Sunday, 29 December 2013

Merry Twixtmas

It's that funny bit of the year that didn't have a name when I was growing up.  I'm a little late to wish you all a Happy Christmas, and a little early for New Year.  Still, I hope you're enjoying the festive season and haven't been too inconvenienced by the weather.

If, like me, you're already thinking about fitting in more big writing projects next year, you may enjoy my post over at Book in a Week about time management books for writers:

On the other hand, if you're looking for a smaller project, you may like last month's post on writing a haiku a day:

And finally, did you catch my visit to Melinda Dozier's blog before Christmas?  The Santa Next Door makes an appearance, and Melinda asks me some intriguing questions about writing and Christmas.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas: Ellen Butler, SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS

I was delighted with Melissa Stark's review of The Santa Next Door, and today I'm happy to be helping out by reviewing Ellen Butler's Second Chance Christmas as part of Melissa's 25 Days of Christmas series.  Have you visited yet?  If not, you can see all the stories on the blog, or read my review of Ellen Butler's book here:

By the way, don't forget the competition to win a pdf copy of The Santa Next Door is still running over at Melissa's blog, until Saturday 21st December.  All you have to do is leave a comment on your favourite Christmas food - is it the mince pies that feature in The Santa Next Door, or turkey, or something else?  So far, Italian Christmas food seems to be a hit!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Santa's out and about

As Christmas approaches, Santa is getting busier, and so is The Santa Next Door! 

I'm over the moon about Melissa Snark's delightful review on the 25 Days of Christmas, which you can read here:

And there's a sweet snippet from The Santa Next Door on Exquisite Quills' First Kiss Wednesday:

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Still Moments Magazine

This week I was excited to discover not one but two of my books reviewed in Still Moments Magazine's website!

You can read their short but sweet 4* review of The Santa Next Door here:

And Perfect Partners is here, with a slightly less exciting 3.5*:

I also loved discovering that my books were reviewed alongside Rachel Brimble's delightful historical, Love's Debt.  You can read her review here:

Monday, 2 December 2013

Book Review: Bells Will be Ringing

Bells Will Be RingingBells Will Be Ringing by Monica Tillery et al
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For me, the standout feature of this anthology was its sheer range. Bravely, the editors picked four stories which have nothing in common except Christmas... well, and sweet romantic storylines! The settings range from historic England to contemporary Hawaii and the mainland US.
I think my favourite story was 'His Hawaiian Christmas', for its charm and originality. In any other context, snow at Christmas would be a cliche, but in Hawaii it's magical and eye-opening. When laid-back-to-the-point-of-horizontal surfer-dude Kai takes uptight hotel manager Clara up a mountain to discover Hawaii's one and only chilly spot, he shows her there's more to him - and to the island paradise - than she's previously realised.
Another strong contender for favourite story was 'Merry's Wonderful Christmas Gift', an endearing historical romp with an English village setting, complete with oak trees and mistletoe. With a charmingly natural heroine and a hero as upright as the proverbial oak, this story left me thoroughly nostalgic for traditional village Christmases.
'Her Secret Santa' was another touching tale, putting a fresh seasonal twist on the old, old story of best friends who almost miss realising that the way they care for each other is so much more than just friendship. Candy developer Rebecca and lawyer Ben are a perfect match, but keeping each other at arm's length, until a secret Santa with an uncanny insight into her tastes forces her to open her eyes to her true feelings.
Last but by no means least, 'Gavin Fever' is a light and funny story, as Julia's friends and an unexpected snowstorm conspire to reunite her with the ex she ran from, and force her to consider whether she's really managed to put him back in the past.
All in all, there's something here for everyone, and although not all the stories were ones I would have picked to read as standalone books, every one was a sweet and satisfying read.

(NB: I read an Advance Review Copy of Bells Will be Ringing, which is due for release on 23 December, and is now available for pre-order.)

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