How many things could possibly go wrong during just one holiday season? Well, always one more, apparently – or at least, that’s what happens in all of these books, which feature a Christmas of unfortunate events!
I was offered these ARCs by Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are strictly my own.
One Family Christmas: 4/5
A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…
This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.
But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!
So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate (and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey). And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.
Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?
I’ve always thought that my family was a bit much, but reading One Family Christmas, made them seem positively tame. From the proposals going wrong, and wrong again, and wrong again, to old secrets coming out, to a pregnancy test that just will not let itself be taken… And above all: a series of Christmas traditions that would do even the Santa-family proud.
Through all that, this book is definitely carried by its characters – they’re complex, they’re flawed… And I honestly fell in love with them as soon as I started reading. Even the ones that aren’t so likeable 🙂
And sure, maybe I would’ve liked to have had that final reveal be a bit more dramatic – I love a good pining story, after all. All together though? This was one of the most enjoyable holiday reads I’ve had this year! (Goodreads)
Winter Wishes at Swallowtail Bay: 2,5/5
Christmas and romance are in the air and Nell is obsessed! She can’t stop watching her favourite Christmas romcoms and dreaming of the day when she meets her own romantic hero, especially as she is hosting the first ever wedding at her small hotel, Holly Lodge.
Nell’s best friend, Tom, has been in love with her ever since they met. But Nell has never seen him that way, and he’s always kept his feelings a secret in case it ruins their friendship.
After the opening of the glamorous Langdon Mansion Hotel in the bay, Nell’s hotel is struggling for survival and she must fight, with Tom’s help, to keep Holly Lodge open. Can the magic of Christmas help two old friends save Holly Lodge and open Nell’s eyes to a love that was always there the whole time?
Sometimes liking romantic stories to much can be a dangerous thing – it can keep you from actually living your life, as you’re waiting for the movie to begin. And, listen, I’ve definitely been guilty of this as well – but I certainly hope I’ve never had it quite as bad as Nell does. I can certainly understand why Tom might’ve been a bit hesitant to tell her he loves her – after all, those are some expectations to live up to!
This Christmas, though everything’s about to change – and that’s not necessarily in the way these characters might have wanted. Although, you know, it did give us some great Christmas decorations and holiday spirit to dream away at!
From health problems to weddings being put into danger to a hotel manager that honestly just made me think of the grinch (or that guy from Home Alone 2, you know the one, with the smile:
These characters just could not get a break. Maybe it’s because of that, that the romance didn’t grip me quite as much as I’d hoped it would. Or maybe it just was the bit where this wasn’t so much a story of two people falling in love, as it was of them (finally) getting together. Leading with a Christmas wedding, though? That was always going to be a hit, wasn’t it? 🙂 (Goodreads)
The Holiday Detour: 2.5/5
Sometimes it takes everything going wrong to make you see how right things are.
Dana Gottfried is a stressed-out Jewish lesbian who’s just quit her job and wants to get home to see her grandmother. When her car breaks down in Indiana on Christmas Eve, Dana is stranded—until she’s rescued by Charlie, a pig farmer who doesn’t identify as male or female. Although they come from different worlds, Dana is intrigued by Charlie’s sense of humor and kindness. Despite her better judgment, Dana says yes when Charlie offers a ride.
But the journey home is paved with detours. From car accidents to scheming ex-girlfriends to a snowy and deserted Chicago Loop, everything that could go wrong on their road trip does, but it leads Dana on a path of self-discovery that just might end in love.
The Holiday Detour largely takes place in two days – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, admittedly two of the most festive days of the year. With that, however, also comes a lot of pressure, a lot of (forced) family interaction, and a lot of traffic. All three of those work to keep Dana from getting to her gran on Christmas Eve – and put her right in the path of Charlie.
Two days – that also means that, no matter how you turn it, you’re dealing with something resembling insta-love here. And I’ve got to be honest: insta-love? Not really my cup of tea. However, that didn’t stop me from rooting for Dana and Charlie. Even as Dana was annoying, stressed, and putting blame where it shouldn’t. Even as either (or both) of these characters jumped to conclusions. And even as I started to wonder – what else could possibly go wrong? Surely, this had to be it? (Spoiler: it never was) (Second spoiler: but all’s well that ends well).
Would I have liked to have seen these characters develop their romance at a more leisurely pace? Yes. Did the story at times (regularly) seem a bit over the top, a bit too much? Also yes. But did any of that stop me from reading The Holiday Detour in one sitting and enjoying it? Of course not! (Goodreads)
Have you read any of these books yet? Or have you even just had a Christmas of unfortunate events, the likes of which these stories features? Be sure to let me know below!