Monday 30 November 2015

Book of The Month: November

It is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Day!

Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas lights and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated. Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle . . .

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A Merry Mistletoe Wedding is the follow up to last year's festive release, It Must Have Been The Mistletoe. I loved It Must Have Been The Mistletoe - so much so that it was my favourite festive read of 2014. So I was excited to learn there was another instalment and a chance to catch up with Thea and her family.

While It Must Have Been The Mistletoe was full of festive spirit, a lot of A Merry Mistletoe Wedding takes place between September and November as Thea and Sean plan their wedding, so there wasn't as much of an abundance of Christmas magic in the follow up. But I did enjoy the book immensely and it was brilliant to catch up with the characters and see where their lives have brought them. I particularly warmed to Charlotte this time round and she quickly became my favourite character, closely followed by Thea's dad, Mike, who provided some laugh-out-loud moments for me.

My full review of A Merry Mistletoe Wedding will be here on the blog as part of the blog tour soon.

Sunday 29 November 2015

Carina Christmas Party

On Wednesday, my publisher organised a party for its authors at the office in London. If you read my post in April about attending Kirsty Greenwood's launch party for The Vintage Guide To Love and Romance, you will know that London and I do not get on so well. Mostly because I'm a geography-challenged doofus. Ok, that's the only reason.

But I was excited to go along and meet the other authors as well as the Carina team. The party wasn't until the evening but I set off from Manchester late-morning, giving me plenty of time to find the office and the bar we'd planned to meet up in beforehand. Ha! I had hours to find them - and I used them all up as I got horribly lost. Surprise, surprise, eh?

Despite being given directions, I managed to get the tube to the wrong station and therefore the rest of the directions didn't make any sense. Not realising, off I went and found myself at Tower Bridge. Although I was heading in the wrong direction, this wasn't so bad as I'd never even seen the Thames, never mind Tower Bridge. So I had a good nosey about before I set off in search of the office.

Some time later (like, a couple of hours), I found the office and the bar to meet up with the authors. As I'd never met anybody before, it was nice to meet up before the party and arrive at the office together. The building is amazing and we were 17 floors up with floor-to-ceiling windows displaying the view of London.

There was lots of festive music and big screens displaying our covers (it was a special moment seeing The Mince Pie Mix-Up up there) as well as canapes and plenty of drinks. After only ever speaking to the other authors on Twitter and Facebook, it was nice to finally them in person - as well as my editor, Charlotte.

After being pointed in the right direction to the right station, I made it home without any detours. I forgot to take any photos at the party (it clearly isn't only geography I'm challenged with) but I did take a few of Tower Bridge...

Saturday 28 November 2015

My Festive Reads: How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

Last year, Eve's Christmas was perfect, with her boyfriend, Liam proposing. But, after discovering an intimate photo on Liam's phone and discovering he's been cheating on her, Eve will be spending this Christmas alone.

Eve can't stand the thought of spending Christmas at her family home - the scene of last year's proposal - so she takes herself away to take a month-long pottery course, residing on a houseboat moored on a river in the village. There, she meets local vet Greg, who teaches her to cook while escaping his own troubles at home. But who is he escaping from and why does he have to continually dash off?

I've been itching to read How To Stuff Up Christmas and I'm so glad I finally got the chance to. I was immediately drawn into Eve's story and wishing bad things to happen to her ex and, as lovely and funny as Eve's family is, I could understand why she wanted to get away and be on her own this Christmas. There are too many memories of last Christmas, which have been tainted by Liam's betrayal. Eve chooses a pottery class as a distraction and an excuse to get away and I loved the scenes at the class with the mix of characters attending the classes. I also loved the scenes with Eve and local vet, Greg as they strike up a friendship with the hint of something more. The only problem is Eve is still hung up on Liam and Greg has problems of his own, but I was hoping the two would get together as they made a great pairing and have wonderful chemistry. Greg is such a fabulous hero; handsome without being arrogant and so patient and caring.

And then there's Eve's family, who I mentioned are lovely and funny. Harriet is a brilliant older sister to Eve and I liked the bond between them, especially as we see more of it towards the end of the book. But my favourite character of all was Eve's dad, especially when paired up with her mum. They're completely different characters but they work so well together and created some fantastic laugh-out-loud moments for me. I would read a whole book dedicated to Eve's mum and dad's daily life!

