2015 Reading: #7 Havilah Cunnington’s I Do Hard Things


2015 Reading Book 7 – I Do Hard Things by Havilah Cunnington
Synopsis:

I Do Hard Things is a devotional workbook written to go alongside a 4 part teaching series. However, it’s also great on it’s own leading you to great insights on how to live in victory even in the midst of challenges and struggles.

Quick Thoughts
This is the second devotional book by Havilah Cunnington which I have gone through. The first was Radical Growth in Autumn last year. As with Radical Growth, I found I Do Hard Things to be incredibly useful. They are short daily readings, based on Biblical truth, about how we can climb out of the pits we find ourselves in and live a victorious life for God. It refocusses us on Jesus, and not on ourselves. This is helpful, short teaching which I will definitely read time and again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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2015 Reading: #6 Katherine Webb’s The Legacy


2015 Reading Book 6 – The Legacy by Katharine Webb
Synopsis:

Following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott & her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, where they spent their summer holidays as children. When Erica begins to sort through the house, she relives memories of her childhood – & of her cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart.

Quick Thoughts
This is the second book I have now completed off my Mount Blanc 2015 Reading Challenge! I am really pleased to be on target with that challenge.
I didn’t enjoy this Mount TBR Book as much as I enjoyed Jane Green’s The Patchwork Marriage. That said, this book wasn’t a complete disappointment. I enjoy books which run through two time periods, which this one did. I found however, I preferred the modern day story to the Victorian era story. I did enjoy this book, but it felt like a slow read and I felt a bit flat once I had finished book. I also surprised myself by working out the Henry story line too – I hardly ever work out the mystery so I was quite pleased with myself! This isn’t a bad book, I just didn’t find it as good as novels by someone like Rachel Hore.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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2015 Reading: #5 Debbie Macomber’s The Inn at Rose Harbour


2015 Reading Book 5 – The Inn at Rose Harbour by Debbie Macomber
Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.

Quick Thoughts
As you know, I love Debbie Macomber. This is a new series from her, called Rose Harbour. This is the first novel in the series, however there is a short story called When They First Met. Having already read the short story, I was acquainted with Jo Marie and already liked her. This novel follows her move to Cedar Cove following the death of her husband, to open a new inn. I loved this book. The characters are warm and loveable. There is always a happy ending – yes sometimes it is a bit predictable, but I love it. This is my guilty-pleasure reading. It did not take long to read this book and I am already looking forward to the next one! It also worth noting that although this is a new series, it is set in Cedar Cove, so we do encounter some of the characters from that series too.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Addition: Netgalley review book
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

I received this book from Netgalley to give an honest review.

This is the second book from Jenny Colgan which is set in Mount Polbearne and follows the life of Polly. I loved the first book, The Little Beach Street Bakery so had high hopes for this book. And it did not disappoint!

We return to Polly, who has been in Mount Polbearne around 2 years. She is running the bakery successfully, owns and lives in the lighthouse, and is in love with Huckle her boyfriend, and Neil her puffin. All is going well until Mrs Manse, who owns the two bakeries, dies. Her family inherit them, and this starts a hard season for Polly.

I was immediately sucked into this book. Every spare moment I had, I was reading this book. I found myself trying to work out what was going to happen, as if this book is a thriller! I did ultimately guess the ending, but I didn’t guess how we would get there. Often chick-lit books can be really predictable, you can guess everything that is going to happen in them. This novel was not like that. I was kept on my toes the whole way through.

I like Polly. I liked her in the last novel too. A downside for me in this book is she is a little moan-y. Things do get tough for her, but it did seem like we had a few chapters of her just being miserable. My favourite characters were Reuben – the loud American, and Jayden, the local boy who works for Polly. Reuben is just so funny, he says whatever he wants, in the most brazen manner, and just generally entertained me the whole way through the novel. I liked Jayden, he was quite shy, but loyal to Polly and seemed like a lovely guy.

There is a lot in this novel. As I said, there are a few moan-y chapters, but that doesn’t spoil the book. There is friendship – Polly befriends Selina, a lonely widow on the island; there is love – Polly and Huckle have to work on their relationship, particularly when Huckle is again in America; and there is action. I don’t want to give too much away, but the sea and a massive storm do play a role in this book. There were times when I felt like second novel was similar to the first, yet I enjoyed them both, so I didn’t mind that.

The downsides for me were few. There seemed to be a lot of bad language, which I don’t like reading. This is a personal preference and won’t bother many people. There were a few parts of the story that were a little unrealistic – perhaps particularly the storyline involving Neil the pet puffin! There are some very British references in this book too – to things such as Lidl, a popular supermarket in Britain, which readers outside of the UK might not understand. Other than that – this is a great book.

And I must make special mention of Neil the puffin. I just loved him! I read the whole novel wishing he was my pet. What a great addition to this book!

I am rating this book 4 out of 5. It was so readable. I was gripped from the beginning. This book has it all – adventure, bravery, love and friendship. I really enjoyed this book. Jenny Colgan has not let me down! Thank you Netgalley for letting me review this book, I loved it!

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2015 Reading: #4 Jenny Colgan’s Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery


2015 Reading: Book 4 – Summer at Little Beach Bakery

Synopsis:

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Quick Thoughts:
I received this from Netgalley to give an honest review.

