Friday, 28 November 2014

One Hundred Christmas Proposals Competition!


Today I'm pleased to welcome Holly Martin onto the blog with an amazing competition!


One Hundred Christmas Proposals is out now, here’s the blurb

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to One Hundred Proposals.

If you thought Harry & Suzie’s life couldn't get anymore sweepingly romantic than Harry asking her to marry him at the end of One Hundred Proposals – think again!

It’s Christmas in a snow-kissed London, and the.PerfectProposal.com have vowed to carry out one hundred proposals in December. No easy task at the best of times - made even more complicated by Harry & Suzie trying to plan their first Christmas and a visit from the dreaded in-laws. But one hundred deliciously Christmassy proposals later they find themselves asking if everything is still perfect in their own relationship….

Welcome back to the divinely warm world of One Hundred Proposals – with a sprinkling of pure, joyful, festive magic.

Have yourself a very merry Christmas indeed with Holly Martin’s Christmas novella. 


***
I love this story and I’m so excited about you guys reading it too. I never thought I would write a sequel for any of my novels, but catching up with Harry and Suzie, two of my favourite characters, in London at Christmas was a story that was begging to be told. What I love about this story is instead of Harry proposing to Suzie, we get to see some of the amazing proposals they organise for their clients and we learn a little about their clients lives too. One of my favourite proposals in this story is the sightseeing flight over London with the proposal written in flowers on a boat on the Thames.

Now you can win a sightseeing flight over London too and experience some incredible views of our capital.

 
 
This experience gives you a unique perspective on the sights of London. After a short pre-flight briefing, you'll board a Piper Seneca twin-engine plane for a fantastic half hour sightseeing trip.

 
After taking off in Essex you'll follow the Thames west into the heart of the city, getting a unique view of the capital. You'll see the O2 arena, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the towers at Canary Wharf, The London Eye, The Shard and the Houses of Parliament. Then turn north to fly over Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, before heading back east to land in Essex. You'll get an amazing perspective on the geography of the city and the beauty of its landmarks, so whether you're a tourist or a Londoner, you'll see the capital in a whole new way. And if flying isn’t your thing, this would make the perfect Christmas present for someone in your family.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is copy one of the pre-prepared tweets below, tweet it and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw to win this prize bundle. The more you tweet, the more times you’ll be entered.

The competition will run until midnight (UK time) on Sunday 14th December so plenty of time for tweeting. Every time you tweet, you’ll be entered into the draw.

Good Luck


Tweets

One Hundred Christmas Proposals by @hollymartin00 is out now, a gorgeous, sparkly story to curl up with this winter
http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

Join Harry & Suzie as they celebrate Christmas in a snowkissed London,100 Christmas Proposals is 59p
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

Celebrate Christmas in a sparkly,snowkissed London, a beautiful love story to curl up with this winter
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

Christmas lights,overcooked turkey,plenty of cake,glistening snow. 100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

What will Harry give Suzie this Christmas? 100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p, a sparkly,snowy sequel
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

Harry & Suzie are back celebrating their first Christmas in a snowy London,100 Christmas Proposals.59p
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

Fairy lights, candles, snow, flowers and beautiful music, how to create the perfect Christmas proposal
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

**

100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p,a gorgeously romantic snowkissed story to curl up with this winter
@hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Book of the Month: November

 
The Extraordinary Journey of
The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe
 
by
 
Romain Puertolas
 
 
Armed only with a fake 100-Euro note, Ajatashatru the fakir arrives in Paris.

His mission? To acquire a new bed of nails. His destination? IKEA.

Once there he finds an obliging wardrobe in which to lay his head, only to discover on waking that he is locked in, covered in bubble-wrap and headed for England in the back of a truck.

So begins a magnificent adventure, as our fakir travels to Italy in a suitcase, writes a novel on a shirt, flees a revenge-crazed taxi driver, flies to Libya in a hot air balloon and finds love in the unlikeliest of places.


