Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Miss Bookworm Reviews 2014 Year Wrap Up


Well It's nearly the end of 2014 and this is the last post to close up a fantastic year with some fab books that I have enjoyed! Some books have stuck in my mind so much and I cannot stop recommending them to you all and also to my friends & family!


Here are a random selection of books that I loved in 2014:
















Paige Toon Book Signings!
I saw the lovely Paige Toon Twice this year which was so exciting for me! Paige is one of my favourite Chick Lit authors and She was the first book signing I ever went to last year and It makes me want to meet so many more authors in the future!



Rainbow Rowell Book Signing!
My lovely childhood friend but also blogger friend Katie asked me to go a book signing with her in Liverpool to meet American YA writer Rainbow Rowell! She is so lovely!! Enjoyed it so much and met two other bloggers Emma & Clare too!



2nd Blogiversary
Miss Bookworm Reviews celebrated 2 year Blogiversary this September which was great fun and I am so grateful to all my followers & readers as I didn't think I would still be here blogging this year and I have met so many lovely bloggers who I can call my friends now and to be able to talk Books all the time is fab!
I also managed to achieve 1,174 followers on Twitter which is just fantastic.
Thank You!


Festive-Blog-Athon

 Me and my lovely blogger friend Katie ( @intothebookcase) came up with a great festive idea this December called Festive-Blog-Athon which went so successful and enjoyed sharing and chatting to you all throughout this month.
Huge thank you to all the Authors & Bloggers who took part in any way or form you did! Your all amazing!
Thank You Thank You Thank You!!



Hope my reviews throughout the year has got you buying so many new books and enjoying them as much as I did!
Thank you to my followers, you are all amazing!


2015
I Think 2015 will be another busy year again with another lot of great books! I'm hoping to go to more book signings & events too! Also got a trip to London in march to meet lovely author Rebecca Raisin for a sight seeing trip hehe!
I will also be trying to blog a lot more too and try some new ideas!

Miss Bookworm Reviews wishes you all Happy New Year and bring on 2015!
xox

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Festive Guest Post: Xmas Quiz with the HarperCollins Avon Team ++ Festive Giveaway


The Lovely Harpercollins Avon Team clubbed together and answered a few festive Questions and have offered a special giveaway too!!


What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?
KL: Decorating the tree
HH: I’m a traditionalist, so it’s got to be midnight mass – I love seeing in Christmas with carols and candles a-plenty.
ED: Making my whole family (of adults) watch THE SNOWMAN cartoon after going to a carol service at Chester cathedral on Christmas Eve
PK: Decorating the Christmas tree very quickly became my job (I’m a serious perfectionist). It’s now become tradition to watch me do it, and try to change it when I’m not looking.
RN: Xmas eve lunch with the family then to the pub with my friends!
JD: The carol service at my local church, anything for a bit of Christmas music! 



What books will you be reading this Christmas?
KL: Re-reading Jane Eyre
HH: The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – I haven’t read any of her books before but keep hearing how amazing she is. I can’t wait to get cracking.
ED: LAMENTATION by C.J. Sansom (been waiting years for it!) and THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse 
PK: I read The Hobbit every year, so that, and probably Wuthering Heights again.
RN: I still haven’t read Wolf Hall and Bringing Up The Bodies and feeling ever more guilty about it, so probably those two. 
JD: Either Robin Hobb’s Fools Assassin, or the Silmarillion… maybe this year!



What’s your worst ever Christmas present?
KL: A clothes dryer (gran I hope you're not reading this…)
HH: Monogramed towels. I mean, really.
ED: Anti-aging eye cream from my Mum. Thanks Mum. 
PK: Make-up wipes and shampoo. Oh and Man-U socks…. I support Liverpool.
RN: I’m pretty pleased with most presents I get to be honest, though one year I got a ‘Lynx for Girls’ set. That shouldn’t even be a thing, let alone a present! 
JD: A candle in the shape of a Spaniel…. 



