The Good in Goodbye – Lasairiona E. McMaster

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Welcome back everyone, after that slightly odd Christmas “romantic comedy” last week we’re back to Lisa Miller! Remember her from Intimate Strangers?

I feel like I need to go into some spoilers with this review, so if you don’t want spoilers, make sure you skip that section!

We pick up Lisa’s love story with AJ like a month and a bit after she had to leave him back in the US. She’s discovered something pretty life changing and she’s coping with it pretty well until tragedy strikes. Luckily, she’s home in Ireland so she’s got her childhood best friend and her parents with her to help her through this time. Not to mention a few new friends she makes in this book.

Overall, it felt like this story had a different feel to it than the first one. The first one was very much a romance, whereas this one felt more serious and addressed a few sensitive topics. Mental health, unplanned pregnancies, trauma, heart break, moral choices and various other topics. And I’m not sure it does it very well.

It felt like it was trying to address too many things and ended up losing it in a few places. Most of the book was great! I felt connected almost all the way through. But the last couple of chapters just didn’t feel right for the characters.

The choices made felt like they’d been done to create drama rather than to honestly have the characters develop further. I feel like I want to read the next book to see if it kinda corrects those issues. But at the same time, I’m also worried it might go further down the path of not feeling natural.

SPOILER TIME! DON’T FORGOT TO CHECK OUT THE REST AFTER THE SPOILERS!

AJ having bipolar feels like something that should’ve come out in the first book. Putting it here makes it feel like it was a “o what’s a way we can add in mental health awareness? This works!” and bang it went in. I’m not trying to say it wasn’t portrayed well. I just feel that setting it up a bit more in the first book would’ve worked better. Specially coz AJ said the Docs could tell Lisa everything when he was in the hospital and there was no mention of bipolar meds then. Just feels a little bit contradictory to me.

Lisa’s thought processes towards the end of the book bugged me as well. I get grief can do strange things to our minds, but to decide you don’t want to be with your guy as soon as he’s on the place home feels a little bit out of left field. Given how into open and honest communication they’re into, surely she’d talk to him about her concerns?

Finally, that last bombshell of Ana’s feels like it should be a set up. If the start of the next book isn’t a “we did this to see how you were coping” kinda thing then she’s like the most insensitive person ever! I mean. Lisa lost her baby at 12 weeks old. Why would you feel it’s OK to turn up on her doorstep claiming to be 12 weeks pregnant when she has little to no support system around her and she’s barely coping as it is? #horriblefriendmoment #shitfriend

I don’t know why I did that, but it felt appropriate.

WE’RE PAST THE SPOILERS NOW!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Give me a Christmas by Zoe Ann Wood. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did - with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself 'home', with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

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Reindeer Readathon – Week 1 Update

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We’re one week into the Reindeer Readathon. YAY!!!

In the past week I’ve been able to finish 3 of the prompts which I thought was pretty good. But if I compare that with some of the other’s in my team it’s nothing! I thought I’d share some initial thoughts of each book as I finish them even though full reviews will be coming in the new year for most of them.

I’ve read the full books before and even though I was surprised at how much the images of the graphic novel was able to convey. I felt like it was missing something compared to the full novel. So I didn’t really enjoy it.

Maybe graphic novels are best if they’ve been designed specifically to be a graphic novel?

I actually ended up changing my book for this coz it turned out book 3 of the series was about the Muse of Lyrics. Which is music.

Erica’s career is as a song writer and there was a fair bit about their theatre in this one so it felt like it ticked the Dancer prompt quite nicely!

One of the things I liked about this book was that it wasn’t a carbon copy of the style of the previous two. When you’re following a series it’s great to have that variety.

I’ve liked every Jenni Fletcher book I’ve read and this was no exception. It touched on mental health, self worth and a few other issues. Yet did it in a way that felt accurate for the times.

POINTS ACHIEVED FOR TEAM NUTCRACKER: 40 POINTS

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Jupiter’s Fire – William Osborne

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Jupiter’s Fire is a novel steeped in history in a period that, for many people, is the worst part of humanities recorded history.

When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.

I wasn’t able to fit in a review for you to read, but I hope you like the sound of this. Normally I don’t find these style of books intriguing when I read the blurb. But the Nazi era in history is fascinating!

Where can I buy this amazing book?

US
UK
AU
Book Depository

Author Bio

William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California,  studied law at Cambridge,(MA),  barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire).  Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.

Don’t forget to check out the reviews for this book!

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The Ultimate Blog Tag!

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I saw this tag over on Hina’s blog and it sounded so cool I wanted to do it! She initially found it over at Book Craic, so please check out both of them!


1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Definitely not! So glad about this coz I think I’d have died of boredom growing up if I got car sick.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

I think I’m going to go with Nelson DeMille, I know I’ve read a few other authors that have elements of his style. But none in the same combination as Nelson.

3. Harry Potter or the Twilight Series Saga? Give three points to defend your answers

Ah, Harry Potter of course. Is this even a question? I started this with the first movie when it first came out when I was 11 years old. That Christmas my mum bought the first four books for me on Christmas eve and for the next couple of days we both read all four books. Since then I’ve read every book as it’s been released, seen every movie and we were lucky enough to see the Cursed Child play earlier this year. Does that count as 3 points?

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (besides books)?

Nope. I just always make sure I have my Kindle or a book or two on me.

5. Do you smell your books?

Hahahah yea… Somehow, I don’t think many book readers will say no to this!

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

Without, unless they are maps. Like Matthew Reilly’s books with all the little maps of where they are brilliant. I love mas with my books.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

I feel like the Wind on Fire trilogy meets this criterion… I mean. I loved reading it at the time. But every time I think back on it, I can’t help but wonder what the author was smoking when they wrote it. I also can’t believe how many discrepancies I let slide while I read it.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood?

I have a couple of stories. The main one I remember is more like a book lovers’ nightmare and total horror story, so I’ll share a different one!

Every family trip growing up we took 3 suitcases. Mum’s had her stuff and my clothes; dads had his stuff and my toiletries and beach stuff and mine was filled with books. Specifically, I remember celebrating my 12th birthday and all my friends and family got me books.

As soon as I’d opened them my parents took them all away and I wasn’t allowed to touch them until we got to the airport to fly to Fiji. The suitcase full of books that was meant to last me 2 weeks lasted me like 4-6 days!

9. What is the thinnest book on your bookshelf?

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I’ve had this for years and actually picked it up at a country fair. A great 20c investment!

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

The last Game of Thrones book, A Dance with Dragons, or maybe Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is thicker? One of those two.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Hahahahaha no I don’t write! I do enough writing for my job (I’m an Instructional Designer so writing learning courses takes all my creative juices) that I’d rather focus on just reading and enjoying myself outside of my job.

12. When did you get into reading?

Apparently, I’ve always been a reader. I always asked my dad to read to me as a little kid coz he did all the voices and it was great. I think when I could read by myself I broke into the freedom of being able to read when I wanted to rather than having to rely on when my parents had free time to read to me.

13. What is your favourite classic book?

I’m going to say the Black Stallion coz that’s really the only one I’ve actually read. I’ve started a few, but the style of writing is quite difficult compared to todays writing style.

14. In school what was your best subject?

History. I had a knack for remembering the stories my teachers and textbooks told me, including the dates. Being able to remember where on a page the info I needed was written down and quote it back as if the book was in front of me really helped. I also have a knack for understanding how all the little pieces fit together into the bigger picture. How one action resulted in numerous reactions etc.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?

This has happened to me in the past. I asked for the receipt and exchanged it for another book. Not sure if I’d do the same these days… I tend to get people to give me gift certificates instead so this doesn’t happen.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

I haven’t got an answer for this…

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?

Not a vlogger. So can’t say I have one.

18. What is your favourite word?

I don’t have a favourite word from my books. But my default one when talking is “alrighty” and “ok then”. I apparently got up to like 100+ of those in 1 hour of training when a colleague counted.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

I’m not gonna lie, I had to Google what each of these meant. Based on their definitions I’m going to go with dweeb. I do lead a pretty boring life, I study a lot (both formal and informal training) and I’m pretty sure most people who know me would agree that I’m pretty socially inept.

20. Vampires or fairies? Why?

Vampires. No hesitation there! Fairies are all well and good, but vampires are sexy, morally grey and so relatable. Some of my favourite characters from a range of novels are vampires.

21. Shapeshifters or angels? Why?

Shapeshifters. Again, easy! Like vampires, shapeshifters are morally grey characters. Yet this time, they are often fighting a force within them that they can’t control and are doing everything they can to be good people.

22. Spirits or werewolves? Why?

See above. Spirits just don’t have that morally grey area. They are what they are.

23. Zombies or vampires? Why?

Vampires. Zombies are gross! I mean, the living dead that’s rotting? At least vampires are eternally young and sexy!

24. Love triangle or forbidden love?

Hmmmm… I really like both of these!

Love triangles are interesting because someone has to make a choice. A choice about what’s best for them and seeing them struggle with that choice of what’s best for them now vs in the future is a difficult choice.

Forbidden love on the other hand comes in a few different forms. You have sisters falling in love with their brother’s best friends. Rival families having young people fall in love etc. It has it’s moments, but sometimes I feel like this can wear a little thin, even though I still love it!

25. Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

I actually enjoy both. I love a good romance because I get to really relax and just enjoy a nice read. While having an action-packed book with the romance dotted throughout it gives me a different style with that emotional relief you need from that same drama.


This really didn’t take me as long to write as I thought it might. If you enjoyed this, feel free to give it a go and share your thoughts!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Single All the Way – Elaine Spires

Welcome back everyone, after a busier November than I’d anticipated I’m kicking off the Christmas month with a book set over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me. I went into it expecting a romantic comedy and was left quite underwhelmed. The story itself was mostly fine. It was the delivery that didn’t quite do it for me. However, as an inspiring, life lesson kind of read this is amazing.

The first thing I need to say about this book was that its chapters were “days”, meaning some chapters took me an hour or so to read. I think this could have been done better if the days were “parts” to the book, and the character’s points of view were the chapters.

I think this would give the reader a cleaner point where they could stop reading rather than hoping they remember what was said when they put it down halfway through a conversation because you don’t know when the next natural break is.

The next point I was to talk about is the amount of characters used. Usually, the books I read follow one or two characters and might alternate their points of view between those two characters. Or, you might have a few other characters thrown in, but the point of view sticks to the main two characters.

In this book I couldn’t figure out who the story was meant to be about and (if I can remember correctly) the point of view alternated between 10+ characters. The only other book I’ve come across that uses to many characters is Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin has a chapter to each character, titled as the character’s name, making it easier to follow. In this case the character changes happened at mini breaks in the chapters and because of the amount of characters used, I often struggled to figure out who I was reading about.

The final thing I want to mention is the feel of the book. When I finished this book, I left it feeling like “romantic comedy” is the wrong way to market it. Instead, I think it should be marketed as a story that shows the trials and tribulations people face in their everyday life. The key messages I felt resonating with me were that of acceptance and love for all — including yourself, forgiveness, honesty and communication.

Even though it wasn’t quite the fun read I thought it would be, I finished it with more of a life lesson, key take away kind of feel. If you want to read about how different people face a range of issues (sexuality, grief, guilt, family secrets, being single later in life etc) then this is an inspiring read I urge you to read.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Lasairiona E. McMaster’s The Good in Goodbye, the sequel to Intimate Strangers. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.

Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! 

Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Naughty or Nice – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, after a fake dating story last week we’re onto a hidden romance set in the lead up to the Christmas period. With 24 days to go until Christmas is here, how many more Christmas themed books do you think I can squeeze in?

With Rachael being the author, I knew I’d be in for some explicit sex scenes, yet I found it wasn’t as full on as I was expecting. Yes, there was still some graphic sex but nothing that made me too uncomfortable while reading on the bus. Because of course the sex scenes start when you get on the bus and end just before getting off in peak hour.

I mean, why couldn’t they have the decency to happen when I’m at home alone where no one could potentially read over my shoulder? I’m not complaining. Just making a comment that every book I read that has sex scenes seems to be timed to be explicit when I’m on a packed bus in peak hour.

The book itself kept me captivated (I read it in 3 days, and the third day only needed like 30 mins to finish the book) and kept me thinking about how tricky family and business relationships can be. Yet the one message that really stood out (there’s always a message for me in Rachael’s books) was men’s reactions to women.

Specifically, there was a scene where Eva left a part to go to the bathroom assuming Lucas would follow, and he did. When we changed to his perspective after the encounter his thoughts included references to the look she was giving him that was filled with lust and desire and that she wanted him to follow her.

In a world where SJW (social justice warriors) run rampant I can imagine how many women would be jumping up and down shouting “#METOO” and all sorts of other nonsense (I’m not against the movement, but I do believe SOME people take it too far) along the lines of “how dare he assume that’s what she wants?!”. Yet all I could think in response to that thought was “these actions are going to kill the behaviour men exhibit that is so sexy and masculine. Those women are going to push the scale so far to the other end that men are going to be scared to even look us in the eyes in case they get persecuted.

I believe there is a time and a place for those movements and thoughts. One of the times where it’s not appropriate is in a romantic setting. So long as the guy listens when a girl says no then I’m all for the kind of behaviour Lucas displayed when seducing Eva. It was hot, masculine and sexy as hell. A guy who knows what he wants and goes after it while respecting her boundaries is awesome and should be celebrated!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the sequel to Single All the Way by Elaine Spires. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she's not glued to her laptop, she's wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Giveaway - Win an e-copy of Naughty or Nice by Rachael Stewart (open internationally)


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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Reindeer Readathon 2019

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You may have seen or heard about the new Christmas themed readathon that’s started up this year. It’s called the Reindeer Readathon hosted by Breakeven Books (Leader of Team Mistletoe), Melted Books (Leader of Team Snowflake), Savy Writes Books (Leader of Team Stockings) and Donna Tsundoku (Leader of Team Nutcracker).

I loved the sound of it so I thought I’d sign myself up for my first EVER readathon! And promptly got assigned to the Nutcracker team led by the fun Donna.

We were given 9 prompts and can get awarded bonus points if one of our books happens to be over 500 pages long. None of mine are, but I’ll see if I can get through some other stuff to be able to read Outlander to land that one. You can see the specific details here:

Most of the books I’ve chosen to read for this readathon are ones I have scheduled for reviews in January or February. Since I need to read them in preparation for their scheduled reviews I figured there’s no harm in using them for the readathon.

I don’t believe there’s a rule against that. And I still managed to squeeze in a couple I don’t have reviews scheduled for.

I chose Light of Spirit for this one as most of my books are 300-400 pages and it was on my list to read and review in February.

Dance of the Heart is in the same series as Light of Spirit and is the ONLY book I could find in my TBR that revolves around, or involved the theme of music or dance.

The Convenient Felstone Marriage hasn’t moved around my shelves MUCH. But I got this from Jenni from a competition I won on my birthday earlier this yr.

Since I’ve rearranged my bookshelves a few times since then I figured it works!

From what I can tell of the blurb, Perfect Match has a strong female character. It’s also on my list of books to read and have a review ready for the tour that’s scheduled for January.

I’ll be reading Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley Hall for this one. Based on the blurb I believe it’ll have an impact on me.

It’s also an author request that I’ve got scheduled for a review in January.

Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquees was an obvious choice for this one. I read a lot of romance but it was the only one that didn’t fall into any of the other categories.

And I was also asked to review it by the author so it’s scheduled for a review in January.

Another author request (although this time I think it’s scheduled for February) for this one. Although I chose it more because I don’t have many books that have a pretty cover and I really do like the cover Nicola has had done!

I don’t have much in the way of graphic novels. I’ve also never read one before so I thought this would be a challenge to find one I could read.

Then I remembered I got a copy of the Vampire Academy graphic novel when I bought the series.

Of course this one needs red in the cover. I decided that since one layer of the cake is red it works!

Also. It’s scheduled for a book tour in January.

I hope you’re looking forward to hearing about my progress with this. I’m hoping to do a weekly wrap up so you can track my progress and get a feel for how I found the books. Without spoiling them for their coming reviews of course!

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Wrap Up – November

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November started off pretty stressful and I ended up behind schedule with scheduling my reviews. I still am to be honest!

I have all of my December reviews and posts written. But I haven’t scheduled any of them… You’d think me being so super organised would mean I’d be on top of this right?

Apparently not!

But check out what I managed to get out in my final month of my Diploma (I passed by the way! Yay!)! And let’s just say the next 3 months are going to be crazy! They are already overbooked!

My Fav

I really enjoyed A Christmas Kiss and everything involved in it. Livvie and Zander were so cute and faced some challenges before ultimately getting together.

Even when I predicted some stuff, Eliza still surprised me with how they unfolded. I mean.

How often do you have an author give you what you were expecting. But not in the way you were expecting. Yet in a way that’s probably better than what you were expecting?

My Least Fav

The choice to pick A Forgiven Friend has nothing to do with the writing in this book. And everything to do with it just not being the type of book for me.

Turns out I’m not really a fan of friendship books where the point of view changes between the friends.

The writing was really well done throughout this book even with some very minor discrepancies between the two characters (this naturally happens when there’s two authors) so I honestly think it’ll be a great read for people who like this style.

It’s just not for me.

What’s coming

I have a couple of posts coming and 6 reviews coming in December. I’ll be ending my reviews for the year with one I definitely think you should tune in for (that’ll be happening on Dec 23rd) and will then take some time to reflect on the year and ahead onto the new year.

My 2019 goals

I’ve read way more books than initially intended, you’ll see this final number at the end of the year. Or you can go check out my Goodreads Reading Challenge progress!

I’ve read all my books for my Aussie Author Challenge with the final review coming out on Dec 23rd! That same one I told you to check in for.

Ok. So I failed at getting this properly up and going. But I’ve put it on my schedule for next yr. Hopefully then I’ll be back on track!

And instead of losing weight I’ve put weight on. But I’ve increased how much I’m working out from twice a week at the gym to three times a week and I’m just taking up running. I’ve got the C25K (Couch to 5km) app so I can slowly get up to running 5km. Fingers crossed I see some progress before heading to Perth in the new year!

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The Dating Charade – Melissa Ferguson

Welcome back everyone, after finishing a book with a different take on the female anatomy we’re into a different take on dating.

I mean, who ends up with 6 children between two people anyway? And volunteering for them too!

I know right, that sounds completely crazy right? Especially for childless and happy me.

But seriously, I don’t understand the urge to look after kids. I’m lucky to have the urge to look after my nieces (not so much my nephews!) but they are amazing, and they come running to me whenever I come near them. So that’s easy.

What these two go through. OMG!

That’s some love dedication to those kids. And trying to date during those times? Isn’t it hard enough to date as a 30-year-old, let alone adding in the difficulty of kids?

Ok, I’ll try to be over the kids’ stuff and move onto the topics of the book.

The writing style felt like good fun. We swapped between Cassie and Jett each chapter and got involved in their thoughts, feelings and everyday actions.

It was set from like Thanksgiving (when is that BTW?) through to like Valentines Day. I don’t know if you’d classify it as a holiday romance. But it’s still got a bit of that feeling since most of the story is set in and around the Christmas period. And isn’t that all the rage at this time of the year?

Luckily it embodies everything I love about the Christmas period and just imbues you with everything you want to feel in the Christmas period. I love that feeling. But I also know it wasn’t as enrapturing as it could have been.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Naughty or Nice by Rachael Stewart.