Book Review: A Christmas Feast by Katie Fforde

 

Title: A Christmas Feast and other stories
 
Author: Katie Fforde
 
Publisher:
 
RRP: 6.99
 
 
 

A Page of Love rating:
 
 



Book Description:

A delicious Christmas feast of short stories from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

Add some extra sparkle to your Christmas by joining Katie Fforde for a perfect, romantic Christmas feast of short stories. Collected together for the first time and including one brand new story.

Make your Christmas wishes come true...

Includes an exclusive sneak preview of Katie's new novel, A Vintage Wedding.


Dawn's Thoughts:


This is the perfect Christmas feast to have on any bookshelf. With the super busy Christmas season that has the magic of taking the month away from you without you realising it, reading can be something that really is a luxury.
 
Katie Fforde has created a treasure chest of Christmas delight in this book filled with short stories that range from a few pages to quite a few more. Perfect to have for those waiting room moments, those moments when you are waiting for the oven to cook your delicious creation, and you have a few moments to yourself.
 
I loved dipping into this book throughout December when I had a few moments to spare, and it also helped me escape the hectic hustle and bustle that Christmas brings with it.
 
There was the sweet story of how bumping into one another in the supermarket whilst doing 'the' Christmas shopping led to a hint of romance, and there was the beautiful tale of the publicist finding love with her author when she got stranded in Scotland due to heavy snow and ended up delivering his dogs puppies!
 
Set out in true feast style, there is everything from starters, to cheeseboard, to main course stories and dessert! This is a beautiful gift from Katie Fforde in that she shares so many sweet, short and tasteful stories to keep you warm over the chilly months.

Book Review: The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver




 
 
 Author: Jenny Oliver
 
 Publisher: Carina
 
 RRP: £7.99
 
 Amazon Price: Paperback £7.19   or Kindle £1.99
 
 
  A Page of Love Rating:
 
 
 
Book Description:
 
 
Welcome to the most celebrated patisserie competition in Paris – ready, steady, bake!
 
Watching snowflakes settle on the Eiffel Tower, Rachel Smithson’s cosy English village feels very far way – as, thankfully, does her commitment-phobic ex, probably already kissing someone else under the mistletoe. But Rachel hasn’t come to Paris to mope she’s come to bake. Hard.  Because the search for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice is about to begin! And super-chef judge Henri Salernes is an infamously tough cookie. But Rachel isn’t about to let her confidence (or pastry) crumble. She’s got one week, mounds of melt-in-the-mouth macaroons and towers of perfect profiteroles to prove that she really is a star baker.  As well as clouds of flour, and wafts of chocolate and cinnamon, there’s definitely a touch of Christmas magic in the air… Rachel hasn’t come to Paris looking for a fairy-tale romance, but the city of love might gift-wrap her one anyway…  Not even a dusting of icing sugar could make The Parisian Christmas Bake Off a more perfect Christmas treat!



Dawn's Thoughts: 

Oh my Christmas was saved!!! I thought that I had found ALL the puddings worth reading this festive season, and I was starting to feel glum and had that "is it really all over?" feeling in the pit of my stomach. But thank goodness for Jenny Oliver and her masterpiece The Parisian Christmas Bake Off!

I devoured this book in less than 24 hours as I literally - COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. I just don't know what my hands are going to do now!

The book begins with a scene that is familiar to me - the nativity being rehearsed in the school hall and the teachers hoping they can pull it out of the bag... even if One Direction are going to be making an appearance... But one of the teachers, Rachel, has recently lost her mother and Christmas is going to be a painful time, understandably. The fellow staff rally round and with the help of the adorable children announce to Rachel (Miss Smithson) that she is going to PARIS for Christmas, and she is going to be having baking lessons as part of a competition with the one and only Super-Chef; Henri Salernes.

At first, Rachel is adamant that she is not going... but then the children of her class hold up a banner for her, and who can say no to them? (I know I couldn't... I've been in a similar situation myself, and it's just impossible I tell you!). She doesn't think she can cope with baking again, not without her Mum, and her father is still grieving. Her grandmother (who would love it if she called her Julie and not Gran!) urges her to go, and so, she finds herself catching the Eurostar to Paris.

