Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher

 

dreamalittledream 

What they say: Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish).

So it’s not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn’t nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams… do they?

Praise for Giovanna Fletcher:

‘Saucy, fun and full of heart. This is Giovanna’s most accomplished novel yet! This book ticked every one of our must have boxes’ Heat
‘A heartbreakingly beautiful story about friendship and unrequited love. I was totally and utterly captivated’ Paige Toon on You’re the One That I Want
‘Warm and romantic, this charming read will certainly brighten up your day’ Closer
‘Tons of charm and genuine warmth’ Star

The Review: I loved this book with a passion. There is so much to rave about. Basically we meet twenty nine year old Sarah and learn of her life, constantly avoiding her mother, who is disappointed at her life choices, in the same circle of friends as her ex, who has brought the girlfriend he dumped her for after seven years together into said circle, and ‘skivvy’ to a pig of a boss in a production company. Her positive outlook on life and great friends make up for it, however, as we see Sarah decide to turn things around.

This story was told in the first person which was perfect. I loved the narrative and adored Sarah, the strong, brave girl who kept going and only let us in on how she was really feeling. I used the highlight feature as I went and at one stage thought ‘I could just highlight this whole book’ and it was true! The dreams Sarah has are vibrant, vivid and hilarious, some including tv personalities, some genius ones that have to be ‘seen’ to be interpreted (I am itching to just start spouting about them now but must … hold … out!!!), and of course there’s the ones including somebody Sarah used to know, Brett Last, who subsequently arrives on the scene. Brett is lovely and my interest in him picqued early on as I enjoyed hearing his side of things as much as Sarah’s. The chemistry between them sparkled from the off. Also the comparisons between and incidences involving the real and the dream one(aptly named ‘Real Brett’ and ‘Dream Brett’ to avoid possible confusion) were brilliant.

The side stories were lovely, touching, and very funny, with her friends and their weekly pub quiz trips featuring strongly and never disappointing for drama and laughs. All in all, a genius, smart, laugh out loud (honestly, I actually did, at a number of points!) book that sucked me back into it every time I picked it up (kids were sick at the time so I can’t say I read it all at once but I can say I seriously craved it when I was away from it!)

Will most definitely be looking into Ms. Fletcher’s back catalogue and have the sequel to this ‘Dream a Christmas Dream’ coming up. Highly recommended and a million thanks to Netgalley for the review copy.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

Survival of the Christmas Spirit (a short story) by Aimee Horton

 

SurvivalOfTheChristmasSpirit

What they say: “Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!” Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

 

The Review: Oh how I enjoyed this! There are some stories that are so easy to read and the pages turn in your hand so quickly that you begin to worry what will happen when you get to the end. This was one such story. Dottie Harris is hit on Christmas Eve with extra guests for Christmas Day and it is taken with both positivity and frustration! I had heard of ‘Survival of The Christmas Spirit’ described as ‘mom lit’ and I suppose that’s what it is, it’s for those of you who are looking forward to Christmas because of the kids and at the same time looking forward to the sigh and breath you get to take at the end of the evening when the children are asleep and you finally get to take the weight off your feet. The change of moods throughout this story were hilarious as Dottie battled to get somewhere between Christmas cheer and Chrismas frustration. I warmed to her straight away, and empathised with all her predicaments while laughing as they occurred.

The Christmas descriptions were beautiful and warm and contrasted brilliantly with the craziness of dragging children about in the manicness of the festive season. There is also, of course, a Christmas surprise, which was very well done. One warning is that at around the seventy per cent mark, the story ends and changes to the opening chapter of another of Aimee Horton’s books. I have heard people complain about this with other books so just a warning. Personally I had no problem with it, and really enjoyed the preview!

By the way this is part of The Survival Series but I read it as a stand alone. Saying that in an author interview Aimee Horton states that they generally go in this order: Survival of the Ginnest, Mothers Ruined, Survival of the Christmas Spirit then Lush in Translation. I had no problem with not having read the others however I will be going back for more. Add to this it was a free download on Amazon and only fifty seven pages and I was happy out!

Light, warm, quick-witted, smart and funny, if you are at this very second reading this while trying to bop a child to sleep and willing another to settle down, then this one’s for you!

Rating: 5/5

Another Heartbeat In The House-nominated for The Irish Book Awards Best Popular Fiction Category

AnotherHeartbeatInTheHouse
What they say:

Two women living a hundred years apart. One home that binds them together.

When Edie Chadwick travels to Ireland to close up her uncle’s lakeside lodge, it’s as much to escape the burden of guilt she’s carrying as to break loose from the smart set of 1930’s London.

