Review: Lailah (Styclar Saga #1) by Nikki Kelly

18324459Source: Amazon UK
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 7th October 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Price: £7.59
Date Read: 7th/8th October 2014 & 1st September 2015

Amazon UK – Hardcover / Paperback / Kindle / Audio Book

Goodreads Summary:

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

It’s been almost a year since I originally read Lailah and I honestly have no good reason for not reviewing this book before. I read Lailah while I was on holiday in the wilds of the Welsh/English border. There was no phone reception or internet, unless you went into the pub and connected to their wifi. Before going away I had pre-ordered via Amazon and hoped for the best that I would be able to get the book on my Kindle on release day. Fortunately for me (and not so fortunately for those I was on holiday with!) I did download Lailah and spent the next two days with my head firmly stuck in Nikki Kelly’s amazing world.

I had heard a heck of a lot about Lailah even before it was published publicly for all to read. British author Nikki Kelly originally published the story online on Wattpad and it was picked up by an American publisher; the American YA audience loved it and (quite rightly) got behind Nikki and made Lailah and the Styclar Saga a sensation. ARC copies of Lailah were pored over, rejoiced over and the praises sung of the story and author for many weeks before and after the publishing of Lailah. Reading it for myself I can certainly see why. I am certainly a massive fan of this amazingly talented Brit myself!

Lailah is a paranormal sensational story written in the first person; I did this and I went to that… Not a format I would normally read but being front and centre of a YA Paranormal-y Romance-y Action-y story really appealed. The book is filled with vampires, angels, demons and angels… A chaotic mix which works perfectly and yet totally confuzzles the reader in a rather please ‘Give me more’ way!

The writing is open and appealing and extremely easy to read and lose yourself in. The story, although some may at first say mirrors others of the same genre, surprises the reader with twists, turns and mysteries which leave you wanting and eager to turn the page. For me it was definitely an ‘Oh God it’s 4am and I have to be up in 3 hours, why the hell can’t I put this book down and go to sleep’ book. High praise indeed! it’s also a re-readable book. I’ve read it I-don’t-know-how-many times so far but I still love it and keep going back to it. I spot things or make connections that I haven’t before. That’s the kind of book I really love; one which will sit well-worn on my bookcase, not gathering dust because it doesn’t have the chance to sit still long enough.

My love for it is something I’ve certainly tried to share and I hope I’ve been doing my bit here in the UK – I managed to persuade my library to buy a copy and it’s not been too long on the shelves so far to my knowledge!

So, have I persuaded you to give it a try? Let me know if you’re Team Gabriel or Team Jonah! Me? I’m Team Lailah; she’s strong and able and should be a team all of her own!

Read Lailah and now you want more? 

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Amazon UK – Hardcover & Kindle

The second book in the Styclar Saga series ‘Gabriel’ is available for pre-order and will be released on the 27th October 2015; not long to go!

From Goodreads:

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He’s also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

About the AuthoNikki-Kelly-BWr:

NIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua).

Review: Taken By Storm by Tamara Mataya

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tamara Mataya’s fantastic new novel ‘Taken By Storm‘! A Swoon Romance published novel, I knew it would knock my socks off and I was right. I hope you enjoy my review and get yourself over to buy a copy of the book for yourselves. I’d love to hear if you’ve read this book or if you now plan to.


Taken By StormSource:
 Swoon Romance
Format: EBook (Read on Kindle)
Publish Date: 2nd December 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 30th November 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Taken By Storm for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Leilani’s plan was simple: Return for her father’s wedding, housesit for the happy couple while they went on their honeymoon, then get the hell outta dodge. She’d thought the worst thing would be returning to the town she grew up in (and despised). She was wrong.

A flashflood hits the small town, stranding Firefighter, Ryan, and a few strangers at the local bar. Worst of all, Leilani, his old high school rival – and last night’s scorching one-night-stand – is one of the people stuck in the bar. With waters rising, they need to stick together and wait for rescue.

The power grid’s knocked out, and cell phones aren’t working. When the others panic and leave, Leilani and Ryan are left alone in the dark. Fortunately, words aren’t necessary to keep the former rivals warm. But when they’re forced to leave their refuge, they must cooperate to navigate the flood ravaged town and reach safety.

Rising waters bring them closer together. Rising tempers might tear them apart.