How last minute do you leave your Christmas shopping?
KL: Normally a couple of weeks before - I'm not too bad, but I am quite lazy and do it all online.
HH: I try to shop a month ahead but always have at least two false starts where I leave the shops without any present, but plenty of things for myself.
ED: I’m usually done by mid-December. My ex used to drive me mad by doing his on Xmas eve!
PK: I’m almost last minute. I start with 3 weeks to go but often get things on Xmas eve too!
RN: I’m generally pretty good and finish with a week to go but I’m always terrible at wrapping them…that’s almost certainly an Xmas eve job. 
JD: I always have it ready to go before mid-December!



Mistletoe or mince pies?
KL: Ooh depends on the man...
HH: Mince pies – basically anything food related at Christmas.
ED: Mistletoe – so romantic
PK: Neither. Give me a glass of mulled wine, a blanket, and a good book!
RN: Mince pies. They should be sold all year round. 
JD: Brandy Butter. It’s not an option, so I’ll make it one!







!! Festive
Giveaway Time !!

The lovely Harpercollins Avon Team are offering two lucky winners a book bundle of these books each; 
- Alfie the doorstep cat
- Coming Home for Christmas by Julia Williams
- I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson
Enter Here:


Festive Guest Post: Xmas Q&A with .....Blogger Stephanie Carr


I'm Steph., 22, from England. Recent English Literature graduate and lover of books, makeup, swimming, live music & comedy, and tea. Currently work in admin and recently undertook a couple of weeks work experience at Penguin books, now pursuing a career in publishing.  Try to blog as often as I can!  
Blog:  ivoryandgold


"When do you normally get in the festive spirit?"
Now! It's normally around the end of November that I start feeling festive and thinking about how I could decorate my room, and what presents I need to buy. It's also the time I start playing Christmas songs all the time!


"What is a family tradition you like to have or do at Christmas?"
We don't really have any traditions; we all just spend time together and eat and watch TV and give presents. Nothing specific.


"Favourite past Christmas?"
I can't think of a specific year, but any year when both sets of my grandparents were here and all of us spent the day together.


"Do you love buying/wrapping gifts and seeing everyone's faces on Christmas day?"
YES! Choosing/buying/wrapping/giving presents is one of my favourite things about Christmas.  


"Favourite Christmas book?"
I don't really have any favourite books that are about Christmas, but books I always tend to re-read around the festive season are Harry Potter (the descriptions of the Christmas feast & decorations etc are just beautiful, and Harry Potter is such a nostalgic thing to read). This year I'll probably also re-read The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and Jack Kerouac's On The Road because they're old favourites that I haven't read in a long time.


"What is it like on Christmas day for you and your family?"
We just have a really chilled out, lazy day.  Listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas films, eat, etc. Sometimes we all go to the pub at some point which is nice too. This year I think we're spending Christmas afternoon with friends.


"When do you normally put your Christmas tree up?"
If it were up to me I'd have it up on 1st December, but usually it's a couple of weeks before Christmas when we finally get it out and decorate it.


"Favourite Christmas movie?"
ELF! As well as Home Alone, and Uncle Buck. (Is Uncle Buck even a Christmas film? I'm not sure, but it's always on TV at Christmas).

Festive-Blog-Athon Day Twenty Four: Xmas Throwback & Traditions ++ Special Festive Giveaway


Today is the last post for Festive-Blog-Athon! Feel kind of sad ending this today! I've had so much fun these past 24 days.. however will talk more of that later.
 First is my post about my Xmas Traditions from the past when I was growing up.
 


Our First Tradition is on Christmas Eve for me and my younger Lois when we was younger was we used to get new pjs, put them on and then would snuggle up on the sofa to watch a couple of Christmas Films to bring in the Christmas and then would run upstairs excited for Christmas Day to arrive and would try and listen out for Father Christmas..which one year when I was younger I did hear bells and got all excited that he was here!As me and my sister are getting older we now have a tradition every Christmas Eve is the four of us go for a meal at the local pub and get all a bit festive and bring the Christmas cheer in after having a hard week at work with working in retail.


