Chasing Abby by Cassia Leo – Review

For eighteen years, I’ve known one part of me. The part that was raised by Brian and Lynette Jensen. But now, seeing how similar I am to my biological parents, I understand why there was a huge part of me that always felt disconnected.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

It’s been eighteen years since Abigail Jensen was born with a hole in her heart. Five years since she collapsed on the soccer field. And it’s been five years, six months and eight days since she found out that she was adopted.

Abigail has spent five years wondering about the family she never knew, and why she wasn’t good enough for them. When she turns eighteen, it’s time for her to decide if she wants to know her biological parents, and why they put her up for adoption.

After an argument with her adoptive parents, Abigail arrives on the doorstep of her biological parents, Chris and Claire Knight. She’s astonished to discover that they never stopped thinking about her and have been waiting for this day for eighteen long years.

They get one summer to make up for all the lost years. But that one summer becomes the best, and worst time in Abby’s life, as once again somebody makes the ultimate sacrifice for her.

My Thoughts

This is the fourth and final book, excluding novellas, in the Shattered Hearts series by Cassia Leo. I’d never read anything by Cassia Leo when I saw that the first three books in this series were available on Netgalley. I read the first three books in the space of a few months and when I found that Abby was getting her own book I couldn’t wait to read it.

I absolutely loved seeing her meet Chris and Claire. Although Abby’s adoptive parents have loved and cared for her for eighteen years, I knew from the previous books how hard losing her was for Chris and Claire. Claire in particular as it was her decision to give Abby away in order to give her a good life, and she never stopped blaming herself.

Now Abby is eighteen, and her father has given her the key to a safety deposit box at the bank, filled with information about her biological parents, including their address. When Abby argues with her parents, she decides there’s no time like the present to meet her biological family, and she soon arrives on their doorstep.

I was so happy for Chris and Claire when they finally get to meet her. I found Chris amusing as he couldn’t decide how to behave with Abby’s long term boyfriend Caleb. Chris has never been a part of Abby’s life, so he’s unsure if he has the right to dislike Caleb for dating his daughter, but at the same time he still sees her as his little girl and he’s very protective.

He’s got nothing to worry about with Caleb though. Abby is his sunshine and he would do anything to make her happy. He takes care of her, he makes sure she takes her medication, and he knows the signs when she’s overdone it and needs to rest. Everybody needs a Caleb in their life, especially somebody like Abby with her fragile heart.

The best part for me is that Abby got to meet her siblings. She always felt out of place with her adoptive parents, like she didn’t quite belong. Surrounded by her biological family, she finally feels like she belongs, and quickly becomes comfortable around them.

However, I had a feeling that this happiness couldn’t last forever, and I knew that tragedy was bound to strike soon. And it really did strike. It was completely unexpected, it was heartbreaking, but it was also heartwarming at the same time.

I’ve loved the whole Shattered Hearts series, and I plan on reading the other novellas too. This was a lovely ending to the series,and I recommend the whole series to lovers of Romantic stories.

Book Info

Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £2.99*
Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-1500279301
Paperback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £8.34 – £9.49**Prices correct at time of posting

Shattered Hearts Series
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The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory – Review

Henry the king goes too fast for me in a way that Henry the prince never did. For Henry the prince was quick and clever but Henry the king is as fast and as cunning as a madman: wildly decisive.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Margaret Pole spends her young life struggling to free her brother, arrested as a child, from the Tower of London. The Tower – symbol of the Tudor usurpation of her family’s throne – haunts Margaret’s dreams until the day that her brother is executed on the orders of Henry VII.

Because of her dangerous Plantagenet name, Margaret is buried in marriage to Sir Richard Pole, governor of Wales. Margaret’s life is changed however, when Prince Arthur and his beautiful new bride, Katherine of Aragon arrive to live in her household.

Tragedy throws Margaret into poverty, luck returns her to favour at the King’s court when she becomes chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. As the young King becomes increasingly paranoid of his rivals, he turns his fearful attention towards Margaret and her family.

