Calling Mrs Christmas

17984768

Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She’s soon in huge demand and Cassie’s business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children so he enlists Cassie’s help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When Carter asks Cassie to join them on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn’t go. As much as tries, Cassie can’t deny how drawn she is to Carter and everything he has to offer, but she still loves her warm-hearted Jim. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.

My Opinion: For my last Christmassy read of the year I read Calling Mrs Christmas, the latest book from Carole Matthews.

Cassie comes up with an idea to make some money over the Christmas period and starts offering services to buy presents, decorate trees and do almost anything else to make people’s Christmasses a bit less stressful! The business is a huge success and she soon finds herself picking up a new client in the form of Carter Randall, after accidentally throwing a drink over him.

Carter procures Cassie’s services to make Christmas perfect for his children, by decorating and arranging the trip of a lifetime. Little does Cassie know that she will be asked to join them on the trip and end up having to make a life changing decision.

I enjoyed this book and thought that it was really well written with a well thought out storyline. The only thing that grated on me was Cassie. She is selfish, takes her partner Jim for granted and gets too easily swayed by the amount of money in someones wallet, rather than how they are as a person. It didn’t spoil the book for me though and I would recommend it to fans of chick lit and Carole Matthews.

My rating: A festive four stars.

Xmas Wishlist – Jaimie Admans

Ampersand necklace
http://www.etsy.com/listing/164659990/ampersand-necklace-sterling-silver-chain

20131126-193557.jpg

I love ampersands! I don’t know why, maybe it’s a writer thing! I have a massive wooden one on the wall above my computer and looking at it reminds me that I should be writing more words, so maybe that’s why I like them. I don’t really do dainty little necklaces like this one, but for some reason I really like it, although have stopped myself buying it as I’d be so afraid of breaking it I’d probably only ever wear it on really special occasions!

New Kindle, and/or never-ending Kindle battery

20131126-193703.jpg

I absolutely love my Kindle, I don’t know how I ever survived without it, but the most frustrating thing in the world is either when you settle down in bed, all ready to curl up with a book, and the battery dies. Or when you get to a vital part, the heart-in-throat moment of a thriller, and the damn thing turns itself off and the charging icon comes up on the screen! Then you have to wait quarter of an hour while it’s plugged in before you can even turn it back on and sit in front of the plug socket to finish the chapter! My Kindle has rapidly deteriorated this year in terms of battery life and how much warning it gives before switching off. It’s a couple of years old now so perhaps it’s coming to the end of it’s life, but I wish there was such a thing as a never-ending Kindle battery, or at least some emergency contraption you could plug into it to give it an extra boost until you’ve got past the exciting book moments!

A bookshelf with unlimited space

20131126-193751.jpg

A common problem faced by all booklovers – how much space books take up! I love paperback books, but I hardly ever buy them anymore due to my multiple bookshelves being full! Let’s face it, even full is an understatement. Full-to-bursting or about-to-explode also work. I always buy the ebook versions of books now, and try to get my fix by lovingly stroking paperbacks in the shops and toddling off home to my Kindle which has almost unlimited space but is sadly lacking that real-book smell.

Comfy reading chair and/or nook

20131126-193849.jpg

It might sound silly but the only place I have to read is in bed! The sofa is in the living room which is always too noisy for reading, so my only reading option is the bed! I would love a little reading nook, you know, a cosy chair surrounded by shelves of gorgeous books… I might need a bigger house first though!

Once Upon A Time notebook
http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/heatheralsteaddesign/product/once-upon-a-time-notebook

20131126-193949.jpg

Like lots of people I know, I have an addiction to stationery! Pretty notebooks, pens, note cards, boxes. Notebooks are my biggest downfall, I always swear I won’t buy any more but then I find the stationery section in a shop and they’re all just so pretty, it would be wrong to walk out without at least one! Of course, I now have so many notebooks that it will take me three lifetimes to get through them, and I still make a beeline for the stationery section! It’s impossible to resist a nice notebook! I tell myself I can count them as ‘writerly expenses’ but my notebook drawer(s) could supply ten writers by now!

A multitude of books that people have recommended to me this year.

20131126-194131.jpg

There are so many books on my to-read list that sound amazing! I follow quite a few avid readers on Twitter and almost every day someone will recommend a book that sounds brilliant, I just need more hours in the day to read them all! I won’t write the list out or we’d be here all night, but there are so many books I really want to read, I would be thrilled to find any of them under the tree this year!

Ferrero Rocher

20131126-194054.jpg

No Christmas list would be complete without mentioning food of some sort, and I couldn’t possibly read all those books without some kind of sustenance by my side, so I’ll have a giant box of Ferrero Rocher, please! They’re my absolute favourites! I’m actually really lucky at this time of year because my birthday is a few days after Christmas, so no sooner have I eaten the boxes people bought me for Christmas, I get given more!

Thanks, Santa!

Xmas Wishlist – Jo @ Cometbabesbooks

Hi Everyone

I volunteered to take part in Sheli’s Xmas wish list feature in October. I am new to blogging and only created my blog in September, so I am especially thrilled that Sheli has allowed me to be apart of this

My wish list is:-

A Diary to organise my blog, I always seem to be on the last minute getting posts ready or reading books for blog tours, for 2014 I would like to be a little more organised.

A Nexus 7, been told these are one of the best tablets after an IPad.

A case for a Nexus 7, to make it easier to type my tweets and blog

I have also asked for Amazon vouchers, I’m sure these are must for all bookish fiends as I have 110 books on my wish list in Amazon, if not Amazon vouchers then of course I want books, books and more books.

Topping my wish list are the following books, despite the fact that my TBR pile seems to be getting out of control.

April Fools by Karli Perrin, I still have April Showers to read, but loved Karli’s Christmas offering The Gift.

The Elemental World series by Elizabeth Hunter, read the Elemental Mysteries Series earlier in the year and these tie in with the Characters in those books.

All the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

The Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Top of my wish list is
In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran

Hope Santa brings my wish list and everyone else’s wish list.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thanks again Sheli.

Jo xx

My twitter is @cometbabe

Please come and visit me on my blog: cometbabesbooks.blogspot.co.uk

Xmas Wishlist – Kate @ Books with Bunny

When Sheli asked me to make a list of books I wanted for Christmas I thought it was my lucky day. Unfortunately, as lovely and generous as she is, she wasn’t offering to buy me them-she was just being nosy! So, here are the books I am hoping to find in my stocking on Christmas morning.

1) Her Brilliant Career-Rachel Cooke

I love the 50s and often think I was born in the wrong era. This book sounds amazing, a look at how women in this decade of change were taking life by the scruff of the neck and realising their dreams. I imagine it will be an inspiring read.

2) The Rehearsal- Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton is now a big name in book circles after winning this years Man Booker Prize. I do want to read The Luminaries, but this appeals to me more.

3) The Book of Summers-Emylia Hall

I read Emylia Hall’s A Heart Bent Out of Shape this year and enjoyed it, so I definitely want to read this book. I’ll be interested to see if it stirs up my emotions in the same way as A Heart Bent Out of Shape is one of those books that pops into my mind and has made a lasting impression.

4) Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell seems to be able to tap into something in my brain that makes me just say ‘Yes! That’s it exactly!’ I haven’t bought Fangirl yet, partly because I am wanting to save it for a day when I need a read that I know I’ll love. If it is half as impressive as Eleanor and Park then it’ll be great.

5) The Fault in Our Stars- John Green

I think I’m probably the only person in the whole wide world not to have read this yet. The subject matter scares me a bit as it sounds heavy going, but everyone assures me I’d love it, so I’d like a copy for Christmas so I can give it a whirl.

6) One Direction Official Annual 2014

I don’t think anyone will buy this for me to encourage my obsession with Louis Tomlinson, but I would be quite happy with this under my tree if I can’t have the lads themselves.

http://www.bookswithbunny.blogspot.co.uk/

@bookswithbunny

www.facebook.com/bookswithbunny

Xmas wishlist – Louise

There are so many fantastic things out there for the discerning bookworm so I’ve tried to be very good and limit myself to 5 items and I hope you appreciate how much restraint this is taking for me!

 

1. Firstly, as a full time mum to a wonderfully lively 3 year old, top of my wishlist would be an afternoon of peace and quiet on a wonderful sofa, under a cosy blanket with a drink, snack and of course a good book.  As I don’t drink tea I would have a hot chocolate and it would be lovely served in one of these with the chocolate bar too of course!!

