Thursday, 31 January 2013

From the Review Pile (39)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------
This week, I'm going to showcase Anthem for Jackson Dawes!

This week I'm featuring another contemporary book - Anthem for Jackson Dawes. I am really excited about getting stuck into this book, I love the premise and hope that it'll be something that I will really enjoy.
 
Anthem For Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce
Paperback

1st January 2013 by Bloomsbury

Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson's extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson's future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dead Romantic


Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse
Paperback, 328 pages

Expected Publication: 4th February 2013 by Chicken House

My shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, cover-appeal, magical-realism, read, read-in-2013, supernatural, zombies

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she kows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?


There seems to be a lot of hype around Dead Romantic and there is undoubtedly a lot of praise given to author CJ Skuse. On receiving this book for review, I knew I had to pick it up soon and give it a try. CJ Skuse is a very different, fun writer and it's easy to see why she has so many fans.

Dead Romantic is a book that will appeal to almost any young adult. Camille, our main character, wants a boyfriend and when she becomes friends with Zoe, the strange goth girl from school, Zoe promises to use science in order to create Camille's perfect boyfriend. Instantly, the the premise intrigued me - how were the girls going to make this boy? Would everything go to plan? Apart from the classic Frankenstein (which I really enjoyed), I hadn't read anything like this before, but it was definitely something I'd like to read about again! 

When you're creating a Frankenstein-like person, there has to be some sort of supernatural element to the book, and there is, but thankfully it isn't completely dominating - for those who aren't that keen or bothered about fantasy, I would imagine that this would still be enjoyable. There is a really good balance throughout this book. I personally really enjoyed the creepier scenes (yes, I'm a bit morbid), they certainly grabbed my attention and made the book into a real page turner.

Whilst the book does center around the formation of the new boy, there is also a lot of focus on Camille's relationships with different characters in the book. My favourite character had to be Zoe - she was strange in the best possible way, she really interested me and despite her somewhat moody persona, she is definitely the kind of person I'd want to be friends with. I loved learning about her family and for me, this was the highlight of the book. Despite the building of her 'dream boyfriend', Camille does have another love interest in this book and it's nice to read about. I will admit that I wasn't taken by most of the boys in this book (especially Damien!) but like Camille, I did grow to like Louis in particular. 

There was only one thing that slightly irritated me in this book and it was the ending - I felt that for a standalone book, it was left too widely open. After all of the suspense building up around the Frankenstein-style guy, I wanted to know more about him - what happened to him, where did he go, what was he like? I understand that in the long run, it wasn't really necessary to know these things as most of the issues in the book resolved themselves before the boy was brought to life, but I would still have liked to learn more about what became of him. Saying that, maybe that is just me being greedy and wanting to read more of Skuse's work! 

The writing in Dead Romantic was certainly unique. Skuse definitely uses language to connect with a younger audience and it really works. There are countless books that are let down by their 'teen speak', but Skuse has got it right - it felt as though she was talking to me as a friend and it felt completely natural. I did really enjoy the writing style and it will certainly encourage me to pick up more books by this author. 

Overall, a very enjoyable read, but a slightly unsatisfying ending. I can't wait to see what Skuse writes next as I will undoubtedly pick it up. Highly recommended for any teenagers or young adults who want to read something well balanced with a touch of of the supernatural.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (37)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I wasn't expecting all of these books to come into my house this week, but I'm very glad they did, they were a lovely surprise! I love the cover of Born Wicked and have been itching to get my hands on a copy since the American release, so I'm hoping it'll live up to my expectations. I absolutely loved Cinder when I read it last year, so I was super excited to get a copy of Scarlet, the second book in the series. I hadn't actually heard anything about Drowning Instinct before I received it but it sounds so intriguing, I can't wait to delve into it! I also recieved copies of Shivers, The Deep End, You Killed Me!, Fairy Lies and one adult book, The Trap.

Happy reading!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Geek Girl


Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Hardback, 378 pages

Expected Publication: 28th February 2013 by HarperCollins Children's Books

My shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, contemporary, cover-appeal, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, title-appeal, read, young-adult

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. 

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?


As a self confessed geek, when I heard about the release of Geek Girl, I just had to read it - I didn't even know what it was about, but the title was enough to capture my attention! As this is Holly Smale's debut novel, I really didn't know what to expect, but thankfully the contents lived up to the bright, fun book cover.