I suppose in a way I was cheating when I signed up for this blog tour. I’ve read many books published by Swoon Romance, by many different authors, yet I have loved each and every one so far. Surely reading should be about testing boundaries and trying something new? Oh well, yet again I’ve found another book to love and an author to (slightly) obsess over!

At an (Amazon) estimated 156 pages, Taken By Storm is the perfect length for an afternoon spent in front of a roaring fire with nothing else to do. Exactly the spot I found myself in on Sunday. Armed with only a large mug of tea, a packet of wotsits (for those in the US, think Cheetos) and an extra large snickers bar I entered the wonderful world of Leilani and Ryan. Amazingly, the chocolate survived – it showed how drawn in and captured I was by this wonderful story. Best of all, Taken By Storm is actually inspired by true events!

I loved the authors turn of phrase and the conversations and interactions between Leilani and Ryan. With such achingly real characters and fantasticly well written situations, the reader is picked up and plonked straight into the middle of the story. That doesn’t happen too often. My emotions though were up and down like a yo-yo as Leilani and Ryan argued, got into scary situations, sexy situations (one word: OMG!) and everything in between. I understand entirely now why the publisher is named Swoon Romance – I certainly very nearly did!

For such a heart-achingly awful Monther Nature caused situation, the author has written an utterly wonderful story around it. The awfuness of the situation and the terror and havoc isn’t passed over but is a part of the story and makes it so much more wonderful – if that was even at all possible.

And as for the ending? I guess you’ll have to read it yourself to find out *wink*

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

About the author:

Tamara Mataya

Tamara Mataya

Tamara Mataya is currently a librarian; she lurked there for so long recommending books to patrons and shushing people, that she suspects they only hired her so it would be less creepy. Now she’s armed with a name tag, and a thin veneer of credibility. She’s also a musician with synaesthesia – which isn’t an issue until someone plays a wrong note, which makes her want to squirm inside out. It makes for a good live show.

Twitter // Facebook // Blog // Goodreads

~*~

This blog tour was organised by Swoon Romance

Review: The List by Joanna Bolouri

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Joanna Bolouri’s fantastic debut novel ‘The List: My Year of Sexual Adventures‘! While you’re here, have a wander around and maybe leave a comment or two – I’d love to hear if you’ve read this book or if you now plan to.

19006544Source: Quercus
Format: Paperback
Publish Date: 10th April 2014 by Quercus (first published 5th December 2013)
Price: N/A
Date Read: 13th November 2014
Genre: Romance-y Angst-y Chick-Lit
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of The List for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out for her.

Joanna Bolouri’s The List is completely unlike any book I have ever read and would normally ever read. For one, I tend to shy away from angsty chick lit and, secondly, from diary-format reads in the first person. This book however intrigued me when I first heard about it; hence joining the blog tour! The List took me straight out of my biblio-safe zone and on a fast train to who-knew-where. I wasn’t disappointed.

The book itself is written in the first person from the point of the main female character; Phoebe Henderson. There are no real chapters as the story is written in the format of a diary with an entry for each day, though the book is split into months. Phoebe is joined by a whole host of other characters including the lovely Oliver; all of whom are extremely relateable and astonishingly real. The List is absolutely hilarious and Joanna takes no prisoners. If you don’t like swearing or sex though, this book is not for you. I described the book earlier as ‘chick lit’ and honestly I’m not sure if that is the right category – what is though is a whole new matter. It’s full angst and romance. It’s uproarious, cringe-worthy and downright dirty in places. I went through the book alternately wanting to cheer on or throttle Phoebe, Oliver or most of the other characters. For me though, that’s the sign of a great book! It is a book I could well see being based on real-life events, though a life far different from my own. Isn’t that the point of reading though? To quote Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations” –  and to boldly go where my mind hasn’t gone before.

Reading The List has taught me a lot about my literary likes and dislikes. The book itself was extremely easy to read and I felt carried along by the trials and tribulations of Phoebe and her exciting and often horrendously amusing life and sexual explorations. For all the sex in the book however, it wasn’t at all pornographic and honestly was mainly talked about plainly and without going into great detail. Not a book I would give out to all and sundry but would definitely offer to a friend. And the big question; Does it have a happy ending? Spoilers darling. You’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Overall a great and funny read which I hope you will try.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

About the author:

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Joanne Bolouri

Joanna Bolouri worked in sales before she began writing professionally at the age of thirty. Winning a BBC comedy script competition allowed her to work and write with stand-up comedians, comedy scriptwriters and actors from across the UK. She’s had articles and reviews published in The Skinny, the Scottish Sun, the Huffington Post and HecklerSpray. She lives in Glasgow with her daughter.

