Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas Wish Come True - Gina Rochelle, Misty Shaw and Jaime Admans

Synopsis from Amazon:

All I Want for Christmas by Gina Rochelle
Ditching her faithless fiancé, schoolteacher Isabella plans to spend the holidays alone. But when she unintentionally inspires a young pupil to make an impossible wish, she joins forces with his – totally gorgeous – uncle to put things right! Could two wishes come true this Christmas?

Dreaming of a White Wedding by Misty Shaw
When Scarlet discovered her husband-to-be in a passionate clinch with her bridesmaid, she called off her Valentine’s wedding and ran away to London. But when her sister asks for her help, she can’t refuse…even if it means coming face-to-face with her ex – the man she never stopped loving!

Christmas Every Day by Jaimie Admans
Emma loves bumping into Gorgeous Dog Walker, Nick, every evening. But when he ends up in a coma (partly her fault), she ends up taking care of ‘his job’…and his dog! Emma stopped believing in Santa years ago, but this Christmas her world is about to be turned upside down!

Christmas Wish Come True is a gift for you this December, snuggle up by the fire, leave the stresses of Christmas shopping behind you…and relax!

My review:

Nice and easy reading for Christmas time. I was looking forward to reading the three stories but overall I was a little disappointed. All three novellas have a pretty good story line and potential but only one really delivered the Christmas romance that I was looking for and that was the third story: Christmas Every Day by Jaimie Admans. Below are mini reviews for each of the stories.

All I Want for Christmas = The story of a ditched bride Isabella who comes to teach at a school in snowy mountains. Isabella rapidly involves herself in the life of a little boy called Tyler and his gorgeous (of course) Uncle Jordan. She moves in with them and looks after Tyler and gets herself knotted up in their lives.

I thought the story required a full book rather than a quick read story. The potential was there but it was rushed and a lot of twist and turns were cramped into a short space, which made the story unrealistic so the score for this one is 3/5.

Dreaming of a White Wedding = Scarlet works as a make-up artist in London but is dreaming of working in Brighton with her twin sister Cressida. When her sister calls on her help, which involved the trick of standing in for your identical twin and pretend you are them hoping nobody notices, she agrees but only because her ex-fiancé is supposedly abroad. Of course that doesn’t work out and they meet again and sparks fly.

This was my least favourite of the three. The romance of the story was actually quite sickening. The spirit of love is overdone here right from the start until the last words and I was relieved when I finished it. Score for this story is 1/5 which might seem harsh but it really was not for me.

Christmas Every Day = Emma sees Gorgeous Dog Walker (GDW) every day and is secretly fantasizing about him. Until one day their lives are thrown together in a car crash and GDW asks Emma to look after his job, which would be easier if she knew what that was, where he lived or what his actual name was.

Now this was a story I enjoyed. Thrown in with quite a lot of Christmas magic, the story was written with humour and just the right amount of romance. The ideas behind chimney sweeping, the grumpy elf Twinkle and all the responsibilities that come with being Santa were refreshing and entertaining. Score for this story is 4.5/5 – I would love to read a full book so the author could expand on the story.

Thank you very much to Netgalley for access to this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

My rating: 3/5

Green Smoothies by Fern Green

Synopsis from Amazon:

Discover the health-boosting benefits of smoothies, juices, tonics, and nut milks. Find the perfect juice to help detoxify your body, enhance your digestion, or invigorate your metabolism.  Energize your day with 66 easy-to-follow, quick, and tasty recipes.  Learn simple ways to incorporate more greens into your diet every day.

My review:

Smoothies and juices can become a little boring. I tend to discover one that I love and end up drinking the same stuff every day. So to get a good Smoothie cookbook to give the inspiration boost that I needed was great.

Love the cover of this book, the introduction was interesting and recipes are easy to follow. Choosing the healthier lifestyle is made just that little bit easier with this colourful book.

Thank you very much to Netgalley and Ten Speed Press for access to this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 7 December 2015

Unleashed (Colours of Love #3) by Kathryn Taylor

Synopsis from Amazon:

Like a fairy-tale, it should have been so wonderful: after a year of marriage, Grace Huntington still experiences undreamt-of passionate bliss. But stubborn doubts keep eating away at her. Despite the many happy moments when she feels close to Jonathan, sometimes he seems just as inscrutable as he did at the start. And now she has something to confess, something she knows will put an enormous strain on their relationship.

My review:

I was really looking forward to reading the last chapter in Grace's and Jonathan's turbulent romance, was I was rather disappointed. I think for me there were too many twists and turns for such a quick read. It felt like Kathryn Taylor had all these great plot ideas and was not allowed to unleash them into a full blown romance novel.

The first two books were brilliant, believable and well written and I was expecting the same from this was. This book begins two years after the Jonathan proposed to Grace. He's become withdraw and Grace fears that he's regrets choosing her over his old life. She also has a discovery of her own that puts her in a difficult position. When she finds out that Jonathan is once again meeting with the creepy Yuuto, she eavesdrops on their conversation and runs before Jonathan has a chance to explain the things he says.

