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

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

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Blurb:

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

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Review:

Last month I read Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky and complitely fell in love with it.
In that book (first in this series), Holly Martin described perfectly a little town called Christmas, filled my heart with happines and woke up my Christmas Spirit.
When you finish a book that good, it is unusual thing that you except for it’s sequel to be highly enjoyable as well.

Unfortunately, what I expected did not happen.
Christmas Under a Starlit Sky was a solid sequel, but nothing more then that.
It was somewhat entertaining book with the happiest end and a lot of drama.
And that is what ruined the whole reading experience for me: DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA.

I couldn’t even enjoy the Christmas setting that Martin described in a really good way (but sensibly weaker then she did it in book 1), because the characters were all into their problems, always fighting or avoiding each other. And keeping secrets.

The main character Neve did one of those things I find manipulative and I pretty much HATE that kind of move(this happens pretty early in the book so I don’t feel like it’s a spoiler): she lied about her pregnancy to her future baby’s father, telling him he’s not a father to “protect” him because, of course, she’s the one who knows what is the best for him.

And practiacally the whole book was about Neve acting like some character from those Latino-American soup operas where the woman pushes away a guy, cries about him because she wants him back, loves him but acts like lunatic and plays the “victim” who believes she’s a hero by “sacrificing” her own happiness… Big eye roll….

Ivy’s story was so much better and more enjoyable.
Honestly, when I read parts about Ivy and Adam, it was like taking a breath of fresh air after being in smoke filled room.
However, I have to stress out that those parts weren’t perfect, but in comparison with Neve and Oakley’s parts, they felt light hearted (and that’s how I like for my festive reads to be).

Writing style is very good, fast paced and I expected nothing less from Holly Martin, judging by her other books I read this year.
She has the ability to pull you into the story with her words and make you read her books faster then you thought is possible, and because of that I admire her.

The ending was really good. It was the happiest ending there could be and I like how it all wrapped up and not one character from the series wasn’t left out.

3,5

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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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Book Review: A Little More Love by Kendra Leigh Castle

a little more love

Title: A Little More Love
Series: Harvest Cove #5
Author: Kendra Leigh Castle
Publisher: Berkley
Date: September 6th, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): For fans of Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins, a sweet, small-town romance about writing your own happy ending…
 
Kira Andersen’s professional instinct for a story has never led her wrong. So when she learns of a famous writer hiding in plain sight in a tiny New England town, she can’t resist following the trail. The only problem is everyone in Harvest Cove seems intent on keeping her from tracking down the elusive author—especially a handsome distraction who’s making it very hard to focus on the job…
 
Henry “Fitz” Fitzroy has no intention of letting a nosy reporter uncover his alter-ego as superstar writer Malcom Roy. Only Kira’s persistence is hard to deny—as is his own attraction to her. The more time he spends with her, the more he discovers he’d give almost anything to keep her in his life. But as work and play become inexorably entwined for Kira and Fitz, they realize that getting what they want for their careers might mean losing everything their hearts desire…

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Review:

A Little More Love is fifth (and final) book in the Harvest Cove series, but it can easily be read as a standalone.
I haven’t read the first four  books  and I had no problems  when it comes to following the story and figuring out characters’ relationships.
That being said, after finishing this book I’d be glad to go back to Harvest Cove and read other novels in the series.

In this installment we follow Kira who came to Harvest Cove to visit her brother. Family visit is not the only reason Kira arrives in that small town. She is a reporter  on a mission. After finding out that the famous writer who writes under a pseudonym hides in Harvest Cove, she is determined to tell the world his true identity in an exclusive interview.

A Little More Love was a perfect romance read.
Written in the third person, with likeable characters you’ll fall in love with, it will bright your reading hours and warm your heart.

Kira was wonderful narrator I couldn’t help but grow attached to, but my favorite character was Fitz. He is that geeky, insecure but at the same time attractive guy who, to me,  stands up from other love interests in the sea of romance novels.

Side characters were also personable and  reading scenes with them was a pleasure.

The writer did an amazing job describing the setting and it was like the small town of Harvest Cove almost had it’s own personality.

