Page Links

Home      About      Reviews      Contact     

2 December 2016

Christmas Reads You Don't Want to Miss!

It's the 2nd of December which means we need to bring out all the Christmas decorations and festive holiday songs, because the time of joy and cheer is finally here! :) Just like previous years, December will be completely packed with only holiday-related books here on A Spoonful of Happy Endings, including reviews, exciting new releases and overviews of my favourite Christmas reads/films. I hope you're just as excited as I am!

Today I want to share some of my all-time favourite Christmas novels with all of you. I already know I have some great 2016 festive releases waiting for me that will undoubtedly make it onto my favourites list, but these are some Christmas releases from the last couple of years which are definitely worth picking up if you're looking for your next festive chick lit read!
 


Ali Harris - 'Miracle on Regent Street'

Evie Taylor, a girl with a big heart, gets lost in the big city. For the past two years, Evie has lived an invisible life in London. Her neighbours think she’s just moved in, her sister mistakes her for a live-in nanny, and even Evie’s manager at work can’t remember her name. But all that is about to change …this Christmas has brought a flurry of snow and unimaginable possibilities into town.

Evie works in the stockroom of an old-fashioned, family-run, London fashion department store. Hardy’s is a beautiful, wood-panelled jewellery box of a building, but it’s in dire need of a makeover. One day Evie overhears that if the entire store’s takings don’t turn round by Dec 26th – 3 weeks’ time – the family who own it will be forced to sell to one of the big chains. Hardy’s is in need of a Christmas miracle. Determined to save her beloved store, Evie hatches a plan to secretly transform it into a magical place to shop again. 

But has the time come for her to be noticed too? When an accidental romantic encounter with handsome, enigmatic Joel gives her the chance of a whole new identity, she takes it. 



Emma Hannigan - 'Driving Home for Christmas'

Christmas at Huntersbrook House has always been a family tradition - log fires, long walks through the snowy fields and evenings spent in the local pub. And this year the three grown-up Craig children are looking forward to the holidays more than ever. Pippa to escape her partying lifestyle and mounting debts in Dublin; Joey the demands of his gorgeous girlfriend who seems intent on coming between him and his family; and Lainey to forget about her controlling ex and his recent engagement to another woman. 

But with the family livery yard in financial trouble, this Christmas could be the Craig family's last at Huntersbrook as they face the prospect of selling the ancestral house. 

As the holiday season gets underway, the family need to come up with a way to save their home, and face the problems they've been running away from in Dublin. And what better place to figure things out than around the fire at Huntersbrook House? 



Jenny Hale - 'Coming Home for Christmas'

Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be?

As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out…

Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas. Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at everybody from her mobility scooter.

With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marley’s last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen… even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own…



Lisa Dickenson - 'The Twelve Dates of Christmas'

At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different...



Alexandra Brown - 'Christmas at Carrington's'

Carrington’s Department store is thrown into a spin when the staff learn that a hot new reality TV show is to be filmed in-store, featuring the formidable retail guru, Kelly Cooper. Georgie Hart, in charge of Luxury Handbags, is reluctant, but quickly realises that the show could give Carrington’s a new lease of life. With Christmas around the corner, she’s also hoping that the season will deliver her the perfect Christmas present, in the form of Tom, the store’s dishy boss.

When the film crew arrive, things start to go wrong. One of Tom’s old flames, Zara, is working on the show and then, to top things off, Tom and Zara are sent off to Paris and New York for a spot of extra filming. When Georgie settles down in front of the box to watch the first show, worse it to come – Georgie is shown in a far from flattering light and she is horrified to learn what Tom has been up to.

Georgie fears this is turning out to be the worst Christmas ever, but Santa might have a got a little surprise in store for her stocking this year – but she’ll just have to wait until Christmas to find out!



Carole Matthews - 'Calling Mrs. Christmas'

Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When Carter asks Cassie to join them on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go. As much as tries, Cassie can't deny how drawn she is to Carter and everything he has to offer, but she still loves her warm-hearted Jim. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.
 


Lindsey Kelk - 'I Heart Christmas'

Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…

• Enormous Christmas tree
• Eggnog
• Eccentric British traditions
• Gorgeous man

But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…  



Fiona Valpy - 'The French for Christmas'

Evie used to LOVE Christmas, but this year she can’t wait for the tinsel and presents to be a distant memory. 

