Book Review: Once Upon a Christmas by Sarah Morgan #BookReview #Christmas #OnceUponAChristmas #BookLovers

Title: Once Upon a Christmas
Author: Sarah Morgan

Series: Lakeside Mountain Rescue (#1 & #2)

Publisher: Mills & Boon, Harlequin UK
Date: October, 2012
Pages: 379
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): What’s your number one Christmas wish?

Bryony’s daughter has put a dad on her Christmas list. That leaves Bryony with one month to find the perfect man, so this year she’s wishing for a miracle!

While she’s looking for love, her best friend Helen is doing the opposite. Her Christmas wish is to forget all about the white dress hanging in her wardrobe – and her faithless rat of a fiance.

Helen and Bryoney’s festive cheer definitely needs a boost, so it’s lucky that once upon a Christmas, wishes really do come true…

Review:

They say there is no recipe for a successful novel, but I think we’re being lied to.
I think there is one, and Sarah Morgan knows it. Either is that, or her novels follow the same formula.
Let me tell you what I mean…

I have read three of many of her novels, and all three of them had one thing in common: two main characters being stuck with each other under the same roof because of some unavoidable reason/event/misadventure, hanging together and falling in love.

I know Sarah Morgan has written so many books, and I only read three of them, so I hope they are not all the “same” because it would be a shame.

However, I have to stress out that her writing style is the most amazing thing about this novel and I would read all of her books, just so I could absorb at least bits of it.

Once Upon a Christmas is a novel that follows two stories: Bryony’s  and Helen’s.
I feel like Bryony’s story was originally imagined as a novella, but then it got “part two” and all of a sudden, it was a novel.
I am glad for it, because I liked part two much more then part one.

Part One follows Bryony who decided that she will grant her daughter’s Christmas wish and find a guy who will be perfect to be her father.
First of all, I can’t even tell you how wrong, in my eyes, that motive is. You don’t look for a guy you’ll date just so your child could have a father, if anything, that is not fair to a guy.
Second, the love interest was too controlling, unlikeable, in love with himself and a “whore”, while the Bryony, even though she had a child, wa so innocent, she probably grew a second hymen.

The story is manly focused on Bryony and Jack, with only few side characters, like novella should be.

On the other hand, Part Two is focused on more characters, town and it’s atmosphere, and I liked it so much more.
Our main characters Helen and Oliver were really likeable. Oliver was sweet guy and didn’t get on my nerves like Jack, and Helen’s motives came from the right place.
The only thing I didn’t like that much was how Helen was pictured like some weak woman who needs protection, and how she let other make decisions for her.

Overall, Once Upon a Christmas was a good festive read and I would recommend it to romance lovers.

Advertisements

Book Review: Not Just for Christmas by Natalie Cox #NotJustForChristmas #BlogTour @orionbooks #BookReview #Christmas #Comedy

I am so honoured to be today’s host in the Not Just for Christmas blog tour.
I want to thank Alainna Hadjigeorgiou from Oron Publishing for giving me this chance.
Not Just for Christmas was so fun to read and I really, really enjoyed it.

About the book:

Title: Not Just for Christmas
Author: Natalie Cox
Publisher: Orion
Date: November 15th, 2018
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Charlie hates the holidays, and this year is shaping up to be her worst yuletide ever. Her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, her flat is out of bounds after a gas leak, and her mother has gone to spend Christmas in Melbourne with her fifth husband. Finding herself single, mildly concussed and temporarily homeless, Charlie hesitantly agrees to dust off her wellies and spend the festive season in Devon, looking after Cosy Canine Cottages, her cousin Jez’s dog-care centre.

However, her plans for a quiet rural Christmas with only the four-legged friends for company are dashed as soon as she meets Malcolm the deaf Great Dane, Hugo, his gorgeous (but engaged) owner, and Cal, the undeniably attractive but unbearably haughty and patronising local vet…

Review:

If you’re looking for a good Christmas comedy, look no further!
Not Just for Christmas (or Mutts and Mistletoe, as it was previously published under that name) has everything you need this season in your festive chick lit: the most likeable protagonist you could wish for, many cute dogs, pups, hot guys, snow, food and lots and lots of humour.

Still, even though it’s funny and entertaining, it does not go overboard and everything in this novel, every element, is dosed just right.

The story follows Charlie, who after the accident that caught her apartment, stays at her cousin’s place.
Her cousin runs hotel for dogs, and after she goes on a trip to meet the love of her life, Charlie stays to run the place over Christmas.
Charlie is not a dog person, but day by day she discovers the beauty of mutts and one’s relationship with them.