Love scenes were somewhat descriptive, but it was all with good taste and there was no overdoing when it comes to details.

The writing style is pretty simple, but still enjoyable and easy to read.

I really enjoyed losing myself in this little world with characters Kendra Leigh Castle created and I am looking forward to read other novels in the series.

4

Book Review: Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson

just kiss me

Title: Just Kiss Me
 Author: Rachel Gibson
 Publisher: Penguin Random House UK, Corgi
 Date: July 28th, 2016
 Pages: 384
 Format: Paperback
 Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The latest hot and funny love story from New York Timesbestselling author Rachel Gibson, author of RESCUE ME and NOTHING BUT TROUBLE.

It’s been years since Vivien last saw Henry. She was scrubbing houses for a living, he was the gorgeous son of rich parents, not fit for the likes of her.

She had vowed to get out of Charleston, become a big Hollywood star and stick it to the snooty girls who made her cry. Vivien got what she wanted – and more – but why does her glamorous life seem so trivial?

Henry got out too . . . making it all the way to Wall Street, until his life took an unexpected twist and he traded in his cufflinks for carpentry back in Charleston.

But escaping his heritage is nearly impossible. And now he’s come face-to-face with the one who got away. He’s not looking for love. He’s not even looking for sex . . . so why is resisting her the hardest thing he’s ever done?

The one that got away just came back . . .

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Review:

Rachel  Gibson is a well-known author to romance readers. She has several books out and, as it seems to me, a decent fan base.
I only read few of her books (Nothing But Trouble is my favorite and if you haven’t, I highly recommend you to read it) and from what I read, I can see why this author is the one that readers keep coming back to.
When doing my research I noticed some bloggers saying that Gibson’s books are perfect to get you out of the reading slump. Even though I haven’t been in one when reading this book, I can totally see why is that, because her books read fast and are fun, this one not being exception.

Just Kiss Me follows a story of Vivien, a woman originally from Charleston, who became a big Hollywood star.
After her mother passed away, Vivien has to go back to Charleston to arrange the funeral, see what she’ll do with her inheritance and revisit people she grew up with.
Henry is one of those people, and, even if she hated him when she was a child, the mutual attraction between the two is almost touchable.

This story warmed my heart and left me in a happy place.
You know you’re reading a good romance novel when all the time while reading you just feel happiness, even though there’s nothing happy actually going on in the story.
Don’t get me wrong, this story has more then few happy situations, but even on those pages that were far from happy, there was still that positive feeling I felt.

I decide to blame it on the writing style, because it is so easy to read, full of pop culture references that I welcomed wholeheartedly (because I am a celebrity freak!).

This novel is a romantic story, but it also holds elements of family prose.

It is written in third person, but we also get to see pages from Vivien’s diary from when she was a young girl, that were written in first person.
Although I liked those parts, I often felt like Vivien came too childish, but then again, it pictures perfectly what a sassy teenager she was.

Vivien was a really good character. I liked her most of the time even though I couldn’t agree with every move she made.
Henry was fine love interest, even though I didn’t swoon over him.

The character that left the biggest impression on me was Nonnie. At first she was not-so-likeable and was quite mysterious. However, as the story progressed, I started to admire her, as she behaved herself bigger then most people in her situation would.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book that I finished in only two days (which is pretty fast in my case).
There is one thing that I feel you should be warned about.
This book does contain some descriptive sex scenes, but they were not too much or out of taste.

I think romance lovers would enjoy this book so I do recommend it, especially if you like books with pop culture references.
I also think that family-prose lovers would approve Just Kiss Me because it does have aspects of that sub-genre.

I, personally, am really grateful that I had an opportunity to read Just Kiss Me and I can’t wait to read more of Rachel Gibson’s work.

4

Book Review: Daring In a Blue Dress by Katie MacAlister

daring in a blue dress

Title: Daring In a Blue Dress
Series: Machmaker In Wonderland #3
Author: Katie MacAlister
Publisher: Signet
Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Chivalry is far from dead in the third novel in the “gut-wrenchingly funny”* Matchmaker in Wonderland Romance series.

