Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas at Woolworths

Elaine Everest
Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers.
Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?
As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . .
With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

Excerpt

June 1942

Sitting astride the powerful motorbike, Freda Smith removed a large leather gauntlet from her hand in order to pull tight-fitting goggles from her eyes. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand and yawned. Although only the first day of June, the air was sultry and not a day for being covered from head to toe in a heavyweight motorcycle uniform. Freda felt sweaty and would have loved nothing more than to pull off her jacket and feel the wind on her skin as she sped through Kent towards her destination. It had been a long day and no doubt many hours lay ahead before she would see her bed. Gazing towards an angry orange glow that could be seen even in the afternoon sky, she knew her journey was almost at an end. She was close to Canterbury.

Freda had always thought the notion of travelling to Canterbury appealing and she’d planned to visit this famous city just as the pilgrims had done centuries before her. Never in a million years did she believe her trip would be to carry important orders to the Fire Service when Canterbury was under threat from the Luftwaffe. Ahead of her now was a city decimated by enemy action. As a volunteer dispatch rider for the Aux¬iliary Fire Service Freda had longed for excitement, but she now realized that what lay ahead was death and destruction for this beautiful Kentish city and many of the people who lived there. After nearly three years would this terrible war never end?

Freda fervently wished she was back behind her coun¬ter at Erith Woolworths, selling the popular Mighty Midget books and Lumar jigsaws that not only enter¬tained the families but gave youngsters something to concentrate on during long nights when the country was under fire from the enemy. Life seemed so much easier then, even though she was often on fire-watch duties and had to sleep in her landlady’s Anderson shelter on many occasions. Knowing how lucky she was had made Freda yearn to do more to help this beastly war come to an end. She wondered what she’d discover when she reached the city walls. How would she find the fire sta¬tion, where she was supposed to report once she reached Canterbury? Fear urged Freda to turn back and not get any closer to the burning city.

The petite young woman gave herself a silent talking-to. Her job was important and lives depended on her handing over the instructions tucked safely inside the breast pocket of her uniform jacket. She was lucky to be able to work both at Woolies and be a volunteer in the Auxiliary Fire Service. Many people did not have a choice. Freda pulled the goggles back over her eyes and, slipping her small hand back into the gauntlet, she fired up the powerful Triumph motorbike. The bike had been assigned to her when she had completed her training only two weeks ago. Another fifteen minutes and she would reach her destination. Once her duties were com¬plete Freda could do something about the worry that had been nagging at the back of her mind since she left Erith fire station. She would be able to look for her friends. The best place to start her search would be Woolworths. Surely someone could point her in the right direction?

‘Thank you,’ Freda said, as she was handed a tin mug containing piping hot cocoa along with a sandwich by one of the WVS ladies who were dispensing refreshments from a large van to the fire fighters, soldiers and the many civilians valiantly working to find those injured in the destruction of a once noble city and to dampen down the flames from incendiary bombs. Try as she might, Freda couldn’t quite block out the sound of ambulance bells and the shouts for ‘quiet’ as men nearby dug with their bare hands, searching for people trapped in the rubble of what was until recently street upon street of fine shops.

‘You look exhausted, love. Can you find somewhere to put your head down for a while before you head off again?’ a WVS woman said as she wiped the counter.

Freda, who would have liked nothing more than to close her eyes and sleep for a few hours to ease her aching body after the long journey across Kent, smiled at the kindly woman. ‘No, thank you all the same; I need to find my friends and put my mind at rest. Once I know they are safe I can head back home to Erith. Would you happen to know the best way to reach Woolworths? I’m sure staff there will be on fire watch duties and hopefully they can tell me where my friends are.’

The woman stopped and thought for a moment. ‘I do believe that Woolworths is a couple of streets from here, but the road’s been blocked off as there’s an unexploded bomb. I doubt you’d get there anyway, what with so many shops and houses having been bombed. There’s nothing but rubble. Hang on, I’ll check with one of my ladies. She’s a local and may know more than I do.’