So once again Jonathan has to run after Grace and make everything ok - and I think this is where it just goes wrong for me. It is same plot, same story-line as before and it feels repetitive.

Thank you very much to Netgalley and Bastei Entertainment for access to this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

My rating: 3/5

Uncovered (Colours of Love #2) by Kathryn Taylor

Synopsis from Amazon:

She's fallen for him - hook, line, and sinker. Grace knows exactly how dangerous her feelings for Jonathan Huntington are, but her love for him nevertheless grows stronger each day she spends near him. Is he really as indifferent as he seems? Does Jonathan only see her as a willing plaything? When Grace tries to force him into showing his true colours, it leads to disaster...

My review:

This is a second instalment in the Colour of Love series and again I enjoyed it very much. To me the story is somehow believable and like a modern day Pride and Prejudice (with lots of hot scenes in it).

First book ended on a cliff hanger and left us wondering whether Jonathan could really change his lifestyle for Grace. This book starts off at that point and takes us through the emotional struggle that this heated relationship is for both Grace and Jonathan. Grace is still unsure about Jonathan’s feelings for her and how far he will allow himself to give in to whatever he feels for her. There come various obstacles in their love story, coming from his mysterious business partner Yuoto and also from the Earl of Lockwood himself, Jonathan’s father.

Grace finally learns more about Jonathan’s history which explains his inability to accept his own feelings and the love Grace so obviously feels for him.

Again this book didn’t disappoint me and I managed to finish it within 48 hours. I find the author’s writing style easy to read, the language isn’t overly fluffed up and the characters are likable and believable. I find myself rooting for Grace and Jonathan and feel that all the difficulties that come up in their relationship are really just making them stronger.

Thank you very much to Netgalley and Bastei Entertainment for access to this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

My rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Making & Using Caramel by Bill Collins

Description from Netgalley:

Chef Bill Collins demonstrates all the techniques you need to make caramel candies, cookies, puddings, and more, using illustrated step-by-step instructions that ensure success every time. Includes safety guidelines, troubleshooting tips, and irresistible recipes!

My review:

This is my first cookbook purely for making and using caramel and I am really happy that I got the chance to review it.

Bill's description of techniques, equipment and recipes is simple, easy to follow, but kept interesting at the same time. I read this book like I would a novel, because I love cooking and was interested in all things caramel.

The recipes are easy to follow, which is usually a downfall of many cookbooks. I am only taking away half a star due to the fact that there are no pictures at the moment. I am hoping that the finished book will be accompanied by photograph of Bill's creations.

Thank you to Bill Collins, Storey Publishing and Netgalley for giving me access to this book in return for an honest opinion.

Publication date: 26 January 2016

My rating: 4.5/5

Friday, 4 December 2015

Unbound (Colours of Love #1) by Kathryn Taylor

Synopsis from Amazon:

Grace is young and has led a sheltered life. She hasn't yet taken much of an interest in men. It's only while doing an internship in London, where she meets the alluring Jonathan Huntington, that our sleeping beauty is awoken from her slumber. Jonathan is rich, incredibly attractive, and stems from British royalty - but he is a far cry from Prince Charming. He lures Grace ever deeper into his world of sinister passion, and she is sucked further and further into the maelstrom of her own growing desires. But when Jonathan demands she do the unthinkable to prove her love for him, she realizes just how dangerous her feelings for him are.

My review:

Whilst reading this book I had to try very hard to forget that I have read 50 Shades of Grey first as it is very difficult not to compare the two. Saying that though I feel I have enjoyed Unbound more and it surprised me. I judged the book by its synopsis and thought that once you read one, you’ve read them all.

Grace is an attractive, intelligent student on her way to London to work as an intern at a very prestigious companies. She bumps into Jonathan, the mysterious and unreadable owner of the company) at the airport and makes such an impression on him that he decides to have Grace working closely with him. Of course it’s not long before the affair starts. It’s certainly not what Grace was expecting but she is drawn to the handsome, somewhat dark, boss and she knows pretty soon that she has fallen in love him.

Jonathan obviously has emotional issues and refuses to get involved in anything other than sex and makes it pretty clear that that is all Grace is going to get out of him.

I liked the book. I thought the story line flowed well, the language was good (although I do shudder at the word pearl) and the raunchy scenes were well written. It’s a more believable story and I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bastei Entertainment for access to this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

My rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis

Synopsis from Amazon:

Brilliant designer Miko Jin is a hopeless romantic. She’s spent most of her life falling in love over and over again…with the men she finds in the pages of her favorite novels.

