Season’s Readings : 6 Books Perfect for Christmas

I have to confess that I mostly read Christmas themed books in the summer rather than during the festive period (I’m usually sick of it all by the time it actually arrives….bah humbug) but as it’s Christmas Eve Eve I thought it might be nice to post a list of some of my favorite Christmas reads.

These are books that are full of Festive spirit (no not eggnog) and just make me laugh and smile. So here we go…

My Christmas Book Recommendations

 


Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (My Review)

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)

I only read this for the first time last year but I think it’s possibly my all time favorite Christmas read. I swear I ended up highlighting about half the book. It’s about a boy (Dash) who finds a notebook left by a girl (Lily) in a bookstore daring whoever finds it to undertake a series of tasks. On completing the dare the boy returns the book with a dare for Lily and so begins a series of adventures across New York for both of them as they pass the notebook back and forward.

This is such a brilliant story. It’s hilariously funny (don’t read in public), super Christmassy and just so, so cute. There is a sequel, The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, which is not quite as good but still worth a read.


What Light by Jay Asher (My Review)

What Light

This doesn’t have the impact of Asher’s more famous book 13 Reasons Why but as far as YA Christmas romances go it’s very well done. Unusually for a YA read the main character is not boy mad, is sensible, mature and has a wonderful relationship with her parents. She doesn’t want a boy to drag her down and at the first sign of trouble is willing to bail.

She’s a good girl who gets involved with a boy with a bad reputation but she goes in with her eyes wide open and trusts her own instincts rather than believing every rumor. This probably isn’t as much of a happy cheery read as some of the others on this list but it is candy cane sweet and packed full of the festive spirit.


My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins (My Review)

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Let’s face it things can be a bit hectic at Christmas with all of the shopping and cleaning, spending time with family and friends and just generally falling into some kind of food coma after eating too much. This collection of twelve YA Christmas themed short stories is perfect for when you want to read but can’t find much more than a few minutes here or there.

There’s a really good mix of stories from some of the best YA authors including Holly Black, Ally Carter and Laini Taylor. My personal favorites however are Midnights by Rainbow Rowell and It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. Both are super cute and very, very sweet.


Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

Christmas at Tiffany's

Despite the cover and title I have to admit this isn’t really a Christmas themed book but I love it so I’m including it.

After Cassie is betrayed by her husband she decides to leave their home and spend a year staying with each of her three best friends in New York, Paris and London while trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life.

What I love about this book is how you get a real sense of every city Cassie stays in and how she re invents herself in each place, throwing herself into new experiences. The romance is a bit of a slow burn but it’s very sweet and a certain someone is one of my favorite book boyfriends.


Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan (My Review)

Miracle on 5th AvenueSarah Morgan is the queen of Christmas romances for me and I think Miracle on 5th Avenue is probably my all time favorite book of hers. It has all of my favorite tropes, a hopeless romantic who loves all things Christmas but is all alone, a grumpy writer trying to get over an ex and avoid the holidays, New York, snow and a lot of chemistry.

I do love an opposites attract type story and Morgan does them so well. The highlight of this story was definitely the banter between them and the whole story just left me with such a big smile on my face.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

Obviously I had to include this in my list. It’s a classic for a reason and if like me you’ve always been intimidated by Dickens at just over 100 pages it’s not too scary and can be read in an hour or two.

I’m assuming everyone knows the story but I have to admit that having only seen the various TV and film adaptations it was different than I thought it was going to be and not nearly as hard going as I expected. I’m actually kind of tempted to make an attempt at a longer Dickens this year but as I’m currently listening to Frankenstein probably not immediately.


So that’s my Christmas book recommendations. Have you read any of these or are there any I’ve convinced you to try? Do you have a Christmas themed book you read faithfully every year? Or are you a bit of a Grinch like me and try to find the least Christmassy book you can?

Let’s chat.

Advertisements

ARC Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love, #6)Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always look forward to Christmas, not because of the holiday itself but because it means we’re in for another Sarah Morgan Christmas romance. She truly is the queen of romance and this book didn’t disappoint. Yet again I picked it up early one Saturday morning and couldn’t put it down. I lost most of the day (something which happens every time I read one of Morgan’s books) but it was totally worth it.

There is a super nice and kind main character Harriet, a sexy blue eyed ER Doctor who doesn’t think he has a heart, a small trouble making dog and the wonderful New York at Christmas setting to make it all extremely romantic.

The story itself is pretty predictable but it’s such an enjoyable journey that you really don’t mind. Morgan is brilliant at creating characters you care about but also at creating this wonderful chemistry between them. Yes there are many of the usual romance tropes but even if I’ve read them a hundred times I still love them and it’s nice knowing you’re going to get the happily ever after.

I also found there was something quite inspirational about this story. Harriet has decided to challenge herself to do something she doesn’t want to every day to try and push herself out of her comfort zone. It’s wonderful watching how she develops over the course of the story as she faces her fears and does things she never thought she could. The confidence and freedom she finds kind of made me want to rush out and start my own Challenge Ali.

