Christmas Gift Guide Books 1

Throughout the past year I have been reviewing all the books that I have read in preparation for my Christmas Gift Guide Books. This is the first of three posts detailing and reviewing all the books that I have read this year. You’ll notice that I have a ‘type’ when it comes to books. I love anything that will whisk me away into a happier and romantic world. Reading is a form of escapism for me and so I like it to have a positive influence on my daily life.

I hope you find a book that interests you or someone you know!

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The Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie Caplin*

I found this book quite difficult to get into but I stuck at it and soon got sucked into the story. I love a book like this that transports me to another country. The book is based both in London and America.

Following a horrible break up Sophie accepts the opportunity to work at the American branch of the magazine that she works at, for six months. Sophie arrives to a flat above a bakery in Brooklyn. Over the weeks she becomes friends with the owner of the bakery, Bella. Sophie also quickly becomes friends with Bella’s cousin, Todd who she works with at the magazine. Todd is a troubled soul who doesn’t do serious relationships.

Todd and Sophie’s friendship grows as he begins to show her round the area and she assists him in reviewing some bars and restaurants. Their relationship becomes complicated as they both begin to have feelings for one another. Then Sophie’s ex turns up and a happy ending looks almost impossible for Sophie.

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 4/5

 

Hygge and Kisses by Clara Christensen*

I loved this book, it was one of those where I just couldn’t put it down and never wanted it to end. I love the idea of hygge. I’m very much affected by my surroundings and so any attempts to make my surroundings cosy and comfortable is welcome. I read a review on this book and decided I needed to try it.

As soon as I opened the book I was transported into it. The book focuses on 26 year old Bo whose life in London is lacking to say the least. Her relationship and her job have hit a dead end and her best friend suggests they take a trip to her family’s summerhouse in Denmark. When in Denmark Bo is introduced to the concept of Hygge and it changes her life. During her trip Bo meets some new friends and a new love interest. Upon returning home she continues to embrace Hygge and makes changes to her life to fulfil this.

Hygge and Kisses was the perfect comforting book to curl up with a cup of tea and transport yourself to another world. I found Bo to be quite a relatable character – perhaps that’s because we’re a similar age and both having a crisis over our future careers? If you enjoy a comforting/ romantic book then I would definitely recommend this.

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 5/5 

The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe*

Honestly, I almost gave up on this book but I forced myself to keep going and I’m so glad I did. It was slow to get in to but it was just setting the scene. The little cafe at the end of the pier had me dreaming of baking cakes and sipping cinnamon lattes.

Jo moves back to Salthaven to help run her grandparent’s cafe. She thrives in the environment and begins to look for ways to boost the cafe and to give back to the community. Jo decides to play Cupid and arrange blind dates for the residents of Salthaven.

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 3.5/5

 

A Summer Scandal – Kat French*

I loved this book! I read it over the course of two afternoons as I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. The book is filled with romance, mystery and magic.

After Violet’s grandfather passed away she discovers that she’s inherited a pier, once owned by her grandmother who died when her mother was a child. Violet decides to pack up and move to Swallow Beach for the summer to learn about her family’s mysterious past. As Violet meets the towns residents she begins to form a plan to open the pier up as a place for adult themed artisan shops (I’ll be honest when I read the blurb the ‘adult themed artisan shops’ went right over the top of my head!). Violet is faced with opposition but she continue to fight for her beloved pier.

Meanwhile she’s also learning the adventurous life that he grandmother lived and slowly following in her footsteps. Violet becomes attached to Swallow Beach and to Cal, her friendly but married neighbour.

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 5/5

 

A Country Escape by Katie Fforde*

This book took me around 3 days to read which for me is a huge achievement. I’m happy to say that it was the kind of book that you just cannot put down. It had me wanting to move to the Cotswolds to make cheese – I suppose I better explain what the book is about or that statement may seem a little strange!

Fran, a chef working in London, receives a letter from a distant relative, Amy, informing her that if she can run the farm and make a go of it then she will inherit it. Without thinking too much about it Fran, alongside her friend Issi pack up and leave for the Cotswolds. The dairy farm is losing money and has lots of debts, Fran must try and turn things around. She must also, under no circumstances, have anything to do with her neighbour – Anthony.

