Making my winter reading list

It’s November–which means NaNoWriMo month for me. I’ll be writing like crazy (and posting chapters on my author site), but I’ll also be getting cozy and reading. So what will I be reading? I am so glad you asked! Since we’re creeping closer and closer to the Christmas season (yes, I am well aware that it was *just* Halloween a few days–but it will soon be Thanksgiving and First Advent and you know how the days fly by), I’ve made a list of what I’ll be reading to get in the holly-jolly spirit *and* what I’ll be reading for the sheer pleasure of it. So here goes…

Holiday Reads

Secret SantaSecret Santa – Scarlett Bailey

A Christmas to Remember – Jenny Hale

The French for Christmas – Fiona Valpy

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 09.28.09Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake – Sue Watson

The Reluctant Elf – Michele Gorman

Sweet Christmas Kisses: Fourteen Sweet Christmas Romances – Beate Boeker, Donna Fasano and a host of other writers

 

On My Kindle Now

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 09.32.29Didn’t Mean to Love You – Christina C. Jones

Fear of Heights – Mara White

The Secret Place – Tana French

 

On My Preorder List

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 09.34.13Chasing Moments – Tia Kelly

It’s Not Me, It’s You – Mhairi McFarlane

Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin

 

That’s it for today–there will probably be more books added to my Winter Reading List, so  check back often!

Happy reading! 🙂

 

 

Christmas reads – 2013 edition

You know I am a sucker for novels set during Christmas. I love diving into a fun holiday read about people falling in and out of love, especially when there’s lots of snow, Christmas trees and good cheer involved. So, since the department stores here in Stockholm have already started decorating for Christmas, that means I can tell you what books are on my Christmas Reading List. Are you ready?

Just for Christmas coverJust for Christmas by Scarlett Bailey – Scarlett Bailey’s holiday stories are always high on my Christmas reading list. I love how she paints such great pictures of characters in need of a little Christmas joy and what helps them get their holiday mojo back. I am halfway through Just for Christmas and it’s a fun story about Alex, who runs away from Edinburgh to Cornwall to nurse a broken heart and start over, and what happens when the town decides she must make merry with them…and she gets the world’s scruffiest dog…and a very attractive neighbor to boot!

 

Coming Home for XmasComing Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale – I love a good family-oriented Christmas novel, and Coming Home for Christmas is the perfect family Christmas novel. It’s all about Allie, who finds herself unemployed just before the holidays, and how a flip of the coin leads her to her new position as house manager for the very wealthy and emotionally distant Robert–a man who is no longer close to his family and planning on selling the family home, despite the protests of his siblings and grandmother. Will Allie manage to change Robert’s mind? And will they fall in love? You’ll just have to read Coming Home for Christmas to find out…and you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

tumblr_static_a_vintage_christmas_cover_v2A Vintage Christmas by Ali Harris – A few years ago, Ali Harris wrote the wonderful Christmas novel, Miracle on Regent Street which–if you haven’t read it–you need to read ASAP, add it to YOUR holiday reading list. 🙂 This time, Ali brings us the continuation of Evie and Sam as a short story. I jus purchased it, so I can’t tell you much about the plot, but I am really looking froward to reading it since I loved Miracle on Regent Street so much.

 

 

I heart xmasI Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk – I am a huge Lindsey Kelk fan. I loved all the other books in her I Heart series, and About a Girl is one of my top faves of 2013. Those of you who’ve read her I Heart series know it follows expat Brit Angela and her adventures in NYC with her best friend Jenny Lopez and her hot musician boyfriend Alex. And this story looks to be about how Angela will try to get her dream Christmas while avoiding (or maybe causing) a few hijinks along the way. I have the feeling it’s going to be an awesome read! But I have to wait until 21 November…drat! 😀

 

Make my wish smallMake My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper – Just bought this one for my Kindle today! Two sisters who couldn’t be more different each want what the other has for Christmas. So after a bit of bickering, they decide to do a Christmas swap. Will their Christmas wishes live up to their expectations? Only time will tell! 🙂

 

 

