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Beat the Cold by Adding a Bit of HEAT

It may be the dead of winter, but we’re already counting down to summer. All we want right now – especially with this cold wind today – is to transport ourselves to somewhere better. Somewhere less wintry. Somewhere… well, somewhere warmer.

The good news is that summer books are one of our specialties. We’re all about the sun-soaked holidays and boozy sunset viewings in the arms of a handsome stranger before he…

Oh, sorry. Got away from myself there.

Basically, if you’re looking for a little bit of summer (or just some old-fashioned HEAT) to warm you up this winter, look no further than these sizzling summer reads.

 

The Birthday that Changed Everything

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The Birthday that Changed Everything has everything, and it’s new out today!! It’s got romance, heartbreak, adventure, and self-discovery. It also happens to involve an exotic locale… so buckle down and gorge yourself in this stunning new book from fan fav Debbie Johnson. Get it here!

 

Summer at Castle Stone

Summer at Castle Stone

If you love to spend the summer months against the green backdrop of Ireland, then this is the perfect book for you, from Impulse veteran Lynn Marie Hulsman. Purchase here.

 

The Summer We Loved

The Summer We Loved

This book is heart-wrenchingly good with a delicious summer backdrop. Wendy Lou Jones will be your new favourite as soon as you pick up this excellent read. Purchase here.

 

Picnics in Hyde Park

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The entire #LoveLondon collection is amazing, and we recommend getting it all together here. But if you’re looking for something summery, then this fantastic book will make you long for Hyde Park in the sun. Nikki Moore is absolutely brilliant in this collection. Purchase here.

 

The Trouble with Mojitos

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It does not get more summery than a week as a film location scout in the Caribbean. And not only is the location steamy, but the story is, too. Romy Summer will knock your socks (and maybe a few other things) off with this perfect summer-in-the-middle-of-winter read. Purchase here.

 

Need more heat? Check out these other fab summer titles (click covers to shop):

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And don’t forget to pre-order the Summer Flings collection, coming out in April:

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Pre-order collection here.

New Year’s Resolutions We Can Stand Behind

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  1. Read more books

You saw this one coming. Seriously though, reading is proven to be exponentially better for you than binge-watching Netflix at midnight. I love Jessica Jones as much as the next girl, but falling asleep to the show can actually be detrimental to your REM cycles and eyesight. If you have to have that urban fantasy superhero, try Scorched by Erica Hayes, the sequel for which is called Scarred and is coming out next month.

  1. Have more parties

One thing I learned this past year is that I would rather go out with a big group once a month than be constantly hanging out with friends that I don’t know well enough to really relax around but to whom I am too close to just not hang out with them. So this year I’m resolving to throw a couple of parties so that I can get those hangouts over with all at once, freeing up some me time to, say, read more books.

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  1. Stay in more

This may seem counterintuitive to that last one, but it’s of the same spirit. If you don’t want to go to something and you’re not obligated by responsibility or family ties to do it, then just don’t go. You’ll be happier (and maybe even healthier) for it, and again it frees up some of your time to work on your other resolutions (but mainly reading, because duh).

  1. Explore and adventure

How many of us live in places that we haven’t seen every corner of? The answer is most of us. Even if you’ve lived in the same place your whole life, there are bound to be aspects you haven’t explored. Hop on that dear old world-wide-web and do some digging. If you’re in a big city, this will be easier. If you’re further away from civilisation, maybe decide to take one or two day trips per month. Try getting outside, even in the winter months. It will inject new life into your environment. You could even go really big and explore the planet, going to new places and trying new things. But if that isn’t in the schedule or budget, then let Debbie Johnson do it for you in The Birthday That Changed Everything, coming out later this month.

  1. Make fewer resolutions

A resolution, by definition, is a firm decision to do or not do something. And who likes firm decisions? (Okay, yes, your partner when he asks where you want to go for dinner. And your boss when she asks for budget forecasts. But that’s so different.) When it comes to your personal life, making resolutions inevitably leads to breaking them. And if you’re firm with yourself, this means shame and disappointment, which probably doesn’t align with whatever happier, better version of yourself you envisioned when making the resolutions.