When Rachel turns up for her first day of the competition training with Henri, it seems that he has a touch of Gordon Ramsay in him when it comes to his temper... but he used to be so famous, with his brother and they collected Michelin stars... until they lost them all and no one really knew why. Still, Rachel knew the basics... her mother had taught her, her mother had had her very own bakery. But somehow, Rachel and Henri don't seem to hit it off, well not in the way she'd like to. He doesn't seem to understand why baking is special for her. Or why it's difficult for her.

There are others in the competition... Abby, Marcel, Ali, Lacey, George, and Tony. Soon they all become friends, but one has to remember... it's a competition and surely friends wouldn't play dirty would they? Or would they? When soufflé's fall, and over whisking occurs, flour gets everywhere, and chocolate éclairs from Henri's patisserie downstairs is the only answer, will Rachel run back to England, or will she stick it out in Paris, and give it one more try... for her Mum?

While she decides, she bumps into the most handsome guy you have ever seen... I should know... he's been in my dreams for YEARS! I thought he was Italian, I've always thought he would be Italian, but it turns out he's French.... Oh, I'm going off track aren't I? Sorry.

Anyway, Rachel bumps into this handsome French guy, dark hair, a 1940s vibe about him, wool coat, smart suit, .... oh damn,.. I'm drooling again! Philippe is his name... Philippe... such a heroic name don't you think, passionate, sensual.... Philippe... I could say his name all day... Damn, I'm channelling Miranda again... can you guess who's been watching more Miranda over the festive season? Miranda would LOVE Philippe.

Well, Philippe, I fell in love with him, and Rachel has a soft spot for him too... he's handsome in a non obvious way. Apparently. Ahem. :)  Well, it seems that Philippe is Henri's brother... yes, the brother whom Henri used to be famous for co-owning a restaurant with. But Philippe doesn't cook anymore. He revolutionised the way we cook, but he doesn't cook anymore. Why? Well he does tell Rachel, but you'll have to find out for yourself!

I loved the chemistry between Rachel and Philippe, even if Marcel did play dirty with the females in the baking competition.... but Abby did it for the girls when she got pay back for herself and Rachel. In fact, Abby gave me my favourite quote of the YEAR with;

"C'est tres petit. Tres, tres petit. Oui. Comprende?" she sneered, brandishing her little inch long pickled cucumber.

Oh I laughed and laughed for a good time with that one. Don't you just adore the French language? I know it's reignited a passion for it in me, and I actually really would love to visit Paris in time for Christmas... maybe one day I will and I'll do it with Rachel and Philippe in mind.  


Anyway, the competition slowly comes to an end, before you know it, there are two contestants left, and it's the BAKE OFF! One wins, and gets to be Henri's apprentice for a month, and the other... well doesn't get nagged so much! But one thing that does happen, is that Rachel discovers that everyone back home in her village have got together and managed to get her an abandoned shop and are determined for her to open it up as a new bakery... they even get stuck in bringing down ceilings, chandeliers, discovering tile flooring and putting together a Parisian inspired décor that will remind Rachel of her time in Paris. I can promise you it looks amazing and breath-takingly stunning! I've seen it! in my mind... and it is a treat!  But when everyone turns up for the grand opening, will the one person Rachel want be there actually be there and if not, will she ever see them again?

I honestly, absolutely LOVED this book, and had to give it an OFFICIAL Page of Love 5 heart rating! I would love to read more about Rachel and Philippe, (obvious reasons right?) and I'd love to lose the weight I gained whilst reading it.... seriously I HAD to devour chocolate éclairs, and cake and gorgeous pastry whilst reading it... it was only right to get into the Parisian Bakery atmosphere... it had to be done, and this book HAS to be read, so scoot... go on, head to the bookstore, amazon, get it in paperback, get it on your kindle.... and go read it... with a delicious treat of course. And don't blame me for the weight you gain!

Oh, is that Pains au Chocolat I see? ......

Author Interview : Margaret James

Welcome back to A Page of Love! Thank you all so much for the love, support and comments from my blogiversary celebrations.
Today we have the talented Margaret James who is the author of Magic Sometimes Happens, and she has kindly stopped by for a cuppa and a chat. So grab yourself a warm drink, maybe a cosy blanket (cookies are optional), and let's find out if Magic Sometimes Happens....

 
***

Hello Dawn
 Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your lovely blog. I see I’ll be in great company there. You’ve interviewed so many of my favourite authors!
 

 Margaret, I loved reading Magic Sometimes Happens! Congratulations on a wonderful book. For anyone who hasn’t heard of you, would you mind introducing yourself?

