Friday 14 November 2014

Review ~ Home For The Holidays by Ellen Faith.

Title: Home For The Holidays.
Author: Ellen Faith.
Genre: Chick Lit.
Publication Date: November 1, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

When Lexi and Ryan make the decision to venture home for the Christmas holidays, neither of them can wait to catch up with their families. What the pair don’t anticipate is the series of life changing events their families have been going through while they’ve been continuing with their American adventure, including a newly nudist father.

As they try to weather the storm, they discover that being back in the UK is creating more questions than answers for them as a couple and their American dream is beginning to fade. Fast.

*This novel can be read as a follow on from The Story of Us or as a standalone*

By the time we've fought our way through every item on the list, I am exhausted. It's nearly two in the morning and we have to face the queues at the till yet. Ryan seems completely relaxed now that we have the coffee machine, reduced by 65% if you please, and if I'm being honest, looks like he's had a full nights sleep. Men are so lucky.

I'm just about to choose a line that looks like it has the most alert checkout assistant when something shiny catches my eye. I squint to make sure I'm seeing it right, catching Ryan's attention as I start muttering to myself. It can't be real. They have to have been dumped there as some kind of trick, like a Punk’d special, Black Friday edition.

"What have you seen?" He sighs.

"Shoes." I just about manage to croak out. These particular shoes have been on my wish list for the last four months, ever since I saw them in Vogue. Rosie said she'd try and get me a pair but she hasn't mentioned it since, which probably means she hasn't been able to do it and feels bad.

I walk slowly across to the abandoned shoes resting on top of some leopard print fleecy blankets in a daze.

Just as I'm within touching distance, a blonde flash of hair appears in front of me, swiping my beloveds out of my reach.

"Noooooo!" I wail. Nobody flinches. I'm not surprised after the things I've witnessed tonight.

"Sorry but you snooze you lose. Sucks for you." She grins smugly and turns to walk away as I grab her arm. I don't know what comes over me, I really don't. I think they must pump something into the air vents to up the crazy in here because I do something I'm not proud of at all.

I wrestle her into the stand full of the fleecy blankets, much to her surprise, and manage to grab a shoe from her vice like grip. One shoe is no good without the other after all.

"Oh you did not just do that?!" Blondey picks herself up remarkably well considering, and launches herself at me, knocking me straight into the gathering audience as the shoe clatters across the gleaming white tiles. We both look at each other and lunge for the shoe at the same time. She grabs my ponytail to hold me back and I curse myself for not listening to Ryan's advice, that a topknot was the safest style for this trip.

Speaking of Ryan, I manage a quick glance in his direction to see him looking both horrified and amused at the same time, arms folded across his chest as he shakes his head.

As we both get our grubby little mitts onto the shoe, we give each other the death stare. She has the heel and I have the toe. This could all go terribly wrong if one of us pulls the shoe too hard.

"Let. It. Go!" She snarls through gritted teeth.

"You let go!" I shout in response. I feel like I'm at school again, fighting for my chocolate bar at lunch time that the bullies always tried to take from me. I have always been a fierce protector of chocolate.

The struggle carries on for a good ten minutes, neither of us relenting, my heart pounding against my chest.

Finally, we have a breakthrough.

"Oh fine! You have them you crazy British freak." Blondey throws the other shoe at me, aiming for my head, which is a little bit uncalled for, and huffs off in the other direction. Not before swearing at me though. Lovely.

A round of applause breaks out as I get to my feet, my knees creaking as I stand making me wince.

"Thank you, I'll be here all night," I laugh taking a bow, trying to hide the embarrassment.

I make my way back to Ryan who has moved down considerably in the queue now and clearly lost interest when we were just staring at each other in the great mind war of the designer shoe.

"Happy?" He laughs as I pop them into one of the overflowing baskets.

"Very." I beam. I’m ecstatic if I'm being honest and want to shout from the rooftops about my new shoes, but Ryan's a man and doesn't really get my obsession.

