Archive | December, 2013

2013 highlights and favourite books

31 Dec

2013 has been a wonderful reading and blogging year again, so firstly, a huge ‘thank you’ to all the readers, authors and publishers who I’ve had so much fun discussing books with this year – it has been my best blogging year yet.

This year through blogging and reading I made an advert, met one of my all time favourite authors (the absolutely lovely Maggie O’Farrell), became part of the Romance Revolution and was quoted on a book for the first time! I read 113 books, novellas and short stories – according to Goodreads that’s 28,376 wonderful pages! It’s the most I’ve ever read in a single year. On top of that I published 279 blog posts.

As ever when I come to picking my favourite books of the year, I had trouble narrowing the list down so this year I have chosen 13 for ’13, listed in the order I read them. Do let me know what your favourites were.

The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris

Published by Simon and Schuster in January

Beautifully written, poignant and heart-breaking – a wonderful second novel from Ali Harris.

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Published by Tinder Press in February

Tinder’s debut title and another huge hit for Maggie O’Farrell – her books just get better and better!

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Published in February by Allison & Busby

This was the first book I read by Kate Forsyth and the combination of history, fairytale and romance blew me away. Kate’s second release of the year, The Wild Girl was also brilliant and highly recommended.

Wait for You by J.Lynn

Published by Harper in April

2013 has been the year that New Adult really took off and I’ve loved reading this new genre with Wait for You being my favourite New Adult title of 2013.

The Affair by Gill Paul

Published by Arrow in May

Gill Paul turns her attentions to 1960s Rome and the Taylor/Burton affair on the set of Cleopatra. I loved the glamour and behind the scenes detail of this novel.

My Notorious Life by Madame X by Kate Manning

Published by Bloomsbury in June

My absolute favourite book of the year – I can’t recommend it highly enough!

The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

Published by Harper in May

A brilliantly gripping debut from Lucy Clarke – I couldn’t put it down.

The Life List by Lori Nelson-Spielman 

Published by Arrow in August

An excellent life-affirming debut.

Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books in September

This and the original Geek Girl (published in February) are credited with making me laugh the most this year. My favourite young adult book of 2013.

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

Published by Penguin in September

I’ve been a fan of Jane Green for many years and this book reminded me just how good she is at writing believable characters and complex relationships.

The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine

Published in October by Ebury

I haven’t had chance to review this yet but it’s my favourite paranormal of 2013

Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman

Published by Quercus in November

A beautifully told story of  love, loss and adventure.

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

 Published by Penguin in November

The first time a non-fiction book has appeared in my end of year round up. The book that made me crave Toffos – a funny, sweet, brilliant, nostaligic read.


As I wish you all a happy New Year tonight I have only one book related resolution for 2014; to keep enjoying both reading and blogging. I’ll admit that there have been times this year when blogging and reading have felt more like a second full time job than my amazing hobby and I’ve felt quite stressed about what I have or haven’t read and posted. So 2014 is all about going back to basics for me and reading and blogging for the love of it and I hope you’ll all be there with me to share a love of both!

Happy New Year!!

Short story spotlight: Christmas round up

24 Dec

I set myself a little challenge last week; to read a Christmas ebook short story or novella each day. I’ve had  a lot of fun with this challenge and the stories below really put me in the Christmas spirit. So if you’re looking for a quick read during the festivities or Santa brings you a lovely new e-reader tomorrow, here are my recommendations for short festive treats!

From Scotland with Love by Katie Fforde

When Daisy travels to Scotland to confront notorious author Rory McAllan, little does she know that within hours she’ll be snowed in with him. But surely she’s not going to have to spend her precious New Year’s Eve with him too?

Put the champagne on ice, get the fireworks ready and step into the wonderfully warm, witty and romantic world of Katie Fforde.

Plus the first chance to read the opening chapter of Katie’s new novel, The Perfect Match, out in March.

This is a gorgeous wintry romance in Katie’s trademark warm and witty style. Set mainly during the period between Christmas and New Year this is perfect festive reading and I loved the Scottish setting. Leading lady Daisy made me smile a lot and this lovely little story kept me guessing right to the end. As with Katie’s last festive short, I found myself wishing/hoping that she will revisit these characters in a future full length novel – brilliant!

A Stocking Full of Romance by Brigid Coady 

A funny, charming and irresistible collection of seasonal short stories.

Perfect for enjoying a little bit of escapism in between last minute Christmas shopping and mince pie making!

