Adult Fiction, Christmas 2018, Crime

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

So what will I be reading this Christmas Eve? This beautiful edition of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was a gift from my husband on our anniversary in October. I’ve been saving it especially for Christmas and now I can’t wait to snuggle up with this and a glass of something delicious later today.

I hope you have enjoyed my recommendations over the last few days. Whichever book you give or receive, may it bring some extra sparkle and magic to your Christmas this year. Merry Christmas!

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Adult Fiction, Christmas 2018

Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech

This next title is for adults. Louise is a wonderful, wonderful writer. Her stories are incredible and she has the most beautiful way with words. Her first novel was only published in 2015 and already she has an impressive collection of titles under her belt. I urge you to try any one of them but today I’d like to recommend the one that introduced me to this fantastic author and in which I fell in love, Maria In The Moon.

Like a cold spider, the memory stirred in my head and spun an icy web about my brain. Someone else crawled in. I remembered

Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…

Adult Fiction, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018, Dyslexia Friendly, Ghost Stories

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My next recommended read is an absolute classic that was first published on the 19th December 1843. It is one of THE most famous Christmas stories ever and one that has inspired countless stories told in books, film and plays ever since. It is also one of my absolute favourites.

I have a beautiful illustrated copy which was given to me by my husband quite a few years ago now and I take great delight in reading it once a year at Christmas time. This particular edition was published by Dover Publications and is are republication of the edition published by William Heinemann, Ltd., London,1915. It features 12 full-colour plates and 18 black-and-white drawings by Arthur Rackham.

There have of course been many, many editions of this wonderful story. Most recently, publisher Barrington Stoke, have produced a dyslexia-friendly edition, in a format accessible to all readers. Amongst the hustle and bustle of our modern, chaotic Christmas, this is the one story that continues to remind us that Christmas is a time for love, compassion and humility. I find it incredible that it still continues to spread Christmas spirit over 150 years since it was first published.

Of course we all know the story but have you read A Christmas Carol? If you own a copy please do share a picture.

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,

December, 1843. C. D.

Adult Fiction, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

Christmas Eve Book Love

Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year. It sparkles and shimmers with anticipation and is the one day where, if you are lucky enough, you can literally feel Christmas all around you. Last minute preparations, got chocolate or mulled wine and some Christmas carols or films as we settle in for the day itself.

Christmas Eve boxes are now incredibly popular and as a past recipient (thanks sis) it does add that little extra excitement for the day. This isn’t (or it doesn’t have to be) about consumerism. It’s about a few little treats to share at Christmas time. These could include a sachet of hot chocolate, a favourite Christmas dvd or a set of snuggly Christmas socks or pyjamas. Anything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and given with love.

Since the Second World War the people of Iceland have been celebrating Jolabokaflod, a tradition in which books are gifted on Christmas Eve. The evening is then spent reading with a mug of hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. This sounds to me like the perfect antidote to all the stresses and strains that can come with the festive period.

I love buying books as gifts. Not only are they easy to wrap but you get so much for your money. A full priced book isn’t an expensive gift. You can also pick up some amazing finds in charity shops meaning even the most cash-strapped amongst us can find a little bookish magic to pass on to our loved ones.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be posting some of the books that I feel make great gifts this Christmas. They will be a variety of titles for kids, teens/YA and adult readers so do keep your eyes peeled. You never know you might find the next best read for your beloved (or even for yourself).

Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

Book Launch – The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

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It was a damp and mild November evening when the Fallows family headed up to London.  Nature is giving a wonderful display of autumnal colour; golden brown, fiery reds and burnt orange underfoot with sticky, mushy leaves wet from the rain earlier in the day. This last week we’ve gained an hour and darker evenings for sparkly lights and magical time to curl up with a good book.  Winter is well and truly on its way… and with it comes Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Never shy of taking an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit as early as possible, I was delighted to have been invited to join in celebrating the launch of a bright and sparkling new, Christmas story.

