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The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey ** Blog Tour Guest Post, Review & Giveaway **

We're getting properly into the Christmas spirit now on Books, Life and Everything and the latest book to feature is The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey. There's a Giveaway to enter (details at the end of the post). Before we get to hear Maxine's views on her experiences of being both a self-published author and one under contract to a publishing house, here's a little about the book:

Home for the holidays…
Icing gingerbread men, arranging handmade toys and making up countless Christmas wreaths in her family’s cosy little Christmas shop isn’t usually globe-trotter Lexi’s idea of fun. But it’s all that’s keeping her mind off romance. And, with a broken engagement under her belt, she’s planning to stay well clear of that for the foreseeable future…until gorgeous single dad Cal Martin walks through the door!
Christmas takes on a whole new meaning as Lexi begins to see it through Cal’s adorable five-year-old son’s eyes. But, finding herself getting dangerously close to the mistletoe with Cal, Lexi knows she needs to back off. She’s sworn off love, and little George needs a stability she can’t provide. One day she’ll decide whether to settle down again – just not yet.
But the best little Christmas shop in this sleepy, snow-covered village has another surprise in store…

 Welcome to the blog, Maxine. Over to you!

Winning the ‘Write Christmas’ competition in 2015 was so exciting, not to mention a huge surprise! Getting that call was the start of what has so far been quite an adventure as well as a steep learning curve. Prior to signing with the HarperCollins imprint, I’d self published a previous novel on Amazon and they have certainly proved to be two quite different experiences!
Back in 2007, I won a contract with a very small publisher in America for my novel, ‘No Place Like Home’, a contemporary romance, but as the recession took hold the company closed its doors. Self publishing on Kindle was really beginning to take a hold and I still believed in the novel. I couldn’t face the thought of beginning the rounds of sending the book out again and as it was free to upload, it seemed worth a try at least.
There are definitely differences to being published in the traditional manner and self publishing but I think they both have their pros and cons. I’ve learned a tonne since being taken on by HQ (HarperCollins), especially about things like promotion which I really had no clue about, so that’s been both eye opening and useful.  
Obviously with self publishing, you do have more immediate control over what, and when you put books out as well as pricing, etc, but I have enjoyed the benefit of having an editor to talk over ideas, etc with and to get feedback from about all sorts of things. Writing can be a pretty solitary pastime and sometimes it’s hard to distance yourself from what your own work. Having an independent person be able to give you a more objective view on things can be really useful!
I definitely think there is room for both types of publishing in today’s book world. Traditional publishers have a list of what they do and don’t publish and sometimes a book just doesn’t fit in a particular box, for whatever reason. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad book and shouldn’t be out there for people to enjoy.
Having signed with HQDigital doesn’t mean I’ll no longer self publish – in fact, I have another contemporary romance that I’m planning to put up when I get time, which is quite exciting!
I know some authors who either don’t want to self publish and only want to write under contract, and I know others who have tried traditional and now only want to self publish, mainly because of the absolute control it gives them. Like many things in life, there’s no right or wrong way to do things – just different ones. You have to do what feels right, and best, for you.

That's fascinating, Maxine. There seems to be pros and cons with either route.

My Thoughts

This is definitely a book to escape into. Lexi and her family give the whole  story a delightful feeling of warmth and home. It fitted perfectly into a seasonal Christmas story. It is pretty obvious how the story will probably develop from the beginning but there is no harm in that. There are lots of twists and turns along the way.

    Lexi is a wonderfully developed character with sincerity and some humour. She has always worked in a man's world, in motor racing and you get to share her feelings of regret that this has ended and her indecision as to whether to go back into this world. The pull of home is strong and she comes across as a thoroughly grounded and kind person.

    It is a perfect holiday read for the winter season, full of cosy Christmas customs. The descriptions of the Four Seasons Shop really sets the scene- it would be great to go there! Mince Pies, Christmas lights- what more can you want at Christmas?

In short: A light and heartwarming seasonal read, full of love and friendship.
About the Author

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first, she won a handful of book tokens - perfect for a bookworm!

As years went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, aswell as a book on Brighton for a Local History publisher. However, novels are what she loves writing the most. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through, thanks to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition with her romantic comedy, 'Winter's Fairytale'.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read sew and listen to podcasts. As she also likes cake she can also be found either walking or doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

You can follow Maxine here:  Website  |  Twitter  | Instagram

Book links: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Maxine Morrey, HQDigital and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the Tour.

 Giveaway (UK only)

Signed copy of The Christmas Project

The Best Little Christmas Shop notebook

Box of mini gingerbread men

A chocolate teddy bear

To enter for these great prizes, just follow the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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