Best Books Read in 2022: #contemporaryromance #historical romance #crimefiction #reading @LeonieMAuthor @lwestwoodwriter @wurdsmyth @KathrynFreeman1 @SueMoorcroft @NinaKayeAuthor ‘AngelaBritnell @AmattAuthor @pernillehughes @MaggieChriste33 @MarieLaval1 @foreva48

My 2022 Books of the Year

I’ve read a lot of books this year. Mostly it’s been contemporary romances – I know! Who’d have guessed? But I’ve also read in my other go-to genres of crime and historical romance. And after much deliberation and agonising I’ve managed to pick a favourite contemporary romantic read for each month of 2022 – plus 2 from the other two aforementioned genres. All got 5 out of 5 stars from me. They are all wonderful reads.

So, without further ado, here they are.

(Just click on a title to be taken to that book’s Amazon page where you can find out more about the story)

My 5 Star Reads

January

A Match Made in Venice by Leonie Mack (contemporary romance)

February

Moonlight on the Thames by Lauren Westwood (contemporary romance)

March

The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson (contemporary romance)

April

We’ll Always Have Venice by Leonie Mack (contemporary romance)

May

The Italian Job by Kathryn Freeman (contemporary romance)

June

Summer at the French Café by Sue Moorcroft (contemporary romance)

July

One Night in Edinburgh by Nina Kaye (contemporary romance)

August

Summer at Seaspray Cottage by Angela Britnell (contemporary romance)

September

Bootcamp for Broken Hearts by Joanna Bolouri (contemporary romance)

October

An Autumn Hideaway by Margaret Amatt (contemporary romance)

November

Ten Years by Pernille Hughes (contemporary romance)

December

Christmas in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen (contemporary romance)

PLUS

And my other two books of the year in other genres

Queen of the Desert by Marie Laval (historical romance)

Deception by Helen Forbes (crime)

And that’s it from me for this year. Thank you to all of you who follow my blog and who read/comment on my posts. Happy New Year to you when it comes and feel free to share a favourite read or two of your own in the comments.

PS

Sign up for my newsletter

Go HERE to sign up for updates on my writing (as opposed to this blog). You will also get exclusive access to occasional bonus scenes from my books, previews of the work-in-progress, along with writing challenges for you to take part in, and a chance to take part in giveaway contests. The content of these emails is much more focussed on my writing than the blog.

AND, as a thank you from me if you do sign up, you will also get the chance to download a FREE BOOK – a collection of my romantic short stories.

You can find out more about my books on the Books page here on the website.

Christmas Book Flood: Romantic Fiction for Christmas #reading #romancenovels #christmasnovels #christmasromance #writing @bethcmoran @Heidi_Swain @MaggieChriste33 @SueMoorcroft @PhillipaAshley @SarahMorgan_

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Bookmas!

I must admit the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood) is one that really appeals to me. This is the tradition where Icelanders give and receive books on Christmas Eve and then spend what’s left of the day and into the night reading their book gifts. In the absence of that tradition here in Scotland, I treat myself to some – ok lots of – Christmas-themed romantic novels in time for the start of my own flood of Christmas reading from early December onwards.

Below (in no particular order) are the six wonderful books I’ve read so far. They’re all lovely and I thought it would be good to share the book love. The first five are set in the UK and the sixth one is set in Australia.

Let it Snow by Beth Moran

A Christmas Celebration by Heidi Swain

A White Christmas on Winter Street by Sue Moorcroft

The Christmas Holiday by Phillipa Ashley

Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Christmas in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen

Your Christmas Reading

Are you drawn to festive themed reads at this time of year? Do you re-read a classic like A Christmas Carol for example? Do you go all in and get submerged in a festive book flood or is it just a nod in the general direction? Please do share your December reading tendencies and good reads in the comments below.

My Writing in 2022

Published this year

This year saw the publication of my latest novel, Baby Steps. It’s been my most successful book so far and is available as a paperback and as an ebook. It’s a standalone contemporary romance but is linked with the Skye series. You can find out more about it on the Books page here on the website or click HERE where you’ll also find a link to buy it.

