Driving Home for Christmas by A.L. Michael ~ BLOG TOUR & FESTIVE TREATS!

Every decision she'd made since getting pregnant had been the right one. Except, maybe, deciding to go to her parents' for Christmas.

Title - Driving Home for Christmas
Author - A.L. Michael 
Publisher - Carina UK
Publication Date - 28th October 2014
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley/Author)

The blurb

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...

Becca's thoughts

I loved this book, absolutely loved it... Almost as much as the season itself... And that's saying something. 

I'll start off my review by saying my super-grateful thank you's! Firstly, to the wonderful author who is A.L. Michael. Ever since reading her book The Last Word, I've been absolutely DYING to read something more from her, and when I found out about her Christmas story, I was practically squealing with excitement. A.L. is a superb writer, and after finishing Driving Home for Christmas, I am now more convinced than ever. I can only hope (and pray) that it isn't too much longer until she releases something more... I need my A.L. Michael fix!!! 
Secondly, I'd like to say thank you to the fabulous publishers Carina UK. I love these people. Absolutely love them. Every book that they publish, and the authors that they work with, give me exactly what I need when it comes to reading. Being auto-approved by Carina UK on NetGalley is something that I will never, ever, EVER tire of. I have access to some of the best titles, and I thank my lucky stars every single day. So, Carina UK, thank you thank you thank you! 

As soon as A.L. Michael introduced me to her characters, I adored them. Driving Home for Christmas was written in third person, and mainly from Megan McAllister's point of view, but what I loved was that A.L. didn't keep it strictly to Megan. Every now and again, we'd read from her daughter Skye's point of view, or her parents' point of view, and it was fabulous, being given that 360 degree angle, from all corners. It adds so much depth to the characters, getting their take on things that happen within the plot, and so, I felt like A.L.'s characters were real, not fictional. They were all incredibly developed and believable, and I enjoyed the entire story so, so much. 

In a nutshell (without spoiling it for you) Driving Home for Christmas focuses on Megan and her daughter Skye going back home to spend Christmas with Megan's parents. Now, this would all be lovely and cosy and warm if Megan had a lovely, cosy and warm relationship with her mother, but unfortunately, she doesn't. Megan and Heather's past is a tricky one, and the problems between mother and daughter stem from Megan's younger years. Heather had plans for her daughter. Monumental plans, involving university and studying, and just working Megan's damn arse off. The problem being, Megan didn't want those plans for herself. When Megan falls pregnant, Heather loses her mind and kicks Megan out, including the tiny baby growing inside of her daughter's stomach. Now, all these years later, when Megan is a grown woman, and her daughter is far too intelligent for her own good, they're heading back home, to where it all began. 

Immediately, I was hooked. After reading the blurb, I wanted "in" on what sounded to be one hell of a story. Megan, the rebellious girl from all those years ago, is now a fully-fledged Mum. She is so fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and I was able to understand that completely, because I'm quite the same way when it comes to family. She's protective of herself and her daughter, and it emphasised the bond between them so effortlessly. I knew right away that there was something special between them, an unbreakable mother/daughter bond that Megan had never had with her own mother. It was emotional as well as heart-warming to read about, and I couldn't help but to hope that Megan and her own mother sorted out their differences before the story came to an end. I have to included that I had so much respect for Megan McAllister. For standing up to her parents, for not being one to be pushed around and forced into someone else's dream, and for bringing up little Skye as well as she did. Buckets and buckets of respect for the woman, seriously. 

Which brings me nicely to the character of Skye, Megan's daughter. This girl was freaking awesome. Cheeky, smart, and completely adorable, I just wanted to bundle Skye up and give her a big squeeze! A.L. created Skye perfectly, so full of character and charm. Skye wanted to become a detective, and so she was incredibly inquisitive and always curious, asking questions whenever she could. This made me smile, because again, I was able to imagine my own siblings doing the same thing. In fact, one of my younger sisters is quite like Skye, in that she wants to know everything, sometimes asking questions that I just don't have an answer! Being able to relate real beings to Skye's character really allowed me to conjure up and image of the girl in my head. Again, she was completely believable, and I, as stupid as it sounds, found incredibly proud of Megan for doing such an amazing job. Because she had! Despite her mum's best efforts, Megan kept Skye, found a place to call home, and brought her daughter up amazingly. Like I said, I have buckets of respect for Megan's character, whether she be fictional or not! 

As well as Megan and Skye, who kept me entertained throughout reading, there were a ton of other characters that really brought Driving Home for Christmas to life! There was Megan's parents, Heather and Peter, who I hoped had changed from all those years before! There was Anna, Megan's Aunt, who had, at some point in the past, taken Megan and Skye in, and given them a home. There was Jeremy, one of Anna's lodgers who lived with them all. Every now and again he'd pop up with advice for Megan and her troubles, he was also a drag queen too, which added heaps of fun to the story, yet again! And last, but by no means least, there was Lucas. Boy oh boy, there was Lucas. Rock-God, sexy as hell, and Megan's teenage best-friend, until they became lovers, too. This guy was absolutely to-die-for, and I enjoyed reading about him each and every single time that he cropped up in the plot. What was there to NOT like? Nothing, I tell you. Absolutely nothing. He played a major role in Megan's past. He was the one that Megan would run to when things got hard with her strict mother, and Lucas would be there, arms wide open, ready and willing to sooth her raging anger. The friendship between Lucas and Megan was absolutely beautiful. I was ecstatic when Lucas popped up later on in the story too. I couldn't wait to see what happen between him and Megan, all these years later!

Aside from the gorgeous characters, and the sizzling tension and drama, there is something else that I just have to comment on, which made my enjoyability of this book smash through the roof. It was the structure. Not only did A.L. Michael allow us to see what Megan and Skye were getting up to in the present day, all those years later, but she actually took us back in time, too. Piece by piece, the jigsaw and mystery of what happened all those years ago between Megan and her mother cleverly clicked into place, and it was extraordinary. I had so many questions leaping about in my mind; Who was Skye's father? Why did Megan leave home? How pushy were her parents? Thankfully, each of my curious questions were given answers as A.L. unveiled Megan's teenage story, including everything that I was wondering about. It was insanely INSANELY addictive! I absolutely adore being taken back in time, and even more so with Megan McAllister. It was so much fun getting my head around the fact that Skye hadn't even been born then, and then I'd be brought back to the present and there Skye would be! It was exciting, fresh and so, so compelling! That structure made Driving Home for Christmas, a trillion times over, one of my favourite Christmas books EVER! 

There's no way that I could give Driving Home for Christmas by A.L. Michael anything less than my highest rating. I think another reason why it was so beautiful, to me personally, was because I was like Skye, in the same sort of 'dad' position, and Megan reminded me of my own mum, determined to give Skye the best damn life possible, even if was without a man in the picture. As well as being gorgeously festive and focusing on Megan's family during Christmas, there was so much emotion involved too. I felt intrinsically linked to the characters, involved in their discussions and dialogue, and by the end of the book, I cared about them deeply. 

Becca's Books is giving Driving Home for Christmas by A.L. Michael five pretty cupcakes! I adored this story, from back to front, and I'd recommend it to everyone! It had everything. The romance, the drama, the family, the Christmas festivities, and of course, even the part that brought tears to my eyes. A.L. Michael, you should be so SO proud of this story, it's truly one of a kind and deserves to be on every book-lover's bookshelf, without a doubt. 

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