Fran realises that she can use the milk produced by the farm to make cheese and sell it for a higher profit. As Anthony offers his help she begins to fall for him a little too much. Then, as if Fran didn’t have enough to worry about another distant relative arrives, Roy, informing her that the farm will be left to him. His plans for the farm are to sell the land to housing developer. Fran will not let this happen but it looks like she may not get a say in it as Amy appears to love Roy. Who will inherit the farm and can Fran stay away from Amy’s sworn enemy, Anthony?

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 5/5

 

A Vintage Summer by Cathy Bramley*

I’ve never given much thought to wine making or vineyards – especially vineyards in England. My boyfriend picked this off of the shelf in a shop and said it looked like the kind of book I would enjoy. Once reading the blurb I agreed with him, I’d love to spend a few days in a vineyard int he North of England. This book took turns that I was not expecting but I still enjoyed it.

Lottie Allbright lives and works in London. She moved there recently with her boyfriend Harvey, however shortly after moving their relationship began to change. A chat with a lady at work forces Lottie to see that the relationship has become abusive and she packs her bags and returns home.

With her sisters help Lottie finds herself working and living at Butterworth Wines.  She throws herself into the roll, not wanting any distractions, however a distraction soon becomes known in the form of her bosses grandson, Jensen. The only problem is Lottie is sworn off men for the time being and Jensen wants to sell the vineyard. Lottie fights to save the vineyard, pulling together her team and charming everyone, including Jensen. Can Lottie prove to Jensen that Butterworth Wines is worth taking a chance on? Or will Jensen sell the vineyard, leaving Lottie homeless, jobless and pregnant.

 

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 4/5

 

The Little Paris Patisserie by Julie Caplin*

It’s safe to say that The Little Paris Patisserie is my dream read. It combines patisserie, romance and starting over somewhere new. I literally could not put this book down. I wasn’t feeling very well when I read it and it was the perfect form of escapism.

Nina Hadley is feeling suffocated living at home with her family, particularly her overprotective brothers. When her brother’s friend, Sebastian, calls and informs him that he needs some help running a patisserie course in Paris Nina decides this could be her chance to escape. She may have once had an awkward kiss with Sebastian but she would not let that hinder her chances of learning Patisserie.

Once in Paris Nina quickly makes new friends and emerges herself in her new life in Paris. Sebastian doesn’t seem to want her that, but that’s okay, she’s over her silly teenage crush that she had on him, isn’t she? As Nina builds her Patisserie skills she and her newfound friends fight to save the Patisserie from being turned into a Bistro by Sebastian. Can Nina save the Patisserie whilst deciding how she actually feels about Sebastian?

 

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 5/5

 

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber*

This book was very simple and easy to read – a little too easy to read to be honest. The description looked idyllic and the thought of being able to escape into the Alaskan village of Ponder to experience a romance filled me with excitement. Unfortunately the book fell very short of my expectations.

It is a pet hate of mine for a book to start with a proposal, I want to get to know the characters first and be invested in their relationship before any grand gestures are made. I was, however willing to overlook this and carried on with the book, you can’t please everyone. The book focuses on Josie and Palmer. Josie has been working in Ponder as a chef at the lodge whilst waiting to start her job of a lifetime back home in Seattle. Palmer is a resident of Ponder and has barely left the Alaskan wilderness. During her time in Ponder Josie and Palmer have been spending lots of time together. Although, according to the book they just waste away the hours together kissing and not much talking is done.

Whilst I believe the relationship is flawed I also found the book to be incredibly sexist. I can only credit this to the Alaskan men who appear to think that a woman’s rightful place is in the kitchen. Jack, one of the residents of Ponder is so obsessed with Josie’s cooking he even suggests kidnapping her and keeping her as a cook. Perhaps I took it to heart a little bit too much but I found the stereotypical gender roles in this book a little hard to stomach. The book was also a little too cheesy – even for me. The premises of the plot is that Palmer loves Josie so much that he is willing to give her a year to go back to her life and experience her dream job. Again, it’s personal preference but I find this plot a little tiresome as there’s not much opportunity to watch the relationship grow.

You can find the book on Amazon here*

I would give this book 0.5/5 

I hope you’ve found a book that you like the sound of or one that you think somebody you know might enjoy. I have another two posts coming with book reviews from this year so keep an eye out!

 

What’s your favourite book?

 

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XOXO

11 thoughts on “Christmas Gift Guide Books 1

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