*     *     *     *     *

The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe is the quirkiest title of a book that I've read in 2014 - and possibly ever. And the quirky title suits the book completely! I wasn't sure how I was going to get on with the book to begin with as it's all a bit strange but I soon grew to love the style of Romain Puertolas' writing and his main character, Ajatashatru. He's quite a naïve character and finds himself in some pretty bizarre situations and I found that I was rooting for him all the way! It's such a fun book with lots of laugh-out-loud moments and crazy scenarious - I loved it!

You can see my full review of the book over on Novelicious here
 
Click here to see all 'Books of the Month' 
 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

#AmWriting Christmassy Things


I love Christmas, from decorating the tree, to festive crafts and watching films with my family. I also love a good Christmassy book so I decided to write a Christmas novella for 2015. I've just finished writing the first draft and loved getting to know a brand new set of characters (and also seeing a familiar face once again as they made a festive return). I've never written a novella before (A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, which I wrote last year, is only around 8,000 words so it's more like a short story) so it was good to try something new. Of course, I had to listen to my favourite festive radio station - North Pole Radio - to make sure that I was truly in the Christmas spirit as I wrote!

I've also been working on my Christmas short story for 2014. Since I started this blog in 2011, I've been posting a festive short story each year. I haven't always been a fan of writing short stories as I found them quite difficult, but I'm growing to like them more and more and it's good to practice!

So far, I've posted Christmas Spirit, Christmas Eve In New York and A Fairytale Christmas (click to view each story. If you want to, obviously) and this year I will be posting A Box of Christmas Chocolates. It's a sequel to a short story I posted at Easter (The Chocolate Box) so it was nice to catch up with Kat and see what she's up to this Christmas. I'll be posting the story in a couple of weeks so I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My Festive Reads: Emma Crowley

 
Today I'm delighted to welcome Emma Crowley onto the blog to share the five festive books she's most looking forward to this year and to take part in a festive Q&A!


Hi , my name is Emma Crowley. I live in Waterford in the southeast of Ireland. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember and can get through three or four books a week if time allows. I often do guest reviews at http://shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk/ . I’m a primary school teacher teaching junior infants in my old primary school and this time of year is so special teaching four and five year olds preparing for nativity plays and becoming so excited absorbing all their enthusiasm for Santa and Christmas. I’m also on Twitter @emthebookworm if any wants to chat. Many thanks to Jennifer for having me as part of her festive feature.




The five Christmas Reads I am looking forward to this year are:

· The Christmas Surprise: Jenny Colgan.

· The Christmas Party: Carole Matthews.

· Secret Santa : Scarlett Bailey.

· Christmas in the Snow: Karen Swan.

· The Great Christmas Knit Off: Alexandra Brown.




Festive Q&A

What do you look for in a festive read?

Festive books have become so popular over the past number of years so much so that I have to start my festive reading in November in order to try and get everything read during the Christmas season. For a festive read I don’t want anything too heavy or too long because I find I tend to often dip in and out of books at this time of year. I don’t mind if Christmas is not mentioned the whole time in the book but it is frustrating when a book claims to be a festive read and Christmas or anything to do with it is then hardly mentioned at all. I want something that will take me away to a whole new setting and give me a warm feeling inside and get me in the mood for all the activities, traditions and customs associated with Christmas. A nice romance element doesn’t go amiss either.

What is your favourite festive book of all time?

Just for Christmas: Scarlett Bailey. I know this was only released last year but Scarlett Bailey writes so well and totally transports the reader away from their ordinary lives to the wonderful village of Poldore. I fell in love with the varied cast of characters and the real sense of community spirit they all had and how they would do anything to help each other. Alex was a great main character and it was nice to see a woman doing an unusual job for once, she wasn’t your usual run of the mill chick-lit character and neither was the plotline. Boy – the dog just stole the show and a piece of my heart. This was definitely a book where I lost all sense of time and place as the hours flew by as I was engrossed in the comings and goings of the villagers. I’ve also read the follow up ‘ Two Weddings and a Baby ‘which was just as good and I can’t wait to read the festive novella ‘Secret Santa’. I only hope Scarlett Bailey continues to write about Poldore and make the books into a long running series as I always have a feeling of regret and sadness when I turn the last page and leave the characters behind.