When her best friends offer the use of their cottage in the beautiful French countryside, Evie jumps at the chance. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband, celebrity chef Will Brooke, plastered over the news with his latest ‘love interest’, leaving the country seems like the perfect plan.

Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, Evie is determined to ignore Christmas altogether and bake herself back to happiness. 

And when Evie meets her next-door neighbour – the très gorgeous doctor Didier she finds a very willing taste-tester. But is it possible that he could be interested in more than just her Tarte Tatin? 

With snow falling, a special Réveillon dinner and a little Christmas magic in the air, could Didier even be the one to thaw Evie’s heart? Or will a visit from the ghost of Christmas past change everything?
 


Amanda Prowse - 'Christmas for One'

As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas...

This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there's no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own.

But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she's planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?





Judy Astley - 'It Must Have Been the Mistletoe'

Thea's parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea. even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single - her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea's boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can't decide whether or not she minds.

There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.

As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all? 


1 December 2016

Review: 'Christmas at the Little Village Bakery' by Tilly Tennant (2016)

Snow is falling in Honeybourne and Spencer is bringing home his American fiancée Tori for a traditional English Christmas with all the trimmings. But when his hippie mum and dad meet her high-maintenance parents, sparks of the wrong sort start to fly. Then Spencer bumps into his first love Jasmine and unexpected feelings come flooding back. 

Millie is run off her feet with Christmas orders at the Little Village Bakery and new baby Oscar. Thank goodness her cousin Darcie is here to help her. Although she does seem to be rather flirty with Millie’s boyfriend Dylan. 

Will Darcie ever find true love of her own? And is marrying Tori a terrible mistake for Spencer if his heart is with someone else?

It's December which means it's time to grab some hot chocolate or a nice warm cup of tea, turn on those festive sparkly lights, crawl underneath a comfy blanket and read some fabulous holiday-themed novels! I can't help but feel as if with each year more and more Christmas books are being released and I have to say it's a trend I don't hate. I love Christmas; it's my favourite time of the year and I'm really glad I finally got to dive into my big pile of holiday reads. This year I started with 'Christmas at the Little Village Bakery', the second part of Tilly Tennant's lovely new series set in the village of Honeybourne. I loved the first book (click here to read my review) and couldn't wait to go back again!

The small town of Honeybourne is getting ready for the festive season, and so are its inhabitants. Spencer has come back from the other side of the world, taking with him his fiancee Tori, to spend Christmas in Honeybourne. The only obstacle in their way: both their parents want to spend Christmas with them, but this turns out to not exactly be a match made in heaven. At the same time Millie and Dylan are incredibly busy in the village bakery, especially while also taking care of their new baby, Oscar. Luckily they have Millie's cousin Darcie to help them out, but Darcie is dealing with some of her own issues and being around the bakery all day long definitely isn't helping... Will Spencer and Darcie be able to solve their issues in order to have a good Christmas or is this year's holiday season about to become a real disaster?

Oh, how I loved being able to revisit Honeybourne and seeing what all the different characters were up to, especially with this lovely dose of Christmas cheer that author Tilly Tennant has included in this second part of her latest book series. 'Christmas at the Little Village Bakery' can be read as a stand-alone, but I personally definitely recommend starting with the first book, just so you know the different characters and their history together. It was great to once again join Millie and Dylan, now with new baby Oscar, at the bakery, but I also really enjoyed the larger focus on other characters such as Spencer, a good friend of both Millie and Dylan, and his fiancee Tori, and Darcie, Millie's younger cousin, who has moved to Honeybourne and helps out in the bakery.

This is definitely a great read to get into the festive Christmas spirit; Honeybourne in the snow is described as one of the prettiest towns on earth and I would have loved jumping into the pages of the novel to visit the small town myself. I've really come to love these characters and even in this sequel Tilly Tennant managed to come up with two equally fascinating and enjoyable storylines; combined with her well-paced and easy-to-read writing style it resulted in a fantastic read I loved from beginning to end. Overall, 'Christmas at the Little Village Bakery' is warm-hearted and lovely festive read that has made me even more excited about the holiday season that's coming up, and I already can't wait for my next visit to Honeybourne...!
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

30 November 2016

December 2016 Releases!