Not Just for Christmas was lovely, warm story that put a smile on my face so many times.
It is a feel good story that will make readers’ lives better, I honestly believe that.

The writing style is stunning, and it reminds me of Sophie Kinsella’s, but it is still different. In my language, I would call it “pitko” which means that you drink the words, that’s how it easy is to read.

This book has 352 pages and it felt like it had only 200 pages, that’s how fast I read it (and I am a slow reader).

I liked all the characters. Even our villain was sympathetic.

Still, my favorite was Malcolm, a deaf Dane who certainly gave this book a heart.

I don’t say this often in my reviews, but I wouldn’t change anything in this novel.
It was perfect just as it was, and I am so grateful I had a chance to read it.

I can already see it will be the one book I’ll recommend to everyone around me.

If you’re looking for a good Christmas comedy, I highly, highly recommend you Not Just for Christmas (or Mutts and Mistletoe) because trust me, it will put a smile on your face and warm your heart, just like it did my.

Follow the Tour:

Book Review: Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington #EveryTimeABellRings #BookReview #Christmas #MagicalRealism

Title: Every Time a Bell Rings
Author: Carmel Harrington
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Date: November 19th, 2015
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): An angel gets its wings…

Belle has taken all the Christmas decorations down. This year they won’t be celebrating.

As foster parents, Belle and Jim have given many children the chance of a happier start in life. They’ve loved them as if they were their own. They shouldn’t have favourites but little Lauren has touched their hearts. And now her mother is well enough to take her back and Belle can’t bear the loss.

Hence, Christmas is cancelled.

So when Jim crashes his car one icy December night, after an argument about Lauren, Belle can only blame herself. Everything she loves is lost. And Belle finds herself standing on The Ha’Penny Bridge wishing she had never been born.

But what happens to a Christmas wish when an angel is listening…

Will Belle realise, before it’s too late, that her life is the most wonderful life of all?

Inspired by the timeless tale of beloved Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, Carmel Harrington’s next book tells the story of Belle, a young woman and foster carer from Dublin who faces the hardest decision of her life this Christmas on The Ha’Penny Bridge.

Full of Irish charm, magic, and the warmth of the festive season this is an emotional, heartwarming story that will stay with you long after you’ve reached ‘The End’. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern & Jojo Moyes.

Review:

Trigger warning: This book talks about child loss.

Every Time a Bell Rings was on my wishlist for the longest time, and this year I decided to grant my wish and bought myself a nice paperback to start a festive season. It was my first Christmas read of 2018 and I am so glad I chose this novel to be the one, because I loved it so much.

Fist advice that I’d give to everyone who wants to read it is to avoid synopsis on the back (or on Goodreads, and yeah, I know I am guilty of pasting those here) because they give too much away.

The story follows Belle and Jim from their early age. We get to see their lives trough years, and most of the events we see happen’ around Christmases.

The story talks about fostering and it manly focuses on this topic, showing us what it’s like to be foster child but also what it’s like to be foster parent. Because of that factor, I can say that I learned a lot about something I knew very little about.

From all the serious subjects this story brings, there is one particular that can be triggering (I mentioned it in the trigger warning) and that is just heartbreaking.

After something like two thirds of the book we get to see the heart of the story, as dash of magical realism plays it’s part.
When I reached that part, the Christmas Spirit really hit me hard, filled my heart with joy and made me want to celebrate life.
I understand my words may sound like exaggerating to you, but if you(‘ll) read the story, you(‘ll) probably get them.

The writing style was really good. The novel is written in first person, from Belle’s POV.

The cover is so beautiful and eye catching, and it was the first thing that caught my attention, but after reading the book I do have one comment, a thing I’d like to be different.
Belle represents POC, she is black, so I wish the girl on the cover was black too. I wish they showed her curly hair because it was mentioned more then few times in the story.

As you could conclude from my words, this book represents diversity, because main character is POC and it also talks about fostering.

In the end, I just want to mention that my copy of the novel has an interview with Carmel Harrington in it, and I really enjoyed reading her words, hearing her say she believes in angels and where her idea came from.

I’d recommend this novel to readers who’d like to read something to put them into Christmas Spirit, but don’t hesitate when it comes to books with more serious topics.

Sunday Post (Weekly Wrap Up November 19th-November 25th) #SundayPost #BookBloggers #WrapUp #Reading #Bloggers

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This meme was created for bloggers to spotlight posts they published in the week, as well as to talk about what they plan to write in the week that’s coming.

Sunday post is also great opportunity to showcase books we got in the week behind us.

