Okay, Thanksgiving is over and it’s officially December, so we can all go into full holiday mode without shame — not that you should have any in the first place!
To celebrate, I put together this year’s Holiday Reading Guide: a list of six festive books to read between now and the New Year (or whenever you please). For years, I’ve thought it would be so fun to read books with a holiday-related plot around this time of year, but I never planned well-enough to do it.
So, a few years ago I started putting together these guides! Here is the one from 2016 and another from 2017, all with different books if you want a variety of options. I skipped last year for some reason… but we’re back on track this time! Here goes:
“Christmas Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella
Book description: Kinsella’s popular heroine, Becky Bloomwood Brandon, is back for a delightful ode to shopping, in the engaging eighth Shopaholic novel, this time with a Christmas theme.
These days, Becky is in lovely, leafy suburbia and living happily ever after with her husband, Luke, and young daughter, Minnie. When her parents take an apartment in the trendy Shoreditch neighborhood in London, Becky is stuck with planning Christmas festivities for friends and family alike.
While running her best friend’s gift shop at grand Letherby Hall, Becky encounters an old boyfriend, who’s now a musician, and his obnoxious girlfriend, who is determined to go into business with Luke. The villainess of this tale and her devious actions are a teeny bit far-fetched, but Becky is as whimsical and wonderful as ever.
With hilarious scrapes only Becky could get into—including being locked into a pet store while buying a last-minute hamster for Minnie, integrating an all-male billiards club, and using a permanent Sharpie to mark names of new aftershaves on Luke’s skin as he sleeps—Kinsella delivers a solid and laugh-out-loud funny installment that longtime readers and new fans alike will gleefully devour.
I absolutely LOVED the first few “Shopaholic” books when they came out years ago! I stopped reading when it was moving toward marriage and babies (ha, can’t relate) but I had no idea there was a Christmas book. Excited to read this one!
“The Perfect Christmas” by Debbie Macomber
For Cassie Beaumont, it’s meeting her perfect match. Cassie, at thirty-three, wants a husband and kids, and so far, nothing’s worked. Not blind dates, not the internet and certainly not leaving love to chance.
What other options are there? Well…she could hire a professional matchmaker. Simon Dodson has quite a reputation, but he’s very choosy about the clients he takes on—and very expensive. Cassie considers him a difficult, acerbic know-it-all, and she’s astonished when he accepts her as a client.
Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her three tasks to complete before she meets this paragon. Three tasks that are all about Christmas: being a charity bell-ringer, dressing up as Santa’s elf at a mall and preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (most of whom she happens to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all—and then she’s finally ready to meet her match.
But just like the perfect Christmas gift, he turns out to be a wonderful surprise!
I have a soft-spot for Debbie Macomber. Her books are the perfect balance of fantasy and maybe a little bit of mystery — perfect for a vacation or an evening in.
“Christmas Camp” by Karen Schaler
Book description: Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first, her boss, Larry, thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment, so he ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.
Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark, but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.
At first Haley struggles with all the traditional Christmas Camp activities. It’s not until she finally allows herself to slow down, live in the moment, and let Christmas back into her heart, that she begins to grow closer to Jeff. But when he finds out Haley’s come up with a plan to help his dad save the struggling inn while he’s been trying to convince his dad to sell it, their relationship takes a serious holiday hit. Now it will take the magic of the season to bring these two hearts together.
This book is premiering as a Hallmark movie (on the Movies & Mysteries channel) this season, so you know it’s got to be a goodie! The term “Christmas Camp” makes me chuckle, but I still think this sounds like a good read.
“Snowed In” by Rachel Hawthorne
Book description: From beach-read favorite Rachel Hawthorne, author of Caribbean Cruising and Love on the Lifts, comes another winter romance perfect to get snowed-in with! Great for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Barnholdt and Susane Colasanti.
Seventeen-year-old Ashleigh is about to experience a lot of things for the first time. 1) Snow. She and her mom are moving from sunny Texas to an icy island in the middle of Lake Michigan, which is completely snowbound. As in, no cars, just sleighs. 2) Small-town life. The icy island? Yep, it’s tiny. Like, 30 people in the whole high school tiny. And scariest of all: 3) Boys. Of course they had boys in Texas. But none of them were as irresistible—or as hard to figure out—as Josh Wynter. And before the snow melts, Ashleigh might also be falling in love …
I had to add a YA novel into the mix and I’m glad I stumbled across this one because it looks like Rachel Hawthorne had written quite a few books!
“Holiday Swap” by Zara Stoneley
Tucked away in the idyllic English countryside, Daisy Fischer’s cosy little cottage has always been her safe haven. But when her completely dependable boyfriend issues her an ultimatum, Daisy realises there’s a whole world out there she’s missing out on.
Florence Cortes’s life couldn’t be better – gorgeous apartment right on the beach, fabulous job and dreamy boyfriend, or so she thought. Suddenly, Flo’s life isn’t so perfect after all.
When the girls house swap for the holidays, it’s not long before Daisy is being distracted by sun, sea and sexy Javier while Flo finds herself snowbound for Christmas with only handsome neighbour Hugo and a house full of animals to keep her company.
Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas, but in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it…
This one sounded different from many other holiday books I see… and it sounds good for anyone who hates the colder months. Plus, a holiday swap sounds pretty fun!
“Winter Storms” by Elin Hilderbrand
Book description: Some of the stormy weather of the past few seasons seems to have finally lifted for the Quinns. Kevin is about to tie the knot with Isabelle, there’s hopeful news about Bart, who has been captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan, and the family are coming back together for Christmas at Winter Street Inn.
But with love triangles and health scares to contend with, there are still some dark clouds on the horizon. And as they prepare to host Kevin and Isabelle’s winter wedding at the inn, a historic blizzard bears down on Nantucket, threatening to keep the Quinns away from the people and the place they love most.
Before the snow clears, the family will have survived enough upheavals to send anyone running for the eggnog, in this touching novel that proves when the holidays roll around, you can always go home again.
Elin Hilderbrand is just the best. This is book no. three in her “Winter” collection… I read the first book last year and loved it!
… And there you have it, this year’s Holiday Reading Guide! What books are you looking forward to reading this year?
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