I loved the setting of the book, which mostly takes place in Pangbourne, a gorgeous-sounding village that's gearing up for the festive season. It sounds so quaint and tight-knit and I wanted to jump into the pages and join Eve on the boat with her adorable dog, Marmite. Another element of the book I liked were the recipes at the beginning of some of the chapters, especially the recipes for the more simpler dishes, which added another element of humour. Eve isn't the greatest cook to begin with and I liked how food and cooking was a running theme within the book, igniting a spark of friendship between Eve and Greg and bringing them closer together.

How to Stuff Up Christmas is a gorgeously festive romantic comedy with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and, despite the devastating beginning for Eve, a good dose of romance.

My Festive Reads is a feature celebrating all things bookish and Christmassy.

Click here to see all My Festive Reads posts

Friday 27 November 2015

My Christmas Reads: Guest Post by Jaimie Admans

Why oh why doesn’t Christmas last longer? Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of the festive season. It can’t come early enough for me – as soon as October sets in, out come the Christmas socks and jumpers while I search desperately through my TV for a channel showing a hint of a Christmas film or playing a bit of Christmas music. I develop a dependence on the 24-hour internet radio stations that thankfully play festive tunes all year round. One of the biggest reasons behind my eagerness to get started on the festive season is so I can also get started on my festive reading list. It’s a reading list that seems to grow every year as more Christmassy books are released, and ones that I didn’t find time to read last year are carried over, and the truth is I could read Christmas books all year round and never make a dent in my festive to-read list! So each year I choose the ones that sound the absolute best (a difficult task as pretty much every Christmas book sounds amazing to me!) and make sure they’re on the front page of my Kindle, and every year I snuggle up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and one of the Christmas channels on the TV beside me, and lose myself in Christmassy goodness!

A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

The Accidental Guest (Once Upon a Winter series, Book 1) – Tilly Tennant

The Mince Pie Mix-Up – by a certain Jennifer Joyce!

The Little Bookshop on the Seine – Rebecca Raisin

Christmas at Lilac Cottage and Snowflakes on Silver Cover – Holly Martin

How to Stuff Up Christmas – Rosie Blake

A Christmas Tail – Cressida McLaughlin

There are many, many more Christmas books I want to read than this little list, but we’d be here until next Christmas if I tried to list them all, these are just my 2015 must-reads!

I’m also a festive writer this year, as I have a novella featured in Carina’s anthology Christmas Wish Come True.

My story is the last in the book, it’s called Christmas Every Day, and it’s about Emma - her life is pretty dull and the highlight of her day is saying hello to Gorgeous Dog Walker, a man she passes when she takes her dog out each night. She doesn’t even know his name, but all that changes when she (accidentally!) pushes him under a bus and he ends up in a coma, and Emma finds herself taking over his very unusual job and learning the secret of his very unusual identity!

It’s a story that’s had a couple of different titles and gone through a lot of changes over the past couple of years, but I’m so pleased it will finally be out in the world on December 4th, and bundled in with two other lovely festive stories to warm your Christmas cockles!

And as we speak, I’m supposed to be writing next year’s Christmas novel, but I’m procrastinating (again!) by thinking about all the lovely Christmas books out this year – again!

Happy Christmas reading, everyone!

Christmas Wish Come True on Amazon:

My website: and Twitter:

Jaimie is a 30-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea, and watching horror movies. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she sounds like a dying hyena. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots. She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She has been writing for years but has only recently plucked up the courage to tell anyone. She is the author of romantic comedy Kismetology and young adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.

If you'd like to take part in My Festive Reads, email me at

You can find out more information about My Festive Reads and more ideas 

Thursday 26 November 2015

The Mince Pie Mix-Up Playlist

I love Christmas music, so it was such a joy to put together the playlist for The Mince Pie Mix-Up. I’ve listed my chosen songs below but I’ve also put together the playlist on Spotify, which you can listen to using the Spotify box below. So grab a mince pie and a mug of hot chocolate and let’s get our Christmas on!

1. The Christmas Song (Bing Crosby)

2. Step Into Christmas (Elton John)

3. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey)

4. Baby It’s Cold Outside (Lady Antebellum)

5. Jingle Bell Rock (Daryll Hall & John Oates)

6. Fairytale of New York (Kirsty McColl & The Pogues)

7. Last Christmas (Wham!)

8. Walking In A Winter Wonderland (Bing Crosby)

9. Merry Christmas Everybody (Slade)

10. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (Wizzard)

11. Driving Home For Christmas (Chris Rea)

‘I wish I could live your life. I’d happily swap lives with you.’

