Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is quickly approaching so it's time to let the old blog have a bit of a break. She's been working hard during 2014 so deserves a bit of a rest. The blog and I will be back in the new year with our usual mix of writing waffle and book reviews as well as a new feature or two!

I'll still be around on Facebook (you can find my personal profile here and my author page here) as well as Twitter (where you can find me wittering here)

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a super-duper happy New Year. I will see you in January!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

My Top Ten Books of 2014

Yesterday I shared my book awards for 2014 and today I'm going to reveal my top ten books this year...

The One Plus One
by JoJo Moyes
 
 
Click here to see my review of The One Plus One
 
 
The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me
by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice
 
 
Click here to see my review of The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me
 
 
Liberty Silk
by Kate Beaufoy
 
 
Click here to see my review of Liberty Silk
 
 
No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday
by Tracy Bloom
 
 
Click here to see my review of No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday
 
 
The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe
by Romain Puertalos
 
 
Click here to see my review of The Extraordinary Journey on Novelicious
 
 
Little Mercies
by Heather Gudenkauf
 
 
Click here to see my review of Little Mercies on Novelicious
 
 
I'll Take New York
by Miranda Dickinson
 
 
Click here to see my review of I'll Take New York
 
 
Shifting Colours
by Fiona Sussman
 
 
Click here to see my review of Shifting Colours on Novelicious
 
 
Before I Go To Sleep
by S J Watson
 
 
Click here to see my review of Before I Go To Sleep
 
 
Wake
by Anna Hope
 
 
Click here to see my review of Hope
 
 
What have been your favourite reads of 2014?



Wednesday, 17 December 2014

My Book Awards 2014

I've read just over 80 books during 2014 so whittling down the winners of my chosen categories was a bit tough but I've somehow managed to. And here they are:

Book of the Year 
 
This was probably my easiest choice of all. I read The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes as part of The Novelicious Book Club as well as reviewing the book here on the blog and I absolutely loved it! I didn't want to put the book down as I was immersed in the story of Jess and her dysfunctional but loveable family.
 
 
You can see my review of The One Plus One here
 
 
Cover of the Year
 
There have been some gorgeous covers this year but I had to go with The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman as it's utterly beautiful with its vibrant colours set against the plainer grey background. I loved it!
 
 
You can see my review of The Dead Wife's Handbook here
 
 
Summer Read of 2014
 
I read some fab books over the summer (you can see my summer reading list here) but my favourite was Liberty Silk by Kate Beaufoy. Sweeping across several decades and generations, it tells the stories of Jessie, Lisa and Cat
 
 
You can see my review of Liberty Silk here
 
 
Festive Read of 2014
 
From summer to winter! My favourite festive read this year was It Must Have Been The Mistletoe by Judy Astley, which I thought was a fab, fun and festive read that had me craving mince pies within the first few pages!
 
 
You can see my review of It Must Have Been The Mistletoe here
 
 
My Hero of 2014
 
There were some very swoon-worthy heroes during my 2014 reads but, for me, Ed from The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes was a clear winner!
 
 
 
My Heroine of 2014
 
A heroine is usually the main female character of a book but my heroine is actually one of the supporting characters from A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews. I loved exotic dancer Crystal and thought she was such a warm and likeable character. She's fun and exuberant but she's also caring too.
 
 
You can see my review of A Place To Call Home here 
 
 
Villain of 2014
 
There have been some great villains in the books I've read in 2014 but I chose Luke from The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings because there was such a depth of character for him. He wasn't a pantomime villain in any way and I enjoyed seeing the different layers of him and learning why he turned out the way he did.
 
 
You can see my review of The Judas Scar here
 
 
 
Couple of 2014
 
I loved The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice and I thought that Holly and Alex made such a cute couple with a lot of history. I was rooting for them the whole time!
 
