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Archiwum - Grudzień, 2013

Little summary and my MUST HAVE reads of 2013!

28 gru

 

It is unbelievable that 2013 is already coming to an end! We’ve just had Christmas and in few days it’s going to be 2014. When did it happen?

In 2013 I have read and enjoyed (drums, please) 119 books! Well, no wonder actually, as every free minute that I had (and I don’t have too many of those unfortunately) I have spent reading. Reading. Either paperbacks or my kindle. No matter what, the most important thing is that it has letters. And I am sure, as I’m – guess what? – READING two more books at the moment, I am going to have at least 120 books in my register..

Some of the books were good, some were not so good, some were better and some were just best. Here I am going to tell you about my TOP 10 books of 2013, books that I am sure I will re – read, books that I could pick anytime and enjoy them the same. Okay, there are more than 10 but I just couldn’t put a limit on only 10.

 

And here are the 7 books that had the biggest impact on me this year. They have moved me, they have made me think, they made me cry and laugh and they were just wonderful. I would say that they are the MUST READ of 2013.

I know, I haven’t reviewed all of them yet but it’s only because of the lack of time. I am going to review them asap, promise!

 

 
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Wesolych Swiat dla wszystkich moli ksiazkowych!

24 gru

 

Nie do wiary, ze to juz grudzien, Swieta, wigilia… I ze rok znow dobiega konca… To, ze czas biegnie tak szybko, widze tak naprawde dopiero teraz, od kiedy zostalam mama – moja corka rosnie jak na drozdzach, kazdego dnia uczy sie czegos nowego, chlonie wszystko, poznaje swiat, a swoja mame widzi generalnie… zaczytana:)

 

Na podsumowanie roku jeszcze chwila – ksiazkowego roku oczywiscie – a dzisiaj chcialabym zyczyc wszystkim molom ksiazkowym, i nie tylko, klasycznie spokojnych, radosnych i rodzinnych Swiat:)

 
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Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman / eBook Review

22 gru

 

 

Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman

 

Publisher / Wydawca: HarperImpulse

 

Publishing Date / Data wydania: 12th December 2013

 

Source / Zrodlo: Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you! / Od wydawcy przez NetGalley, dziekuje!

 

Amazon Summary:

 Need a fun, festive treat to warm you up on cold winter nights? Don’t miss this terrific debut from a witty new voice in romantic comedy!

When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend’s apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas – with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!

So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the Earl of Gloucester’s impossibly grand ancestral pile.

The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.

But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?

As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!

CHRISTMAS AT THORNTON HALL is a country house romance for the modern age, a must-read for fans of the scandals and drama of Downton Abbey and the charm and wit of Helen Fielding.

 

 

Rating/Ocena: 4/5

 

 

This is a debut novel by Lynn Marie Hulsman and I will be definitely checking out for her in the future.

For me it was like a comedy full of errors or mistakes and I think it would be great for a theatre play – all the scenes in the Hall, the rooms, scenography, the actors running here and there… I would be sitting in the first raw, for sure:)

 

 

We are introduced to Juliet. She doesn’t have a good start to Christmas. She discovers that her boyfriend has cheated on her and she actually isn’t in a mood for the festive season. But then her agency approaches her with the work offer and she agrees – she will be a chef in a Thornton Hall over Christmas. She has already worked for the Earl so she knows him, and his staff, and his family, so she thinks everything will work out. But not necessary… And here starts the total chaos.

 

If the book has started quickly and have me hooked, then it slowed its pace and I actually didn’t know where it is going and how it is going to continue. We meet many characters, the family in The Hall and their guests and also the staff working there. While I took a total dislike to almost the whole family of Jasper and their guests, I actually felt in love with the staff, especially with Terrence and Mr. Chisholm. Two gay butlers wanting to prove which one of them is more important, I couldn’t ask for more and I loved every scene with them. The scenes with Terrence had me laughing out loud and I think he was the most colourful character in this book.

Juliet is also likeable character, although there were moments that her decisions were questionable, but maybe it made her just more real. In my eyes she was sometimes behaving immature and her indecisions about almost every men that she knew or met were just irritating.

 

Then the book took the pace again and it started to flow really fast. There were some parts not informative enough and the way the conversations or some descriptions were written was a little distracting. It was like a roller – coaster ride: either very high, a lot of happening, all at a time, or deep down, very slowly, nothing happening.

