Friday, 15 February 2019

Review: One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot

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.

A 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 copy received via NetGalley*


Full-length novel.

Alternating pov, Lara & Seth, third person.

No, standalone.


More like a Happy For Now.
An epilogue would have given a better feel as to whether the HFN turns out to be a proper HEA.
It's too open-ended.


Despite the book beginning with Lara being dumped and the plot of the book arising from trying to show her ex what he's missing, no, there isn't actually a love-triange.

Nah, unless you count being accidentally stabbed by a spork.

One New York Christmas is a delightfully festive novel about a girl who goes to New York on a whimsy after being dumped by her asshat boyfriend and meets one of her famous crushes and falls in love.

It sounds fabulously fluffy, doesn't it?
A nice holiday romance that will make you smile but will be easy to forget about?
Well, it is a nice holiday romance that makes you smile and it does have a lot of funny fluffy moments but it's so much more than that.
It actually has substance.It's not just a girl meets a boy who heals her broken heart type story.
It's a story about learning who you are and being true to yourself.
A book about the meaning of family: That blood isn't what makes a family, it's love and it's loyalty.

Lara was such a fun character.
A homebody with a desire to see the world. A female truck driver. A girl not afraid to get dirty, or to rescue animals, or get in between a couple of homeless guys having an argument and get sporked for her trouble (yep, that happens). She is a highly competent female with a hint of vulnerability that makes you want to hug her and keep her as a best friend.
Basically, she was lovely and you only wanted good things for her while simultaneously wanting to slap her silly over her fixation on her ex who didn't deserve her loyalty or sadness.
(OMG did the ex-boyfriend fixation get annoying... *screams into a pillow*)

Seth was a lovely, lovely, guy and I want one (even though I already have one, but that's not the point).
Gorgeous, smart, kind and decent. Hard-working, a loving son, a decent human.
He's basically, completely different from how actors are usually portrayed in fiction (well, except for the gorgeous part) and all the better for it.
He's a wonderful match for Lara and their relationship made me smile, giggle and swoon.

I was seriously rooting for this pair... And that's why I'm so unbelievably sad that the ending is a 'happy for now' and not a 'happily ever after'.
I just don't see how they could ever make it work in the long term and with no epilogue to delude me into thinking it's possible I just don't believe it...
But that's irrelevant I guess.
I mean, there's no point fixating over the undisclosed affairs of fictional characters, right? *sobs*

The book was utterly charming, fun and had a host of memorable secondary characters that made me smile from the flamboyant best friends to the quirky relatives and shelter guests.

New York was brought to life in beautiful festive colours and it made me desperately want to visit it at Christmas time but what really amused me was the mention of so many places local to me! I spent a silly amount of time puzzling over what town or village the fictional Appleshaw was based on considering the other towns mentioned... Apparently, the author is a local, who knew? Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to go on to pin-point Appleshaw's inspiration, but I digress.

One New York Christmas pretty much had everything you can think of when it comes to Christmas read rolled up and stuffed into a sweet, and touching story which was sprinkled with reindeer dust and if that's your thing, I'd give it a try.

I love this cover! It's sweet, it's romantic, it's festive and makes me want to curl up all cozy with hot chocolate and a blanket.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Romance in the air giveaway hop

Apparently it's Valentine's Day this week... I have to admit, I don't care. I may be a fictional romance junkie totally in love with love but real-life romance just makes me uncomfortable, lol. Thankfully, my husband is as unromantic as I am so it's totally not awkward in our house. 

That said, I'm up for a giveaway to celebrate the month of lurve!
And the title of this giveaway hop has put a song on loop in my head, therefore, I'm going to offer it up to you in all its cheesy glory. 
You're welcome.

P.S - I'm sorry, I couldn't resist! If you've never seen this movie... You're missing a treat. 😂

I'm giving away a $10 Amazon giftcard to one winner so they can treat themselves OR you can choose a book (up to the value of £/$10) to be delivered via The Book Depository. 
Giveaway is open internationally.
Entrants over 18 years only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A little privacy note
By entering the giveaway, some data will be collected by rafflecopter (e.g name, email address, social media handles) and can be viewed by me.
This information isn't shared with any external parties and once a winner is selected (and the gift card/book delivered) it is deleted. I won't contact entrants for any other reason than to notify the winner (and if selecting a book from Book Depository, an address for delivery).
By entering the giveaway you are consenting to this.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

TTT: Favorite Couples In Books

What is Top Ten Tuesday?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Favorite Couples In Books

I've got two camps for my favourite couples: Those who I grew to love over a lengthy series and those who stole my heart in a single book (or two).