Harriet Manners, our protagonist, is a 15 year old girl who is labelled as a geek by most of the people at her school. Harriet's best friend is Nat, a girl who has wanted to be a model her whole life - something that Harriet can't quite fathom, something that she would never think of aspiring to. However, when Nat drags Harriet along to The Clothes Show, everything goes quite unexpectedly and Harriet is 'spotted' by Wilbur who works for a top modelling agent and things completely change for her.

When Harriet is spotted by a model agency, she has a lot of decisions to make, though the question of whether she really wants to model is pretty much taken out of her hands when she discovers that she has a large bill to pay due to a clumsy mistake and when she discovers Wilbur won't take no for an answer! When Harriet's father finds out about the opportunity, he highly encourages it whereas her stepmother, Annabel is against the idea. Harriet herself is bewildered by the situation - something she didn't expect and something that was meant to happen for her best friend. Harriet comes across a few problems in this novel and it's interesting (and often quite funny!) to see how she works through them. Harriet does decide to model and along with her father, she sneaks off to Russia for the job, trying as hard as she can to try and hide everything from Annabel (which turns out to be very difficult when she gets half of her hair cut off!). The whole escapade is ridiculous, which makes it so much fun. It's 

Harriet is a very likeable character and very easy to read about. She seemed to be a relatable character and someone I could empathise with. I liked seeing how she handled a job that she really didn't have much a clue about - she became very endearing as she figured things out. I really enjoyed reading about her friendship with Nat and how things changed with her decision. The relationships in this book were all typical teenage relationships and seemed realistic enough. Harriet's relationship with her 'stalker', Toby, was really great - it added such a good amount of humour to the story and I found myself both cringing and laughing at their interaction. For those who like a little bit of romance, you wont miss out - look no further than loveable Lion Boy, Nick.

It's pretty predictable what will happen in this book and the characters are quite stereotypical, but that doesn't matter - it's still enjoyable and will entertain most young adult fans, particularly young teens and those who are looking for a light read and a good giggle! Holly Smale is a very promising and gifted writer who I will look forward to seeing more from in the future.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

From the Review Pile (38)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------
This week, I'm going to showcase Colin Fischer!

I love contemporary books and this one really intrigues me. Colin Fischer sounds like a very interesting character so I can't wait to 'meet' him by reading this book! 
 

Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller
Paperback, 229 pages

Expected publication 7th February 2013 by Puffin Books

SOLVING CRIME, ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION AT A TIME

Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions.

But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate's birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It's up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin's frequent tormenter, didn't bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn't have didn't have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun...

Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and his story--as told by the screenwriters of X-Men: First Class and Thor--is perfect for readers who have graduated from Encyclopedia Brown and who are ready to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Blog Tour Stop - North of Nowhere Guest Post

North of Nowhere Blog Stop!

Last year I was introduced to Liz Kessler's writing when I read and enjoyed her standalone book, A Year Without Autumn. I received some lovely news when I found out that Liz will be releasing a second standalone book, North of Nowhere. Liz has very kindly provided a guest post for me to share with you, something which will surely pique your interest of her latest book. Here is what Liz would like to share with you:


I’m really excited to have been invited onto this blog to tell you about my new book, North of Nowhere.

One reason I’m excited is because, even though this is my tenth novel to be published, it’s only my second ever standalone book – which means that when I tell people about it, I can actually say ‘I just wrote this book – buy it,’ as opposed to ‘I just wrote this book, but don’t buy it, buy the one I wrote five years ago so that if you like it, and all the others in between, then when you get round to reading the one I just wrote, it’ll make more sense.’

As you can see, the first of these statements is much quicker to say, and the chances are slightly higher that the person I’m talking to will still be listening to me by the time I’ve finished, and won’t have glazed over, wandered away or wished they hadn’t got stuck in the corner with me. But it’s also exciting for me because I think that your latest book is always the one you’re most passionate about at that time, and I love the fact that everything I want to say about it doesn’t depend on people already being familiar with anything that came before it. It’s out there all by itself, waiting to stand or fall on its own merits and flaws. And I’ve always admired anyone who does that.

So, because you don’t have to know anything about anyone in order to read this book, I’m thrilled to get the chance to write a guest piece on this lovely blog and tell you a bit about it.

So, now I’ve got the chance what do I want to tell you about it?

Well, the first thing is that, like A Year Without Autumn, which came out in 2011, this book features a timeslip situation. I’m a massive fan of time travel stories, and luckily I’ve managed to persuade my publisher to let me write three of them. Yay! Lucky me! The first one was about a girl who saw something pretty awful in her future and knew she had to go into her past and change one particular moment so that the future might turn out differently. 