Hi Guys!

This week I’ve been better, in case you wonder.
Since the attack I was pretty shocked, but I guess time made me feel more comfortable, and I also got myself an electroshocker and an alarm, so that helps me feel more safe.
I mean, I will never be the same, always on the lookout and wonder if someone wants to rob or attack me, but I guess I will find my way to deal with it. I just have to move on, I can’t live in paranoia.

As for my week, I was pretty busy and had no time to write, so that is why there was only one review on my blog, instead of two.
I usually always write during weekend for the week ahead, but I guess as I was shaken from the events in the week before (aka attack) I was in a writing slump and thought I’d write reviews during the week.

However, since I am better now you will get three reviews next week.

Today I’m looking forward to have some me time. I’ll read and write, take a bath and watch Younger. Sunday is for relaxing, and that is what I plan to do for the rest of the day.

Last Week on Book Dust Magic:

Monday: I gave you my HoHoHo Readathon Wrap Up and announced the winner of the challenge

Thursday: I reviewed One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot

 

Next Week on Book Dust Magic:

Upcoming reviews:   

 

Book Haul:

Borrowed:

 From work I borrowed The Gift by Loise Jensen. I have already read it and in all honesty, it was nothing special.

Currently reading:

 I am still reading Calling Mrs Christmas, because I took a break from it to read another 2 books, and I guess I needed to change a genre after reading three Christmas books in a row.

 

That is it!
Let me know what’s been going on with you, what you’ve been reading or watching this week and feel free to leave your links so I can visit you.
Have a lovely Sunday!

Book Review: One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot #BookReview #OneNewYorkChristmas #Christmas #Chicklit

Title: One New York Christmas
Author: Mandy Baggot
Publisher: Ebury, Penguin Random House UK
Date: November 15th, 2018
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisherr for a review

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Will this Christmas romance be just for the holidays?

A fun, festive romantic comedy to curl up with this winter. If you love Josie Silver’s One Day in December, you’ll love Mandy Baggot’s heart-warming festive romance.

Lara Weeks is heading to New York with best friend Susie for the Christmas trip of a lifetime.

festive break in the snowy Big Apple visiting the tourist hotspots, not to mention the shopping, seems like the perfect way for Lara to get over her ex-boyfriend. Or maybe make him so jealous he begs for a second chance.

Enlisting the help of gorgeous actor, Seth Hunt, doesn’t quite go to plan, but there’s something about him that has Lara wishing for a different kind of happy ever after

Review:

One New York Christmas is the second christmassy book written by Mandy Baggot that I have read, and I can officially say that her festive novels are must have during winter.
I loved the previous one (One Christmas in Paris) and I adored this one too.

The story follows Lara who spends her holidays in New York, trying to heal her broken heart.
On the other side there is Seth, a good looking actor with a kind heart, who tries his best to succeed in the acting career, and make his parents proud of him.

At first, I thought this will be a romantic, funny story, and it was, but it was also so much more.
The story explores some complex topics like adoption and unknownness of one’s own origin.
Then, it also talks about being homeless and how there are more then few reasons how one can end up on the streets, even when he’s trying to do something with his life.

The story also talks about family, friendships and human relationships, and it well inquires those aspects.

But at the same time, while talking about such serious subjects, it manages to entertain readers, make them laugh, relax then and put them into Christmas Spirit.

I liked almost all the characters, Seth and Lara, their best friends and their family members. There are only few “unlikeable” characters, which were ment to be “bad guys” of the story, but I didn’t mind them.

However, I have to stress out that one character I admired the most was New York itself.
Yes, you’ve read it right! Mandy Baggot described that city and it’s atmosphere during December so well, that it got his own role in the story, and I as a reader couldn’t forget that we were in New York.
That, my friends, is what I call amazing writing ability!

I loved almost everything about this story, but there is one (probably not that important) thing that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, and I will tell you what it is, because I’m always honest in my reviews. However, I think most people wouldn’t even notice that thing.
I didn’t like how Lara called her brother Aldo, who is adopted, her “almost-brother”. It happened 12 times in the story, and it made me feel like she was trying to separate herself from him, like stressing out that he was not her brother by blood was so important, she had to call him almost-brother instead just calling him brother instead?
I don’t know, we have one adopted family member (my father’s cousin) and I can imagine if his sister was calling him almost-brother it would hurt his feelings. It would make him feel like he wasn’t genuine part of the family, and it would be wrong.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading One New York Christmas and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys festive chick lits and Christmas stories.

I can’t wait to see what other books Mandy Bagott has written/will write because this author is definitely on my tbr!