 
You can see my review of The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me here
 
 
Fictional Animal of 2014
 
There have been some lovely fictional animals this year (mostly dogs but a certain puffin too) but my favourite was the slobbery, smelly Norman the dog from The One Plus One!
 
 
 
You can see all my reviews from 2014 here
 
You can also view my Pinterest page for the books I've read in 2014 here
 
 
I hope you've all read some fantastic books in 2014 too!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Festive Short Stories

There are only a few days left until Christmas (which is both exciting and terrifying) so I thought I would draw your attention to my festive short stories! I've been writing a festive short story each year since I set this blog up in 2011 and posting them in December just for fun.


My latest short story, A Box of Christmas Chocolates was posted on the blog last week. As well as A Box of Christmas Chocolates, there is:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Don't forget, you download A Beginner's Guide To Christmas from Amazon too - and it's free! At around 8,000 words, it's a bit longer than the festive short stories posted here on the blog but it's still a quick read if you're running low on time (and aren't we all at this time of year?)
 
A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is available from Amazon UK & Amazon US
 


Monday, 15 December 2014

My Festive Reads: My Farvourite Festive Read of 2014

 
I've read some great Christmassy reads during November and December but there is one that's standing out for me this year and that is It Must Have Been The Mistletoe by Judy Astley.
 
 
The book is fabulously festive and had me craving mince pies within the first few pages. I loved the idea of a big family Christmas, with older siblings and their parents getting together in a cosy cottage with their own families. Of course, the dash of romance was a welcome addition too!
 
 
You can see my full review of It Must Have Been The Mistletoe, see my festive reading list for 2014 or click here to view all My Festive Reads posts
 
 
What has been your favourite festive read of 2014?

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson

 
Claudia and Seth are in a bit of a rut. They've been together for five years and the romance has taken a serious nose-dive. Wanting to re-ignite their relationship, Claudia sets up a date - their first in a long, long time - at the ballet. But the date doesn't go to plan and Claudia is left with the prospect of spending Christmas alone.
 
But with her best friends Penny and Nick to prop her up, Claudia finds herself experiencing new things as she goes on a series of dates in the run up to Christmas.
 
After reading Lisa Dickenson's You Had Me At Merlot during the summer, I was looking forward to reading her festive book and I wasn't disappointed. The Twelve Dates of Christmas is full of fun and festivity, with plenty of snow, gingerbread lattes and mulled wine. Claudia is a fantastic character for a romantic comedy; she's fun and flirty but also a bit flawed. She isn't exactly sure where she wants to end up in life and I liked that she started to discover a bit more about herself as the book progresses. As well as Claudia, there are loads of great characters, from her best friends Penny and Nick to barman Billy and Claudia's dad, who I thought was brilliant. He was caring yet had a wicked side that I loved and he was part of some of my favourite scenes in the book. Then there is Seth, who is a bit of a shit but a great character to throw in the mix. I was constantly waiting for him to get his comeuppance for the way he treated Claudia!
 
I thought the book had such a brilliant premise and I looked forward to seeing where Claudia would end up on her next date. Some of the dates are sweet, others hilarious and some are just plain awful (but while they were a disaster for Claudia, they were funny for the reader). The book has a lovely festive atmosphere that is sometimes missing from Christmas-themed books and I loved Lisa's humorous style of writing. I'm very much looking forward to reading more books from Lisa Dickenson in the future! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Blog Tour: I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Miranda Dickinson's I'll Take New York, with a review of the book!

 
 
Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James is tired of being let down by her boyfriend, Otis. When he fails to turn up to dinner with her family - at an event that he planned - Bea decides she has finally had enough and ends their relationship.
 
Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann has recently split up with his wife, Jessica and, as divorce proceedings begin, he moves from San Francisco to New York, where he grew up and his brother still lives. When he meets Bea at a party where they are the only single guests, they make a pact. They've both been bruised by their past relationships and decide the best option is to stay single.
 