’Tis the season to be jolly but for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! Judy’s convinced that her husband has it easy – no glittery wrapping paper, no playground gossip and absolutely no Christmas baking.

Calvin wishes he could trade in his obnoxious boss and dull nine-to-five job to spend more time kicking back with his kids – how hard can Judy’s life really be?

But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life for Judy and Calvin will never be the same again. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener after all…

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | iTunes

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Time To Get Bundled Up Again!

It's so cold, I'm bundled up again. Carina have created another cosy bundle, with The Mince Pie Mix-Up nestled up with two more festive reads.

Snuggle up with not one, not two, but three fabulous festive romances this holiday season!

Wish Upon A Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn

When Katie Warham wished for the best Christmas ever, she never expected her ex-boyfriend Sam to turn up on her doorstep! But as the snow begins to fall, Katie begins to wonder…could her Christmas wish actually come true?

What Happens at Christmas… by T.A. Williams

Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer, Jack, that has her re-thinking her three-date rule. And with only a few days until Christmas, there’s magic in the air…anything could happen!

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce

’Tis the season to be jolly, yet for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life will never be the same again…
Once Upon A Christmas is available from Amazon now

Tuesday 24 November 2015

#AmWriting - I promise

I haven't updated my #AmWriting posts since September but I have been writing, I promise.

I've been a busy (writing) bee since the last post, finishing and posting my Halloween short story, The Ghost of Halloween Past (which you can read here or view all my short stories), publishing The Mince Pie Mix-Up and writing a new festive short story, which I'll be sharing on the blog soon. It's set in The Green Teapot, which will be familiar if you've read The Mince Pie Mix-Up!

As well as all that, I completed my 'Delilah' book, which will be published by Carina around March(ish) 2016. I love my main character, Delilah James and I can't wait to share her with you. I'll keep you updated on covers and blurbs etc as soon as possible. I have no idea what the cover is going to be like so I'm looking forward to having a peek!

I'm also still working away at my next book (I told you I've been busy writing). This first draft is a bit slow-going but I'll get there, word by word. At the moment I'm around 25,000 words in so I've made a good start. Hopefully that number will have grown by my next #AmWriting update!

Monday 23 November 2015

I'm Bundled Up This Christmas!

And I'm not just talking hats, scarves and gloves (although they are present every time I leave the house - brr). No, I'm talking about a festive book bundle of Carina authors. Three festive books have been bundled up to create Under The Mistletoe.

Three sparkling Christmas stories in one, perfect for an evening keeping warm in front of the fire

Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge

The festive season wasn’t looking too bright for Kimmy Jones, newly single – and homeless – she needed some luck this Christmas! Then, as winter closes in, she lands a gorgeous temporary home and her dream of starting a cupcake company begins to come true. It seems like Kimmy might just get everything she wished for this Christmas – all except for oh-so-handsome handyman Luke…

The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce

’Tis the season to be jolly, yet for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life will never be the same again! Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener after all…

Baby It’s Cold Outside by Kerry Barrett

Snow is in the air, but all Esme and Jamie can think about is their romantic wedding…that is until an avalanche seals off their mountain hometown from the outside world. Esme will need all the Christmas magic she can get to pull off her dream wedding, but will they make it to the church on time?

Under The Mistletoe is available from Amazon now

Sunday 22 November 2015

A Chat With... B R Maycock

Can you tell us about your book?

It Started With A Snub is a romantic comedy which tells the story of a quirky, happy go lucky twenty-something named Heather as she moves in with four guys, much to the disgust of her boyfriend Graham. It concentrates on each of them and all of them with ups, downs, laughs and shocks galore!

What was your inspiration for It Started With A Snub?

One night while I was binge-watching ‘Friends,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ the guys jumped into my head and wouldn’t leave until I started putting them down on paper!

What has been your greatest experience since publishing your book?

I’d probably say it was receiving an email from a stranger asking would I think about doing a sequel and saying that some of the characters had jumped into her head a few times when she was reading other books. It really is true that you write just because you have a story or some people in your head that you want to get out, and you hope that others will like them too, but to see it in an eamail or hear it is just something else :) :) :)

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read all around you, it really is reflected in your writing and it teaches you so much. When you’ve ‘finished’ take a step away from it all to let you see it with a new perspective (as long as possible, even months, you can be working away on other things in the background but you need a complete break from the actual piece). Never ever ever self edit unless you’re a qualified editor, you won’t know what you’re looking for. Oh and enjoy it all, that’s why you’re doing it (shuts up and jumps off pedestal)!!!

