Tag Archives: Christmas

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Overview
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Title: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas
Author: Adam Kay
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Humour, Medical, Memoirs
Dates read: 17th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘As you know, this is standard policy’ is HR’s default line – as if being routinely malevolent is somehow better than dishing out acts of spite on an ad-hoc basis.

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Synopsis

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious, horrifying and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain.

Twas the Night Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

Thoughts

This was most definitely the type of Christmas book that I needed this year – I haven’t really felt in the Christmas spirit and I liked that this one wasn’t all about joy and light. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of humour and spark to this novel that doesn’t make it glum and humbuggy. But it’s also a much more realistic, and less painful look into the Christmas season and what it really means…

I probably should have read This is Going to Hurt before Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, but I am absolutely enamored with the tone and style of Kay’s writing. So, immediately after finishing this, I did actually pick up his first book. It’s hard to write about such a serious topic with a bit of lighthearted humour and tone. Particularly when you’re focusing in on the time of year when everyone else is busy trying to shove that good cheer down your throat…

If you’re not really in the Christmas spirit, or just want a good laugh. I can most definitely suggest this as a good, light read. Not only will it have you smiling and laughing, but it will also make you really appreciate the people who are on the front lines year-round. Those who put aside their own lives to the benefit of our own.

<- This is Going to HurtSmoky the Brave ->

Image source: Goodreads

White Knight Christmas by Lori Foster

Overview
The Night Before Christmas by Lori Foster

Title: White Knight Christmas
Author: Lori Foster
In: The Night Before Christmas (Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love, Jill Shalvis, Kylie Adams & Katherine Garbera)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 17th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: And Parker, being too tired and too horny to think straight, stared at her mouth and said, “Honey, right now, I’m about as far from soft as a man can get.”

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Synopsis

Officer Parker Ross hates Christmas; Lily Donaldson lives for it. She’s determined to introduce him to the pleasures of the season, and he’s looking forward to being deliciously converted…

Thoughts

I’m not generally a huge fan of stories which feature that gooshy love at first sight kind of thing. Even though it’s something that I’ve experienced, I still struggle to really connect to it. I tend to prefer the stories which are friends to lovers or enemies to lovers, or some such. After all, these relationships are based upon a solid foundation. Yet, Foster is able to still have that kind of feeling in this story without frustrating me. Without making me feel like it’s a bit bleugh. White Knight Christmas may not specifically be a love at first sight kind of story, but it’s certainly got that hopeful feel to it.

I loved the whole trope of Grinch falls in love with woman who is completely what Christmas is all about. Giving, love and cheer. This year I’m probably more Grinch than anything, but this definitely made my cold little heart grow a few sizes when I read it. There is just something wonderfully joyful and festive about this kind of storyline. One that had me smiling long after I turned that final page.

White Knight Christmas is a very fun, light and easy read. It is a great way to get back into the Christmas spirit and highlights how love is a wonderful thing. I found it a little far fetched that love could make a cop forget all of his cynicism, but it was such a great idea. I would most definitely read this novella again next Christmas.

<- The Night Before ChristmasSnowed Under ->

Image source: Goodreads

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping by Lori Foster

Overview
Image result for jingle bell rockbook cover

Title: He Sees You When You’re Sleeping
Author: Lori Foster
Series: Dean Brothers and Friends #1
In: Jingle Bell Rock (Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, Susan Donovan, Donna Kauffman, Alison Kent & Nancy Warren)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 17th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: He could feel her hesitancy.

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Synopsis

What Booker Dean wants for Christmas isn’t under the tree, it’s right next door. Frances Kennedy is everything Booker desires…and the gift he has planned for her involves a lot of delicious unwrapping…

Thoughts

There is something about the Dean Brothers that is kind of fun. So having Booker fall in love with the girl next door (literally) and cementing the deal over Christmas… it made me weirdly happy and content. I’ve struggled to get into the Christmas spirit this year, and for some reason, this novella was absolutely perfect to hit that feeling.

One of my favourite romance tropes is the whole friends to lovers one. After all, the individual generally knows what they are getting themselves in for when they start to become involved with a friend. I know that I certainly did. I also love that this all happened at Christmas. Plus, there is the whole way in which Booker ends his last relationship, which just had me laughing out loud.