The old house is full of memories – not just her own, but those of a woman whose story has been left to gather dust in a chest in the attic: a handwritten memoir inscribed with an elegant signature . . . Eliza Drury

As she turns the pages of the manuscript, Edie uncovers secrets she could never have imagined: an exciting tale of ambition, hardship, love and tragedy – a story that has waited a lifetime to be told. . .

‘A delightful story, rich, engrossing and vividly told’ Rachel Hore

‘A compelling, atmospheric story brimming with period detail about two feisty, independent heroines who will steal your heart’ Cathy Kelly

‘With a marvellously evocative setting, strong and believable lead characters and a pacey plot, Another Heartbeat in the House is a thoroughly compelling love story’ Liz Trenow

 

The Book:

When I received a request to inform readers of the presence of this book among the other gems in The Irish Book Awards 2015 in The Best Popular Fiction category, I was very excited as I’d noticed it when I first rummaged through the contents of the Awards (I’m a big fan and vote and look forwards to them every year). I had previously heard of Liberty Silk, and the gorgeous cover of ‘Another Heartbeat in the House’ was so beautiful that, coupled with the eloquent blurb, I downloaded to my Kindle for future reading straight away!

You can vote for it in the Best Popular Fiction category here
Note: Voting closes at midnight 20th November 2015. Only one vote per email address is accepted.
About the author
Kate Beaufoy

 

Kate Beaufoy has an MA in French and English literature from Trinity College, Dublin.  She began her career as a professional actor – winning a Dublin Theatre Festival Best Actress award – before becoming a full time writer. As Kate Thompson she has had a dozen novels published, including the Number One bestseller The Blue Hour, which was shortlisted for the RNA award.

Kate’s novels have been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Czech and Dutch. She has contributed to numerous newspapers and magazines in Ireland and the UK, written and broadcast for RTE, and is regularly invited to participate in literary events across the media.

As Kate Beaufoy her first novel – the critically acclaimed Liberty Silk – spent four weeks on the Irish Times bestseller chart.   Another Heartbeat in the House – charted last summer and, inspired by William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, it tells the story of the woman who became governess to his children and who may have been the prototype for literature’s most enduring and engaging heroine, Becky Sharp.

Kate lives some of the year in Dublin and some on the West coast of Ireland. She is an advanced-level scuba diver, a wild swimmer, a keen practitioner of Bikram yoga, and the fond keeper of a bewitching Burmese cat.

 

Make a Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

make a christmas wish

What they say: A HILARIOUS and JUST-A-LITTLE HEARTBREAKING FESTIVE TREAT for anyone who’s looking for a little bit of MAGIC this CHRISTMAS TIME!

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.

And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.

This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?

Perfect for fans of CAROLE MATTHEWS, TRISHA ASHLEY and JENNY COLGAN.

 

The review: First off thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review. I had heard a lot about this book before I started, there were big fans out there so that would be something to bear in mind here.

In Make A Christmas Wish we’re introduced to Livvy, who has died in an accident after hearing about her husband having an affair. The way things work is explained to her by her spirit guide Malachi, who appears in the form of a black cat. She is told that she has unfinished business and so cannot pass over to the other world. The unfinished business is seemingly obvious but, in a nice touch, the glaringly obvious is turned on its head throughout the book. Livvy was a strong character and though her faults were plenty, you still had to feel for her, especially in finding out HOW she died. If you are looking for something along the life of ‘The Dead Wife’s Handbook’ by Hannah Beckerman, which was more of a mother looking in to her family’s new life, with no say in what was happening, then this is not it. Livvy is bitter and resentful and rather than watching her family to see what’s happening she’s doing her best to turn things upside down so she can get back to them and to what she remembers her old life to be. There are some hilarious moments in this, with the hauntings very well done. We see her life as flashbacks and meet their son, Joe, who had Asbergers initially through a series of notebook entries, which was a lovely touch.

We also meet her husband, Adam and his new girlfriend, Emily, and I think this was where my problem with the books started. As I said the book was in flashbacks, mostly to show how Adam ended up having the affair. The wish to keep us surprised meant that I empathized with the ‘wrong’ characters here. I couldn’t take a liking to Emily and Adam and continued to feel bad for Livvy. Whatever happened they both still came off as selfish to me. As well as this, somewhere along the line the book which, already out of the ordinary, turned a little bit too wacky and beetlejuicy for my liking. In a converse way, if you like things turning a bit crazy and spooks and beings everywhere, then go for this book! It’s also quite a funny book and had I liked the characters more, there’s a chance I could have loved it.

All in all a tough one to judge. I wasn’t a fan, and watched the percentages go by on my Kindle (never a good sign) but plenty more will love it, and it is a different type of Christmas book.

Rating: 3/5