Book Review · Books

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls is a beautifully written book. It takes you back to a 1919 Christmas setting and leaves your heart warm, days after you’ve finished it. Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Andersen Press, for sending me a copy of this book, alongside all the amazing goodies as well.

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiance Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.

Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the Vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James?

My Thoughts:

I loved The Silent Stars Go By as a whole. Margot is an amazing character, and I felt for her many times throughout the book. The love story between her and Harry was so beautiful and pure. A love like that is so hard to find in today’s world, and this is perfect for those romantics out there, that strive for loves like their grandparents had. I loved the letters and the communication between them. It’s so refreshing, compared to today’s relationship drama. It reminded me of my late grandparents, who would always have something to talk about, and do little things about each other. Not for the public, or for their social media, but just for their significant other.

Considering the secret Margot and her family had, I was expecting more emotions, drama and pushbacks. But I am glad things happened the way they did. And even though the ending was emotional and painful, it’s also heartwarming and full of hope.

“Father once said,” she said thoughtfully, “that it never does to compare your troubles to other people’s. That grief is grief, and you can’t know how heavy someone else’s is unless you carry it.”

A certain topic floated to the surface in this book. And even though not a main plot discussion, it’s a very important one to mention. There were times, before 1926, when adoption was illegal in Britain. Even though orphanages excited, the mother always remained the legal guardian of her child. Sadly, many of the mothers weren’t told this information, and they believed they lost all rights to ever see their child again. The book briefly touched on this topic, and I really wish that it focused a bit more. Nevertheless, it was mentioned, and it is worthy of noting.

The Silent Stars Go By is a book that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s so beautiful and real, with a Christmas to top it all up.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

Together By Christmas by Karen Swan

Together By Christmas by Karen Swan [BOOK REVIEW] Together By Christmas is the perfect book to set you into a Christmas mood.

★★★★

Ever since I participated on the Tandem Collective readalong for the Hidden Beach, I knew I would be reading more books by Karen Swan. This is my third book so far, and I am still eager to read more from her. Her writing is so captivating! So when the team at Tandem Collective , together with the team at Pan Macmillan asked me to participate to the readalong for Together By Christmas, I immediately said yes!

Synopsis:

Together By Christmas is set in Amsterdam. When Lee first came here, she had a newborn baby and a secret. Five years later, Jasper is a big boy, and Lee’s photography career is a big success. They are getting ready to celebrate Christmas with their close friends, but something unexpected happens.

Lee finds a book in her bicycle basket. And inside the book – a cry for help. Who left it there for her, and why? Lee feels the need to help and tracks down the author of the book, Sam. What she doesn’t expect though, is an instant connection with him, and a possible future. Something she has actively been running away from.

And when everything appears to be going in the right direction, Lee’s old secret comes back to haunt her. And right in time for Christmas. Suddenly, her whole life she built in Amsterdam is on the verge of collapsing. Will Christmas be able to make it all better?

My Thoughts:

Together By Christmas is not your typical Christmas story. The Hidden Beach and the Greek Escape are both set in summer, so this is the first Christmas book I read by Karen Swan. And it was exactly what I hoped it would be. The writing was beautiful, and the plot twists kept coming. It kept me on the edge until the very end.

Lee is a very complicated character and it took me a while to warm up to her. I could immediately feel the consequences of her trauma, and could understand her fear of getting attached to people. Her passion for photography is explained so well, and her love towards her son is so strong and beautiful to witness.

“As a pack race, humans have to see in order to believe and that includes photographers with both a power and a responsibility to use their craft wisely. Photographs have the power to change the world – they can spark a protest, a riot, a revolution. It is the truth in photography that keeps us all connected, keeps us accountable -“

I love that the book is set in Amsterdam, during winter. I have been to Amsterdam and the Netherlands many times, but never during winter, so this was a wonderful experience for me. The descriptions are so vivid and I felt I was there. It was wonderful to find out about Sinterklaas, as well as The Elfstedentocht – the famous ice-skating race. I also enjoyed the Stroopwafels and smiled every time they were mentioned in the book.

I loved Jasper so much! He was my favourite character in the book! For his age, he behaved so maturely and was able to emotionally understand and support his mum, which really helped her during her struggles. His excitement was so contagious! Whenever he would get excited over little things, it would make me melt.

“If we’re going to make meaningful change in our society, then we can’t keep on turning the other cheek.”

Even though I have mixed opinions about certain scenes and actions, I really enjoyed this book. And considering that this is a book about second chances, I will let this slip. It’s the perfect book to set you into a Christmas mood. Perhaps because it’s moderately Christmassy, so it won’t be too much too soon. It had beautiful Christmas scenes, a wonderful mother-son relationship, trauma, mystery and a very heartwarming romance as well. I definitely recommend it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan [BOOK REVIEW]

A wedding in december sarah morgan christmas romance book books review blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

A Wedding in December is a book that was long overdue. I was supposed to read it for Christmas, but yet, here we are in February. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience and I am so glad I finally read it. 

Sarah Morgan has an extremely good talent in human relations and relationships. She puts these relationships on paper so easily… Do you know that feeling where you can sense people’s mood by just walking into a room? She managed to capture this moment in most of her scenes – and it was a true joy to read that. 