I absolutely adored this novella. It was fun, light and full of hope. Just what I needed to finish out this somewhat crappy year…

<- Jingle Bell RockAll She Wants for Christmas ->

Image source: Goodreads

Christmas in Silver Springs by Brenda Novak

Overview
Christmas in Silver Springs, Silver Springs, 6 by Brenda Novak |  9780778308126 | Booktopia

Title: Christmas in Silver Springs
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: Silver Springs #6
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 15th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: Why wash silverware?

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Synopsis

Come home to Silver Springs for the holidays, where broken hearts learn to love again…together.

So much for forever. When Harper Devlin’s rocks tar husband ditches her on his way to the top, she takes her two daughters to her sister’s place in Silver Springs for the holidays, hoping family can heal her broken heart. But comfort comes in unexpected places when she crosses paths with local Tobias Richardson.

The moment Tobias spots Harper, he recognizes a sadness he knows all too well. After spending thirteen years in prison paying for his regretful past, Tobias is ready to make amends, and maybe helping Harper is the way to do it. But offering her a shoulder to cry on ignites a powerful attraction and a desire neither saw coming.

Fearing her reaction, Tobias doesn’t reveal his checkered past. He’s falling hard, and if Harper finds out, he’ll lose her for good, especially because her famous ex is now trying to win her back. Secrets have a way of coming out, but maybe this Christmas will bring Tobias the forgiveness – and the love he deserves.

Thoughts

Over December, I have been in a bit of a reading slump. And completely uninterested in Christmas if I’m being honest. So it felt right to just pick up a Christmas romance and try to sink into the festive season and out of my reading slump. I didn’t quite get all that festive after reading this, but I most certainly left my reading slump behind. It was just a brilliant, light, easy and fun read.

Harper has such a sad backstory. I can’t imagine putting your everything into a person, into their life, just to be told one day to pack your bags. And the fact that you then try to keep things together for your two children… from the very first moment, my heart definitely reached out to her. Everything about Harper, in fact had you feeling love, sympathy and a certain level of pride and acknowledgement.

Partner Harper with Tobias, and this was a perfect recipe for a great romance. After all, he’s not quite the typical male lead, so you get a few unexpected twists and turns with him. And, like Harper, he has a bit of a tragic backstory going on. One that makes you hope against hope that they find their happily ever after. And every time it feels like its going to be taken away… well, yeah. My heart most definitely skipped a beat and thrust up into my throat.

Christmas in Silver Springs is a great, wonderful and seriously fun little romance. Not only does it take place around Christmas, but it is just… fun. The exact story I needed to get me feeling a little less like a grinch, and to pull me out of the reading slump I found myself in.

<- Unforgettable YouA California Christmas ->

Image source: Booktopia

That Holiday Feeling by Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr

Overview
Image result for that holiday feeling book cover

Title: That Holiday Feeling
Author: Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr
In: That Holiday Feeling (Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romanceShort story collections
Dates read: 1st – 13th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: “What are you doing tomorrow?” Philip asked unexpectedly.

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Synopsis

Celebrate Christmas with three store is from your favorite authors

Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber
In this classic story, Debbie brings those Manning men and Manning sisters home for a mistletoe marriage when a single dad finally says “I do.” this story was also published in the anthology Christmas Kisses

The Perfect Holiday by Sherryl Woods
Will bachelor Trace Franklin become a groom-to-be by Christmastime? He sure will … if Savannah Holiday’s aunt Mae as anything to do with it.

Under the Christmas Tree by Robyn Carr
When the folks of Virgin River discover a box of adorable puppies under the town’s Christmas tree they call on local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. But it’s his budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues — and tails — wagging!

Thoughts

This is a great collection. I probably should have read it closer to Christmas. But, in the midst of all of the insanity, it was nice to read something so uplifting. A collection that is all about family, love and spending a holiday together. Actually, I very rarely even concentrated on the Christmas aspect of these three novellas – I just liked the family and love themes that ran throughout and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

I bought this collection because the last novella is part of the Virgin River series. So I knew that I was going to love the final story in this collection. I figured I’d probably just enjoy the first two. I was wrong. I loved all three novellas ridiculously. They made me very happy and content. And left me with that after-glow you get when you read a seriously phenomenal story. They also just left me generally happy since they were romances that featured family. Both the creation of a new one and the honouring of an old one.

If I were to imagine my ideal holiday season or Christmas… this would be it. It would be about love and family. Being grateful for the people in your life and just filling the world with love. It’s not something that I necessarily feel every year and all the time, but this is a great little reminder of the power of love and how things can be comfortably sweet and happy even in the darkest moments.