HoHoHo Readathon Wrap Up and Giveaway Winner Announcement #HoHoHoRAT #Christmas #Readathon #WrapUp

Hi Everyone!

So the HoHoHO Readathon is officially over and it’s time for me to bring you my reading wrap up, and also to announce the winner of my HoHoHo Beautiful Covers Challenge.

I want to thank everyone who participated, Kim from   Caffeinated Book Reviewer for hosting it, and I hope we’ll be reading together next year as well.

 

Wrap Up:

During HoHoHo Readathon I managed to finish three books and started the fourth one.

In total, I read 1226 pages, which counts as 122 pages per day on average.

Overall, I am happy with that, even though I know it could have been better.

This are the books I finished:   

This is the book I started but didn’t get to finish (yet!): 

 

Winner

So…. The winner for my Beautiful Covers Challenge is Sophia Rose.

You can see her picture here.

I will message Sophia shortly to ask her what book does she want as her prize.

 

I would also take this opportunity to thank everyone who commented on my Sunday Post and sent me kind and comforting messages. Your support means a lot to me, especially at this scary time of my life.

Sunday Post (Weekly Wrap Up November 12th-November 18th) #SundayPost #BookBloggers #WrapUp #Blogger

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This meme was created for bloggers to spotlight posts they published in the week, as well as to talk about what they plan to write in the week that’s coming.

Sunday post is also great opportunity to showcase books we got in the week behind us.

Hi Guys!

I am not fine.

You have probably noticed that I am not active all that much in the blogosphere, nor am I enthusiastic for the HoHoHo Readathon, which is really ashame, because it is my favorite readathon and Christmas books are my favorite, but something happened and it took all the joy from me, at least for now.

On Thursday I was attacked in front of my own building. Some would say that by using the word attack I’m overreacting, but this is what it was, and I will tell you the whole story here.

Usually, there are always people in somewhere around my building because we have 18 floors, but this time there were no one. That evening Croatian football team played a game vs Spain, so everyone was probably in front of their TVs, plus it was pretty cold outside,

I was already walking up the stairs that lead to the entrance when I heard steps behind me and I remember thinking how the person is too close to me. I didn’t turn around but walked and when I stopped to unlock the main door, I one again thought that the person is too close, it was like I could feel his breath, and I knew it was a male.
Then, I heard some unfamiliar sound, that reminded me of that sound that comes when you open a coca cola bottle, but it was different, and I felt something like electricity on my left shoulder and there was that unique smell, and the first thing that crossed my mind was that I was electroshocked, but somehow I was still here, awake. I turned around and the guy had his hands in his pockets, his head was looking down and he went away, but I saw his profile.

I run into my building, and in the mirror in the elevator I saw that my jacket was splashed with some sort of smelly liquid.
I don’t know it that was an acid or maybe some kind of drug that can put you into sleep, but what I do know that I was a target, and who knows what could have happened if I turned around while I was unlocking the door, maybe that liquid was aimed for my face, and maybe I wouldn’t even be alive now.

Our lock was broken only few days ago and it took really long time to unlock it, but that fix it only one day before the attack happened, so maybe my attacker didn’t now it was fixed.

What kills me now I don’t know what was his motive. Has he mistaken me for another girl, is he a psychopath who was using the situation when no one was around, and I was the one who was at the wrong place at the wrong time?
And the worst case scenario: am I the target. He could be following me around for 6 months and I didn’t have a clue.
And next time, what if he succeeds in his mission?
I am afraid for my own life, and the fact that he knows where I live and that he attacked me in front of my own building terrifies me.

That is all from me. Let’s hope next week and months you will be able to read my posts, but if they stop without a word… I don’t even want to think about it, but at the same time, I can’t stop thinking about it.

Btw, there were some changes in my blogging schedule because of the request from one of the publishers, so this is why you didn’t get a review for Not Just for Christmas, but got A Christmas Date instead.

Last Week on Book Dust Magic:

Monday: I reviewed The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Wednesday: I talked about my trip to Budapest

Friday: I reviewed A Christmas Date by Camilla Isley

 

Next Week on Book Dust Magic:

Upcoming reviews:

 

I will also talk about my #HoHoHoRat wrap up.

 

Book Haul:

 I was at a book festival so I bougt myself 4 books, two in English and two in Croatian.

 

Currently reading:

 I started this book yesterday but I haven’t read all that much. It seems like a good Christmas book so far!

 

That is it!
Let me know what’s been going on with you, what you’ve been reading or watching this week and feel free to leave your links so I can visit you.
Have a lovely Sunday!