Book Giveaway: Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

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We have exactly one month to go until Christmas, so to help you get into Christmas Spirit, lovely people from HarperCollins UK offered one paperback copy of Christmas at the Comford Food Cafe to one lucky winner.

I read this novella back in September and I really enjoyed it.
If you want, you can read my review HERE.

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About the book:

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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Giveaway:

  • This giveaway is for UK residents only
  • You can win 1 paperback copy of Christmas at the Comford Food Cafe novella
  • The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond. Otherwise, a new winner will be chosen.

You can entere here:
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Book Review + Giveaway (INTL): Malaren: A Swedish Affair by N.E. David

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Title: Malaren: A Swedish Affair
Author: N. E. David
Publisher: John Hunt Books
Date: November 25th, 2016
Pages: 296
Format: physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Alan Harrison is a perfectly ordinary, middle-class, middle-aged and happily married man. But when his wife, Susan, suddenly dies, his life starts to disintegrate. Rather than stay at home where the memory of his wife still haunts him, he decides to spend the summer in Sweden at the invitation of his in-laws. On the shores of Lake Malaren, he discovers fresh reasons for living and a contentment he had not previously thought possible. But unexpected guests arrive to disturb his new-found peace and he is forced to take unprecedented steps to recover it. Set against a backdrop of stunning Swedish scenery, MALAREN shows us the redemptive power of physical labour and male bonding as an unlikely hero struggles to overcome his challenges.

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Review:

I don’t read literary fiction too often, but when I do, I usually always finish a book with a thought how I have just finished the most beautiful book ever.

Really, if you look at all the books I read this year, you’ll notice only few books from that genre, but when it comes to quality, they are all at the very top of my list.

I love literary fiction mainly because of the beautiful writing it is mostly famous for.
My second reason why I love it is because it explores characters on a deeper level.
Finally, my third reason is because it helps reader to improve his vocabulary.

Malaren: A Swedish Affair is a novel pitched as piece of literary fiction that explores man’s inner thoughts and one’s life under stress in exceptional situations.

Honestly, when going into this story, I had no expectations whatsoever, as I haven’t read any of N. E. David’s work before, nor do I know anyone who read this book before me.

The only thing I can say I expected were beautiful sentences that would make me think about human’s life.

I can’t phraise Malaren for beautiful writing style, although I can say it had quality, especially when it comes to describing one’s feelings and actions in real life situations.

However, I have to say that, to me, Malaren sounded more like a slow general fiction then literary fiction.
When I was reading, I actually wondered if there is a genre that’s a hybrid between general and literary fiction. Because if there is, Malaren would definitely belong to that category.

The story takes place in a course of 6 months.
It talks about one man’s life after his wife dies.
In order to move on with his life, he goes to Sweden, in his in-laws house.

In those 6 months, I felt like almost nothing happened, and, even if literary fiction is familiar for slow pacing, this one lacked something to make it more interesting.

I didn’t see any change in main character at the end of the story, excpet the one that was inevitable.

Good thing about this piece of work is that it kept me up at night as I was (not even sure why) curious if something was going to happen (already).

The novel is composed of four parts, and the fourth one is the one where the story finally becomes somewhat interesting.

It has less then 300 pages, but it does not read fast.

It is written in first person.

Malaren: A Swedish Affair maybe isn’t the most interesting book out there, but I think it’s solid read and it would be a good choice for someone who wants to try to read literary fiction, as this one reads like a mix of two genres (general and literary fiction).

2,75

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Giveaway (INTL)

Lovely people from John Hunt Books publicity were kind enough and offered a physical copy of Malaren: A Swedish Affair to one lucky winner.

This giveaway is internatonal.

Enter here:

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What Alice Knew Book Review (Blog Tour)

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I am so happy to be today’s host in What Alice Knew Blog Tour.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I am excited to share my review.
I’d like to thank Rebecca Hunter from Penguin Random House UK, for giving me this opportunity.

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About the book:

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

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My Review:

Right after finishing the last sentence of What Alice Knew, I knew reviewing this engaging debut won’t be an easy task to do.
This psychlogical thriller is full of discussion worthy situations.
There’s so many things that happened and I am not sure where’s the thin line that separates what can be mentioned in review, and what is considered as spoiler.

The story follows Alice, an artist married to Ed, who is an Obstetrician. Alice’s life was perfect until one night when her husband didn’t come home on time.
What happened that one night turns their both lives complitely around and Alice has to make a decision whether she’ll stay behind her husband and pretend everything is fine, or if she’ll tell the true and endanger lives of their children, torn her family apart.

What Alice Knew is a psychological thriller by all means, but it is also very different from every other pshyhological thriller I have read before.
It  makes the reader question character’s actions and intentions, as well as it makes him requestion the same with every new chapter, but what makes this novel special is how it blurs the difference between what is moral and what is right.

