Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Ultimate Christmas Countdown

For the last three months I have been devouring Yuletide romances like a fiend - to the point where even I - Christmas obsessive - am getting a little weary of all the snow and mistletoe.

But it's all in the name of reviewing and so this year - in the lead up to Christmas - I shall be reviewing a Yuletide Romance every single day.  It may kill me, but secretly I'm rather looking forward to it!!  Plus I'm culminating with an in-depth review of my first ever Mills & Boon book on Christmas Day itself!

This is acting as the Master-Post and so you can head back here throughout December to find links to the reviews as they're posted; as well as acting as a gateway into the world of the authors themselves.

Merry Xmas!!

  1. Mistletoe Not Required, Anne Oliver
  2. Just For Christmas, Scarlett Bailey
  3. Catching Snowflakes, Nora Roberts
  4. Kissing Under the Mistletoe, Bella Andre
  5. By Proxy, Katy Regnery
  6. Christmas at theCupcake Café, Jenny Colgan
  7. The Christmas Catch, Ginny Baird
  8. Coming Home for Christmas, Jenny Hale
  9. Snowbound with the Soldier, Jennifer Faye
  10. Spirits of Christmas, Nicky Wells
  11. Make My Wish Come True, Fiona Harper
  12. A Blazing Little Christmas, Jacquie D'Alessandro, Joanne Rock, Kathleen O'Reilly
  13. Kissing Under the Mistletoe, Marina Adair
  14. Unexpected Gifts, Elena Aitken
  15. Mackenzie Family Christmas:  The Perfect Gift, Jennifer Ashley
  16. Sleigh Bells in the Snow, Sarah Morgan
  17. Christmas Cowboy Kisses, Carolyn Davidson, Carol Arens, Lauri Robinson
  18. The Parisian Christmas Bake-Off, Jenny Oliver
  19. Kisses She Wrote, Katharine Ashe
  20. Baby It’s Cold Outside, Kate Hardy, Heidi Rice, Aimee Carson, Amy Andrews
  21. The Christmas Cottage, Samantha Chase
  22. Eight Christmas Eves, Rachel Curtis
  23. Santa Wore Leathers, Vonnie Davis
  24. The Happy Endings Book Club, Jane Tara
  25. The Mills & Boon Christmas Edition (1998), Carole Mortimer, Betty Neels, Jo Leigh
(Image by Siebuhr)

Why I wish I were a better writer

I'm a writer; not by trade, but by heart.

For some reason there's something that just propels me to write - often continually, generally nonsensically.  Much of this gets enveloped into my blog, into every time I talk about life and love and my passion for other people's writing.

But essentially I wish I were a better writer.

There are times when I want to scream because I can't capture how I feel or what I want to say in words.  I'm envious of those novelists who can distill love into a paragraph or poets whose words hold a mirror up to how I feel.

Even song lyrics...I've spoken at length about crying over literature and films and music, but I this week it seems like I'm continually tripping over songs that say something so damn well that you can't help but ache.

And so this morning I found myself staring at my computer screen, knowing that I wanted to write (poetry no less), but simultaneously finding myself utterly blocked.  In some ways, the only cure for sumat like that, is sitting down at my piano and rehashing all the classical pieces that broke my heart when I learnt to play.  But, on the other hand, it feels like a bit of a wake-up call.

Wanting something doesn't mean you're going to get it.

Musings it is.

(Image by Cathrine Idsøe)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Crying over books - the tragic tale of a soppy reader...

I spend a startling amount of time crying.

I suppose it started when I was about eight, and came across my first introduction to Shakespeare, bound in the format of The Enchanted Island.  It was Ian Serraillier's reimagining of King Lear that I first cried over.  Devastated by the fact that he only realised the value of Coredia too late, so began a fairly vicious cycle of weeping over literature.

Since then I've cried over numerous sad endings including George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (Oh Maggie, Oh Tom!!); the tragic one-sided love of Dan in Jo's Boys, the final book in the Little Women series; and I still cry whenever I get to a specific point in Rilla of Ingleside (clearly the most superior of all of the Anne of Green Gables books), whether on public transport or in the comfort of my own home.