North of Nowhere looks at time travel in a different way. Rather than switching time zones to change anything, this one is about characters whose present day actions affect their past as much as their future. It’s about looking at time as more of a circular entity, rather than a linear one. It’s about getting to know someone who you thought you already knew, by meeting them at a different point in their lives from their present day self. It’s about disappearance – of people, of towns, of whole lives. And it’s about coming together afresh with the knowledge you’ve gained along your journey.

I guess at the heart of it all, it’s about the kind of thing I always find myself writing about without realising it. I think I’m writing books about mermaids and fairies and time travel, but over and over again I discover that I’ve written about the things that really truly matter to me. I never, ever intend to do anything other than tell the story and be true to my characters, and I never consciously have ‘themes’ in the books. But time and again, once I’ve written the books, I discover that they are there (usually when someone points it out to me) and they’re always the same type of thing.

Family, friendship, love, loyalty. The things that are actually at the heart of my life and matter to me the most. They always manage to sneak in there when I’m not looking!

Also, like many of my books, this one is about discovering things about yourself and others that you never knew – or perhaps things you always knew deep inside but never really acknowledged until certain events make you face up to them. 

But anyway. Never mind the themes. First and foremost, it’s about the story. It’s about a girl, Mia, whose grandad has gone missing, and who has to go with her mum to a village in ‘the back end of nowhere’ to try to find him. It’s about Mia finding an escape through a new friendship, until she discovers that there’s no way her new friend can actually exist. It’s about a whole chain of events that gets more mysterious and more impossible at every turn. It’s about coming to terms with the fact that all the solutions and answers to the questions can’t possibly be real – even though they are. It’s about paradoxes and mysteries and good old-fashioned adventures.

At least, that’s what I think it’s about. But I’m only the author. I’m sure that now it’s published, it won’t take long for someone to point out what it’s really about. Until then, I’ll leave it up to you to decide for yourself…



Thank you so much to Liz for taking the time to write this piece, and also to Orion.

NORTH OF NOWHERE by Liz Kessler is published by Orion Children’s Books on 24 January in hardback at £9.99

Orion are also currently running a North of Nowhere creative writing competition to celebrate young talent. The competition is open to all writers aged 8-13 who need to finish the story (the opening paragraph of NORTH OF NOWHERE) in 500 words or less. 
Entries are open from 17 January 2013 – 28 March 2013. The winner will have their story published on the Guardian Children’s Books website, will win a digital camera as well as £100 worth of Orion Children’s Books for their school library.

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Hobbit

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Paperback, 368 pages

Published 7th June 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books
(First Published 1937)

My shelves: books-i-own, arc-or-review, supernatural, series-or-companions, read-in-2012, mythology, magic, fantasy, dragons, classics, childrens, 1001-books 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Whisked from his comfortable hobbit/hole by Gandalf the wizard and a band of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...

Buy this version of the book here:

I'm a little bit embarrassed to say that it took me so long to read The Hobbit - it seems like one of those books that almost everyone has read. As the film adaptation was released lately, I thought now was the time that I just had to pick it up and finally read it! It felt like a momentous occasion, reading this book for the first time and it feels difficult to review it, so I will keep this one short...

I will start off by saying that this was a strange read for me. The Hobbit is epic fantasy - something which I wouldn't normally enjoy and that I usually tend to avoid. I find epic fantasy somewhat difficult, I just can't seem to allow myself to fully submerge my mind into these worlds, to understand or enjoy them. I'm not sure whether or not it's because it's a children's book, but I immediately found myself comfortably easing into the setting and into the story. It's clear from the first page that Tolkien is a talented, natural storyteller. The writing is consistently vivid and imaginative throughout. 

This is a book that has captured the attention of so many children, and reading it has shown me why. There is something truly magical about both Tolkien's world and characters. There are so many things to absorb in this novel, it as if your mind is completely taken over by this fantasy world which is full of dwarves, dragons and everything else you could possibly expect from such a land! The world building is really well done, it's so easy to see why people are captivated. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone, children especially - if something is going to open up their imagination, this is it. I'd also imagine that if this is your sort of thing, this will be a book that you'd be able to read over and over again without getting bored of the plot. 

I have to be honest and say that I personally wasn't glued to the book, as aforementioned high fantasy isn't my favourite genre, but this book still had enough to hold my attention and to keep me reading. I really appreciate how clever Tolkien was and it is certainly evident through his writing. This won't be a book that I can claim as a personal favourite due to the subject matter, but it's something that I can definitely recommend and I can totally understand all of the hype surrounding it - it does deserve that for the quality of it.

