Book review

Book Review: The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm by Erin Green

While scribbling away towards my word count last month, I was lucky to win a signed copy of Erin Green’s book The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm. When it arrived I promised myself I would read it as my reward for surviving NaNoWriMo. December is here and the book has been read so scroll down for my review.

Book review The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm
Time to read some Christmas magic

Author: Erin Green

Title: The Magic Magic of Christmas Tree Farm

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Aria

Release date: 4th September 2018

Blurb:

The scent of pine fills the crisp air as local villagers select their perfect tree. Picking the tree is the easy bit, creating a perfect Christmas is a bit trickier…

Nina has the most magical job in the world, matching customers with their perfect Christmas tree. Working at Christmas Tree Farm is always fun and full of laughter but the weight of past tragedy bears down on her. Her admirer is a great distraction, but is he the right man for her?

Holly is just trying to be a normal teenager, having to deal with the mean girls in her class. But then the most handsome boy at school takes an interest in her. Have all her Christmases come at once?

Angie is trying to bring her family together and save her broken marriage. It’s not something she can force, but it’s the only gift she craves. Will her Christmas wish come true?

It’s the season of goodwill, and at Christmas Tree Farm anything could happen…

Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Milly Johnson.

My thoughts

Last year I read Erin Green’s book The Christmas Wish, so I had high expectations for this novel. The joy of her last novel was the main reason I entered the competition, the other is signed books have a magic of their own which I love. I was not disappointed and in truth loved this story more. Told in three points of view, it covers three women’s Christmas and each are at different stages of their lives. Nina is in her twenties waiting for the moment she feels true love, Holly in her teens experiencing love for the first time and Angie, a divorcee realising maybe she has lost hers. They are all connected by the goings on at the Christmas Tree farm.

As a character, I felt an instant connection to Nina and Holly. I grew to love them more as the book progressed. Holly for being a rounded considerate teenager with a mature head on her shoulders who would have been a friend when I was her age and Nina for being herself. Unlike some books where the heroine is giddy with love Nina is dealing with grief and the emotions of the upcoming Christmas; she wants love, but it is not her main focus. This makes the whole novel more real, special and the bittersweet nature that runs through it makes it stand apart from many on the shelves this time of year. There are funny moments, sad moments and toe curling ones too. It has it all similar to life. As someone who was disappointed not to get a job as a Christmas elf, the farm is a magical wonderland I would have loved to work at and this setting adds the sprinkle of Christmas into the story.

The only thing I struggled with was Angie. She is well written and as real as the others but I struggled to connect with her selfish views. I could relate to her in many ways but there were moments I wanted to give her a shake or push her into the snow. If she was real, I would want to have a coffee with her to discover more about her psyche so I could decide whether or not I liked her.

Would I recommend?

Yes. This book is more than a festive read it is an exploration of love, family relationships and women. It deals with grief, divorce and first love. Grab yourself a hot chocolate, snuggly socks and curl up in front of the fire and enjoy.

Happy reading!

Love

Just life

The Joy of being Grateful

This morning for no particular reason I feel grateful. I did not plan to think about the good things in my life when I sat down with my cup of tea with only the Christmas tree for company but with its lights shining and the house silent I felt a glimmer of calm. For that moment, the worries about bills, health, relationships and how to stretch a shoestring budget over Christmas fell away. I could see the good I have and achievements made this year.

My grateful list:

  • The morning hug I will get from my daughter
  • Waking early to see the stunning night sky
  • The welcome from my dog as I have left him for five minutes
  • The taste of the first cup of tea and this time of year
  • The parts of Christmas which matter the tree, music, friends and family.
  • My home
  • Old friends and new ones
  • The arrival of Christmas cards
  • Opening the advent calendar – you are never to old for one
  • Winning nano – that feeling will keep me going for a while
  • Winning NaNo coaching from Megg
  • An unexpected lottery win of £25
  • The book I won from Erin Green The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm

The moment of calm has grown with my list, life is good and I am ready to fight another day. When life’s problems have snowballed and triggered an avalanche of emotions, it is easy to forget the good, the tiny things or incidents throughout the day which if given care are seeds of strength to get you through the crap.