Freda nodded her thanks and bit hungrily into the Spam sandwich while she waited for the woman to return. It had been an age since she’d last eaten, but the grey National bread with its scraping of margarine and thin slice of Spam tasted like a feast fit for a king. Since arriving in Erith from the Midlands at the end of 1938, Freda had come to enjoy her food after most of her childhood was spent going without. Her landlady, and grandmother to her best friend Sarah Gilbert, was a wonderful cook and Freda reckoned her mutton stews, fluffy dumplings and steak and kidney puddings wouldn’t look out of place on the tables of any posh London hotel. Even with rationing taking a grip on the nation’s food supplies, Ruby Caselton could be relied upon to conjure up a tasty meal for any occasion.

Freda had just swallowed the last of the cocoa when the WVS lady reappeared.

‘I was right. You can’t get to where Woolies is as the street’s shut off. It seems the buildings down there have taken a bit of a bashing so I hope your friends are all right. Do they work there?’
Freda tried not to become alarmed. It wouldn’t help matters. She made herself think of everyone back home who would be relying on her to stay strong. ‘Er, no, but one of them is manager of the Erith branch and my other friend works with her. I just need to know they are not hurt. Would you know where I could possibly find them? That’s if they are not badly injured or . . .’

The kindly woman patted Freda on the shoulder. ‘Now, don’t go getting yourself upset. Why, you’re no more than a child yourself and riding that great big motorbike. You’re a brave one and no mistake.’

Freda took a deep breath and composed herself. ‘I’ll be twenty-one later this year. I’m just a bit on the small side for my age.’

‘Well, twenty-one or not, the world’s a bloody scary place right now and we are entitled to be afraid. Just don’t go bottling it all up. Scream and shout at the Hun if you want to. It does me the power of good, I can tell you.’ She placed a protective hand on Freda’s shoulder and pointed with the other. ‘Now, if you take yourself off down that road and turn left, you will come across a church hall. It’s being used as a rest centre as well as a first-aid post. I reckon you’ll get news of your friends down there. Leave your motorbike and helmet here. You can park up behind our van. They’ll come to no harm. I’ll keep an eye on them for you.’

Freda thanked the woman and, after securing her bike, she hurried up the small road to the hall. Struggling to gain entry as the hall was full of people, she pushed and shoved her way through the crowd. So many looked to be in shock, wandering aimlessly about, no doubt look-ing for loved ones just as Freda was trying to do. Spotting an officious-looking ARP warden with a clipboard, she elbowed through the crowd. ‘Excuse me, do you know if my friends, Miss Betty Billington and Mrs Maisie Carlisle, are here?’

The man ran his pencil down a list of names and turned a page. ‘Here they are, Billington and Carlisle. Hmm,’ he said, tapping the pencil on his teeth as he peered at the list. ‘They’ve been moved to hospital. I assume they must be injured, but details haven’t been noted. I do wish people would complete the forms prop¬erly,’ he huffed.

Freda tried to stand on tiptoes to look at the list, but the man was having none of it and held it close to his body. ‘What hospital would that be?’ she asked.

‘Margate General. It’s not too far from here. Local hospitals are overstretched at the moment. Here, take a look at the map.’ He pointed to a large map pinned to the wall.

Freda felt sick as she peered at it. Her head started to spin as she attempted to focus on where her friends had been taken and tried not to think too much about their injuries. They are still alive, she told herself as she thanked the man and rushed back to where she’d left her motorbike. Although now late afternoon, it was still warm and around her she could see men sweating as they pulled at bricks and masonry that had once been thriving businesses and family homes, seeking the living and the dead. Firing up the bike’s engine, she headed off to find Betty and Maisie.

About Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.
When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.
Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can been sitting in the naughty corner.

Publisher: Pan Mac
Publication Date: November 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Genre: Historical Saga
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Challenge: None
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A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas

Darcie Boleyn

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.
Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.
In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

Five Things Faye Would Do in Manhattan at Christmas

1. Relish in the beauty.
Manhattan is beautiful in the summer but I can only imagine how wonderful it would look in the winter covered in the snow with lights shining across the city. So one of the things I would make sure to do would be to take it all. Take actual and mental pictures so that I could essentially return whenever I needed to.

2. Ice Skate
It’s something that I actually haven’t done since I was a teenager but I would definitely strap on some boots and go skating on an outside ice rink because… well… how magical would that be?

3. Visit the Rockefeller Christmas Tree
I can really only imagine how beautiful this tree must look up close.

4. Taste of Home Gingerbread Boulevard.
Sounds bizarre, yes? But it also sounds really great. Amazing and beautiful gingerbread houses all lined up and ready for you to visit while you munch on chocolate and drink coffee – I mean, yes please!