In most cases, I can't put them in order of who I love most but Kate and Curran definitely top the list with Rachel and Trent at second... Or maybe it's the other way around? I don't know... It doesn't matter. Those two couples top the list for me.
 The others are in no particular order.

Kate & Curran from Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

These two were made for each other. They're all in, there for each other through thick or thin, willing to do anything, give up everything for each other. It wasn't insta-love. Their relationship starts off rocky and grows slowly through the series.
They're funny, they're loyal, fierce and just perfect.
They are a couple who worked for it, fought for it and continue to put the time in every single day to stay strong and be there for each other.
These two are relationship goals. Well, minus the always having to kill things but even that this pair make like a good sport.

Rachel & Trent - The Hollows Series - Kim Harrison

Oh, Rachel and Trent... I shipped this pair from the very first book where Rachel was out to get him and Trent retaliated by locking her in a cage while she was transformed into a rodent and kept her for a while before putting her into a rat fight.

They really did start out as enemies.
Then they became very reluctant allies/partners when the situation called for it.
Then they became friendly, but not friends.
Then their relationship went backwards.
Then they slowly built back up to friends.
But through it all there was an ignored attraction that built until the friends became more.

They changed each other for the better.
They fell in love and studiously ignored it because how could they possibly work?
They eventually gave in and it was perfect even though Trent lost everything as Rachel predicted.
He thought she was worth it - sobs - and she would have given up the love of her life so he didn't have to lose everything.
How perfect are they?!

In the end, they live happily ever after.
I live happily ever afters!

Rose & Dimitri from Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Rose and Dimitri Belikov had me from their first meeting.
The banter, the chemistry, the forbidden elements... Cat nip.
The twist at the end of Shadow Kiss broke my heart (if you've read the series you know what I mean), Blood Promise killed me, Spirit Bound should have made everything better but just broke me some more and Last Sacrfice was the best ending ever.

Cassie & Pritkin - Cassandra Palmer Series - Karen Chance

This series is nuts. It moves at a pace where no matter how carefully you read it, it can be hard to follow. There's always attacks, always running, fighting, timeshifting... And right in the middle of all of it is the hapless Cassie who would be dead a hundred times over if not for her warrior mage Pritkin.
Interestingly, he hated her and tried to kill her himself in the beginning but somehow he went from there to defending her out of duty to defending her because no one is going to harm her as long as he breathes and, more amusingly, Cassie feels the same for her messy haired mage.
 For, oh about 8 books, Pritkin's curse made it impossible for them to be more than just friends - despite some 'emergency' situations 😉 - but now he's free of it so the remainder of this series is going to rock!

They've both realised what they are to each other, they're now able to be together except for the interference for a vile master vampire - yeah I hate Mircea, sue me! - so I can't wait for these two lobsters to live all happy... Once they've defeated one more god or whatever.

Valerius & Tabitha - Seize The Night  - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters used to be my favourites. Strong, sexy, wounded men and the woman who make them live again... Quite literally returning their souls!

None of them have stayed so prominent in my memory as Valerius and Tabitha.
Tabitha is weird, quirky and loves hunting vampires.
Valerius, a despised roman Dark-Hunter, who is the arch nemesis of Tabitha's brother-in-law.
Oh how he broke my heart and how I loved him.

To be honest, no matter how much I liked Tabitha, she wasn't good enough for my sweet Val because no one is... But I suppose they make an awesome couple and she brought him peace and all that jazz so she'll do.

Ivan & Jasmine - From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata

Enemies to lovers to a backdrop of ice-dancing/figure skating.
Ivan and Jasmine made me laugh and made me cry.
Peel away years of rivalry and caustic banter and you have two people who were made for each other and the one thing you can't understand throughout the entire book is all the wasted years where they should have been skating together!

Shy & Tabitha - Own The Wind - Kristen Ashley

Another pair that is just perfect.
This book, this couple, broke my heart a million times over but was so freaking beautiful.
Tabby sparked a change in Shy that changed his life and Shy is the guy strong enough to stand by Tabby's side without crushing her or dimming her shine.
They didn't have an easy beginning but they are one of those couples who you know will have a wonderful life and a love that is one-in-a-million.
My romance loving heart could hardly take it.

Caroline and West - Deeper - Rebecca York

Caroline and West. Oh... How to descibe Caroline and West?

When you first see Caroline and West togther its like BAM!! Instant curiosity and need to know more. Your "ooh yummy" radar goes absolutely haywire and the most amazing part is that you don't even know what West looks like! He could look like a bridge troll and it wouldn't matter because your reaction to him is caused by the way Caroline reacts to him, it draws you to him and the way that he reacts to her? That makes you sit up and say hello.
They were addictive.