I’ve been enjoying Brigid’s ‘Kiss’ series of short stories for mobiles so was excited to see that she has released a short story collection for Christmas. Containing six short stories in total, this is a fab winter collection and each story is a quick twenty minute read ideal for grabbing a quick break from the festivities. My personal favourite wasThree Wise Men which is a wonderfully original story with a country music theme. With magic, romance and humour, there’s something for everyone in this lovely collection!

A Christmas Wish by Carole Matthews

Last year, Hannah’s Christmas was full of love, happiness and romance. Things couldn’t be more different this Christmas. Broken-hearted and lonely, Hannah wishes she could be happy and in love again but she is struggling to find even a glimmer of her old festive spirit. Luckily for her, there’s some Christmas magic in the air . . . 

A Christmas Wish is a heart-warming ebook exclusive short story that will make you a firm believer in the power of Christmas. So take twenty minutes for yourself and indulge yourself in this romantic and festive tale. 

Another excellent festive treat from Carole which is free to download as I write. I loved that this story had more than a little magic in it and it left me with a big smile on my face. There’s also an exerpt from Carole’s fab full length Christmas novel, Calling Mrs Christmas.

Last Christmas by Talli Roland 

For Lucy, the best Christmas present is forgetting the past.

Eager to banish the ghost of Christmas past – when her boyfriend dumped her on the streets of Paris – Lucy is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She rallies friends and family for an epic celebration that just happens to fall on the same day as her ex’s festive wedding. Furious at how she’s been treated, Lucy can’t help relishing the party v wedding smackdown.

But when the wedding is threatened and only Lucy can help, can she find the spirit inside to save the day, or will this Christmas be even more disastrous than the last?

I always enjoy Talli’s Christmas novellas and this one is a great story about turning your life around and seeing the positive. A modern romance set in London with a fab festive feel.

A Child is Born by Donna Douglas

Christmas Eve, 1936

On a foggy December night, a pregnant woman walks out in front of a trolley bus and is knocked unconscious.

She is rushed to the Nightingale hospital, and a healthy baby is delivered. But the mother claims to have lost her memory, and cannot believe that the child is hers.

It seems that the Nightingale nurses may need to perform a Christmas miracle.

I’ve never watched Call the Midwife but I imagine this novella could fit right in as a festive episode and I’m sure fans will love this. It was lovely to be back with the Nightingale nurses and that fact that this was an historical Christmas novella made a nice change. The story has drama, mystery and a vintage Christmas feel – fab!

Kiss Me on This Cold December Night by Charlotte Phillips 

Christmas in London – a time for late night shopping on Regent’s Street or ice skating at Somerset House under a blanket of twinkling fairy lights, the warming, welcoming aroma of mulled wine in the air…

Or, alternatively, a time for bumping into the ghosts of one night stands past in Ella Scott’s case!

Checking into her boutique hotel for a weekend of Christmas shopping, the last person Ella expects to bump into at reception is Tom bloody Henley – ambitious doctor, highly eligible bachelor and with whom she had the most unbelievable, mind-blowing brief encounter five Christmases ago.

But Ella slipped out quietly the morning after all those years ago for a reason and although Tom’s got a look on his face that suggests Christmas has come early, there’s no way she’s going to be repeating past mistakes… right?

Another great romance novella from Charlotte as part of her Do Not Disturb series. I loved the London setting and thought this was a great twist on ‘ghosts of Christmas past’ as Ella bumps into a one night stand that she ran away from five years earlier! Romantic and sexy, this novella had me gripped and will keep you warm this Christmas!

Happy Christmas reading!

Guest post: Chalet Girl on Location by Lorraine Wilson

20 Dec

I’m very excited to welcome Lorraine Wilson back to One More Page today to celebrate the release of the latest novella in the Chalet Girl series, Revenge of a Chalet Girl! The Chalet Girl Series is set in the beautiful resort of Verbier, Switzerland and today Lorraine is taking us on a photo tour of some of the locations used in the books. Welcome Lorraine!

While I set the Chalet Girl stories in Verbier, Switzerland I actually draw on my experience of places throughout the French speaking Canton of Valais for the stories. We tend to stay in quieter resorts but I chose Verbier as a location when I read the story of Wonderba, offering free drinks to girls who took their bras off – it sparked the idea for the opening of Confessions of a Chalet Girl.I love Switzerland and spend quite a lot of time here so was delighted to be asked to write a whole series of Chalet Girl Novellas. I’m in Switzerland at the moment, doing some research for my next book, it’s a great excuse for insisting my husband take me to swanky hotel bars!

This is where I’m staying at the moment, it’s a lovely chalet and fairly similar to how I imagine Chalet Repos.

These are the Thermes Baths at Val D’Illiez. I used these as a base for the thermal baths scene in Confessions of a Chalet Girl but would like to point out nothing of an untoward nature has taken place there to my knowledge!

This is Lac Leman with Chateau Chillon on the far left (Lac Leman is the real name for Lake Geneva) and it’s one of my favourite places to be in the world. It’s a location I’ve used in both ‘Secrets of a Chalet Girl’ and ‘Revenge of a Chalet Girl’.

This is a small chapel on the ski slopes at Les Mosses but I’ve used artistic licence to move it to Verbier. I used it as a Wedding chapel in Secrets of a Chalet Girl.

Thanks for taking us on this wonderful tour Lorraine! You’ve made me want to pack my bags for a winter holiday!

Revenge of a Chalet Girl is out now in ebook formats. Find out more by clicking the image below:


Read a free extract from Confessions of a Chalet Girl by clicking the image below:


Reading around the Christmas Tree! Christmas novel inspired gifts!

18 Dec

I thought I’d do something a little different this year from the usual round up of Christmas novels or gifts for book lovers. So this year I’ve combined the two! I’ve chosen five of this year’s gorgeous Christmas books and picked gifts for book lovers to go with them – just a little fun but I’d be happy to have any of these under the tree on Christmas morning if Santa is listening ;-)

Christmas at Carrington’s by Alexander Brown

Georgie Hart loves Christmas time at Carrington’s Department store. Running the luxury handbag department, Georgie adores helping customers in the hunt for the perfect gift for the perfect someone. And this year is no exception – now she has the hunky Tom, Mr Carrington himself, to spend the special day with.

But when Tom springs a surprise, Georgie’s plans are thrown into chaos. Carrington’s is getting a fresh lease of life in a hot new reality TV show, featuring formidable retail guru, Kelly Cooper.

As the first show airs, Georgie is shown in a far from flattering light. Worse is to come when Kelly’s vile daughter appears to get her claws into Tom. Georgie fears this will be the worst Christmas ever, but Santa still has a little surprise for her stocking this year – she’ll just have to wait until Christmas to find out… 

Leading lady Georgie runs the luxury handbag department at Carringtons so the gift to go with this lovely book is this fabulous bag from The Literary Gift Company

Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews

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 loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn’t go . . . Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.

 I love this bookish Christmas decoration from the Bodleian Library – perfect for the Mr or Mrs Christmas in your life!


I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk 

Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…

• Enormous Christmas tree
• Eggnog
• Eccentric British traditions
• Gorgeous man

But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…

So the ideal gift with this book would be tickets to New York but being just a little bit more realistic I’d settle for these fab New York book ends by Susan Bradley!

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait.

 But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

A big box of retro sweets would be fab with this delicious novel or how about this for the perfect combination of literature and chocolate from The Chocolate Library?!


Wish Upon A Star by Trisha Ashley

Single mum Cally’s life is all about her little girl Stella. She’s resigned to the fact that the only romance she’s going to get is from the rom-coms she watches and with her busy job and her daughter; she doesn’t have time to even think about love. But when Stella gets sick, and Cally is forced to move in with her mother in the remote village of Sticklepond, to save money for Stella’s operation, Cally realizes how tough it can be to go it alone. Still, the last thing Cally wants to do is fall in love. All she wants is a Christmas miracle to save Stella. Can laid-back, charming Jago unlock Cally’s frozen heart and show her that the best gifts aren’t always found under the tree?

You can never have too many books or bookmarks and this cute personalised star one by Acorn Attic from Not on the High Street, would be the perfect accompaniment to this lovely book!


 So that’s my Christmas wish list sorted! What books are you hoping to find under the tree this year?


How I Met My Editor by Lynn Marie Hulsman

18 Dec

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Lynn Marie Hulsman to One More Page to tell us about the day she finally met her fabulous editor! Lynn Marie lives in New York with her family and has just released her debut novel, the witty and warm rom-com, Christmas at Thornton Hall. Welcome Lynn Marie!

The other day, I was asked “How long did you have to wait to meet your book editor?” “My whole life!” I blurted out.

The real answer is about seven months. Why? Because I live in New York and she lives in London. Of course, I’d seen photos of her. I remember seeing one on the first day that I read the announcement that HarperCollins was launching their new digital-first, romance-only imprint, HarperImpulse. I fixed my eye on the pretty blonde with the open smile pictured on the site, and thought, “You! You look like a sharp cookie. Smart, alive behind the eyes. But I’ll bet a Mark Darcy or John Willoughby might be able to distract you.* Could you be the one to love my book into being?”

A little backstory: I love Chick Lit like cowboys love their horses, like the Queen loves gin, and like sommeliers love their little corkscrew/foil-cutting gizmos. I love all kinds of Chick Lit, but the English kind really gets me going. A quiet house, a glass of wine and a novel by someone like Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde, Helen Fielding or Fiona Walker is my idea of heaven.

The past decade has seen a decline of this type of light, funny novel here in the U.S. but I could tell from indie blogs and booksellers’ lists that there was still a taste for it in the U.K. I’d gotten a handful of very warm rejection letters from some wonderful editors here in New York saying, “I love your voice, I love the girl in the story, but Chick Lit is just not selling.” Then, an angel on earth posted about HarperImpulse’s launch. “My tribe!” I thought. Pajama-clad and crazy-haired, I emailed my agent before sun-up and pleaded for her to drop everything and submit me to Charlotte Ledger.

Very long story short, I was submitted, and acquired. I thought my heart would burst!  I got welcoming emails, I got informative emails, I got business-like emails. But they were emails. Sadly, I didn’t get to run into the offices right away and dance a jig on the desk.

I waited on pins and needles for my edits. Would Charlotte still like my book after going through it with a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers? Biting my nails down to the quick, and worrying that instead of revisions I’d be sent a curt note suggesting I might consider giving up writing to enroll in dog-grooming school or acquire my own taxi medallion, I waited.

When my edits came, I was thrilled. Not because it was a pure love-fest (although Charlotte’s notes were funny, supportive, and conspiratorial) but because she made my book better! My dream had come true. My experienced, knowledgeable editor (Get me… I have an editor!) read and considered my work, and gave me the professional advice I’d hoped for to make my book its best.

When I finally met her face-to-face at the Bedford Festival of Romance, she was all I had imagined and more. Positive, witty, bright… and she treated me with the same care and respect with which she treated her whole stable of authors.  It was worth the wait to meet her. Not only did I get my celebratory toast, I got it among the staff and authors sat at the table with me as HarperImpulse won an industry award for innovation in the romance genre. As a double-bonus, I was invited into the offices to meet Kimberly Young (the big boss), media and techo-whiz Katie Sadler, and talented cover artist Alexandra Allden for an hours-long chat over coffee. Was being in the HarperCollins offices as an author the best day of my life? Well, I did have a wedding and gave birth to two children… but believe me, it was right up there!

*Disclaimer: All projection about Charlotte Ledger’s inner thoughts are purely of my own imagining and should not reflect on the very sane and ultra-professional editor herself

Find out more about Lynn Marie and her writing at:

Find out more about Christmas at Thornton Hall by clicking the image below (link goes to Harper Impulse website).



A Christmas treat from Penguin!

18 Dec

The clever folks over at Penguin have put together their own Christmas video this year featuring some very familiar faces! I love this!

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas / When all through the house / Not a creature was stirring / Except for Jamie Oliver, Emma Thompson, and a star-studded cast of Penguin authors. 

No mice, though.

Watch a special reading of the classic Christmas poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’.

Featuring Penguins: Emma Thompson, Jamie Oliver, Cerys Matthews, Colm Toibin, Clare Balding, Charlie Higson, Conn Iggulden, Jeremy Paxman, Malcolm Gladwell, Jennifer Saunders, Graham Nash, Meg Rosoff and Richard Curtis.




Book review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

16 Dec

‘Tis the season for love and second chances …

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge first: Carrie must score the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author. 

Living in Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a bestselling book about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone, and no one even knows exactly where he lives. With her career at stake, Carrie sacrifices her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she expected. And soon Carrie is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Starry Night is a standalone Christmas novel from Debbie Macomber and a romantic and heart-warming winter read. The story focuses on Carrie Slayton who is a journalist for a big newspaper in Chicago. Originally from Seattle, Carrie is considering moving back t her hometown as her career as a journalist isn’t taking the direction that she’d like; she’s the society columnist and although her life is filled with great events and parties, Carrie wants to cover the big stories and serious news.

The book opens with Carrie deciding to tender her resignation but as she confronts her editor he gives her a challenge that is too good to refuse. If she can track down reclusive best-selling author Finn Dalton, he will let her take her pick of the writing jobs and hard news stories. As Carrie accepts the challenge, the scene is set for a winter adventure that she won’t forget!