As he looks down at the shoes of the Gods, he frowns.



"These shoes aren't your size."

"What?!" Crap. I never even thought to look at the size. I quickly grab one of the shoes and my heart sinks.

Ah fudge.

Home For The Holidays is easily one of the most gorgeous, wonderfully festive books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I loved it. Ellen Faith’s writing is fun and bubbly and just brilliant to read – I read the book in one evening and was completely transported into the world of Lexi and Ryan, who I adored right from the moment the book started. Ellen has written a chick lit novel which really focuses on what I love most about that genre of novel – the relationships between family and friends and seriously, it was so heart-warming and beautiful to read. I loved how in Lexi and Ryan we were brought a loved-up couple who are all about planning for their future, instead of a couple at crossroads. It was all about meeting family and spending time with friends, reliving old memories and planning weddings and it was really a perfect Christmas novel.

This novel follows on from Ellen’s debut The Story Of Us, though I read it with no problems as a standalone. I will 100% be going back to read The Story Of Us however because I would love to read more from these characters. There were quite a few little mentions from Lexi and Ryan’s past which helped keep me up to speed and make this easy to read on its own, yet also I feel like it would be more rewarding to read The Story Of Us first because it sounds like another stunning story. Ellen has created such bold, lively and entertaining characters who really make this book come to life. I feel like I got to know each of them and their little quirks so well and they’re mostly pleasant and a little mad, which helps, with a few bitchier people mixed in too. We meet Lexi’s very pregnant best friend Rosie who brings a lot of laughs and a lot of hormones too. I loved her character and her relationship and interactions with Lexi had me giggling throughout. There’s Rosie’s partner Jason who tries his hardest to keep her in line, and fails most of the time, bless him. And then there’s Luke and Alice, who seemed such an unlikely pair but Alice was definitely the character I loved to hate.

In Home For The Holidays, we’re also brought a massive family feel and this fit in perfectly with it being Christmas, though meeting your other half’s parents for the first time at Christmas is a very nerve-wracking experience. I loved this part to the novel. The moment Lexi meets Ryan’s dad, who has suddenly taken on a nudist lifestyle, I was cracking up. Ellen’s sense of humour was seemingly laced in throughout the whole novel and that moment was just one of several she had me laughing at. The festive feel to this book was so real. From the visiting of family, the extra-large Christmas tree, the presents and the food and to my favourite part of the Christmas experience in this novel, the looking back at old family photographs. Ryan and Lexi’s reactions to their photos were very amusing and at times a little sweeter and more serious too. But I loved reading it. I felt like another face at their Christmas celebrations and loved getting to know each individual character. Ellen’s writing of characters is brilliant.

There’s only so many times I can say how much I loved Home For The Holidays, but I genuinely haven’t wanted a book not to end as much as this one in a long time. Through their trip back to the UK for the holidays, Ryan and Lexi are left torn over whether San Francisco is really home for them or if they’d like to make their stay in the UK a more permanent once. I really didn’t know what they would decide but I knew, right from the first chapter where we meet Lexi in a Black Friday fight over a pair of shoes that Ryan casually informs her aren’t even the right size, that all I wanted was the best for this completely in love couple. Home For The Holidays was beautiful and romantic and everything I love in a Christmas novel. Ellen Faith’s writing is wonderful, sweet and humorous and this is an author I’m really looking forward to more from. But more Lexi and Ryan first, please!

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Ellen lives in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, England where she spends most of her time baking, eating, baking, and eating. Occasionally she does leave the house to go to the cinema or do some food shopping though.

After spending years with an overactive imagination, she decided to put all the magic in her head to some good use and put finger to laptop where The Story of Us was born and became her debut novel.

She loves to travel, her favourite destinations so far have all been in America, hence the love of all things, and all people, American. The food rocks pretty hard too, she ate until her jeans begged her to stop whilst she was there. True fact.

Aside from day dreaming and eating, Ellen is a sucker for a lolcat, penguins and monkeys - she has never claimed to be normal.

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