I was excited when I heard that Miranda was writing a sort-of-sequel to Fairytale of New York as I'd loved the book (plus it was the first book I read on my Kindle, so that makes it extra special). I couldn't wait to read the book and I wasn't disappointed! While this book focuses on Bea and Jake, we catch up on what Fairytale's Rosie and Ed are up to now, as well as their friends Celia and Marnie. It was great to catch up with some familiar characters while getting to know some brand new ones too. I immediately warmed to Bea and I felt her frustration as she is let down by her boyfriend for the final time. I thought she was a great character full of warmth and wanted her to find the happiness she deserves. Another character I really liked was Bea's grandmother who is back at home in the UK in her own bookshop. Grandma Dot is such a fantastic, wise character and I would so like to curl up in Great-Gramps' chair with Grandma Dot's secret stash of sweeties!
 
For me, New York itself was a character and you can feel the vibrancy and quirkiness of the city through the pages. Bea and Jake both adore New York and their passion for their city shines through. Within the city, we have the fabulous location of Bea's bookshop as well as a return to Kawolskis, Rosie's flower shop from Fairytale of New York.
 
I loved Miranda's writing style as I instantly found myself immersed in Bea and Jake's world, relaxing as the words and the city took hold. I thought the book was a gorgeous, heart-warming read full of romance and captivating characters and settings.
 


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Blog Tour: The Stall of Second Chances by Dana Bate

Today I'm pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for The Stall of Second Chances with a guest post from the author, Dana Bate who will be sharing the inspiration behind the book.

 
Inspiration behind The Stall of Second Chances 

The idea for The Stall of Second Chances came to me in pieces. At the time, I was living in Washington, DC, and a friend mentioned she’d been set up on a blind date. Before they met, the prospective suitor told her, “I should warn you: I don’t Google well.”

It was true: as soon as she plugged his name into Google, some very shady stories appeared from his past. The entire episode got me thinking about the era we live in, where the worst thing you’ve ever done can sometimes be the first thing people learn about you. Sure, that allows for more transparency, but it also makes it much harder to get a second chance after you’ve made a mistake.

While all this was percolating in my mind, I was working on my first book and finding the writing process a bit isolating. So I decided to pick up a few shifts at a local farmers’ market, just to have an excuse to get out of the house and engage with other human beings. The market was bubbling with energy and life, and after a few shifts I thought, “Wow – this would be a fantastic setting for a story!”

So I had an idea, and I had a setting. My job as a writer was to turn those into a story. Who was this character who didn’t Google well? Who was working shifts at a farmers’ market? And how did those characters intersect? Once I’d answered those questions, I was on my way to what eventually became The Stall of Second Chances!
 
 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Festive Short Story: A Box of Christmas Chocolates