There were some scenes that rescued the book for me, and those were the ones with all the guests. They were like a farce, and I could really seen them presented for me on the theatre scenes. There were many sub – plots and I guess Lynn wanted to tell us so many in one book but all the loose threads are brought together before the story ends. Some of them were out of the blue for me, like for example the issue of Juliet’s father but altogether, it was a festive, typical romcom, funny read.

Will be looking out for Lynn for sure.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2013 Releases, Rating 4/5

 

Don’t Tell the Groom by Anna Bell / Book Review

22 gru

 

 

Don’t Tell the Groom by Anna Bell

 

Publisher / Wydawca: Quercus

 

Publishing Date / Data wydania: 5th December 2013

 

Source / Zrodlo: Received from publisher, thank you! / Od wydawcy, dziekuje!

 

Amazon Summary:

 Penny has big dreams for her wedding day. She wants an unforgettable celebration, perfect down to the last detail, and has been saving for ages to make her dream a reality. When Mark finally pops the question, it’s the best moment of her life.

Until Penny checks her wedding fund and is horrified to discover that something has gone terribly wrong. There’s far less money there than she’d thought… and it’s all her fault. She can’t tell Mark the truth about what she’s done, he knows nothing about how much time she spends gambling online. Her only choice is to seek help for her addiction and get married on a drastically smaller budget.

Working under the pretense of surprising Mark with her plans on their big day, operation ‚Don’t Tell the Groom’ rolls into action, with surprising, hilarious and often moving results.

 

Rating/Ocena: 5/5

 

 

This is the second book by Anna Bell that I have read and I am so, so, so positive surprised by this one! While „Millie and the American Wedding” was totally not my pair of shoes, I just felt in love with „Don’t Tell the Groom” and has already added it to my „favourite” shelf.

 

In „Don’t Tell the Groom” we are introduced to Penny, who’s living with her boyfriend Mark, who has finally dropped THE question. They have both been already saving towards the big day, and Penny has already planned the whole ceremony. As she wants to upgrade it a little, she develops a gambling online bingo habit. Instead of winning, she starts to loose the money and she founds herself with a very limited budget to organise the wedding. As she of course CAN’T tell Mark about it, she starts with the whole Don’t Tell the Groom idea – yes, you get it right, she isn’t telling Mark what she’s doing about the wedding. Between looking for a venue, catering, music, invitations she starts also her therapy where she meets her mentor Josh and other addicts.

Of course, as life is not as beautiful and the lies have short legs, Mark finds out about the money, and also it doesn’t help that his Nan has seen Penny with Josh holding hands. Totally innocently, but she doesn’t know it in this time.

Will Mark forgive Penny? Will they get married?

 

While I thought that online bingo addiction sounds a little silly, I guess it is a serious matter and it’s great that Anna Bell wrote about it in such a light and funny way. I instantly warmed to Penny, she was a warm, likeable character, and it’s only too easy to let things slide like she did. She was a little naive and too optimistic from time to time but which of us isn’t? It was great to follow her trying to organise the wedding on shoestring budget and see how spontaneous and creative she can be. And then actually see her maturing and seeing that it is the man and the life itself more important, and not necessary the wedding.

There were also other characters in this book but I have a feeling that it was Penny and only Penny. Of course we get to know Mark and he is hard – headed accountant, but he is also very likeable and even if he has divided his and Penny’s lives into stages, I liked him. There was also Lou, Penny’s best friend, and I couldn’t really understand why she was behaving so funny and why it took her so long to tell Penny the truth.

 

It is an easy, fresh book that just flows so well, the story line is fresh and witty. I could pick it up any moment and felt like I have never stopped reading it, had no problems into getting the plot again. There were some serious issues within the book but thanks to the writing we don’t feel overwhelmed or down reading about it. There were also some laugh – out – loud moments and I still can’t help but laugh when I think about Penny entering the false meeting.

It is great to hear that there is going to be a sequel – yes, please! I personally am waiting.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2013 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

Christmas at Claridge’s by Karen Swan / Book Review

20 gru

 

 

Christmas at Claridge’s by Karen Swan

 

Publisher / Wydawca: Macmillan

 

Publishing Date / Data wydania: 7th November 2013

 

Source / Zrodlo: Received from publisher, thank you! / Od wydawcy, dziekuje!

