pull more of my hair out before baldness set in. “We’ve hashed this out. You’ve checked out the camp a zillion times. Carla Amadori’s family has owned the joint forever. Laurel and Logan love her, and you spoke to all the other parents.” Overkill if you ask me. “And you know Laurel and Logan will kill anyone who even looks at me wrong.” Even though I kidded, I mentally kicked myself for dredging up that bit of paranoia.

Four years ago on my twelfth birthday, a psycho abducted me and held me at gunpoint for twenty-four hours. My father’s investment brokerage had fired the freak and he flipped. I knew the man from attending various company events. I was lucky he didn’t lay his grubby paws on me or physically harm me. The mental damage was bad enough. Now everyone looked suspicious, and I couldn’t go anywhere without spying one person who looked like a deranged kidnapper. After counseling, I’d learned ways to cope with the trauma, but I still watched my back whenever I left the house. Seriously, I had developed eyes in the back of my head.

The Incident shaped my teenage existence in so many ways. Worst of all, it royally curtailed my freedom. Four smothering years later, because Laurel and her seventeen-year-old brother, Logan, my appointed watchdogs, talked my parents into letting me go, promising they’d stay with me 24/7, I was on my way. Without Laurel’s nagging, I’d be stuck at home this summer with the swimming pool, my cat, and the housekeeper eagle-eyeing my every move.

For the most part, I had buried the memories of the abduction. When I dwelled on them, I made myself believe The Incident was a fictional movie about a girl named Alex. Now, I just wanted to appease my mother before she changed her mind and locked me up at Casa Bailey for the summer. The gates to my prison had opened. By the skin of my dead body, I wasn’t going back inside.

“Happened a long time ago, Mom.” I fingered the bangles on her right wrist. “You have to let it go.” You have to let me go. “Everything will be fine.”

“I know. I know.” Mom’s fingers loosened on the steering wheel. “You have your phone?”

Groaning, I knocked my head on the headrest. “For the millionth time, you know we aren’t allowed to bring them.” The camp was electronic-free, back to nature, home to crappy cell reception. I had no problems living off the grid for two weeks. I wasn’t big on social media or texting anyone except Laurel anyway. The parentals also forbade me to engage on social media, so my phone was simply a phone.

“Right.” Eyes on the road ahead, Mom dug through her purse and withdrew a new smartphone. “Take this.” She stuck it in my hand. “Keep it with you at all times.” A charger landed on my lap.

“Are you kidding me? Mom!” I held the phone as if dog crap coated it. My nose wrinkled. “Paranoid, much?”

“No, I’m not kidding. Don’t tell anyone you have it. Not even Laurel or Logan.”

“You planning to call me every flipping day?” I stuffed the phone in my hobo purse and clutched the bag to my chest, my irritation fading as we neared the school.

“Watch your tongue.” She wheeled the car into the parking lot.

We passed through the familiar scrolled wrought-iron gates of my private school. The campground had a deal with the San Francisco school to use their bus to cart local kids to the camp. Otherwise, you wouldn’t catch me dead or alive on school grounds during the summer.

Vehicles jammed the small parking lot, ignoring the white parking lines. Logan stood by the Montgomery’s silver van. He’d morphed into a taller, sinewy geek with pale skin sorely needing a tan. Maybe he’d buy one at camp, far, far away from me.

Ugh. Why’d he agree to come this summer? Seeing him set off a tumble of thoughts inside my head and an odd crick in my heart I wanted to avoid. I’d once had a tiny crush on the gangly, too-tall-for-his-body loner. Into mixed martial arts, he had a black belt which made him king of the geek squad. Laurel, Logan, and I used to hang like birds on a wire at their home when my parents worked, which was all the time. Then the abduction happened. Next thing, I had the plague as far as he was concerned. He’d disappeared without a word to boarding school in Arizona, and then abruptly returned home this past December for his final semester of junior year. My crush evaporated along with many emotions and feelings that year. We’d avoided one another since his return, both of us burying our heads in the sand. Logan had much ado about the kidnapping, and neither of us had confronted each other about that gruesome event. Talk about lame times ten. Blame, resentment, guilt, sorrow, it all boiled up into a mixed stew when I thought about him. Confusion skewered me most of all. I repeat, ugh.

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Author Bio:

Erin Richards lives in sunny Northern California. She writes young adult fiction and adult romance, where you’ll typically find her characters in peril, whether based in reality or a contemporary fantasy setting. Magic, murder and mayhem are all in a days’ work! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, and re-landscaping her backyard, even though she hates digging holes…unless she’s burying fictional bodies! Erin also confesses to a fascination with American muscle cars…and reality TV shows. Keep up with Erin’s latest news, exclusive content, and giveaways and subscribe to her Newsletter.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Giveaway (INTL):

  • Sterling silver dragonfly pendant; dragonfly rearview mirror car charm, and dragonfly notebook (US only)
  • $25 PayPal cash or iTunes gift card (winner’s choice) (INTL)
  • ends September 22nd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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