Currently Writing

The work-in-progress is, you guessed it, another contemporary romance. It has the working title of Happiness Cottage and the plan is for it to be the first of a series set in the Scottish Borders. I’m loving it so far and I’m enjoying getting to know Aidan and Lori the two main characters. Aidan’s a moody, broody Scottish farmer and Lori’s a feisty, upbeat Australian visitor. Safe to say the sparks are flying! Updates and extracts will be available in my newsletter …

Sign up for my newsletter

Go HERE to sign up for occasional emails that will always include news of my writing and life. You will also get exclusive access to occasional bonus scenes from my books, previews of the work-in-progress, along with writing challenges for you to take part in, and a chance to take part in giveaway contests. The content of these emails is much more focussed on my writing than the blog.

AND, as a thank you from me if you do sign up, you will also get the chance to download a FREE BOOK – a collection of my romantic short stories.

Merry December To You All!

Whether you celebrate the festive season or not and regardless of whether it’s winter or summer where you are, thank you for being here. Have a good end-of-year and all the best for 2023 to all my readers.

Three Inspirational UK Charities: the wonderful organisations which informed my writing #support #inspiration #writing @VeteranFdn @venturetrust @macmillancancer

Sources of Inspiration

I often get asked by my readers where I get the ideas for my books from. And the answer is my novels are inspired by lots of things. It can be people, places or events that get me thinking and then imagining what if … Or it can be a completely made up something or someone that just pops into my head and I decide that that little seed is worth exploring. And before I know it I have the elements of a full length story planned out and the writing begins.

However, the inspiration process doesn’t end there. As I write and get to know my characters, other ideas come along that need exploring too. Thinking about this recently, I was quite surprised to realise that in all my books so far a main character’s life has been impacted by a common factor. It wasn’t a conscious decision to make this be the case, it just fitted with the storyline. And I’m glad it did as it did indeed prove to be inspirational.

 Three Amazing Charities

The common factor is the work of several charitable organisations and there are three in particular that helped me develop my stories.

The first one is the Veterans Foundation. The work of this organisation informed and inspired aspects of army veteran, Steven’s, story in Baby Steps namely his job and recovery from his injuries.

VETERANS FOUNDATION

https://www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/our-story/

From their website:

Who does the Veterans’ Foundation help and how?

Our journey began by sharing the stories of our Armed Forces family on social media and this quickly escalated into a large, trusted community of friends and supporters. In just a few years we’ve engaged and interacted with millions of you, celebrating our Armed Forces and bringing hope of a better life to those in need of care and assistance.

Our supporters, you, are the heartbeat of the Veterans’ Foundation and through your kind donations, fundraising events and by playing our popular Veterans’ Lottery, challenges are being faced, overcome, and lives are changing for the better.

The second one is Venture Trust. The work of this charity helped inspire and inform the project that Jack, the hero in the Skye series of novels – Displacement, Settlement and Fulfilment – set up to help others like himself whose mental health benefitted from outdoor based therapy.

VENTURE TRUST

https://www.venturetrust.org.uk/about-us/

From their website:

Established in 1982, Venture Trust delivers intensive personal development for people, at any stage in their life, struggling with issues such as involvement in the criminal justice system in Scotland, long term unemployment, recovery from addiction, homelessness or risk of homelessness, isolation, and a history of trauma or harm. 

By building trust and ensuring that people feel safe they can explore their complex experiences through personal development and therapy in their community and the Scottish outdoors.

The outdoors offers inherent challenge for individuals to reflect on beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. With time and space away from influences at home, individuals can unlock skills and learn new, more positive, ways of approaching situations.

And the third one Is Macmillan Cancer Support. This is a charity I have personal experience of and I’ll be forever grateful for the support they provided to me. But apart from that this charity was a source of information to me when I was writing my first book Change of Life and the main female character got her own cancer diagnosis.

MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support

From their website:

Cancer information and support

If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, we’re here to help. Find out how we support you and get information about different cancer types.

Please, if you’re interested, do visit any of the above charities’ websites to learn more. They are all UK/Scotland based – but if you’re not in the UK, perhaps there are similar ones where you live? Of course all three of the organisations I’ve mentioned are dependent on financial donations to continue their wonderful work and I support all three of them – whether that’s by making donations, following and sharing their work on social media, or by giving them a shout out here on the blog.

What about you?

And now, as always, it’s over to you. Are there any charities you support or have helped you deal with life’s challenges? Please do share in the comments below. Or, If you’re a writer, do you have ‘go to’ sources of inspiration/information for your novels – charities or otherwise?