5. Wrap up warm, curl up inside and drink hot chocolate.
Maybe this is boring, and could be done anywhere but this is always my favourite part of Christmas and I’m not going to miss out on doing it just because I was in Manhattan!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: November 2016
Format: Ebook
Pages: 201
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
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Bookish Brits Book Club: Let It Snow

The December book choice for the Bookish Brits book club is Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle.

let it snowAn ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.
A trio of today’s bestselling authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Genre: Romance, Christmas, Short stories
Age: YA
Reviewer: Bookish Brits
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Bookish Brits: The Night Before A Book Lovers Christmas

The Big Book Little Book team are taking a short break over Christmas while we spend time with our families and get to grips with the massive pile of books we hope Santa has stashed in his sack (well we have been very, very good this year!).

We look forward to catching up with you in the New Year where we will continue to spread the word about books and authors we love.

In the meantime, here is a little festive bookishness via the Bookish Brits

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year,
With Love,
Caroline, Daisy, Helen, Izzy, Prudence and Sam X

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Camp Christmas Book Blitz: Guest Post and Giveaway

This is my stop during the book blitz for Camp Christmas by Jk Rock. Camp Christmas is a novella which is part of the Camp Boyfriend series and is free to download on the publisher website!

Camp Xmas cover 2Hannah never meant to be a mean girl – at Camp Juniper Point or at her high school. It just sort of happened during one painful year when her parents split and her life fell apart. Who knew being mad at the world would catapult her to popularity? But since changing the status quo would make her some serious enemies, she’s prepared to ride out her time until graduation. That is, until a camp friend calls her on the act during their school ski trip. Will Julian out her to her friends? Or will the guy she once accused of being King of the Nerds make her wish she was a whole lot more like him?

Why did you decide to write a Christmas themed novella? How do you feel about Christmas and how do you celebrate Christmas?

While we were writing Camp Boyfriend, we quickly became enthusiastic about the story possibilities for characters at Camp Juniper Point. We grew attached to all of them and started talking about the kinds of other stories we’d like to see. One of our ideas was to write a story set during the school year so we could see one camp character outside of camp. We were intrigued with the idea of some of the characters knowing each other away from camp—and maybe having a different relationship at camp versus at home.

From that idea, we tried to figure out a way to bring a “camp” feel to the story even though it was set during the school year. We talked about some kind of field trip or adventure experience that would let the kids be outdoors and in nature. That led to someone saying “ski trip” and someone saying “at Christmas.” Like all the best ideas brainstormed together, the concept sprang to life so organically that I don’t even remember who said what. It just happened and we both loved the idea of a Christmas story.

Being married to brothers, Karen and I end up celebrating a lot of holidays together and Christmas is no different. We love the holidays! Our husbands are two of eight siblings, so family parties are big, noisy and fun. We laugh a lot and make crazy amounts of food. We test new drink recipes alongside new cookie recipes. A lot of family parties are pot luck so no one gets stuck doing all the work. Plus, we all like to try each other’s concoctions, so it’s perfect that everyone brings a little something to a Rock gathering.

Can you tell us a bit about the Camp setting in this series, how the camp setting influences the story and what your own connection is with camp?

In Camp Christmas, we meet characters from Camp Juniper Point during the school year, so the setting is away from the North Carolina camp, unlike the rest of the books and novellas in the series. However, the setting puts the characters out in nature, testing their skills more than they expect in the great outdoors! Their camp experiences prove helpful.

We love the settings in all the stories for the way the characters connect with nature. That’s certainly not a goal- who thinks about connecting with nature as a teen?!—yet kids who go to camp often comment on the way the outdoors awed them. Being in nature, even if that’s not your favorite part of camp, is something special and out of the ordinary. Also, there is more opportunity to experience the power of nature—getting lost in the woods, tipping a canoe, fighting the rapids in a kayak, climbing a mountain. Or in the case of Camp Christmas, a major snowfall.

Karen and I both attended summer camp as teens and loved it. We are not outdoorsy girls by any stretch, but I think we both came away with deeper appreciation for the deep quiet of a summer night in the remote mountains or the awe-inspiring power of a lightning storm with only a piece of canvas over your head. Of course, we also came away with plenty of memories about boys met while at camp and the friendships we made. All of that helps fuel our stories.