But these days Happy Ever Afters make me cry just as much as the Never Ever Afters.

The other day I found myself unashamedly moved by Mhairi McFarlane's newest novel Here's Looking At You.  I don't know whether it was the fact that Anna, the main character, had been through so much that she truly deserved a decent HEA; that it was so deliciously written (which it definitely was - an utterly lush read!); or whether it was just that I've got soppy in my old age*.

Sometimes, I think it's nice to cry over happy endings.  I find it moving when I'm reminded of the innate goodness of humankind ("the milk of human kindness", if you will), and I find it moving when it's proven that there are people who genuinely just try and do nice things for others.

It's probably why I watch The Ellen Show so much, even though I just sit there bawling my eyes out.

So all in all, I think that crying over books is pretty forgivable.  Thoughts dear internet?  And whilst you muse upon that, I leave you with a version of And So It Goes that never fails to get me all weepy...

*I'd like to point out that I'm only 25, but that seems incredibly old to my teenage, angsty, weepy self.

(Image by Alena Navarro-Whyte)

Monday, 18 November 2013

On Being a Modern Tempted Girl

I'm a Modern Tempted girl.

Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to read any Mills & Boon imprint (I'm currently reading a Medical Romance for my M&B December guestblog), but there's something about Modern Tempted that reminds me of the old school Temptation line.

I like my heroines sassy and my heroes alpha.

I like plots that aren't beyond the realm of possibility.

So imagine my delight when the Modern Tempted dream team - Flo Nicoll and Clio Cornish - asked me whether I'd like to review the books for them on a regular basis.

Obviously I barely paused, before calling them back in a flurry of delight and excitement, to accept their offer!

And as a result it is my privilege to welcome you to my first monthly Modern Tempted day.  Settle down, put your feet up and enjoy reviews, musings of a rambling nature, and this month's Mills & Boon boy.

Follow the links below for this month's books and their wonderfully lovely authors' websites:

Too Much of a Good Thing?, or Why Rugby Players are The Dream

Be careful what you wish for…

It’s time for Lu Sheppard to get back in the game – fact. After ten years of playing mum to her younger brothers the boys have left home and she’s determined to make up for lost time! Item number one on her list? A man to have some fun with!

Rugby coach Will Scott is just what Lu needs to ease herself back into the dating game. Only in town temporarily, king of the fling…he’s perfect. But his kisses are so electric that remembering they have an expiry date is getting harder. Suddenly Lu starts wondering…maybe it is possible to have too much of a good thing!

Joss Wood and I are one of a kind – namely, we both have a thing for rugbyplayers (and spend a ridiculous amount of time on Twitter discussing this).  So imagine my delight when I realised that her latest novel started an ex-professional rugby player.

He’s thoughtful.  And sweet.  And mind-blowingly hot.

And his interactions will Lu, Wood’s lovely heroine?  Perfect.  Lu’s two younger twin brothers – who she brought up following the death of her parents – have made her promise to live a little whilst they’re off at uni.  So when she meets Will on a night out, sparks fly and soon he finds himself helping her let loose. 

Too Much of a Good Thing? had so many of those catch-your-breath moments – and not all of them were romantic.  There’s the moment when Will brings the team he’s currently coaching to help Lu’s best friend’s son adjust to the mainstream school he’s starting; there’s the moment when Lu’s younger brothers thank her for all she’s sacrificed; and there’s the moment when Lu realises that she really can make a career out of the photography that she’s loved for so long.

Stepping out into a world that you’ve shied away from for so long must be terrifying, and Lu’s courage and vivacity in doing so captures our hearts, as well as Will’s.

Utterly enchanting, and with a peak into the world of rugby, definitely worth a read!

Plus, I don’t think I’d be alone in suggesting that perhaps the Modern Tempted team take a rugby player each and see if we could cover a whole team for a series extravaganza!  Just saying.  ;)

The November Mills & Boon Boy:
Connor (aka The Catch)  
Reaction to Photograph Request: 
Ever the gentleman, Connor offered to pose immediately, and in whatever position required.