I’m so pleased to hear you loved the book, Dawn. I had great fun writing it. I even enjoyed writing the sad parts because this meant I could put everything right for my hero and heroine at the end of the story.
I’m a British writer of contemporary and historical fiction. I started writing short stories when my children were toddlers and I sold a lot of stories to British magazines. This was back in the days when everything was done by post. My children soon learned that small white envelopes meant good news and treats for us all, whereas large brown envelopes meant bad news and Mummy would appreciate a cuddle.
My first published novel was a historical, and this was followed by a dozen more historicals, including my own favourite The Silver Locket. But a couple of years ago my wonderful publisher Choc Lit took a chance on a contemporary rom com, The Wedding Diary, which was very well reviewed. I found I couldn’t quite let the characters in The Wedding Diary go, so Rosie Denham (who has a minor part to play in The Wedding Diary) ended up getting a story of her own.

 

I find storylines fascinating, and the way it unfolded in Magic Sometimes Happens was no exception. Where did you get your inspiration from for the lead characters?
Rosie was already in my head because she featured in The Wedding Diary, but I didn’t know much about Rosie until I started planning her story. She’s very like her great-grandmother Rose, who is the heroine of The Silver Locket. They’re both courageous, clever, determined but very vulnerable, which I think is a great combination of qualities for a heroine. They are sometimes afraid to take risks, but they take these risks anyway. They both make lots of mistakes and have to live with what they’ve done. They’re both tall and slender and they both have wild, black, curling hair. They both hate their hair. But I’d love to have hair like that!
Patrick, my hero, is also vulnerable – much more so than Rosie – but he’s also willing to take risks and prepared to take the consequences if things don’t work out. At one point in the novel he makes a potentially catastrophic mistake and he has to do a massive climb-down/grovel, which must have cost him. But he does it anyway. Patrick is a composite of the qualities I admire most in men – he’s clever, imaginative, funny, kind and good-looking, but I hope in a believable way.

 
There were a few moments in there where I thought it was all over for them, especially when other characters put their foot in. How important do you think a "edge of seat" moment is in a novel?

I think tension is hugely important in feel-good romantic fiction. Yes, we’re all aware the hero and heroine will end up together – but how will this happen? We want to know, and this is what keeps us reading. I try to make sure I have plenty of OMG moments in all my fiction, hopefully prompting the reader to ask: how will you get out of that then, X?

In all seriousness, there was a real concern in the book where you brought in the fact that one of the characters makes a big error of judgement. It is admirable that you felt able to bring such a serious life event and health condition that so many people face each and every day into one of your novels. Can you tell us a little about that?

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I know the health condition I mention in Magic Sometimes Happens is an everyday worry for many people and also for those who love them. Most of us hate to be different, especially when we are children, teenagers and young adults, and this hatred of being different means we can end up being very careless about our own well-being.

I know what it’s like to live with that constant feeling you are teetering on a precipice, not on your own account but on behalf of someone else. The character in my novel with the health problem does not get asthma, but when one of my own children was younger she was a chronic asthmatic. She knew she had to take care of herself, but she still seemed to rely on her father and me to make sure there were inhalers in strategic places all over the house! We never went anywhere without at least two of them, and I would be the one who panicked most if my daughter ever started wheezing or gasping for breath.
 

I love the moment when as a reader you come across the book title in the text. In fact in this case I smiled the biggest smile ever, I can’t explain why it always makes my moment in a book, it's like finding the Holy Grail. Haha, did you always plan on calling the book Magic Sometimes Happens, or were you inspired by what you wrote?

I was inspired by what my hero says when he finds something Rosie thought she had lost for good. I hadn’t thought of it – Patrick just said it, and suddenly I knew I had the title for the book. Its working title was The Road to Recovery, but I like the one with magic in it much better. What can be more magical than falling in love, not necessary with a wonderful man or a fantastic woman, but with a newborn baby, a new pet, or even a new vocation? It’s the best feeling in the world. You know you’ve come home.

 
I have to ask, do you believe that Magic Sometimes Happens? :)

Goodness, yes! It happens all the time. Quite often, it’s waiting to happen and all we have to do is arrange for the right set of circumstances to be in place.
A few years ago, my mother lost her engagement ring. She was so upset. My sister and I searched for it everywhere but failed to find it. But then a caller scratched the front door of Mum’s flat and I said I’d tidy it up, no problem. I got out the cardboard box of paint tins which Mum kept in the garden shed. There, at the bottom of the box, was – you’ve guessed it. But Mum couldn’t remember even being in the garden shed, let alone rummaging in the box of paint tins. Magic was waiting to happen.