 

Amazon Summary:

 This was where her dreams drifted to if she didn’t blot her nights out with drink; this was where her thoughts settled if she didn’t fill her days with chat. She remembered this tiny, remote foreign village on a molecular level and the sight of it soaked into her like water into sand, because this was where her old life had ended and her new one had begun.’Portobello – home to the world-famous street market, Notting Hill Carnival and Clem Alderton. She’s the queen of the scene, the girl everyone wants to be or be with. But beneath the morning-after makeup, Clem is keeping a secret, and when she goes too far one reckless night she endangers everything – her home, her job and even her adored brother’s love.Portofino – a place of wild beauty and old-school glamour, and where a neglected villa has been bought by a handsome stranger. He wants Clem to restore it for him and it seems like the answer to all her problems – except that Clem has been there once before and vowed, for her own protection, never to return . . .

 

Rating/Ocena: 5/5

 

 

It is the first Karen Swan’s book that I have read but not the last, for sure, am going to purchase her previous books because I, well, loved this one.

Just at the beginning we are introduced to Clem. Clem is a young London girl, who is always partying, changes men like her gloves and her rule for relationship is not longer as 12 weeks. She is working in her brother’s company, but perhaps working is not the right word here, she’s employed there. I think Karen Swan has done everything for us not liking Clem; she is spoiled, she is selfish, she doesn’t think about consequences or other people. But I have warmed to Clem immediately, liked her from the very beginning. I had a feeling that we don’t get the real Clem yet, that there is something that she hides and that this is the reason why she behaves in this way.
So, after Clem destroys the most expensive bike in the world, which means that she also destroys her brother’s business, she is really scared and she wants to repay him. I really liked the idea that she had and could see that it’s going to work. Unfortunately, life is not so easy and Tom didn’t want the money, instead forced Clem to go to Portofino to work for a client.
A client, whom she met occasionally and she felt is not going to be good for her. Portofino, where something happened.

I love the idea of Portofino in a book, already since I’ve read „Portofino” by Frank Schaeffer and it’s my dream to go there one day. So any book with P. in – yes, please.
This book is divided into two parts, one taking place in London and second in… well… Portofino. For me the parts were like two different books, I had a feeling that writing is a little different, that Clem is a little different. While in London she was the life and soul of the party, in Italy she was not like herself. I could tell there was a secret and reading the book further I started to see what it could actually be, I kept guessing but to be honest, was not totally sure and had some other ideas and thoughts in my head. It was a surprise for me because I had predicted but haven’t expected the situation like this.

There are also more characters than Clem and Tom in the book. In Portobello we met Stella, Clem’s best friend, who was fantastic character, Clover – Tom’s girlfriend, Mercy, who was Clem’s cleaner and who was just bombastic, the scenes with Mercy were brightening my days, I loved them. We are also introduced to Clem’s parents and we can immediately see that there are issues between Clem and her mother.
In Italy there are characters that took me by surprise, that weren’t expected by me.

This book is full of surprises and unexpected situation and is not as easy as I have thought. The plot is complicated and is also about some important issues in life. Looking at the cover, reading the title I have expected some light, festive read but I’ve got much more. The writing was fantastic, flowing, interesting, engaging, the descriptions were – for my liking – sometimes too detailed, too minutive but the pace of the book and the plot itself were brilliant. The book was unputdownable, with its turns and twists, ups and downs and believable characters. Perhaps the ending was too rushed and too overdone and maybe it was not THE festive read that I have expected but I have enjoyed the book thoroughly.

 
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From Scotland with Love by Katie Fforde / eBook Review

17 gru

 

 

From Scotland with Love by Katie Fforde

 

Publisher / Wydawca: Cornerstone Digital

 

Publishing Date / Data wydania: 13th December 2013

 

Source / Zrodlo: Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you! / Od wydawcy przez NetGalley, dziekuje!

 

Amazon Summary:

 

Treat yourself to some extra seasonal cheer with this exclusive, straight-to-digital short story from the Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller.

When Daisy travels to Scotland to confront notorious author Rory McAllan, little does she know that within hours she’ll be snowed in with him. But surely she’s not going to have to spend her precious New Year’s Eve with him too?

Put the champagne on ice, get the fireworks ready and step into the wonderfully warm, witty and romantic world of Katie Fforde. 

 

Rating/Ocena: 3/5

It is a shame, I admit, that it was my first book by Katie Fforde, and not an actual book but a short story.
And my problem with short stories is that they are…short, if you know what I mean.