 
Steph was dangerously close to scoffing a whole Chocolate Orange to herself by the time her housemate returned home from spending Christmas Day with her boyfriend and his family. Steph thrust two segments of chocolate into her mouth at once before scrunching up what little remained of the Chocolate Orange into its foil and shoving it under a scatter cushion. Kat was bound to come floating into the sitting room, rosy-cheeked and brimming with love and Christmas spirit while Steph lamented her own lack of romance and festive cheer. Steph hadn’t spent the day with a gorgeous boyfriend. She’d spent it with her family, which was enough to have anybody reaching for a fortifying sphere of chocolately goodness. She’d left early, leaving behind the screeching of her squabbling teenage sisters and the malice of her great-uncle Nigel, who thought Christmas was the perfect time to bully his long-suffering wife. She’d changed into her pyjamas as soon as she’d arrived home and attacked her chocolate stash.
‘Pyjamas already? Was it that bad?’ Instead of wafting into the room like a Christmas angel, Kat shuffled into the sitting room and perched on the edge of the sofa. Which was lucky as Steph’s Chocolate Orange was hiding in that corner. If Kat sat back and relaxed, she’d squish it.
‘It was horrific.’ Steph cringed as she recalled her great-aunt bursting into tears as Nigel told her that she was much fatter this Christmas. What are you trying to do? Turn yourself into a Christmas pudding? ‘But it doesn’t look like yours was much better either.’
It had been Kat and Spencer’s first Christmas together and they’d decided to spend the day with his family, which had caused major miffed-off-ness for Kat’s mum. Who cared about next Christmas? Kat and Spencer may not even be together by then.
Oh no. Was that why Kat was looking so forlorn? She’d left the house that morning brimming with merriment but now she looked as though her bum had just been compared to a saggy, defrosted turkey. Poor great-aunt Betty. Nigel was a nasty little man.
‘What’s happened?’ Steph reached for Kat’s hand, preparing to comfort her friend when she broke the news that she’d been dumped over Christmas dinner. What a beast Spencer was. Yes, he was gorgeous and toned and stupidly romantic, but he was an absolute bell-end for breaking Kat’s heart. And at Christmas too!
‘Nothing’s happened. Nothing bad, really.’
Steph was confused. ‘So why do you look like you’ve been told to lay off the trifle in case it makes your thighs spread even further?’ Great-uncle Nigel was a beast too.
Kat gave a sigh and slumped back in her seat. Steph feared the fate of her Chocolate Orange. ‘It’s the present Spencer got me.’
Steph pulled a face. ‘Was it really slutty underwear?’ Steph didn’t mind a bit of kinky dressing up (when she got the chance to show it off), but it wasn’t really Kat’s thing.
‘No.’ Kat took a deep breath and Steph prepared herself for the worst. ‘It was a box of chocolates.’
Steph was not prepared for that. ‘A. Box. Of. Chocolates.’ What a pig! A box of bloody chocolates? For his girlfriend? For Christmas? ‘I hope you dumped him on the spot.’ It would be quite poetic, really. Their relationship had started with the box of chocolates that Spencer had left mysteriously on their doorstep. It would be quite fitting for their relationship to end with a box of chocolates too.
‘I didn’t dump him.’ Kat squirmed in her seat. The Chocolate Orange was done for.
‘I would have.’ Sod it. Steph reached behind the cushion and retrieved the slightly squished chocolate. They were both in need. ‘Who buys their girlfriend a box of chocolates for Christmas? Was there at least a Tiffany bracelet in there or something?’
‘No.’ Kat took a segment of the proffered chocolate but didn’t attempt to eat it. It sat in her fingers, melting onto the tips. ‘There wasn’t a bracelet. But there was a key.’
‘A key?’
Kat placed the chocolate on the coffee table and licked the tips of her fingers clean. ‘Yes, a key. To his place.’ Kat’s brow furrowed. ‘Spencer wants me to move in with him.’
Steph paused, her own chocolate that had been half-way to her mouth now suspended in the air. ‘He’s asked you to move in with him?’ Kat nodded her head, her lips pressed into a thin line. ‘Then why do you look like you’re about to burst into tears? Don’t you want to move in with him?’ Ten minutes ago, Steph would have bet her last piece of Chocolate Orange on the fact that Kat would want nothing more than to shack up with Spencer. She’d assumed her loved-up friend wanted it all; shiny diamond ring, big white dress and a house full of babies.
‘I do.’ Kat still looked on the verge of tears. ‘But it means moving out of here. It means I won’t live with you anymore and I don’t want to leave you on your own.’
Steph’s eyes widened. Her mouth drooped. She fought the urge to fill it with chocolate. ‘Is that why you look so miserable? Because of me?’ Steph dumped the chocolate on the coffee table and threw her arms around her friend. ‘Don’t be so daft! I’m so happy for you, Kat.’ At least one of them should have a happy, healthy relationship. ‘I know how much you love Spencer and he’s obviously crazy about you. Did you think I’d be upset?’
Kat gave a shrug. ‘You’ll have to find a new housemate to help with the rent.’
‘Good.’ Steph gave Kat a playful nudge. ‘Maybe I’ll find one who doesn’t leave toast crumbs all over the kitchen. Or one who remembers to buy milk. Should I warn Spencer that you’re pretty crap to live with?’
‘Hey!’ Kat picked up the cushion and swung it at Steph. ‘I’m not that bad.’
‘I know.’ Steph turned serious. ‘And I am going to miss living with you.’
‘I’ll miss living with you.’
‘Don’t worry, you’ll have hunky Spencer to take your mind off me.’
‘He is pretty hunky, isn’t he?’
‘The hunkiest. You’re a lucky girl.’
‘I know.’ Kat smiled briefly before the sadness returned. ‘Are you sure you’ll be alright?’
‘I’ll be absolutely fine, I promise you. Maybe I’ll get a male housemate this time. A gorgeous one I can “accidentally” catch mid-shower.’
‘And maybe you can hide all of his tops so he has to walk around topless.’
Fab idea!’ Steph leapt from the sofa. ‘I’ll write that down. Got any more tips?’
Over a bottle of wine, the last two measly segments of Chocolate Orange and a slightly out of date mince pie each, the girls concocted a plan of action for Steph’s new housemate/love interest. Kat was looking much more relaxed by the end of the evening and could finally look forward to the new year of living with Spencer. And who knows? Maybe Steph would find someone to woo her with chocolates. There were certainly worse ways to be wooed.