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?

Definitely would have been a Saddle Club book by Bonnie Bryant, I was a horse addict when I was younger!

What was the last book you read?

Dream A Little Dream by Giovanni Fletcher (would highly recommend!)

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a book that is the continuation of a short story I wrote for one of the Imagine Write Inspire anthologies ‘Stop Waiting for Friday’ (Carmel Harrington’s writing group which I’m lucky enough to be in) anthology. It’s about a young single mother trying to make it in the working world after she decides it’s time to be a responsible grown up. It’s a romantic comedy with love, friendship and some good old fashioned competition!

You can find out more about B R Maycock and her book on:


BRMaycock’s book blog




Saturday 21 November 2015

My Festive Reads: Carole Colbert
Today I'm delighted to welcome Carole Colbert from Carole's Book Corner, who will be sharing some of the festive reads she's enjoyed recently.
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I love a good Christmassy read, curling up by the fire while the cold winds are howling outside and the snow or rain is falling.  They really put me in the festive spirit during the cold winter months.  Here are some recent book reviews that are set around Christmas time ..... they're not all feel-good stories but most of them are.

What are some of your favourite festive reads?

A year to forget .... the perfect escape ..... and a little Christmas magic

One of my favourite Christmas reads



A sparkling collection of short stories based around the guests staying in a hotel over Christmas

I don't normally enjoy short stories but I loved these!




Her heart was frozen ...... this winter can love melt it once and for all .... ?

Another fabulous yuletide read set around a Christmas Theme Park



For some, Christmas can be murder .......

A brilliantly chilling and clever psychological thriller set around the 12 days of Christmas



Her man is gone by she'll stay strong for her family this Christmas

An easy read, set over several Christmases during the war years



Christmas is coming but not everyone is looking forward to it .....

A wonderful feel good story



A love story to warm your heart

This is my no.1 favourite Christmas read .... with a mystery, a cute puppy and a brilliant story and characters .... fabulous!

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You can find out more about Carole on her blog or on Twitter

If you'd like to take part in My Festive Reads, email me at

You can find out more information about My Festive Reads and more ideas 

Friday 20 November 2015

My Festive Reads: Guest Post by Raven McAllan


When Jennifer gave me some suggestions for this blog, which revolved around Christmas reading, I panicked.

I love reading and I love Christmas, but I don’t seem to have anything that links them together. I read all the time. Whatever takes my fancy. After all it might be snowy here and sunny on the other side of the world, so it makes no difference to me what I read when.

I love Christmas. I can spend happy hours decorating the house, choosing and wrapping presents and listening to ‘Carols from Kings’, and the all time top Christmas song 50 or some such thing.

But festive books or favorite childhood festive reads stumped me.

Oh I read Little Women, who didn’t, and mourned with Jo over the Christmas won’t be Christmas bit, but I read it on holiday in the summer. I was always allowed to choose three new books for our annual holiday, and I remember that was one of them.

As for books for the season?

Nope, I read them when I want to.

With a Birthday in December you’d think that well, you get books in December so what’s the problem? Well yes I did, because books were always my request if I was asked what I wanted. I’d have a list and cross them off. The Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, and all of Arthur Ransome’s books , were top of the list for years.

Were any of them Christmas stories? Not that I can remember.

So you can imagine I was thinking, well what can I write about?

Then I remembered something, and I’d guess to anyone outside of Scotland or anyone not an expat Scot somewhere in the world, this will mean nothing. But even today in my 60’s, I insist on the Oor Wullie or The Broons annual. ( Year and year about) D C Thomson’s comic strip that appear n the Sunday Post, and make it into a biannual book. Wullie and his bucket, The Bairn and her dictatorial ways… Ah the memories.

So I guess you can say, as long as I have a new book be it on paper or on my eReader, and the annual, I’m happy.

That I guess is my Festive reading ritual… Which reminds me I must make my Santa list.

But… Isn’t there always a ‘but’?

I have Christmas stories all with

A Dom for Christmas (out now)

Holly’s Christmas Dom ( December 11th)

The Dukes’ Christmas Abductions (December 7th) With Doris O’Connor

Where ever you are and whatever you celebrate, have a great time,

Love Raven x

Thursday 19 November 2015

The Mince Pie Mix-Up: A Book In Pictures

From planning and typing out the words 'Chapter One' to seeing your book on sale, the journey of a book is a pretty long and sometimes arduous one. I took photos along the way, which I thought I'd share here on the blog.