But if you treat New Year’s resolutions as guidelines – as friends influencing your decisions but not controlling your life – then don’t be so firm with yourself when you slip (because statistically you will). Be kind. Take a bubble bath and tell yourself, “That’s alright. There’s always tomorrow.” Because there is, in fact, always tomorrow.

Comment below and tell us your New Year’s resolutions so we can cheer you on!

Z is for ZzZzZzzzz! [ABCs of Christmas]

Guys, we did it! We made it through Christmas. Now we have the weekend ahead to relax and enjoy each other before getting back to the grind. We’ve also made it through the ABCs of Christmas! But don’t worry, we’ll have lots of lovely content for you (including more giveaways) in the new year.

So how do you go about relaxing? Well, in typical Impulse style, we thought we’d tap into the real genius here: our authors. So, without further ado, here are there best tips for relaxing this winter, according to our authors. Surprise, surprise; there’s more booze recommendations…

Happy sleeping!

-Sam xx

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How do you like to relax after the holidays?

‘The usual: with friends, family, alcohol, and some awesome books and movies. Plus, eating my own body weight in food.’ –Debbie Johnson

‘There’s nothing I love more over the Christmas holidays than having a pyjama day, eating well (usually roast dinner), drinking festive brews and watching action films until it’s bedtime (I watch as many Bond movies as I can). I also love having the chance to lounge around and read lots of fab new books!’ –Nikki Moore

‘To sit in front of a cosy fire with my dogs and husband cuddled up to me.’ –Lorraine Wilson

‘I step away from the computer and don’t allow myself to do any work. It’s very rare that I’ll be eating a meal without my laptop in front of my face. The most relaxing part is at the end of the night when you can just be in your pyjamas and think back on all the fun you had that day.’ –Jill Knapp

‘Reading a really Christmassy book – all that time off work means you can justifiably get stuck in!’ –Erin Lawless

‘Walking is a joy in all seasons and the perfect way to chillax. For us it’s mainly about spending time with family and friends, especially the kids, enjoying good food and walking it off afterwards! Because life is very busy at the moment, although Christmas is a frenetic time it’s relaxing all the same, because a change is as good as a rest. We are also renovating our cottage, so some of those days off will involve wielding paint brushes no doubt! But we’ll also find time for a duvet day – very rare and special for us, but that’s what Christmas is all about!’ –Linn B. Halton

‘Watching a good film!’ –Wendy Lou Jones

‘I love to be snuggled up on the sofa with my two boys, with a glass of wine (for me) and a mug of hot chocolate (for them), munching on a box of my favourite chocolates, watching a Christmassy film. The boys and I love Nativity and Nativity 2. They’re so funny! They want Mr. Poppy as a teacher at their school.’ –Teresa F. Morgan

‘A glass of bubbly with family and friends.’ –Caroline Roberts

‘Watching my favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life, Planes Trains & Automobiles, Christmas Vacation, and Die Hard. (Yes, that last one *is* a Christmas film!)’ –Nic Tatano

‘Spending time with our two grown children, who now live on opposite coasts of the US.’ –Nancy Holland

‘To me, the holiday season is all about family and friends and enjoying each other’s company… but I also really love to settle on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and a stack of books. Bliss.’ –Eve Devon

‘Catching up with friends and family, lying in late and reading, and watching cheesy films by the light of the Christmas tree.’ –Georgia Hill

‘We try to spend as much time at home as possible, with family. I love to snuggle on our big couch with Rog and the children, watching a family movie. At Christmas, we normally watch The Polar Express and Santa Claus about a dozen times each!’ –Carmel Harrington

‘Watching Christmas movies! I will watch any holiday film, ranging from Hallmark Channel weepies, to Lifetime Movies of the Week about Mrs. Claus, to Richard Curtis romances, black-and-while classics such as “The Bishop’s Wife.” Nora Ephron Rom Coms top my list, though. I crack up every time I think of Meg Ryan driving along in “Sleepless in Seattle,” singing “Horses, horses, horses!” along with the radio. I like to be in my softest pajamas, with scores of knitted blankets around, and have seasonal snacks like Christmas cookies, caramel popcorn, mulled wine, and hot chocolate.’ –Lynn Marie Hulsman

 

Y is for Yuletide Joy! [ABCs of Christmas]

MERRY CHRISTMAS from all of us at HarperImpulse! To celebrate, here are some of our wonderful authors singing one of our favourite festive songs…

With thanks to…

Wendy Lou Jones

Erin Lawless

Carmel Harrington

Zara Stoneley (and cat!)

