3 Recent Reviews: Something New, The Lover and New Years in Stockholm

It’s been a while since I posted reviews here. I’ve remembered to post them on Goodreads and Amazon, and then I forget to share them here. Naughty me! Let’s catch up with three recent book reviews. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.14.57Something New by Lena Hart

Release Date: 25 July 2017

Even though I am a big city girl, I love a good small town romance. I like reading about towns where everyone knows one another and there’s a good vibe. Lena Hart delivers this milieu and a charming love story in Something New, the second book in the Brides of Cedar Bend series.

This is an opposites attract story, with the initially haughty Savannah meeting the down-to-earth Damian meeting thanks to car trouble and a rainstorm. Actually, Damian comes to the rescue twice and it’s pretty obvious there’s chemistry between the two. Savvy’s in town to help her cousin prepare for her wedding and also trying to get rid of the gold digger reputation hanging over her. When she and Damian end up in a fake engagement…well, I won’t say more. I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

I really enjoyed following their path to love. It was a fun summer read and the set up gives the story the perfect rom-com-wish-this-were-a-movie feel. I really liked the cast of characters and the setting, and I thought the story flowed really well. So why four stars and not 5? If only I could give it a 4.5. My only reason for giving the story a four instead of a five is that it took me a while to warm up to Savvy. I was all-in with Damian from page one. But this is a wonderful romance and a great summer read. Highly recommended.

Note: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.27.20The Lover by Nia Forrester

Release Date: 18 June 2017

What happens when two people who don’t necessarily believe in love agree to have a baby together? Love, of course. 🙂 And what’s at stake when their secrets threaten to derail them? That’s the conundrum Ryann and Spencer face in Nia Forrester’s The Lover.

This is one of those books you want to savor. It’s a page turner–there’s no doubt about that, but you don’t want to rush. Especially not when the story is so rich and so emotionally satisfying. So what makes it so satisfying? Forrester touches on real-life issues and uses the drama and conflict to create a compelling dynamic between the sometimes emotionally distant and sometimes reluctant to commit Ryann and the sexy former bad boy who doesn’t realize he’s looking for something have and hold Spencer.

Should we talk about characterization? Of course we should. Forrester excels at creating multifaceted characters who are imperfect, who fuck up and who still pull at your heartstrings –and she does this without resorting to clichés. Ryann is not an easy character to love. She holds so tight to her secrets and the carefully constructed facade she uses as her defense against the world. But little by little we see there are chinks in her armor that reveal the real Ryann, the one who wants to be loved and doesn’t always know *how* to love. And with Spencer–he has his own issues he needs to deal with, but one thing is certain: beneath that sometimes a bit too much of an Alpha male facade, his capacity for love is great and what he wants most is to be with Ryann, even when it scares him.

There’s also the fact that this book is beautifully written. Nia Forrester is a consummate author. Her choice of words, the way she describes settings and the emotional depth of her characters…it’s magical. I am never disappointed when I read one of her books, and The Lover definitely does NOT disappoint.

Definitely a recommended read. Five stars!

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.38.11New Years in Stockholm by Rebecca Hunter

Release Date: 13 July 2017

The fourth and final episode of the One Night in Stockholm series by Rebecca Hunter starts with Alice showing up at Jonas’s doorstep on Christmas Eve–a few days earlier than planned. The Jonas she gets is not what she expected. He hates Christmas and is not in the best mood or shape when she arrives. What could have become a complete fiasco flares into something much hotter and than Alice imagined–but she’s disappointed when Jonas announces he needs to leave for a few days to sort things out with his father.

As with the rest of the books in this series, New Years in Stockholm is a very sexy read. Jonas is as intense as ever, and Alice’s unquenchable desire for him practically jumps off the pages. The key difference with this episode is the emotional clarity and complexity. Jonas and Alice are on the cusp of what could be something amazing or could go horribly wrong. The question is will fear of fucking up prevent them from having what they both so desperately want? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. 🙂

It may be winter in New Years in Stockholm, but this book is definitely a must-read of this summer. My recommendation? One-click it ASAP and enjoy!