As well as Harriet and dishy doc Ethan there are a number of new characters and also some familiar faces. Harriet featured in the previous two books in the series so it was great to catch up with the leads from those stories, although I would have liked a bit more Fliss. There was also a little visit to the setting of one of the authors other series which meant I got to catch up with how they were all doing too. I need to make sure they’re all still loved up.

This is the sixth book in the authors From Manhattan with Love series but while there are some spoilers for previous books it could easily be read as a standalone. I know I have a bit of a tendency to read them in the wrong order and it makes very little difference.

Overall this was a great read and definitely put me in the Christmas spirit. I can’t wait for the next one.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all thoughts are my own.


The Blurb

She’ll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list—dealing with Madi’s temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi—how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple—he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all—letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?


Moonlight Over Manhattan is released in the UK on the 5th October and is available here, and on the 28th November in the US

Book Review: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily

The Twelve Days of Dash and LilyThe Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it’s safe to say that I absolutely loved Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares so I was really, really excited to get my hands on this, the sequel. Dash and Lily made such a cute couple and I loved the funny adventures they had as they raced around New York carrying out a series of tasks and meeting the most eccentric cast of characters along the way.

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily had a lot to live up to, possibly too much, but while it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of the first book it’s still a really good read. It takes place a year later and is a very different type of book. Dash and Lily have both grown up a bit and are now in a steady long term relationship. Lily in particular, has had some shocks which have shaken her up and left her without her usual joy and Christmas spirit. It’s up to Dash, with some help from Lily’s brother Langston and their friends, to help Lily find her happy again but is it too late.

Given the depression that Lily seems to have fallen into at the beginning of this story it’s unsurprising that the book is missing a lot of the fun and laughs from Book of Dares. There’s not much in the way of holiday cheer despite the best efforts of Dash and I think that’s why I didn’t love it as much as I hoped. There is the odd moment which made me laugh but a lot of it left me feeling a little bit down. It doesn’t help that Dash and Lily seem to be having problems in their relationship. They’ve lost the spark and a series of misunderstandings and lack of communication is making it look like they may not have a future.

While there is quite a bit of angst in this story there is still the odd funny moment. Dash’s best friend Boomer steals pretty much every scene he’s in and the arguments between Dash and Lily’s brother Langston were a definite highlight.

The writing, as you would expect, remains brilliant and the characters are very real. While most of the story is not that happy, it’s probably more believable than the first book. Bad things do happen, people don’t always cope well and relationships hit rocky patches.

If you’re looking for a book that will fill you with happiness and holiday cheer this may not be for you but if you’re looking for something real I’d definitely recommend.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy. As always all views are my own.


The Blurb (from GoodReads)

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.

Book Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

My rating: 5 big fat santa stars

Where has this book been all my life? Why did no one tell me how good it was? I loved this book sooo much. I think it could be my all time favorite Christmas read

It’s very, very cute and innocent and extremely funny. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so many sentences in a story before or had such a difficult time trying not to laugh when reading on the train (scene when Dash goes to visit Santa, that’s all I’m saying). If you’re looking for the perfect book to get you in the festive spirit or even just a book to make you smile I’d definitely recommend Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.Read More »

ARC Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Miracle On 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love, Book 3)Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s Christmas!!!

OK it’s not yet (please don’t hate me) but having read Sarah Morgan’s latest Christmas themed book, Miracle on 5th Avenue it’s definitely put me in the festive spirit.

It’s a light and funny, opposites attract romance that left me with a huge smile on my face and an overwhelming desire to book a flight to New York. The main characters are very likeable and the chemistry between them is electric. Ms Morgan definitely knows how to write the perfect holiday read.Read More »

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Winter RomancesMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Winter Romances by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yep, it’s safe to say that I’m very, very behind on my Christmas reading. It’s the middle of January and I’m only now getting round to finishing and posting my review of this book.

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve short stories by YA authors all themed around the holiday period. It’s quite difficult to rate this collection as it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some stories I absolutely loved, some were ok and some I just wasn’t too keen on.

I have to admit before I start that I’m generally not a fan of short stories. They’re never quite long enough (I know they aren’t supposed to be) to really draw you in and let you connect with the characters. When they do draw you in, the ending always comes too soon. I want more.

Despite my general dislike of short stories I couldn’t resist this book as it included stories from two of my favourite authors, Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Carry On) and Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss) and I have to admit I love Christmassy themed stories.

For the most part this collection didn’t disappoint. I won’t go through story by story but I will say that Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell did not let me down. Their stories, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown and Midnights were most definitely the highlights for me. They had very likeable characters and managed to suck me into the story and the emotion from the start. While I would like more (please) the length actually worked.

As well as discovering unsurprisingly that my favourite authors are fabulous I have to say that I was also impressed with some of the other stories. I particularly enjoyed Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntyre as it made me laugh quite a lot and What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman. I’ve never read anything by these authors but I’ll definitely be looking out for them.

The remainder were more of the ok level rather than anything particularly special. I felt that in certain stories things were a little bit too complicated and convoluted for a short story which put me off. Slightly worryingly there are also a couple I don’t remember (Jenny Han and Ally Carter) so I guess they weren’t great or terrible.

Regardless, it’s definitely given me a taste of a lot of new authors and my TBR list has grown exponentially.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy and apologies for taking so long to post the thing.