Monday, 21 December 2015

Merry Christmas!



As Christmas is rapidly approaching and it's now the school holidays, I'm going to take a little blogging break until the new year. I'll still be around on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (you can't keep me away!)

I hope you all have a lovely, fun-filled Christmas and a very happy New Year. I'll see you back here in January 2016!

xxx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Mince Pie Mix-Up: Fun Facts



The Santa Clause


One of my favourite festive films is The Santa Clause. It’s a fun film centring around family with a sprinkling of magic, which is what I hope The Mince Pie Mix-Up is too, so I decided to take inspiration from the film when naming my characters. Most of the names – even down to Miller the dog - were inspired by The Santa Clause films.


Bite-sized

The Mince Pie Mix-Up started off as a much shorter novella at just over 22,000 words. My editor suggested I expand the story, which gave me the chance to develop the characters and story more.


Christmas Through Your Eyes

The book was initially inspired by the song ‘Christmas Through Your Eyes’ by Gloria Estefan. Although the song is about seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child again, it sparked the idea of experiencing Christmas in somebody else’s shoes


Working title

The Mince Pie Mix-Up’s working title was ‘Christmas Through Your Eyes’, due to the song inspiration.


The Green Teapot
 
The Green Teapot – and some of its staff and customers - have appeared in some of my short stories – The Chocolate Box, Pumpkin Pie at The Green Teapot and Mince Pies at The Green Teapot.


Magical fairy

The Mince Pie Mix-Up is my second book to feature a life-altering wish and a magical fairy, with Everything Changes But You being the first.


Christmas in July

I wrote a lot of the book during the summer, so to get me in the festive mood I drank my tea from a Christmas mug and stuck a mini Christmas tree ornament on my pin board.


Festive swears

Calvin’s boss, Perry is quite an angry man who doesn’t treat his staff very well. He swears a lot, but as I didn’t want my festive book to be littered with swears, I came up with the idea of replacing the swears with festive-themed words instead. This was a lot of fun!


Hartfield Hill

Hartfield Hill – where the book is set – is a fictional village where some of my short stories are set.


Benvenuti

In the original version, I didn’t know what a ‘Benvenuti’ was. It was simply an important campaign Calvin was working on. Once I started to develop the story further, I had to come up with a whole campaign!




About The Book

‘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…


The Mince Pie Mix-Up is available from Amazon and other e-tailers now

If you've read the book, I'd love to hear what you thought. You can leave a review here

And don't forget you can add the book to Goodreads or see all Book Extras

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

My Top Ten Books of 2015

Earlier I shared my book favourites of 2015 and now I'm going to share my Top Ten Books from this year.

It was tough narrowing my 70 plus reads down to just ten so choosing an order for the books would be too hard so I've cheated and put them in alphabetical order. Here we go...


































So that's my top ten! I'd love to know which books you've enjoyed this year.

Book Favourites of 2015

It's that time of year where I look back at all the books I've read over the past year and pick out my favourite bits to share with you. I've read a variety of books this year, including romantic comedies, psychological thrillers, historical fiction, full-length books and novellas.


I've chosen 11 'favourites' and, having read over 70 books during 2015, there have been some pretty tough decisions! But here we go...



Favourite Heroine


My favourite heroine of 2015 is Ruby from Rosamund Lupton's The Quality of silence.

Ruby, a young deaf girl, travels with her mother to Alaska in search of her missing father. I loved Ruby's humour and her childhood observations and she was by far my favourite character from the book.

You can see my review of The Quality of Silence here


Favourite Hero


My favourite hero of 2015 is Greg from How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake.

When Eve decides to spend Christmas on a houseboat in Pangbourne, she meets local vet Greg and they strike up a friendship. Greg sounds pretty perfect - he's handsome, fun and he can cook. But Greg, like most of us, isn't really perfect and has some problems going on, which only made him seem more human and made me warm to him more.

You can see my review of How To Stuff Up Christmas here


Favourite Villain


My favourite villain of 2015 is Ben from Ruth Dugdall's Humber Boy B.

I didn't think I'd warm to Ben at all in this book but I couldn't help feeling for him as he is released from prison after serving a sentence for pushing a boy from a bridge when he was younger, resulting in the boy's death. Over time we get to see what happened that day and how it resulted in the murder of a young boy, as well as finding out how Ben struggles with his newfound freedom.

You can see my review of Humber Boy B over on Novelicious here


Favourite Couple


My favourite couple of 2015 are Gemma and Dan from The Love Shack by Jane Costello.

Gemma and Dan move in with Dan's mother to save money to buy their dream home. The stress of moving in with Belinda puts a strain on their relationship but I hoped it wouldn't prove too much for them. Gemma throwing a tampon at Dan during a row is one of my book highlights of 2015!

You can see my review of The Love Shack here


Favourite Animal


My favourite animal of 2015 is Miley from Ali McNamara's The Little Flower Shop By The Sea.