This Year’s Batch of Holiday Novels…

Yes, I know I told you already that I am a sucker for novels set during the Christmas holidays. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you once more. I love Christmas books! There, now it’s out of my system, so I can be calm again. It’s been snowing nearly all day here in Stockholm and it’s already beginning to feel a lot more like Christmas. This is a good thing. I haven’t really been in the Christmas spirit so I have had to force myself to do things to bring that feeling to me. I’ve watched Elf twice (once on network TV and once on DVD), watched the Holiday, Love Actually and now the Family Stone. I feel suitably Christmasy. It helps that I’ve also got a new batch of Christmas novels that I’ve started reading and, if you like Christmas novels as much as I do, then you should pay attention to tonight’s list…

Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley

Twelve Days of Christmas tells the story of a young widow called Holly Brown and what happens when she is asks to house-sit at a remote house on the Lancashire moors. Holly doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas–she was raised by her grandmother who was a Strange Baptist and didn’t believe in celebrating Christmas with gifts and her husband died on Christmas Eve. Jude Martland, the owner of the house, is in the US and is also avoiding Christmas–last year his brother ran off with his fiancée and he doesn’t want to be reminded of the disaster. But he forgot about the rest of his family who’ve all been looking forward to spending Christmas together. Instead of the peaceful Christmas she’d been looking forward to, Holly finds herself in the midst of a madcap holiday celebration and falling in love. It’s a nice, frothy story with the added benefit of some holiday recipes at the end of the book. My only complaint? Sometimes Holly was a tad bit too perfect. But I could overlook that since it was fun reading the book. Overall rating: 3+/5

The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

All the action in the Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey revolves around Lydia, a barrister who is longing for a perfect Christmas–the sort she never had as a child but always wished for. When one of her oldest friends invites her to spend Christmas at her house in the country, she jumps at the opportunity. What she doesn’t count on is  getting snowed in with three men who all want a piece of her heart: her current boyfriend who’s been hiding an engagement ring in his sock drawer, her old flame–an American named Jackson whom she spent six glorious weeks with during the summer and who disappeared from her life literally overnight–and a hunk of a handyman who shows up at the perfect moment when the Aga, furnace and old gas stove are all threatening to go on strike. It’s a fun holiday read, light with amusing subplots and the hijinks you’d expect from a holiday read. One or two of the characters are a bit flat but the rest of the cast is so much fun that you don’t really mind it. I could easily imagine this book being optioned for a movie. Overall rating: 4/5

Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

I started reading Miracle on Regent Street a few days ago and still have around 75 pages to go. I really like this book–it’s fun, it’s frothy and it has a nice festive feel without being over-the-top. This is another book that really feels like a movie so it wouldn’t surprise me if it has already been optioned. But what’s it about, you wonder…well, the story is set in a department store called Hardy’s–once London’s most elegant department store but now seemingly forgotten by everyone except its most loyal old-guard customers. In stockroom of this store works Evie, who has been living an invisible existence for two years after the love of her life broke her heart. One day, Evie overhears that Hardy’s may be forced to shut down due to low revenues. She secretly hatches a plan to revive Hardy’s former glory–and she has to do it by Boxing Day, which is only three weeks away. Can Evie succeed in transforming the store into the magical destination it once was? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out… 🙂 Overall rating (so far): 4/5

To Be Read…

Now I haven’t had a chance to read the rest of the books on my list, but I will soon. They are:

Home for Christmas by Cally Taylor

Synopsis: Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now she feels like she’s finally on the verge of her own happily ever after: a dream job in a charming independent cinema by the seaside and a gorgeous boyfriend. There’s just one problem–no man has ever told her they love her. Desperate to hear those three crucial words for the first time, Beth takes matters into her own hands–and wishes she hadn’t.

Just when it seems like her luck couldn’t get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt, the regional director of a multiplex cinema determined to get his hands on Beth’s place of work by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job and her man or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?

Something from Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill

Synopsis: It’s Christmas Eve. And on 5th Avenue in New York City, two very different men are shopping for gifts for the women they love. Gary is buying his girlfriend Rachel a charm bracelet. Partly to thank her for paying for their holiday-of-a-lifetime to New York. But mainly because he’s left his Christmas shopping too late.

Whereas Ethan’s looking for something a little more special–an engagement ring for the first woman to have made him happy since he lost the love of his life.

But when the two men’s shopping bags get confused, and Rachel somehow ends up with Ethan’s ring, the couples’ lives become intertwined. And as Ethan tries to reunite to the ring with the woman it was actually intended for, he finds it trickier than expected…

A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley

Synopsis: Sophy Winter is not your typical Lady of the Manor. Unexpectedly inheriting Winter’s End — a vast mansion in the beautiful Lancashire countryside–seems like the answer to her prayers. She eagerly swaps life as an impoverished housekeeper for running her own team of staff.

But Sophy quickly realizes the challenge on her hands–the house is decrepit and its eccentric inhabitants are a nightmare. And conceit’s discovered that Winter’s End played host to a young Shakespeare, the village of Sticklepond becomes curious about Sophy’s plans, especially charming Jack Lewis. But is he really smitten with Sophy–or her newly acquired cash? Meanwhile, Sophy’s gorgeous head gardener Seth is strong and silent type. But does his passion bloom for anything beyond the horticultural? As Sophy gets to grips with squabbling relatives, collapsing buildings and the ghostly presence of one of her ancestors, she wonders if Winter’s End is not so much a gift from the gods, as a mixed blessing…