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review 2015-11-26 12:26
Review: The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements
Confetti at Christmas - Abby Clements

I’m a huge fan of Abby Clements and always look forward to a new novel from her. I especially loved her Christmas novel, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, so when I was offered a chance to read this novel, I jumped at the chance.

 

Hazel feels lost when her sister moves out of the flat they share. She struggles with the idea of a new flat mate and she’s not getting the chances she deserves at work. Her life seems to be standing still while those around her are moving on at great pace. Lila asks Hazel to help plan her wedding and a sideline job is born for Hazel as guests at Lila’s wedding ask her to help plan their big day. She enjoys helping these couples out but her heart is really in the miniature sets she’s been creating in secret.

 

Hazel’s love life is at something of a standstill too ever since she made a pass at her best friend Sam the previous Christmas. With terrible timing she begins to realise she has fluttery feelings for her work colleague Josh just at the time he asks her to plan his wedding to Sarah.

 

I loved Hazel and was willing her on to find happiness throughout this novel. She was such a likeable character who I warmed to straight away, she is such a well-rounded character that she felt like someone I actually knew. I loved seeing her friendship with Amber grow.

 

I enjoyed how the novel kept taking me in different directions with regards to not only who Hazel might end up with but also if she’d end up with someone at all. I so wanted her to find her Mr Right and didn’t want her to either settle for steady or to be responsible for breaking up someone else’s relationship. I felt all warm and fuzzy when the right man saw Hazel’s miniature set designs and encouraged her to follow her dreams.

 

I loved the descriptions of the miniature sets that Hazel created, I could picture them so vividly. I wish these sets really existed, I’d love to see them and be able to buy them as gifts. How lovely it would be to have a miniature set of your wedding day!

 

This book is a warm and cosy read, perfect for curling up with on a cold winter night. It’s not a festive read but it still has a sense of the festive because it is mainly set in the winter and in the run up to a Christmas wedding.

 

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5.

 

I received this book from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Winter Wedding is out now and available from Amazon.

 

This review was originally posted on my blog: RatherTooFondofBooks

Source: rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/review-the-winter-wedding-by-abby-clements
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review 2015-11-06 22:12
Review: How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake
How to Stuff Up Christmas - Rosie Blake

How To Stuff Up Christmas is a brilliant novel that is both hilariously funny and incredibly heart-warming, I enjoyed reading it so much!

 

Eve recently split up with her fiancé after she accidentally spotted a rather incriminating photo on his phone. After spending a couple of months feeling heartbroken, Eve realises that she can’t face spending Christmas with her family this year as there will be too many reminders of how happy she was the previous Christmas when she and Liam got engaged. Eve considers lots of options for her break but in the end she rents a narrowboat for a month so that her dog, Marmite can go with her. She also signs up for pottery classes to keep her occupied while she’s away.

 

Greg is a man of mystery for quite a lot of the novel. He is obviously a lovely man, he’s a vet with a heart of gold who not only wants to do the best for the animals he cares for but he shows real kindness to their owners too. Greg has something in his private life that he doesn’t want to talk about and it’s weighing heavily on him.

 

Greg and Eve meet when he comes to her rescue, there is obviously a mutual attraction between them but they’re both wary of getting involved. They become friends and Greg helps Eve learn to cook. At some points in the novel the story is told from Eve’s point of view and then in the next chapter there is the same scene told from Greg’s perspective. It was great to see how they were both really feeling, and it really showed how they were putting their guards up to protect themselves from getting hurt. It made me want to climb into the novel and tell them to give each other a chance, I was willing them to get together!

 

I loved Eve’s friendship with Daisy. The way they were together at work finding ways to run rings around their boss, the way Daisy supports Eve through her break up with Liam. It’s the kind of friendship we’d all love to have; the kind of friend who’ll forgive you for giving them food poisoning! I spent the novel hoping that Daisy didn’t know anything that could hurt Eve, it was worrying because sometimes even your best friends can let you down.

 

The closer it got to Christmas the more I was willing Eve’s broken heart to heal faster. Her family have always made a big deal of Christmas, like most families they have their traditions and they stick to them every year. Eve’s family really don’t want her to go away for Christmas and her mum especially doesn’t want to face the fact that she really isn’t planning on being there. It made me sad to think that Eve, who had always had such wonderful, big happy Christmases could feel they were completely ruined by Liam. It made me hate Liam even more for what he’d done!

 

There are some brilliant characters in this novel. I especially loved Eve’s colourblind dad and all his wacky outfits, and I nearly spat my drink out laughing when we met Minnie at the art course and she describes to Raj what she’s making in the pottery class! I just wasn’t expecting her to say what she did, it’s hysterical! I have to mention the crazy geese too, they were funny (and also a little bit terrifying!).

 

I also loved the recipes at the start of some of the chapters; the recipes always relate to food that is mentioned in the chapter. I thought it was brilliant how in amongst recipes for chocolate biscuit cake and gingerbread were recipes for making a Pot Noodle and beans on toast – this made me laugh so much. It just said so much about Eve’s ability to cook!

This is such an enjoyable novel and I highly recommend you buy it! It’s heart-warming, it’s hilarious, it’s just a perfect book to curl up with on these cold autumn/winter nights!

I rate this book 8 out of 10, it’s such an enjoyable read. This is the first novel I’ve read by Rosie Blake but I’ve already bought her previous book, How To Get A (Love) Life and hope to read it very soon.

 

Thank you to Corvus for very kindly sending me How To Stuff Up Christmas.

 

How To Stuff Up Christmas is out today and available on Amazon.

 

This review was originally posted on my blog: RatherTooFondofBooks

 
Source: rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/review-how-to-stuff-up-christmas-by-rosie-blake
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review 2015-09-14 11:09
Review: Abroad by Katie Crouch
Abroad - Katie Crouch

Grifonia is an ancient Italian city which plays host to swarms of foreign exchange students every year. Irish student Tabitha Deacon arrives wanting to immerse herself fully into Italian life and so turns down the university accommodation and quickly finds herself renting a room in a small cottage with two Italian women and an American student, Claire. Tabitha, or Taz as she prefers to be known, is very insecure and desperately wants to fit in, and so finds herself unable to resist when the cliquey Brit Four invite her to join their group. The Brit Four lead a very lavish lifestyle and Taz finds herself at increasingly decadent and dark parties. The sense of foreboding is gradually heightened as Taz gets further involved in their world.

 

Abroad is very loosely based around the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007; Amanda Knox was convicted of the crime, but this novel focuses on the fictionalised story of before.

 

From the beginning of this novel the reader knows that Taz’s time in Grifonia doesn’t end well, and the tales woven through her story of young women throughout ancient Etruscan civilisations who have befallen horrible, often sacrificial fates due to their being women, gives this novel a haunted feel all the way through. The narrative style adds to this by evoking such a sense of longing and loss; it is reminiscent of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones with it’s slightly distant, dream-like quality. It just makes the reader ache for these lost young women.

 

This novel is wonderfully written and an utterly engrossing read, albeit discomforting at times due to it’s links to a real life case. I highly recommend this book.

I gave it 9 out of 10 stars.

 

Original review on my blog: https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/review-abroad-by-katie-crouch/

Source: rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/review-abroad-by-katie-crouch
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