On paper the are complete opposites but they are made for each other.
Their relationship is beautiful. It's not perfect but all the imperfections just made it more beautiful for me. They make each other better people and together they grow into something more than either could have been on their own.
It's gorgeous to read and it shines a spotlight on the issue of revenge porn which more people need to educate themselves on.

Lucas and Jacqueline - Easy - Tammara Webber

Lucas!! I love me some Lucas!!
I love how he loves Jacqueline.
Oh man, I could ramble incoherently for hours on Lucas... He is perfect. He has issues, he has secrets but he is wonderful. Protective without ever being a caveman ass, smart, sexy... He is exactly what Jacqueline needs. He gives her what she wants, what she needs, makes her strong and able to stand on her own while being someone she can lean on. He is someone who will always put her first, will give her everything and she loves him back just as fiercely.

Their relationship is one that is believable and the book isn't fluffy with the way it tackles the issue of rape on college campuses in a sympathetic and realistic way.

Jimmy and Lena - Stage Dive Series - Kylie Scott

I love the Stage Dive rockers, like actually love them. Well, maybe not Ben. I think Ben is an asshole, but I LOVE the others and none more so that Jimmy.
And, I LOVED Lena. She made me laugh with her wit and sarcasm, she's a curvy woman and Jimmy loved the curves she was rocking. I loved how Lena's personality clashed and complimented Jimmy's with downright hilarious results. 
Both Jimmy and Lena are vulnerable in their own ways. They are both lonely and they fit together like the pieces of a two-piece puzzle. The chemistry between them was smokin' hot and their relationship was unnecessarily complicated, which could've been annoying but I loved the feels it caused... I laughed, I squirmed, I cried (not literally but my heart squeezed and kinda wanted to) and I just loved them.


Who are your favourite couples in books?
Any of these make your list?

Monday, 11 February 2019

Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently, he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who's gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason's amnesia or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?


The narrator was awesome and his voice didn't annoy me! He also had really distinctive voices for each character which made it easy to follow.

It's a full-length novel and super lengthy considering it's a middle-grade / YA book!

Third-person, multiple POV.

No, you don't need to know anything about Percy Jackson to enjoy although I think it helps...

Nah, the story arc for this book wraps up but obviously, the overarching plot is unresolved.

Yep, fantasy violence suitable for YA readers.

Argh! This book made me so happy and I never expected that to happen... Honestly, one of the reasons I held off in starting this series for so long was that I loved the Percy Jackson series and was less than enthused at the idea of a  lengthy book set in the world of Percy Jackson but without Percy!
What kind of evil was that!
A whole new set of heroes?! A son of Zeus? 
Give me the son of the sea god any day!
However, the kiddo loved this series and Percy returns in the next book so I eventually had a word with myself and gave the series a try and now I'm kicking myself that I waited so long!
It was awesome!

It has everything I came to love about Rick Riordan's world - amazing characters, a gripping story, myths, legends, feeling, laugh out loud humor - and more!
So much more.

Jason (son of Zeus/Jupiter), Piper (daughter of Aphrodite) and Leo (son of Hephestus) stole my flipping heart.

The camp half-blood crew make an appearance, the hunters of Artemis are present, there's a flying bronze dragon, minor gods, evil plots, a whole new prophesy and new aspects to the Gods!

It was exciting and addictive and in many ways much more grown up than the Percy Jackson series.
The characters had experienced heartbreak, they'd had uneasy childhoods, they had to make tough decisions, they were conflicted and being herded down a path by a bitchy Goddess that they weren't sure they wanted to walk but they stepped up to the plate to do what was right anyway.

I loved that it was told from multiple points of view. It really helped to develop each of the new characters and flesh out their stories to the point that they felt like real people and my god did you care about what happened to them!

I love the direction the world is going and I'm so excited to read The Son of Neptune now, not just to reconnect with Percy (I love him!) but to meet Camp Jupiter and the Roman demi-gods.
I desperately want to know who will finish off the list of 7 heroes to enact the prophecy (Percy is obviously one but who else?) and you know what? It's a testament to Rick Riordan that no matter how excited I am to be returning to Percy, I'm a little annoyed I need to wait until book three to see Jason, Piper and Leo again and for the characters to unite!

Meh, the cover is fine. I love that it features Festus the dragon.

Jason scratched his head. "You named him Festus? You know that in Latin, ‘festus’ means ‘happy’? You want us to ride off to save the world on Happy the Dragon?”


“You must forge your own path for it to mean anything.”


Piper gripped his hand and followed him, “If I fall, you’re catching me.”
“Uh, sure.” Jason hoped he wasn’t blushing.
Leo stepped out next. “You’re catching me, too, Superman. But I ain’t holding your hand.”


“My point is that love is the most powerful motivator in the world. It spurs mortals to greatness. Their noblest, bravest acts are done for love.”