Cotterell approached impressively to every situation that happened in this story, making the reader see it from different perspectives, going into depth when it comes to what kind of consequence one way of behaving would have over the other.
At the same time, the story follows only one perspective: Alice’s, who’s thoughts we can observe from first person POV.

The writing style is admirable. From the very first chapter, it pulls the reader in and does not let go.
Although this is almost 400 pages long novel, it reads really fast.
It probably can not be read in one sitting (unless you’re a really, REALLY fast reader), but I truly believe it can be read faster then other books with similar page count.

Filled with tension, What Alice Knew is the story that talks about one’s inner strugle in making the right choice and trying to find peace when living with decission that was made.

It perfectly portraits how true can hurt and how lies can burn, and how in difficult situations there are no obvious right and wrong ways. Sometimes, in life, all the roads we  can take are gray, and it is on us to decide what shade of gray we can bare.

The end of this intense read is complete, but it is open to interpretation. One reader can see it in a totally different way then the other.

Because What Alice Knew examines situations and decisions from many different angles, it is a perfect book to be read in a book club or as a buddy read.
I believe people who read it together will have so many interesting topics to discuss.
Publisher made sure to provide some Reading Group Questions in a book proof copy I got, and I really hope those will be printed in finished book as well.

4,5

 

What Alice Knew comes out on December 1st (2016) in ebook format, and on April 20th (2017) in paperback.

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About T.A. Cotterell:

t-a-cotterell T.A. Cotterell read History of Art at Cambridge University. He worked in the City before resigning to become a freelance writer. He is now a writer and editor at the research house Redburn. He is married with three children and lives in Bristol.

 

 

 

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Follow the tour:

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Book Review: A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom

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Title: A Year and a Day
Author: Isabelle Broom
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: November 17th, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From the author of My Map of You

Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she’s determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything – and she won’t let that happen again . . .

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

For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can’t stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .

Three different women.

Three intertwining love stories.

One unforgettable, timeless city.

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Review:

This year I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to read Isabelle Broom’s debut novel My Map Of You. I complitely fell in love with the story and Broom’s writing style (the book is in my top 5 books I read in 2016), so when I found out her second novel was also coming out this year, I was thrilled.
A Year and a Day immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of 2016.

This novel follows three different stories that intertwine, every story centered around another woman.
The stories take place in Prague, during period of 5 days, around Christmas time.

Megan came to Prague with her friend Ollie who has feelings for her. She doesn’t want to gamble their friendship into becoming something more. Although it could be risky, Prague sounds too good to pass. After all, she might find an inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition in that magical city.

Hope goes to Prague with her new boyfriend, who gave her a trip to that place as a Christmas gift. She recently left her husband and now is on bad terms with her daughter because of that. She would do anything to make piece with her, but she also has an urge to live the life she never had for the first time ever, to find her indenpendency and to be a part of passionate relatonship.

Sophie came to Prague to be with her boyfriend, who’ll came few days after her arrival.
Prague has a special place in their hearts, as it’s the city where they met each other for the first time.

From those three stories, Sophie’s was one that was the most interesting to me.
Other two weren’t exciting and if I’m being honest, I found them boring at times.

The writing style is simply amazing. Broom captured the beauty of Prague perfectly and I guarantee you, after reading this book, you will probably want to visit that place.

I was in Prague myself years ago, but after reading this book, I’d like to visit it again and see the beauty and culture once again with new eyes. Now when I’m older, I would appreciate everything that Prague offers so much more then I did then.

The writing consists of so many beautiful descriptions, but less character conversations.
I liked it that way, but if you’re looking for a fast paced book, this isn’t the one.
This book is the one you should take your time with.

The story is written in third person.

I wish the book had no overture (or prologue). The first sentence is absolutely astonishing, but in my opinion that part of the book spoils the big surprise that was revealed closer to an end.
I suspected what was going on from the very beginning of the story, and my guess was right.

Every single character of the story is realistic.
You could meet people like them in your every day life anytime.
I can’t say I liked one character more then the other, but I can say who I’d probably get along with and who I wouldn’t, if I ever cross my paths with any of them.
(I’d get along with Sophie, and wouldn’t get along with Megan or Charlie.)

The ending was really good.
I was satisfied with it’s realness.

If you ever decide to go and visit Prague, I would recommend you to read this book prior that trip.
It brings the bauty of the city close to reader and it could be really helpful when you have to decide what places in Prague you’d like to see.

I would recommend this book to readers of general fiction who like for their books to explore human relationships as well as inner thoughts.

Even though it wasn’t as brilliant as My Map of You, A Year and a Day is a nice festive novel that, I trully believe, will be recognized by many readers for it’s delightful writing.

Broom’s third book should be released in April 2017 and I already can’t wait to read it.

3,75

Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It.

This is a small prizes oriented giveaway hop, so I decided to give you a chance to win yourself a book of choice from The Book Depository’s Bargain section.
They have some pretty awesome books at the moment there, and you can check them all here.

