#BookoutureXmas: Review + Signed copy Giveaway (INT) ‘Bella’s Christmas Bake Off’ by Sue Watson

Posted October 22, 2015 by thischickreads in review / 32 Comments

Hey guys,

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




Buy ‘Bella’s Christmas Bake Off’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Sue Watson on her site, facebook and twitter






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!


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32 responses to “#BookoutureXmas: Review + Signed copy Giveaway (INT) ‘Bella’s Christmas Bake Off’ by Sue Watson

  1. Silke

    Have not read any of Sue’s books.
    But I do have read more Christmas books this month than I ever have. They’re great! Especially when the weather is gloom and cold. Nothing better than curling up with a hot drink and a Christmas book!

  2. Bee

    I haven’t read Sue’s books and restrained myself from requesting it on NetGalley as I wanted to wait for #BookoutureXmas. I like the festive spirit of Christmas and how it bonds people all over the world.

  3. Bee

    Of course books tend to do that twice as well and Christmas books are like holding a piece of Christmas cake in your hand even after Christmas.

  4. Kelly M

    I have read 2 of Sue Watson’s books. I love to start reading Christmas books early. They always put me in the mood for the season.

  5. I’ve read three of Sue’s previous books but not had the pleasure of reading this one yet. I love a Christmas story it makes you feel all cosy on a cold night. Also, Christmas in books sound very idyllic with the gorgeous snow scenes and yummie food treats but in reality we’ve burnt the Christmas dinner and the gritters couldn’t get to your estate so your snowed in!

  6. Dawn Howard

    This sounds like a perfect Xmas read, I haven’t read any of Sue’s books yet but from what you have said I need to change this quickly!! I have been reading a lot of crime this year and loving it, but you have definitely persuaded me to read something festive!
    Thanks for the chance to win and for providing a review which makes me want to think Xmas 🎄 😘

  7. Julie Williams

    Have t read any of Sue Watsons books yet 😔 I started my Christmas reads this week so only read 2 so far but hope to cram many more in as I find reading about Christmas gets me into the festive season 🎄

  8. pete c

    have not read any of her books; Xmas books can either be a letdown or really amusing so always worth a read to decide

  9. Sheerie Franks

    Yes I’ve read a few of Sue’s books before, she makes older women who like their food/cakes really quite sexy. LOVE Christmas books, never know when to start but today’s the day! Such warmth and feel good factor in them!

  10. Laura

    Haven’t read any of her books, have one on my kindle in my TBR pile. I love Christmas in general so any books with a Christmas story I love. Looking forward to #bookouturexmas

  11. Kimberly

    I’ve never read one of Sue’s books before, but I would love to. I love reading Christmas stories. They put me in the perfect frame of mind for the holidays.

  12. I haven’t read any of Sue’s books but I do love a good Christmas story with a feel good factor that I can snuggle up with. Thank you for the lovely giveaway

  13. This book sounds great, Christmas and baking what can be a better mix? I haven’t read any Sue’s books, but this seems a good one to start with.

  14. claire woods

    I’ve not read any of Sue’s books yet but Christmas books always get me in the mood for Christmas.

  15. Joanne Welsh

    Xmas is my fave time of year, and i love a good, girly book, so a combination of the two is perfect

  16. Jane Willis

    I’ve not read any of her books. Some good Christmas reads would really help me to get into the mood for the festive season

  17. Bube

    I haven’t read any Sue Watson books yet,but I plan to read.
    I love to read Christmas books,everything about them is wonderful 🙂

  18. Mary Rose Benipayo

    I haven’t read it yet. I love the way that the author combined in one book the two things I love– Christmas and baking ♥♥♥

  19. Artemis Giote

    Christmas reads would really help me to get into the joy of the holiday (Cheerful mood).
    No, I haven’t ready any of her books before.

  20. Helen Craigs

    I’ve not yet read any of Sue Watson’s books, but I love to read Christmas books as I’ve time to curl up with a glass of wine after Christmas and it’s a great alternative to the many repeat TV shows!!

  21. Victoria Prince

    I haven’t read any of her books yet. I just adore Christmas, so I love the way Christmas books embrace the atmosphere and get me into the mood 🙂

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