Hello Readers! After working so hard all year to keep up with my ARCs and cross off all the books on my reading challenges, I like to reserve December as my month to mood-read and enjoy all those holiday books I’ve been saving up throughout the past year. Typically, I end up not getting to read as much as I want with the busy holiday season. Maybe one of the positives out of this pandemic will be more time to read my Christmas reads. 😉
In November, I reached my Goodreads goal for the year (100 books), finished my reading challenge (check out My Popsugar Reading Challenge Wrap-Up), and Nanowrimo, so I’m ready to let my brain rest. I do still have one ARC to get to, but it’s one I’ve been excited for!
Here’s what I’m “planning” to read this month!
(Link to Goodreads synopsis through book title.)
Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar
I’ve only read a few chapters of my current read, but I’m enjoying it! While I did finish my regular Popsugar Reading Challenge, this will fulfill the last prompt on my Popsugar Fall Reading Challenge: a book with a title that includes the letters F-A-L-L. (Technically Fall lasts until the first day of Winter, December 21st, right??)
Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her honeymoon, she’s freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that’s what happens when your fiancé dumps you a week before your wedding…
Sylvie’s best friend, Nari, plans a trip to see the Northern Lights and get Sylvie’s mojo back. But as their Lapland getaway approaches, Sylvie realises that Frozen Falls is the hometown of Stellan Virtanen, her dreamy Finnish ex-boyfriend, the one that got away.
When they meet, Stellan’s still gorgeous – and her heart is warmed when he shows her the romantic delights of Lapland (as well as some adorable Husky puppies). But when she returns to England, can she really leave Stellan behind? Or will she find that her heart belongs in the frozen North?
Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen
My next read is my last ARC of the year! I received this one from Algonquin Books, and I’ve been excited to get to this book set in Ireland.
“Darkly hilarious . . . Wildly entertaining.” —The Guardian
Meet Majella O’Neill, a heroine like no other, in this captivating Irish debut that has been called Milkman meets Derry Girls
Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed.
But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.
Told in a highly original voice, with a captivating heroine readers will love and root for, Big Girl, Small Town will appeal to fans of Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh, and accessible literary fiction with an edge.
Forever Wild by K.A. Tucker
One of my favorite reads this year was The Simple Wild Series, and the author has released a holiday novella continuing Calla and Jonah’s story. I pre-ordered this one on Kobo, and I’m excited to get to it!
From the international bestselling author of The Simple Wild comes Forever Wild, a novella that continues the story of Calla’s journey to the Alaskan wild and a life she never imagined for herself.
The holiday season is upon Calla and Jonah, and with the mistletoe and gingerbread comes plenty of family drama. Jonah is bracing himself for two weeks with a stepfather he loathes, and while Calla is looking forward to her mother and Simon’s arrival, she dreads the continued pressure to set a date for their wedding … in Toronto. Add in one bullheaded neighbor’s unintentional meddling and another cantankerous neighbor’s own family strife, and Christmas in Trapper’s Crossing will be anything but simple.
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I’ve been excited about Christina Lauren’s holiday-themed book since I first saw the bright green cover! I’m a little nervous about the mixed reviews I’m seeing, but I was a fan of The Honey-Don’t List despite its mixed reviews, so I’m hopeful. <3
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans
I picked up this holiday story after Christmas last year, and I’ve been eager to read it. I love holiday stories set at Christmas tree farms!
All she wants for Christmas…
Leah Griffiths has woken up after a few too many glasses of Prosecco with a hangover – and discovers she’s accidentally bought a little Christmas tree farm in Scotland!
At first she’s horrified, but perhaps it’s the perfect way to forget all about her cheating ex.
And when she meets grumpy (but ridiculously gorgeous) pumpkin farmer Noel underneath the mistletoe, Leah begins to believe that at Christmas time, anything can happen…
One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot
I was lucky enough to visit New York in December a few years ago, and it was even more atmospheric than I’d imagined! So now I’m even more excited to read books set in New York at Christmastime.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to fall in love.
The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind…to start over.
With her nine year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue – they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps.
But there’s more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own – to find her real dad.
While Hayley tries to fufil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with Billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.
Determined to make her daughter’s dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?
Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count.
It Happened at Christmas by Christen Krumm
When I heard this was a retelling of the film, While You Were Sleeping, I knew I had to read it. As a teen, I worked in a video rental store, and I would play that film on a loop during Christmas. It’s definitely a favorite!
In this enchanting YA spin on While You Were Sleeping, Christen Krumm delivers laughter and Christmas sparkle through a swoon-worthy story of first love and belonging.
Life at Iverson Preparatory Boarding School isn’t easy when you’re basically the maid. Murphy Cain spends her days cleaning up after her upper class peers in exchange for tuition while dodging their cutting remarks. All of that changes when she rescues her crush, the popular and hunky Tripp Harrington, after a near-fatal accident and is mistaken as his girlfriend.
Murphy finds herself struggling with the choice to reveal the truth or play along. As Tripp’s girl, his wealthy family will offer Murphy something she’s been craving her whole life—a chance to be one of the “in” crowd. A chance to belong. Without it, she’ll be right back where she started.
It only gets worse as Tripp’s brother Hank enters the picture. He’s handsome, down to earth, and seems to understand Murphy better than anyone else. The only problem? She’s supposed to be dating his brother.
As Christmas break draws to a close, Murphy must decide if telling the truth is worth losing it all or if the risk will bring a greater reward in the end.
Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards
Maybe not at the top of my list is this YA thriller set at Christmas. I received a copy of Five Total Strangers from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, and it’s getting some solid reviews. Hopefully I can get to it this month or next!
A hitched ride home in a snow storm turns sinister when one of the passengers is plotting for the ride to end in disaster.
When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight.
As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the four other passengers she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know one another.
Soon, they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.
Do you enjoy holiday reads? Have you read any of these books yet? Let me know in the comments!