Friday, November 27, 2015

REVIEW: The French For Christmas by Fiona Valpy

Title: The French For Christmas
Author: Fiona Valpy
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: October, 2014
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: When her best friends offer the use of their cottage in the beautiful French countryside, Evie jumps at the chance. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband, celebrity chef Will Brooke, plastered over the news with his latest ‘love interest’, leaving the country seems like the perfect plan.

Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, Evie is determined to ignore Christmas altogether and bake herself back to happiness.

And when Evie meets her next-door neighbor – the très gorgeous doctor Didier she finds a very willing taste-tester. But is it possible that he could be interested in more than just her Tarte Tatin?

With snow falling, a special Réveillon dinner and a little Christmas magic in the air, could Didier even be the one to thaw Evie’s heart? Or will a visit from the ghost of Christmas past change everything?

My Thoughts: The Christmas season is upon us and The French For Christmas is a wonderful choice to get the holiday spirits raised. This heartwarming story by new to me author, Fiona Valpy, introduces us to Evie Brooke, a woman carrying immense emotional pain after the stillborn birth of her daughter a year ago, the loss of her marriage and her beloved bistro. The last thing she wants is to get dragged into the revelry of the Christmas holiday. When her best friends offer Evie the use of their cottage in the French countryside, Evie accepts their offer in the hope that this will be the perfect opportunity to avoid the holiday and the reminders of all she has lost.

I loved this story. My heart broke for everything Evie has gone through and I felt a deep empathy for her continued struggle to come to terms with everything. I applauded her choice to try something new instead of burying herself in her flat and hiding from everyone. I thought agreeing to go to France was a brave decision and braver, still, was her willingness to reach out to others, her sister, about to give birth to her own child, her parents, her estranged husband, her friends and her new neighbors in France. She could have stayed hidden in the cottage and became a hermit, but she didn’t and that made this story so beautiful. She even participates in helping a mare birth her foal.

This story also had some very humorous scenes involving a pig running loose and meeting the handsome Doctor Didier for the first time. Laughter through tears is very therapeutic and I loved how these new experiences begin to bring Evie out of her shell. Add in wonderful food and the love of family and friends and a Christmas miracle is born. The French For Christmas is a perfect addition to your Christmas season reading. I highly recommend this book if you like stories of love, healing, forgiveness and new beginnings.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The French For Christmas from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

REVIEW: NYPD Red by James Patterson

Title: NYPD Red (NYPD Red #1)
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown And Company
Publication Date: October, 2012
Genre: Thriller
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Description: It's the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert-and they can't afford to make a single mistake.

Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald-who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend-to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they've ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes.

Zach and Kylie know there's no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail.

My Thoughts: NYPD Red is a new to me series by one of my favorite authors for thrillers and suspense stories. A special task force of the New York Police Department, NYPD Red takes on high profiles cases fraught with danger, suspense and intrigue. Someone has it in for the Hollywood movers and shakers and isn’t afraid to take them out in the most brutal and public of ways. The story centers around Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald, former lovers and lead detectives assigned to this task force who work tirelessly to bring the murderer to justice before he kills anyone else. The killer is a master of disguise and calls himself “The Chameleon.” He is able to blend in with those around him, which he is counting on as he plots out each murder to be the ultimate performance.

I really liked Zach and Kylie. They work well together and their previous relationship does not seem to have any negative baggage hovering over them. Though Zach obviously still has feelings for Kylie and even though she has moved on, they get along well. This comes in handy when the killer targets her husband. This story delivers on intensity as Zach and Kylie try to figure out his identity and stay one step ahead of him. There are several nail-biting moments in this story that had me thinking the killer was going to get the best of them. I will be looking for the next book in the series to see what Zach and Kylie face next. If you are a fan of James Patterson or enjoy stories that keep you on the edge of your seat as each intense scene unfolds, I recommend you give this series a try.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

REVIEW: Behind The Scenes by Sophie Childs

Title: Behind the Scenes: Things are Never Quite as They Appear
Author: Sophie Childs
Publisher: So Vain Books
Publication Date: March, 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon

Description: Never wear a pair of high heels on a film set no matter how good they may look!

Bethan Brooks works in London for the ultimate boss from Hell, trying to support her wannabe rock star boyfriend. But are The Vampire Squirrels really ever going to make it big or is she doomed to be a secretary forever? Luckily, Bethan finds the perfect escape when going to the cinema. There she loses herself in another world and forgets all about the dreaded filing and monotonous office work. Imagine her surprise when one day she encounters her favorite actor on the Tube. Suddenly, she finds herself part of the glamorous movie world she only ever dreamed about. With more at stake than she could ever realize, does she really want to know what goes on behind the scenes?

My Thoughts: Behind The Scenes is the story of a woman who realizes her dream of working in the film industry in the most unlikely of opportunities. Being the sole breadwinner because her boyfriend, Lee, is a mooch and not brave enough or willing to give up the job she hates because jobs are hard to come by, Bethan Brooks finds respite in the cinema to help her forget her troubles. Bethan is tickled when a chance meeting on the tube with her favorite film star opens doors of opportunity for her and literally changes her life.

New to me author Sophie Childs writes a very likable character in Bethan. She is one of those characters that elicit immediate empathy and compassion from the reader. I enjoyed watching her bravely take on new challenges and face adversity and do so with her head held high. This story made me laugh when Bethan realizes the folly of not dressing appropriately on the film set. This story made me angry on her behalf when Lee’s true character and nature are revealed. This story made me cheer when Bethan comes out on top in spite of those around her who would see her fail. I highly recommend this story to fans of romance and feel good stories that give the reader a solid connection to the characters.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Behind the Scenes from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

New Additions To The TBR Pile In October

As the weather starts to turn cold, my craving for curling up under a fuzzy blanket with a good book gets stronger. October brought the arrival of 3 new review requests that look really good, especially looking forward to the Christmas stories.

Title: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson
Description: Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.

But this year things are going to be different.

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…

A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas.

Title: Christmas Wishes And Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Description: An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

Title: Straight To Hell by Michelle Scott
Description: I, Lilith Straight, was the woman you always wanted to be. I was married to someone better looking than your husband, we lived in that house you always wanted. Within a year, however, all of that changed. My marriage dissolved, my house burned down, and my job hardly paid the bills. So when I was hit by a car and died, I thought my life couldn’t get any worse. Boy, was I wrong.

Hell was not the place I imagined. It was worse. During my brief stay, I learned some disturbing truths about my family. Most worryingly my ancestor’s deal with the devil promising him every female descendent as a succubus.

So these were my options: Life on earth as a soul-sucking seductress. Or death and pass the succubus baton to my sweet little daughter. There was no choice. Welcome to hell on earth, Lilith. Mother, teacher, wanton she-demon.


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)