Friday, 30 December 2016

My Favourite Reads of 2016

I've been a pretty rubbish book blogger in 2016.  There have been times this year where I've come close to calling time on Books with Bunny, because my life has changed beyond measure since I wrote my first post for this blog three-and-a-half years ago.  But I'm not ready to give it up yet.  I still love books and reading and spreading the literary love, so although there might not be regular updates any more, this little corner of the internet will remain my bookish space into 2017 (although if you want to know what I'm reading, Twitter is the best place to find me - @katey5678).

I've read some cracking books again this year and (this is the bit I love!) it's time to share them with you - here are my favourite reads of 2016!

If you like stories about secrets within families and communities, you need to read ... A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

If you like thought-provoking non-fiction, you need to read... Girl Up by Laura Bates

If you like sweeping romances that make your heart pang, you need to read ... Miss You by Kate Eberlen

If you like stories of friendship, roadtrips and nostalgia, you need to read ... Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson

If you like intriguing young adult fiction about boybands you need to read ... Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

If you like books about forbidden love against a political backdrop, you need to read ... The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

If you like romantic books about travel and adventure, you need to read ... Just One Day by Gayle Forman

If you like uplifting books about fandom and finding yourself, you need to read Love Song by Sophia Bennett

If you like chilling psychological thrillers that will have you hooked from the off, you need to read ... Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

If you like young adult books with a gothic influence, you need to read ... Darkmere by Helen Maslin

If you like a good old-fashioned mystery stories or books set at boarding schools, you need to read ... Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens

If you like amusing manga about misfits and obsessives, you need to read ... Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura

If you like romcom books with an original twist, you need to read ... Please Retweet by Emily Benet

If you like your romance kooky with a hint of spooky, you need to read ... Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French

What have you read and loved this year?  I'd love you to share your favourite reads in the comments!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Christmas Q&A with Caroline Roberts!

I'm delighted to welcome Caroline Roberts to the blog today for a Q&A session. 
Hello Kate, thanks so much for featuring me and The Cosy Christmas Teashop on your blog!
The Cosy Christmas Teashop is a follow up to your previous novel The Cosy Teashop in the Castle. Did the fact that it's a sequel make a difference to your writing process? How long did it take to write?

In a way, it was easier to write as I already had the main characters and setting in mind. But I also wanted to freshen it all up, so I added some new characters and situations. I had fun with it, as well as exploring the more difficult times they had to face. I felt I knew everyone so well by the end, like the castle team had really become firm friends.
It took me four months to write The Cosy Christmas Teashop. A bit of a miracle as the first book took over a year. But I had a deadline to meet, so got my head down and kept going. It was hard work, but also fun.

2) This is your first festive novel. Do you envisage writing another in the future?

Yes, I enjoyed writing about Christmas and all the lovely festive build up to that – Christmas markets, craft fairs, snow, tinsel, Christmas trees, Christmas cupcakes, mince pies and more. I’d happily write another Christmas-themed novel. In fact, I might be working on that right now!

3) What are your favourite Christmassy reads?
I loved Debbie Johnson’s romantic comedy “Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper”.  It was a warm and funny story, unique and rather sexy.
And, on Christmas Eve, I always used to read to my children “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in a fabulous pop-up version, and we also loved The Jolly Christmas Postman.

4) What are your own plans for Christmas? Do you have any special family traditions?
I love the tradition of Christmas stockings, hanging them up by the fire, and then them “magically” being filled – I still have them for my grown-up children even now! And we always have a real tree, it looks so pretty all decorated and twinkly, and you get that gorgeous smell of pine.

On Christmas day, we have a glass of champagne around ten am (mid-parcel opening) with cheese and ham croissants, a fresh fruit platter, or chocolate if you fancy, after all, anything goes - it’s Christmas! Then there’s the traditional Turkey Roast. I’m chef as I enjoy cooking, though I have to be well prepared as after a couple of champagnes and a G&T, it can all get a bit out of sync!

For me, Christmas is all about family and friends and having a lovely, sociable time with some fabulous food and drink.

5) What can your readers look forward to next?

I have a summer book coming out around April/May time. A gorgeous and poignant love story  about hurt and healing and making the most of those simple special moments in life. It’s set on beautiful Bamburgh beach in my home county of Northumberland (one of my favourite places to walk the dog). In fact, the family might have a wander down on the beach there on Boxing Day!
And by this time next year, there may well be another Cosy Christmas novel! Watch this space…

Have a really lovely Christmas everyone!

The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop is out now, published by Harper Impulse.