2. I love and collect nearly as many bookmarks as I do books and think this is one of the cutest I have seen.

3. I have been lucky enough to get a new Kindle Paperwhite this year and as Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books in the world I would love one of these to keep my Kindle safe from a toddler’s hands!!

4. Although I usually have so many books on my bookshelves that I don’t usually need bookends, I think these guys are so cute I’d have to make room for them!!

5. I think that this may be the only book in the world where I couldn’t give a hoot about the words, it’s all about the pictures 🙂

Thanks to Sheli for asking me to be part of her Christmas feature.  I wish her and you a lovely, bookish Christmas.   Louise

I review for Laura at  http://shelovestoread.weebly.com/

I tweet at @jaustenrulesok

Author interview: Jenny Oliver

20131211-194532.jpg

Today I’m very lucky to have the very lovely Jenny Oliver on the blog talking about her book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off, patisseries and roasted chestnuts!

1. Hi Jenny! Welcome to Sheli Reads! Tell us a bit about your book, The Parisian Christmas Bake Off.

Thanks for having me, Sheli!

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is essentially about a girl, Rachel, heading off to Paris at Christmas to take part in a competition to become a world-renowned baker’s apprentice. But underneath that it’s about her coming to terms with the loss of her mother, facing her fears and having the courage to let her talent shine and live in the present again. Plus lots of mouth-watering cakes, competitiveness and sabotage, a sprinkling of romance and whole lot of Christmas!

2. Where did you get your inspiration to write the book?

I had always wanted to write a Christmas book but wasn’t quite sure what my setting or theme would be – apart from lots of snow! I was on holiday this year in a little village in France and fell in love with the tiny patisseries that were piled high with the most amazing cakes, tortes, breads and croissants. They were the bustling hub of the village. Those memories combined with a passion for the Bake Off and suddenly everything came together in this book.

3. There are lots of books out now that involve cupcakes, what made you go for delicate French pastries as your festive food of choice in this book?

My grandmother grew up in France so a lot of the cooking in our extended family has a french origin and a fair bit of what they make in the book I grew up watching being baked by my mum or grandmother – and occasionally giving it a go myself! – so it all felt very familiar. Also, while I’m quite partial to a cupcake, I really love the pastries that you see in the window of places like Patisserie Valerie and other little cake shops – strawberry tarts, millefeuille, flakey almond croissants, eclairs and of course the macaroon. They’re more art than food! When I walk past those places I have to just pause and admire!

4. Did you base the character of the chef, Henri Salernes, on a celebrity chef?

Not one in particular but I watch a lot of Masterchef and I’m always amazed at the hierarchy in the kitchen and how brutal it can be. I’d either be trembling in the corner or walk out in a rage whereas the junior chefs are so in tune with the system and what’s expected that a simple ‘yes chef’ always seems to be the only answer. There’s no quibbling. I liked the idea that no one had ever really had the courage to stand up to Rachel, the protagonist in my book, and tell her that it was time to change, to move on and forward. Possibly the only person who could have done that was her mum and she’s gone. So the idea that this mean french chef might be the one to break down her barriers really appealed to me.

5. I would love to read more about Rachel’s life back home in her village. Will you be writing more about her?

Yes I think so. I’m working on something at the moment where she appears as a secondary character and it’s really lovely to see her and Philippe again – he really makes me laugh so I can’t let him go!

6. What can we expect from you next?

I loved writing this book and I especially liked the community of Rachel’s home town so, at the moment, that’s where I’m headed next.

7. Have you got any tips for aspiring writers out there?

Enjoy what you are writing. And do it as much as possible.

8. I always like to ask a food related question, so what’s your favourite treat to get you in a festive mood?

Last weekend we were watching some terrible Christmas film, had just decorated the tree and we roasted some chestnuts! They’re one of my all time festive foods. I love breaking open the shells while they’re still steaming hot and the flavour just says Christmas to me. The trick is not to forget about them…countless times I’ve left them in the oven till they’re burnt to a crisp so when I get them right they seem doubly special.

Thank you for this great interview Jenny! The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is available on Amazon now, and you can read my review here.