There were a few strong contenders for this spot, including the adorable Disco from Cressida McLaughlin's Primrose Terrace series but in the end I picked Miley. Miley is a little capuchin monkey who is a little bit cheeky and a lot adorable. I wanted to take her from the pages and keep her!

You can see my review of The Little Flower Shop By The Sea here


Favourite Cover


My favourite cover of 2015 is The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter by Kate Winter.

Just look at it! It's gorgeous! The cover is quite simple but I love the vibrant colours used, as well as the fun font. I like how the focus is on the text, with a few summery flowers, butterflies and dragonflies added to add more interest.

You can see my review of The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter here


Favourite Summer Read


My favourite summer read of 2015 is The Love Shack by Jane Costello.

The Love Shack is a fun romantic comedy with lots of laugh-out-loud moments (including the above-mentioned tampon-throwing). It's full of brilliant characters, including my favourite couple of 2015, Gemma and Dan, and Dan's mum, Belinda.

You can see my review of The Love Shack here


Favourite Festive Read


My favourite festive read of 2015 is How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake.

How To Stuff Up Christmas is full of Christmas charm, making it a fantastic book to curl up with during the winter months with a hot chocolate to hand.

You can see my review of How To Stuff Up Christmas here


Favourite Historical Read


My favourite historical read of 2015 is We Shall Remember by Emma Fraser.

Set both during the late 1980s and the Second World War, there is mystery surrounding Sarah's mother's past. We meet Irena as she fights to survive Nazi occupation in Poland and find out how she is connected to Sarah's mother.

You can see my review of We Shall Remember over on Novelicious here


Favourite Novella


My favourite novella of 2015 is The Little Things by Jane Costello.

Most of the novellas I've read this year have been part of a series but The Little Things is completely standalone. It was a fun read and although it is short, it felt like a completely satisfactory story and I really enjoyed it.

You can see my review of The Little Things here


And now for my very favourite read of 2015 - or my Book of The Year. This one was an easy decision to make as this book stood out for me and was a seriously tough act to follow. The writing was fun, witty and incredibly engaging and the characters were, in the style of Craig Revel Horwood - fab-u-lous! From sassy Jessica Beam to timid Peach and old-fashioned Matilda. Then throw in uber-bitch Summer and a couple of handsome chaps and you've got yourself a brilliant read. I LOVED it and I can't wait for the follow up next year!


You can see my review of The Vintage Guide To Love and Romance here


So those are my bookish favourites of 2015. I'd love to hear your book favourites too!



Tuesday, 15 December 2015

My Festive Reads: Favourite Festive Read of 2015


I've enjoyed working my way through my festive TBR pile, reading about festive weddings, snowy New York as well as a more traditional Christmas story. So it was tough choosing a favourite festive read of 2015. But chosen I have!

The book I've chosen as my favourite was one of the most festive of my festive reads. It's full of cosy family traditions, festive baking and the kind of nippy weather you can actually enjoy as you're snuggled under a blanket with a hot chocolate. As well as being full of festive charm, the book is fun with a good splash of romance and an adorable dog as an added bonus.

So what is this book?

Can I have a drum roll please?

My favourite festive read of 2015 is...

How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake


I loved the book (and the cover) and thought it made a perfect Christmassy read. You can see my review of How To Stuff Up Christmas here



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

Click
here to see all My Festive Reads posts




Monday, 14 December 2015

My Festive Reads: A Christmas Kiss by Vicky Pattison


Amber Raey dreams of designer her own line, but that isn't going to happen in her current job. Working as a an assistant to one of the country's top designers, Amber is more likely to be dog-sitting than designing. But when Amber is approached by the head of a major fashion house, it seems all her dreams are about to come true, especially when she meets an American heartthrob who propels her into his life of glamour.

But Amber's life isn't quite as perfect as it seems and when a face from the past turns up, Amber's life is turned upside down. Can she right it again and make up for her mistakes in time for Christmas?

A Christmas Kiss is the first book I've read by Vicky Pattison so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a fun read full of northern humour and a cast of fantastic characters. I immediately warmed to Amber and I loved her outlook on life. She's a no-nonsense kind of girl and although she's quite ballsy, she has a heart of gold and cherishes her friends and family. What I liked most about Amber was that she wasn't perfect. She makes mistakes, which only made her more real for me.

I loved the bond she has with her flatmates, Tom and Jess and I can imagine the fun times the threesome have had over the years. They like to have a good time but they also look out for each other too. I also liked the friendship she forms with assistant Freddie and her new boss Alessandro is such a sweetheart and is so much more than a boss and becomes a real mentor for Amber.

Although the title and cover suggest a festive read, only a very small part of the book takes part at Christmas so it wasn't very festive at all, which is a shame as I was looking forward to immersing myself in a cosy Christmas read. I did enjoy the book but the suggested festive element was missing. But putting that aside, I thought the book was an enjoyable read that had me giggling in lots of places due to Amber's colourful way with words.



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

Click
here to see all My Festive Reads posts

My Festive Reads: In Pictures











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

Click
here to see all My Festive Reads posts