Monthly Wrap-Up : June 2020

Hello Readers! This month felt long with many sleepless night and some frustrating WiFi issues with my slow laptop and mobile data. I so need new laptop and I hope sale arrives soon. COVID-19 positivity rate is high in Hyderabad and they are talking of another lock down in few days. Hospitals don’t have ventilators and oxygen cylinders. My husband fears if something happened to us we wouldn’t get treatment here and thinking we should fly back to our hometown at my parents’ home. There too cases are more and but at least we have doctors in family. We haven’t decided anything yet but if we are going we will leave in first week of August and will return, maybe, in Dec. And if not, still we will visit our hometown but in Nov and come back after Christmas.

Reading stats:

Books Read : 9 (Actually 9.75! Still need to read last 100 pages of Cometh the hour)
Pages Read : 3018
Reviews written : 8

Blog Stats:

Views : 2734
visitors : 1419
Likes : 1238
Comments : 213

Books Read:

Love is What You Bake of it (Meraki #1) by Effie Kammenou — [Review] ★★★★★ / / Romance / / entertaining and heart warning love story with beautiful setting, interesting characters and lots of mouthwatering confection.

No Signal (iMe, #2) by Jem Tugwell — [Review] ★★★★★ / / Dystopia, futuristic sci-fi / / brilliant, thought provoking, and impressive sci-fi thriller with realistic characters and intimidating world.

Any Day With You by Mae Respicio — [Review] ★★★★★ / / Middle Grade / / heartwarming, charming, lovely, and a perfect middle grade story with multigenerational Filipino family and culture.

Episodic Sleep Disorders by E.L. Haines — [Review] ★★★★☆ / / Mystery / / quick, intriguing, dark mystery with vivid description and eerie setting. I recommend this book to fans of short stories.

From the Shadows (Monica Kennedy #1) by G.R. Halliday — [Review] ★★★★☆ / / Crime Fiction / / compelling, dark and interesting Scottish Noir with many twist and turns. 

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner — [Review] ★★★★★ / / Historical Fiction / / simple yet beautiful, lovely and refreshing historical fiction with amazing characters and setting.

Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli — [Review] ★★★★☆ / / YA Contemporary / / fluffy, feel good, enjoyable, cute and coming of age YA contemporary with lovable characters.

Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella — [Review] ★★★★★ / / Mystery / / deep, impactful, powerful, and thought-provoking mystery with great characters, philosophical writing and eye-opening history, and honest and raw representation of grief, loss and mental illness.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust / / Fantasy / / Amazing world building based on Persian mythology and interesting characters.

My Favorite books of the month:

In July I’m going to read 5 another NetGalley books and 4 books for tour.


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments if you have read any of these book and which was your favorite book of the month.

Happy Reading!

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#MonthlyWrapup : January 2020

Hello readers! I hope your 2020 started with amazing books and have managed to stick to your resolutions and read books from shelf that were sitting there for ages. Well, I haven’t done any of that so far. I read books that I received in 2019 from authors and publisher and managed to read more than I expected. I read 11 books. 3 were short stories but 8 is really a good number for a person who couldn’t read more than 6 for long time.

So here is my month in numbers:

Books Read 11
Book Reviewed: 10
Total Pages Read: 2919

What I read:

Books read in December last year but reviewed in Jan~

Perfect Match by Zoe May — [Review] ★★★★★

Perfect Match was entertaining and charming chick-lit that revolved around Sophia and her many attempts to find true and perfect love through online dating. It was about quirks of online dating, dream of perfect love vs the reality, taking time to know a person over a first sight sparks and fireworks, character over look, and beauty of imperfection. Overall, it was fun and lovely romantic comedy with amazing characters and many hilarious and dramatic situations. I definitely recommend this book if you’re into Romcom and Chick-Lit.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.com | Amazon.in

Mrs P’s Book of Secrets by Lorna Gray — [Review] ★★★★☆

Mrs P’s Book of Secrets was amazing historical fiction with concoction of mystery, history, romance and ghost. It was about life after war and death of loved ones, tragedy of WWII, loss, grief, setting the soul free of that loss, finding friendship and love, and haunting shadows. It was slow and bit confusing around climax. Overall, it was interesting, intricate, and inspirational historical fiction which was both beautiful and poignant.

