The Sanatorium- Sarah Pearse

The opening of this book really set the scene for snowy seclusion. With Overlook hotel vibes, Le Sommet is an eerie setting with a sinister past and the atmosphere the author sets is chilling.

Ex-police officer and heroine Elin, is attending her brother’s engagement party at the newly opened hotel when his fiancée goes missing. When things take a horrifying turn and a body turns up, an avalanche prevents the police from accessing the crime scene so Elin steps in. Without jurisdiction, she works under the instruction on local police. With no hope of help, it’s a race against time to stop the killer as they pick off guests one-by-one.

I loved the setting of this book and the pace mostly kept me turning the pages, especially in the latter parts of the book. There was plenty to digest and overall it was an engaging read and an excellent debut.

Rating: 4/5⭐️

Genre: Psychological thriller / crime thriller

Meet me at Fir Tree Lodge – Rachel Dove

I took skiing lessons early in 2020 in preparation for my first skiing holiday. Unfortunately (for me) that was cancelled (thanks Covid) but I’ve been obsessed with white-powder pistes and apres ski ever since – I even watched Downhill (not great). When I saw Rachel Dove had released a romance novel set in an alpine ski resort, I couldn’t help but pre-order a copy and that stunning cover sealed the deal.

The storyline is sweet with a believably damaged heroine and a hero you can’t help but love. When the two collide, you’re greeted with all the twists and turns of an Olympic slalom run.

Complete with heartfelt moments and plenty of giggles, this is the perfect winter romcom.

Genre: Romance (Romantic Comedy)

Rating: 5/5⭐️

A Virgin River Christmas – Robyn Carr

The book starts of with a gentle pace that gradually picks up after the halfway mark. The story is warm and sweet and the characters deep, each with their own compelling backstory. I’ve been enjoying the TV show for a while so was quite excited to read this (my first VR read) and it did give me the warm fuzzy glow that I’d come to expect from the show.

The writing simple and easy to read making it the perfect book to unwind with at this time of year. Whilst it wasn’t as festive as I’d hoped the setting and story still managed to pull off all the feels.

Genre: romance

Rating: 4/5⭐️

The Christmas Project- Maxine Morrey

The Christmas Project follows professional organiser, Kate who’s tasked with sorting out the messy home of her best friend’s brother just in time for Christmas. The two don’t get off to a great start but over the course of the book that changes. There are witty exchanges as well as sweet moments all set against a very Christmassy backdrop.

The romance is well paced and natural and I loved the characters – the doggy element was a real bonus too!

All in all this is a warm, sweet romance laden with festive cheer that wont fail to make you smile – the perfect Christmas read!

Genre: Romantic Comedy (Christmas setting)

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Two Wrongs- Rebecca Reid

I absolutely loved Truth Hurts and was thrilled when Transworld got in touch to offer me a review copy of Rebecca Reid’s latest book ‘Two Wrongs’.

The book is an enjoyable, easy read with a believable plot. Whilst it was a much gentler ‘thriller’ than Truth Hurts it had enough mystery to keep you guessing to the end.

Rebecca Reid has a fresh and modern style that I enjoy and even though I didn’t connect with the characters myself, I found them incredibly realistic.

Genre: Domestic Noir

Rating: 3/5⭐️

Midnight Sun – Stephanie Meyer

Midnight sun

I’ll start by saying I was a huge Twilight fan way back when. Firmly team Edward, I devoured each book in days and was utterly broken when I finished the series. That being said, I’ve re-read some of the books ten years on, and didn’t quite have the same views so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Midnight Sun.

Over the years, Edward has received a lot of criticism and reading Twilight again as an adult I honestly understand why. Midnight Sun seems to work hard to make Edward come across in a better light but I think this was sometimes at the expense of the story and as a result it seemed like everything he said was backed up and justified so it seemed a little dull in parts and at 700+ pages, Meyer could afford to shed some words. Some of the story seemed to jump quite quickly whilst other parts were very slow and some of the text was a little jarring.

It didn’t grip me as much as the original series did at the time but I did enjoy it for the most part and it’s a great accompaniment for fans wanting more.

Genre: YA / Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Life in Pieces – Dawn O’Porter

I do love Dawn O’Porter. I’ve read all her books, I’ve listened to her So Lucky podcast and I’m an avid Instagram follower so of course I jumped at the chance to read her latest, non-fiction book that takes a look at life through lockdown.

I’d promised myself I wouldn’t read any lockdown books. I didn’t want to be reminded of anything to do with it. Whilst I cherished the unprecedented level of family time, it’s also had a massive impact on our lives in many ways and reading about it and living through it all again just didn’t appeal. However, I knew that Dawn would have a great spin on lockdown littered with humour, profound sentiment and down right shocking tales and I wasn’t wrong!

I loved how raw and honest the book was. If it happened, Dawn wrote about it no matter how awful, embarrassing, terrible, emotional or ridiculous it might have been. There were many relatable moments for me (as a parent) that we’re amusing but also a candid look at life in LA, a unique glimpse into their unique celebrity status that was equally entertaining. Dawn spoke about the loss of her friend Caroline Flack and how she dealt with grief during lockdown as well as snippets from her childhood.

Parts of the book were quite shocking and if you’re offended by alcohol and drugs (legal in LA) then it’s probably not the book for you. I loved it, it entertained me and whilst it made me laugh, parts were profound and meaningful. Dawn has a wonderful way of seeing people and trying to understand them without judgement and I really liked this. Overall it’s a quick, entertaining read that I enjoyed thoroughly.

Genre: non-fiction
Rating:5/5

Looking For Alaska – John Green

I’ve read a few John Green novels and am always pulled in. I love his writing style and voice so I always know I’ll enjoy his novels. Looking for Alaska was packed with young, relatable and flawed characters with a dynamic that really brought the story to life. There’s humour, sadness and some quite profound messages and lessons learnt. The Fault in Our Stars is still my favourite John Green book but they’re all great reads.

Rating: 4/5

Genre: YA

Meet Me in London- Georgia Toffolo

I do like Georgia Toffolo and as such, was thrilled to receive an advanced copy of the audiobook via NetGalley. There’s a festive, winter feel to the book and I loved the descriptions of the settings. The story itself followed the ‘fake date / fake relationship’ trope which whilst offers few surprises, is a rewarding read. The book was brimming with warmth and there are a few laughs to be had along the way. It was also well – written and I enjoyed the narration by the author herself. All in all it was a very sweet read.

Genre: Romantic Comedy / Chicklit
Rating: 4/5🌟

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie had me laughing from the opening scene. She’s a wonderfully complex character who wears her heart on her sleeve and says exactly what she thinks. Queenie is coming to terms with a break-up she doesn’t quite understand. She puts herself out there but nothing feels quite right. Whilst her antics seem a little wayward on the surface, her upbeat nature makes us think she’s coping but it isn’t long before a darker side to her lifestyle and the reasons behind it emerges.

This is a story of self-love, growth and friendship more than anything else. Whilst there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, there are some really important themes and messages. It’s well put together and enjoyable.

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5