Monday 18 December 2017

Wishing all our lovely readers a very merry Christmas! May your day be filled with love, laughter, lots of lovely food and good company. 

Monday 11 December 2017

Best Christmas Gifts for Readers and Writers

with Marilyn Forsyth

(A version of this post first appeared on the blog in October.) 

Image courtesy of giphy
I don't want to alarm you but in case you hadn't noticed, it's only two weeks until Christmas, so for all my book-loving reader and writer friends out there, here are some last-minute suggestions (for links to buy, click on captions below the pics).

Less than $10

Link to buy

Our Breathless in the Bush Anthology of short stories, A Very Aussie Christmas, is only $1.99 AUD

Restore your faith in the power of the human spirit with warm-hearted romances from the Breathless in the Bush writing group. Celebrate the joy and occasional heartache of the festive season, where love shines through against the odds.

Link to buy

If you love Regency romances, Cassandra Samuels' A Scandalous Wager is a great read.

Love may be the biggest gamble of their lives, but is it a wager their hearts can afford to lose?

Link to buy
Into Rural/Outback romance? You'll find The Farmer's Perfect Match an interesting insight into the world of Reality TV when a television crew go on location in the stunning Kimberleys to help a lonely pearl farmer find love.

One farmer + two stunning girls competing for his affection = one hit reality show. What could go wrong, right?

Link to buy

Falling in Love Again is another Rural/Outback romance. This one's set in the mythical opal mining town of Rainbow Cliffs.

A charming adventurer. A pragmatic paleontologist. A hundred-million-year-old treasure buried in the Australian outback. Who will be the winner in this battle between exes who never stopped loving one another?

How many times have you loaned out a book never to have it returned?

Pride and Prejudice bookmark

Bookmarks are always a winner!

classic key rings

How sweet are these?

Wild Swans Mini bookmarks

And these??

Less than $20

Stark sigil glasses

Any Game of Thrones tragics (like me๐Ÿ’“) out there?

Harry Potter playing cards

Or Harry Potter fans?

Pride and Prejudice mousepad

So many gorgeous mousepads to choose from...

Fairytale notebook 

How about a fairytale notebook?

Cute personalised notepad

Or a cute personalized notepad?

Wine bottle glass

To help your writer friends through those tough times...

Less than $30

Waterproof notebook

Who knew there was such a thing as a waterproof notebook? Perfect for the shower๐Ÿ˜‰.

Perpetual Quotes calendar

Check out this beautiful calendar.

For those of you in Melbourne, you can buy these delicious-smelling soy wax candles from Dapamelts at the St Kilda Sunday markets. 'Lemongrass and Lime' is divine.

Less than $40

Quill Writing set

How gorgeous is this???

Manual of Things that Might Kill You

For any crime writer (and/or hypochondriac) friends.

Outlander t-shirt

Litographs has a fabulous selection of literary-themed scarves, t-shirts and totes. This is the Outlander t-shirt I won from them in a competition run by the Australian Writers Centre a few months back.

Superman bookend


Less than $60

Beautiful throw rug


Less than $80

Writer's Tears Whiskey

An oldie but a goodie.

Note: Prices are in AUD as at 24/10/2017 but may change. Also, postage is not included (but some sellers have free postage over a certain amount).

Do you have any ideas for bookish Christmas gifts to share? I'd love to hear them! 

Love to Love everything about Christmas!

Love to Laugh at Christmas gifs.

Love to Learn that marriage equality is finally here. ๐Ÿ‘

Monday 4 December 2017

Miranda's Bumper Christmas Musings!

Eight Stunning Christmas Romances

Darlings, it's officially the countdown to CHRISTMAS! Oh, I love this part of the year, I truly do, and I particularly love Christmas romances. Do you?

Christmas romances are the gift that I give myself. By October I'm looking through my shelves and Kindle for the ones I didn't read in previous years, and I'm on the lookout for wonderful newies. Somehow they give me all the festive emotional feels, and help me relax in the crazy busy lead up to the season. So let me share a few with you - and luckily some are quick reads we can all squeeze in for our sanity!

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A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt is a warm fuzzy book, set in snowy Thornthwaite in the Lakes District in England. I googled it and the gorgeous pictures blew me away. Anna, one of four Holley sisters, comes home to her parent's vicarage for the first time in a few years. She's socially awkward and still haunted by a family tragedy that happened years ago. She doesn't expect to find Simon - her father's new curate - such a wonderfully warm, strong, understanding shoulder to lean on. I finished this on the train and tried desperately not to sob out loud. A lovely, sweet story.

