08 December 2017

Book Beginnings #56

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading The Land Girls At Christmas by Jenny Holmes.

"Can you believe it? You need eighteen coupons for a decent winter coat." 
"And seven for a pair of shoes." 
Starting this I have Expectations, because this is a Certain Kind of Book. I expect to be full caught up in a not-too-heavy story, something with substance which still has a bit of fluff. And I want to be filled with Christmas cheer, thanks.
"We're relying on you, Mrs Mostyn. As our rep, it's up to you to take my complaint further if you see fit."
I'm just passing half way now and honestly, this book is everything I was hoping it would be. Gently exciting, comfortable to read, heart warming, that all important Family Love message.

Oh man, it's perfect for my Christmas reading.

What are you reading this week?

07 December 2017

My Favourite Things About Bookshops At Christmas

I love bookshops at any time of the year, but there's something extra special about them at Christmas. They're always that little bit busier, and there is extra Stuff. And I love a shop that sells Stuff. Then you have the extra passionate staff.

The Stuff
I love Stuff. All of those bits and bobs that you can only usually find in special Stuff Shops, the tat and the novelty items and the tiny things you never thought you needed, but you are certainly taking to the till.

The Christmas Book Table
When this appears, I end up stationed next to it for around an hour, reading the synopsis of each book. And the first few pages. And then picking it up and taking it to the till.

Staff Recommendations
So yeah, I could talk to booksellers all day about books. Which bookworm couldn't? But there's something extra special about the quick, impassioned recommendations when you're looking for that perfect gift.

Special Drinks in the Cafe
I love a good season drink, they're a little bit more magical, more special than a regular flavoured coffee. They have all of these extra flourishes and are extra delicious. Mmm.

The People
I usually dislike crowded places, but it's different in a bookshop. It's more hushed, calmer. And busy bookshops make my heart happy. I love being able to just lean over and interrupt strangers with recommendations and push my favourites on unsuspecting browsers. And when it's busy I can do that more.

What's your favourite thing about Bookshops at Christmas?

06 December 2017

Christmas Tag

I saw Rebecca from This Booky Place post this and I couldn't resist! I do tags very rarely, but I actually love them because I am very #Nosy. This Christmas Tag one called to me and fits perfectly with Blogmas. I'm not tagging anyone, but if you've done it then hit me up with a link.

1. What is your favourite Christmas film?
Ooh this is such a tough question! I honestly cannot pick just one film, but is it even Christmas if you haven't watched at least one Hallmark original with Lacey Chabert? She is the Queen of Christmas and perfect for festive films. The Sweetest Christmas is this year's newest with her, and it is beyond adorable. And I have already seen it twice.

2. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Yes, but not many! We live near the cost so the salty sea air tends to mean that it's a bit milder and when snow falls it doesn't lie.

3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?
At my mum's house.

4. What is your favourite Christmas song?
White Christmas! I love every version I've ever heard, and yes, I do dream of a white Christmas too. I just love how hopeful and soothing it is, the memories it evokes.

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
Only our new Christmas PJs! We all get a brand new set, open them early, change into them and eat our dinner in our jammies. Then we keep them on and laze around on Christmas Day until just before dinner.

6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Nope. I'm not even going to try!

7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?
I've already done the Christmas Market with my mum, but I still need to visit Fenwick's Window, and I am definitely looking forward to it. It's a joy to queue up and watch the magic unfold.

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake and pre-lit, but it's also seven foot tall and adorned with extra lights. We decorate with a mish-mash of ornaments that have been collected over the past twenty years and it reflects my family so much. I love how nothing matches.

9. What is your all-time favourite holiday food/sweet treat?
Mince Pies and Gingerbread Lattes. Individually they are delicious, together they are divine. I always try to hold off until December for getting my first heavenly treat so I don't overdo it.

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?
Giving! I always put a huge amount of thought into gifts and I love shopping around for the perfect present. Seeing the look on someone's face when you get them something personal is priceless.

11. What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
Until about three years ago, my sister would always get me something super cheap with little thought. Like a bargain bucket CD of music I didn't like, or a headband from Primark with the reduced sticker still on. Then three years ago I unwrapped the most beautiful handbag that was 100% me. It was the first gift she'd truly put thought into.

12. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I'm happy at home! I honestly wouldn't rather be anywhere else. I'm a total home bird.

13. Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?
I start off a bit scruffy, but quickly get my wrapping mojo back. I love wrapping, and decorating parcels, personalising them and adding pretty extras.

14. Most memorable Holiday moment?
The year I was eight I was terribly sick with tonsilitis, I couldn't even move from bed. I hadn't eaten for almost a week and could barely even drink water. My mum made Magic Christmas Soup (Northumbrian Broth), and my dad carried me downstairs, and I managed a couple spoonfuls before I couldn't do any more. But the next morning I was all better and it felt to me, at eight years old, like magic.

15. What made you realise the truth about Santa?
I don't think there was anything in particular, I think it was just generally growing up. Being the eldest sister, I had to keep up the pretense with my sisters a bit too.

16. Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?
I usually try a few and very rarely stick to them! They usually include the common "get fitter" and "eat less crap" and I fail at those pretty quickly. In recent years I've actually been changing it up a bit, and I think I have the hang of it now.