Twitter // Facebook // Blog // Goodreads

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This blog tour was organised by the lovely Emma Louise of Emma Lou Book Blog

Review: The Mausoleum Road Affair by Patricia Miller

20562731Source: Swoon Romance
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish Date: 4th November 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th November 2014
Genre: Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of The Mausoleum Road Affair for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Frustrated mother of two, Brianne Hunter, escapes her bland life in rural Fennelton by embarking on a weekend away shopping with her best friend. On the drive to her friend Darlene’s estate, Brianne crashes her Jeep off the Mausoleum Road, and makes her way, bleeding and injured, to a stone ranch seeking help. There she encounters Dr. Robert Moss, whose spouse is in Europe spending their money. Thus begins an immediate attraction, and a wildly sensual coupling that essentially changes them both.

When the weekend tryst ends, Brianne returns home to the demands of her predictable life. Shortly thereafter, life-changing losses occur for both Brianne and Dr. Moss. Then comes the day when Dr. Moss pays Brianne a house call, attempting to reignite their union; however, a revelation he delivers may be more than Brianne can accept. Yet Brianne cannot deny her heart’s passion, and returns to the ranch to deliver a disclosure of her own. In the end, the pair must decide if they will follow their passionate fate together or not.

I was initially drawn to this book by the absolutely gorgeous cover. Possibly that’s a little shallow but I adore it. I would love to have a hardback or paperback copy to adorn my shelves but for now I will stick with the black and white copy that shows up on my kindle! The book itself is utterly fabulous too. The writing and descriptions are so in depth they draw you right into the story and you can imagine the whole thing so easily! Descriptions of smells, sounds and touch are so well put you can almost experience them for yourself through the authors words. Not what I was expecting for words written on a page.

Along with the way it’s written, the author has brought to life some amazing characters. They are hurt, loving, flawed and amazing people that grab on to your heart and make you love them. This book makes you laugh, cry and care about Brianne, Robert and their families; people who live in the pages of a book, and that is something rather beyond comprehension at times. I think that the part I love most about this book are the flawed characters. Odd? Maybe. Humans are flawed though. Life doesn’t come with guaranteed happy endings and this is something the author has put across brilliantly. How this book ends I won’t reveal though; to quote River Song… “Spoilers, darling”.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ ½ – I utterly loved it. (Note: This rating is rounded up when a ½ is unavailable)

 

About the author:

Patricia Miller

 Patricia Miller

Patricia Miller lives in Bradford, Ontario with her husband and two children. Her work has appeared inThe Era Banner, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Quarterly, From The Cottage Porch: An Anthology, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter. She enjoys snowboarding and snorkeling.

Twitter // Facebook // Website // Pinterest

Review: Pyramid (Jack Howard #8) by David Gibbins

Source: NetGalley & Bookbridgrcover55131-medium
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle & Large paperback
Publish Date: 6th November 2014
Price: N/A
Date Read: 4th November 2014
Genre: Action Adventure / Thriller
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Pyramid for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone knew the story of Ancient Egypt. Until now.

For thousands of years, Egypt was a rich, ingenious civilization. Then it became a fertile hunting ground for archaeologists and explorers. Now the streets of Cairo teem with violence as a political awakening shakes the region. In the face of overwhelming danger, Jack Howard and his team of marine archaeologists have gathered pieces of a fantastic puzzle. But putting it together may cost them their lives.

Howard has connected a mystery hidden inside a great pyramid to a fossilized discovery in the Red Sea and a 150-year-old handwritten report of a man who claims to have escaped a labyrinth beneath Cairo. For that his team is stalked by a brutal extremist organization that will destroy any treasure they find.

As people fight and die for their rights aboveground, Jack fights for a discovery that will shed an astounding new light on the greatest story ever told: Moses’s exodus from Egypt and the true beginnings of a new chapter in human history.

