Today as a part of the blog blitz, I am sharing an extract from Mistletoe and the Mouse by Elsa Simonetti. If you love anything and everything abut Mickey Mouse, then this is the novel for you!
Can a magical Christmas melt a frozen heart?
Join Belle and James as they visit Mickey Mouse for a sparkling holiday season at Disneyland Paris.
Belle has been numb since her mother died, and she can’t face Christmas at home without her. Instead she books a surprise holiday to her “happy place” – the Magic Kingdom. But her boyfriend James has problems of his own. He doesn’t “do Disney” and what will his mother think of him missing their family Christmas to go to Disneyland with Belle?
A festive romance with a sprinkling of Pixie Dust.
Intro on the Extract:
Belle and James are on a Christmas holiday at Disneyland Paris, where Belle is struggling to overcome the grief she feels following the sudden and unexpected death of her mother earlier in the year. While she sits on the edge of a fountain, drinking mulled wine and waiting for James, Belle meets a young American, “a tall, slender woman of about her own age. The woman was wearing a knee-length deep red velvet dress over a pale golden skirt, with her long dark hair swept up with red roses. She was so elegant it took Belle’s breath away.” Belle falls naturally into conversation with her, and their meeting becomes something of a turning point for Belle, who is wondering if James’s obvious lack of enthusiasm for all things Disney might drive a wedge between them.
‘Shut up! Were you actually named after Beauty and the Beast?’ asked the woman.
‘Yes!’ Belle said. ‘Yes, my mum went into labour in the cinema watching the film. It was her favourite. She refused to leave until it was over; I very nearly popped out into the world in row H of the Cannon Cinema! That’s why she called me Belle.’
She had never told James that; she knew Beauty and the Beast didn’t mean anything to him. It would be pointless.
‘That is so awesome! Your mom must be a cool mother; I wish mine loved Disney as much as that.’
‘She is! She’s the best!’ Belle said eagerly, before remembering. ‘I mean, she was the best. She died earlier this year,’ she said, her face falling.
‘I’m so sorry for your loss,’ the woman said, looking concerned. ‘It’s so hard, isn’t it, first Christmas without your mom. I remember when my grandma died, I found Mom sitting and crying over the Thanksgiving Dinner, the first one she’d had to cook without grandma. Tears all over the turkey!’
‘Yes, that’s why we came here. I couldn’t face doing all the normal Christmas stuff without her. Mince pies and stockings and decorating the tree; it didn’t feel right.’
‘I can totally get that. Are you here with your Dad then?’
‘I haven’t seen my dad since I was four; he’s in America somewhere. No, I’m here with my boyfriend. James.’
‘The one who doesn’t do Disney?’
‘That’s the one.’
‘Then perhaps he is a keeper after all!’ the woman said. ‘Disney at Christmas is quite a thing for someone who doesn’t do Disney.’
‘I don’t know. He’s been so great this year, but it’s like he doesn’t understand me, sometimes. He doesn’t get it. I’m not sure if he’s The One – you know? He doesn’t seem to get Disney at all, and it’s always been such a big part of my life. Bringing him here, it makes me realise how different we are. He likes rugby, and I like Disney. There’s not much overlap there.’
It was the first time she had ever voiced her fears aloud. She had no-one she trusted enough to voice them to, without her mum. But somehow, this woman felt safe, like a friend.
‘Uh huh, I get that – but would he fight off vicious wolves for you, and carry you back safely to his castle? You don’t have to be exactly the same to be in love, you just have to be on the same side!’
She thought about James, and how he had lain awake with her all those nights, holding her in the darkness while she sobbed. She thought about how he had held her up at the funeral when she didn’t think she could stand on her own. She thought about how he had been prepared to abandon his own family at Christmas to come here with her, even though she could see quite clearly now he didn’t want to. He was on her side, firmly and steadfastly.
‘I think he would,’ she said softly. ‘Yes, I honestly think he would.’
‘Then, Belle, perhaps he is your Beast after all!’ she said, with a wave of her hand as if she was carrying a magic wand and sprinkling pixie dust. But her gesture turned into a wave as she saw her companion, dressed in ice-blue like Cinderella, coming out of the ladies’ toilets at the other side of the square. ‘Oh, there’s Gabrielle. Gotta go. Great to meet you, Belle.’
‘I didn’t get your name?’ Belle called after her. She stopped and turned back.
‘I’m Aliyah. But you can call me Fairy Godmother!’ she said with a laugh. ‘Happy holidays, Belle!’
‘Happy holidays, Fairy Godmother!’ she called after her.
Aliyah is only a minor character in the novel, but she’s an important one, as Belle otherwise has only James to talk to, and I realised that she needed someone to talk to ABOUT James at this point. Although Aliyah is very clearly a real person, the way in which she appears at this significant moment to help Belle and defines herself as Belle’s Fairy Godmother has a deliberate hint of magic about it. It’s one of my favourite scenes in the whole novel!
About the Author:
Elsa Simonetti was born in the same year as Walt Disney World, but many miles away in the north of England. Her earliest Disney memory is crying during Bambi at the Saturday morning cinema club! It wasn’t until her own children were small that her husband introduced her to the magic of Disneyland Paris, and since then she has become obsessed, proving Walt Disney’s own belief that “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever”. That was the seed of this story – that Disneyland is not just for children, but for anyone who is young at heart.
Elsa also writes romantic women’s fiction under the name of Liz Taylorson.
Today I am helping to celebrate the book birthday of SOLO by Aaron Hodges. If you are debating on traveling the world solo, this is the book for you!
Feeling alone? Trapped? Lost?
Time for an adventure!
The bad times won’t last forever, and for more than five years, Aaron Hodges has journeyed the globe alone, visiting everywhere from Istanbul to Argentina. Honest and insightful, SOLO is packed with his personal travel tips and humorous stories. Learn about the ups and downs, the triumphs and the pitfalls of venturing off the beaten path. Follow his guidelines for exploring the world alone and be inspired to take the trip you’ve always dreamed of.
Discover the world of solo travel.
SOLO: A Down to Earth Guide to Travelling the World Alone
Author: Aaron Hodges
Published: December 11, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 15-16,2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
This is an A+, 5 star memoir by Aaron Hodges about traveling solo. He has traveled solo for over 5 years and gives many pointers for the new and yet-to-travel solo traveler. Hodges talks directly to the reader and yes, DO heed his plethora of advice! If I was still at this part of my life to travel solo, I would have been taking notes! Yes, I would have taken Hodges advice as he makes solo travel seem possible for everyone. I also looked back at my time when I turned 30 and traveled the Northern US and Canada with a tour group. In some ways I was solo, and in some ways I wasn’t. Traveling solo does NOT mean you are always alone! But I was solo in New York City alone for several days and had a great time!
Hodges talks directly to the reader giving his first hand insight and experience. He comes off like a really good friend conversing with you. He gives you a starting point to plan your solo trip. He gives suggestions on where to go (or not go) for some countries and a variety of traveling tips including where to sleep which tends to be hostels for a variety of reasons that he goes into.
This is a very entertaining and informative memoir definitely recommended for the solo traveler of the past, present and future. Take a chance and travel solo!
About the Author:
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel – Stormwielder – while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while travelling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name. Today, his adventures continue…
As a part of the blog tour, today I share my review of Let’s Talk About Cats by Anita Kelsey. As a mommy to three kitty furbabies, I was excited to read this one! There is also a giveaway going on on Facebook.
Let’s Talk About Cats: Conversations on Feline Behaviour features 16 unique in-depth conversations with devoted feline experts, each chapter answering a question about our cats. An abundance of catty conversation points which provide many useful takeaways for cat owners to improve their own every-day connection with their cats.
This book, the first of its kind, presents the combined wisdom of experts from all over the world on the psychology, behaviour, diet and training of cats, in a relaxed and conversational style. Contributors include Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell, and composer David Teie, whose ground-breaking album, Music for Cats, was released by the Universal Music Group.
Each illuminating chapter exudes a love for cats and a wealth of fascinating insights.
This book is packed with helpful advice, guidance and true stories from the author’s own professional experience of cat care topics, explaining the most important cat concepts, giving food for thought and expanding on all the most important issues and debates in the cat world.
Let’s Talk About Cats: Conversations in Feline Behaviour
Author: Anita Kelsey
Published: November 28, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 2-14, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Let’s Talk About Cats is a nonfiction book by cat expert Anita Kelsey: She has a degree in Feline Behavior and Psychology, is a cat groomer, and more. Needless to say, she knows what she is talking about. She is based out of the UK, so the spellings of certain words are UK based (which I never have an issue with) and some of what is discussed would apply to UK readers more than US readers, but it is still a very well written book and I learned some things as well (I have only been a cat momma for 5 years and still constantly learning.)
Let’s Talk About Cats is 15 chapters of learning and one chapter of a ‘bookend’ telling us about The Cat Man of Aleppo. Despite being in the UK she does talk with US based experts including Jackson Galaxy who hosted the television show My Cat From Hell. Each chapter of the book deals with a certain question that cat owners/guardians may have. There is a discussion with an expert of the question presented and also summary of what you have just read at the end of the chapter and there are also real life case situations that apply to the chapter. Chapters include Why Does My Cat Scratch Furniture, What Should I Be Feeding My Cat, touching and giving cats attention, all the way to dealing with elderly cats and euthanasia.
Whether you are a new cat parent or experienced one, you will learn something from this book. Let’s Talk About Cats is for every cat parent and cat lover out there!
My three furbabies with Let’s Talk About Cats. They are in charge and do whatever they want!
About the Author:
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.
Her debut book ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer‘ was published by John Blakes in 2018 and her second book Let’s Talk About Cats, Conversation On Feline Behaviour is due out November 28th 2020.
If anyone would like the chance to win a free copy of Let’s Talk About Cats plus some fun cat toys from Purrs In Our Hearts and 4Cats then join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/letstalkaboutcats
There will be 5 fun cat photo competitions posted on 23rd Nov With the entries closing 4th Dec. **Rules and how to enter on the page. **[Top]