Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom.

Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she's determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything - and she won't let that happen again . . .
For Hope a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she's struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it's all her fault . . . 
For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can't stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .
Three different women. Three intertwining love stories. One unforgettable timeless city.

One look at the gorgeous cover of this book and you just know you're in for a good read.
Megan visits Prague with Ollie and although she knows they can only ever just be friends she is fighting an attraction to him that she is helpless to stop. Ollie is a lovely guy, totally in love with Megan but afraid to tell her. 
Sophie,who is waiting for her fiancé to arrive in Prague is experiencing the city for the first time without him as they have travelled most of the world together.
Hope, upset that her daughter refuses to speak to her since she left her dad to be with Charlie begins to analyse what exactly she wants out of life and whether she can ever be happy without her daughter's love.
I loved all the characters in this book but I have to say that Megan did get on my nerves and brought out the mother in me in that I wanted to shake her and give her a good talking to for allowing Ollie to slip through her fingers.
The star of the book has to be the city of Prague. I don't remember reading a more descriptive book, it's obvious that the author loves the city.
The three women are staying at the same hotel and their paths cross. As they begin to learn a little of each other's lives they form a tentative attachment as people on holiday often do.
I do not want to give any more of this story away as doing so will spoil the ending. After reading this Prague is now top of my places to visit. I want to experience the magic, see the towers and spires, eat in the little cafes and restaurants and stand on the Charles Bridge and make my wish.
A Year and a Day.

I haven't read the author's first book My Map of You, but I intend to.

An Off - Piste Christmas by Julie Houston

The last thing Harriet Westmoreland wants is Christmas away from home, particularly when skiing, snow, heights and freezing her backside off are on the menu. While her own family, together with her best friend Grace's, are soon whizzing down ridiculously high and scary mountains in the fashionable Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Harriet is stuck in the remedial class on the nursery slopes unable, it seems, to remain vertical.
Tired of trying to stay upright in the dunces' class, Harriet decides to overcome her fear of heights and take her bruised body off to explore the refugios in the magnificent Dolomites above Cortina. And maybe catch a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in town... But what happens next triggers a totally unexpected avalanche of events which proves that, for friends Harriet and Grace and all their families, Christmas really is a time for little miracles...

This Christmas novella by Julie Houston finds us back again with the families from her novels starring Grace,Harriet,  but don't worry if you haven't read them yet, you can read this story on its own but I bet you will then look for the other two books.
It does take a few chapters before you work out who belongs to who within their complicated families but it's fun working it all out.

With three families and children off to the Italian Dolimites for a skiing holiday what is the worst that can happen? The author's usual humour shines through this book and gives us some real laugh out loud moments. There are some very tender moments too especially on the ski slopes with Harriet and little Charlie. I've began to really love Harriet and Grace and I am so glad to be reading more about them. 

The story was so rounded that it didn't feel like a novella but it was just the right length for reading during the busy Christmas period. I've read so many sad stories lately and this book was just what the doctor ordered, a good laugh and a happy ending, with a glass of mulled wine and a chocolate Santa,of course.

An Off- Piste Christmas

Goodness,Grace and Me

The One Saving Grace.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Missing, Presumed by Susan Steiner

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

This book looks like the beginning of a series of books with dectective Manon Bradshaw as the main character.  I found at least half of this book quite hard going. Manon wasn't a likeable character, she moaned constantly about everything. She was so dedicated to her job there was hardly any room in her life to eat or drink and yet she played about with online dating taking men home to sleep with so she could smell them and see if they were compatible, made my skin crawl. 
I felt as though the missing girl, Edith was an afterthought of the story and remembered about only now and then. 
Half way through the book it began to pick up pace and I was making up theories myself as to what happened to Edith and who was involved in her disappearance.  The ending was satisfactory and I can say I enjoyed it and I would read the next book when it is published. I just think a bit less of Manon's boring life would make the book more readable.