Affiliate Links: Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Book Depository

Books Read and Review this month~

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An Expat’s Guide To Falling In Love by Cristina Hodgson — [Review] ★★★★☆

An Expat’s Guide To Falling in Love was entertaining Romcom with a suspense and many turns. It revolved around Alexandra- an expat in Spain- and her new life in this colorful but sweltering country. It was about finding home, freedom, and love in new country, friendship, trust, honor and kindness. And culture and tradition of Spain. I loved the style and story but was not wow like other books I read by author. I found myself distracted and losing grip on story at few points. Overall it was entertaining and interesting romantic suspense with lots of fun facts and quirky characters.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

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Dreams of Fire (Book #1) by Christian Cura — [Review] ★★★☆☆

Dreams of Fire was interesting paranormal, urban fantasy that revolved around Kara Hartman who forsaken her magic after tragedy. It was bout loss, vengeance, friendship, love and magic. I had mixed feeling for this. Some things were good while some I didn’t like. Concept was really good and promising, no doubt there, but I didn’t like the execution. Overall, it was interesting, enjoyable and really promising urban fantasy but I had some issue that kept me from enjoying it completely.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.com | Amazon.in

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A Woman to Blame by Vincent Panettiere — [Review] ★★★★☆

A woman To Blame was first in Mike Hegan mystery series. This book was packed with murder, drama, horse race gambling, mafia feud, exploitation and swindling along with grief, loss, guilt, and romance. Though story was interesting and engaging, it moved slowly, maybe because of length. I didn’t like that dramatic turn at his sister’s house. Overall, it was interesting, cleverly written, complicated mystery with many characters and twist and turns.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Book depository

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A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall by Jane Linfoot — [Review] ★★★★★

This was best book of the month. A Cozy Christmas in Cornwall was sweet and delicious Chick-Lit that revolved around Ivy and her very dramatic but cozy Christmas in a Cornish castle. It was about living life at fullest no matter how many times life throws you down, standing up and kicking the troubles in back, take control of life and move on; not to settle for something or someone that makes you unhappy and turn into something that you’re not comfortable with; about Christmas, a holiday of good thing and good luck; and of course romance. There was so much drama and hilarious moments. Loved characters, food and setting. Overall, it was sweet, lovely, entertaining and cozy chick-lit that I highly recommend.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Book Depository

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Lullaby of Flames by Candace Robinson — [Review] ★★★★★

Lullaby of Flames was another twisted tale by Candace Robinson. It was a short story, Cori’s journey down the hell hole, about unlikely friendship and surviving the darkness and evils of hell. Yup, a twisted Alice in the wonderland. Overall, it was intriguing, entertaining, and very devilish dark fantasy. I highly recommend this book. Stay away from pits.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.com | Amazon.in

The Bus Ride by Joanie Chevalier — [Review] ★★★★★

The Bus Ride was a humorous busnapping adventure that revolved around a bus driver, a busnapper and 5 other passenger and a family. It was about unlikely friendship, never stop trying to live better life and what you desire, let other help you, and confronting problem. Overall, it was fun, entertaining and enjoyable busnapping adventure. I highly recommend this to all readers who love short stories and entertaining travel adventure.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Book Depository

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The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr — [Review] ★★★★☆

The Way Home was Greek Mythology, a story of Trojan hero, Aeneas, and his journey to find a new homeland when Troy fell by Greek warriors led by Odyssey. It was about love and vengeance, strife between goddesses, dangerous prophecy, and Gods’ politics. As mentioned in synopsis, it’s a retelling of Virgil’s epic poetry- Aeneid. I get the depth of story and conversion. I wish there was more depth to characters. Overall, it was interesting, entertaining and adventurous mythical fantasy. Readers of any age who loves Greek Mythology will enjoy it.