And all of a sudden we're about to reach the last month of 2016. Can you believe it?! I know I can't. This year went by incredibly fast and included some amazing new books. Luckily, the end isn't here quite yet and we still have the best month of all waiting for us: December! There aren't that many new book releases coming up in the next few weeks, but still a number of promising titles to add to your wishlist straight away. Check it out below!

Which releases are you excited about? I'd love to hear from you! If you'd like me to include your book release in this list, feel free to contact me via e-mail or Twitter! :)

'All I Ever Wanted' - Lucy Dillon (1 December)

Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.

Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.

But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want...

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Snow Rose' - Lulu Taylor (1 December)

I know they think I shouldn't keep her... That's why I've escaped them while I can, while I still have the opportunity...

Kate is on the run with her daughter Heather, her identity hidden and their destination unknown to the family they've left behind. She's found a place where they can live in solitude, a grand old house full of empty rooms and dark secrets. But they're not alone, for there are the strange old ladies in the cottage next door: Matty and her sister Sissy. They know what happened here long ago, and are curious about Kate. How long can she hide Heather's presence from them?

When an eccentric band of newcomers arrive, led by the charismatic Archer, Kate realizes that the past she's so desperate to escape is about to catch up with her. And inside the house, history is beginning to repeat itself...

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Christmas Promise' - Sue Moorcroft (1 December)

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Lift and Separate' - Marilyn Simon Rothstein (1 December)

Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.

Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Girl from the Tea Garden' - Janet Macleod Trotter (6 December)

In the dying days of the Raj, Anglo-Indian schoolgirl Adela Robson dreams of a glamorous career on the stage. When she sneaks away from school in the back of handsome Sam Jackman’s car, she knows a new life awaits—but it is not the one she imagined.

In Simla, the summer seat of the Raj government, Adela throws herself into all the dazzling entertainments 1930s Indian society can offer a beautiful debutante. But just as her ambitions seem on the cusp of becoming reality, she meets a charming but spoilt prince, setting in motion a devastating chain of events.

The outbreak of the Second World War finds Adela back in England—a country she cannot remember—without hope or love, and hiding a shameful secret. Only exceptional courage and endurance can pull her through these dark times and carry her back to the homeland of her heart.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Mad Love' - Nick Spalding (6 December)

Can two people who have never met make a marriage work? Popular dating site Sociality thinks so, and is marrying London lad Adam to California girl Jessica to prove it.

What better way to show that your ‘love algorithms’ work than to put two complete strangers together in an expensive publicity stunt? But, as livewire Jess and lazybones Adam quickly discover, just because a computer says you’re the perfect match, it doesn’t make it so!

Two million Sociality subscribers and the media are following the happy couple’s progress, and they have to make a go of it or they’ll lose everything, look like idiots, and destroy Sociality’s reputation. But can the mismatched pair, who seem to be constantly at each other’s throats, put their differences aside and work their way into each other’s hearts?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Days Like These' - Sue Margolis (8 December)

Recently widowed, Judy Schofield jumps at the chance to look after her two grandchildren for six weeks, while their parents are out of the country. After all, she's already raised one set of children - and quite successfully, if she may say so herself. 

But as weeks become months, Judy feels more and more like an outsider among the young mothers with all their parenting theories at her grandchildren's snooty private school, until she finds a friend in another grandmother - and a man who takes her mind off all the stress. She just needs to take it one food allergy, one incomprehensible homework assignment and one major meltdown at a time.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses' - Carole Matthews (15 December)

Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents' summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie's flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it's not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn - one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It's all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie's world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in... Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Always in My Heart' - Freda Lightfoot (15 December)

Brenda Stuart returns to her late husband’s home devastated by his loss only to find herself accused of bestowing favours upon the Germans.

Life has been difficult for her over the war, having been held in an internment camp in France simply because of her nationality. Thankful that her son at least was safe in the care of his grandmother, she now finds that she has lost him too, and her life is in turmoil.

Prue, her beloved sister-in-law, is also a war widow but has now fallen in love with an Italian PoW who works on the family estate. Once the war ends they hope to marry but she has reckoned without the disapproval of her family, or the nation.
The two friends support each other in an attempt to resolve their problems and rebuild their lives. They even try starting a business, but it does not prove easy.

 

'Small Admissions' - Amy Poeppel (27 December)

Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancé,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.