Click here to view all short stories

Friday, 5 December 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Christmas: Ruth's Festive Favourites

As Christmas is approaching, Ruth has decided to share her festive favourites. We'd love to hear about yours too!
 
 
 
Food
You can't beat a good old fashioned Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. I'll even tolerate sprouts one day a year (it is a special occasion, after all).
 
Drink
I could choose mulled wine or a delicious cocktail but hot chocolates are a firm favourite of mine during the colder months. At Christmas, it has to have marshmallows and whipped cream too (it is a special occasion, after all).
 
Film
This has to be Love Actually. Richard Curtis films are legendary anyway, but add Christmas into the mix and you've got yourself a perfect film!
 
Music
2 Become 1 by The Spice Girls. It's not overly festive but it's played a LOT at Christmastime (which is no bad thing!)
 
TV
There's such a lot to choose from but, for me, it has to be The Vicar of Dibley Christmas special where Geraldine ends up having (but not really enjoying) several Christmas lunches.
 
Five Quick Fire Festives
 
Tree: Real or Fake
Fake! I love a Christmas tree but I don't want to have to clean up after it!
 
Mince pies or Christmas pudding?
Both? (It is a special occasion, after all)
 
Fairy lights: white or multi-colour?
Definitely multi-colour. The brighter and gaudier the better!
 
Tree topper: angel or star?
Angel! Far prettier.
 
Wizzard or Slade?
Tough one! I'm going with Wizzard for two reasons - top beard and I really do wish it could be Christmas every day.
 
 
 
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

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My Festive Reads: My Favourite Festive Read

 
 
Miracle On Regent Street
 
by
 
Ali Harris
 
 
Evie Taylor, a girl with a big heart, gets lost in the big city. For the past two years, Evie has lived an invisible life in London. Her neighbours think she's just moved in, her sister mistakes her for a live-in nanny, and even Evie's manager at work can't remember her name. 

 But all that is about to change . . . this Christmas has brought a flurry of snow and unimaginable possibilities into town. 

 Evie works in the stockroom of an old-fashioned, family-run, London fashion department store. Hardy's is a beautiful, wood-panelled jewellery box of a building, but it's in dire need of a makeover. 

 One day Evie overhears that if the entire store's takings don't turn round by Dec 26th - 3 weeks' time - the family who own it will be forced to sell to one of the big chains. Hardy's is in need of a Christmas miracle.

 Determined to save her beloved store, Evie hatches a plan to secretly transform it into a magical place to shop again. But has the time come for her to be noticed too? When an accidental romantic encounter with handsome, enigmatic Nate gives her the chance of a whole new identity, she takes it.
 