Affiliate Link: Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Book Depository

The Falconer’s Apprentice by Malve von Hassell — [Review] ★★★★☆

The Falconer’s Apprentice was a historical and cultural adventure of falconer’s apprentice that take place in Holy Roman Empire in the thirteenth Century. The book was about Falconry, trade, life on road through Europe during the period of political unrest, humanity and compassion. A coming of age story of young boy who discovers a path of his life through this travel. I couldn’t know characters, especially Andreas, that deeply. Overall, it was interesting historical book with amazing characters and their journey.

Affiliate Links: Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Book Depository

I’ll post reviews of Cupidity, Diary of A Wimpy Kid and The Neighbours next month.

Best book of the month-

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Other Posts:

Year End Wrap-Up

Best of 2019!

Favorite New-to-me Authors in 2019 Part I & Part II

Favorite Chick-Lits in 2019

Book Series I will be reading before 2020 ends

Guestpost : Iron Heart by MC D’Alton, Melanie Page

Let’s discuss!

How was you month in reading? What did you read this month? Have you read any of these books? Are you going add any to your TBR? Which book(s) was your favorite this month?

HAPPY READING!!

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Favorite New-to-me Authors in 2019 (Part I) #FavNewToMeAuthors

Hello readers! 2020 has started nicely but I’m not reading new book by new author as of now. I still need to finish review requests I got in 2019 but that’s not the topic here. I would like to tell you all about new authors and their amazing books I discovered in 2019. There were many new authors I discovered, (that reminds me to add a count of New and old author in 2020 excel sheet). Most of them were great and few I were okaish but it always amazing to read something new and fresh.

So, here is list!

1. Miranda Rijks

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I have read just one book by Miranda Rijks and I can say she write amazing psychological thriller. Deserve To Die was thrilling, tense, spine chilling, unnerving, addictive and intriguing page turner. It was written flawlessly. I loved author’s style the way she kept the nervousness alive from the very first page and it didn’t die until the end. It was clever book with intricate plot that kept me guessing the next move of that horrible villain. I have another one in my kindle ‘You are mine’ by Miranda Rijks and I cannot wait to read it and rest of the book by this author.

[Review]
Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon.com


2. Jennifer Donaldson

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In last 2-3 months I mentioned this author and this book of her ‘I Know You Remember’ many times. This was fabulous YA psychological thriller that I keep recommending. It was about obsession, dysfunctional family, abusive parents and their addiction issues, friendship and jealousy. It had many layers. That big twist at climax was mind-boggling. Characters, plot, twist and end everything was perfect in this book. I wish to read more books by Jennifer Donaldson.

[Review]
(affiliate Link) Book Depository | Amazon.in | Amazon.com


3. Jo Jakeman

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Safe House was clever psychological thriller. The plot was layered with elements of misreading and misjudging a person, guilt, betrayal, manipulation, lies, deceit, blind love, unhealthy relationship, and facing past to give it closure. Gripping writing, suspenseful plot, intriguing characters and atmospheric setting left me wanting to read more by this author.

[Review]
(affiliate Link) Book Depository | Amazon.in | Amazon.com


4. Liz Davies

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Liz Davies wrote this lovely, entertaining, humorous, realistic relatable romcom with lots of family drama. It was feel good story that had a good message of importance of sharing burden, being supportive, understanding each other’s perspective, and bringing back the spark in relationship and enjoying Christmas as a family. Writing was wonderful, entertaining and engaging.