If you could spend Christmas with any fictional character, who would it be?

Rosie Hopkins from Jenny Colgan’s ‘ Christmas at Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop’. Who wouldn’t want to open their own sweet shop in a small village and serve their community? This book has a real good factor to it and I devoured it within a day. Jenny Colgan is another author who has discovered her niche and is sticking to it very successfully as I’m sure I’m not the only one who eagerly awaits her next release. I just fell completely in love with Rosie and her story and how she wanted to help everyone whilst also making a success once again of her aunt’s sweetshop. Throughout the book I was rooting for Rosie to get her happy ending. If I was to spend a Christmas with Rosie I’m sure she would keep me entertained even if we were snowed in her tiny village!
 
Do you have any favourite festive reading snacks?

Like most people I love chocolate and at this time of year there is an abundance on offer. I like dipping into Roses and Quality Street. In the staffroom where I teach we always get tins sent in from the beginning of December so we are thoroughly spoilt. Some of my other favourite snacks are definitely a Terry’s Chocolate Orange or for pure indulgence I go for those Danish butter cookies you get in the circular tin one just never seems to be enough. Whilst I am eating them I am often saying to myself you can walk it all off over the holidays. I can’t forget a good tube of Pringles or lastly Tayto cheese and onion crisps these are Irish made but are totally addictive.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

I suppose my Christmas traditions are the same as most other families and we don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Every year we have the same relations out to Christmas dinner and we go to mass as a family. I remember when myself and my sister were small our parents insisted we go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Nowadays this is normally around 9 o’clock but back then it was actually midnight and we struggled to stay awake until then. I was always worried that Santa would have come while we were at mass and that we should have been at home tucked up in our beds. Needless to say when we woke up the next morning our presents were always there.

What is your best Christmas memory?

I always remember being fast asleep on Christmas Eve and I woke up because I had heard something outside on the landing . I was so small I thought Santa was coming into my room and if I looked and saw him that no presents would be there waiting for me in the morning. So I hid deep under the covers and kept my eyes closed in the hope I wouldn’t see him. I remember waking up the next morning with my little sister and there waiting for me was everything I had asked for from Santa but most special of all was a rocking horse which I had really wanted .It was white with a rainbow mane and to me then it was just the best thing ever and I can still remember to this day what fun I had.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

It mightn’t be the most obvious choice but I love ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues. Whenever it comes on the radio at Christmas time be it at home or in the car I turn up the radio and blast out the song and sing along. It gives me goose bumps when I hear it and the first time I hear it each year I know that Christmas is on the way.

What is your favourite Christmas film?

There are loads to choose from but whenever I see The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz in the tv listings, I just have to watch it. The scene where Cameron arrives in England for the first time and has to make her way to the beautiful cottage in the snow is fabulous. The whole setting of the small rural cottage and village just gives me such a warm feeling inside. Jude Law isn’t half bad to look at either. I know once I have seen this film the Christmas season has well and truly begins for me.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

After such a hard first term in school and endless preparations for the infant nativity play I have to admit to really looking forward to a good break where I can just rest and relax, eat plenty of Roses and Quality Street and of course catch up on plenty of reading especially all the excellent Christmas themed books being released this year. Last year my sister was away in Australia so it will be far nicer having her back this year as we will all be together as a family once again. It wasn’t the same without her last year. Also where I live in Waterford we have a huge winter festival called Winterval which runs from the end of November right up until to the New Year so I will enjoy the opportunity to check out all that it has to offer. It really brings the city alive with lots to do-christmas stalls, carriage rides, ferris wheel, ice skating and lots more.
 
 
My Festive Reads is a feature celebrating all things bookish with a festive theme. If you would like to take part, please get in touch! You can find all the details here
 
 
Click here to view all My Festive Reads posts
 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Ruth's Guide To Christmas Outfits

 Ruth likes to dress up so Christmas is the perfect time for shopping! She'd like to share her favourite outfits this season.
 