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Flash back to summer.  The days were long, the sun was shining and people were already beginning to panic about ever seeing rain again. I however,  was settling down to read my first Christmas book of the year.  The Night I met Father Christmas by Ben Miller.

There are so many wonderful children’s authors bringing books to our young readers that will inspire and encourage a life-long love of reading.  So when someone we admire for their other work gives us a novel, I always feel a little apprehensive.  I expect it to be good enough to share a place on the shelves of those whose main body of work is children’s fiction.  Children’s books are important, they matter.  As Meg Ryan said in You Got Mail “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” With so many other distractions it’s important that we can grab their attention with stories that will fill them with wonder and let them love books rather than see them as a chore and bore.

I very much enjoy watching Ben on the screen.  We’re big fans of Death in Paradise in our household and grew to love his grumpy, yet brilliant Inspector Richard Poole and even more recently his role as Angus Bough, the ever patient side-kick to Rowen Atkinson’s, Johnny English. So I was excited to hear that he had written a Christmas story and keen for him to have done it well. It’s encouraging to know that Ben is not new to the written word, he has already published two non-fiction titles, It’s Not Rocket Science and The Aliens Are Coming!: The Exciting Science Behind Our Search For Life in the Universe.   The Night I Met Father Christmas is his first fictional title and trust me when I say, it is wonderful and very much deserves its place on any child’s (or adult’s) bookshelf.

It was an absolute treat to attend his launch party and Ben Miller is as funny and warm in the flesh as he comes across on the screen.  With a room full of people vying for his attention he took the time to sign copies of his book and my own young Ben was thrilled to meet him (as was I).  We also chatted and mingled with some lovely people and was finally able to say hello to some familiar faces including children’s author, Philip Ardagh.

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When Ben met Ben

The team at Simon and Schuster did Ben proud and the event was lovely.   We had the opportunity to meet the wonderfully talented illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, whose stunning illustrations bring the story to life.  Simon and Schuster’s design team have produced a stunning book complementing both story and illustrations. It truly is beautiful and will make a wonderful early Christmas present or perhaps be the perfect book to share with your little ones in the run up to the big event itself.

 

The Night I Met Father Christmas is available to buy now.  It is already generating wonderful reviews and much excitement.  At the beginning of December I’ll be running a series of festive posts about this delightful book that will culminate with a giveaway on Monday the 3rd as I kick off the blog tour.  Do come back and take a look or even better, why not hit the follow button. 🙂

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Christmas 2017, Picture Books

Christmas 2017 – Book Advent – Day Nine

Day Nine

A Christmas for Bear by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

IMG_20171220_001112Bear is having his first ever Christmas party.

He tells Mouse that there will be no presents. They will sit and eat pickles and maybe Bear will read a long difficult poem.

Surely that will do?

But Mouse thinks Bear is hiding something…

And he’s determined to find out where!

This lovely Christmas tale has a wonderfully nostalgic feel to it. Just beautiful.

A Christmas for Bear was published in November 2017 by Walker Books.

Christmas 2017, Picture Books

Christmas 2017 – Book Advent – Day Eight

The Magical Ice Palace by Suzanne Smith & Lindsay Taylor

Illustrated by Marnie Maurri

Now this is a wonderful picture book for those who live adventures, wintery fun and doodling.

img_20171219_2324501244307660.jpgDoodle Girl and her friends are having a wonderful ride aboard a Magical snowflake when…

TRUMPETY TOOT!

… they discover a Mammoth Prince wobbling and wobbling on top of a mountain!

Luckily, Doodle Girl is ready with her Magic pencil to help, but can they get to the ICE PALACE in time for the Mammoth’s royal part?

And once you’ve enjoyed the bright, colourful and fun illustrations there is a fabulous poster sized colouring sheet full of wonderful doodles to colour in.IMG_20171219_232307

The Magical Ice Palace was published in October 2017 by Simon and Schuster

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