- Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – This Swedish author and his novels came highly recommended. His name and this title were popping up again and again in my reading circles. I really enjoyed this book and I plan to read more of his work. I will say that the novel started slow for me and unfolded like a mystery or a puzzle. I wanted all the pieces to come together faster and that is how this book hooked me. The cast of characters is unexpected and original. I was crying by the end. It all wrapped up so beautifully and yet I didn’t want it to end.
- The Christmas Cat, An Irish Christmas, All I Have to Give, The Christmas Dog, A Simple Christmas Wish, Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson – I tried to read as many Christmas novels as I could this month. As a result, I barely watched any of the Hallmark Christmas movies. I just couldn’t manage both. Sorry, Hallmark! Melody Carlson’s Christmas novels are short, sweet, and heart-warming. The same vibes of a Hallmark movie with slightly more plot. These novels helped grow my reading total by quite a bit because I could read through them in less than a day.
- Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis – This looks like a holiday/wintertime novel from the cover. There is a snowstorm that leads to the main characters meeting, but really no holiday vibes. I enjoyed the plot of this novel. It was well-developed and interesting. However, it was a bit too PG-13 for my taste. It was a good story, but left me disappointed in parts.
- Finding Father Christmas, Engaging Father Christmas, and Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn – I own these as eBooks and decided to purchase used copies to add to my RJG collection. I’ve been a huge fan of Gunn since middle school and my bookshelf is full of her novels. I felt these works needed to join my home library. These Christmas stories are a favorite that I will return to in the future for both Christmas and mystery vibes.
- Echoes & Sunsets (The Glenbrooke Series Books 3 & 4) by Robin Jones Gunn – While waiting for books to arrive at the library, I reached for The Glenbrooke Series to keep me reading. I read the first two books last month and I’m now halfway through the series (for probably the 5th or 6th time). This series is my comfort reading of choice. With the small town of Glenbrooke being the connection point for all these stories, I love the world that Gunn creates and how she brings her characters together.
- Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson – A friend brought this book over for me to look at and I promptly requested it from the library. This book is all about the power of reading and what books can do to transform our lives (which totally speaks to my soul). It’s also filled with book recommendations. Since there were so many book lists included, I might have to pick up my own copy to use as a reference when I need a new title.
- Sweet Right Here by Jenny B. Jones – I’ve enjoyed Jones’ novels, but this one wasn’t one of my favorites, if I’m being honest. I love the Sugar Creek cast of characters that Jones has created. I’m all about revisiting fictional communities and adding layers to stories I’ve already read. This romantic comedy felt a bit superficial in the attraction of the main character. The storyline around veterans, therapy, and unresolved father issues added depth to the story and salvaged the more shallow moments for me.
- The Complete Christmas Stories by L.M. Montgomery – I got this collection of short Christmas stories for free on my Kindle app. It’s a personal goal to read all things written by LMM, so I added this to my Christmas reading list. The first short story wasn’t a happy Christmas tale, but the rest were inspiring, humorous, and uplifting.
- The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo – This YA Christmas novel takes place a tourist town where a famous movie was filmed. The tourist details set up many of the activities featured in the book and create the work environment for the cast of characters. The two main characters have secret interests which they discover about each other when they accidently grab the wrong phone. This novel was sort-of-holiday-ish and had a good message about being honest, especially with those you love.
- The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss – A women decides to put herself out there through a dating organization that sets up 12 dates before Christmas. The dates as you can imagine turn out to be a disaster and in the plot twist we all saw coming from the start, the main character finds that love was under her nose the whole time (not a spoiler, the back of the book says so). I enjoyed moments of this book, but it was too PG-13 for my liking.
- Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest by Leeana Tankersley – This book was on a recommended reading list for Enneagram Type Ones. I watched a MOPS talk by this author a few years ago so I decided to give the book a try. It was honest, deep, and healing. It felt like a sacred conversation. The philosophy of “always we begin again” was enlightening for me as I process engaging again in a world changed by the pandemic.
- The Pioneer Woman Cooks―Super Easy!: 120 Shortcut Recipes for Dinners, Desserts, and More by Ree Drummond – No joke, I read Ree’s cookbooks from cover to cover before I cook from them. She is hilarious and her cookbooks include so much about her life and family, not to mention the pictures! Her cookbooks are an experience even if you never make a single recipe. I adore the concept of super easy with store bought shortcuts and simplified recipes. I’m not a great cook, but PW inspires me (or at least entertains me)!
I like what you said about Melody Carlson’s Hallmark vibes. Mind if I quote/link you in a review of her latest release?
Yes, you may!
[…] a December 2021 review, Amy Scott described Melody Carlson’s Christmas books as having “the same vibes of a Hallmark […]