Thursday 12 December 2013

Guest post-Lynn Marie Hulsman

I'm very lucky to have a guest post on the blog today from the wonderful author of Christmas at Thornton Hall Lynn Marie Hulsman. She talks about some fab books in her post & if that's not enough to get you in the festive mood-her book is out today & it's EXTRA Christmasey! Without further ado, ill hand you over to her....

For me, cozying up with a Christmas-themed romancebook in order to usher in the excitement of the season is a must. The minute the Halloween decorations go down, and the chill hits the air, you’ll find me surfing Pandora’s “Let it Snow” channel, watching seasonal black-and-white classic films like The Bishop’s Wife and Miracle on 34thStreet, and choosing my December reads.

And even though they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, I’ll admit that I do if you promise to keep it our little secret. And I get so excited by the promise of the festive jackets, knowing that the stories inside will likely feature descriptions of festive holiday sweets and feasts, tales of shopping for perfect presents, characters longing for Christmas miracles that usually come to fruition, and — if we’re lucky — at least one kiss in the snow.

I thought the designs of holiday-themed romance books were of a particularaly high caliber this year. I’d hate to be the judge of an industry-wide Christmas Cover Contest, as there are so many well done and innovative ones, I’m sure I’d feel a cad for not choosing them all. And given that space here is limited, I’m only going to be able to mention a handful of my top picks, and it pains me to leave any out.

But here goes: Some standouts in this year’s crop of covers that look so good you could almost eat them are these:

Wish Upon a Star by Trisha Ashley

As delicious as this book looks here, it’s not a patch on what it looks like in real life. Each little ornament ball is rendered in shiny foil, and the snow is textural andappears to be frosted with ice. Even without those touches, the feeling evoked by the snowy outdoors, juxtaposed with the warm and cozy scene by the fire in the heart of the house conjures up the perfect Christmas feeling.
Christmas at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown

I love this cover for its cleanness of design. I love the three panels: The title panel, that looks like a wrapped gift (every romance novel is a gift, to me!), the blurb panel that looks like a room where a party is being held, and the illustrated picture panel featuring a door that I’m dying to open that leads to a shop full of luxurious goodies. The cover promises magic. That’s a promise that calls loud and clear to romance readers like me.

Santa Wore Leathers by Vonnie Davis

It’s pretty clear what the promise of this cover is and I know armies of romance readers who look for the sizzle of the season. What I love about this cover, apart from the, um, obvious, is the way the red pops against the wonderful black and white photo. Very Robert Mapplethorpe! We romance readers like a bit of art with our steam, sometimes, don’t we. And who wouldn’t like to see that Santa hat, cleverly suggesting the season, on top of that man’s head?

A Stocking Full of Romance by Brigid Coady

After seeing this cover, I vowed to buy myself a red coat with a baby blue hat, mitten, and scarf set. I really cannot get enough of this color combination. And something about the design feels Victorian and modern at the same time. Despite the simplicity of the illustration, it’s full of movement and energy. And, it feels as much like a Valentine as a Christmas card. My brain likes that. Red and hearts, along with stockings and ornaments works for me. It promises red-hot love and romance with a wintry backdrop.

I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk

I’ll admit to being biased, but I am a New Yorker. In my opinion, there’s nothing as spectacular as Christmas set against the New York City skyline. And I don’t know a young girl who’s ever seen photos of the skating rink at Rockefeller Center without a dream of skating there, holding hands with her true love. I love the shadows of the skaters and skyline that suggest to me the passing of time. It feels cinematic. And I really love the font with its swirly script that ends in a heart. Love and romance? Promise made!

I can’t wrap up without mentioning some other very tasty, very celebratory covers, and even still, I’m leaving out as many as I’ve talked about.

More faves:
Calling Mrs. Christmas by Carole Matthews
Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan
Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
The Kiss Before Christmas by Sophie Pembroke
A Cinderella Christmas by Holly Kingston

HarperImpulse novelist Lynn Marie Hulsman's varied employment background includes stints as a copywriter for a direct marketing agency specializing in casino advertising (Free buffets! Loose slots!), ushering at Manhattan Theatre Club where she ran smack into Steve Martins' chest, irritated Jeremy Irons's agent, and saw John Slattery naked over 50 times, editing materials for major pharmaceutical companies (Ask her anything about the prostate: She knows.), creatively ideating to re-brand major household products for huge corporations, and passing out cheese cube samples (a decided low point). As a performer she's been seen onstage at Caroline's, Stand Up New York, and headlining with her sketch group Hits Like a Girl at The Big Stinkin' Comedy Festival in Austin,TX. She can't tell you what she's ghost written (obv!) but she's co-written two books on cookery, and is sole author of the forthcoming cookbook The Kentucky Bourbon Dessert Cookbook. She does not believe in white chocolate.

 At 28, Juliet Hill is finally ready to be a grown-up. Her New Year's plan of leaving behind a career as chef to the rich and famous in order and go back for her Ph. D in psychology is sure to satisfy both her ultra-logical psychiatrist mom and her buttoned-up lawyer boyfriend. She'll be on the right road to stability right after one last Christmas stint in private service at Thornton Hall, arguably one of the grandest estates in the swanky Cotswalds region of England (think The Hamptons, but with thatched roofs).
Unfortunately, true to her nature, she can't convince her brain to override her heart when sticky situations arise involving lies, paternity, a one-night stand and poison mushrooms! Is a sane and predictable life in the cards for our passionate pastry prepper? Can this creative girl toe the line, leaving her secret spice blends and unpredictable men behind? On the road to womanhood, sometimes decisions are made for us, and other times we have to cook up our own destiny. Join Juliet's journey as she straddles the line between romance and reason. 
Thanks so much for this festive post, you can look out for a review of Christmas at Thornton Hall very soon! 

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