 
It’s been great to talk to you, Dawn. Merry Christmas and all best wishes for everything in 2015.
 

Author Links:



 

 

Book blurb:
Passport to love

 London-based PR and promotions consultant Rosie Denham has just spent a year in Paris where she’s tried but failed to fall in love. She’s also made a big mistake and can’t forgive herself.

American IT professor Patrick Riley’s wife has left him for a Mr Wonderful with a cute British accent and a house with a real yard. So Patrick’s not exactly thrilled to meet another Brit who’s visiting Minnesota, even if she’s hot.

Pat and Rosie couldn’t be more different. She’s had a privileged English upbringing. He was raised in poverty in Missouri. Pat has two kids, a job that means the world to him and a wife who might decide she wants her husband back.

So when Pat and Rosie fall in love, the prospects don’t seem bright for them.
But magic sometimes happens – right?











BLOGIVERSARY - Guest 3 - Book Lover, Pixie Allen


For the celebrations, you've heard from two of my favourite authors and friends, and you've heard from me, so I want to end the celebrations by letting my blog be taken over for the day by a book loving, always reading friend of mine, Pixie Allen.
 
I have known Pixie for quite a few years now, in fact it's to remember not knowing her and not being friends. We instantly clicked and have been double trouble ever since. :) We both love books and I know that we each share many books we both love, but we also have books that aren't in each other's niche... but then we have more to talk about and well, I think by combining us both together we could open a bookstore that would be somewhere in between "You've Got Mail's" Bookshop Around the Corner and Fox's Books... although our ethos would very much be "Around the Corner style"!
Anyway, without further ado, here is the beautiful Pixie Allen telling you why she loves reading chick lit, her dreams, and why her beautiful boys love reading too!
 
I always feel a tad awkward starting a guest blog off, for many reasons really but mainly just because I never know where to start.  Dawn was lovely enough to ask me to write about my love of chick lit books and, well, I’m going to try my very best to make it legible.

I guess I should start by telling you about me, my name’s Pixie, I’m a business owner and mom of two tremendous children and wife to one amazing husband, we are, for the moment city dwellers but dream of living out in the English countryside, surrounded by green hills and chirping birds and that unmistakable smell of.... well..... fresh air (I know where you thought I was going!)

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a book worm, since picking up my first book which I believe was Meg and Mog by Helen Nicholl and Jan Pienkowski I was hooked, back then I was drawn in by the big flashes of colour and cool illustrations, and not to mention that Meg was a pretty lousy witch!  I soon progressed through to older books; my teachers could always find me in the library section of the classroom lay on the carpet surrounded by books.  They used to test me to see if I understood what I was reading because I could read fast and therefore was finishing books ahead of time, much to the annoyance of my peer’s lol  But they were always pleasantly surprised that I could explain each step of the story and even hand in book reviews (I told you I was a book geek).
 

As I grew up my love for literature only grew and I was never too far away from the world of fiction.  I had secret aspirations to become a writer but that’s still something I’ve not yet pursued.  What I used to love about chick lit, and still love about it to this day, is the talent that the writer has, I know from the first paragraph whether that book is for me.  I want the author to pull me in to the story so much so that I feel like I’m actually in that story with them, that I can see the characters as if I was on a film set and I was watching the story unfold through my very own eyes.

The thing is with chick lit, for me at least, I can totally chill out when I’m reading it, I know it’s going to relax me, and give me some down time, or escape time, without actually having to leave the house.  I love delving into other peoples worlds and fiction always always gives me that ‘coming home’ feeling.  A good book is more valuable to me than any other item I own, because a book can continue to inspire me for moths after I’ve read the last page.
 


My grandma always used to say, a good book will live in your soul for all eternity, I sometimes think I’m one of the few who actually still feels this way about books, loosing yourself in a book is almost like meditation, you know the endings going to give you goose bumps, it will keep you focused on the highest good and it will continue to make you happy just by thinking about it.