3rd November 2014 - Chapter One of The Mince Pie Mix-Up (although it wasn't called that yet)

I've been waiting a long time to do this - signing a two-book deal with Carina UK

July 2015 - revisions of The Mince Pie Mix-Up. Summer isn't very festive so I've had to create a cosy Christmas atmosphere myself with festive music, a Rudolf mug and a little silver Christmas tree decoration hanging on the pin board next to my desk

At my desk with my festive mug

Making notes for myself during my revisions

The cover for The Mince Pie Mix-Up

The Mince Pie Mix-Up has been revised and edited, the acknowledgements and dedication have been written. It's time for a final read-through to make sure I'm happy with all the changes. This is when I see how the book will be set out when released

6th November 2015 - Publication Day of The Mince Pie Mix-Up and I get to see the book on my Kindle!

‘I wish I could live your life. I’d happily swap lives with you.’

’Tis the season to be jolly but for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! Judy’s convinced that her husband has it easy – no glittery wrapping paper, no playground gossip and absolutely no Christmas baking.

Calvin wishes he could trade in his obnoxious boss and dull nine-to-five job to spend more time kicking back with his kids – how hard can Judy’s life really be?

But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life for Judy and Calvin will never be the same again. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener after all…

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | iTunes

Wednesday 18 November 2015

My Festive Reads: Festive Cover Stars 2015

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover - but we all do, right?
I love Christmassy covers, whether they're cosy-looking or bright and cheerful and there are some gorgeous festive covers out this year. I've picked three of my favourites to share!
The Fox At The Manger
by P L Travers
About The Book
For the first time since the war, the Christmas peal is ringing at St Paul's Cathedral. There is joy. There is new hope. It is Christmas Eve, the carol service has ended, and a woman with three small boys leaves the cathedral, the children swooping like pigeons.

'Why weren't there any wild animals at the crib? Haven't they got something to give?' asked one of the children.
And I heard myself say, 'Yes, they have.'
Was it true, what I told them? Did I dream it? Where it came from I do not know but I seemed to remember every word, just as if I had heard it . . .

Outside the cathedral, the children are told the nativity story from a unique perspective: that of a fox. Despite the scorn of the other animals, he enters the stable to offer the child a gift that only he can give.
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I love the classic cover for The Fox At The Manger, especially the vibrant colours used. In real life, the red bow really stands out against the teal, making this cover extremely strokable.
You can see my review of The Fox At The Manger here
The Twelve Dates of Christmas
by Lisa Dickenson
About The Book
At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .
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The Twelve Dates of Christmas was originally released as an ebook serial but this year it's all been packaged into a gorgeous paperback with a bright and cheerful cover. It's gorgeously sparkly and I love the little details, such as the London skyline in the background and - my favourite bit - the little hearts on the ferris wheel.
You can see my review of The Twelve Dates of Christmas here
How To Stuff Up Christmas
by Rosie Blake
About The Book
'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone...
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat?
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Another bright and cheerful festive cover but with a dash of humour. I love the toppled gingerbread man and the expression on his little biscuity face. The colours are perfect and the book really stands out on the shelf for me.
I can't wait to read How To Stuff Up Christmas and my review will be here on the blog soon.
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Although the covers are pretty different, I realised after picking them that they've all got a teal-coloured element to them. This is clearly the way to get me onside this Christmas!

I'd love to know which covers you're loving this year!
If you'd like to take part in My Festive Reads, email me at

You can find out more information about My Festive Reads

Tuesday 17 November 2015

My Festive Reads: Guest Post by Holly Martin

I love Christmas, it is absolutely my favourite time of year. I love the decorations, I love the lights. I love buying presents for my friends and family. I love the parties and celebrations, getting glammed up or just going round to my friends and toasting marshmallows over their fire. I love wearing stupid Christmas jumpers. I love the smells and the food, especially all the chocolates. I love Christmas movies, The Holiday, Love Actually or Muppets Christmas Carol. And I love Christmas books.

I love to read but I don’t get a lot of time for it. Christmas is the one time a year that if I’m not out with friends or family I’m curled up reading Christmas stories. I love the snow and the cute village settings in Christmas books. I love the log fires and the smells that pour from the pages. I love the wonderful decorations and the delicious foods. I love the quirky family relatives and the cooking disasters. I love the humour in these books but most of all I love the happy endings, the heartwarming huge smile on my face as I read it. I love getting to the end of a book and hugging my kindle because the story was so sweet and I loved it so much.

