October was a good month for reading. I think it was due to the weather getting colder and the nights getting darker which is perfect cosy reading time. Also, the same as a lot of other people, reading is a great way to escape from your life and concentrate on the world of another. So here’s a round-up of what I read and what I thought!
Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage Book 2) – Bella Osborne
Christmas Cheer is the second book in the Willow Cottage series (the first I was lucky enough to read whilst lying on a sun lounger in Gran Canaria!) and gives us the next instalment in the life of Beth as she restores Willow Cottage to its former glory. Beth is trying to start a new life away from her abusive ex with her son Leo. They move into Willow Cottage that needs a lot of work before it can become a real home! With the help of her neighbours (including the handsome Jack), she is trying to provide Leo with a home and a stable life in a village.
I’ve really enjoyed both books and want to know more about Beth and her past. This second book was a good Christmas read, and I would definitely recommend both books. I can’t wait to read the next instalment and find out more – I only wish they were published more frequently!
Not Just For Christmas – Alexandra Brown
I love all of Alex Brown’s books and could not wait for this novella to be published. We get taken back to the village of Tindledale where we find out more about Kitty who runs the local tea room. We already know Kitty from the other books and that she sadly lost her husband Ed before their daughter Teddy was born. She has thrown herself into looking after her business and giving Teddy a good life, but has never got over the death of Ed. When one of his old Army buddies gets in contact as Ed’s dog from the Forces is being retired, she knows that she has to take Monty in, for Ed. Having Monty at home with her stirs up all sorts of emotions and she finds it difficult to cope with him, so Amber who runs the local dog grooming parlour helps out.
I loved this book as much as Alex’s other books. My only complaint is that because it was a novella it just wasn’t long enough for me! I can’t wait for the next book to be published and may even have to re-read her other books in the new year!
Pushing up Daisies – M.C. Beaton
I normally save the new Agatha Raisin book to read after Christmas as I always get a hard-back version under the tree. But this year I couldn’t resist and downloaded it on my Kindle. I discovered Agatha about 5 years ago and have read all 27 books in the series. I just love reading about Agatha’s adventures and each one is like an old friend as they are written to a formula. I know that wouldn’t be for everyone, but it works for me.
In this adventure, Agatha is commissioned to investigate the death of local aristocrat, Lord Bellington. Of course, the investigation isn’t straight forward and Agatha uncovers some of the secrets being hidden in the Cotswolds.
I enjoyed this book, and it was definitely a fun read. It’s not my favourite Agatha mystery, but was enjoyable all the same. I’d recommend fans of the new TV series to read the books as I find them much better, and M.C. Beaton’s writing is always well-paced and witty.
Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky – Holly Martin
This was definitely my favourite read of the month. I’ve read a couple of Holly’s books in the past, but will definitely be picking up more after reading this one. Piper is a journalist who’s job is to travel around the world reviewing hotels. She’s done it constantly for 10 years and has agreed to go to one last resort for Christmas before taking a sabbatical from her career. Piper has been asked to review the Stardust Lake Hotel on Juniper Island which is in a group of islands off the Scottish coast. The Hotel is a newly refurbished resort that has amazing views of the Northern Lights, and Piper intends to spend the Christmas break there. But this isn’t the first time Piper has been to the island, and she finally has to face up to her past.
I loved this book so much. I’ve purposely tried not to give too much away in my summary of the story because I found it truly magical and didn’t want to spoil it for anyone. If you read one festive book this year, make this one it. A sequel (Christmas Under a Starlit Sky) has now also been published and I fully intend to curl up with it in November!
Falling Leaves and Fireworks – Chrissie Manby
This is the first book I’ve read by Chrissie Manby and it was a fun, quick read. The Benson-Edwards family have recently lost their family cat Fishy and are trying to get their son, Jack, to enjoy Halloween with their neighbours. Following a ghost story being told at a party which results in Jack being convinced that he’s seen the ghost of Fishy, his parents decide to play a trick on their next-door neighbour that ends up backfiring on them.
I enjoyed this novella, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as other books I’ve read this month. It did make me chuckle though and I would probably read another novella by Chrissie Manby in future.
Comfort and Joy – Cathy Bramley
It’s no secret that I love Cathy Bramley’s books. My favourite series of her books has been the Plumberry series which made me both laugh and cry, and this book gives us another chance to catch up with the residents of Plumberry. This novella is set a number of months after we last left off, and Verity has well and truly settled into life running the cooking school and also into her life with Tom. Everyone in the village is looking forward to spending Christmas Day with their families and loved ones, but heavy rain and flooding do their best to scupper everyone’s plans.
I read this book in one sitting and was so pleased to be able to go back to Plumberry and spend some more time with Verity and the others. I’d love for Cathy to write more books based in Plumberry so that we can find out more about some of the other characters! I’ve been lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Cathy’s next book, White Lies and Wishes, which is due for publication in the new year and will be aiming to read it in November!
The Girls Next Door – Mel Sherratt
I love a good thriller, and as soon as my pre-order of this book downloaded, I knew I had to get stuck into it! This is the first book I’ve read by Mel Sherratt and definitely won’t be the last. A young girl is stabbed to death in Stockleigh in a case of mistaken identity, and six months later a number of attacks happen on girls her age. Detective Eden Berrisford is tasked with getting to the bottom of it when she finds that her own niece has gone missing. Is this linked to the other attacks, and do the parents in the town really know everything that their children get up to?
I literally couldn’t put this book down and just wanted to keep finding out more. I really felt like I was on the edge of my seat with it and the attention to detail in the book was amazing. I love watching crime thrillers like this on television, so will definitely read more of Mel’s books. The twists and turns will keep you guessing, even if you think you know exactly what is going on!
I’ve got ten more books to read this year to meet my Goodreads target, and I’m sure at this rate I’ll do it. I’m glad to say I’ve got my reading mojo back, and I hope November is just as successful!