Few authors have managed to fully take me in, but a few of my favourite authors have never failed, I love the writings of Jenny Colgan, Ali McNamara, Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Miranda Dickinson, Debbie Macomber and Lindsey Kelk they just get it right with each new publication.  I’ve also fallen in love with Giovanna Fletcher who wrote ‘Billy and Me’ her writing style is so easy to read.  One book that really stayed with me this year, and my favourite book of the year was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I realised that I was late to the party with this one, but what this author did with this story was beyond anything I have ever felt reading a book before, I won’t go into detail about the book in case you haven’t read it, but all I can say is, John Green wrote a book that will make you see life through very different eyes once you read this.

I’ve passed my love of books on to my children too who love to read, they are huge Roald Dahl and David Walliams Fans, I see so much of myself in them, especially when I walk into their rooms and they are lay on the floor surrounded by books... gives me happy squishes to see it.

Every few years a debate hits the news about how outdated books are and how everything should be in e-book format.  I have to touch on this and say... the thought of not actually being able to hold a book in my hands is terrifying, I can’t imagine what a terrible impact that would have, it would close down so many book shops, and I know a lot of people like the e-book thing, but for me I’m not a fan, I want to be able to hold an actual book, not a tablet, with a glaring back light, I remember the years of reading my books in bed under the covers with a torch so I wouldn’t get caught after lights out! 
 
 

I’ll leave you today with this question ... What do you get from a book that you can’t get from anywhere else?

Oh and one last thing before I go,  a BIG Thank You to Dawn, for asking me to join in on her Blogiversary celebrations, I’m so very proud of this little niche you’ve created, keep it up, it’s amazing.

Bright Blessings & Moonbeams

Pixie

Blogiversary ~ Guest 2 ~ Author, Kerry Fisher


 It's time for my Second special guest who has kindly agreed to stop by A Page of Love, and tell us all why 2014 has been exciting for her as an author.

This year Kerry Fisher published the amazing "The School Gate Survival Guide" which I have raved about so much that I was worried that people would get annoyed with me. Luckily, people didn't and they read Kerry's book and discovered just why I absolutely LOVE it so much.

Kerry, has become a very special friend to me, and we regularly chat through social media, and I knew that as part of my blogiversary celebrations, I wanted Kerry to be a part of my celebrations and I really wanted you all to get to know Kerry more, discover why I absolutely love her to pieces, and get the urge to read her book if you haven't... if you have - High fives to you! - But how about gifting it this year for Christmas to someone you know who has to do the school run... or maybe a teacher!
So, without further ado, I hand the Page of Love reigns over to the delightful Kerry :)


***
 

Thank you very much, Dawn, for inviting me to celebrate your first year blog anniversary…a fantastic opportunity to say a huge thank you for supporting me by tweeting, reviewing and generally helping me feel like I haven’t been writing into a big echoing hole!

It’s been an exciting time for me with Avon publishing my debut novel, The School Gate Survival Guide in September. I wasn’t in the overnight success category (more pushing a big fat elephant up the hill with my ankles tied together)  - so the ‘wow’ moment of 2014 was taking my old dad to see the book coming off the presses. One push of a button and the whole printing factory turned into a sea of red covers – yet another step in my whole learning process about the publishing industry.
 
Kerry and her Dad
 
 
 
I feel like a whole decade of knowledge has been distilled into twelve months.
 
 

In no particular order…
 
 
I’m more amusing than my husband gave me credit for…he showed no interest in reading ‘that romantic stuff’ until he heard me practising for a library talk and suddenly piped up, ‘That’s actually quite funny.’ You’ll know him if you meet him, he’s the one with the saucepan stuck on his head.
 
 
The dog is an excellent marketing tool - her penchant for rushing up to befriend everyone has introduced me to more potential readers than I’ve met at book signings. Though I’ve probably spent more in replacing stolen squeaky balls than I’ve made in book sales.
 
 
Book signings are excruciating unless you are famous and customers are queuing up to see you. Otherwise you’re stuck there smiling hopefully at people who suddenly develop an interest in books about road signs or terrapins to avoid you.
 
 
It’s no easier to write the next book. I was in the unusual position of getting a two-book deal and having two books ready to hand over. Writing book three was like typing with a trolley of expectations veering out of control and crashing into the keyboard on a regular basis.


Despite me telling my kids not to meet anyone from social media under any circumstances, I’ve met lots of people from Twitter in real life. And I’ve loved them…there are some great big generous-hearted people out there that I probably wouldn’t come across in my normal life, but who have become ‘proper’ friends.
Receiving a Christmas card from my 80-year-old aunt (who has never uttered anything stronger than ‘fiddlesticks’), in which she said she couldn’t put my book down, makes me dread the next family gathering. I can feel a swearing explanation coming on.
 