How did your interest in reading and writing start?

Karen and I both have long histories with books, reading and writing! I know Karen had teachers point out her writing skill to her early on in her academic career, but I’m taking full credit for twisting her arm into using it more . She has an amazing sense of story and a flair for the dramatic, so working with her is incredibly fun.

But before writing…there was books. Karen’s house is stuffed with every YA known to mankind. She took her job really seriously as an eighth grade teacher and read absolutely everything out there to give the best recommendations to her students. She is great at matching up reluctant readers with the right kind of story to pique their interest.

As for me, my love of reading began when my parents read to me as a child. They love books and shared that love with me. I read every Nancy Drew book and then moved straight on to Wuthering Heights! I got a Master’s degree in literature so I could study books more and learn from people who adored them as much as me. After grad school, it became apparent the only way I could crawl deeper inside a book was to write my own, and that’s just what I did.

If I had to choose between reading and writing, I’d always take reading. It’s easier and more fun to let someone else pull me along on a story until I’m completely drawn into another world. But I think I would always come back to writing because it is fun to try to create that magical experience for someone else.

JK Rock is the pseudonym for writer duo Joanne and Karen Rock. Why did you decide to write the Camp Boyfriend series together, how do you write this series together and what do you like or don’t like about writing a series together?

Joanne and I have been close friends and sisters-in-law for many years. We both married into the Rock family- a group of seven brothers and one very strong and awesome sister. We adore our in-laws, but when get-togethers got a bit intense, sports-wise, we always found a corner to quietly lose ourselves in a conversation about books and writing. Joanne had been writing for Harlequin for years, and I soaked up all she shared about her experiences as a working author. I felt so complimented when she asked for my opinion on some of the plots of her books, and loved hearing about and reading them.

One day, Joanne encouraged me to try writing and I have to admit, my first attempt was a complete fail! I loved creating dynamic characters and interesting situations, but had no clue how to tell a story. Joanne read through my attempts, was so generous with her help, and encouraged me not to give up. Eventually I completed my first YA novel, and we were both so excited when many agents requested the full. Joanne also shared my disappointment when it was rejected. While commiserating during one of shopping/lunch trips to Burlington, VT, we started discussing the possibility of writing a YA book together. Since we shared the same love of books and story-telling, and got along so well, we knew it’d be a wonderful experience! One idea led to another and by the time we’d finished desert, we had the rough outline for the first book in the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, and ideas for two more to follow. We fell in love with the concept, the world and characters we imagined that day, and couldn’t wait to get started.

Within the month, we’d met several times to outline the plot, develop the characters, and create the world of Camp Juniper Point. With all of the pieces in place, we began swapping chapters to write based on previously agreed upon plot events. Once one of us received a chapter from the other, we would read through, add suggestions, then write the next one before sending it back. If one of us had a preference to write a particular scene, we made sure that it went to that person. In that way, we both felt fulfilled and energized by this unique process.

Writing can be, at times, a lonely process. Yet writing with a partner means you aren’t alone. In those moments of doubt or question, when you aren’t sure if the direction you took is the right one, you have your co-writer to call. Problems no longer seem insurmountable or even that difficult when you have another brain to help figure it out. What’s more, it’s great to surprise each other with funny lines or swoony moments. Since writing with Joanne, I too have begun writing on my own for Harlequin. It’s satisfying in a different way, but not quite as much fun. That spirit is reflected in the CAMP BOYFRIEND series. Sometimes we made each other laugh so hard, our husbands wondered if we were really ‘working’. It often didn’t feel that way!

The books in the Camp Boyfriend series are Young Adult, but you both also write Adult books, Can you explain why both genres appeals to you and what is the difference between writing for Adults and Young Adults and what you like about each of them?

We love writing both genres! Writing Young Adult and Adult Contemporary Romance allows us to craft genuine and moving love stories that appeal to readers of all ages. Many of our YA fans are adults who love teen fiction as much as we do. Some of our YA fans have read our adult romances and loved them too. Romance is classic. It’s an experience, no matter your age, that all can relate to. Writing for teens and adults allows us to explore a full range of romantic experiences and not limit ourselves to only one age group. It stretches us as writers, and challenges us to dig deeper into the genre.