Overall, although this book won't become a favourite of mine, I am very glad that I read it - It allowed me to delve into a previously disliked genre and enjoy it - it allowed my mind to run free. I am also glad to just have the opportunity to say that I have now read some of Tolkien's work. I certainly want to read the Lord of the Rings in the future and this book has made me feel a lot more comfortable about doing so. Highly recommended to those who enjoy fantasy, from children to adults and for those who would like to branch into something different but not too difficult.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (36)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.




I certainly wasn't expecting to get so many books this week, but I received a whole load of awesome-sounding reads! I received Speechless a few days ago and started reading it as soon as I got it - I loved Saving June so I'm hoping this one will be just as good! I love contemporary reads, so I'm equally as excited to read Anthem for Jackson Dawes and Confessions of an Angry Girl. I also received several other young adult books - The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, Unremembered, Red River Stallion, The Feral Child and The Unicorn Hunter. I was also sent two adult books, The Honey Queen and The Last Time I Saw You.


One purchased book this week! I'm quite particular about my non-fiction, but I found Shared Madness book  for £1 and it sounded really interesting, so of course I had to pick it up! 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

From the Review Pile (37)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------
This week, I'm going to showcase Undone!

As soon as I received this book, I knew I would have to push it to the top of my to-read list. It sounds like something I will love and I plan to read it sometime this month... watch out for a review!
 

Undone by Cat Clarke
Paperback, 352 pages

Expected publication 31st January by Quercus

Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it. 

Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online ... and he kills himself. 

Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down. 

A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal from a bestselling author.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Holiday


The Holiday by Jane Green, Jennifer Coburn, Liz Ireland

Paperback, 400 pages

Published 8th November 2012 by Penguin

My shelves: adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, christmas-books, mum-has, read, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, short-stories
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Number one best-seller Jane Green - author of The Beach House and Spellbound - and her friends bring you this enchanting trio of tales for the holiday season.

If you had one wish this Christmas, what would it be?

Sarah wishes not to be lonely. She shouldn't be - not with Eddie, her husband, and their two children by her side ... but since Sarah waved farewell to the bright lights of the big city and moved to a picture perfect home in the country, her marriage is missing its usual sparkle. So when Eddie's job takes him away from home shortly before Christmas, the enforced break in their relationship - while tricky - probably couldn't have come at a better time.

But will his absence make her heart grow fonder? And if so, for whom? As seasonal cheer begins to flow, Sarah discovers rather a lot can happen in one holiday ... especially when it's Christmas.


I had only read one book written by Jane Green prior to this one, but it didn't stop me being very excited to pick this one up! I really enjoyed Green's fun and relaxed style of writing in Jemima J, and was even more impressed with her latest release, The Holiday. I was also impressed with the other two short stories, The Second Wife of Reilly by Jennifer Coburn and Mistletoe and Holly by Liz Ireland.

I am not usually completely taken by short stories, I prefer the depth of a longer novel, but I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book a lot. Admittedly, I enjoyed Holiday  and Mistletoe and Holly substantially more than The Second Wife of Reilly, but it was always a pleasure to pick up this book for some light festive reading. This is a very unchallenging book and with it's very tame content, suitable for both young adults and adults alike.

In Holiday, our main characters are Sarah and Eddie, a couple who used to be blissfully in love, but unfortunately are struggling - both seem to have stopped caring for themselves as much as they used to, and Sarah feels as though she's become a one-parent family. When Eddie is offered a job away from home, the couple decide on a temporary break so that they can assess both their relationship and themselves. I liked the authenticity of this story - it seemed the most realistic of the three and had a good amount of substance. The relationship was really well explored and I also loved the extra element that the children added to the book. This was a really warming, festive start to the book and I couldn't wait to see what the next story brought!

The Second Wife of Reilly was the second short story in the book. In this story, we are introduced to Sarah, wife to Reilly, a nice, trustworthy man - the only problem is that she's worried that Prudence, his ex-wife might try to get back with him. Sarah, along with a friend, decides to try and find a partner for Prudence by pretending to be her on the internet. To be honest, the story was very farfetched and utterly unrealistic, yet it still managed to be readable - I found whole thing silly, yet humorous. This isn't a story that you'll enjoy if you're seriously analysing or criticising it, but as an unchallenging work of fiction, it's decent.

