Okay, so I honestly thought about not reviewing the books I read in December, because, if I’m honest, these reviews are going to start to sound a little same-y. I read a LOT of Christmas fluff last month!!! But just for the sake of having a record of what I read, I think I’m going to go ahead and plunge in and hope there were enough random ones to be interesting!
Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan – 4*
I started strong with a Sarah Morgan book – I’ve really enjoyed all of her books that I’ve read so far, mainly because her married couples stay married and actually work through their problems like adults instead of storming off and having an affair with the attitude of a petulant child. This book, like her others that I have read, also has a strong focus on the importance of friendship, family, and forgiveness – basically, even though these are kind of romance, they really just are about relationships in general and how we need to work to keep them strong. With a journey to Lapland and an actual reindeer-sleigh ride, this one also checked off a lot of prompts for my million Christmas bingo cards!!
Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie – 4*
This was a perfectly pleasant collection of Christie shorts, although the “midwinter” aspect was definitely a stretch for some of them. And even though I absolutely love these special editions, I really do wish they would just focus on reprinting her full-length novels instead of randomly cobbling together shorts. Still, reading these was like eating potato chips – they were so quick and fun that I just kept reading one more.
The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane by Jaimie Admans – 4*
If you enjoy absolutely saccharine Christmas stories with extremely long titles, you should definitely check out Admans. I read Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm last year and actually really enjoyed it, so I tried Nutcracker Lane this time around. If you’re looking for in-depth character development, surprising plot twists, or a new take on the holiday season, this is NOT the book for you. But if you’re looking for some relaxing fluff and complete predictability, you’ll love this one. My only real complaint was that it was so incredibly, painfully obvious who James actually was that it felt ridiculous that the MC couldn’t realize it. Still, a perfectly enjoyable read with likable characters.
Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle – 3.5*
This one was excellent for the first 2/3 of the story, but then it went a bit off the rails. The MC purchases a run-down inn that used to belong to her grandparents up in the mountains of North Carolina. She moves there and begins renovations with the help of a hunky contractor who happens to be in town. She has nothing but happy memories of spending time there as a child and is so excited about the entire project even though it’s going to be a lot of time and money. All of this was great, but then she falls and injures her ankle and all of a sudden decides this is a “sign” that she’s supposed to give up on the entire project??? It felt completely out of left field that Liz would suddenly do a complete 180 and literally be ready to just sell the inn and move back to the coast. This would have been a super fun story if it had just focused on the inn renovations and rediscovering all her grandparents’ Christmas traditions and decorations + romance with the hunky contractor, but the extra drama felt really shoehorned in, like the author was just trying to fill some pages. I did enjoy it, but could have done without the weird section of Liz suddenly being a completely different character.
Forest of Souls by Lori Lee – 4*
This was a completely not-Christmas book, as it was my December book for the traveling book club. It really reminded me a lot of Poison Study when I was reading it, except a bit more violent and 100% devoid of any romance. There was some great world-building, but seriously who includes an EIGHT-PAGE glossary but NO MAP?!?!?! I REALLY needed a map! The characters and plot were interesting, though, and I was really engaged in this one. It’s the first of a trilogy that is set to wrap up this summer, so I may read all three of them later this year.
A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday – 3.5*
I had a hard time rating this one. The story itself was perfectly fine with likable characters, but when I pick up a book that looks like a cherry little Christmas tale, I’m not mentally prepared to be bombarded with f-bombs on every page. It felt like Holiday was trying wayyyyy to hard to make Leo the tough guy from the Bronx. I get it, he’s tough. So tough that he swears every-other word. My gosh. I do enjoy a good royalty read, so this one was fun that way, but the overall crudity meant I didn’t bother reading the sequel.