<- Under the Christmas TreeSilver Bells ->

Image source: Goodreads

Under the Christmas Tree by Robyn Carr

Overview
Image result for that holiday feeling book cover

Title: Under the Christmas Tree
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #7.5
In: That Holiday Feeling (Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 13th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Then come with me.”

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Synopsis

When the folks of Virgin River discover a box of adorable puppies under the town’s Christmas tree they call on local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. But it’s his budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues — and tails — wagging!

Thoughts

I needed to read something cute and sweet when I picked up this novella. I had been reading an amazing book (A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing). But it was also kind of dark and made you feel very, very uncomfortable to read. Thus, I needed something positive and light and cute and sweet to read. So, of course I decided that I needed to revisit Virgin River and the water down there that makes everyone fall in love… it was a great way to break that feeling of discomfort.

I think one of the things that makes this novella particularly cute is that it starts with puppies. And not just any puppies, but Border Collie puppies which I have a particular soft spot for. And it is set at Christmas time. So the combination is not only fun and cute, but exactly the kind of thing that I absolutely adore. Alright, the puppies are sickly and need to be taken care of. But still… puppies.

Not only are Annie and Nate a great couple, but there are so many characters from the larger Virgin River series who make an appearance. In particular Jack, Preacher, David and Chris. Their characters and personalities are what made me fall in love with this series, so although this is a Christmas story that stands alone wonderfully on its own, it is also filled with characters and places that I have steadily fallen in love with.

<- Paradise ValleyForbidden Falls ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Perfect Holiday by Sherryl Woods

Overview
Image result for that holiday feeling book cover

Title: The Perfect Holiday
Author: Sherryl Woods
In: That Holiday Feeling (Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 3rd June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: Trace grinned at her

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Synopsis

Will bachelor Trace Franklin become a groom-to-be by Christmastime? He sure will … if Savannah Holiday’s aunt Mae as anything to do with it.

Thoughts

This is a beautiful, gorgeous and sweet novella. It is fun and light. And one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It’s all about finding family and love in the middle of the Christmas time. It’s an incredibly light and generous story. One that transported me to a beautiful, snow-covered fantasy world and all of the things that you imagine a White Christmas to be.

I’m not all that knowledgeable on children or being a single mother. But, honestly, Hannah is one of my favourite child-characters in the recent stories I’ve been reading. She’s such a little fire cracker and is constantly adding in a needed dose of humour and entertainment to this storyline that would otherwise be a little more serious, and very romantic and lovey. It was nice to have this humorous little girl running around lightening everything.

Unlike a lot of the romances I read, there are no dark spots throughout this novella. It is all light and cheery. There are no arguments, and really no moments of doubt. Just one or two of confusion (because otherwise it would be TOO perfect). I had actually expected quite a few hangups from past relationships in both Trace and Savannah. And they do have this a little, at least, it’s mentioned, but it’s not informing their current relationship. If only we could all be this healthy.

Lastly, I love that this whole story is orchestrated by a dead great-aunt. Her personality and drives sing through the pages of the story, even if you never once meet the character. It’s kind of beautiful. And really, really fun.

<- Silver BellsUnder the Christmas Tree ->

Image source: Goodreads

Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber

Overview
Image result for that holiday feeling book cover

Title: Silver Bells
Author: Debbie Macomber
Series: Those Manning Men #5
In: That Holiday Feeling (Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary romanceRomance
Dates read: 2nd June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Mira
Year: 1996
5th sentence, 74th page: “What are you doing tomorrow?” Philip asked unexpectedly.

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Synopsis

In this classic story, Debbie brings those Manning men and Manning sisters home for a mistletoe marriage when a single dad finally says “I do.”

Thoughts

So I desperately want to read this series now. There is just something about this gorgeous short story that makes me smile and feel the need to sink into yet another new contemporary adult series. especially if the lead in this novella is younger and cheekier than she is as an adult.

MacKenzie is a great adolescent character. She’s full of gumption and cheekiness (which I think would also be in other stories). She is funny and quirky. And she’s damn well driven by her belief that what she is doing is right. I remember being a teenager and being convinced that I was smarter than everyone else. That I knew everything. So any character that reflects that smart-arsery as a teenager in such a pure way… they’re good with me.

The cast of this apartment and this story is brilliant. They are crazy and zany. Incredibly different, but all completely loving. And accepting. Which created a great, sweet and cute novella. One that left me with a huge smile plastered across my face.