 
There are so many things happening during the festive season, from office parties, to socialising with friends and family and, of course, the main event of Christmas dinner. I've been doing a lot of shopping to make sure I have outfits for every eventuality. Here are my favourites:
 
Event: Office Party
 
 
I love this dress, with its floral lace pattern and skirt that is ideal for dancing (think of the twirls). I'd team it with these gorgeous silver/black platform court shoes
 
 
 
 
 
Event: drinks with friends
 
 
I love wearing dresses and I adore prints, so this dress is perfect for meeting up with friends for a few festive drinks!
 
I'd team it up with a pair of knee-length boots and a purple satin clutch bag to add a bit of bling
 

 
 
 
 
 
Event: Christmas Dinner
 
I like to feel comfortable on Christmas Day (especially after I've stuffed myself with my mum's gorgeous turkey with all the trimmings. Plus Christmas pudding. And chocolate) so I'll be wearing this tunic. I love the colour and the sequin detail adds a bit of festive sparkle
 
 
I'd team the tunic with leggings and some glittery peep-toe heels to add a bit more sparkle (you can never have too much sparkle at Christmas!)
 
 
 
 
 
Event: The Whole Festive Period
 
Everybody needs a festive jumper! I love this Rudolph jumper with pom-pom nose from Yours Clothing.
 
 
 
I wish you all a very merry Christmas - whatever you're wearing!
 
 
A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is a free festive short story. It's available to download from Amazon here
 
If you've read A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, I'd love to hear what you thought about the story. You can leave a review on Amazon or on Goodreads
 
Click here to see all Book Extras for A Beginner's Guide To Christmas

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A New Member of The Joyce Family!

On Thursday evening, we welcomed a new addition to our family - meet Luna, our gorgeous puppy!

 
We've been wanting to get a dog for quite a while and are so glad Luna is finally with us. She's a lovely little dog who's favourite past times are licking people and sleeping. Most of the photos we have of her are of her taking a nap!
 
 
Our daughters chose her name, so we were surprised when she wasn't named Elsa or Olaf!
 


 
Luna has settled in really well. We love her already!
 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Guest Post: Marissa Tejada

I’d like to welcome Marissa Tejada who is the author of the newly released romantic comedy Chasing Athens. She’s here to talk about the inspiration behind her chick-lit/women’s fiction novel that takes place in Greece.   

A Big Move, A Big Break-Up and A Big-Choice

Some of my favorite contemporary novels have whisked me away to fantastic settings and destinations that I loved reading about just as much as the story or characters themselves. As an expat living in Greece I couldn’t help but be inspired to write Chasing Athens. It wasn’t just the beauty of Greece. It was about the life Greece gave me. I found myself picking up the pieces after my divorce in a foreign country. If that wasn’t hard enough I was going through culture shock, learning a new language and reshaping my career in the process. It was a combination that taught me more than I could imagine. Top that all off with a crippling economic crisis that led to riots and protests where I lived in the heart of the city. After my breakup I decided that I wanted to stay on in Greece and looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.

 
 
Plotting and Place

As I plotted Chasing Athens, I knew I wanted to tell a story that was about the importance of place in our lives and how it can truly affect us. My novel follows the story of 30-year-old Ava Martin, an American expat living in Athens, who suddenly finds herself wondering where she truly belongs after her husband walks out on her. What happens next leads her through a humorous, touching and cultural journey that forces her to confront her disappointing past and redefine the true meaning of home.

Much of my novel takes place in the Greek capital. It’s a place of contrasts where your surroundings can cross to each extreme including old and new, ancient and modern to fast and slow. However, it’s a place that owns its distinct Mediterranean vibe and character. Then I included two favorite islands of mine, Hydra and Mykonos. Hydra is a short ferry ride away from Athens which makes it one of those ideal getaways for Athenians and travelers alike – romantic, quaint and picturesque. Mykonos is adorned with its picturesque whitewashed architecture and laced with pretty beaches. It’s also famous for its cosmopolitan nightlife which contributes to the fact that it is one of the most visited islands in Greece. The city and the islands inspired me and I added them as “characters” that fit in well with the drama I wanted my character to go through.