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:

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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! :)

Find other blogs hereand hop around:

Book Review: One Christmas in Paris by Mandy Baggot

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Title: One Christmas in Paris
Author: Mandy Baggot
Publisher: Bookouture
Date: October 7th, 2016
Pages: 394
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): They say Paris is the City of Love, so bring your je ne sais quoiand don’t forget the mistletoe!

Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold and the scent of spiced wine is all around, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex.

Debs is on a mission to make Ava smile again, and as they tour the Christmas markets, watch lamplight glittering on the river Seine, and eat their body weight in pain-au-chocolat, Ava remembers there’s more to life than men … Until they cross paths with handsome, mysterious photographer Julien with his French accent and hazelnut eyes that seem to see right inside her.

Ava can’t ignore the intense chemistry between them, but her fingers have been burned before and she can’t forget it, especially when her ex, Leo, starts texting again. Can Ava really trust Julien – and what exactly is his secret?

Will Ava go home with a broken heart, or will she find true love amongst the cobbled streets of Paris?

Join Ava and Julien in the most romantic city in the world this Christmas, as they discover the importance of being true to themselves, and learn how to follow their hearts.

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Review:

When it comes to books, there’s nothing I like more then to read them on cold days, with a cup of chocolate coffee in my hand, while the Chirstmas (or Disney piano) music is playing.
And you know what kind of books I love to read the most?
Festive reads! They are my favorite, and I could read them all year long.

Now when the Christmas is officially approaching, Christmas books have overtaken my reading schedule.
I have already read more then few books that take part during winter, but One Christmas In Paris is the best festive read I had this year so far.

The story follows a woman called Ava. Her life has not been easy lately. She broke up with her boyfriend, lost her job and fights with her mom who’s dream is for Ava to be a supermodel.
When her best friend Debs invites her to spend Christmas in Paris with her, Ava accepts and they start their wintery adventure.

The story is written in third person and it follows Ava’s perspective, but it also follows Julien, the guy who Ava meets in Paris.

The writing style is really good. At first it took some time for me to get used to it, but after 50 first pages, I was totally invested in the story.

I feel like I have to mention that at the very beginning I found myself resented by some things that characters said.
At one point, there was an argument in which I felt like Ava was shaming rich people for being rich, but the rich guy responded by shaming Ava’s look with sentence (this in not a quote but I’ll do my best to write it as I remember) „By your hair I can tell you are probably interestied in girls.“, but he said it in a mean way, and I thought to myself „What is this, LGBT shaming?“
As it turned out, Ava actually wanted to look like that, but I was a bit put off with those comments.
I have to stress out it was mentioned only that one time, so I decided not to hold on to it.

The story was good, but the setting in amazing.
I love how Paris was present the whole time. By reading the story, the reader explores the city of lights along with characters and there’s no way to forget where the story is taking place.

I happened to be in Paris during Christmas vacation few years ago, so I had no problem imagining streets of that wonderful city during winter, as I saw it mayself and, in my opinion, Mandy Baggot did an astonishing job describing it.

If you’re looking for a festive read that not only will entertain you, but will also show you Paris during winter time, and will make you crave for french food, One Paris In Christmas is a perfect book for you.

4

Movie Monday: Bad Moms

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 pretty entertaining comedy.

Bad Moms

bad-momsThis week me and my friends had a little gathering (we were baking some pizza bread for the first time, and let me tell you, it was delicious!), so we decided to watch a movie.
Bad moms came as an obvious choice, since it is a comedy that was just released in my country.

My expectations weren’t too high, but I can’t say I didn’t have any. Sometimes I do judge movies by it’s actors and, let me tell you, Bad Moms has an amazing cast.

The story follows a woman called Amy who’s doing her best to be a good mom, good wife and successful business woman.
After finding out that her man is cheating on her though web cam, and after having a really bad day at work, she had enough.
She decides she won’t be a perfect mum anymore, and will finally have some time for herself.
Two women who’s kids go to the same school join her and they start “Bad Moms” club.
Of course, moms from parents club at school are not approving and they do whatever it takes to make Amy and the rest of bad moms regret their decision.

Guys, this movie was such a fun to watch! Everyone of my friends liked it, both male and female.

The movie has strong feminist side, and it does talk about strong women doing whatever it takes to have happy children and happy husbands, while also work hard at their full time job, but it also talks about how kids and men can take all of their effort for granted.

There were some scenes that were rememberable (like the coffee scene, OmG, that must have hurt!).

It was a bit naive in my opinion, but if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a happy comedy, nor it would have as strong message as it had.

Overall, this is an awesome movie to watch with friends.

P.S. After the movie all the actresses had a chat with their moms and, OmG, Jayde Smith’s mum looks so good!!

 

Note: Picture in this post is not my property but taken from IMDb site and is property of STX Entertainment.