 
Bad reviews lose the power to ruin my day the more I get (please don’t feel obliged to help me out with this aversion therapy!). On the other hand, a five-star review NEVER fails to brighten my day.
 
 
I find it mortifying and gratifying in equal measure when people tell me they are reading my book. My next novel has real sex rather than hinted at sex in it. No-one I know must ever read it.  Especially not the husband. Or the aunt. Or my mother, who already tells her friends that The School Gate Survival Guide is a bit ‘spicy’.
 
 
I’d never heard of book bloggers before this year…or been so grateful to a community who work so hard for free!
 
 
Merry Christmas!
 
 
 
 
You can find out more about Kerry, get in contact with her, and of course buy her amazing book by following these links:
 

 
The School Gate Survival Guide (Avon, HarperCollins) - a funny novel about school gate snobbery 
 
 
And you can read my review of it here! The School Gate Survival Guide - A Page of Love Review
 
 

 


Book News: The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

The Cake Shop in the Garden 







NEW RELEASE!!

The Cake Shop in the Garden
by Carole Matthews

8th January 2015 via
Kindle

Pre-Order Now for £7.47







I absolutely LOVE Carole Matthews, and have been looking out for the news of this release and here it is! So, what is her GORGEOUS & DELICIOUS new book all about?

Let's take a read:

Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn't do all this, who will?

Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she's ever made.

When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay's entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn't know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision - even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in The Cake Shop in the Garden.


I think this book could take part and WIN so far in The Great British Book Cover Off - let alone a Bake Off!!

Blogiversary Guest 1 ~ Author Rebecca Raisin

Thanks for coming back for another day of blogiversary celebration. Yesterday I shared my thanks for all the support I've had over the past year, and I even shared with you my plans for the coming year.

Today, a special friend of mine an author, Rebecca Raisin has taken over my blog and is going to share with you why she loves writing chick lit, why she does what she does. Rebecca is someone that is so friendly, helpful, supportive and totally fun! I don't think I've ever met an author who you instantly relax in the presence of, and can literally sit down with a cup of tea, a biscuit or two and chat! So, this is Rebecca spending time with you, hosting a little blogiversary celebration, I'm sure you will love reading it, and you should absolutely go check Rebecca out and read ALL her books - I've reviewed them on A Page of Love!


 
Thank you so much for asking me here today, Dawn! And a big, happy blog-birthday to you!
I’ve been writing now for about six years! It seems crazy to think it’s been that long! Like a lot of writers, I finally put pen to paper when I had my twin boys and was at home full time looking after them. Between their naps, I would snatch some writing time. I also took some creative writing classes, which really inspired me, and helped me progress when I was a total newbie!
I guess I’ve always been caught up in my own imagination, so when it came to writing short stories at first, it felt like I was finally letting that creativity out and putting it to good use!
I started writing short because I felt like otherwise I’d get lost in thousands of words, and it might’ve killed my enthusiasm. I think writing short helps as a writer long term because you learn to be economical with words, but still get a story out there that has all the elements of a long one. Like hook, conflict resolution all in a thousand words.
As the years have progressed (way, WAY too fast!) I’ve managed to write longer pieces, and now full length novels. I enjoy the process pretty much each step of the way, though I’m not a plotter, I now have to submit my story ideas to my editor, so that has helped when it comes to nailing down an idea and sticking to it.
It is easier in the long run to have a plan for most of the book, and then when you do run off into a tangent, at least you can find your way back to the main goal of the novel.
I’ve written the Gingerbread Café series, and am now adding to that with stories that will be linked. For example, the characters all live in the same small town in Ashford, Connecticut so they run into each other as you do in places like that. And thank goodness, because in my crazy mind, the girls from the Gingerbread Café are real, and I miss them!
Writing is my go-to place, and I couldn’t live without it. Even if I wasn’t published I’d still write. I get these ideas, usually at the most inconvenient times, like when I’m almost asleep, or at the doctor, and I must write them. For an addiction I guess it’s a good one to have!
Thank you for having me here today! And I hope you all have a safe a happy Christmas!
 

IT'S MY 1st BLOGIVERSARY!!!!