YA Contemporary Romances are about firsts. First crush, first kiss, first heartbreak, first love… there’s a delicious sense of fragility and awkwardness about it… like a springtime garden. The promise and potential for greatness. An insistent sense; an urgency. The characters haven’t been hardened yet by disappointments and throw themselves into experiences that may or may not turn out the way they’d hoped. While YA characters’ reckless exuberance and rebellion can sometimes lead to epic fails, it can also lead to incredible joy. These extremes are unique to adolescent literature and teen life. Who hasn’t felt like they were on top of the world one day and wish they didn’t have to get out of bed the next? (Okay- maybe that was just my teen years- lol)

Adult Contemporary Romances are about second chances. These are adults who’ve survived their mistakes or adversity, yet may not have fully healed from these experiences. They carry scars that affect the way they view love, sometimes making them reject the very thing that is best for them. What is amazing about this genre is to show how it’s possible to overcome the challenges you’ve faced in life and to grow enough to be able to find lasting love. I adore these characters so much because they’ve been hurt, or have an obstacle that holds them back, yet find the strength to overcome them. There is nothing that brings me to tears faster than two imperfect characters who discover that they are perfect together.

Each book in the camp boyfriend series has a different main character, but former main characters do make an appearance in later books. How did you come up with the idea to write this series this way and what are the pros and cons of writing a series with different main characters?

It really comes down to a matter of author preference. It’s a very subjective choice. For us, we were intrigued by the opportunity to use the same world, but dig deeper and focus more on specific characters in different books. Both of us are people watchers. It’s fun to sit in a park and imagine the lives of the individuals that pass us. In CAMP BOYFRIEND, we have that opportunity. In one book, a character is a supportive best friend with a bit of an anger issue. In another book, that BFF is now the main character. We get a much better understanding of her, why she has this temper, and root for her as she grows and finds true love. An even greater jump happens when we switch our focus to another cabin entirely, a different set of girls, and get to know them in a way we hadn’t before. You never know someone until you’ve walked in their shoes. And you never know a character until you’ve read his or her story. It’s a thrill to live in a different character’s world and inhabit their lives for different books, rather than staying with only one protagonist for the entire series.

The benefit to writing books with different main characters is that we never feel like we are covering the same ground. Each character has his or her own unique points of view, challenges, and goals for us to explore. This keeps us on our toes as writers as we need to look harder at these characters and envision what kinds of stories will help them overcome what’s been holding them back from finding love. We both want to give our readers fresh and dynamic stories every time. By shifting the series to a different character with each book, they still have the Camp Juniper experience, while seeing it through the unique experiences of that protagonist.

A con to writing books with different main characters is really a logistical issue. It is actually quite intensive work to make sure that the large cast of the series is consistent throughout. Their back stories may be more developed given a particular novel, but they need to match what was written about them in other books. Also, the timeline of events need to match up, requiring meticulous planning. In the series, we actually have an overlapping scene that appears in two books. Both scenes are told from different characters’ points of view. We needed to ensure that every concrete detail matched, while making it seem different and specific to that character’s perspective. However, the extra work is worth the effort when the end result is so rewarding!

JKRock4Sisters in law Joanne and Karen Rock write Young Adult books under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. They bonded on a set of bleachers, watching their respective Rock boyfriends play baseball, and later, as young wives married into the same big family. Today, they have fun reliving teen drama on the pages of their YA books in their ongoing Camp Boyfriend series, which reviewers have noted for its authentic treatment of navigating relationships and self-identity. Individually, Joanne and Karen write adult romance books for Harlequin. Joanne is a three-time RITA Award nominee and Golden Heart winner. Her books have been reprinted in twenty-six countries and translated into twenty different languages. Karen’s debut romance, WISH ME TOMORROW, has garnered critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of a cancer survivor’s journey. You can learn more about their upcoming projects and previous releases at http://jkrock.net
You can find out more about J Rock and their work by visiting (here) at their author site and or (here) at the Camp Boyfriend Site, conversing with them On Twitter (Joanne, Here) (Karen, Here), or by visiting theirFacebook (here), Pintrest (here) or Goodreads (here)pages.

You can find out more about Camp Christmas on Goodreads(here) It is free to download on the Spencer Hill Contemporary website (here) or you can buy it on Amazon for 0.99$ (here).