Christmas Day when me and Lois were younger was the exciting part being up at crack of dawn would run into our mum and dad's room and we weren't allowed downstairs until my dad checked if "he had been" only then could we run down stairs and see our presents!




Christmas Day morning after the presents on the couch are opened we have Bucks Fizz and a cooked breakfast which is always so yummy! Then after that we all open all the presents under the Christmas tree.







 My mum is always the one who cooks the Christmas Dinner and she makes it oh so perfect! Turkey and all the trimmings ( Sprouts, Parsnips, Roast Potatoes, Mash, Carrots.. yum yum)


I can’t believe this is the final post in the Festive-Blog-Athon and I just want to say thank you for everyone that has made this such a success. Thanks to everyone that has read, shared and participated, and a huge thank you to all of the people that kindly did a festive guest post. We’re truly honoured and thankful.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas however you choose to celebrate it, and I’d like to send you all the best wishes for 2015! I’ll see you all then.

Oh wait, I need to tell you all about the final giveaway for Festive-Blog-Athon!




!! Festive Giveaway Time !!
Katie and I are giving away a £10 Waterstones gift card to one of you lucky people. This giveaway is UK only unfortunately. We hope you find something lovely in the sales!
Enter Here:



AND SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT!!


THE WINNER OF THE FESTIVE PHOTO CHALLENGE IS….

@lynseybfarmer

Congratulations Lynsey! DM one of us on twitter and we’ll get the prize to you!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Festive Guest Posts: I'm a real Scrooge about Christmas. . .until it gets to December by Ali McNamara



I’m a real Scrooge about Christmas…. until it gets to December!

I absolutely detest seeing Christmas cake and mince pies in supermarkets in September, and crackers and Christmas trees in my local garden centre when I’m still wearing flip-flops and a t-shirt. I feel like we’re wishing our lives away by planning something so short, such a long time in advance.

What’s happened to appreciating the joy of autumn, with its ever-changing colours and often warm, sunny weather? Much as I love Santa, I don’t want to see him before I’ve burnt Guy Fawkes!

However, once December does arrive in it’s own good time, I embrace the festive season as much as Buddy-The-Elf, and adore planning the big day. 

Our Christmas tree is always adorned with decorations that we bring out year after year, with many of them having sentimental meaning, like the decorations made by my children when they were small, and the New York ornaments bought on a festive family trip to my favourite city a few years ago.
Nothing makes me happier on a dull December afternoon than switching on the tree lights to brighten up the house, then sitting toastily in front of our open fire looking at our Christmas stockings hanging on the fireplace, while anticipating the promise of a joyful Christmas just around the corner...

Just don’t ask me to begin decking my halls with holly it in September!

Ali x


Ali’s latest book, the third in her Notting Hill series, is called From Notting Hill with Four Weddings…Actually is out now.

Follow her on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/AliMcNamara.official
Twitter @AliMcnamara
or visit her website: www.alimcnamara.co.uk






!! Festive Giveaway Time!! 

The wonderful Ali is offering one lucky winner signed copy of her one of books with the winner picking their choice.
Enter Here:

Festive Guest Post: Xmas Q&A with . . .Megan @ Readinginthesunshine



Hello I'm Megan!

I'm 25 and I live in England. I'm married to my wonderful husband and I LOVE to read and review books. I fangirl and GUSH A LOT about books I love.
I'm very friendly and I love to chat and meet new people who love books :) So if you are on Twitter, Facebook or Goodreads then please be my friend on there and send me a message :)



When do you get into the festive spirit?
I PROPERLY get into the Christmas spirit in September. This is gong to sound so bad...I feel Christmassy all year round! I am one of those people who wear Christmas jumpers in March and watch Christmas films in July. I just love Christmas so much that I like to have bits of Christmas all year round...I I have had a Christmas desktop background wallpaper on my laptop since August....ssssh don't let on that you know! 