When Miko meets Liam Ashton, it’s love at first sight. At least, for her. Sure, the two of them are polar opposites, and yes, he seems to be dating someone new each week. But Miko knows what true love is and that you can’t rush it—after all, what she lacks in real-world experience, she makes up for in book smarts. With novels as her guide, and her best friends by her side, she knows she can get Liam to love her back. But just like any good romance novel, fate has a few plot twists in store. Will Miko get her own happy ending? Will she find the strength to stand up for what she deserves even if it means breaking her own heart?

My review:

This turned out to be a very enjoyable romance. I smiled, giggled and even had a little tear over the antics of the young and likable Miko. She might be naïve, but she is driven, successful, and intelligent and a hopeless romantic who believes that love should happen just like it does in all the books she reads. And why not? Even if she does have to help it along a little.

Miko is helplessly in with her best friend’s brother Liam. There stands on of her problems, as she knows her best friend Max is most likely going to kill her when she finds out. But the biggest hurdle she has to get over is Liam himself. Liam is the Viking God in Miko’s eyes and can’t do no wrong and although all her friends warn her she really is blind to the car crash of a heartache that is heading her way.
This book is light hearted, romantic and uplifting and I am so glad I have had the privileged to read this book. It really has made me smile on those dark wintery nights. I have a real appreciation for the beautiful friendships in this book and the support the characters all give each other.

Thank you very much to Rachel Hollis and Netgalley for allowing me to read this lovely book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 13 November 2015

Christmas Cravings by Emma Hamilton

How could everything that seemed so right suddenly have gone so wrong for Mia? Snow is on the ground and Christmas lights twinkle in the German Christmas market. The warm, spiced wine is just right, but there's still one key ingredient missing from her romantic dream. Will Mia's Christmas turn out to be sugar and spice and all things nice - or a deflated soufflé of loneliness and regret? 

-- Christmas Cravings is a festive romance standalone episode from the Greedily Yours series. 

-- About the series: Mia Maxwell loves food. She loves it so much that she's made it her career. She owns a food PR business that fills her days, and by night she's a food blogger with a burgeoning audience. With her 'Culinary Confessions of a Greedy Girl', Mia takes the reader on a delicious journey, searching for top dishes and the perfect man.

My review:

I finished this book very quickly and very reluctantly. I can honestly say I hated it. The language was simple and poor and the story line was predictable and awfully written. How many times can someones eye mist over and take them back to the happy times with Tom? The jumps between present time and past were not done in a nice smooth way and the whole love story felt quite childish. 

I must admit here that I glazed over quite a few pages just to get to the end. I just couldn't do it to myself to read all of it. 

I have been given access to this book by NetGalley in return for an honest opinion.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

Synopsis from Amazon

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

My review: 

I picked this book to read something different. I like to read the odd piece of horror genre, but I am not a massive fan and usually seek dramas, thrillers and romance so this was something a little different.

In this huge age of romanticizing vampires and werewolves I enjoyed reading the other side of the coin, to see what happens when these creatures aren’t all loving and nice and, well, human.

Wyatt and his friends receive VIP back stage tickets directly from the man behind the theme parks, Vincent Conrad. The whole world’s economy has been destroyed by a strange explosion and a virus that turns people into zombies (or ‘vitality challenged’ as the government likes to call them).

Without giving too much away, on the day of the opening, everything goes wrong, people die, monsters go wild – but not all is as it seems. There are nice twists and turns at the end of the book that might be a little predictable but still make the story good.

I felt the book was written well and had the right length so the story didn’t become tedious. There are some pretty gory parts, but I was expecting that from a horror story. It was easy to understand and read and it became a nice distraction in a busy life.

The characters of Wyatt and his step-father Carter were very likable and I could easily see them running around with a silver axe fighting for the people they love. This book would undoubtedly make a good movie or TV series.

Thank you to Michael Phillip Cash and NetGalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.
My rating: 3/5

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Enjoying my first ebook

As a member of Net Galley I have been able to download a couple of books before being (hopefully) approved for some titles I am interested in.

I fancied a bit if a fantasy/horror kind of book and my choice was Monsterland by Michael Philip Cash.

And it's not bad. Language is good and story is there. It's a bit gory at times but that's to be expected in a book about zombies,  vampires and werewolves.

I am 63% in and it won't be long before my first review is written. And my tablet is finally getting some use with the help of the free Kindle app from Amazon.

And in between I carry on with Stephen King's Rose Madder.

Happy days 😀

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Time to revamp this blog and get back to my biggest passions. Ove the last year I have stumbled and fallen into the bad habits of fast food and hardly any books and that has to stop now. I have made a commitment to myself to do it this time. 

I am back to Read It Swap It forums and getting good recommendations on what to read. I have downloaded the Kindle app and refreshed my Net Galley account in hope I will be approved for some good reading. 

I love books and I have would love to have a go myself. I have ideas in my head, but never put them down to paper. Well that is going to change.

Oh yes - cooking! Back to planning and enjoying the many, many cooking books I have on my shelves. 

I decided to pick up one of the books that have been sitting on my shelf for a very long time - Stephen King's Rose Madder - slightly dusty on the top, but ready to be read.