Part 5 & final for November!!!
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Lizzie Shane – 3.5*
If you’re looking for a fun Christmas romance that’s wildly impractical and has lots of dogs, this one would probably fit the bill. It’s pretty typical Hallmarky fare – Ally returns to the small town where she grew up to stay with her grandparents, only to find that the funding for the dog shelter that they run has been pulled and they only have a few weeks to find homes for the dogs that are currently there. The person who signed off on the funding removal is the mayor, grumpy single-dad Ben, who, in a moment of feeling really guilty about the situation, agrees to help Ally home the dogs.
There wasn’t anything groundbreaking here, but it was overall fun and relaxing with some funny dog moments. However, I felt like the ending was rather drawn out and that Ben’s transformation wasn’t done particularly well – I honestly wasn’t sure he had really learned his “lesson.” But still, good times.
An O’Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods – 3.5*
Conveniently, the next book in the Chesapeake Shores series was a Christmas book! The entire clan is off to Ireland for the holidays (wouldn’t it be nice to be rich??). My main problem with this book is that while I was fine with the woman-is-older-than-the-man in this pairing, everyone kept going on about the “huge” age difference. How huge is huge?? Five years? Ten? 25? I honestly couldn’t decide if I was comfortable shipping them because while I knew that the guy was in his mid-20s, the constant “she’s SO much older than him” started to make me uncomfortable, not because of her being a woman and being older, but because if “so much older” meant she was 45 or something, that would just be kind of weird no matter what lol It felt awkward that everyone kept going on and on about it. For the rest, typical of the series with a little side story of the grandma/matriarch of the clan reuniting with the guy she loved in her youth, which was pretty sweet.
Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark – 4*
Last year I was participating in a challenge hosted by someone on Litsy who was turning 40 in 2022 and decided to try to read at least one book from every year she had been alive, 1982-2022. Since I also turned 40 last year (!), I really enjoyed participating. For the most part, I was able to hit every year organically, but by mid-November I still had a few years left to find, so I sorted through my TBR to see if I could prioritize the years I needed. All that to say, that was how Let Me Call You Sweetheart got bumped up the list, but I’m glad it did because it was a properly creepy little thriller.
Kerry is a public prosecutor and a single mom. When her daughter’s face is cut in a minor car wreck, Kerry takes her to a well-known plastic surgeon for treatment. However, during the visits, she notices that two other patients that she sees there have a strange resemblance to a murder victim from a decade ago. It appears that the doctor is “recreating” this woman’s face – but why? And is he really? This one had loads of red herrings and I really had no idea how things were going to come together. One of my favorite MHC books I’ve read to date.
Dashing into Disaster by Rachel John – 4*
I really enjoyed this modern riff of Sense and Sensibility, and also the twist on the fake-dating trope, where instead of falling for each other, one of the participants falls for someone else! Like the rest of these Austen-inspired books by John, this one was just a little too short – I wanted more of the characters and their back stories and conversations. This one just skimmed along the surface with a fun concept and likable characters, but not quite enough pages to really get into the story.
All I Want for Christmas by Wendy Loggia – 3.5*
This was a pretty cute YA Christmas read. 17-year-old Bailey absolutely loves Christmas, and this year her Christmas wish is to have someone special to kiss under the mistletoe. When she keeps running into an adorable guy with a British accent, she KNOWS he has to be the one – right? And it’s definitely NOT going to be her classmate Jacob, who’s always been a little annoying – right?? There was a lot here that was a lot of fun, and it was so refreshing to read YA where the main character actually gets along just fine with her parents and family. However, it definitely felt like the love triangle part dragged on for too long, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at Bailey who would get annoyed with Jacob for doing things like wrestling with his buddies or burping (ONE time, and he immediately said “excuse me”!). Like, girl, he’s a 17-year-old guy, so maybe you need to get over yourself just a smidge. But still, fun and fluffy, even if it wasn’t a new classic for me.
Running Total: Books that I’ve read but haven’t reviewed yet!! :::97!!!