 


I can't believe that I'm sat here in bed, with my glamour santa duvet,  just after 7am in the morning, on the 9th December 2014 writing my first blogiversary post for A Page of Love!!! :D

OMG, A year of blogging about chick lit and sharing my love for the books that I adore reading!

I need to get plenty of THANK YOUs done before I can move on, so I am firstly just so humbled and grateful to the publishers who believed in me, my little quiet blog in the corner of the webiverse, who supported me, sent me so many fabulous books, e-books and opportunities my way, without you, this would have been harder to do.

The readers of my blog, I am so grateful to you, because without a readership, there would be no point to this blog, I LOVE that you come here, read the reviews, look out for the news, and you have helped me remain consistent throughout this year. It's bringing you the LATEST news and reviews on chick lit that keeps me going! (And my sheer love of books and reading!!)


Authors, my golly gosh, I have met so many amazing authors via the webiverse this year, and your openness, willingness to chat, and really connect with me has humbled my heart so much that it could explode! I love that we are friends and it all started because I had a dream to write a chick lit blog, switch my genre of book reviews, and fully immerse myself in the books! I want to say a special THANK YOU to; Rebecca Raisin - The Gingerbread Queen who I adore!!, and Kerry Fisher - The School Survival Expert, who could give Ray Mears a run for his money when it comes to survival... I love you!!!

Blogging friends!!! Wow there are so many of you and you all have made me feel so welcome in the chick lit blogging world! I was scared when I first started, worried I wouldn't be able to do it, fit in, and would muck up, but you all became my friends, and inspire each and every day. Special shout outs to; Tay - Chicks that Read , Abbey - Miss BookWorm Reviews, Dr. Ananda - This Chick Reads I love you ladies!!!

I know that there are so many more people I could thank, so this THANK YOU is dedicated to anyone I've missed, all my Facebook supporters, Tweeters!!

So did I mention that today is my;

 
 
Oh I did? Right well I best tell you how my second year here at A Page of Love is going to go...
 
Firstly, the books, They can only get better and already 2015 is looking like a fabulous year for chick lit with 2 Carole Matthews books out, Alexandra Potter has an exciting new read, ........... all the details for upcoming releases in 2015 can be found on the 2015 releases page
I cant wait to bring you the reviews and news about them! And will be doing giveaways, competitions ....
 
Secondly, The Authors, I plan to bring you more author Interviews because trust me, they are not just names on a book, they are awesome people whom you really should get to know and it's just fun to sit down with tea, cake and have a chat... very British right?
 
Thirdly, I'm hoping to expand slightly... I have discovered a real love for knitting and crochet... so I really hope you don't mind me bringing you posts full of my knitting, crochet and arty adventures... it's all love and that's what were about here...
 

As a special celebration for my blogiversry, which I organised as little late due to illness, ( I promise ill be more organised for next year!), some fabulous friends of mine have kindly agreed to share their LOVE of chick lit in celebration of my 1st year. We have fellow book bloggers, authors, and a chick lit reader or two! So check back every day over the coming week to see who's celebrating with me!!
 
 
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING A PART OF MY JOURNEY, I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR NEXT YEAR TOGETHER,
 
OODLES OF LOVE,
Dawn xxxx


Review: Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake by Sue Watson


Title: Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

Published by: Bookouture

RRP/Availability: Kindle £1.59 
Paperback available from November 25th £7.51 

My Rating: 5/5

THE BLURB:

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake is a truly heart-warming and hilarious read about sisters, love and finding the courage to be yourself – one snowflake at a time.
 
For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned…
 
With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again.
 
After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past.
 
Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas?
 
MY OPINION:
 
Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake promises to be a 'heart-warming and hilarious read', and it didn't disappoint. The humour is as tasteful as scrumptious cake, and the way the characters grow is more heart-warming than a cup of hot cocoa!
 
This was my first ever Sue Watson read, and having not known what to expect from the author, I can only say that this festive read has left me wanting more...
 
The book is a story of how two sisters, Tasmin and Sam, build their lives, navigate the twists and turns that sometimes cruelly come to us, and deepen the bond of sisterhood, friendship and love at the Christmas time of year.
 
One sister is seen as the 'down to earth' one, the one who runs her own business, brings up her son as a single mother since the tragic death of her husband, and works hard for her living, whilst the other sister 'has it all'. She has the giant house, the money, the glamour, the glitz, the shoes, the designer clothes, the cheating husband.. the bailiffs at her door, .... but it's perfect right?
 