The Synopsis

Maggie has two daughters: Katie and Rosie. While Katie has always planned everything in her life and never failed (becoming doctor is her biggest achievement), Rosie is the complete opposite. She changes her mind all the time and never knows what she truly wants. 

And one evening, Rosie calls her mum to tell her she is getting married. All of a sudden. Not in her hometown in the UK, but in some snowy mountains in the USA. For Christmas. THIS Christmas. In just a few months. 

Everything is happening so fast, and Maggie is afraid for her daughter. But most importantly, Maggie is afraid that she will finally reveal to her girls that she is getting divorced from their dad.

My Thoughts

In a lovely snowy atmosphere, we get to see this family, and their different personalities coming together, in a book where love wins in the end. Reading this book under a warm blanket and with a hot chocolate definitely gave me the true feelings of Christmas again. 

I encountered some interesting scenes, a couple of plot twists, a bit of a mystery behind one of the sisters. The importance of mental health as well, and how important is to share our troubles with someone. Anyone. 

Some of the relationships, new or current, happened at a very fast pace, which wasn’t too my great pleasure. There was some sense of unnecessary urgency which didn’t feel believable nor relatable to me. But in hindsight, a wonderful book to spend your evenings with.

If you love romance novels and you also love Christmas, A Wedding in December will probably end up being your favourite book. I highly recommend it!

Purchase Links:
| Amazon UK |Amazon US |


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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Abbey Clancy [BLOG TOUR & BOOK REVIEW]

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a fast-paced adventure that will keep you on your toes right until Christmas!

I am so thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Mills & Boon for I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Check out the other amazing people that are participating in the blog tour as well:

blog tour book review books goodreads netgalley diary of difference diaryofdifference i'll be home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy Mills & Boon UK bestseller

BOOK REVIEW

blog tour book review books goodreads netgalley diary of difference diaryofdifference i'll be home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy Mills & Boon UK bestseller

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is the first Christmas book I have read this year, before the holidays begin. It is an amazing story about a popular UK singer, Jessika Malone, who receives an offer from a famous US singer to record a duet and go on a US Tour for a while. This is a dream come true, but this offer comes right after Jessica’s boyfriend proposes. Wanting to spend all the time in her world with him, she is hesitant to go, but at the same time, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

We see our heroine Jessika travel to the US and embark her adventure. I loved the fact that we get to feel what she feels, and live through her dream. We get to see her cope with new things and learn along the way, and it is amazing being on this journey with her. She is a character that knows what she wants and is not afraid to go and get it.

Be ready for some drama, and also be ready to choose sides.

The author makes it hard to know what is the right choice, and all choices seem to have their pros and cons, which makes the book even more realistic. I wish I knew what was right or wrong in life straightaway – that would be too easy. Instead, I keep coming across tough choices that sound amazing, and I have to really look though everything and choose what is right. You get to see this reality in the book, and it is refreshing.

Despite it being a Christmas book, I didn’t really feel the Christmassy vibes too much, but I think that is due to the fact that the focus on this book wasn’t entirely Christmas. We only got a glimpse of the holiday spirit around the end of the book – but it wasn’t in a Home Alone sort of style. It was simple.

Despite that, I still enjoyed this book a lot, and it was the perfect book for me to get me through my days when I felt poorly and lying in bed. I recommend it to all of you out there that love romance, Christmas, a bit of an adventure and searching for our true selves.

Thank you to the team at Mills & Boon, for letting me be a part of this Christmas adventure! 

Purchase Links:
| Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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Books

Read and Gone – Allison Brook [BOOK REVIEW]

This is the second book of the series, and even though I haven’t read the first part, I was able to follow this book quite easily. There are a few references to the past and you can quickly realise what happened. Though, if you wish to read the series, don’t start with #2, because there are a few spoilers here that you wish you hadn’t read if you read book #1. I won’t be reading #1 because the spoilers kinda ruined it for me. But I am sure it’s an amazing story as well.

Carrie works in a library and has a cat that brings with her at work. Her father is a famous bad guy, that spent all her childhood in jails. One day, he returns to town, trying to get his share of a box of jewellery that he stole with another man. But a murder changes everyone’s plans, and Carrie has to make some dangerous decisions. It is a wonderful story about family, love, Christmas and tragedy that ends well. 

This is a book full of mystery and crime, but it also is warm and family-oriented. I loved the mystery – crime part of it, I loved the scenes where everyone, mostly Carrie plays out to be a detective, but there were also scenes where things were so obvious, and she made terrible choices that made me cringe.

I struggled a lot to understand and like Carrie –  I didn’t like the way how she gets quiet and doesn’t talk and just cries, and suddenly when she leaves the situation, she bitches about everything and how things should’ve been done differently. WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING WHEN YOU HAD THE CHANCE, THEN? But then, there were also moments when she would come up with some interesting hypothesis and actually succeed into making a right choice, and I would think – YEAH, that’s my girl.

All in all, definitely a beautiful read, with a few tweaks here and there. I would love to read something similar to this, and for you that love chick-lit and detective stories, you would most probably enjoy this read 🙂

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books  for giving me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

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