My favourite Christmas books have been from Lisa Dickenson and Sarah Morgan who tick all the boxes for me when it comes to Christmas, I’ve already read Sarah's Christmas book for this year Christmas Ever After and I absolutely loved it. I’m currently reading Wish Upon A Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn and it is so beautifully written. The books I’m most looking forward to curling up with this year are Rosie Blake's How To Stuff Up Christmas, Jennifer Joyce's Mince Pie Mix Up, The Accidental Guest by Tilly Tennant & Holly Hepburn's Snowdrops At The Star & Sixpence.

This year I have joined in on all the Christmas fiction fun and because I love Christmas so much I’ve written two full length books, Christmas at Lilac Cottage and Snowflakes on Silver Cove, both set in the same week in the tiny seaside town of White Cliff Bay in the week before Christmas. So readers who read both stories will see the same key events but from different points of view. I wanted to make sure that all the things I love about Christmas stories were included in the books, so the books are jam packed with snow, beautiful decorations, funny disasters and sweet heartwarming romances.


There are so many wonderful Christmas books this year that I’ll probably need 6 months to read them all, so I think people should start early with their festive reads and enjoy the Christmas season for as long as possible.

Christmas at Lilac Cottage can be found here

Snowflakes on Silver Cove can be found here

You can follow me on Twitter @hollymartin00

If you'd like to take part in My Festive Reads, email me at

You can find out more information about My Festive Reads

Monday 16 November 2015

Book Crafts: 5 Bookmas Gift Tags

5 Bookmas Gift Tags
I love books. I love Christmas. So I decided to combine them and make some Christmas - or Bookmas - gift tags.
I used luggage tags as my bases but you can create your own using card if you like.
1. Snowman Tag
Remove the string from your tag and cover in festive paper using glue or double-sided tape. I used paper with a purple snowflake design.
As the hole for the string has been covered, you will need to make a new one in the paper. Push a pencil through the paper, through the hole already in the tag. Place a blob of plasticine or blu tack underneath the tag so you don't bend or tear it.
Draw a snowman design on a piece of book proof paper. I used Sharpie pens, which didn't bleed on the paper.
Cut out and stick onto your tag.
Trim off a blank rectangle of page proof paper and stick onto your tag, trimming off the excess on the sides. Write a message and draw small dashes along the edges to create a border. I used the same colours from the snowman to tie it all together.
Pop the string back through the hole and you're done!
2. Blue Christmas Trees
Remove string from your tag and cover in a book proof page. Pierce a hole (as above) and draw a thin line in dark blue along the edge with a Sharpie pen.
Using a Christmas tree punch, punch out eleven trees in various shades of thin blue card.
Stick the trees onto the tag. I mixed up the shades but you could arrange them so the shade changes from light to dark.
Add a dark blue ribbon and you're done!
3. Holly Gift Tag
Trim your gift tag and create a border with a holly punch, rounding off the bottom edge and the top corners.
Create the holly by drawing two leaves on your book proof page and cutting them out.
Stick the leaves on the bottom left corner and add a small red button.
To finish off, stick a large red button at the top, covering the hole where the string is threaded.
4. Fluttery Tree
Remove the string from your gift tag. I wanted to add a beaded ribbon so I stuck this down using double sided tape before covering the tag in brown paper.
Layer four small sheets of book proof page, fold in half and cut out half a Christmas tree shape.
Unfold and stick one tree to the tag. Apply a small amount of glue or double sided tape down the middle of the tree and stick the next tree over, making sure you line up the edges.
Repeat for the third and fourth tree.
Fold the layers of tree towards the centre to create movement and a stick a button to the top of the tree. I used a yellow flower but you could use a star.
5. Xmas Tag
As above, remove the string and cover your gift tag in decorative paper and pierce a hole for the string. I used a pink snowflake design paper.
Using red and green Sharpie pens, draw and cut out the word 'XMAS' on your book proof page and cut out.
Stick the letters across the centre of the tag.
Stick a thin strip of green holographic paper or card across the bottom and add small red and green brads in a row above. I used the centres of the snowflakes as a guide.
To finish, back the tag with white card so the backs of the brads aren't showing and pierce a hole for the string. Re-loop the string and you're done!
So that's my five gift tags. These are just a few ideas of what you can make and there is a ton of inspiration on Pinterest. I'd love to see what you come up with!
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