Well, Tamsin (rich sis) has to come back down to earth with a huge bump that not even £500 shoes can save her from. Having to face losing the home that she shares with her husband (Who has more secrets than pennies in his account!) and their grown up children, as bailiffs turn up at her door just as she's planning the most extravagant Christmas (think life-size reindeer, choir singers, huge trees, - all for her home), it comes down to Sam (down-to-earth sis) to save her.

What then unfolds is a alternative view from each sister as they try to make sense of the world they live in. I love how the chapters alternate between Sam and Tamsin, getting both points of view, along with seeing right through them as they share their feelings, thoughts and new life is magical.

Tamsin meets new friends who see her at her worst, and are there when she comes back better than ever. Sam, has to decide whether she can truly let go of the past once and for all, and that involves letting her Son have his hair cut, and allow herself to open her heart to a wonderful man.
 
Both sisters learn to join forces, allow men into their lives even for a brief encounter (of a designer shoe flinging into the snow kind of encounter!), build up a business after a disaster, and promise each other to never allow money to get the better of them. It's sisterhood, family, friendship and love in the most magical way.
 
If there is ONE festive book you read this Christmas, I urge you to read Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake, because Sue Watson will literally melt your heart, and bring through the true meaning of Christmas, which is not huge amounts of money, displays fit for a department store, or even the presents, but one of love, family, happiness, and true contentment.

Review: The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown


Title/Author: The Great Christmas Knit off by Alexandra Brown

Published by: HarperCollins UK  

Price & Availability: RRP £6.99  
£5.24 paperback /  £1.99 EBook

My Rating: 5/5


THE BLURB:

Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.

There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen...


MY OPINION:

The second I saw the title of this book I wanted to read it... for two reasons; 1) It's about knitting and 2) its by Alexandra Brown! I was not disappointed at all. In fact I felt so inspired by this story that it has really given me some hope for my future. You see I grew up as part of a village in the countryside and before I was 16 years old, I became separated from the country and had to become a city lass. Well, Sybil is the opposite, she's a city girl, working for the government department that sorts out benefit claims... but something went horribly wrong... like £££thousands of pounds worth of wrong and Sybil panics. She decides the only thing to do is head to Tindledale and spend a weekend with her friend. So off she goes on a train to Tindledale.

To me, Tindledale is a magic village (Just wish it was so magically that it would let me visit! haha), because Sybil falls in love with Tindledale, and Tindledale and it's residents falls in love with her... in more ways than one. But hold up, I'm getting ahead of myself here.

So Sybil's on the train and spots a dishy guy when her dog makes his presence known to him. Next thing she knows she's waking up having missed her train stop. Grabbing her newspaper and luggage she heads off the train in the dark in search for Tindledale... a whole lot of distance to go ... in the SNOW!

When she reaches Tindledale, the lights are out... there's been a power cut and soon the villagers offer her hope and a bed for the night at the local B&B. I love the owner of the B&B as he makes his entrance complete with glittery eyelashes. He helps Sybil find her way again in life and around the village.

Another character I adore and will continue to adore her and that is Hettie. She owns the haberdashery store and like me, Sybil is enchanted by the little knitting shop - but all the faded wool is on show for sale, whilst she has the good stuff hidden in the store cupboard. Hettie takes Sybil to her heart and allows Sybil to work her magic on transforming the store and turning it around financially as well as socially. Soon enough Hettie and Sybil are hosting little afternoon Knit & Chats. More and more villagers get involved and they come in handy when a surprising request for knitted jumpers from tourists comes in... but with a festive deadline, and only a few knitters can they make the deadline?

Add to the knit off the fact that there is a dishy doc that Sybil meets ... hasn't she seen him somewhere before? Hmmm, well they struggle to get 2 minutes to themselves because whenever they do, the other villagers want to discuss their ailments. Will they ever have time to themselves or will the spark between them fizzle out before it's even got burning properly?


I loved reading it so much that it inspired me to have a knit off of my own, and I happened to knit this little fella.


 
Alexandra has put in the back of the book Sybils Christmas pud knitting know-how. She's running a competition for all knitters out there to knit a pud and share with her. Here's the details;
 
Photo: Calling all knitters! It's COMPETITION time. Yarn bomb your lovely little Christmas Pudding from the pattern in the back of The Great Christmas Knit Off and WIN a hamper crammed full of crafting goodies.
https://inspirationknits.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/the-great-christmas-knit-off-competition/