Margaret must choose where her loyalties lie; with the increasingly tyrannical king, or with her beloved Queen and Princess. Margaret now has to find her own way, and hide her knowledge of a curse on the Tudors, which seems to be coming true.

My thoughts

This is the sixth and final book in The Cousin’s War series by Phillipa Gregory. The series tells the story of six different women who are close to the throne of England, and have a lot to lose should they find themselves on the losing side.

This story is told through Margaret Pole, daughter to George Duke of Clarence, and niece to two former Kings; Edward IV and Richard III. She was also a close friend and cousin to Elizabeth of York, the wife of King Henry VII and mother to Henry VIII.

When Henry VII killed King Richard at the battle of Bosworth, Margaret’s great Plantagenet name became dangerous. She’s able to marry a lowly Knight and hide her name, but her younger brother isn’t so lucky and is executed by a paranoid king.

This book really tells the story of the rise of Henry VIII, as Margaret watches him grow from a loving little boy eager to outdo his older brother, to a paranoid and tyrannical king. It’s interesting to see how his mind and his health decline throughout this book. The people of England rejoiced when he ascended to the throne after the death of his father Henry VII, as Henry VII was greedy, and feared by many. The young king is kind, and dotes on his new wife, his brother’s widow Katherine of Aragon.

However, after years of miscarriages and early deaths of his children, Henry grows paranoid that God does not approve of his marriage to Katherine and seeks to cast her aside, as he believes that she can’t give him a healthy son.

Margaret is put in a very difficult situation, as she loves the Queen Katherine very dearly, but she can’t be seen to oppose the king or she’ll risk the death of herself and of her children. Putting the Queen aside also means disinheriting the Princess Mary, who has been raised as a Princess of England, and won’t give up her title easily.

I’ve really enjoyed all of the previous books in this series, and this was no different. For some reason this one took me a long time to read, although it’s around the same length as the previous books. There were times when the story seemed to drag out a bit, and I did want it to hurry up at times, but it always kept my attention. I’ve always had an interest in the reign of Henry VIII, ever since studying the Tudors in Primary School, and I found it fascinating to read Margaret’s account of his assent to power, the descent of his mind, and the disappearance of the loving king that England hoped for.

Other Editions

Kindle Edition ASIN – B00GKMNBCG
Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £7.99*
Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-0857207586
Paperback Edition price from Amazon – £5.59*

*Prices correct at time of posting

Reading Order
  • The Lady of the Rivers (Book 3)
  • The Red Queen  (Book 2)
  • The White Queen (Book 1)
  • The Kingmaker’s Daughter (Book 4)
  • The White Princess (Book 5)
  • The King’s Curse (Book 6)

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory – Review

I may live in the royal palace, and sleep in one of the best rooms, I may be served with courtesy though without the bended knee that people must show to the royal family. But I live here quietly, without a court, without the usual crowd of flatters, friends and petitioners, without sight of the king:a princess without a crown, a betrothed without a bridegroom, a bride with no date for her wedding.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

When Henry Tudor picked up the crown of England from Bosworth field, he knew he would have to marry the princess of the rival house, York, in an effort to unify a country that had been divided by war for nearly two decades.

However, Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Kind Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, was in love with Henry’s defeated enemy, King Richard III. Now Elizabeth must honour her betrothal to the new King Henry, in order to fulfill her duty to the country that loves her.

Meanwhile, somewhere beyond the shores of England, a pretender claiming to be Elizabeth’s lost brother, is raising an army. He claims to be the true heir to the throne, and it doesn’t take long for him to gather followers.

Elizabeth now faces a terrible dilemma; she must try and choose between her duty to her husband, and the boy who claims to be her long lost brother.

My Thoughts

This is the fifth book in The Cousin’s War series by Phillipa Gregory. I’ve loved all of these stories of strong women so far, and this was no exception. In fact, I found this one to be one of the most interesting and compelling stories so far, as Elizabeth of York battles with conflicting loyalties.

In the Kingmaker’s Daughter, the book that tells the story of Anne Neville, Queen of England and wife of Richard III, it’s clear that Richard is developing feelings for Elizabeth of York. Although those feelings were often dismissed by Richard as an effort to degrade Elizabeth, it’s clear that Elizabeth’s feelings were true. After Richard’s death at the battle of Bosworth, Elizabeth becomes a shell of her confident self. To make matters worse, she is forced to marry Henry Tudor, Richard’s killer.

Elizabeth’s new husband becomes paranoid when he learns of the pretender that claims to be the lost Prince of York, and rightful heir to the throne. This causes him to become suspicious of everybody, especially his York wife. Elizabeth now has to watch her every move, and be careful what she says in front of the King, his mother, and their various spies. As more members of her family claim to recognise the pretender as Prince Richard, Elizabeth’s thoughts turn to the boy that was smuggled overseas, and wonders if it really could be her long lost brother.

I found this story incredibly fascinating and struggled to put it down. As more evidence emerged that Prince Richard was alive, I myself had conflicted feelings. While I wanted the pretender to be Prince Richard, and have him reunited with his family and restored to his throne, I also didn’t want him to come forward, as this was very likely to result in his death, and more pain for Elizabeth.

I’m looking forward to reading book six in this series, The King’s Curse, which follows the story of Margaret, cousin to Elizabeth of York, and daughter of George Duke of Clarence.

The Author

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Book Info

Kindle Edition ASIN – B009R6GEF8
Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £3.32*

Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-0857207531
Paperback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £0.01 – £3.50*

*Prices correct at time of posting

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory – Review

I follow her up the long aisle of the cathedral, the dazzling stained-glass window making a carpet of colour beneath my feet,as if I were walking over the sun in splendour. It strikes me it is the second time that my mother has presented me to a Queen of England. The first time I saw the most beautiful woman I have ever known. This time:the most ferocious.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

The Kingmaker’s Daughter tells the story of Anne of Warwick, daughter of ‘The Kingmaker’, the Earl of Warwick. With no sons as heirs, the Kingmaker uses his two daughters as pawns in his quest to control England.

Anne grows up in the court of King Edward IV and his beautiful Queen Elizabeth Woodville, only for her father to make war on his former friends and use her and her sister Isabel to his gain. Anne is left widowed and fatherless, with her sister married to the enemy and her mother in sanctuary.

Rescued from the imprisonment of her sister and brother-in-law by Richard Duke of Gloucester, Anne eventually becomes Queen of England, just as her father intended. As Anne loses those closest to her, she must protect herself, and her only son from a court of rivals.

My Thoughts

This is the fourth book in The Cousins’ War series and once again I was instantly drawn into this story of love, betrayal, and war. Each book tells the story of a different Woman, each one married to powerful men and fearful for the safety of their loved ones.

I found Anne’s story to be incredibly interesting, as she went from a young girl, fearful of her mother’s disapproval, to the most powerful woman in the country. As a young girl, she always walked behind her mother and her sister, was careful to mind her manners, and constantly in the shadow of her older sister Isabel. As her father The Kingmaker seeks to overthrow his own friend from the throne, he uses his own daughters as pawns in his war. When his plans to put Isabel on the throne fail, he marries Anne to Prince Edward of Lancaster, and turns his coat.

When Anne is left widowed and fatherless at a young age, she falls into the care of her sister, and treated as a traitor. All hopes of becoming Queen of England fall away, as she is left penniless and at the mercy of King Edward. However Richard has other plans for Anne, and whisks her away to be married.

Anne and Richard’s relationship was a good one, as they married for love. Anne’s first marriage was forced upon her, and to a man she hardly knew. As Anne and Richard grew up together, there is a strong bond between them, and it’s clear that there is genuine love between them.