The final story in the book was Mistletoe and Holly. Holly and her childhood friend, Isaac, are heading home for Christmas with one difference this year - Holly is taking her new boyfriend, Jason, to meet her family. Unfortunately, Jason doesn't turn out to be as perfect as he first seems. This story is very predictable, but it is also very, very sweet which definitely outweighs the predictability! Though this story was a little more uneven, or not as solid, as Holiday, I did find this the most enjoyable story of the three. It was probably the most 'Christmassy' feeling of the three too, which meant it was a lovely ending to the book.

I would recommend this book to those who like festive reads and to anyone who likes chick-lit. It's not a perfectly written book, but it is perfectly enjoyable! I would certainly like to read more books by Jane Green in the future and I'm also interested in checking out more of Liz Ireland's work after this book. 


Monday, 14 January 2013

Angels at Christmas


Angels at Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Paperback, 400 pages

Published 21st October 2011 by Mira Books

My shelves: adult-fiction, angels-demons, christmas-books, cover-appeal, magical-realism, mum-has, read, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, series-or-companions, supernatural, chick-lit
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

If you had one wish this Christmas... 

THOSE CHRISTMAS ANGELS: Anne Fletcher sends a heartfelt plea in the hope that someone is looking down on her this Christmas. One wish for her son to be happy. She doesn t expect to have her prayer answered by three mischievous angels! They re about to do a little matchmaking on Anne s behalf and make her Christmas wish come true. 

WHERE ANGELS GO: The angels are on hand again for lovely Beth Fischer who, since her divorce, is looking for romance once more. At eighty six, Harry has prayed for peace of mind, and little Carter Jackson has just one Christmas wish. Angels Shirley, Goodness and Mercy will make miracles happen this Christmas... Make time for friends. Make time for Debbie Macomber.

Despite the absolutely gorgeous cover adorning Angels at Christmas, it didn't make my 2011 Christmas list - however, I'm glad that I finally managed to pick it up over this past Christmas!  
Previously, I'd only read one other book by Debbie Macomber  but when I picked this one up, but it seemed exactly what I expected - comforting and easy to read. There are other books about the Angels, but it doesn't seem necessary to read them in any sort of order.

I will most likely be tempted to pick up any book with a Christmas theme, and that's why I picked this one up, though I was initially a little unsure of the plot. The story features three Angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy who are prayer ambassadors waiting for permission from Angel Gabriel to go to Earth and help prayers to be answered. To be honest, though I knew it would be a main theme, I was worried it'd be a bit too strange! The story is not like a supernatural/fantasy book, so it will appeal to Debbie's regular readers. One thing that it does hint at is religion, but thankfully (for me), although there is a Christian theme, it's not overpowering or forceful. The angels certainly added a different element to the book, but if I am being honest, the sections focusing on them were my least favourite and felt a little childish. 

This book actually contains two stories, Those Christmas Angels and Where Angels Go. Whilst both were enjoyable, I favoured the second story. The Angels feature in both stories, though the two stories are not directly linked and so could easily be read separately if you would like a short story.

In Those Christmas Angels, the angels respond to a prayer made by Anne Fletcher who wishes her son, a somewhat cynical business man Roy, happiness - this comes in the unexpected form of Julie, a rather independent and sassy woman who I really liked. The chemistry between Roy and Julie was good and I also liked the sub-plot, based around Anne, that was included. Though her writing is quite predictable, it's also full of experience - it's pleasant to read and both her world and character building are good. Even though this is a short story, this one still felt as though I was reading a longer novel due to the good writing.

In Where Angels Go, the angels respond to several different people over the Christmas period and I think that's why this one grabbed my attention a little more. We are introduced to Harry, who knows he is going to die soon and has a wife to care for, Beth who is divorced, lonely and World of Warcraft addict, and nine year old Carter who only wants one thing for Christmas - a dog. 
As there are several things happening, even if you're not too fond of one part of the story, you have the excitement of wondering what will happen in a different section. However, I found each character and storyline as enjoyable as the rest. Again, due to the strength of the writing, each story had great depth despite the length of it. I truly enjoyed getting to know everyone and this story was also a little less predictable, so it was good to see what happened to everyone and how things panned out.

Overall, this was a nice book to read over the Christmas period - There isn't a better time to kick back with a book that is full of promise and eventual happiness. If you're already a fan of Debbie Macomber, then I'm sure this will be another book for you to love. I will (and already have!) pick up another book by this author, simply for the feeling of comfort that her writing emits.

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