I LOVE Jenny Colgan! She is one of my favourite authors so I was very happy to receive this book from Netgalley. In this novel, we return to Mount Polbearne and to Polly. Things have been going well for Polly, but then Mrs Manse, the owner of the bakery dies, and this starts to cause trouble for Polly. This book has is all. There is love, friendship, the beach, money, a puffin named Neil and the beach. There is sadness and great joy. This is a great read. I really enjoyed it. I found I couldn’t put it down. I loved returning to Mount Polbearne, and am a little disappointed I have finished the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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2015 Reading: #3 Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot


2015 Reading: Book 3 – Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

Synopsis:

Mr. Hoppy is in love with Mrs. Silver, but her heart belongs to Alfie, her pet tortoise. Mr. Hoppy is too shy to approach Mrs. Silver, until one day he comes up with a brilliant idea to win her heart. If Mr. Hoppy’s plan works, Mrs. Silver will certainly fall in love with him. But it’s going to take one hundred and forty tortoises, an ancient spell, and a little bit of magic.

Quick Thoughts:
This is the first book from my Roald Dahl challenge.

I love Roald Dahl books! This book has just been adapted by the BBC for some Christmas viewing, so I decided I needed to read the book before I watched it. It is 50 pages long, but an enjoyable 50 pages. Easy to read, lovely story and I loved the illustrations by Quentin Blake. This is a children’s book, but one I thoroughly enjoyed!

Rating: 3 out of 5

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2015 Reading: #2 Jane Green’s A Patchwork Marriage


2015 Reading: Book 2 – The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green

Synopsis:

When Andi married Ethan she not only got the man she loves but also a ready-made family in his two daughters, Emily and Sophia. Unable to have a child of her own, Andi saw this as a precious gift – her chance to be a mother. If only it were that simple.

Quick Thoughts:
This is the first book I have completed in my Mount Blanc TBR Challenge.

I didn’t know what to expect with this book. It has been on my shelf for ages, so I was nervous picking it up. However, I really enjoyed it. This is pure chick-lit. It has love, friendship and family. We see the challenges of family break-ups, the destruction and sadness addiction can bring and the pain not being able to have children can cause. This book was a page-turner. I am pleased I have finally read it – and if you like chick-lit, this book is for you!

Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

I received this book from Netgalley to give an honest review.

This is the first book by Django Wexley I have read, and it is the first in The Forbidden Library series. In this novel we meet Alice, a girl recently orphaned, who has been sent to live with her mysterious Uncle. But things are not as they seem. She quickly learns that magic is everywhere and her Uncle is some sort of wizard. She is drawn into this world when she follows Ashes, a talking cat, into the library she has been forbidden from. She is on a hunt to find out what has happened to her father, but she is about to enter a whole new world and start leading a life she wouldn’t have believed possible just a few months ago.

This book falls into the scope of fantasy for young adults. But it is more than just that. This book has adventure and suspense. There are unanswered questions – mystery follows through the book – and there is fighting and the need to survive throughout the book.

As a character, I quite liked Alice. She was hard working, compassionate and fearless. She is however, only 12 and I think that when you read through the book you forget that. She seems to be a very mature 12 year old. I felt like I was reading the adventures of a late teen, not a girl. I did find it convenient and a bit far-fetched the number of times she suddenly had a plan that would save her life. My favourite character was Ashes – who doesn’t love a grumpy cat! He reminded me a lot of Grimalken the cait sith from the Iron Fey series. As a rule, I don’t like cats, however Ashes was exactly how I imagined a cat who could speak would be. He was definitely a highlight in the book for me.

I think my biggest complaint with this book is simple: it dragged a bit. I know I have said that there is action and adventure, but it was a bit slow. I did find myself checking to see how long I had left in the book. There is a lot that happens in the book – we are taken into three different worlds, there are the encounters with the evil fairies, plus we watch Alice fight for her life on more than one occasion – yet there were moments when I wondered if I would finish the book.

Overall, I am rating this book 3 out of 5. There are elements of this book which I really enjoyed. There is action, a sense of mystery and I did wonder what was going to happen. However, I won’t be rushing to read the next book in this series.

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2015 Reading: #1 Django Wexler’s The Forbidden Library

2015 Reading: Book 1 – The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

Synopsis:

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Quick thoughts:

I received this book from Netgalley to give an honest review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book – I have never read a novel by Django Wexley before. This is fantasy and action, with a hint of thriller in one book. We follow Alice into a mysterious world – one with talking cats and fairies. My initial thoughts are this: I did enjoy the book however I did find it a little slow. There is quite a lot in the book and a fair amount happens, yet I did catch myself checking to see how many pages were left. I am currently writing a full review of this book, but I would say this was an OK book – lots of adventure and fantasy, but I did think it dragged sometimes.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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2015 Reading Challenges

I have decided to do a few reading challenges this year. They are:

The Goodreads Challenge! I am aiming to read 50 books in 2015. You can follow my progress here.

Mount TBR Challenge! Another challenge from Goodreads. This year I am hoping to read these books off my shelf:
1. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
2. Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben
3. A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans
4. Going Dutch by Katie Fforde
5. The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato
6. The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green
7. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory
8. The Return by Victoria Hislop
9. Tell It To The Skies by Erica James
10. Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
11. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
12. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
13. Small Island by Andrea Levy
14. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garci Marquez
15. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
16. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
17. The Fountain by Mary Nichols
18. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
19. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
20. One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner
21. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
22. A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks
23. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
24. The Legacy by Katharine Webb

You can follow my progress here.

I would also like to finish my Secret Seven challenge and read all of Roald Dahl’s children’s books. Again, progress of these will be found here.

So, not much reading then! I also have review books to read plus my Kindle is fairly full…! Here is to a great year of books.

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