Book Reviews December 2020

I’m quite late with this post due to one reason or another, its been quite difficult to have time to read and just recently I’ve not had the focus. I’ve been suffering with brain fog and its reduced my ability to concentrate for periods of time. For this reason I wont be doing a January TBR, as I’m reading books in order of being able to stick with them. I will still do a reviews post in February for the books I manage to read in January.

Last year was probably the first year that I read Christmas books at Christmas, I don’t really remember reading Christmas themed books before and I loved it. Usually I’d just spend all Christmas and the build up drinking. Definitely going to make it a tradition from now on. Unfortunately I didn’t get to read as many books as I’d hoped during December but I had a lovely Christmas break just relaxing.

Some news: I’m excited to announce I recently was accepted onto the Romantic Novelists Association, I hope to one day follow in some of my favourite authors footsteps and publish a novel. Authors such as Adele Parks, Milly Johnson and Lynda Stacey all joined the RNA and I’m hoping with a lot of hard work and determination I will achieve a book with my name in print on the front of it. Watch this space, though it may take some years!

My reviews:

Milly Johnson- A Winter Flame– Eve has never liked Christmas. So when her adored elderly aunt dies, the last thing she is expecting is to be left a theme park in her will. A theme park with a Christmas theme. Will Eve begin to enjoy the magic of Christmas? What will happen to the theme park?

My Review

The plot for this book was just brilliant, it had me feeling so festive. I love that it was set in Barnsley, South Yorkshire not far from me. Milly’s writing style is such a way that you feel like you are in the story. The characters were so lovable and the mysterious French man was someone I enjoyed getting to know. The cover is festive, I love Milly’s cover designs, its what initially drew me to her books. I want to see this book made into a film because the idea of it would make for a great film. It covers the feeling that some people may get if they have experienced a bad Christmas and how they can get to feeling festive again as the years go on, it may even become their favourite time of year.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Milly Johnson- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday– It’s nearly Christmas and it’s snowing, hard. Deep in the Yorkshire Moors nestles a tiny hamlet, with a pub at its heart. As the snow falls, the inn will become an unexpected haven for six people forced to seek shelter there… A story of knowing when to hold on and when to let go, of pushing limits and acceptance, of friendship, love, laughter, mince pies and the magic of Christmas. Christmas in the Yorkshire Moors sounds lovely, the best place to be for heavy snowfall. What will happen?

My Review

Another lovely cover. It covers love, friendship, relationships and loss in such a beautiful way. I really got to know the characters and felt like we were friends from way back, I could imagine people being snowed in and some of the scenes in the Yorkshire Moors when it snows. I did cry at the end, it was such a heartfelt mixed emotions ending. It definitely makes me want to read more of Milly’s books. Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. She is the author of 17 published novels and an award winning member of the RNA.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Twas the nightshift before Christmas- Adam Kay– Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat . . . but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious, horrifying and sometimes heart-breaking peek behind the blue curtain at Christmastime. This is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

My Review

As a First Responder who volunteered at A&E during last December, I couldn’t wait to read this book and compare my experiences. The medical design of the cover initially drew my attention. I read Adam’s other book last year and loved it. Adam Kay is an award-winning writer and former non-award-winning junior doctor. His first book “This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor” was a Sunday Times number one bestseller for over a year. Adam writes in quite a humorous way, as someone who deals with patients from time to time you get to know the stories of the patients but Adam writes them in such a way where you can relate or its interesting rather than the mundane life it can be sometimes.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Perfect Paris Christmas- Mandy Baggot– Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance. Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time. As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

My Review

Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas dreaming that they are spending Christmas in Paris, this is exactly what I did when I read this book. Its strange to think the people that you meet during your lifetime and how they come in and out of your life. Every decision you make determines your future and you just wonder how many opportunities have been there and you’ve missed them because you’ve been looking in the opposite direction. Mandy is another member of the RNA, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Sober Survival Guide & How To Quit Alcohol In 50 Days- Simon Chapple– Are you too fed up with the routine of drinking, and want to make a change and improve your life? Or you may simply be curious about how an alcohol-free life might look for you. Could it be better? Happier? Calmer? More peaceful? The Sober Survival Guide is perfect for anyone looking to free themselves from the grip of alcohol.

My Review

As I continue on my alcohol free journey, going through each first, first birthday without alcohol, first night out, first bonfire night, first Halloween. I’m was thinking about my first alcohol free Christmas. To be fair I didn’t really need to read these books, they are for someone who is in the early stages of being sober or someone who needs extra help. I skimmed through some pages and read the bits that would help me. For over two decades, Simon Chapple was a heavy daily drinker, enduring hangovers, carrying out regretful behaviour, and suffering from a lack of motivation. Somehow, he still managed to build a successful business and run 15 marathons, but he was never truly happy and didn’t feel like he was anywhere near the best version of himself. I totally relate to Simons story, every story is different but the end goal of being the best version of yourself is the reason to quit drinking. I celebrate 6 months sober tomorrow!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All In Her Head- Nikki Smith– Alison feels like she’s losing her mind. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work. She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why. Then the mention of one name brings a lifetime of memories – and the truth – crashing back…

My Review

This book was read during the first week of January but I just had to include it. What a read! I’m reading this book as part of a book club and I’m loving seeing everyone’s thoughts about it. As I got halfway through the book I felt myself getting more and more anxious. Each chapter left me with even more unanswered questions about what was happening and why. There were lots of twists and turns, it was cleverly written. It was written in a now and then way, so you could understand what was happening in the present day and what had happened in the future, then when the two versions came together and it became clear, what an outcome. A very real look at mental health issues people may experience after the birth of their child. Nikki always had a passion for writing and in 2017 she had a ‘now or never’ moment and applied for a Curtis Brown Creative 3 month writing course which she absolutely loved. Later that year she had a short story published in the Writer’s Forum Magazine, and submitted the opening chapters of her novel to a competition where she won the opportunity to be mentored by the author Amanda Reynolds. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read any of them, are there any you want to read?

I have not been compensated in any way for this post. My products were ordered by me and paid for out of my own money, unless specified otherwise, and all opinions are my own. I only recommend products and services I trust.

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