Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Dashing Through the Snow

Title: Dashing Through the Snow
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: 19 November 2015 by Random House UK, Cornerstone
Pages: 256 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, holiday/Christmas, romance, chick lit
My Rating: 2.5 cups

Savor the magic of the season with #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel, filled with warmth, humor, the promise of love, and a dash of unexpected adventure.

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

My Thoughts
I just love Christmas books, and promise myself one such book at this time of year to help get me in the festive spirit. Let's put it out there right from the start, this is a fun, holiday romance.  I just loved that it was light and funny (I read it in a weekend) - no deep and meaningful to be found in this read. 

Sometimes you need those books - you know the kind - where you know exactly what is going to happen from the first moment they meet. This is about the journey to that destination and the fun things that happen along the way. It is silly, it is predictable - and that's okay, for that is the point of this story.

For me to read a book over a weekend is quite an accomplishment - but this is not a long read - in fact, just the right length for all the craziness that goes on. I liked the story and the characters enough to just accept it for what it was - no more, no less. There is talk is of a Hallmark movie in the USA, to which this could be perfectly adapted. 

'Dashing Through the Snow' is a lively short book, very fast to read, and I enjoyed it. If you like romantic Christmas books with a light plot, then you should give this one a try.

"Her plans had been thwarted in the most surprising of ways. Instead, she'd found herself dashing through the snow in a twist of fate".

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: The Beach Hut by Cassandra Parkin

Title: The Beach Hut
Author: Cassandra Parkin
Publisher: 5 September 2015 by Legend Times Group
Pages: 336 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, contemporary
My Rating: 3 cups

It is autumn time and on a peaceful Cornish beach, Finn and his sister Ava defy planning regulations and achieve a childhood dream when they build themselves an illegal beach hut. This tiny haven will be their home until Ava departs at Midwinter for a round-the-world adventure. In the town, local publican Donald is determined to get rid of them. Still mourning the death of his wife, all he wants is a quiet place where he can forget the past and raise his daughter Alicia in safety. But Alicia is wrestling with demons of her own. As the sunshine fades and winter approaches, the beach hut stirs old memories for everyone. Their lives become entwined in surprising ways and the secrets of past and present are finally exposed.

My Thoughts

In a Cornish coastal town, two siblings have built an illegal beach hut, fulfilling their childhood dream. However, their bohemian lifestyle rocks some of the locals and intrigues others. Contrary to it's name, this is no light, refreshing beach read. Hidden secrets slowly unfold (a little too slowly for me at times), intermingled with flashback and fairytales makes this a rather complex read. All the threads slowly come together for dramatic twists by the end. This is a book all about relationships - of every variety - but mostly familial ones and learning to let go.  

"The time they'd wasted; the years they'd been robbed of. He thought he'd made his peace with all this years ago but now here it was again."

The story itself is very well written, yet a format of going back in time to the past and back to the present alternatively, for me, most definitely interrupted the flow. I have to confess to getting confused and in the end stopped clicking the contents page on my Kindle to check time spans. Each of the characters are fairly unique and multidimensional.  There is an extraordinarily strong bond between between brother an sister, Ava and Finn, but I also found this to be somewhat over the top and at times exceedingly eccentric. Individually, I found Ava and Finn fascinating, but put them together and it all becomes a bit of an eye roll for me. 

Finn's fairy tales (not the light, flippant variety, but rather the deep and meaningful kind) are interspersed among the chapters in this book and in some way relate to the characters of the story and what was going on or had happened in their life, as a way of explaining things. For me, the jury is still out on their inclusion.

Even with the ending of the story, you are left with mystery and melancholy and have to draw some conclusions yourself. Don't be mistaken, this is an emotional ride for the reader. However, for this reader, the journey branched out in too many places that I found it difficult to reconcile. However, it is well written, thoughtful and authentic, and for many, unforgettable.

"Together we're invincible," Finn said. Ava nodded. "Us two against the world."

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.