17. What makes the holidays special for you?
Spending time with my family. We spend a lot of time together anyway (like, daily) but there's something extra special about Christmas.

05 December 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #110

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Bookish Settings I'd Love to Visit for Christmas

Sometimes I read a book and all I can think of is how much I'd love to go there, especially when I'm in the throes of festive reading. Gimme that Christmas Magic!
  1. The Snow Crystal Resort from Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
  2. The Great Hall at Hogwarts from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
  3. Hogsmeade from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
  4. Claverham Castle from The Cosy Christmas Teashop by Caroline Roberts
  5. GUM's House from Ballet Shoes by  Noel Streatfeild
  6. Wickham Hall from Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley
  7. Fryberg's Toy Store from Christmas with her Millionaire Boss by Barbara Wallace
  8. Cherry Pie Island from Four Weddings And A White Christmas by Jenny Oliver
  9. Article Row from London Belles by Annie Groves
  10. Puffin Island from Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

Where would you like to go for Christmas?

04 December 2017

Mills & Boon Monday #1

The magic of Christmas…

Abandoned by his mother on Christmas Day, James Hammond wishes he could simply erase the date. So when his company buys a new toy store devoted to Christmas, he wants to seal the deal and get home. Until he finds himself injured and under the care of employee Noelle!

Nobody loves Christmas more than young widow Noelle Fryberg! But could she be the one to change his mind and melt the millionaire's guarded heart?

The Men Who Make Christmas 
Meet the Hammond brothers – will they find their own happiness under the mistletoe?

Source: Mills & Boon Insiders

5 Words: Christmas, family, tradition, community, change.

When it comes to Mills & Boon I'm a strictly Modern type of girl. Or so I thought. Because now I have read my first Cherish and I can't believe I've been missing out on such sweetness.

Christmas with her Millionaire Boss was a fantastic festive read. It had all of the feel-good, cheesy joy of a Hallmark Christmas Movie and it was a delight to read. I kind of want to read it again already! It has put me right in the mood for Christmas.

Noelle is just adorable. She is so full of Christmas, despite a name which you'd think would lead her to hating the season. She loves the joy and the love, how families are brought together, and all she wants to do is share it with everyone. She is so resilient, and I loved how she fought her own internal battles with her emotions and feelings of guilt and obligation.

I loved James as well. He was pretty much your typical rich Scrooge type, but he had lots of layers and his own background to battle against.

Add in some misunderstandings and you have a cute and Chrismassy read, and I loved it.

03 December 2017

The 'Not-A-Book' Bookworm Gift Guide

The perfect gifts for bookworms when you don't want to buy them an actual book but still want to let them know that you care about their passion. And make it a more lovely experience.

You can pick up everything below from Etsy, but hurry as postal deadlines are creeping up! I have personally bought things from each of these shops for myself, and they really are exceptional.

Let me introduce you to Ingrained Inc, who make the most beautiful custom, sustainable, wooden bookmarks (along with a host of other engraved beauties!). I particularly love this Personalised Tree Carving Bookmark where you can have custom initials on the front, and a message on the back. So sweet! And this When I Think About Books one makes me giggle.

My absolute favourite place for bookish candles is William and Joseph. I can't get over what fantastic candles they do, especially at such reasonable prices. My personal favourite is Steamy Romance Novel, and my mum loves A Spoonful of Sugar. Even when they aren't lit, the scent throws far. And when you do light them they last for ages.

Once upon a time, I tried a tea from Rosie Lea Tea. And I just fell in love with the delicate blend. All of the teas are based on books and fandoms, and real thought has gone into them. My favourite blend is this William Wordsworth inspired one, which is perfect for winding down with, perhaps as you read the Lyrical Ballads.

Bookish Jewellery
I admired Coryographies from afar for a long time, but finally bought myself a custom bookshelf necklace this year. Everyone who sees it admires it and it is one of my most treasured possessions. These Stack of Books Earrings are absolutely adorable, it blows my mind how much detail can go into something so small!

Where do you buy your Not-A-Book Bookish Gifts?

02 December 2017

Seasonal Reading

Every December, I put my usual TBR aside and pick up only festive books. And I love it.

It's only something I started doing when I started specifically book blogging, but it brings me endless Christmassy joy. It builds me up for Christmas, fills my heart with joy and warmth and fun and love.

Where I Get My Festive Books
  • From my Shelves
    I reread a lot of books anyway, but there are some books that I just have to read every year, they just make Christmas for me.
  • The Christmas Table at the Bookshop
    I love it when this table appears on the shop floor, piled high with festive books. It's a mountain of pretty blues and glitter and foil and I am drawn to it like a magpie because #Shiny.
  • Searching 'Christmas' on NetGalley
    Yup, it's as easy as that. A lot of them are 'Read Now' too! It can be a bit of a gamble as to whether they will all be Romance or filled with Sexy Time though.
  • Searching 'Christmas' on Amazon
    This is how I find festive freebies for my kindle. There tend to be a fair few novellas too which means I can pad out my Goodreads Challenge while reading what I love, because I am invariably behind by December.
  • Audible 'Deal of the Day'
    This doesn't yield much in terms of festive reads, but every so often a little gem crops up, and I love listening to something festive as I wrap presents or head out Christmas shopping.

Do you read books to suit the season?