 
Greece as Inspiration

Greece has always been a fantastic setting for me when reading novels. After my firsthand experiences I felt I could portray its outward beauty and its imperfections. With its pluses and minuses, pros and cons Athens could be any place we choose to live or visit. My “any place” happened to be a place called Greece. Greece inspired me and the direction of my first novel. Greece is also a place that changed my life.



You can find Chasing Athens on Amazon US and Amazon UK among other sites. Feel free to connect with Marissa on Twitter @tejadamarissa, Facebook and on all sorts of social media via her website http://chasingathens.com/ and travel blog: http://www.mygreecemytravels.com


If you would like to appear here on the blog via a guest post, email me at jenniferjoycewrites@gmail.com
More details here

Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Festive Reads: A Fictional Christmas Dinner

 
 
I've read a lot of great books this year with some brilliant characters, so I thought it would be fun to put together a guest list of fictional characters to invite over for a fun and festive Christmas dinner!
 
Jess, Ed, Nicky and Tanzie
from The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
 
 
I loved The One Plus One earlier in the year and thought that Jess, daughter Tanzie and stepson Nicky made a brilliant, if slightly dysfunctional family. Add in their new friend Ed and the smelly but loveable dog Norman and you've got yourself some pretty great guests.
 
You can see my review of The One Plus One here
 
 
Alex and Holly
from The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait
 
 
Best friends Alex and Holly would bring a lot of fun to the Christmas dinner. Plus, Holly already has a festive name, upping the Christmassy atmosphere.
 
You can see my review of The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me here 
 
 
Romily and Posie
from Dear Thing by Julie Cohen
 
 
Romily is pretty impulsive but also fun and she has a big heart so I think she would make a fantastic guest for my Christmas dinner. Her daughter Posie could also keep Tanzie company!
 
You can see my review of Dear Thing here 
 
 
Crystal
from A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews
 
 
Crystal would bring so much fun to the table! Crystal is funny and daring as well as being a great friend. I bet she'd have some stories to keep everybody entertained!
 
You can see my review of A Place To Call Home here 
 
 
Ben
from No-one Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday by Tracy Bloom
 
 
Like Crystal, Ben would bring a lot of fun. He doesn't have a serious bone in his body!
 
You can see my review of No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday here 
 
 
Who would you invite to your fictional Christmas dinner? Let us know and take part in My Festive Reads! You can find all the details here

 
Click here to view all My Festive Reads posts


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Giveaway Winners: It Must Have Been The Mistletoe by Judy Astley

 
Thank you to everyone who entered and/or tweeted about the giveaway. Rafflecopter has selected the winners at random, who have been contacted by email.
 
The winners are 
 
 
Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your prizes!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

 
 
Single mum Louise has been struggling since her partner left her and their daughter, Mia. But now she's landed herself a good job that can kick-start her career again. She hasn't been working for Fossil Oil for very long but she feels she can really grow within the company and provide a good life for Mia. The only problem is her boss, Tyler, who can't seem to keep his hands to himself.
 
Corporate wife Kirsten is fed up with her life and her marriage to Tyler. She knows all about his affairs but hopes that they can have a good Christmas together and re-ignite their relationship.
 
And then there is Melissa, the glamorous wife of Tyler's boss, Lance. Together, they have made Fossil Oil a success but it seems now that Lance is getting older, he's being side lined onto a new project, which means moving away to Washington.
 
With Christmas around the corner, Fossil Oil is putting on an elaborate Christmas party for its staff. It will be a night to remember - but not necessarily for positive reasons.
 
The Christmas Party mostly takes part over one day as Louise, Kirsten and Melissa prepare for and then attend Fossil Oil's Christmas party. The party takes place at a huge, luxurious manor house that is decked out for the occasion and sounded amazing. I would have loved to have attended the party myself - but without all the drama that ensues! While Kirsten and Melissa have lived a privileged life with their successful husbands, Louise has been struggling as a single mum. She's been left in debt by her ex partner and is now living back with her mum and dad. I felt for Louise as she has been trying to make a better life for herself and her daughter and thinks she's found that first step on the ladder that she needs but Tyler is making things difficult. Tyler is quite a slimy character and very selfish, so I felt sorry for his wife, Kirsten too, although I wanted to give her a shake at times as she sat back and allowed Tyler to make a fool out of her and their marriage.
 