Stranded in England without money or a ticket home, Mercy Starling takes a job working for a medieval reenactment company. After all, who wouldn’t want to pretend to live in the past, wield swords and long bows, and dress up in armor? And the best part of her summer job is Bestwood Hall…or rather, its intriguing new owner.

The painfully shy Alden Ainslie is overwhelmed by the medieval reenactors who invade the Tudor house he’s renovating, but he’s drawn to the bubbly Mercy. And he valiantly joins in the fun, dodging not just arrows, lances, and the odd sword thrust, but also some pretty suspicious—and potentially deadly—attacks on himself. Someone wants him to give up on the house. But Alden is desperate to prove himself—and win the heart of his lady fair…

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Review:

When it comes to this book, I really, truly believe it is one of those „It’s not you, it’s me“ cases.
You see, there are so many aspects to this story that I believe other people would enjoy, but when it comes to me, I just couldn’t bring myself to like it, even though I wanted to.
In fact, reading this book made want to DNF it, and it made me regret my decision about not DNFing books that I read for review.
But I’ll give it that one – it made me see how making that decision wasn’t the smartest idea in the world.

Daring in a Blue Dress is a third book in the Matchmaker In Wonderland series, but you don’t have to read the first two in order to read this one, because it can be read as a standalone.

The story is written in somewhat unusual way, where it follows two POVs: Mercy’s and Alden’s (who’s name I adore!). While Mercy’s POV was written in first person, Alden’s was written in third person.
I think that was a smart move from author because sometimes, when writing a story from different POVs, it can be hard to make them sound different.

The story starts with Mercy coming to England and meeting a girl who’s job she decides to take because she can’t work where she planned originally.
I liked that part. I liked Mercy’s voice, I liked the idea I got from those few pages about where the story could go and it sat my expectations level a bit higher.

Unfortunately, as the story developed, I liked this book less and less.

Mercy was so unlikeable to me, I know some people would find her behaviour interesting and funny, but I’m not one of those people.
At some scenes, I even found her as an emotional blackmailer.

For Alden‘s charcter there’s a phrase that we, in my country, use and it would describe him perfectly: Mrtvo puhalo.That means there’s not many characteristics I could use to describe him, he was there to be there, and the only thing that I can surely say about him is that he suffers from anxiety, even though it is never said in the book. There, you can read that he is just really, really shy.

This book contains more then some sex scenes, but they are not overdone.
There are some scenes where something important is going on but Mercy can’t concentrate because Alden is just too sexy to her, and while someone would roll their eyes on those scenes, I actually welcomed them because I felt they were believable.

However, closer to the end, some important scenes were happening (and when I say important, I mean „fear for your life importnt“) and when Mercy couldn’t think about anything but how Alden sexy is, I rolled my eyes.

There is a mystery aspect to this story, but it wasn’t a big mystery if you ask me, as I figured out who’s involved with who almost from the beginning.

The lawyer in me also questioned the law aspect to this story.

All in all, although this book wasn’t for me, I think other people would enjoy it.
Personally, I think that it would be a great tv movie that I would like to watch one Sunday afternoon.

2,5

Book Review: My Single Friend by Jane Costello

my single friend

Title: My Single Friend
Author: Jane Costello
Publisher: Znanje (Croatian publisher)
Date: 2010
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): At 28, Lucy is doing well for herself. She’s got a great job in PR, her boss loves her, and her best girlfriends Dominique and Erin think she’s great. More important than anyone’s opinion is that of her flatmate, and oldest friend in the world, Henry. For twenty years they’ve been inseparable: beauty and the geek. Henry thinks the world of Lucy. So why does she feel the need to lie outrageously on dates? From rock-climbing to Chekov: when it comes to prospective boyfriends, Lucy is compelled to embellish her C.V. with unlikely porkies that always backfire – with hilarious results. Henry can’t understand it. Lucy is so loveable: why can’t she just be herself? But when Lucy turns the spotlight on Henry, he wishes he’d never brought it up. With a penchant for jumpers and NHS-style specs, Lucy decides that Henry is in need of a makeover – big time. Enlisting the help of Dom and Erin, it’s not long before the girls have Henry out of the flat, and into the Topman changing rooms. A new haircut, contact lenses, a flirting master-class from Dom …poor Henry doesn’t know what’s hit him. But nothing can prepare them for the surprise results! Before long, Lucy realises that their lives will never be the same again.