While it is part of the Camp Boyfriend series it can also be read as a stand alone.
So far this series contains 3 book: Camp Kiss (Camp Boyfriend #0.5), Camp Boyfriend (camp Boyfriend #1) and Camp Christmas (Camp Boyfriend #1.5).

This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Camp Christmas banner

The book blitz runs from 17 December till 21 December, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours here

Giveaways!

One of the giveaways is US Only, here is what you can win: signed copies of J. Lynn’s FRIGID, Kimberly Sabatini’s TOUCHING THE SURFACE, J.K. Rock’s CAMP BOYFRIEND, journal, chinese lantern, pen, stickers, assorted bookmarks, friendship bracelets, Camp Boyfriend pen and mini-flashlight and Bath and Body Works Triple Moisture Cream in Aruba Coconut.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The other giveaway is open international and is for a 25$ gift card

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Daisy’s 2012 review

What is your favourite read of 2012?
My Favourite read of 2012 would probably be the Templeton Twins by Ellis Weiner and Jeremy Holmes as it was hilarious and well illustrated.

What book are you most looking forward to reading?
I’m looking forward to reading the Geek Girl by Holly Smale sequel as the first book (Due for publication Feb 28th 2013) was so fun to read!

What was your favourite book related event of 2012?
Definitely meeting Lauren Child! She was so friendly and I learnt so much about her books.

What have you enjoyed most about book blogging in 2012?
I’ve enjoyed my First year blogging it’s great to share your love of books with everyone! I’ve also learnt to read a wide variety of books because you should never judge a book by it’s cover!

Post By Daisy (11)

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Karen’s 2012 review

What is your favourite read of 2012?

There have been so many books that I have enjoyed this year, that whittling down to just one seems like such a disservice to all the rest! I’ll therefore slightly cheat and say that my favourite children’s book was Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. Young Adult – a tie between the Infernal Devices’ series (Cassandra Clare) and The Enemy (Charlie Higson) series and for adult, I really enjoyed Them or Us the final instalment in the Hater’ series by David Moody.

Which book have you most enjoyed reading with your children in 2012?

I think I have made it very clear on this blog how much my husband and I adored reading, A fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley Phillips to the kidlets. In particular because it was the first book that made my then 1 year old son so enthusiastic to listen to a story all the way through without the help of tactile/noisy features.

What have you enjoyed most about book reviewing/blogging in 2012?

The fact that blogging allows you to pick up and read any book you like the look of without prejudice. In particular, children’s and young adult books. Blogging also insists that no matter how busy my life is, I need to set time aside for reading. This is something which I really appreciate as reading does give me such a chance of escaping the daily pressures of life.

What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2013?

I’m impatiently waiting for Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare to come out as I have adored the series so far.

Other blogging thoughts:

In 2012 I read a number of books that are the inspiration for movies playing in cinemas in 2013.

Whilst it’s been a while since I last read the book, The Hobbit it needs to be mentioned as it will still be watched in the cinemas come January. Having seen the movie adaptation, I’m curious enough to reread the book to work out which bits were added in to fill out the first part of the trilogy. It’ll also give me a chance to sigh ‘Ohh Kili’ every time that sexy little dwarf gets a mention 🙂

I think I’ll save my pennies and wait for Jack Reacher to come out on rental release, just because I can’t get over the fact that Tom Cruise is playing Jack. In the books he is described as being very tall, literally 6ft+ and some. He uses his height to his advantage in fights and to intimidate and in general is very ‘rough and ready’. I worry that whilst it will probably be a good action movie, what made Jack Reacher such a fascinating and iconic character will be lost in the process.

Whilst randomly exploring You Tube I came across the trailer for Warm Bodies which in turn encouraged me to read the book. Previous headlines based around having a zombie boyfriend had put me off the book thinking that this was one step too far, but I found this an interesting twist on the zombie genre. This book is on my to do list to write a review so I will leave it at that for now!

Still on the zombie genre, World War Z as a film really interests me. Looking at the trailer it looks like the focus is on Brad Pitt’s character and his family. The book’s genius and originality is that it’s made up of different survivors’ accounts of how they endured a zombie apocalypse across the world so it will be interesting to see what aspects of the book the movie has tried to recreate.