I first came across the pure delight of David Gibbins’ work with words one month a few years ago when my book group read ‘The Tiger Warrior’; the 4th book in the Jack Howard series. I absolutely loved the wording, imagery and adventure that flowed into my mind from the words written simply on the page. The world of Jack Howard was and is something far out of my range of experience so being allowed to escape into the mind and life of such a character was pure escapism. Life however always seems to get in the way and although I borrowed and/or bought copies of other books in the series, it wasn’t until now, with the chance to read and review the latest offering and adventure that I have been able to pick up and read another of these treasures.

Pyramid, like the other Jack Howard series, is a standalone novel but with one long and rather complicated storyline seemingly going throughout the entire series. Pyramid closely follows the previous story in the series; Pharaoh, though as I did, you can read Pyramid without having read Pharaoh first. This story is set (as you would imagine) mainly around the pyramids of Egypt, although also moving around to the coast of Spain and into Israel. Egypt though is not a safe place to be in at this time and I must warn readers that things do get extremely hard to read at certain points. The country is, you see, at the point of there being a coup, with religious extremists set to take over the government and kill all those who are seen to be against what they stand for. The horror of these times is well and straightforwardly written, with many things that could have been hashed over for the more sensitive readers not missed out.

The story though isn’t all death, destruction and rioting. One quote on the front of the book likens Jack Howard and the series to a cross between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown. This is extremely accurate. Jack Howard is many things; a seriously talented diver, an archaeologist, a historian and so much more which you’ll find as you read the story. All this experience and knowledge is all thanks to the talent of the author who has experience is these very different areas himself and this really shines through in the writing. I was pleased in fact to be reading much of the time on a Kindle as it saved on the many times I needed to turn to a dictionary to find out what a word meant – having a built-in dictionary was perfect for this type of book! Some of the harder and more interesting words and phrases included ‘sepulchral gloom’ and ‘bellicose’. From the way in which the word was used you could guess at a meaning but having a definition there was fantastic.

The overwhelming genre of this book is action adventure. You could call it a thriller but an unconventional one if it is. There is no ‘bad guy’ to point to, just a country undergoing one of the worst points in living memory. Despite all this however, Jack Howard and his best friend Costas manage to make their way through a dive to discover the truth behind the biblical book of Exodus, follow the footsteps and clues left by an ancient Pharaoh; Akhenaten, and at the same time expounding a historical story or theory in incredible detail, often at the worst possible times. The relationship between Jack and Costas is fantastic though and hilarious at times to watch. All characters are well detailed, explained and you really get to know them during the course of the book and series. I honestly hope it doesn’t take me as long again to read another of this wonderful series.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ ½ – I utterly loved it. (Note: This rating is rounded up when a ½ is unavailable)

Review: Loving the Senator (Capitol Affairs #1) by Mia Villano

Source: Swoon RomanceLovingtheSenator.v6.2
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish Date: 28th October 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 21st October 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Loving the Senator for free from Swoon Romance in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please be aware that this book contains language and situations that are adult in nature.

 

Goodreads Summary:

On the outside, Alex Conrad has everything. He’s gorgeous, rich, and has just been elected to the United States Senate by the state of Virginia.

But for the past few years, something has plagued Alex. Something has been missing from his life of privilege and opportunity. Something he has never allowed himself to acknowledge, until the night of his election.

Prudence Romaine is seventeen years Alex’s junior. The daughter of a friend whose life had taken a wrong turn, Prudence came into Alex’s life when she was just sixteen. Despite the passage of time and evidence to the contrary, Alex still thinks of Prudence as the little girl he once tried to rescue.

On election night, the sexual tension between Prudence and the senator reaches a tipping point. Prudence has been in love with Alex for some time, and now that she is in a position to do something about it, she has her aim set on Senator Conrad with no plans of giving up.

But Alex is already committed and a scandal is the last thing the newly-elected politician needs. As Alex pushes Prudence away, convinced their relationship can only end badly for them both, Prudence becomes even more determined to have Alex Conrad in her bed as well as her heart.

And Alex? He can only hold out for so long. And once he gives in, the passion they’ve held back for years threatens to undo them. But loving the senator is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Prudence must learn to handle the pressure that comes with being with a high-profile politician, Alex’s jealous ex-girlfriend, and the demands of the people, if she wants to make this work.