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Review:

What a fun and quick read this book was!
Having read and loved more then few books by Jane Costello before, I kind of knew what to expect from this novel, and I am so glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.

This book was everything I wanted and everything I needed at time.

It follows a 28 years old Lucy who works in a PR agency and lives with her best friend Henry, whom she knows for 21 years.
Henry is a perfect example of freak and geak.
He has a massy, longish hair, wears weird clothes and acts even wierder when girls are around.

One night, after watching some tv show, Henry agrees for Lucy and two of her best friends, Erin and Dominique, to give Henry a new look. They will do their best to transform the mate into a best looking version of himself.

Boy, did they suceed!

After his makover, Henry looks so attractive that girs realise they were blind to his hotness.
The matter of fact is, Lucy finds out she maybe has some feelings for her best friend…

This book was written in first person, in Lucy’s POV.
She was an entertainig narrator: funny and smart, but still blind to some situations that were obvious to us as readers.

Henry was a guy every girl could wish for and if that kind of man exsists in real life, please someone introduce me to him. He is a dream guy.

Lucy’s friends were very likeable, and the situation at Lucy’s work, which was a side story in this novel, was intriguing to read about even though I kind of expected the revelation of the situation in the similar way as it was handled.

I think this book is perfect for curing reading slumps and to make you forget the world around you for a few hours you would need to devour it.

I would recommend it to every chick-lit reader and to lovers of Sophie Kinsella’s books.

4,5

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop

romance is in the air hop 2016

Welcome to the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds.

In this giveaway I am giving you a chance to win a YA romance book or Clean Adult Romance book, up to 17 dollars.

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

Here are some romance books I enjoyed reading:

15790873 23343303 25070878 15283043 18660447 18298225 6936382 5664985 12294652 13561164 7075687 1479967

After you Enter this giveaway, make sure to hop around for more giveaways.

 

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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! 🙂

 

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Click here to hop around…


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Book Review: A Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by

the vintage guide

Title: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Author: Kirsty Greenwood
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Date: April 9th, 2015
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It’s going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off…

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Review:

It feels like it’s been months since I’ve read a chick-lit and I wasn’t even aware I missed it in my life.
This book reminded me how it feels to laugh out loud while just reading. It was good to be remembered.

In this book we follow Jessica, who is a party girl with not so much obligations or the work ethic in her life. All she wants to do is party, travel and not to take things seriously, until one day, the life slaps he. She has no job, no place to live and no money.

What I found in this novel is the fact that not one character in this book is likeable at the first apperience, but over the time, chapter by chapter, you start to get attached to them.

At first, I didn’t like Jessica. I tought she was selfish and deserved what came for her. Despise that, I wanted to know how she’s going to manage her new life. I also wondered if there’s going to be that typical character development where the character puts her old life behind her and becomes a different person.
I can gladely say this book is free of all those big cliches.

Peach was my favorite character. I can totally imagine that girl somewhere in the real world.
Summer was the one we should probably think about as a b*tch, but I actually understood her and I would probably act the same way she did, if I was her. Does that make me a b*tch too? Probably, but at least an honest one.
After all, Jessica’s leak of responsibilities and better judgement have put her in the position she found herself in.

Matilda, Jessica’s Grandmother, was my least favorite character. Although, I would like to read her books so I could try some of her advices.

Don’t let the cover and genre fool you! This book contains some serious topics, such as a suicide and depression, shattered loves and shettered personalities. That is what I like about this book the most.
And the fact that author knew how to present this story and touch those serious things in the book, but at the same time wrote a funny book without the dissrespect to people with simiral problems and in simiral situations, makes me appreciate her as an author.

If you seek for a new chick-lit, I warmly recommend this one.

5