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While we're in England, there's also The Wallflower's Mistletoe Wedding by Amanda McCabe, a tender story about Rose, impoverished gentlewoman, and Captain Harry St. George, newly returned from the horrors of war. He needs a rich wife to fix his crumbling estate. Will love win out? (I guess you know, this is a romance after all, but oh, ho, ho, how fabulous this was to read).

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Still in snowy England, we have everyone's fave author Anna Campbell's stunning new novella, The Christmas Stranger. Architect Josiah and housekeeper Maggie (although she was previously from an ‘upstairs’ refined family) become snowed-in at an isolated property in the Yorkshire wilds for Christmas. Two super lonely people find each other...This is so tender, big sigh. Thanks Anna, another Regency winner - and I loved Josiah's occupation!

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Whizzing over to the USA, I discovered an author I haven't read for a while, tug-at-your-heartstrings Catherine Anderson with The Christmas Room. I'm not going to tell you what 'the Christmas room' is, exactly, but it's a beautiful surprise. This book has two romances; bonus! Widowed author Maddie, her son Cam and teenage grandson Caleb have relocated to a spread in Rustler’s Gulch, Montana. Cam meets Kirstin Conacher, the neighbour’s daughter, and all hell breaks loose when he starts to woo her. Sam Conacher is one mean man since his wife died, and he’s not going to let anyone date his daughter without a fight. No surprise, Cam is up for it, and he's such a wonderful hero my heart went pitter-pat. But Catherine Anderson does put everyone through the wringer here...!

Still with me? Four more to go, and wow, these next books are just as fabbo as the first four.

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I had stars in my eyes when I read A Very Aussie Christmas. Written by our very own BITB bloggers Marilyn Forsyth, Cassandra Samuels, Enisa Haines, and Sharon Bryant, plus Helene Cowan and Lynne Boyd, this is the absolutely perfect book of short stories to read at Christmas. Each one can be read with a cup of coffee as you sit down for a quick break - or a cup of Christmas cheer. In fact, my big sister bought it, read it, and said how wonderful it was to have a short rest from reality plus a great read. And I always agree with my big sister or else there'll be trouble. (Kidding, dear one...)

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Another fun, quick novella is Heart Note by Cassandra O'Leary. And gosh, isn't that a terrific cover? Very festive. Set in a department store in the lead-up to Christmas, this is a behind-the-scenes look at the Perfume Department, and Security. There's a light suspense, a lot of romance, and heaps of comic moments and sassy inner dialogue from Lily, the intrepid heroine, particularly in relation to yummy security guard Christos. Everything to love here, folks, and I enjoyed the retail setting. Makes you want to give every tired shop assistant a hug. (Better not, but still.)

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Every year I totally hang out for Debbie Macomber's Christmas book. It's always a sweet romance, family oriented, and beautifully Christmassy. Yes, yes and yes again this year with Merry and Bright - thanks Debbie! Heroine Merry is stressed, working hard for her unappreciative boss Jayson, plus coping with overload from a warm, loving but needy family. In the lead up to Christmas, her mother and endearing brother sign her onto an online dating website for her birthday (Dec 26th). And yes, she does meet someone...but then it gets complicated when her real world and her online world collide. Takes a special author to pull this one off, and Debbie has delivered again. Hmm-mm, just lovely!

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Last but whoa, so definitely not least, is another emotional Cinderella romance from Marion Lennox, who hit my heart with The Billionaire's Christmas Baby. NY based billionaire Max, in Australia for his father's funeral, suddenly has tiny baby Phoebe (and you'll have to read it to find out where she came from) foist upon him. Sunny, his hotel room cleaner, has very definite ideas about what he should do with little Phoebe. This is a man who has never been loved, or been able to love, what happens is a miracle. Babies + Christmas = So! Much! Love! Happy sigh.

And now, a huge thanks to all the special people out there who've read along with me in 2017 - what fun we've had. I hope Santa finds out you've been very nice, yes you have, and that your stocking is stuffed with books.

Be kind, be safe, be happy this Christmas.

Until 2018, much love from

Miranda xxx

Love to love:

Looking forward to the next Christmas book on my list, an older one from 2010: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by inspirational author Donita K Paul. Magical booksellers in this one, people!

Love to laugh: how I cry in Christmas movies. Seriously, I always need tissues. (Mops up...)

Love to learn:

What is your favourite Christmas romance? You never know, your fave might become my fave. Tell me?