I always try to take a bit time at the end of the year to fit in a few books from my personal to-be-read pile which does tend to get a bit neglected throughout the year! Here are a few short reviews for books which I read over the holidays. Click the book title to see the full book information or order on Amazon.
I won this in a competition and was really looking forward to it. I have to admit though that this wasn’t a book for me and I was a bit disappointed in it. The idea of mixing some kind of magic into food to help people reminded me of Joanne Harris’s Chocolat which I much prefer. I was rather surprised to find a dystopian aspect abruptly appear in the second part of the book which didn’t seem to fit with the romantic mystical element of the first half. I didn’t think it was badly written or anything, just a storyline which didn’t work for me.
I can always rely on Amanda Prowse for a heartwarming enjoyable read and this may be my new favourite of hers. Loved the Edinburgh setting at Christmas though it’s definitely not just a book for Christmas. Family drama with all the relationships and emotions insightfully portrayed. Wonderful, wonderful story with just the perfect ending. I must say though, I can’t imagine how much two weeks in The Balmoral just before Christmas would cost! This is currently only 99p for Kindle.
I can’t say too much about this as it is a very early review copy. The Kindle version is available at the end of February, though you can pre-order now, and the paperback will follow in May. What I can say is that I think this is Doug Johnstone’s best novel yet and I absolutely devoured it! I am looking rather nervously at the Firth of Forth, which I can see from my house, just in case a new volcanic island appears as it does in the book!
The House on Cocoa Beach is a gorgeous, escapist read. Full of passion, lies, danger and betrayal, it’s a sweeping epic which moves from the WW1 battlefields of France to the beaches of Florida in the 1920s. Its compelling storytelling transports you to another era. The final chapters made for heartstopping reading and the epilogue was very intriguing, leaving me wanting to know more.
Face the Wind and Fly tackles the topical issue of renewable energy in the face of community opposition. Kate Courtenay is a successful engineer but faces a challenge when asked to take the lead for a wind farm project in her own community. She faces strong and very vocal opposition. I actually quite like wind turbines myself but can see why people think they’re unsightly. However, it’s not just her work life where things are difficult. Her son Ninian seems to be turning into a truculent teen who seems more perceptive than his mother! Her husband Andrew is considerably older than her and a successful author but is he seeing rather too much of one particular young fan? A vocal opponent of the wind farm is gardener Ibsen who has a very personal reason to be opposed. They are clearly attracted to each other but fight their feelings due to their being on opposing sides. I really enjoyed this well written and perceptive novel and learned a lot myself about wind power. I must also mention how much I enjoy the setting of the novel, the fictional Heartlands, just outside Edinburgh which the author describes so well. This is currently only 99p for Kindle.
So that’s a few books ticked off my list. If you read my post last week you’ll know there are plenty of books I’m looking forward to reading this year. I have just written up my review for Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon which seems to be universally loved going by the reviews I’ve read so far and I’ll certainly be adding to that love. That will be my first review of the year tomorrow. I’m sharing my review of the remarkable Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan on Monday and trust me, that’s going to be a huge success this year. I’m also on the blogtour for Kate Hamer’s The Doll Funeral next week so watch out for my review of that too.
And finally, I’m pleased to have a few more people lined up to take part in my Blogger in the Spotlight feature soon and will be starting with Emma from Star Crossed Reviews on Friday. If you are a blogger interested in doing this, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get that set up.