Then there is of course,The Mortal Instruments with one of my favourite actors, Robert Sheehan playing Simon. Is it bad though that I am already hoping that this means that the Infernal Devices series will be made into a movie?!

Karen’s Favourite books of 2012 (Click on the title below to learn more)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Payley-Phillips

Post by Karen

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Spoilt Rotten

I hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas and a fabulousley Merry New Year.

I wanted to write a quick post of thanks to a few wonderfully bookish people.

My first round of thanks goes to Lynsey of Narratively Speaking ( check out her wonderful book blog here)for organising the first ever UK YA Book Blogger Secret Santa. Lynsey put in a great deal of time and thought to pull off this wonderfully fun and festive activity.
As you can see I was very spoilt my my own Secret Santa, Andrew of The Pewter Wolf (his fabulous blog can be found here).

photo-4
I received:
An ARC of Pushing The Limits by Kate McGarry
An ARC of The Iron King by Julia Kagawa
A Paperback of Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A Paperback of The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A Paperback of Dash and Lilys Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn
A 2012 olympic Keyring
A collectable lego figure
and various book cover postcards including on of The Name Of The star which is just begging out to be framed.

Thank you so much Andrew, I am absolutely chuffed with your selection.

My second round of thanks go to my lovely Ladies Pruedence of The Library Mouse (Which can be found here) and Kerri of Read and Repeat (here). Fortunately geography allows Kerri, Pruedence and I to meet semi regularly to discuss books. After each meet up we all come away well fed and with a much large wish list. But with so few reading hours in the day, we haven’t always managed to explore each others recommendations ( I am the worst culprit for this!). So this year, for Christmas, we decided that we would each gift the other two, one book that we felt that they REALLY MUST READ. To ensure these favourite reads do not end up collecting dust on our TBR shelves we have also challenged each other to read them by the end of January.

photo-5A Paperback copy of Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins from Pruedence
and A Paperback of Looking for Alaska by John Green from Kerri

Thank you lovely ladies

Were you spoilt rotten?

What bookish loveliness did Santa bring you?

Post by Caroline

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Lesley’s 2012 review

What is your favourite read of 2012?

Gosh, looking through my list of reads from 2012 and it’s hard to pick a favourite, but I think I will say Divergent and its sequel Insurgent by Veronica Roth. These are fab, fab books that I thoroughly enjoyed. Discovering YA fiction over the last year or so has opened up a fantastic new genre to explore and there is always so much new stuff coming out that I always have at least one on the go!

Which book have you most enjoyed reading with your children in 2012?

Julia Donaldson is always popular here, so I think that the Gruffalo’s child has probably been our most read book this year. We also enjoyed Zog recently. These stories, with their wonderful illustrations by Alex Scheffler will last my children for a long time.

What have you enjoyed most about book blogging in 2012?

It’s been a very busy year for us, moving from Surrey to Cornwall, so for a while, book reviewing had to take a slight back seat, but I’ve not lost my passion for reading and still have a TBR pile that I can’t wait to get stuck into! I have loved the opportunity to try new books, sent out by publishers, that I might not have picked off the shelf myself and sharing about them.

What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2013?

I’m very much looking forward to reading Enders, the sequel to Lissa Price’s Starters that I read after Helen reviewed it earlier this year. It was yet another YA book I really loved! I love being able to pass my YA collection on to my 12 year old son who is a huge HP and Hunger games fan. He’s starting to get into a wider range of YA fiction which I’m very happy about! Also, as my pre-schooler is taking a great interest in reading I’m looking forward to getting slightly ‘older books’ to be able to read with him.

Post by Lesley

Lesley’s Favourite reads of 2012(Click on the titles below to learn more)

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Zog by Julia Donaldson

Starters by Lissa Price

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Keith’s 2012 review

What was your favourite book of 2012?
My favourite book of 2012 is Heartstone by CJ Samson. It’s the fifth of the Matthew Shardlake series and the best of them so far. I love the writing style and how the world is so well realised, making you feel like you’re in the middle of a historical naval war between England and France.

Which book are you most looking forward to reading in 2013?
The book I’m most looking forward to reading soon is Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre, about how the pharmaceutical industry is causing real harm to patients by withholding important clinical trial data from doctors and the public. It’s a follow up to the excellent Bad Science which is one of those important books *everyone* should read.

Post by Keith

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