I’ve now read the same story from three different points of view, all three sides fighting for the throne of England. Phillipa Gregory writes these stories in such a way that I’m forced to change sides as I read these books, as all three stories are so compelling that it’s hard to know whose side I’m on. In The White Queen I found myself hoping that Queen Elizabeth would be safe in sanctuary and that her children would be returned safely to her. In The Red Queen I found myself siding with Margaret Beaufort, wishing for the safe journey of her son Henry and that he would win his battle and take the throne of England. And in this story, Elizabeth and Margaret both became enemies, as I fell in love with Anne’s story and felt her heartbreak over the death of her loved ones.

I’ve loved every book of this series so far, and can’t wait to read the next in the series; The White Princess, the story of Elizabeth Woodville’s oldest daughter.

The Author

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Book Info

Kindle Edition ASIN – B007IL59D2
Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £3.66*

Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-0857207487
Paperback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £0.01 – £3.85*

Hardback Edition ISBN13 – 978-0857207463
Hardback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £0.01 – £18.99**Prices correct at time of posting

The Lady of the Rivers – Review

We stand hand-clasped, our faces quite blank, as if this were not a nightmare that tells me, as clearly as if it was written in letters of fire, what ending a girl may expect if she defies the rules of men. I am not only here to witness what happens to a heretic. I am here to witness what happens to a woman who thinks she knows more than men.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

It is the year 1435. Jaquetta of Luxembourg is left a young and wealthy widow when her husband, the Duke of Bedford dies. It is not long before Jaquetta and Richard Woodville, the former Duke’s squire, give in to their true feelings and marry, despite the royal court’s disapproval.

Jaquetta becomes close friends with Margaret of Anjou, the new wife of King Henry VI. As the king slips into a mysterious sleep, the people of England rise up against him and his french queen. At the head of this rebellion is Richard Duke of York, head of the House of York, who threatens to overthrow the King and take the throne for himself. Jaquetta must face the dangers of living in a country at war, and fight for the safety of her family, especially her oldest daughter, Elizabeth Woodville.

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest; when I first started reading this book, I wasn’t sure if I could get into it. It didn’t grab me from the start like the other books in the series, but as the story progressed into something that I was more familiar with I really started to enjoy it. The story started in France in 1435, when Jaquetta was a young woman. She learns from a young age that she can never be more powerful than a man, or she will face the same fate as Joan of Arc, who she befriends before she is executed.

Jaquetta’s relationship with her great-aunt was enjoyable to read. She teaches Jaquetta about her heritage,their ancestor Melusina, and how to use her gift of foreseeing for the right reasons. I enjoyed reading about the knowledge being passed down to Jaquetta, because I know that she passed the knowledge onto her daughter Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen.

Jaquetta’s character was a joy to read about. She’s living in a country at war, which is dangerous for everyone, but even more so for people that are close to the King and Queen, and who will have harder to fall, should they lose in battle. There is the the constant fear of losing her Husband and her Son in battle, and it seems as though the battles will never end, and she’ll always have to be worried about them. As if this isn’t bad enough, Jaquetta must hide her gifts, or risk the same fate as Joan of Arc, which Jaquetta had to witness first hand. I really admire the strength that she shows throughout the story, throughout all of the battles, the conspiracies, and the pain.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book was the relationship between Jaquetta and Richard Woodville. Most of the marriages in this period of history were arranged to financially benefit the families of the betrothed. But from their very first meeting, there was a real spark between Jaquetta and Richard, which was lovely to see. They spent more and more time together as time went by, and when Jaquetta’s first husband died, they went against the wishes of the Royal Court and married for love. The greetings between husband and wife in these books are often very formal, with no hint of love whatsoever. But each and every time Richard returns from battle, it is as if they were young again with the joy of being back together. This was heartwarming in a book so full of tragedy.

