I know we are in the middle of the scariest month of the year, but today I am taking part in a blog tour that is celebrating the joy of Christmas! I know, I know! For some, it can never be too early for Christmas! I am sharing a ‘Top 5 Features’ of The Mistletoe Mixtape written by Jennifer Broham. This one is available NOW and comprises 12 short stories to get you in that Christmas spirit! One song at a time!
There is also a giveaway going on for those of you lucky enough to be in The UK and Ireland!
Snuggle up for the holidays with 12 very different tales of love that will have you dancing under the mistletoe!
The Mistletoe Mixtape, the second anthology from The Christmas Collective, is a diverse and inclusive mix of stories, with more swoon-worthy characters, second chances and happy endings.
Amongst these twelve Christmas music inspired stories you will discover long lost love, festive fantasy, LGBTQ+ love stories, witty one liners and holiday romances. There really is a story to capture every reader’s festive spirit. So grab yourself a hot chocolate, pop on your favourite festive tunes and immerse yourself in the magic of The Mistletoe Mixtape.
Buy The Mistletoe Mixtape here!
Last month, I (Jennifer Broham) re-watched High Fidelity after many years. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s about a music-obsessed record shop owner who uses ‘Top 5’ lists to make sense of his life. After watching the film and thinking about the launch of The Mistletoe Mixtape, I thought it would be fun to write my own ‘Top 5’ to share with you. So here it goes, the ‘My Top 5 Features of The Mistletoe Mixtape’.
- The Festive Romance: Not many people can put their hand on their heart and say they’ve fallen in love twelve times in 2022, but this year, I can! The Christmas Collective authors have spent the last year developing plots and characters that have made me laugh, cry, and fall head-over-heels with each turn of the page. I have mostly worked on editing within the group, so I’ve read every story several times, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to know that now you’ll get the chance to experience true love, twelve times over too!
- The Settings: I don’t know about you, but while I love to travel, I’m a home-bird at Christmas. Luckily, the stories in The Mistletoe Mixtape span the globe, so we can enjoy visits to South Korea, Ireland, Wales, England and the USA. In Hayley-Jenifer Brennan’s story, Under The Mistletoe, her lead character suffers with home-sickness as she faces Christmas in South Korea, so far away from her Irish family. This resonated so strongly with me, having experienced this myself when I lived over there for three years. While the story brings back many happy memories of the wonderful country and culture, it also makes me appreciate how lucky I am to live closer to family again now … especially at Christmas! I love the fact that I can experience Hayley-Jenifer’s setting while sitting by my own Christmas tree, on my own snuggly sofa, with my own favourite mug of hot chocolate.
- The Diversity: I absolutely love this aspect of the book. It’s almost inevitable when I look at the diversity shared within The Christmas Collective itself. We are such a mix, and The Mistletoe Mixtape reflects this. In fact, possibly the only aspect of our diversity that isn’t reflected in any of the stories, is the fact that two of our authors are twin sisters! Within the pages, there are LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ stories, there are romantic leads in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, there are sweet love stories, contemporary romcoms, stories with a twist of magic, and even a Christmas-themed fantasy. Christmas is all about celebration and coming together, and I truly hope this comes across in the diversity of the book.
- The Playlist: This one has got to be in my Top 5. Every story in The Mistletoe Mixtape has the title of a Christmas song, and each plot is inspired by the lyrics. With classics like White Christmas, Santa Baby and A Winter’s Tale, I can’t wait to read the book with the playlist on in the background. I’ve already made the playlist – it’s ready and waiting – but I’m saving it for December 1st! I’m wondering if any of you will be able to pick out the scenes directly inspired from lyrics as you read. Some are easy to spot, but others are woven through more subtly. In fact, it would make a fun quiz for a reading group!
- Being part of your Christmas: I know that sounds corny, but the loveliest thing about being part of a Christmas anthology is knowing that our stories are going to weave into the real-life Christmases of our readers. Christmas is such a wonderful but hectic time for many of us, so finding time to read can be tricky, but short stories are so easy to dip into. I like to imagine there’ll be readers out there snatching moments to read our twelve stories over the twelve days of Christmas.
So, there it is, my High Fidelity inspired ‘Top 5’. Writing this has been so much fun, I’ve got a feeling I might have started something … What next? ‘Top 5 Christmas Foods’, ‘Top 5 Christmas Films’, ‘Top 5 Christmas Games’. It will all be inspiration for future Christmas stories!
But for now, I hope you enjoy The Mistletoe Mixtape and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.
The Christmas Collective is a group of twelve romance authors who came together when shortlisted for a festive romance competition. Together they have created two Christmas Romance anthologies, More Than Mistletoe (2021) and The Mistletoe Mixtape (2022).
The Christmas Collective authors are spread far and wide, across the UK, Ireland, Spain and South Korea, however, one thing connects them despite the distance: a love of romance and Christmas.
**Giveaway to win a paperback copy for The UK and Ireland!**
*Terms and Conditions –UK and Ireland entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today and I am helping to spread the word on Sister Agatha: The World’s Oldest Serial Killer by Domhnall O’Donoghue. This novel is a dark comedy. I am intrigued at the premise of this one and it was a debut novel!