 

christmas blissChristmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews – A few years ago, Mary Kay Andrews wrote one of my favorite Christmas novels, Blue Christmas. Christmas Bliss picks up where Blue Christmas ended, with Weezie and Daniel finally planning their wedding. Of course hijinks ensue. Of course it’s fun! I cheated and read a few chapters already…and I admit I was already caught up enough the story. If you haven’t read Blue Christmas, order it too! 🙂

 

thechristmaskeysmThe Christmas Key by Chacelyn Pierce – This one is a short story/novella set in Alaska! A heart-broken woman and a rock star find themselves stuck in a cabin together during Christmas. And of course she is his biggest fan–and not in that Stephen King Misery way. Now how will they find a way to make merry during the holiday season? I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

 

That’s it for now! You know this list is a work in progress, so if I find any other tempting books I will add them to the list. And, of course, you can always add Snowbound to your list since it is a holiday love story! 😉

Happy reading (and writing)!

Santa Maybe? Santa Indeed!

ImageYou might find it hard to believe but I actually had time to read while I was tackling Nanowrimo. I’d told myself I was only going to focus on my NanoNovel but I needed distraction from time to time. There’s only so many hours a day a girl can write before her fingers cramp up. I needed something to get me in the Christmas spirit since the end of November in Stockholm was decidely rainy and dark.  Scarlett Bailey’s Christmas novella, Santa Maybe, was just thing thing to keep me from obsessing over bad weather and my never-ending To-Do list.

So what’s Santa Maybe about? Imagine you wake up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and you find a strange man in your bedroom–and you know you didn’t bring him home after the office Christmas party…and he’s not your boyfriend. Well, that’s what happens to Amy Tucker. She wakes up on Christmas Eve and finds a very good-looking man in a Santa suit in her bedroom. She thinks she’s dreaming, so Santa–who looks nothing like the Victorian version of Santa many of us grew up with–has to work hard to convince her that a) she isn’t dreaming and b) he really is Santa. So why is he in her bedroom? Amy is a lucky girl–she’s been chosen as the person whose Christmas wish will come true. And maybe she’ll find a little move along the way.

Santa Maybe definitely scores high on my Holiday Book Bonanza list. Scarlett Bailey has reinvented the idea of Santa for the modern woman, making him vulnerable, sexy and very real. I also loved the fun, magical feel Bailey brings to the novella. Amy’s journey with Santa is bittersweet at turns, romantic at others.  It’s a real page-turner and it captures the mood and spirit of Christmas perfectly. So if you’ve got an e-reader and you want something fun to read, you can’t go wrong with Santa Maybe. You’ll love following Amy and Santa’s incredible journey, and you’ll probably wish a sexy Santa would pop up in your bedroom. 😉

Scarlett: another hit! Going to start reading Married by Christmas later this week. 🙂

Stockholmers, buy a Christmas tree and support Stockholms Stadsmission

mission treeI already told you about my mission for the month of December–to donate all the profits from December sales of Linger: a short story and The Melanie Chronicles to Stockholms Stadsmission. Now I’ve found out that those of us in the Stockholm area can buy Christmas trees in Kungsträdgården and help support the mission at the same time. I think this is a great way to support Stockholms Stadsmisison‘s endeavors in helping the homeless, substance abusers, and at-risk women and children.

If you purchase a “typical” Swedish tree, 135 kronor will be donated to Stockholms Stadsmission. If you splurge and get the King Spruce, 185 kronor will go to the mission. Stockholmers can even order their tree online from hemgran.se and have the tree delivered to their door. But then the amount that goes to the mission is 50 or 95 kronor, depending on which type of tree you order.

For more information, click here. Note: this information is in Swedish only but you can use the translate plug-in on the website to see the info in English.

For those of you who don’t live in Sweden, I hope you’ll do something to support your local charities this holiday season. Donate old clothing that’s still in good condition to the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter. Help out at a soup kitchen or food bank. Volunteer at a senior citizen center. Volunteer at your local library and start a story hour for kids or offer to be a homework helper.

Remember the message of this season: It’s better to give than to receive. And giving doesn’t have to cost a dime.

By the way: I’m near done reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, so later I’ll be posting a review of it and Santa Maybe by Scarlett Bailey, whom I interviewed for the blog last Christmas.

Might be time to check in with Scarlett again and see what she’s got planned for Christmas.

Happy First Advent!