*     *     *     *     *
 
I love a good festive read, especially those that fill you the magic and excitement of the season and Miracle On Regent Street by Ali Harris certainly did. I read Miracle On Regent Street back in 2011 and it's still my favourite festive read. I loved the setting of the department store as it filled with Christmas shoppers and I thought the book had a great cast of characters.

In my review of the book in 2011, I said I thought the book was 'a perfect Christmas read' and I couldn't agree more with my past self!
 
 
 
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


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On Strike For Christmas by Shelia Roberts

Today I'm pleased to be taking part in Sheila Roberts' blog tour with a review of her festive book, On Strike For Christmas.

 
 
Joy loves the festive season, from baking cookies to making bonbons with her daughter and the family gatherings. But her husband, Bob doesn't share her enthusiasm for Christmas. Especially the family gatherings, which he finds tedious.
 
Fed up of her husband's bah humbug attitude, Joy decides to go on strike over the festive period, leaving all of the plans to Bob. Joy hopes that being responsible for their Christmas will ignite a love of all things festive in Bob - or a tolerance at the very least.
 
When Laura, a friend of Joy's through their knitting group, learns of Joy's strike, she decides to join in too. Laura has the opposite problem to Joy; her husband, Glen loves Christmas and socialising but the problem is, he leaves everything, from the planning to clearing up afterwards to his wife. Laura is fed up of entertaining Glen's guests. If he wants to throw parties, he can plan and execute them himself!
 
With Joy and Laura on strike for Christmas, word begins to spread, first through their knitting group and then through the whole town. With the town's women on strike, will lessons be learned? Or will Christmas be a complete disaster?
 
On Strike For Christmas is a fun read that explores the stereotypes of Christmas. Christmas preparations are often seen as 'women's work' and the women of Holly are tired of being the ones solely responsible and take action. It was fun to see what would happen once the women took a back seat. Would the menfolk triumph? Or would the women take the victory? Throughout the book, the balance shifted between the two and I liked that it wasn't a book completely slating men. In fact, the women of the town had just as much to learn as the men. The men in Holly could be pretty sexist at times, often referring to 'chicks' and 'chick's work', so I enjoyed seeing their comeuppance when the Christmas load was dumped on their shoulders and they were forced to live the lives of their wives and partners.
 
As well as the women striking, we also have the story of Carol, a fellow member of Joy and Laura's knitting group. Carol has been widowed for a few years and still can't bring herself to celebrate Christmas without her husband. So she is angry that her friends and neighbours don't appreciate what they've got. Although I found Carol could be quite a self-righteous at times, I did start to warm to her character more as the book moved along and we got to learn more about her and the charity work that she does. My favourite character from the book was Glen, Laura's husband. He really does try to fill his wife's shoes while she is on strike but he can't seem to stop disaster after disaster from striking.
 
On Strike For Christmas is full of character and Christmas spirit. It's a real battle of the sexes with a festive twist!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Free Festive Reads

Last year, I compiled a list of free festive reads from Amazon and, as there is still little greater than a festive read - and one that doesn't cost a penny - I thought I'd do the same this year!

Please note: the books were free at the time of posting but please check the price before you click buy!

Also, some of the books from last year's list are still free so it's worth checking out! (You can view last year's post here)


 
A Beginner's Guide To Christmas
by Jennifer Joyce
(yep, that's me. I'm being cheeky - again - and going first)

 
Ruth usually spends Christmas curled up on her parents’ sofa, watching feel-good movies whilst being fed festive food and drink until she can no longer move. But Ruth’s perfect Christmas is shattered when her mum receives a DIY-induced injury and Ruth is forced to take over the preparations.

Shopping. Cooking. A house full of hyped-up kids.

Christmas may no longer be the most wonderful time of the year.
 

