Chick lit

Christmas at the beach café – Lucy Diamond

Christmas at the beach cafeTitle: Christmas at the beach cafe
Author: Lucy Diamond
Publisher: Pan
Format: Kindle
Pages: 100
My rating★★★★✫

This summer I have read The beach cafe. When I finished it I saw that there was a Christmas novella that belonged to the book and I decided to put that one on my Kindle to read when the holidays were coming up. The holiday season is coming closer now and since I’ve got many Christmas novels waiting on my Kindle, I have decided to start reading some already. Maybe I can read them all this year, or at least most of them.

What the book is about

After a hectic summer running her beach café in Cornwall, Evie Flynn is looking forward to her first Christmas with new boyfriend Ed – she’s determined that it’s going to be the most perfectly romantic one ever. Cosy nights in front of the fire, spicy mulled wine, mince pies . . . what’s not to love? But the peace is shattered when Ed’s ex suddenly gets in touch again, and then some unexpected guests arrive: Ed’s surly brother Jake and Evie’s heartbroken best friend Amber. Add in the stress of trying to finish her very own recipe book, snow blizzards and family dramas and Evie’s Christmas starts to look as if it’ll be a total turkey. Will any of her festive wishes come true . . . or is this Christmas just a recipe for disaster?

What I think about the book

Often when I finish a novel I wonder what will happen next. I mean, the story is over, but where will the characters go from that point on. Will they fall out of love or stick together? So it is nice to read a novella every now and then to catch up with the characters and see what the author thinks will happen next.

So in this case we get to go back to Evie and Ed at the Beach Café. The cafe is closed and Evie and Ed have planned to spend some time together. Evie has pictured a very romantic Christmas and she is working on the perfect gift for Ed. While she is preparing for the holidays, everything seems to go wrong. At first Evie hates that her plans are being disturbed, but she has changed a lot since we first met her in the Beach Cafe. Yes, she sure knows how to make the best out of things and she is trying real hard, even when it all seems to get worse all the time.

In the end everything is alright, just like one would expect from a Christmas novella. In the end the holidays aren’t just about romance, but also about friends, family and the community and Evie seems to realize that in time to enjoy herself. Her auntie Jo would be so proud of her.

I think Christmas at the beach cafe is a lovely and fast paced read for everyone who has read The Beach Cafe already.

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses – Jenny Hale

christmas wishesTitle: Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses
Author: Jenny Hale
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Kindle
Pages: 305
My rating★★★★★

It’s not Christmas yet, but since Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses came out last week, I just had to start reading it right away. Last year I have read a few Christmas novels. Two of them (Coming Home for Christmas and A Christmas to Remember) were written by Jenny Hale. They were lovely so I could not wait to start reading this one.

What the book is about

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?

What I think about the book

Once again a great novel by Jenny Hale. I really enjoyed it and I was seriously getting in a festive mood. I will have to wait a while before I can start decorating our flat, but at least I can read more Christmas novels until then. Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses was a great start of my Christmas reading.

This story has wonderful characters. Not just Abbey and Nick, but I loved little Max as well. Now that I am a mother, it was as if I could actually see Max through Abbey’s eyes. I finally realize what it is like to love your kid like that and what it’s like when others (especially the man you love) are nice to him. I can’t wait for my baby boy to be bigger so we can start our own traditions together. Reading this story definitely gave me some great ideas for the future.

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses is the perfect story if you are searching for something romantic. It is a classic girl meets boy story. You know they will fall in love, but that is exactly what I wanted from this novel. I wanted them to fall in love and see what challenges life would throw at them. It’s not just about love though, it is also about living your dream, whether that would be starting your own business or learning how to relax and enjoy your family. These are challenges that most of us can relate to in a way. Following your heart can be scary, but I also know what it’s like to be super busy and forget to enjoy life as well. Not that I’ve got millions on my bank account to show for it…

Speaking of millionaires… I’ve got one small remark. Once again the female main character in the book is thinking about the future and a possible career change and the male main character is a rich man who seems to be a complete workaholic. The stories are different and I really enjoy all of them, but it was something I noticed. It is not the kind of man I would fall for, as I am usually more into artistic and quirky guys. Still Jenny writes those characters so well that they do become attractive. And since the story is super romantic I didn’t really mind who the characters were. I just wanted them to be together. Therefore I still think that this book deserves five stars.

Making your mind up – Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell Making your mind upTitle: Making your mind up
Author: Jill Mansell
Publisher: Headline Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 436
My rating★★★★✫

In the past I have read a few books by Jill Mansell which I really enjoyed, but somewhere along the way I started to read other books and somehow I had not picked up any of her newer books. Since I saw a live interview at the Manuscripta book event here in Utrecht in September 2014 I really wanted to start reading her books again, so I picked this one up at a book fair somewhere in the past year and decided to read it for Paperback Summer. After all I do think a bit of romance is great summer reading material.

What the book is about

Lottie Carlyle isn’t looking for love when she meets her new boss, Tyler Klein. Living in a beautiful cottage with her two adorable – sometimes – kids in an idyllic village in the Cotswolds, on good terms with her ex-husband and with friends all around, she’s happy enough with her lot. But Tyler’s perfect for Lottie and quickly she falls for him – and he for her. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. For reasons that are totally unfair, Lottie’s children HATE Tyler. When a rival for Lottie’s affections comes on the scene in the shape of charmer Seb, the children adore him, and he’s certainly a distraction. But he’s not Tyler – and he’s not even at all what he seems. Lottie’s got a problem – but thanks, in classic Jill Mansell style, to a tobogganing accident and a delicious series of mix-ups, all will be revealed and true love will find a way.

What I think about the book

I really needed to get into this story and that took me quite a bit. I am a slow reader, because of my pregnancy, and with the short chapters and many characters that are involved it took me a while to get to know them all. Once I did it was all lovely and I finished the book quite fast.

What I really love about Jill Mansell’s style is how the events in her books are so realistic, it could happen to anyone. That way you can relate to all the characters. I also felt many different emotions while reading this book, especially the male characters were quite annoying sometimes and I got quite mad at them for the things they did. Nope, not going to spoil anything here.

In the end, everything falls into place, which is another thing that is typical for a Jill Mansell story. The characters get what they deserve and there’s always room for a couple of ‘they lived happily ever after’ moments.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
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