The Author

This is the third book in the series ‘The Cousins’ War’ but should be read before ‘The White Queen’ to keep the stories in chronological order. I didn’t know this before I read ‘The White Queen’, but I found it easy to follow anyway. The next book that I’m going to read in this series is ‘The Kingmaker’s Daughter’ the story of Anne Neville, the daughter of the Earl of Warwick. Philippa Gregory has pulled off another fantastic and fascinating book with this installment, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory – Review

We may be of the same family but that is the very reason why we are not friends, for we are rivals for the throne. What quarrels are worse than family quarrels? We may all be cousins; but they are of the house of York and we are of the house of Lancaster. Never forget it.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

It is the year 1453. Margaret Beaufort, at nine years of age, dreams of a celibate life in service to God. But as the heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret cannot choose a life for herself, and she’s forced into a marriage at the age of 12 to Edmund Tudor,a man twice her age and half-brother to King Henry VI.

Married for the purpose of conceiving a Tudor heir, Margaret gives birth to a son, at thirteen, who she names Henry. Margaret is determined to put her son on the throne, despite the strength of York, and concocts one of the greatest schemes of all time.

My Thoughts

I devoured this book. I really enjoyed The White Queen, but for some reason, this book grabbed me even more. The White Queen intrigued me and gave me a real interest in this time period, so perhaps seeing the story from the side of Lancaster is what entrapped me in this book. Since the book is set over the same time frame as The White Queen, I knew most of the events that were going to take place. But seeing them from the other point of view, having an insight into the mystery of the disappearance of the princes in the tower, and an insight into the mysterious character that is Margaret Beaufort, really made this book difficult to put down.

At the end of The White Queen, we know that there is going to be a battle between Henry Tudor and King Richard III, but what we don’t know is the outcome of the battle, as the book ends before the battle begins. The mystery is cleared up in this book, I won’t say anymore or it will ruin the story, but this was the main reason why I loved this book and why it kept me gripped at all hours of the day.

I can’t say that I really liked Margaret’s character. She’s certainly a strong woman, and she’s definitely determined to fight for what she believes in. But at times, she was so conceited that she frustrated me. The cover model on the edition of the book that I read, has a very smug and superior look to her, so this was an accurate representation in my opinion.

That being said, I don’t believe that Margaret would have been so insufferable had she not been forced into two marriages at a young age. As a young girl, she felt that she was special and that everyone should be able to see that she is special, since she believed that she was chosen by God and he sent her visions, but she wasn’t a cruel person. Her mother drills into her from a young age, that although York are their cousins, they are also their enemies and Margaret should never forget that. Therefore, Margaret grows up with a strong belief that the house of Lancaster is superior, and she will stop at nothing to put her son on the throne, and become ‘My Lady, the King’s Mother.’

THE AUTHOR

Philippa Gregory continues to amaze me with this book, and has made me intrigued by the history behind her novels. I’m about to read the third book of the series ‘The Lady of The Rivers’, which focuses on Jacquetta, the mother of The White Queen. I’ll be reading all of the books in the ‘Cousins’ War’ series, and looking out for more fascinating books by Philippa Gregory.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory – Review

Everyone knows that these wars have torn our country apart, have destroyed our prosperity, our friendliness between neighbours, our trust of strangers, the love between brothers, the safety of our roads, the affection for our king; and yet nothing seems to stop the battles.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

It’s the year 1464, England is at war, as the two houses of York and Lancaster fight each other for the throne. Elizabeth Woodville, a young Lancastrian widowed by the war, marries the young King Edward, much to the anger of his advisers.

As Queen of England, Elizabeth must face the dangers that face her, and her children, as members of her own family fight to take the throne of England. But as a descendant of the Goddess of Water, Melusina, Elizabeth has her own tricks up her sleeve.

My Thoughts

For a while I’ve been interested in reading some of Phillipa Gregory’s books. When the BBC Drama of The White Queen aired, my local library put this book on display, so I took my opportunity and borrowed it. At first, I thought the book was very long,at 455 pages, and thought it would take me a long time to read it. The actual story is only 409 pages, the rest of the pages are taken up with an Author’s Note, a Bibliography, suggestions for reading groups, some background information on the legend of Melusina, an interview with the Author, and a preview of the next book in the series, The Red Queen.