What is a family tradition you like to have or do on Christmas?
Before Christmas Stephen and I like to get in our car in the evening, and drive around our town and the surrounding towns and have a look at everyone else's Christmas lights and decorations! I always like to watch The Snowman on Christmas day - though I absolutely sob at the Walking In The Air song! 


Favourite past Christmas?
I loved the Christmasses when I was younger and I was so amazed and caught up in the magic of Christmas - Santa, Reindeer, stockings, all of it! I think my favourite Christmas recently was last year as it was our first Christmas as husband and wife so it was a special one for us! 


Do you love buying/wrapping gifts and seeing everybody's faces on Christmas day?
Yes! I love trying to find THE PERFECT gift and it makes me happy to see smiles and joy on everyone's faces :) 


Favourite Christmas book?
The Snowman will always be my favourite! It's SO magical! 


What is it like on Christmas Day for you and your family?
It's all VERY relaxed :) We are very easy going and have a day filled with fun, food and laughter. I do the cooking and I LOVE doing that - all of our family comes round so it's lovely to have everyone together :) This year I am cooking for 9 people! 


When do you normally put your tree up?
Definitely the first weekend in December, as soon as it turns December we always want to get our decorations up! This year the first weekend closet to December is at the end of November so ours will be going up then! We bought an artificial tree a few years ago and we originally wanted the medium size but when we saw it at the shop it looked REALLY tiny, so we went for the large. What we didn't realise is that someone had messed up the signs and put the medium sign on the small tree so we got our large tree home and it was HUGE. We have a laugh every year about how we bought the wrong tree when we put it up!


Favourite Christmas movie?
The Santa Clause - it's a childhood favourite of mine :) 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Festive Guest Post: Christmas Accessories by Author Lisa Dickenson



Lisa is a former child actress and singer who appeared on the West End in 1948, and made her Broadway debut in a 1954 production of The Boy Friend, and rose to prominence starring in musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot, both of which earned her Tony Award nominations...

Or that might be Julie Andrews... whatever.

Twitter: @LisaWritesStuff 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.dickenson.
Website: http://www.lisadickenson.com/
Quick! Decorate yourself!

So you’ve finished work, you’ve (nearly ish) done your Christmas shopping, you’ve decorated your tree and your house and your dog, but something doesn’t quite feel right… O Holy Night, you’ve forgotten to decorate yourself!  Hopefully you’re at least decked out in the finest of Christmas jumpers (if not, hop over to Abbey’s Xmas jumper-themed festive-blog-athon post here for inspiration
http://missbookworm23.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/festive-blog-athon-day-six-xmas-jumpers.html but now’s the time to really deck the halls (you) with boughs of holly (or anything else you find).


Here are my picks for last-minute adornment…
Falling star collar necklace from Accessorize – £12


OMG SANTA! boy pants from Topshop – £4.50


False nails, Christmas jumper themed from River Island – £8


Turkey Hat from Amazon – £6.99


Reindeer glasses from Accessorize – £3


Christmas pudding slippers from New Look – £5


Tinsel bow headband from ASOS – £5.50


10 Christmas stud earrings from Accessorize – £3


Glitter tights from H&M – £7.99



!! Festive Giveaway Time !!

Lovely Lisa Dickenson is offering one lucky winner a copy of her book in Ecopy on itunes!
Enter Here:

Festive-blog-athon Day Twenty Two: Things To Do: Xmas Recipes

Today's festive post is all about Things to do: Xmas Recipes.
Here
is a few Recipes that I loved the most and wanted to share with you all!
Enjoy and Be Merry!



Xmas Cocktails
Toast Christmas Morning with a simple glass of Mimosas
 
- Half a glass of Champagne or Sparkling Wine
- Topped with Fresh Orange Juice.


Appleberry Mulled Wine
Makes enough for 12 Glasses
2 x 75cl bottles red wine (such as Merlot; better quality wine makes all the difference)
1ltr good-quality cloudy apple juice
115g caster sugar
1 long cinnamon stick, snapped in half
2 star anise
3 tbsp orange Curaçao or Cointreau
a handful or so (about 100g/4oz) frozen mulled fruit or fruits of the forest or Black Forest fruits
3 small red-skinned apples, sliced into rings

Pour the wine and apple juice into a large saucepan and add the sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise. Heat gently, stirring once or twice, until the sugar has dissolved, then continue heating gently for another 15 minutes.
Just before serving, swirl in the Curaçao or Cointreau, throw in the frozen fruits and add the apple slices.





Xmas Desserts


Chocolate mint loaf cake


Prep: 1hr 30mins
Cook: 40mins
Serves 10

2 x 85g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 x 50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 x 120g plain flour
2 x 140 golden caster sugar
6 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
284ml carton buttermilk

For the icing
300g box After Eights, broken
50ml double cream

To decorate
turquoise food colouring
300g Regal-Ice Ready to Roll icing
1 tsp peppermint extract

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm square tin. Melt 85g butter and 50g chocolate together in a small pan. Mix 120g flour, 140g sugar, 3 tbsp of the cocoa and ½ tsp bicarbonate in a bowl.
Whisk together 1 egg with half the buttermilk (about 140ml). Scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, along with 100ml boiling water. Whizz briefly with an electric whisk until lump-free. Scrape into the tin and bake for 18-20 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the tin for 15 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling while you repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a second cake. Cool both completely.
To make the icing, melt the After Eights and cream together in a saucepan. Cool, then chill until spreadable.
Trim the cake edges, then halve to make 4 rectangles. Use half of the icing to sandwich the layers together, then spread the rest over the top and sides.
Chill.
Knead some colouring into the ready-to-roll icing with the peppermint extract. Roll out on an icing sugar dusted surface, then lift over to cover the cake, smoothing with your hands.
Trim excess icing, then scatter with decorations.
Chill again for 1 hr to firm up, then serve or keep in the fridge, removing 30 mins before serving.




Chocolate Orange & Cranberry Red Velvet Bombe

This stunning festive dessert makes a great alternative to Christmas pudding, with a hidden cream cheese and cranberry filling.
Prep Time: 1hr 10mins
Serves: 15
Ingredients
175g butter, very soft, plus extra for greasing
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp baking powder
75g buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 x 10g tubes red food colouring (make sure it’s a bake-safe variety – we used Dr. Oetker)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

For the ganache and filling
450ml double cream
zest 2 oranges
100g bar white chocolate, finely chopped
100g bar dark chocolate, finely chopped
200g bar milk chocolate, finely chopped
180g tub cream cheese
3 tbsp icing sugar
50g dried cranberries, plus extra to serve
sprinkles and edible glitter (optional), to decorate.


Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease 2 x 16cm hemisphere cake tins, then dust with flour and shake out the excess. Stand the tins on two ramekins placed on a baking tray to hold them steady. Put the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt and whisk together until smooth and evenly coloured bright red. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 45 mins. Remove from the oven, cool in the tins for 10 mins, then tip onto a wire rack and leave until completely cold.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate-orange ganache and the filling. Pour the cream into a saucepan, add the orange zest and heat until just steaming. Put half the white chocolate in a bowl, and the dark and milk chocolates in another bowl. Pour 50ml of the hot cream over the white chocolate (strain it if the orange zest is in big strands), and the remaining cream over the dark and milk mixture. Leave the bowls for 1-2 mins, then stir until smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool for 10 mins.
Put the cream cheese in a bowl and whisk lightly to loosen. Add the icing sugar and the cooled white chocolate and cream mixture, then blend until smooth. Stir through the cranberries, then chill.
When the cakes are cold, you can start assembling. With the cakes flat-side up, use a 7cm biscuit cutter to mark a circle in the centre of each. Use a spoon to gently scoop a dip in each cake, about 4cm deep (save the crumbs for cake truffles – see tip, left.) Remove the cream cheese mixture from the fridge and use to fill the cavities in the cakes, spreading a little onto the flat surfaces too, to help them stick together. Invert 1 cake onto the other to create a sphere, and place on a wire rack set over a baking tray (this will catch any chocolate drips).
To ice the cake, the chocolate ganache needs to be the right consistency – pourable but not too runny. If it has set a little too much, place in the microwave for 10-20 secs, then mix until smooth; if it is too runny, chill until it has firmed up a little. Pour half the ganache over the cake, letting it cover the sides and run into the tray below (use the chocolate drips for cake truffles, see Tip). Cover the whole surface using a palette knife. This is just the first coating, so won’t fill the gap between the sponges. Chill the cake for 20 mins or until the ganache has firmed up a little.
Remove the cake from the fridge. Cover the gap around the middle with the remaining ganache, smoothing it all over with a palette knife. Return to the fridge for another 20 mins until firm, then transfer to a serving plate.
Melt the remaining white chocolate in the microwave in short 10-sec bursts. Drizzle over the top of the cake, then scatter with dried cranberries, sprinkles and edible glitter, if you like. Chill if not serving straight away – it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Remove from the fridge 30 mins before serving.


Don't forget to keep up to date with other festive-blog-athon post by heading over to Katie's blog : Here!

Festive Guest Post: Xmas Q&A....with Blogger Kim Nash




I have run my successful book blog ‘Kim the Bookworm’ for over four years, and have read and reviewed thousands of books for publishers and authors and also have been fortunate to interview authors and meet some of my favourite authors too. 
After working in sales and marketing for a number of years, which I thoroughly enjoyed I have finally realised that working with books and helping authors is what I love to do best and using my great admin and fabulous organisational skills, I am now living my dream!
I now work with publishers and authors helping them to promote their books, raise their profiles, organise blog tours and reviews, assist with social media activity, send out newsletters and arrange events.   I work predominantly with an amazing digital and print on demand publisher Bookouture and am delighted to be working with a talented team of authors and publishing experts in a company that I know will be extremely successful.
I also review family friendly products, venues and attractions and travel at my blog Nash Reviews .  I’ve been writing for a family friendly travel site for the last four years as well as an online lifestyle magazine and am keen to develop my love for family life.  
Being a mom to 7 year old Ollie is the other job in my life and is absolutely the best job I’ve ever had! 
Combining these amazing jobs really is a dream come true for me

Q) When do you normally get in the Festive spirit?
I don't normally even think about Christmas before 1st December but this year working for Bookouture and reading all the Christmas books earlier this year has made me think about it much earlier and look forward to it so much more than normal. 


Q) What is a family tradition you like to have or do at Christmas?
When we were kids, we were always allowed to open my GodMother's present on Christmas Eve, I always allow Ollie to open one of his on Christmas Eve too!


Q) Favourite past Christmas?
Now that my Mom and Dad aren't here anymore, I'd probably choose one of our family Christmases when they were and we were all together.  We lost Mom just over 8 years ago and Dad 1 and a half years ago and we always make sure we have a toast to "absent friends and family" and my sister and I share a moment as we raise our glasses!     You don't realise that one day they'll be over and I wish I'd cherished those lovely Christmases more when I had the opportunity!


Q) Do you love buying/wrapping gifts and seeing everybodys face's on Christmas Day?
Yeah, I'm one of those annoying people who want everyone else to open their presents first.  I could sit and watch everyone else for hours before I'm made to open mine!


Q) Favourite Christmas Book?
Far too many to mention but I do love a Carole Matthews festive treat!


Q) What is it like on Christmas Day for you & your family?
This year, Ollie and I will wake up and open our presents, then he will go to his Dad's for a couple of hours, while I start to prepare the food as I'm cooking this year for my sister and her family and my aunty.  Then when he comes back, all the family will be here and we may have a little Christmas tipple or two before dinner.  Love my family around me!


Q) When do you normally put your Christmas tree up?
Normally around two weeks before Christmas.  Not too early!


Q) Favourite Christmas Movie?
Miracle on 34th Street (Latest version).  I remember going to see this at the cinema with my mom when I was about 25 and we both came out knowing that Santa Claus is real after all! A wonderful film that gives me a very special time of spending time with my darling Mom!