It was the season to be jolly, and while it’s been jam packed full of elf antics and festive fun, I’ve managed to squeeze in a few books too. Eight of them in fact! There is little doubt that when things get crap…..I start reading!
This is what I’ve been reading in December.
The Flip Side by James Bailey
I really enjoyed this book. It was a lot of fun with some real laugh out loud moments. When Josh is dumped mid-proposal on New Year’s Eve – trapped in the London Eye of all places – he decides that he cannot be trusted to make his own decisions anymore. Inside he decides to flip a coin each time a decision needs to me made. What follows is a year filled with tears, drama, a TV appearance and maybe the chance of real love.
This is a lovely read that gives you warm fuzzy feelings about Josh and the people he has in his life. So what if he’s single and back in his childhood bedroom, his luck could changing at the flip of a coin.
Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery | eARC
Full synopsis here.
The Christmas books I read last month got me in the festive spirit, so I chose another one to open up my December reading with. Happily This Christmas follows Garrick who’s estranged daughter – who is heavily pregnant – suddenly comes to stay with him. He enlists the help of his neighbour Wynn. With the attraction between Garrick and Wynn heating up it’s a big contrast to the cold shoulder and open hostility from his daughter Joylyn when she arrives.
This was a lovely festive read with a nice mix of romance, relationships, and drama. All four of the main characters were lovely and it was just a really lovely feel-good read. There is one rather sexy scene in it and while I’m not adverse to a bit of raunch, it was a little full on and explicit compared to pretty much the rest of the book. It wasn’t awful to read but the style just seemed such a contrast to the rest of the novel, it ended up being a rather odd random chapter before the book then returned to it’s normal “fluffy and nice” style.
Overall, this is a sweet read that will give you all the festive feels for the holidays.
The Last Resort by Susi Holliday | eARC
Full synopsis here.
This is a great book that had me gripped from start to finish. It gives you brilliantly flawed characters that both horrified me but who still had a real likability about them.
Told from three different perspectives in real time and woven with short snippets of one fateful day in the past, it follows 7 people as they are all mysteriously invited to a luxury adventure weekend. However, things go dramatically wrong the moment they take off and it’s clear that all is not what it seems. Each person on the island as a secret they want to keep hidden, but one by one each secret is revealed in dramatic fashion. Part adventure, part drama, part mystery and part high tech sci-fi, The Last Resort has a lot going on!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect as when you look closely at the story and think about it, not much really makes sense. There are definitely holes and some motivations are a little questionable. However, it is really well written with enough character development and action to keep you turning page after page and you just have to know what happens. I enjoyed it that much I think it’s one of my favourite books of the year, or at least top 5!
His Country Cinderella by Karen Rose Smith | eARC
Full synopsis here.
There’s cheese and then there is CHEESE. As in a full cheesy Christmas platter and that’s exactly what you get when you read This Country Cinderella.
Zane is a famous country singer, but when the unthinkable happens at one of his concerts, he is hounded by the paparazzi. It’s while hiding out in Thunder Canyon that he meets local girl Jeanette Williams and her son and before long Zane wonders if there is another life he could choose instead of fame and fortune.
It’s cheesy and predictable but to be fair it does touch on some really deep topics very well considering is a short and sweet romance. The characters are fun – even if Jeanette’s son is the most advanced 4 year old I’ve ever read about in a book!
That being said, I love a little cheese at Christmas and I’m a sucker for a Cinderella story, so I had a lovely time as I read His Country Cinderella. It’s apparently been made into a TV Christmas which I’m tempted to hunt down!
The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain
Full synopsis here.
This is another one which was lent to me by a friend with who I share a mutual love of festive feel good romances.
After being made redundant, Hattie is heading off to hotter climates with her (hopefully soon to be) fiancé as she relocates to Abu Dhabi. So, what if she didn’t like it when she visited last and she has a few residual concerns about her relationship. Before she leaves in the new year though, she spends one final Christmas with her best friend Dolly. Before she knows it not only has she rediscovered her long lost Christmas cheer, but the kinds and wonderful Beamish is also waking sometime else in her too.
I loved this book. It was the right balance of brilliant characters, festive fun, romance and drama. I especially loved that Dolly is an elderly lady and their relationship is unconventional. Well written, this is my first Heidi Swain novel, but it most certainly won’t be my last.
Blood Sisters by Jane Corry
Read the full synopsis here.
This time Blood Sisters follows Alison and Kitty, sisters whose lives are bound together not only by blood, but by an accident that happened when they were children, and which left Kitty mentally handicapped.
As with the other books I have read by Corry, Blood Sisters started slow for me, told from both Alison’s perspective as she obviously still struggles to come to terms with what happened and also Kitty’s. I loved Kitty’s narrative in this book as both wheelchair bound and unable to communicate, her internal narrative greatly differs to what the outside world sees.
As with the other books I’ve read by this author though, the pace soon picked up and before I know it I was hooked, reading through this one in only 2 days.
How To Be Right: … in a world gone wrong by James O’Brien
This was lent to me by my mother-in-law (waves as she reads this!) and it was brilliant. Written as a how to guide when it comes to trying to have a conversation with people that hold unchallenged views, it’s really interesting to see how quickly their arguments disintegrate once those views are finally articulately challenged.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely moments of preaching and pretentiousness in this book, but regardless of that it is a welcome balm to some of these exact comments I see on social media today. It brings me hope that there are people with tolerance and understanding in the world!
The Greeks Secret Heir by Rebecca Winters – eARC
This was very cheesy but a lot of fun too. Yes, it was all a little too neat and everyone a little too forgiving and understanding for it to be anything like real life, but it was a quick and easy romance read which kept me entertained for an evening.
And that’s it. That stack of 8 closed out my year of reading. Here’s how the numbers added up in the end:
- Books read this month: 8
- Total books read in 2020: 75
- Books abandoned in 2020: 1
I always try my best to hit 52 books in a year – sometimes I hit it and sometimes I end up miles away. This year thanks to a global pandemic, I managed to smash that target.
DISCLOSURE: some of these books have been gifted to me by the publishers via NetGalley in return for my honest opinion. These books are clearly marked as an eARC (electronic Advanced Readers Copy). I am not paid to do this, I do it because I love to read. The decision to include them on this blog is my own and I am under no obligation to do so.