Reading this book was certainly no chore for me, I loved every page and found it incredibly fascinating. I was enthralled by the story of Elizabeth, a widowed commoner, descended from a Goddess, who becomes Queen of England. Elizabeth is a strong, determined and powerful woman, in a time when to be a powerful woman, was to be condemned as a witch. As the war rages around her, she fights to protect her power,and her family. I love to read about strong female characters in Historical Fiction, since Elizabeth lived in a time when most women were powerless and controlled by the men in their lives, whether it was their Father, or their Husband that was chosen for them. Elizabeth is her own woman, she married for love, and allows no one to control her, even when it would save her life to allow them to.

I liked the way the book was laid out, it was almost like an account of events, which kept the book interesting, since it didn’t drag on. I would definitely say that the plot is fast paced, but it’s not too fast paced, and doesn’t give away too much too soon. It kept me in suspense, and kept me awake for many late nights.

This is probably the first book that I’ve read cover to cover. The Author’s note and the interview with her was very interesting, and if you have an edition with these, I suggest you read them. I found them to be very informative; I’ve learned that while most of this book is historical fact, Phillipa Gregory has also weaved in some of her own ideas, since records for that time in history are quite patchy. The Author goes on to explain which parts are historical fact, which I really enjoyed as I have a keen interest in history.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written, full of historical facts, and I felt like I was learning some history while I was reading. It’s awakened my love for Historical Fiction, and I’ll be reading more of Phillipa Gregory’s books.

THE AUTHOR

Phillipa Gregory is a Historian and Writer, with a particular love for the Tudor period. She has written several fiction series’ including; ‘The Cousins’ War’,’The Tudor Court Novels’, and ‘The Wideacre Trilogy’. She has also written some non-fiction history books, and she writes modern novels too.

Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher – Review

‘I can dismiss her theories – from tarot readings to fairy tales – simply because it doesn’t make sense to me. But she’s right. None of this makes sense. And the more we try to uncover the mystery, the more I feel like we’re wasting our damn time.’

My Rating – 3/5 Stars

Charlie Wynwood and Silas Nash were best friends since they could walk, and lovers since they were fourteen. However, neither of them have any memories about themselves, each other, or their families. He’ll do anything to remember; she’ll do anything to forget.

My Thoughts

I bought this book as soon as it was available on Amazon, simply because it’s by Colleen Hoover. I’ve always loved everything written by her, so I didn’t hesitate to buy this book which is a collaboration with Tarryn Fisher. I’ve yet to read anything by Tarryn Fisher, but as she’s an Author I’ve heard of, and a few of her books are on my to-read list, I didn’t have any qualms about buying this book.

This is the first time that I’ve found a Colleen Hoover book difficult to read and review, as it’s the first time that I haven’t really found myself falling in love with one of her stories. This could be because it’s so different from her other books that I’ve read, or maybe it’s the alternating points of view between the two characters, and between the two Authors. Whatever the reason for it, I just couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked.

The ending of the book left a lot of be desired for me. Although I’m used to cliffhangers in books, I felt that the cliffhanger in this book was too big, to the point where nothing was explained and I was just left confused.

That being said, I did enjoy the mystery surrounding Charlie and Silas, as neither of them have any memories of their lives, and the people in them. I thought it was interesting that although they could remember how to drive, and they could remember the names of celebrities, they couldn’t remember anything about their personal lives and those closest to them.

All in all, I was a bit disappointed with this book, but it’s possible that my expectations were too high because of how much I love Colleen Hoover’s other books. However I am interested in reading the second part of the story; perhaps it will shed some light on the mystery surrounding Charlie and Silas, and help to clear up my confusion.

Book Info

Kindle Edition ASIN -B00RZVNDSS

Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £1.97*

Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-1506107158
Paperback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £3.95 – £5.26*

*Prices correct at time of posting

Paperback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £3.95 – £5.26*

*Prices correct at time of posting

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber – Review

Addie had assumed she’d feel good about being able to do this for her mother. Quite the contrary. Already she was filled with dread, and her mother and neighbour hadn’t even left for the airport.