Sister Agatha is 118 years of age, whose vim and vigour would put the most robust athletes to shame. However, during a routine check-up, her doctor claims that she has just a week to live – inconvenient, seeing as the beloved sister once made an improbable vow: to be the oldest person in the world. At last count, she was the fifth.
Never one to admit defeat, Sister Agatha concocts a bold Plan B. Using her final days, she intends on travelling the world to meet the only four people whose birthday cakes boast more candles than hers.
And then, one by one, she will kill them.
About the Author:
Hailing from Navan in the royal county of Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT.
He now works as an actor and a journalist, dividing his time between Galway, where he films TG4’s award-winning series, Ros na Rún, Dublin and Venice, where he and his Italian lover continuously promise their well-worn livers that they will refrain from quaffing so much Prosecco. (Unfortunately, it seems some vows, just like nearby Rome, were not built in a day.)
Wine-drinking aside, for more than four years, Domhnall has also enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title whose various awards includes Consumer Magazine of the Year. Thanks to this role, he interviewed a host of high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, David Gandy, and Jacques Villeneuve.
Domhnall has written for the majority of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and RTE. He also writes a monthly column in Woman’s Way, the country’s biggest-selling weekly magazine.
His first novel, Sister Agatha: the World’s Oldest Serial Killer, was released in 2016 to critical acclaim (Tirgearr Publishing). His second and third books, Colin and the Concubine and Crazy for You were published by Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house.[Top]
Today I am helping to end the blog tour for My Secret Sister by Lauren Westwood. I enjoyed this one. There is also an international giveaway going on for e-copies of the novel!
Two DNA tests, one big lie…
“As I speed off in the ambulance holding my daughter’s hand, I wonder how I could have been so stupid. I should have made the bargain, paid the price – anything to avoid being right here, right now.
A voice whispers in my head that I can’t silence. This is all your fault. You killed her. It’s her voice, the one I hear in my nightmares. The woman who stole my memories, the woman who stole my life. And, this time, I know she’s right.”
How far would you go to save your child?
Claire is living every mother’s worst nightmare. Her daughter, Jess, has been diagnosed with a rare illness and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. With no match on the registry, Claire turns to a charismatic geneticist for help and embarks on a Genetic Journey to seek a familial match for her daughter.
On the other side of the country, Marianne suffers her eighth miscarriage. Her perfect life is rotting underneath, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to have a baby.
When DNA test results reveal that Claire and Marianne are half-sisters, Claire must face the dark lies of the past and make impossible choices about the future. Is her secret sister the answer to her prayers, or will she cost her everything?
My Secret Sister is a tense and emotional family drama with a moral dilemma at its heart. Fans of Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, and John Marrs’ The One will be gripped.
My Secret Sister
Author: Lauren Westwood
Published: August 31, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 24- November 11, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
My Secret Sister shows how at home DNA testing can be like opening Pandora’s Box: Are you sure you actually want to take the test as you never know what family secrets you may bee revealing. This is the kind of book that book clubs are made for: Covering many topics ranging from IVF, parental issues, medical issues, deceit, and at home DNA testing, this one will have many discussions!
The author started writing this novel before Covid-19 and chose to keep it out of the story. I am glad she chose this as it would have muddied the waters of an already complicated situation. As Covid-19 will most likely always be with us, it doesn’t have to be present in novels that deal with medical situations.
We have three narrators throughout the novel with Claire, Marianne, and Becky and see each of their sides with a variety of emotions. I was pulled in the most with Becky’s chapters. I am not a parent, but have a sister with a physical disability, so I identified with Becky. I can see mothers identifying with Claire and women who have experienced fertility issues identifying with Marianne. Needless to say I think every reader will identify with one of our narrators.
I was intrigued and also unsure with what was going to happen and we get some twists and turns as well. Are we going to have a happy ending or not? My Secret Sister really starts moving around the last third of the novel, but the final twists just did not work for me, as they really came out of left field.
Otherwise, I did enjoy this novel and look forward to what else Westwood has written!
My Secret Sister is recommended.
Buy My Secret Sister: http://mybook.to/MySecretSister
About the Author:
My books explore the darkness and the light of the human spirit, and take you on an emotional journey. My Sister’s Secret is a tense and emotional drama about a mother’s race against time to save her daughter’s life. My Mother’s Silence is a gripping and romantic drama about homecoming and family secrets set in the wild Scottish highlands. It was shortlisted for the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award 2020. The Daughter She Lost is a dark journey of self-discovery and overcoming the secrets of the past. My holiday romance Moonlight on the Thames is a love story to classical music and the healing power of love. It was a bestseller in urban fiction and top 100 Kindle book. My first three novels: Finding Home, Finding Secrets and Finding Dreams all feature mysterious old houses and intelligent, feisty contemporary heroines who set out to unravel the mysteries of the past. I also write award winning children’s books as Laurel Remington. I am originally from California, and now live in Surrey, UK with my partner and three daughters.
Win one of 5 e-copies of My Secret Sister
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.