We are introduced to Daisy, a PR girl, who wants to make her job better and out of the blue appears on the steps of her publishing company’s best – selling author with books for him to sign. As it happens in winter, there is a snow – storm and Daisy must stay with Rory, who – in my opinion – is not as terrible and moody as all think and let her stay without a word actually. No fight here, no battle, just stay and cook.
There is also Griselda, who is going to have puppies, and Rory has of course absolutely no idea how to be a midwife to the dog. The vet can’t arrive because of the snow, so Daisy is the one who takes over the control. Well, Rory, don’t judge a book by its cover:)
There are also some characters in background but they actually don’t play a big role in the story. They are important, like Rory’s ex – wife, but not so developed.

I am sure Katie Fforde is a wonderful author, I have read reviews of her books and I am for sure finally going to read her. This story was über – sweet, very predictable and very compact but I guess it is so with SHORT stories. They can’t be longer:) Nevertheless, a cute, heart – warming read, although for me lacked chemistry between the main characters and was too rushed.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2013 Releases, Rating 3/5

 

The Island Hideaway by Louise Candlish / Book Review

09 gru

 

 

The Island Hideaway by Louise Candlish

 

Publisher / Wydawca: Sphere

 

Publishing Date / Data wydania: 5th December 2013

 

Source / Zrodlo: Received from publisher, thank you! / Od wydawcy, dziekuje!

 

Amazon Summary:

 

How far would you follow him before you accept it’s over?

Eleanor Blake, distraught after breaking up with her fiance Will, decides to do what most would scarcely dare: secretly follow him to the island hideaway where he’s on holiday with the woman who took her place. But on the shimmering, sun-drenched Sicilian island of Panarea, distractions come in many forms – including her fellow hotel guest Lewis, an enigmatic Englishman with secrets of his own to protect. And then there’s Frannie, a young Italian actress on the island to prepare for her first film role, who is as charming as she is beautiful. Can she really be so perfect? And shouldn’t Eleanor be the first to suspect that things might not be as they seem?

The Island Hideaway is a surprising, insightful and compelling novel from the bestselling author of Since I Don’t Have You.

Previously published as Prickly Heat.

Rating/Ocena: 4/5

 

When I’ve seen that Louise Candlish is going to treat us with a second book in a year I was really thrilled. This book was actually previously published as „Prickly Heat” back in 2004 but as I have not read it then I was not going to miss the opportunity this time.

 

Like with „The Disappearance of Emily Marr” I had some problems to get into this book as well. The beginning was not so easy and heart – warming. We met Eleanor, a young woman who struggles to get over with being rejected by her fiance. She had this „brilliant” idea to follow him and his new girlfriend to some island in Italy and actually stalk him. This actually made me feel a little uncomfortable and I started to expect really shocking things to happen.

 

I have a feeling that I don’t actually know Eleanor. Yes, I know how old she is, where does she work, that she has some best friends, parents and that she works in an office and she doesn’t like her job. But after having finished the book I still think that I know her on the surface and don’t know much about her inside, her feelings, thoughts. Nevertheless, after getting used to  Eleanor’s idea of stalking, I started to warm to her. At the beginning I thought, wow, poor Will, Eleanor is going to makes his holidays a hell, but reading further we get some retrospection and get to know Will as well. And my feelings started to turn around  towards Eleanor. She was actually funny, intelligent, warm woman, feeling rejected and not knowing what to do with her life now. After Will.

 

There are also other characters in the book, living in the same hotel as Eleanor. It was really refreshing to follow their conversations at the dinners or on the beach, to observe their interaction and to see how different people they were. They added much to this book and every one of them had their own story which also interesting and was a great sub – plot and distraction from Eleanor’s story. They feel likeable and real, like people that we meet on our holidays too. One of the more important characters is going to be Lewis, who lives in the same hotel, whom Eleanor meets on her way to the island and who – as it looks – has his own secrets. Secrets that I haven’t expected.

 

Like I said, the beginning was a little slow and hard for me, but then suddenly the story took pace and I found myself totally interested in the book. I was very curious how it is going to end, if Eleanor will meet Will, if he finds her stalking him, and I for sure didn’t expect how it all turned out to the end.  Which is great, there is nothing better than a book that is able to surprise me.

