The first week of Blog-mas has boiled down to absolute madness. Counting teaching, tutoring, preparing exams (which I finally got to hand in this past Friday – FREEDOM!), preparing for classes and correcting assignments, I was easily working upwards of 16 hours per day. I took care to prepare everything for this first week of Blog-mas. Sometimes even up to the point where I honestly didn’t know what post had gone up that day. Oops? Anyways, throughout all of this business, my main way of self-care has been reading. Whenever I need to escape from reality, really! All of this just to say: it’s time for my Christmas-TBR!
Now, not everything I want to read is Christmas-y, believe it or not. A large majority is, though. (I mean, it’s still me, right?) And here’s some highlights!
1. Winter At Cedarwood Lodge (Rebecca Raisin)
After years of dreaming, Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen and turning it into the perfect destination for celebrations, weddings and extravagant birthday parties. The huge property used to be a bustling holiday camp, now Clio wants to bring it back to its halcyon days – which will be a lot of hard work!
Returning back to the small town of her youth she’s glad to have one of her best friends still around to lean on, Micah who is just as solid as he used to be. But with her own secrets pushing her to run from her glamorous life in New York, she’ll have to tread carefully, especially when the far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good contractor, Kai, shows up on her doorstep…
Sure she’s here in Evergreen to change her life, but there is no way she’s falling in love!
2. The Twelve Days of Christmas (Trisha Ashley)
Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she’s asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible — the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.
Sculptor Jude Martland is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancee and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.
Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.
Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for — it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!
3. The Twelve Dates of Christmas (Lisa Dickenson)
At thirty, Claudia’s life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life – and Christmas – alone.
Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It’s also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing’s for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .
This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it’s a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what’s been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.
4. The Magic of Christmas (Trisha Ashley)
In the pretty Lancashire village of Middlemoss, Lizzy is on the verge of leaving her cheating husband, Tom, when tragedy strikes. Luckily she has welcome distraction in the Christmas Pudding Circle, a group of friends swapping seasonal recipes – as well as a rivalry with local cookery writer Nick over who will win Best Mince Pie at the village show…
Meanwhile, the whole village is gearing up for the annual Boxing Day Mystery Play. But who will play Adam to Lizzy’s Eve? Could it be the handsome and charismatic soap actor Ritch, or could someone closer to home win her heart? Whatever happens, it promises to be a Christmas to remember!
5. Christmas at the Cupcake Café (Jenny Colgan)
Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn’t be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don’t seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe – with its increased demand for her delectable creations – begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.
This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another…
6. Christmas At The Gingerbread Café (Rebecca Raisin)
Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.
But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!
I considered making separate categories for romantic and other literature, I did. But, well… I think I have like 2 non-romance books I want to read this winter. So… “other” it is!
1. A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson)
In Bryson’s biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps.
He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
2. At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Bill Bryson)
“Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”
Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”
The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has figured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.
3. Sweet On You (Laurel Heights, Kate Perry)
Sugar and spice and everything…naughty?
Pastry-chef-to-the-stars Daniela Rossi wants one thing: the abandoned building South of Market. Turning it into a soup kitchen for the homeless is the only thing that’s excited her in months. And Daniella needs to feel again. Until she finds herself feeling too much – for the man who’s competition for the property.
Ruthless entrepreneur Nico Cruz wants one thing: the abandoned SOMA building he grew up in, where his brother was killed. Destroying it is the only thing that will set his brother’s soul at peace. And Nico always gets what he wants. But Daniela’s sweet temptation makes him question what it will take to soothe his own soul.
Fortunately, in this bidding war, all’s fair…
4. Tamed By You (Laurel Heights, Kate Perry)
First rule of matchmaking: Don’t fall in love with your client.
Second rule of matchmaking: Don’t fall in love with your client!
Valentine Jones has never been good at following rules, especially the one that matters most: following the family tradition of being a matchmaker. She’s tried, but she happens to suck at it. So when her mother swoops in to help, Valentine is determined to prove she doesn’t need a babysitter.
Enter Ethan “The Predator” Hunter, ex-fighter and all-around hunk. Career on hold because of injury, his sole focus is to get back in the ring. He has no interest in the people until Valentine sets her matchmaking sights on him. Suddenly Ethan’s world is filled with nonstop commotion and lessons on attracting women. Only Ethan doesn’t want a random woman. He wants his matchmaker rules be damned.
5. Mad About You (Laurel Heights, Kate Perry)
ulie Miller wants one thing, and she wants it now: a trophy. Not just any trophy: the First Prize Trophy for the San Francisco Flower Competition. She may not have the classical training of her nemesis, who’s won the last five titles, but this is her year and she’s taking no prisoners. Only when a sexy man walks right up to her and kisses the breath out of her, Julie wonders if there’s a spark inside for more than just rose petals. The men in Scott Wright’s family always know their true love by her kiss… and Scott’s kissed a lot of women. Most only want him for his money and status—until Julie. Only she’s so focused on winning her trophy that he’s afraid she’s going to miss the true prize: love.
6. Dream Of You (Laurel Heights, Kate Perry)
Lola Carmichael’s known it since her boyfriend broke up with her the night she expected him to propose. Only with a deadline looming for her next romance novel, she better find inspiration fast.
Enter arrogant sports radio DJ Sam Touchdown Taylor. Who’d have thought a playboy ex-jock would be just what she needs to get her creative juices flowing…and her heart beating again.
When Lola discovers Sam is using her to win back his dream job, she knows she should give up on Happily Ever After, but part of her hopes heroes do exist…and dreams do come true.
And there you have it, that’s the books on my Christmas TBR! I know, I’m totally setting mysefl up for failiure again, aren’t I? I did the exact same thing last year, basically, and, well… It was interesting. As in: I don’t think I read even a single book that entire month of December. And in January, I just read because I wanted to write reviews. Yes, really.
Anyways, what books are you reading this Christmas? Be sure to let me know below! (Obviously, I need more books to read 🙂 ) And be sure to check out the rest of my blog-mas posts!