My Rating – 3/5 Stars

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission to help Addie Folsom get her life back on track, and help her find love. Harry poses as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, and although he’s up to the task, he isn’t prepared for the surprises coming his way.

After moving away and trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned to her hometown for Christmas, but this time she’s staying for good and has enrolled in the local college. However, being back home has it’s drawbacks, and one of those drawbacks is Erich Simmons.

Erich is her next-door neighbour, and he never missed a chance to tease and humiliate Addie as they were growing up. Addie intends to avoid Erich as much as possible, but when they are forced together, Addie must swallow her pride.

With a little encouragement from an angelic teacher, Addie and Erich soon find common ground and discover that they actually enjoy spending time together. They’re in for a Christmas miracle.

My Thoughts

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, via Netgalley. I requested this book to read in December as I love to read Christmas books in the lead up to Christmas.

As this is in honest review, I’ll start by saying that this book didn’t really impress me. It was a short read, and if it was longer I might not have been able to finish it, as it just seemed to lack something. I enjoyed the concept of the guardian angel that’s placed on earth to guide Addie and her classmates, most of which are in need of a push in the right direction. However, there just didn’t seem to be a spark between the two main characters so I couldn’t enjoy the story as much as I would have liked to.

At the start of the story, the difficult relationship between Addie and Erich is explained. Addie and her brother Jerry grew up next door to Erich, and while Erich and Jerry were friends, Addie’s relationship with Erich was more difficult. She always had feelings for Erich and followed him around hoping for his attention. However, Erich went out of his way to make her life difficult, teasing her at every opportunity.

I found it a little strange that the small mention of Addie’s brother at the start of the book was all we hear about him throughout the whole story. Jerry has a family of his own and lives quite far from his hometown, but as this is the first Christmas without their father, you’d think he’d make the effort to visit for Christmas. I just found this a little strange as Christmas is a time for family.

There’s not much else to say about this book, as really not a lot happens. I did enjoy Harry’s POV as he had to come to terms with the human emotions he was feeling while he was in a human body. He’s not used to those feelings, so it was interesting to see how he copes with his new and complex emotions.

Overall, this was a nice read, if a little boring. I’ve certainly read better Christmas books, but I’ve also read worse. I wouldn’t read this book again, but I don’t regret reading it, as it did have a nice magical element to it.

Book Info

Kindle Edition ASIN –  B00M2P29B4

Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £2.84*

Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-0099595038

Paperback Edition price from Amazon – New and Used from £0.16 – £2.99*

*Prices correct at time of posting

A Christmas to Remember by Various Authors

He was tired of living in the dark. He wanted to light up the world, if for no other reason than to see those holiday lights shining in Maryanne’s eyes.

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My Overall Rating – 4/5 Stars

A Christmas to Remember is a collection of short Romance stories with a festive theme. Each story is from a different Author and starts with a foreword from the Author about a particular Christmas that they remember well. I liked these sections, as I could often see a link between the Author’s Christmas experience, and the events in their stories.

Dream a Little Dream by Jill Shalvis

Melissa has always kept men at a safe distance, and never got too involved. This is especially true when it comes to Ian, her sexy firefighter friend with benefits. Until one night, when she realises that life is too short not to act on the feelings that she’s been trying to hide.

My Thoughts 

This story from Jill Shalvis was short and sweet. Ian and Melissa were friends with benefits before this story, and Ian is finding it hard to adjust to not having her around. Melissa is trying to kid herself into believing that she doesn’t need a man, especially not Ian, but deep down she misses him and wishes she hadn’t pushed him away. Fate intervenes and presents them with a second chance at Christmas, and this time Melissa is determined that she won’t make a mess of things.

I liked the concept of this quick read. Because the characters already have a history together this story works as a short. We get a brief idea of their backstory, which was enough to set up this story nicely. I enjoyed reading this but not as much as some of the other stories so I’ll give it three stars.