<- That Holiday FeelingThe Perfect Holiday ->

Image source: Goodreads

Hot for the Holidays by Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Anya Bast and Allyson James

Overview
Image result for hot for the holidays book cover

Title: Hot for the Holidays
Author: Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Anya Bast & Allyson James
In: Hot for the Holidays (Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Anya Bast and Allyson James)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal romance, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 5th – 12th January 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: He ignored it, swung his sword.

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Synopsis

Featuring four all-new novellas of sensual surprises and seasonal spirits, this collection includes a new tale of the Breeds from Lora Leigh and a return to the world of the Mageverse from Angela Knight.

Vampire’s Ball by Angela Knight
Kat Danilo’s childhood turned tragic when her sister become the victim of a serial killer. Years later, she gets a chance at justice when she discovers she’d the daughter of Lancelot, vampire knight of the Round Table. But first, she’s got to convince a handsome vampire warrior that she’s worthy to gain the magical powers that are her birthright—powers that might help her find her sister’s killer.

If the murderer doesn’t find her first….

Sweet Enchantment by Anya Bast
This novella provides a first taste of the world in which Anya’s new Dark Magick series is set.

A Little Night Magic by Allyson James
The town of Magellan is famous for its woo-woo activity. Naomi is known as an Unbeliever (one who doesn’t believe in Magellan’s mystical energy). But Naomi must put disbelief aside when her Navajo lover reveals that he is a Changer, a shapeshifter, and has returned to Magellan to protect her from grave anger on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Kiss by Lora Leigh
Jess has been in isolation for the past year… ever since she betrayed the people she loves the most. Yet, it’s Hawke’s unwillingness to visit her that really hurts her the most. As secrets are revealed and truths discovered, will Jess and Hawke finally find a way to be together?

Thoughts

This is a fantastic novella collection. Especially since it’s got a Christmas theme, but really wasn’t Christmassy at all. Actually, other than the fact that each of these novellas was set around the festive season, there was nothing truly Christmassy about any of these. Which made me much, much happier. I’m just not that into the festive season this year…

I bought this collection because I had one of the series in it (Stormwalker). And then, not long after, started the second one (Breeds). In reading this, I also got to discover two new, great series that are most definitely going on my wish list. It made a great, fun collection. One that took me to new worlds and made me want to just sink my teeth into each and every one of these four series…

Although this is in the paranormal romance section of my bookshelves, it’s really not all the romancey. There are a few stories in this that are intensely lustful, and in every single one there is a couple and sex. But, ultimately it was more about finding a way to be happy with one another, not about the actual overboard romance.

 <- A Christmas Kiss ReviewVampire’s Ball Review ->

Image source: Amazon

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Author: Charlaine Harris, Donna Andrews, Simon R. Green, Dana Cameron, Kat Richardson, Alan Gordon, Carrie Vaughn, Dana Stabenow, Keri Arthur, J.A. Konrath, Patricia Briggs, Nancy Pickard, Karen Chance, Rob Thurman & Toni L. P. Kelner
In: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Werewolves
Dates read: 16th November – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m big and I’m hairy!

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Synopsis

The holiday season can bring out the beast in anyone – literally! This collection features 15 werewolf tales by an all-star line up.

Thoughts

This is the second collection I’ve read by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. And it’s just as good, if not better than the first. Actually, it was probably better. Because I really wasn’t in the mood for the Holiday Season this year. Normally I read all sorts of nice holiday stories. I didn’t want those. But an anthology about werewolves and Christmas? That was perfect for my mood. Especially when some of the stories involve eating Rudolph and Santa.

Christmas seems to be all about the night and the season. Or something about the imagery of it is. And werewolves are almost always pictured with a full moon. The combination of the two actually makes perfect sense. Which was something I’d never thought of before, but now wonder why not. After all, it works so beautifully.

Not only were the themes in this story perfectly paired, but it was also a fantastic mix of series shorts and standalones. I love finding short stories based in established worlds. But it’s also great to sometimes find a standalone that you can really sink your teeth into. If anything, I think I actually preferred a lot of the standalones in this collection, they were the stories which were a little grittier.

Although there was a bit more darkness to this story than a traditional paranormal fantasy tale, it was still quite a light-hearted mix. Even the stories that involved disembowelling well-known Christmas characters were funny and light. Left me with a nice, big smile on my lips at the end of the collection.

 <- Keeping Watch Over His Flock ReviewGift Wrap Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia