Title: Driving Home for Christmas
Author: Emma Hannigan
Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland
My rating: ★★★★★
For last weeks Sunday Challenge the challenge was to read a book written by an Irish author or a book set in Ireland. Driving Home for Christmas fits both descriptions and therefore this book is perfect for this challenge. Thanks Ananda for recommending it to me!
What the book is about
Christmas at Huntersbrook House is a family tradition and this year it’s even more important as, with mounting debts and insufficient income from the livery yard, it looks like the Craig family might have to sell their beloved family home.
Pippa, Joey and Lainey are the three grown up Craig children who, caught up with their own lives in Dublin, are, as yet, unaware of the problems facing Huntsersbrook.
Joey is starting to wonder if his controlling, fitness-mad girlfriend really is the one for him. Lainey, the family worrier, is doing her best to ignore her ex’s recent engagement while also trying to look out for her sister Pippa whose frivolous lifestyle is about to catch up with her.
As the Christmas season approaches, the Craig family need to do some soul-searching and what better place than around the fire at Huntersbrook House.
One thing’s for sure, this is a Christmas none of them will forget. But will it be their last at Huntersbrook or will they manage to save the family home?
What I think about the book
It was wonderful to ‘meet’ the whole Craig family and all of their friends in this book. My favorites were definitely Lainey and Jules. I can relate to having a dificult relationship with your mother, but yeah, she’s your mum so you will always love her no matter what. And Jules sounded like so much fun! Lainey is also my age, as I am turning 31 in January and only now am I worrying about my hair, make-up and clothes so that was also a funny similarity between her and me.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to grow up in a big house on the countryside and have all your friends and relatives over for the holidays? It really sounds so amazing. The way it was written it really felt as if I was part of the story.
Reading Christmas books might also have changed my view on the holidays a little. I am never really in the mood for Christmas until a week before, but now that I have read Driving Home for Christmas I am already in the mood to put our (fake) tree in the living room and decorate it. I even drove to Ikea with Huib to buy a few new Christmas decorations. You can imagine he was in shock. After posting this blog I am definitely going to start decorating our flat, so we can really enjoy our holidays this year!
Even though I have many books on my TBR I don’t always want to pick the obvious book or my latest purchase to be the next one to read. I was in the mood for reading something light and funny this weekend, as I wasn’t feeling very well. So when I read that AJ was going to read books with white covers, I decided to join her. I picked ‘Going La La’ because of the title and the starts at the cover. Unfortunately I didn’t finish the book on time, but I did enjoy reading it.
What the book is about
What do you when your boyfriend tells you he wants space? You give him six thousand miles of it…
Frankie’s life is falling apart. In less than a week she’s gone from having everything – a great job, lovely flat and gorgeous Hugh – to having nothing at all.
Devastated, dumped and on the dole, she packs her bags and flies to Los Angeles to stay with an old friend. Her goal? To sort out her life and get over Hugh. She does not, repeat not, go to LA to fall head over heels for an American photographer called Reilly and to run away to Las Vegas.
But what happens when Hugh wants her back? Who will she choose? And is it really true that whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?
What I think about the book
First of all I think that I have found a very nice author and I would love to read more books by Alexandra Potter in the future. It was such a lovely story. Frankie’s relationship with Hugh sounded far from perfect to me, but love can make people blind and she obviously loved the guy. Running away after a break up to meet with your best friend is also something I can relate to. I have done that many times in the past. A girl needs some quality time with her best friend at such moments. In my case that was usually only about 200 km away, but Frankie flies to the other half of the world to see her best friend. All I can say is that I would have done the same, so that doesn’t sound strange to me at all. It is probably why I instantly fell in love with Frankie and Rita and their friendship.
Then there is Reilly. A photographer who is nothing like the dream guy that Frankie still has in mine. Yet he seems to have something special. They keep bumping in to each other in L.A. It was definitely the kind of guy that I could fall for. A little chaos, an artistic job, handsome. Yup, that sounds just fine. All the other characters are so nice as well. Take Dorian, the eccentric and sweet neighbor of Rita who knows where the best parties are. Wouldn’t you want a fun neighbor like that? Someone who is always around for a chat, a glass of champagne or a cup of licorice tea?
It was funny how the characters had no cell phones and were still calling each other via phone boots and land lines. Besides that, the story could still be set in the current time, because life, love, parties and friendship haven’t changed that much since the 90’s.
Want to read something colorful as well? AJ is going for books with a green cover this week!
Title: Checking Inn
Author: Emily Harper
My rating: ★★★★✫
When Ananda from This Chick Reads asked if someone would like to review a book by Emily Harper I just said ‘yes’ without thinking twice. Is there anything better than discovering new authors? I don’t think so. Since I have been reading lots of chick lit lately and just started my new blog, it sounded like a good opportunity to me.
What the book is about
Kate Foster runs the Summerside Inn (and her life) by well-organized checklists.
Make sure the caterers don’t serve devil’s food cake to the Christian Women’s Alliance- check.
Tell my mother that having a séance to get rid of any unwanted spirits in the kitchen during dinnertime is not okay- check.
Send a friendly reminder to all staff that the pens are colour coded for everyone’s enjoyment, and therefore it is not a good idea to put them all in one jar in order to spice things up as was anonymously suggested- check.
But, when an acclaimed hotel critic dies at the Inn, just before she’s about to publish a scathing review that would ruin the business, Kate’s life and checklists are thrown into disarray. And it doesn’t help matters that the detective assigned to the case is messy, unorganized, and too charming for his own good. Now Kate has to prove her innocence and save her Inn, or else the only thing that she’ll be organizing is the prison’s next bake sale.
What I thought about the book
‘Checking Inn’ is an easy read and I finished reading this novel in no time. The story isn’t very deep, but it was nice to read. If you’re in the mood for a light read, one where you don’t have to think too much, this book is perfect.
I love it when characters have their little quirks, like Kate and her endless checklists. That is something I can relate to, as I can be quite a control freak myself sometimes. I can imagine her shock when she hears that the hotel critic is dead and the police comes marching in to mess with her planning and check listst for that day. From that point things seem to go downhill for the inn and for Kate. Or maybe not, because the detective seems to be on Kate’s side. And he is cute! Not that Kate is searching for a man. She’s with Greg the Great after all.
What I liked most was the fact that this is not just the average chick lit, but there are some murder mystery parts that make the story more exciting. The mother-daughter relationship between Kate and her mother feels realistic as well. Even though they run the inn together, they are so different. Yet both women try to take care of each other in a way only mothers and daughters can. The relationship between two women can be so complicated. Still mothers are often right, which can be quite annoying.
Over all this was a really enjoyable story.