Thursday, October 7, 2021

Maggie Knox cooks up a delicious holiday a book giveaway

L to R: Karma and Marissa
Photos by Jenna Davis and Eugene Choi

Karma Brown and Marissa Stapley have written some great novels over the past years. Now they have come together as Maggie Knox to write an adorable and heartwarming winter romance novel, The Holiday Swap. Melissa really enjoyed this novel and will be reviewing it soon. In the meantime, you can check out her Bookstagram post. Today, they are here to talk about holiday food with us, so don't read this on an empty stomach! Thanks to Putnam, we have one copy for a lucky reader!

Visit Maggie Knox on Twitter and Instagram.

Karma Brown is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author of five novels, including the #1 national bestseller Recipe for a Perfect Wife, as well as the non-fiction bestseller The 4% Fix: How one hour can change your life. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Self, Redbook, Today’s Parent, and Chatelaine. She lives just outside Toronto with her family and a labradoodle named Fred. 

Visit Karma online:

Marissa Stapley is a former magazine editor and the internation­ally bestselling author of four novels: Mating for Life, Things to Do When It’s Raining, The Last Resort, and Lucky. Marissa’s journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers across North America, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Elle, Today’s Parent, and Reader’s Digest. She lives in Toronto with her family and a pre­cocious black cat named Oscar.

Visit Marissa online:

All they want for Christmas is a different life.

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell--both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie's identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family's bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won't get the memo that they're over.

With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven't done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins' identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“An utterly adorable, pitch-perfect romance with just the right amount of Christmas cheer. The Holiday Swap is a pure delight, I couldn’t stop from smiling.”
—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six

“I devoured this delightful romantic comedy in two nights. It's like Gilmore Girls meets The Parent Trap meets Cake Wars. In other words, it's perfect.”
—Colleen Oakley, USA Today bestselling author of You Were There Too

“The Holiday Swap is the cozy holiday rom-com you crave, complete with double the swoony meet-cutes, scrumptious desserts, and happily-ever-afters. With small-town gossip and reality-TV drama, Maggie Knox serves up a treat that will have foodie fiction fans begging for seconds.”
—Amy E. Reichert, author of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club

“This debut from Maggie Knox about twins who swap places for 12 days at Christmas is twice the fun, double the trouble and all the feels. Warm cozy bakeries, cold snowy nights, holiday traditions and two-TWO!-romances to steal my heart—what’s not to love? The smart, quick-paced writing, witty dialogue and swoon-worthy date scenes had me up all night, turning the pages to see what would happen next. I absolutely adored this book—and I can’t wait for more rom-coms from Maggie Knox!”
—Chantel Guertin, bestselling author of Instamom

Taken in 1974
Karma Brown:

I grew up baking with my mom, especially during the holidays, as showcased in the photo below (this was during Canadian Thanksgiving, and I was about two years old). One of my favorite family traditions, which we continue to this day, is gathering to bake my Great-Grandmother Helen (Nellie) Christie's Christmas Cake. Each year a few weeks before Christmas my mom, sister and I spend a morning gabbing, singing carols, and making the cakes--in the very same pans my great-grandmother used over a hundred years ago. And just like my great grandmother (and then grandmother) did, we continue to line the pans in folded brown Kraft paper, which keeps the batter nestled safely inside during baking. The recipe makes both a light and dark version of the cake (for those unfamiliar with Christmas cake, also called "fruit cake", it's a dense vanilla/butter/flour based batter that is dotted with blanched almonds, raisins, currants and candied fruits), and we typically double the batch so we each go home with enough cake to last well into the new year. I have been known to keep some in the freezer so I can enjoy my Christmas cake in the off-season, too! 

Now, I understand fruit cake can be a touch controversial (there are those who believe raisins and candied fruit are inedible items, and should be kept far away from cake of any kind), but it remains my absolute favourite sweet treat at Christmastime. All it takes is one whiff during baking and I am filled with nostalgia and a deep sense of family legacy. It's a tradition I plan to continue with my daughter, and I'm hopeful she'll carry it on with her own family one day. I love imagining that hundreds of years from now my great grandmother's Christmas cake continues to grace the ovens of future generations. 

Marissa Stapley:

Grandma Jean’s Prizewinning Peanut Butter Fudge

My older brother and I adored this fudge, which our Grandma made for us every Christmas —  even when we got far too old to be eating recipes where mini rainbow marshmallows figure so prominently. Just one bite of this takes us back in time to family Christmas dinners we could hardly eat because we’d stuffed ourselves with rich, peanut buttery goodness.  In keeping with the way my Grandmother (and my mom) cooked and baked — by instinct; this could go either way, to be honest — this recipe of mine has no measurements. You just have to wing it.  Decide for yourself if you want a higher butterscotch chip/peanut butter to coloured marshmallow ratio or vice versa and conduct yourself accordingly. 

No matter how hard I try, I can’t quite seem to make this fudge taste exactly the way Grandma’s did (I suspect she used margarine and imitation vanilla extract) — and that’s okay. She was one of a kind, a spunky, Faye-type character who always told it like it was and never gave away her secrets. One thing I know for sure: she was quite smug about her fudge, and in an informal annual holiday fudge-making competition she had going with my stepdad and his chocolate fudge, always declared herself the prizewinner. 

  • Peanut butter (never crunchy; and I do not recommend using all-natural peanut butter here, either)
  • Butter (salted if you’re into sweet and salty)
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Rainbow mini marshmallows
  • Vanilla
Combine peanut butter, butter and butterscotch chips in a large pan; turn the heat to medium low. Stir patiently and frequently until the chips are all melted and the consistency is smooth. Let cool for a few minutes, then splash in vanilla and fold in marshmallows. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into a parchment paper lined or well greased 8 x 8 or 9 x9 inch pan. Spread evenly. (It helps to put a bit of butter on the spatula so everything doesn’t stick.) Allow to set in the refrigerator, cut into squares and enjoy! 

Thanks to Karma and Marissa for whetting our appetites and Putnam for sharing their book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

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Giveaway ends October 12th at midnight EST.

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Melissa said...

I'm a big fan of all types of cookies - everything from a classic chocolate chip to sugar, snickerdoodle, oatmeal and more!

Toni Laliberte said...

My favorite is pie! I love most pies but my absolute favorite is lemon meringue and pumpkin. Thanks for the chance!

traveler said...

My favorite treat is a shortbread cookie.

Jess said...

I basically love all holiday treats but if I had to pick I'd say the Starbucks cranberry bliss bar

Mary Patricia Bird said...

I'm a pie lover. All pies (except pumpkin - yup).

Nancy said...

My favorite holiday treat is probably pumpkin pie.

allibrary (at) aol (dot) cm

Charlotte Lynn said...

I love chocolate. Chocolate pretzels, chocolate almonds, chocolate anything

Rita Wray said...

I like pumpkin pie.

Mary C said...


holdenj said...

I love spritz cookies at the holidays.

diannekc said...

Christmas cookies

Mary Preston said...

Chocolate chip cookies

Nina said...

I love snicker doodles!

bn100 said...

pumpkin pie

Grandma Cootie said...

One Bowl Brownies and One Bowl Brownie Cookies

Anonymous said...

Nanaimo bars.

Summer said...

Pumpkin pie

Nancy P said...

Hot chocolate

Linda Kish said...

I like pumpkin pie.

Lelandlee said...

Peppermint bark

Xia Lee said...

Frosted sugar cookies