The novel is written in Debbie Macomber’s trademark honest and warm style and I liked Carrie immediately. She has a strong relationship with her family and is bright and intelligent and has a good sense of integrity. This book is pure romance and moves at quite a pace – I did find the ease with which Carrie found a lead on Finn when countless others had failed before a little unbelievable but I was willing to overlook that and happy to be swept along with the story.

As Carrie tracks down Finn, her reception in his life is as frosty as the Alaskan weather and I loved the tension that Macomber created between them. Not only is Finn reclusive and distrustful, he isn’t a fan of journalists or women in general so Carrie certainly has her work cut out getting the interview she needs. As the pair are thrown together I loved the banter and slow burn of attraction between them.

The second half of the story took a couple of twists that I hadn’t predicted and I read this book quickly to find out what the ending would be as Carrie faces the dilemma of following her heart or her head. Having only read my first Debbie Macomber book earlier this year, I’m now a huge fan of her stories and Starry Night is no exception. It’s the perfect escape this Christmas; warm, romantic and sparkling!


Starry Night is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Find out more about Debbie and her books at:

Book news: Notting Hill Press Christmas Stocking Stuffers

12 Dec

Starting today and through to the 15th December, Notting Hill Press is celebrating the festive season with a sleigh full of eBooks for 99p/99c or less on Amazon.

There are some brilliant festive ebooks in the sale including new Christmas reads from Talli Roland, Michele Gorman, Victoria Connelly, Ruth Saberton, and Chrissie Manby and Belinda Jones.








Find out more at:

You can also have your ebooks inscribed by the the authors to you, or for your friends as gifts! Go to and type in the author’s name to find out more!

Short story spotlight: A Vintage Christmas by Ali Harris

12 Dec

Evie has the perfect job and the perfect man, but keeping both in her life has become a serious balancing act…

With the sales coming to a close at Hardy’s, Evie must source new stock for the season ahead. Her mind is constantly buzzing with ideas and layouts, so much so that she is forgetting all about Sam.

Can she learn to keep her work separate from her home life? Or will she lose everything…

Having loved Ali Harris’s festive debut, Miracle on Regent Street this follow up short story was a must read for me and it was brilliant to be back with Evie and the gang at Hardy’s and to see where their lives had gone since the ending of Miracle. 

Although the story does stand alone, I think you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve read Miracle first and knowing the characters well really added to my enjoyment. I was a little surprised to find that quite a bit of the story wasn’t set at Christmas at all but that certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment and I thought the festive ending was just perfect.

As with both of her full length novels, Ali packs a lot of emotion and pure romance into this short story. There were times when I found myself wanting to shout at Evie to open her eyes and I liked that Ali wove real issues of juggling work, relationships and family into a magical plot.

The descriptions of the displays at Hardy’s and the wonderful vintage items that Evie sources for the store are gorgeous and had me wishing Hardy’s was real. This is definitely a story for the shoe lovers amongst us and a heartwarming modern day fairytale that left me with a smile on my face.

I really hope Ali decides to visit Evie and friends again in future as I’d love to know what happens next.


A Vintage Christmas is out now in ebook formats.

Find out more about Ali and her writing at:

Book news: Sainsbury’s launches search for the nation’s favourite eBook of 2013

10 Dec

eBooks by Sainsbury’s has launched a nationwide search for the favourite eBook of 2013. The winning title will be chosen by the public from a long list of more than 150 titles on the eBooks by Sainsbury’s website.

Selected to represent the breadth, diversity and quality of British book publishing, the eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year 2013 long list includes everything from popular crime and romance to the latest books by leading lights of the literary world.

Public voting is open now on To get involved visit the eBooks of the Year web page, and create an account in just a few clicks. Choose your favourite title from the list and vote by pressing the ‘recommend’ button on each book’s web page. The public poll will remain open throughout December with the winner announced at the end of the year.

One lucky voter will receive an extra special Christmas present, as all participants will be entered into a prize draw to win a copy of every single title on the eBooks of the Year long list. A whole year’s worth of reading for even the most dedicated bookworm, it will give the winner more than 150 books to enjoy on their smartphone, tablet or e-reader.

Highlights from the long list include some of the year’s biggest hits in literary fiction, from Kate Atkinson to Maggie O’Farrell and Jim Crace, whilst Dawn French, Kate Mosse and Dorothy Koomson are the top names from the popular fiction genre. No list would be complete without the titles that have dominated the headlines over the past twelve months, including J.K. Rowling’s critically acclaimed foray into crime fiction as Robert Galbraith The Cuckoo’s Calling and the long awaited third instalment of everyone’s favourite singleton’s diaries Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy.