the wait is finally over! #BookoutureXmas is kicking off! Yay! Oh guys, we’ve been so excited for this project of ours and you’ve probably seen us talking about it A LOT on twitter. But the wait is over!!! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, #BookoutureXmas is a blog event we’re organizing together with lovely Bookouture and it runs 22-27 October. Boukouture have fast became one of our favourite publishers and we’re just over the moon they got so many fab Christmas titles, we’ve come up with an idea to do a blog event. There’s 15 blogs taking part (including ours), so make sure you follow them for more amazing posts and giveaways! Make sure you visit our blog every day as we’ll have a new giveaway every day, and all will be international. Despite there being 15 blogs only who are official participants posting content on their blogs, we encourage you to participate during the event, by tweeting us with hashtag #BookoutureXmas 22-27 Oct about the Bookouture Christmas titles you’re reading. Some readers will win couple of our new #ThisChickReads bookmarks, which not that I’m biased but are gorgeous. OK, off we go! Ho, Ho, Ho… BookoutureXmas, everyone!
Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hellomagazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…
A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas.
* Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review *
Honestly, every time I see Sue Watson releasing a book it already feels like Christmas! Yes, I’m that much in love with her beautiful writing, with the consistency and how truthful she is to her heroines who are REAL women and with her humour that’s so effortless and refreshing.
I have read all of Ms Watson’s books and not once was I disappointed. There’s just so many things to love about her writing, that warmth and coziness, that hope she breathes into her words, the strong factor that leaves a huge smile on your face when you’ve finished reading.
I was over the moon when I’ve heard she’ll be releasing a Christmas book and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy. Thanks to her amazing publishers I was sent an early copy and dig in just after few short days of receiving it. I know I was expecting a great and uber-enjoyable book, but this book simply exceeded all my expectations.
One of the reasons Ms Watson’s is such an amazing author is her ability to connect with her readers through creating characters who are full of flaws yet full of life! Their zest for life is simply contagious, making you believe everything is possible. Ms Watson’s heroines are definitely not the cliched ones we do sometimes see in chick lit. Oh, NO! They are not some hot shot career women ready to walk over dead bodies, or characters obsessed with staying ‘younger, thinner, blonder’ (fans of Sue will know what i did there). On the contrary, they are every day women, bracing their curves, sleep deprived yet madly affectionate women who love their kids, earnest women who are truthful friends and value what is really important in life. They are mature, though for the solemn comedic purpose sometimes end up doing something irrational, but very soon they pick themselves up and continue being these kick ass heroines.
Amy is everything I imagined and expected to be, she’s going through tough times, her marriage of 20 years is falling apart and with kids being off to college she’s pretty much left alone, and on Christmas. It’s the most wonderful and magical time of the year and yet all she has is TV and re-runs of her friend’s Christmas baking show. Bella and Amy used to me such good friends, however out of some unknown reason (unknown to the readerd maybe for the good half of the book) they’ve fallen apart. Bella’s always been the rich one, however she loved hanging out with Amy and spending time at Amy’s. In their kitchen she’s had the most precious moments, baking together with Amy’s mum and Amy, trying out amazing recipes and spending one of her best Christmases. However, Bella’s famous now and she doesn’t reply a single card Amy’s sent to her, and she’s sent so many through out the years. Is Christmas really the time when magic can happen for Amy? Is it possible to mend after so much hurt and pain on both Amy and Bella’s side? Amy might get a chance to finally speak to her friend, but what after she finds out Bella is a fraud stealing her mother’s recipes?
It is Christmas, everything is possible! But not without some Amy-Bella duel.
I got so many things to say about this book, I just don’t know where to start. How about with the fact I loved the characters? I admit, I was biting nails to find out what exactly happened that made these girls, who obviously once were great friends and have such a long history, to fall apart? What can possibly be that ugly to destroy such a friendship. Oh, this was killing me! However, once I found out the reasons, everything came to its place. Until then couldn’t understand completely the depth of their relationship and why once they meet they are so hostile towards each other.
Next thing, the humor! There were some real belly laugh moments, ones I nearly chocked on my tea! I kept imagining Amy, the goofy maths teacher’s face when she found out her husband is leaving her for a pole dancer! Hilarious and still makes me laugh!
But what I loved the most is the wonderful message through out the book, that assurance everything must turn out at the end if we just let Christmas (or time) heal our wounds. I adored how both Bella and Amy were growing up as characters in front of my eyes, transforming naturally in accordance to the situation. They both felt real and though Bella might be someone you’ll hate at the beginning, she did manage to get under my skin.
‘Bella’s Christmas Bake Off’ is a beautiful, warm, feel good read that will leave you feeling all fuzzy inside. Written by a real woman, this is a book for real women! It sends out so many wonderful messages, not just about family and friendship, but also about embracing your flaws, forgiving others and yourself and just living your life to the fullest. As I’m on sort of a food regime, I tried not to comment on the food, but oh my god! There’s just so many delicious meals mentioned, you really feel like you’re out there with Amy and Bella preparing this mouth watering feast. Which is not good if you’re dieting… but then again, Ms Watson never liked her characters dieting, she likes them curvy, funny and all around amazing. This season’s #GBBO might be over, but get ready for Bella’s Christmas Bake Off, equally delicious and even more fun. Hope you love it!
My rating: 9/10
Thanks to lovely Sue and the guys from Bookouture, we’re offering you a chance to win a SIGNED PAPERBACK of ‘Bella’s Christmas Bake Off’. The giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and closes on 3rd of Novemeber. Winner will be contacted by e-mail or on twitter and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If we don’t hear from them, we’ll pick a new winner. Best of luck, guys and thanks for reading!