What are you grateful for?

Writing journey

Christmas distractions and writer’s guilt

Christmas has arrived with the tree, perfect for curling up and write.
Christmas has arrived in our house. At this moment, I am curled up in PJs with only the light of the tree keeping me company. It is my favourite place to be. All is silent (apart from the dogs snoring) and there is only an hour before everyone wakes up. I should be concentrating on writing. I have a short story/flash fiction to finish by Friday for writing group. It has been a couple of weeks since I have been and during November, NaNoWriMo took priority so I am determined to have something to share. The title is The Journey. A plot and a character with his back story have been formed and over 500 words have been written but I am struggling to concentrate. The words and snapshots of images refuse to link together to finish the tale. Christmas keeps getting in the way – lists galore loop in my head. One for card and present recipients, shopping needed for Christmas dinner and the following days, things to do before visitors arrive as well as the calendar full of events. As much as I am determined to carve a couple of hours for my writing I am drowning with ‘should be doings’. How do other writer’s do it? I watch and read authors interviews where they state they go into their study/kitchen or favourite café and write. How do they switch their minds off to remain focussed on the task at hand?  Rather than meal plans, daughter’s  homework or other demands.  If anyone knows their secret, please let me know.

Deadlines

I am on a deadline to increase my word count for my first draft dramatically and prepare book review posts for Duvet Dwellers Books for the next few weeks. Once family arrive for Christmas, I do not know when I will be able to indulge in writing. The pressures of the summer will resurface. Writing has become a need but I can not shake the feeling of guilt and selfishness when I give it the time it needs. Having visitors that do not understand my desire to write makes these feelings worse.

Next week I have a whole day free with no other people around. It is the best Christmas present my family could give me and I can’t wait.

Happy writing!

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Writing journey

Christmas has arrived with a new blog!

Christmas is hurtling towards us and we are entering my favourite time of year – perfect for a new start and a new blog. Well, it is the same old blog but updated, refreshed and in a new home.

Welcome to my blog

I hope you like it and there are not many glitches. If some are found –  I’m sorry and let me know below in the comments. WordPress is a steep learning curve for a non-tech person. I am very grateful for the people at the end of the help chat links this week. I imagine I have made some of them snigger at my naivety and others to pull their hair out with my ability to make something easy snowball into a big mess.

One of the hardest thing to get my head round is inability to transfer my followers from my old blog directly to here. If you have followed me from there – thank you so much and please click on the subscribe button in the sidebar.  It will make an aspiring writer very happy and if you are a new visitor – I hope you enjoy what you find and will also follow me on my writing journey.

Christmas stories

Advent has an energy of its own. Christmas trees sparkle at windows, wreaths hang on doors and the excited smiles on children makes it a time for optimism and hope. It is also a time that is ripe for story ideas. Behind every tree and person walking down the street a plot ready to form (especially if Elsie is around). Who put the star in its proud place? Will the screaming, spoilt kid at the supermarket really get nothing in his stocking as threatened by his stressed mum and what antics will occur at the Christmas parties? A writer’s imagination can go wild. My note app and idea file gets full quickly. I wish the days would stretch  to allow more writing time, maybe 27 hours in the day with the extra ones dedicated to quiet, undisturbed moments would work.

#Christmasdecoration #bauble

Today is the most magical day of Christmas in our house apart from the day itself. The music comes out, Christmas DVDs and decorations are dusted off and the tree gets dressed in all its treasures by all of us. To me the tree is the most important festive tradition. Forget presents and the turkey, as long as a tree is up I am happy. It means Christmas has arrived.  Each bauble holds a story a little piece of history of our lives. When they are all in place the tree reminds us of our past; laughter and tears, good times with people we love, dreams we have achieved  and troubles we have overcome. It gives hope for good times ahead. I love the atmosphere the tree brings for the next few weeks. It makes me feel like a child again and makes me smile instantly with the aroma of pine when I walk into the room.

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

Happy writing!

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