Although the book takes place over one evening for the most part, an awful lot happens at the party and we get to know the characters quite in depth. Because of the structure of the book, it felt like the first chunk was quite slow whereas the ending, taking place over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, were rushed and I would have liked to have more of an idea where Louise, Kirsten and Melissa's lives would take them once the book ended.
 
The Christmas Party is a fun, festive read full of drama and scandal. There isn't a dull moment as we witness the party - and the fallout afterwards! 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Ruth's Top 5 Tips for Surviving Christmas

Today, A Beginner's Guide To Christmas's Ruth will be sharing her Top 5 Tips for surviving Christmas!
 
 
 
In A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, I share my tips on how to survive the festive period (usually when something goes wrong as I try to organise my family's Christmas for the first and last time).
 
So I thought I would share my Top 5 Tips for a smooth(ish) Christmas. Follows these guidelines and you too could have the perfect* Christmas.
 
1 - Do Not Leave Your Christmas Shopping Until The Last Minute
 
I cannot stress this enough. We've all done it, haven't we? It's Christmas Eve and you think you've got plenty of time. Wrong! You end up buying your mum a loo brush and your dad a shot glass with 'Best Dad Ever' on it even though he doesn't drink shots. Ever.
 
Panic buying isn't cool. It's stressful and sucks all of the fun out of Christmas shopping and the festive season in general. Listening to Slade being piped throughout the shopping centre is no longer a joyous occasion. It's a countdown. There are only three more songs left until the shops close and you still have five presents to locate and buy. On your marks, get set, go! *cue disappointment and loo brushes*
 
It just isn't worth it. Leave plenty of time to do your shopping. You'll thank me for it later.
 
You won't thank me for it. You'll be too busy panic buying while Slade wishes everybody a merry Christmas. I'll see you there. With my mum's loo brush.
 
2 - Don't try to bake/craft this Christmas
 
Or any other Christmas. I suggest blocking Pinterest so you're not tempting to give something a go. Oh, those biscuits shaped like elves with edible glitter look easy enough. Wrong! They will not be easy. They will be biscuits designed by the devil himself, the recipe sent out to torment you while you should be enjoying a relaxing Christmas with your feet up in front of the telly.
 
Christmas is stressful enough. Don't add to it by trying to be fancy. Buy biscuits. Buy decorations. Stay away from Pinterest.
 
3 - Avoid children at all costs
 
Christmas is all about the kids? Yeah, right. Christmas is ruined by kids. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Even if they're your own.
 
4 - Don't forget the batteries
 
If you simply can't avoid the little darlings (said sarcastly, obv), make sure you stock up on batteries before Christmas. Buy every size going. Yes, even those little watch-sized ones. Because if you don't own a pack of AAAA batteries, you will need them for a toy on Christmas Day.
 
No batteries = no peace and goodwill
 
5 - Invite yourself to somebody else's Christmas
 
This is the best tip if you can pull it off. Wrangle yourself an invite to somebody else's Christmas (where they're the poor suckers who have to prepare and cook and make everything fancy) and you're onto a winner. If you can somehow make it snow, you can arrive just as the turkey is being served (and with a perfect, plausible excuse) without having to help at all. Bonus!
 
 
*Not guaranteed. After all, what do I know? I'm a total beginner here too. As long as you all survive pretty much intact, mark it down as a win.
 
 
 
A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is a free festive short story. It's available to download from Amazon here
 
If you've read A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, I'd love to hear what you thought about the story. You can leave a review on Amazon or on Goodreads
 
Click here to see all Book Extras for A Beginner's Guide To Christmas

Friday, 14 November 2014

Everything Changes But You - The Soundtrack

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MWAR5B8


A lot of music inspired Everything Changes But You - either because I nicked the song lyrics for my title or I used them as song choices when Ally and her friends go to their karaoke nights at the pub.

When I was putting together the soundtrack, I used some of these songs as well as some magic-themed ones. I also wanted to add 'Over the Rainbow' as The Wizard of Oz was a huge inspiration when writing the book. When I found the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version merging it with 'What a Wonderful World' I thought it was perfect for Ally and summed up the book for me.

Here is the soundtrack. Enjoy!




Everything Changes But You is available from Amazon here

You can view all book extrasadd the book to Goodreads or view the Pinterest board

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Christmas - The Pinterest Board


I joined Pinterest a bit late - only a few months ago - and since then I've been a bit obsessed! I have boards for A Beginner's Guide To Salad and Everything Changes But You and now I have a board for my festive short story, A Beginner's Guide To Christmas too!

A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is a free festive short story that follows Ruth as she organises her family's Christmas for the first time. You can download A Beginner's Guide To Christmas from Amazon here

The pictures I've pinned are mostly funny ones with tongue in cheek top tips and guides.

http://www.pinterest.com/jennijoycepins/a-beginners-guide-to-christmas/
 
You can view the Pinterest for A Beginner's Guide To Christmas here
 
 
http://www.pinterest.com/jennijoycepins/a-beginners-guide-to-christmas/
 
 
If you've read A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, I'd love to hear what you thought about the story. You can leave a review on Amazon or on Goodreads
 
Click here to see all Book Extras for A Beginner's Guide To Christmas

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

My Festive Reads: Heidi-Jo Swain

 
Today I'm delighted to welcome Heidi-Jo Swain onto to the blog to share her festive reads for 2014
 

My Festive Reads
 
Hello Jennifer. Thank you so much for inviting me back to share my Festive reads with you at the dawning of this most magical time of year which I think appeals to the child in all of us!

In the past December 1st would dawn and along with it the reappearance of my battered paperback copy of A Christmas Carol. Christmas Eve would then witness the magical addition of The Night before Christmas which dear heart would read to myself and the two teens who would both feign indifference but sit wrapt and wide eyed nonetheless.

However, all that changed with the advent of the Kindle and I have now been introduced to a whole plethora of new authors and sparkly festive fiction that had, until last year, pretty much passed me by.

My first two seasonal treats were Meet me Under the Mistletoe and The Christmas Bake Off both by Abby Clements and this year, with my very own Christmas themed novel being planned, I’ve been totally bitten by the bug and have found myself furtively topping up the Kindle carousel and bookshelf as early as September.

On the list this year so far I have:


The Magic of Christmas and Wish Upon a Star by Trisha Ashley
 
 
 
Coming Home for Christmas by Julia Williams
 
 
Humbugs and Heartstrings by Catherine Ferguson
 
 
Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale
 
 

I know that compared to some this is not a particularly long list however, time is tight in the run up to Yule, even reading time, and I am looking forward to savouring every mince pie on the page, drinking deeply from the mug of mulled wine and absorbing each and every flavour, scent and setting that makes up the recipe for a successful and satisfying Festive Read.

I wish you all a thoroughly Festive Christmas and a productive and peaceful New Year!

Heidi-Jo x

http://www.h-writersblog.blogspot.co.uk/


My Festive Reads is a feature celebrating all things bookish with a festive theme. If you would like to take part, please get in touch! You can find all the details here
 
 
Click here to view all My Festive Reads posts

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Blog Tour: It Must Have Been The Mistletoe by Judy Astley + A Giveaway

Today I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Judy Astley's festive It Must Have Been The Mistletoe with a review of the book and a giveaway!

 
 
Thea's parents have decided to divorce. But unlike most divorces, Anna and Mike's is very much an amicable one. So much so, in fact, that the pair have organised a family Christmas in Cornwall. Thea and her siblings, Emily and Jimi, along with their families, will spend the festive period by the sea with their parents with plenty of bracing walks, good food and drink and quality time together. It all sounds cosy and civilised - until Anna and Mike's new partners turn up and they all end up snowed in under the same roof.
 