[Review]
(affiliate Link) Book Depository | Amazon.in | Amazon.com


5. Malia Zaidi

I discovered Malia Zaidi through Emma’s blog tour and I got to read all 4 books by her. Lady Evelyn Mystery series was compelling cozy mysteries that I enjoyed so much and kept recommending throughout the year. It was historical mysteries that was about post war trauma, social values and prejudice, scandals, social differences and preconceptions, tragedy, dysfunctional family, finding peace with past and learning various aspect of humanity. Phew, many insightful topics were covered throughout the series with exquisite, graceful and flawless writing. Each book had wonderful setting and mysteries that I loved to solve along with main character. Hmm, I don’t know if the series continues or not but I would love to read more from this author.

[Review- Book 1 , Book 2 , Book 3 , Book 4]

There are more new authors and their books I discovered in 2019 but I didn’t want the post too long so, I will post part II tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed the post and may have found new books and authors to add to 2020 TBR.

Let’s discuss!

Have you read any of these book or other books by the same author?
Which new authors and books you discovered in 2019?

Happy Reading!!

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#BookReview : Hands Up by Stephen Clark

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Hands Up by Stephen Clark
Publication Date: September 28th 2019
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 272
Stars: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

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Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

Hands Up was thought provoking adult fiction that revolved around three characters tied by tragedy. It was about Police brutality, injustice, racism, loss and grief, depression, betrayal and guilt.

Writing was smooth, gripping and realistic. The setting of Philadelphia and characters were well described. Story was first person narrative from Jade, Ryan and Kelly’s POV. It showed their life and view point perfectly, how death of teenage black boy, Tyrell, affected them and changed their life. We see the story from perpetrator, estranged father who saw it chance to return back with his family, and family’s emotions and hardship. I don’t have anything different from synopsis to say. That synopsis perfectly described how the book started. How three different characters were tied by the death of Tyrell.

From the very beginning it was clear Ryan shot Tyrell; Tyrell looked innocent; Ryan’s partner, Greg, fiftyish senior patrol officer and father figure to him was racist, dishonest man and was more to blame; and what they said to authorities was a manipulated lie. The question was what exactly happened that night and why they shot Tyrell and if Tyrell’s family will get justice?

This was character driven story packed with emotions and many serious, thought-provoking, and controversial topics- Corruption, police brutality that destroyed life and victim’s family; horrors of street- drug addicts, drug dealers, gang feud that robbed people of family and freedom; how loss and grief affects everyone differently; protest and violence, prejudice and racial belief and how some blame whole community for act of one person, suicidal attempts and self-injury, sexual and racial harassment.

Ryan is dealing with unresolved anger and mindset against black people after his father’s death. He felt guilty and ashamed for killing Tyrell. He couldn’t feel good even when he found he and Greg could get away with what they did. The more time passed, he felt dirtier and guiltier. He was having panic attacks and nightmares. Seeking redemption, fighting his fear and biases was only way he could see to have peace. He was not perfect cop with morally right person but his conscience was right. He knew he did wrong but it took time to realize he was keeping bad company. I didn’t like how his mother and girlfriend were being racially biased and didn’t care for the Wakefield family. I loved his development and all he did for redemption and the way he faced his fear was admirable.

Jade was damaged person. Decade ago when her father left them, it changed their life, affected her emotionally and mentally. It caused her depression and she gotinto habit of self-injury. When her brother died, her depression and self-injury got worse, her only hope and salvation was to get justice for her brother. But on return of her father, Kelly, it heightened. She too was racially biased towards white and white cops. She was desperate to get justice and revenge which was realistic but what happened after she got the name of Tyrell’s killer, was bit implausible. I couldn’t understand her anger against Kelly at first. She was not just disappointed and angry for him being unfaithful to her mother or being gangster or missed father as a child, but it looked more than that. She literally hated him. When the truth behind it was revealed I was shocked. Shocked she had to live with it, shocked even after all that happened her mother, Regina, was letting Kelly even near her family. Anyway, I liked her but I didn’t appreciate what she did in the end.