Every Year by Kristen Ashley

The Holiday season doesn’t come easily for brothers Shy and Landon Cage, since their difficult childhood. But with a little help from Tabitha Allen and family, and a bit of Christmas magic, these brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime.

My Thoughts

This is one of my favourite stories from this collection, although that’s mostly because I was already familiar with some of the characters. This is a novella from the Chaos series by Kristen Ashley, and although I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, I was introduced to Tabitha Allen and her father Tack Allen in Motorcycle Man. For this reason, I found it easy to get myself into this story, as it was more like revisiting Motorcycle Man, rather than trying to get into a new story.a christmasto

This story is based around Shy Cage, Tabby’s boyfriend, and his brother Landon. After losing their parents and being sent to live with their resentful Aunt when they were children, the brothers haven’t had a happy Christmas. However, they’re spending this Christmas with the Allens and it could be just what they needed.

This story was full of Christmas joy and I loved it. The Allens are a loud, boisterous, but happy and loving family who love nothing more than to spend time together. The two young children, Ride and Cut, really made this story for me,as they were just like I was at that age; up far too early and excited for Christmas. Four stars for this one.

Silent Night by Hope Ramsay

Single mother Maryanne has been down on her luck lately and is hoping to find a new start in the small town of Last Chance. When the snow starts to fall, it looks like her baby boy Joshua might spend his Christmas Eve in a Manger; and Maryanne might spend her Christmas with a handsome stranger.

My Thoughts

You could say that this story was fairly cheesy, with a desperate mother seeking refuge in a barn on a cold winter’s night. But for me, Christmas is all about cheesy love stories so I didn’t let this bother me. There’s even a few similarities with names, since the mother is called Maryanne, her baby is called Joshua and when she was young, she dreamed up a friend for herself called Joe.

Put all of that aside however, and what you have is a short and sweet story about a Christmas miracle when it’s needed the most. It’s not just Maryanne that needs a miracle though, because Daniel needs somebody to bring happiness into his life. Three stars.

Have yourself a Messy Little Christmas by Molly Cannon

Lincoln is a bachelor who is set in his own ways until a pretty woman in a Mrs. Claus outfit arrives at his door, ready to re-organize his home, and his life.

My Thoughts

This was one of my favourite stories from this collection. It was also one of the shortest, but it got to the point quickly and didn’t leave me disappointed. It even had room for an unexpected twist at the end. Lincoln is very reluctant to have Dinah Mason, a professional organizer, rummaging through his disorganized home. He has things exactly how he wants them, both in terms of his clutter, and his love life. But he soon comes to enjoy her company, and dreads the quiet loneliness that greets him when she leaves.

I loved the concept of this story because I hadn’t read anything like it before and if the story was longer it would make a great Christmas film. I loved the twist at the end, as I wasn’t expecting it at all. Four stars.

A Family for Christmas by Marilyn Pappano 

War Widow Ilena Gomez doesn’t mind spending this Christmas alone with her baby John. But when a handsome new Doctor arrives in town, will Ilena’s wish of finding love again come true?

My Thoughts

This was the last story in the collection and I thought it was a great one to end with. For me it really summed up what a Christmas story should be, as it was about overcoming tragedy and finding new love and happiness. I loved how Ilena managed to stay positive after losing her husband, and found a way to carry on with the support of other military wives. She is a beautiful person inside and out, and certainly deserves another chance at happiness.

She definitely isn’t the type of woman that Doctor Jared Connors though he would ever fall for, and his snooty parents wouldn’t approve either. But there’s something about her that draws him in, and I loved watching their love blossom in this lovely short story. Five stars.

Overall, I enjoyed each of these lovely short stories, some more so than others. Each one was different and full of Christmas joy. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a nice collection of festive love stories in the build up to Christmas.

Book Info

Kindle Edition ASIN – B00HG5HSHK

Kindle Edition price from Amazon – £0.99*

Paperback Edition ISBN13 – 978-1455529933

Paperback Edition price from Amazon – £3.78*

*Prices correct at time of posting

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