 

The writing is brilliant, easy to follow, the action full of twists, turns and surprises, full of emotions and highs and lows. The story is really intriguing and although one can find the main idea a little confusing, this book is worth reading and I heartily recommend it. Not only on summer holidays, with its beautiful italian weather and great, real descriptions of the island, I have read it in front of my fireplace and enjoyed it the same:)

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2013 Releases, Rating 4/5

 

Hollywood Sinners by Victoria Fox / eBook Review

04 gru

 

 

Hollywood Sinners by Victoria Fox

 

Publisher / Wydawca: Bookouture

 

Publishing Date / Data wydania: 6th December 2013 (first published April 1st 2011)

 

Source / Zrodlo: Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you! / Od wydawcy przez NetGalley, dziekuje!

 

Amazon Summary:

 

Packed full of glamour, sex, scandal and the most outrageous celebrity secrets, Hollywood Sinners is 600 pages of pure escapism that’s impossible to put down.

Fans of Jackie Collins, Tilly Bagshawe, Maggie Marr and Tasmina Perry will love Victoria Fox.

Would you sell your soul to make it? Four of Hollywood’s hottest couples are about to pay the price of fame…

Marriage to Hollywood heartthrob Cole Steel secured Lana Falcon a glittering place on the red carpet. Desperately running from her wicked past, has she trapped herself in a gilded cage?

Kate diLaurentis’s career is fading as quickly as her looks – but it’s her husband’s affair with Hollywood’s newest starlet that pushes Kate over the edge. Her only option is the most shocking revenge.

Chloe French’s innocent beauty has captured a million hearts, but rock star Nate is a dangerous, dark temptation – will lust destroy her?

Robert St Louis’s fairytale wedding to Sin City s richest heiress is tabloid gold… but scandal circles like a vulture—dirty secrets are about to be exposed!

Rating/Ocena: 4/5

 

So hands up, from time to time I enjoy to read a bonkbuster, and as I have already read Victoria Fox and knew more or less what she’s offering, I dived into „Hollywood Sinners” and enjoyed every page of the book.

 

This is a typical book for this genre. We have a lot of characters, we have trash, sex, drugs, many secrets and also glamour and views into celebrities lives. Like I said, we have many characters here, but it was not confusing and after few chapters I already knew who is who and who is together with whom.

There are actually four main couples in the book We meet Lana, married to Hollywood star Cole but we quickly learn that the marriage is not as glamorous and real as we think.  There are Kate and Jimmy, both actors, both unhappy with their lives. Chloe, who is a model and rising star in Hollywood with Nate, a musician. And Elisabeth and Robert, who are going to be married soon but their relationship is not a bed of roses.

All the characters are in some or other way connected to each other, meet each other and – like in a good bonkbuster – have a lot of affairs, or their history starts long time back and they are about to be again re-acquainted. As the story progresses, many secrets are revealed and many unexpected situations occur.

There are many plots and sub – plots in this book but it has a right pace and is very easy to follow. Each chapter is given to one person which makes the reading pleasant and interesting, as the chapters usually ends with a twist, there is an opened question and I just wanted to read further to see what’s going to happen.

 

I have either really liked the character or took a big dislike to them. Some of the situations were in my opinion too exaggerated, too unrealistic, some were hard for me to believe, but well, what do I know about Hollywood stars and their arranged marriages? Some sub – plots were predictable, some not, but one of them was not necessary for my liking and I am talking about Elisabeth – Alberto situation. It has left me a bit uncomfortable and although I have expected this, I was still feeling uncomfortable.

Lana was a normal woman but I actually can’t believe she was hard enough for the film -  business. Cole was a no – go, controlling and in love with himself, he actually reminds me of one actor but am not going to tell which one:) Chloe, okay, she stood for herself finally but she was too naive for me. I would like to kick Nate all they long, I can’t remember such arrogant and unpleasant male character as he was. Then there was the marriage of Kate and Jimmy, and although Jimmy was not playing fair I did like him, he was in some ways funny and real. Elisabeth Bernstein, well, I think she got what she deserved although it was too gross for my liking and very, very shocking. She didn’t deserve Robert, for sure, and well, if there was a real Robert, I would queue for him.

 

The tension in the book was built up, it has cumulated, until everything has exploded. The ending was of course spectacular but for my liking, after reading many bonkbusters, it was too rushed for me. It could be a little longer, with more surprises but nevertheless, I am feeling satisfied:) Yes, it was a little predictable, but the suspense was built wonderfully up. Altogether, this book is juicy, shocky, with twists and turns, glamour, murders and happy ends. Hoping for a new Victoria Fox’s book soon.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2013 Releases, Rating 4/5