At around 160 pages, I found Loving the Senator to be a lovely quick book to get through. Of course, there were many parts I wanted to read a few times over – just to make sure I got the full… thrust of the information being imparted by the author. And oh my, I did. Under aged? I would strongly suggest other reading material to start with. This book goes into rather (wonderful) intimate detail and is not for the faint of constitution.

My feelings on this book went up and down more than a yo-yo on speed while reading it. This was mainly due to the main female character Prudence. For being a normally level-headed lawyer, campaign leader Prudence seems to lose her head and become a complete maniac addicted to sex around Alex, not happy to do anything but get into his pants. Not that, I suppose, this is a bad thing – just a little off putting when you’re thrown into such drama straight from the beginning. When you meet Alex though, you start to understand! Prudence is a lot younger than the newly elected Senator, Alex Conrad who she grew up idolising, crushing on and falling in love with many years before. Alex however, who was around the same age as Prudence’s mother, finds it extremely hard to think or Prudence as anything but the girl he rescued and befriended all those years ago. For all his possessiveness for Prudence though, he doesn’t seem to know exactly what he wants. Prudence and Alex have some good friends though to aid them through the current and oncoming drama fortunately.

With as much drama as all good politic-surrounded dramas should have, Loving the Senator certainly doesn’t disappoint in that respect. The book is well written and the characters are crazy, hilariously uproarious, sexy and completely full of life. Between Prudence and Alex, the words ‘tumultuous relationship’ don’t begin to cover it. As much as I adore the West Wing, it doesn’t come quite into the same dramatic sphere as this book!

With old relationships, new relationships, secrets, lies and scandal, will Prudence and Alex’s relationship survive the media? You’ll just have to read it yourself to find out. Overall a great book and I’m very excited to read more in the series.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

 

About the author: 

Mia Villano

Mia Villano was born and raised in Geneva, Ohio and now lives in Akron. Moving to Birmingham, Alabama for seven years she attended the University of Alabama majoring in Early Childhood Education.  Mia has started a customer service department for a telecommunications company in 1997.

After the birth of her second child she decided to stay home for a few years and write which is her true passion. Mia self-published her first book in 2011 called Chasing Secrets. This is a historical fiction novel based on stories her grandmother told her about walking from Alabama to Ohio during the Great Depression. Currently Mia is writing what she truly loves, romance. Set to be published in July of 2014 with Swoon Romance, Mia wrote Loving the Senator and is currently working on a sequel.

In her spare time she loves to visit NYC at least twice a year, cook, work out, and spend as much time with her two daughters as possible. She loves all music from Dean Martin to JayZ. She has a passion for politics and enjoys working on presidential campaigns. Mia shares her home with her two children, a husband, two Dachshunds named Louie and Frankie and two cats Gotti and Fat Tony.

Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Swoon Romance

Blog Tour: Review & Author Interview – Driving Home For Christmas by A.L. Michael

cover55067-mediumSource: Carina UK via NetGalley
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish / Release Date: 28th October 2014 by Carina UK
Price: N/A
Date Read: 28th October 2014
Genre: Romance / Family
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Driving Home For Christmas for free in return for an honest review during this blog tour. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Megan McAllister is home for Christmas…whether she likes it or not!

Christmas is about family…and for Megan family means two people: herself, and her daughter Skye. It doesn’t mean her parents who, ten years ago, saw her pregnancy as anything but a miracle. And it definitely doesn’t include her irresistible ex-boyfriend Lucas Bright.

So ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ has never been top of Megan’s festive playlist. But for Skye, she knows she needs to spend the holiday season with the people she’s left behind. She can do this. Even if the thought of meeting Lucas under the mistletoe still has her feeling like she’s drunk one-too-many Snowballs!

But somewhere between the hanging of stockings and the crackle of wrapping paper, Christmas starts to sparkle. And Megan begins to wonder if family could be bigger than her and Skye after all…

My Review:

Christmas reading in October? Usually something I wouldn’t do but Driving Home For Christmas is a fantastic story and one I would definitely encourage others to read.

The story is mainly told in the present day, in the 3rd person and from the point of view of Megan McAllister. Occasionally though, the author gives us different viewpoints such as the wonderful character of Megan’s daughter Skye. The author also assists the reader by filling in the back story bit by bit, by adding in italicised scenes from the past of Megan. This allows the reader to find out so much about the characters and stories surrounding Megan, including her previous relationship and friendship with Lucas, the early few months with baby Skye and so much more. These little glimpses every now and again – which do jump around and are not in a continuous order – enable the reader to puzzle through and put together this literary jigsaw.

