WWW Wednesday (18/12/2013)

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Happy Wednesday guys! As always, thanks to Should Be Reading for hosting. Click the image to visit.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m still reading A Breath of Frost but almost finished. It has been good in places but it hasn’t really kept my attention to be honest.

Recently Finished: Starry Night. When I was about 150 pgs into A Breath of Frost I made the mistake of picking this up. I couldn’t put it down – it was just what I needed, a fluffy, cheesy, festive read. Review

Up Next:The Night Before Christmas – another fluffy cheesy festive read. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way by the way, I love these kind of books! Good fluff!

Leave a link to your post so I can check them out!

Festive Reads Review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

starry’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes 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 even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

Alaska, stargazing and a brooding man, what more could you want this Christmas?

Starry Night has everything I was looking for in a cozy Christmastime read. As soon as I picked it up, I just wanted to snuggle under a blanket with a mug of mulled wine in front of an open fire. I had to make do with a radiator but that’s beside the point.

Carrie is a headstrong, career-driven young woman who is grateful to be working for a respected newspaper but frustrated about her lack of progression. She’s bored of attending glitzy parties and charity events and writing about what people are wearing so when the opportunity comes up to prove to her worth to her boss she jumps at the chance.

But of course there are many obstacles in Carrie’s way. First she has to find reclusive Finn Dalton, and then she has to get him – a stubborn loner with trust issues when it comes to women – to agree to an interview. And then there’s Alaska itself, with snowstorms looming Carrie could easily get stuck in wilderness with a man who really doesn’t appreciate her imposing, and to top it all off, her deadline and Christmas is swiftly approaching.

There were things I really loved about this book. The writing is simple and flawless making it such a quick, easy read. I’ve wanted to go to Alaska my whole life so the setting is what appealed to me initially and it didn’t disappoint on that front.

With all of those things working for it, the romance had such great potential but I felt a bit let down by it in the end. I think Finn’s broody, damaged exterior melted away just a bit too quickly, as if he just changed overnight. I found it a bit hard to believe, but it didn’t stop my overall enjoyment.

I enjoyed the relationship between Carrie and her family, and also Finn’s dog, and I was happy that it was written from both Finn and Carrie’s point of view. It also reminded me a bit of How to Lose a Guy in 10 days and I love that film.

This is the first book I’ve read by Debbie Macomber, and it certainly won’t be the last. Locate an armchair, put it in front of a fire, and give Starry Night a whirl.

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it.
Title: Starry Night
Author: Debbie Macomber
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: October 8th 2013 by Arrow
My Rating: 4/5
Is it a Keeper? I think so…

Festive Thursday – Part 1.

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As I was deciding what to put in this post it dawned on me that there are only 2 Thursdays (this one included) left before Christmas Day…and I have already done SO MANY festive things to talk about so I am going to let some (badly taken) photos do most of the talking.

And so it Begins:
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My Christmas excitement this year started the same way it always does; when I received a package from my Mum & Dad containing some chocolates, advent calendars for me and my flatmate Dora, and the message ‘Santa is Coming’, which cracks me up every time.

Preparations:
– One of the first things I did was set about making some Christmas Pudding Vodka. Gotta get your priorities right.
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I’ve heard about this a lot in recent years but never tried any, nor made any of my own. There are loads of different recipes out there (Google is your friend), so I chose the simplest one with the least ingredients and it turned out great.
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– I am already making my second batch as I drank too much of the first and was supposed to give it away as presents. Oops.

– I put up some decorations whilst listening to the Michael Bublé Christmas album and A Very She and Him Christmas. Zooey Deschanel has such a beautiful voice!
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– I also made some cute little gift tags/tree decorations out of Fimo modelling clay.
December 2013 019 This is 2nd year that I’ve enjoyed making these. I’m not really a crafty person and get bored with fiddly things quite easily but it’s hard to wrong with Fimo.
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December 2013 027 These are nice to put on ribbons and tie around gifts and the lucky recipient can then hang them on their tree if they so wish. My family were really impressed last year.

Christmas Booze:
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It is not Christmas without an abundance of booze in my book, and Bailey’s is one of my favourite treats at Christmas. The coffee flavoured one is dangerously yummy. Mulled Wine is also up there, and is probably one of my favourite things about Christmas in general. It’s really simple to make at home and can not fail to make you feel all festively warm and fuzzy inside. But the lazy pre-made bottles will do too.

One of the best places to buy mulled wine though, is at the German Christmas Markets which are so popular these days. I have a little collection of ‘mulled boots’ that I’ve bought from my local Christmas market in previous years. This year however, our market is quite disappointing so when one of my friends told me that the Christmas market in Birmingham where she lives is the 2nd largest in Europe, the train ticket just seemed to buy itself.

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They didn’t have boot mugs, but oh my, was it Christmassy!
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And I wanted to eat EVERYTHING.

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And then there were books:

I started reading A Breath of Frost, and Starry Night. And I must say, as soon as I picked up Starry Night I didn’t want to put it down so I’ve abandoned A Breath of Frost for now. Not that I wasn’t enjoying it, but it’s just not Christmassy enough right now.

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Coming up in part 2 next Thursday: My favourite Christmas Films and SANTACON!!

Happy Holidays!

October Finds

This is a monthly post where I share some of the books that I’ve found through fellow bloggers that I just HAD to add to my wishlist immediately. I’m hoping I’ll look back on these posts and remember to buy/request the books (wishful thinking!).

Here are my top Finds from October and where I spotted them. Click on the links to go to the original posts.

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Found on: Turn the Page Reviews
Why: I saw this when I was on my Horror October kick. I like an uncomfortable Captive story and this one sounds pretty twisted and terrifying

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Found on: Review Books and More
Why: I am all over some festive reads this year. So excited for Christmas

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Found on: Reading Renee
Why: A kick-boxing, stunt double romance…yes please!

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Found on: Quinn’s Book Nook
Why: After LOVING The Coldest Girl in Coldtown I need more Holly Black action. And this sounds amazing.

Thanks Guys!