Kelly was boke and broken ex-gangster who abandoned Regina and their children a decade ago for another woman. When he got news of Tyrell’s death, he returned for his funeral, get justice, support Regina, get back in their life as family and to look after his remaining children. Sure Regina didn’t succumb to his nice talk and guilty and sad expression but he surely acted a changed man. Even at some point I thought he made terrible mistake and paid by losing son and their family could forgive him eventually. But as story unfolded, I could see real picture. Now was he really changed or circumstances drove him to other direction can be a good discussion here. But let’s just say he was not easy to figure out. While I liked how he felt sorry for his mistakes and tried to go on better path, at the same time I didn’t like few things. I mean how he could expect everybody would forgive him so easily and then once he gained trust, he started bossing around in Regina’s house. I really don’t like cocky man who have ego screaming ‘I’m man of the house and everybody should do as I say and follow my rules’. At the end I don’t like him, he was no better than Ryan.

There was so much to these characters and I loved to hear their story and form my own opinion towards them. They all were flawed, realistic and were fighting their own demons. Some could concur it while some failed terribly.

There were many turns in the story that kept it interesting, thinking what happens next, and figuring out all the possibilities. Romance was biggest turn in the book. It was totally unexpected but gave the story a dramatic touch.

At climax I thought they could escape but nothing could prepare me for that twist. It was clever and at the same time shocking. While the end seem fair, at the same time I didn’t want it to end like this.  It was heartbreaking and so sad because there could be other way like they kept saying in book.

Why 4.5 stars-

I kept thinking, ‘didn’t characters forgive so easily after the biggest betrayal’! I surely wouldn’t have forgiven any of them. And romance, I was like ‘whoa, who does that’! It was good and important turning point, but again, ‘who does that’! Honestly, it was implausible.

Overall, it was powerful, compelling and gripping fiction that dealt with controversial topics commendably. I definitely recommend this book for those who love to read thought provoking book.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Have read a book that features police brutality? If so, which one is your favorite?

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#MonthlyWrapUp : October 2019

Hello Readers! How was your blogtober?

This month has been busy with blunders. I lost October calendar! I have to check all mails to see which blogtour I signed up for this last two weeks. Even after doing so I forgot to post and published last year’s post instead. All because of that missing calendar. I still couldn’t find it anywhere! Was it my daughter who tore it from clipboard and threw it somewhere or me is still a mystery.

Good thing- My daughter learned to walk on her own yesterday. We were so happy to see her taking first steps and were even surprised she managed to walk for 10 mins. She’s still little afraid today but by this month end she won’t need us to hold her. It was birthday month and I got many bookmails. I managed to read 8 books.

I managed to read and review:

Totals books read – 8
1 paperback and rest e-copies
3 received from author, 1 from publisher, 4 NetGalley
Reviewed – 6
Pages read – 2221

Reviews:

Mercenary’s Child (The Phoenix Fallacy Book 1) by Jonathan Sourbeer —- 5/5 stars

Review Snippet- Fantastic futuristic science-fiction that revolved around main character’s journey from the slum area of the corporation to the skilled soldier of Odin legion.
It was about survival, friendship, loyalty, courage, valor, and politics.
The best and half part of the book was world building. Even though the book was filled with information, it never felt like info dumping.Training of new recruits covered another half part of the book which provided characters’ background and their development .
Overall, it was gripping, action packed, and most unique science-fiction with amazing world and characters. If you are fan of Sci-Fi, don’t miss this.

A Typical Family Christmas by Liz Davies — 5/5

Review Snippet- Lovely, entertaining, humorous and realistic Romcom that revolved around Peters family.
I bet you wouldn’t want to spend your Christmas anywhere near this family.
It was about family drama, importance of sharing burden, being supportive, understanding each other’s perspective, and bringing back the spark in relationship and enjoying Christmas as a family.
Family dynamic was best part of the book. I so enjoyed characters’ descriptions, their characteristics and antics. Loved Kate. She had empathetic and realistic tone. I disliked Brett at first but his development was great. Brett’s emotions were most heartfelt. I loved him from climax to end.
Overall, it was hilarious, dramatic, warm and festive romcom. This, so far, was best Christmas read. Those who love family drama wouldn’t want to miss this. I highly recommend this book.

Currently by Sarah Mensinga — 5/5

Review Snippet- Mix of steampunk, fantasy and mythical creature.
It revolved around Nerene, her survival in the world filled with slavery, trickery and injustice, her love for her boyfriend and dangerous journey she boarded to keep him safe.
It was about social injustice, survival, power, politics, trust, betrayal, friendship, and love; and Siren lore.
The book was told from Nerene’s captivating voice and was divided in three parts. First was world building, second- adventurous journey and third- climax and character development.
The insight was great. I found Nerene’s unwavering nature commendable. Book basically tells, there is always an alternative to the rash and reckless path that didn’t involve harming and hurting other and the power and its greed.
Overall, it was interesting and wonderful novel with impressive world. If you like to read book involving Sirens, you would want to read this. I definitely recommend this book to fantasy and steampunk lovers.

Snowflakes and Sparks (Old Pine Cove, #1) by Sophie-Leigh Robbins — 4/5 Stars

Review Snippet- Heartwarming sparkling romantic Christmas read, revolved around Suzie and Alex’s love that rekindled after 10 years they first met in Old Pine Cove.
It was about second chance at love, bonding and belongingness.
It had true festive vibe that makes you want to celebrate Christmas with equal zest.
Absolutely loved setting.  Old Pine Cove was most picturesque and wonderful. Author brought place and characters to life.
Climax was not that shocking, it was predictable too.
Overall, it was enjoyable, cute, lovely and entertaining romcom. A good Christmas read that recommend.

Faker by Sarah Smith — 4/5 Stars

Review Snippet- Hot and sensual romance novel that revolved around Emmie and Tate’s workplace enemy-to-lover story.
It was about Introverts and their issues, Fake exterior people creates to shield from their vulnerability, office environment for women in male staff dominated workplace, multicultural relationship, misjudgment, love and friendship.
The enemy-to-lover trope was well written. Chemistry between characters was irresistibly sexy and enticing. Loved the way they got to know each other.
Twist at climax didn’t feel right and unique. Emmie forgave too easily after that big revelation. Some making out scenes were overly described.
Overall, it was interesting and enjoyable debut novel with enemy-to-lover trope and hot and steamy romance.

A Family By Christmas by Viv Royce  — 4/5

Review Snippet- Chocolaty sweet romance that revolved round Emma, Grant and his lovely family in small town.
It was about new venture in small town, family, love, belongingness, following your heart and gut feeling.
Setting was vivid filled with Christmas spirit .
Emma’s loneliness being a foster kid touched my heart. I liked Grant’s perspective. I could understand Grant’s dream and wish to get job after getting over his loss.
I loved getting answers to all questions. I liked the message in the book about, trusting your feelings and working out a way that is best for everyone not what you want and your family wants.
No villain, no drama, no misunderstandings = no twist, which made it a tad predictable.
Overall, I enjoyed this family by Christmas. It was charming, cozy, and delightful Christmas read filled with festive feel. Do I recommend this for your Christmas reads? Righto.

Promo/Blitz:

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller
The Lay of Lady Percival by Jennifer R. Povey
Hope by Terry Tyler 
A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon
The Memories We Hide by Jodie Gibson
A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall by Jane Linfoot
The Giving Heart by Toni Blake
Star in the Shadows by Helen Buckley

Cover Reveal:

Off Balance by Aileen Erin 
The Final Trial by AA Abbot 

BOTM:

Review of One Week Til Christmas and Safe House will be up tomorrow.

Let’s discuss!

How was you month in reading? What did you read in October? Have you read any of these books? Are you going add any to your TBR? Which book(s) was your BOTM?

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