There are so many wonderful characters in this story which all fit together and have their own amazing and real characteristics. The main character Megan has turned into a happy and loving mother but who has been away from her parents and brother for so long and for such a reason that returning is very hard. But she will do anything for her daughter Skye. Skye is an amazing girl; she is naturally loving and outgoing and at times far too grown up for her age but intuitive about her mother’s needs and her own. Skye wants to be a private investigator when she grows up and spends a lot of her time practicing; with great effect. Into the story also comes Lucas; former best friend and boyfriend of Megan and now handsome-hunk teacher / rock god. Lucas is, very fortunately for this story, single and living back in the same village he and Megan grew up in. Through the flashbacks, we find out that Lucas was the person Megan always ran to when she needed to get away from home and her parents and in the main story we see a rekindling of this friendship which is utterly sweet and wonderful. With the added minx of Skye to help things along, what could possibly go wrong?! Add in Anna, her gay lodger Jeremy and Megan’s parents the story is well and expressively told and a pure joy to read.

This book is a wonderful introduction to Christmas and one which many will be able to relate to. I was quickly drawn into the story and sped through it in around 4/5 hours. I didn’t want the story to end… Aww! I really hope you enjoy this story as much as I have. Merry Christmas!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

 

An Interview with author A.L. Michael:

Hi A.L. Michael and welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer a few questions for us. Congratulations on ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ which came out just 3 days ago!

A.L. is extremely mysterious – may we call you something else? And being a proper British host I must ask… Tea? Coffee? Mulled wine? Biscuits?

Call me Andi! Ooh, mulled wine is very seasonal, any excuse for something alcoholic and Christmassy!

 

Now we’re comfortable, could you please introduce yourself a little – any Christmassy likes, dislikes and hobbies you can tell us about?

I’m pretty simple! I’m a bit of a hipster writer type, a cliche really! Christmas for me is about being family, drinking fizzy wine, eating all the amazing food that I try not to eat the rest of the year.

My ideal Christmas is when I make breakfast for everyone, we lazily open presents, we all cook together, and everyone’s having fun and laughing, then passes out eating Quality Street in front of the TV. What I hate? Doing things just because you should- everyone’ Christmas should be different! Also my Mum is amazing and wants to cater to everyone, so she gets herself really stressed. But I know I would too if I was cooking for 15 people!

Hobbies…I’m into running, am desperately waiting for my new gym to open, and I love an excuse to dance, whether it’s salsa, forro or zumba. Something with a latin rhythm and I’m good to go!

 

One guide to writing says “Write what you know” – is this what you have done in ‘Driving Home for Christmas’?

Actually, no, not at all. The story appeared instantaneously, and I knew I wanted to write a book with a kid in. I’m getting to that age when my friends are settling down, and I wanted to think about what it would be like if one of us had a fairly grown up kid now. I set it in a rural village, when I live in London…I did always want to be in a band in secondary school though!

 

‘Driving Home for Christmas’ is of course a Christmas book… Duh. I would love to know, did you write in season or out and was it hard to write or a book that wrote itself?

Oh, I wrote it in July! It was crazy hard to get in the Christmas spirit. I was sweating away, eating BBQ and wearing flip flops- insane! The great thing is, now it’s out I’m completely feeling Christmassy and really excited for December to get here!

 

If you had to describe ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ in just one sentence, what would it be?

A nostalgic, bittersweet story about a young woman going home with her daughter, after running away from home at 17.

 

Do you have any plans in the pipeline for a continuation or a next book?

I absolutely love Skye and Megan and Lucas, and whilst I think their story has been completed, you can never say never. I didn’t think I was doing a sequel to The Last Word (my last novel) and now I am!

 

For fun, if you were stuck on a desert island and you could take only 3 items with you, what would they be and why?

I’m terrible about these, I’m always way too practical! Water filtration tablets, a blow up bed etc…but if I was being cheeky, I’d say lots of books, an amazing pair of sunglasses and…yeah, suncream. I can’t help it. Even fantasy scenarios are practical!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, and of course – Merry Christmas!

 

A bit about the author: 

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A.L. Michael

A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.

She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.

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