Nikki Moore

V is for Visits! [ABCs of Christmas]

My journey home was further than some: I flew from London back to the States to see my family. But no matter what your journey will be like, you could likely use some tips for your travels. Jules Wake is here today to give us some tips for long car rides home, something I will definitely use as I travel around to different cities while I’m here to see people.

Take it away, Jules!

-Sam xx

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Whenever I hear the strains of Chris Rea’s chocolate rich voice singing this song, it makes me feel excited, even if I’m at home in the kitchen grateful that I’m not stuck on some motorway or packed onto a crowded train.

When I was younger, home for me was several hours driving up the M1 on Christmas Eve and inevitably getting held up in some terrible traffic jam because I couldn’t leave work any earlier.  I never minded these long journeys because the excitement of Christmas and being with my family and all our particular traditions far outweighed the tedium of the trip but I did have a few things up my sleeve to help while away the hours.

One, compile your own sing-along Christmas music compilation to which you must accompany every track at the top of your voice.   By law this must include at least one of the following songs:

  • Wizard’s I wish It could be Christmas Every Day
  • Chris De Burgh’s Spaceman Came Travelling
  • Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas
  • The Pogues A Fairytale of New York
  • Silent Night

Two, download a couple of audio books or radio series. I recommend comedies for stress relief for the adults when the traffic is particularly bad. BBC Radio 4, Cabin Fever with Benedict Cummerbatch and Stephanie Cole, while not very festive, is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud no matter how close up to your bumper the car behind is. The complete series of Harry Potter will keep the children quiet for a long time!

Three, stock up on Christmas snacks. To get you in the mood, mince pies are a must, a bottle of cranberry juice goes down well and if you’re missing out on the festive fizz, have no fear, at least two supermarkets are now doing Prosecco crisps this year.

Four, games are a must, especially if you have excited children in the car.  I Spy is a perennial favourite, but you can give it a Christmas twist by insisting on spotting festive objects. One of our family favourites when the children were little was ‘Spot and score the Christmas lights and decorations.’  A reindeer was worth five points, a star, three, Santa one. Just creating and agreeing the scoring system whiles a way a good chunk of time on the journey.   This doesn’t work quite so well on the motorway.  An alternative is ‘Who are they and what do they want for Christmas?’  Everyone in the car has to make up stories about passengers in the cars you pass about who they are, what they do and what they have at the top of their Christmas wish list.  E.g The man at the wheel of the car next door is a secret agent and he wants a sonic screwdriver.

Travelling on public transport can be rather fraught at Christmas, especially if getting one of the last trains out of town, but there’s often such a festive air with other passengers you can make new friends. (Now there’s an idea for a story!) But whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute to book your tickets!

Also, pro tip: Buy small presents.  It cuts down on the luggage.

Start a party on your public transport! I’ve had a couple of very memorable journeys chatting to complete strangers on train journeys while perched on top of my suitcase in the corridor.  So make sure you take your own on-board picnic, screw top bottles of wine are great and Marks and Spencer’s, rather handily, sell wine in plastic glasses at stations. Take enough Christmas snacks and crisps to share around and break the ice.

I feel rather guilty now… poor Jason, the hero of my Christmas novel, From Paris With Love this Christmas, didn’t have the benefit of any of these tips when he had to travel across France back to England.  I do have the small consolation that, like most of us travelling at Christmas, he was going home to be with a loved one.

And isn’t that what driving home for Christmas is really all about?  

Jules Wake is the author of From Paris With Love This Christmas and its predecessor, both available here.

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