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

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