Thea has recently split up with her fiancé when she and her family make the trip to Cornwall, so her heart is feeling a bit battered and bruised. Her ex sounds quite boring and pompous so I was hoping she would find a way to get over him completely and perhaps meet somebody new while she was away. While her sister is a bit narky and a worrier, I really liked Thea and thought she was kind and down to earth and definitely needed a bit of a boost after her break up with Rich.
 
The Anna and Mike situation sounds quite odd - the pair have been separated but still living under the same roof for some time - but I liked them. Their relationship is a little quirky but I thought they were great characters and although they are bit 'out there' they are fantastic parents. I love the idea of the big family get together for Christmas, complete with grandchildren and spouses. The house they stay in sounds wonderful and cosy and very festive with the log fires, huge Christmas tress and plenty of mistletoe. There is a definite festive feel to the book, which I loved. It's so entertaining and heart warming with a brilliant cast of characters, from old hippes Anna and Mike to brash new partner Charlotte and the sweet owner of the house, Sean. I liked the family feel of the book with the multi-generation aspect, from the grandparents down to the small grandchildren and everybody in between.
 
It Must Have Been The Mistletoe is a fun and festive read with plenty of humour and romance. It's the kind of book best enjoyed with a mince pie (or two) and a mug of hot chocolate.
 
 
 
I've been provided with 3 copies of It Must Have Been The Mistletoe to give away. To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter form below.

The giveaway will end on Monday 17th November.
Rafflecopter will choose three winners at random, who will be notified by email before being announced on the blog.

This is UK only giveaway 
 
Good luck! 
 


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Monday, 10 November 2014

Blog Tour: Coming Home For Christmas by Julia Williams

Today I'm pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Julia Williams' Coming Home For Christmas with a review of the book.

 
 
TV chef Cat is starting to feel like she is being put on the scrap heap of the television world as she edges deeper into her forties. She's hoping to host a new festive-themed show and is busy working on recipes while trying to juggle her busy family life.
 
Marianne is the mother of boisterous three-year-old twins and her life begins to feel even more hectic with the arrival of her husband's ex-wife and the ailing health of her father.
 
Pippa knows that after a year of separation, her marriage to Dan is over and she is trying to move on with new boyfriend, Richard. But she is devastated when Dan asks for a divorce.
 
Cat, Marianne and Pippa all have their own troubles but when they learn of plans to develop nearby land into a hotel and spa, they decide they cannot allow their close-knot village of Hope Christmas be destroyed. Gathering those opposed to the plans, they plot to halt the development and save their village.
 
Coming Home For Christmas is a story of relationships and friendships. All three women have their own problems going on at home but they all band together to try to stop the destruction of their beloved village. I really felt for Pippa as she tried to come to terms with the breakdown of her marriage to Dan. She still loves him and suspects she always will so it was sad to see her forced to live apart from him. They have children and still run her family farm together so she is still in regular contact with him. Through Dan, we learn that he still loves her too, which makes the whole situation even more heart breaking.
 
I also felt for Cat as she struggles with the aging process. Although she is still only in her mid forties, she feels like she has become invisible as she is cast aside for younger, more glamorous TV chefs. She also has quite a lot going on at home, with a house full of teenagers and pre-teens as well as a baby granddaughter who she and her husband have had to take quite an active role in the upbringing of. But the person I felt the most for was Marianne when her husband's ex, Eve arrives and starts to put a strain on her marriage to Gabriel. There were times when I wanted to give Marianne a good shake and tell her to stand up for herself more, to make Gabriel see what he was going to do to their marriage if he didn't start putting Marianne first.
 
As I was reading Coming Home For Christmas, I got the feeling it was a sequel as past events were mentioned and after looking it up I've discovered that the book revisits some previous characters of Julia Williams. Although I haven't read the other books, I didn't feel like I was missing out as all the relevant information was explained. I didn't think the book was overly festive but I did enjoy reading about Cat, Marianne and Pippa and their battle to save Hope Christmas. I liked the strong friendship between the three women as they support each other during some tough times and the ending gave me the warm, happy feeling I think all festive books should have.