Available at:

 
 
 
Another Cup of Christmas
by Jenny Kane
 
 
Five years ago the staff of Pickwicks cafe in Richmond were thrown into turmoil when their cook and part-owner, Scott was involved in an accident. With help from his wife, friends and the staff at the local hospital, he bounced back.

Now Pickwicks is preparing to host a special Christmas fundraiser to thank the hospital. Pickwicks waitress Megan and Nick, the ward’s administrator are put in charge to organise the whole thing. Megan and Nick’s emails start out as harmless practicality but soon turn flirtatious ... Can you actually fall for someone you’ve never met?

As the fundraiser draws closer, Megan finds out that Nick is bringing someone, did she imagine the whole thing...
 
Available at:
 
 
 
All I Want For Christmas
by Claudia Carroll
 
 
Christmas with the one you love. It’s going to be perfect … isn’t it?
 
Three couples. Three Christmases. One perfect day!
 
In three days Lucy and Andrew will to fly to Mexico for their beautiful wedding. What’s a twenty-year age gap when you’re this in love? Christmas dinner feels like the perfect occasion to introduce the two families to each other. What could possibly go wrong?
 
Workaholic Jo Hargreaves spends most of her Christmas day wondering where her unreliable new husband is.
 
Dawn and Kirk spend hours slaving over a mung-bean based vegan festive lunch - but Dawn’s mum is struggling to keep her true feeling to herself.
 
Can these three couples manage the magical Christmas they’ve been dreaming of?
 
Available at:
 


Driving Home For Christmas
by Emma Hannigan


Christmas at Huntersbrook House has always been a family tradition - log fires, long walks through the snowy fields and evenings spent in the local pub. And this year the three grown-up Craig children are looking forward to the holidays more than ever. Pippa to escape her partying lifestyle and mounting debts in Dublin; Joey the demands of his gorgeous girlfriend who seems intent on coming between him and his family; and Lainey to forget about her controlling ex and his recent engagement to another woman.

But with the family livery yard in financial trouble, this Christmas could be the Craig family's last at Huntersbrook as they face the prospect of selling the ancestral house.

As the holiday season gets underway, the family need to come up with a way to save their home, and face the problems they've been running away from in Dublin. And what better place to figure things out than around the fire at Huntersbrook House?
 
Available at:
 
 
 
Bah, Humbug
by Heather Horrocks
 
 
BAH, HUMBUG! (A Romantic Comedy Christmas Novella)

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block--until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes it’s the perfect solution to his plot problem. He digs in and discovers two things: one, his villain’s weapon will fit inside a snowman's body, and two, this particular snowman was supposed to be the backdrop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship, but can there be a happy ending for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.
 
Available at:
 
 
 
Next Christmas Will Be Different
by Pauline Barclay
 
 
A 20 minute festive read! When the O’Reilly family gather for the festive season it is a time for catching up, eating too much and making promises, but can the promises be kept?

NOTE!! This 20 minute read includes five chapters from each of the four published books by Pauline Barclay.
 
Available at:
 
 
 
Mistletoe & Memories
by Matilda Maxwell
 
 
Christmas is Eden's favourite holiday, until Declan Fox reappears in her life to put a dampener on her festive spirit. The boy who made her school years a misery isn't the boy he used to be, though. Matured and working as a mechanic, Eden starts to see a side to him she never knew was there.

While Declan used to find any excuse to torment Eden, now he uses any excuse he can to talk to her, at least, until an unexpected sleepover takes them both by surprise. As Declan cuts off all contact, Eden is convinced his sudden desire to get close to her was another of his childish pranks.

Suddenly, the most wonderful time of the year turns into a time of self-doubt that no amount of mince pies and feel-good Christmas movies can fix. However, when Declan shows up under the mistletoe, Eden has a big decision to make. With him blowing hot and cold, can she really trust that he's grown up and changed, or will the memories of the past keep her from having a chance with the one guy she could never forget?

Mistletoe & Memories is a New Adult Contemporary Romance novella.
 
Available at: