The problem with most holiday novels is they come out so early in the year. I'm not usually ready for Christmas reading in September and October (even though I love love love Christmas books I just can't quite bring myself to read them before Thanksgiving - which is October in Canada). Then I start reading them in November and December and life gets super busy and I just don't get around to reviewing them in time for, you know, Christmas. The great thing is that most of these books aren't super Christmassy SO you can still read them now, since we're going to be buried in snow for another month (at least in my part of the world). I don't want you to miss out on some of these fun reads so I hope you enjoy my mini roundup of Christmassy reads that were published last year.
Royal Holiday - Jasmine Guillory (Goodreads)
Have you been reading Guillory's series? I have been and it's been thoroughly enjoyable (you can read my review of The Wedding Party here). Royal Holiday follows Vivian (mom of Maddie, the heroine in The Wedding Party) as she and Maddie travel to England. Vivian hasn't allowed herself much time for life, let alone love, so it's a thrill when she relaxes on the vacation and finds a man. She also finds herself, which was the best part of the story. There's only the smallest hint of Christmas in this book (I think the actual day is skipped over entirely) so you can totally get away with reading this now and you should if you want a fun book to read featuring an amazing heroine.
Christmas by the Lighthouse - Rebecca Boxall (Goodreads)
So...this one was a bit of a dud. I was just...bored? I didn't connect with Summer or Jude so I couldn't really connect with their story. I did like that they were able to really figure themselves out and what they really wanted over the courser of the novel. I just wasn't sure I liked how they went about it? Or how they had ended up in those situations to begin with? The setting was really lovely and how they created their own family was nice too but overall? Major miss.
A Wedding in December - Sarah Morgan (Goodreads)
I love Sarah Morgan and was really excited that she had another holiday novel this (er, last?) year because I adored The Christmas Sisters (review here) in 2018. Her latest featured two sisters and their mother as they all try to get through a wedding (a very surprise wedding, btw). The tricky thing is they're each hiding so many things from the others but over the course of the novel everything gets exposed, for better or for worse. (No wedding pun intended.) The setting - mostly in snow-covered Aspen - was delightfully wintery and I loved reading about all the women in the story. Definitely recommend this romance for a January or February read.
An Alaskan Christmas - Jennifer Snow (Goodreads)
This book isn't remotely Christmassy but, my goodness, I enjoyed it so much. It's a really sweet romance with a super complicated back story for the hero and heroine. They knew each other when they were kids but Erika moved away to the big city and forgot her hometown friends. She's been ordered to take time off from her job at a hospital so, on a whim, she travels back to her hometown and stays with her her childhood BFF, Cassie. Reed is Cassie's brother and he's not happy to see Erika. But, surprise surprise, he's not happy because he's always had feelings for her. It was both fun and frustrating (but in a good way) to read as the two figured their shit out and learned that what they thought was the best life for them may not actually be doing them any good. The setting was lovely (just look at that cover!) and I'm a sucker for small town romances, especially when there's a sort of second chance element to the story. It was a quick read but I enjoyed the time I spent in Wild River, which is good because Snow (who's Canadian!) is writing a series.
My final Christmas review book was another dud. Sigh. There was just so much that made me cringe. Olivia runs a non-profit, which I absolutely adored. However. She is SO pushy when it came to Guy and requesting donations and sponsorship which his company had been providing for decades. I understand she thinks her cause is the most important ever but she couldn't grasp that perhaps they decided to donate elsewhere or the company had to cut back due to financial issues. Guy could have handled it better as well. Also? He's kind of a major dick, imo, and I couldn't understand why Olivia could fall for him. And at some point Roberts has him commenting on some woman's "rack"...seriously. That's the term she had him use. WTF? And don't even get me started on Olivia's friend Morris. That whole situation is terrible and ugh. He's in love with her but she doesn't feel that way for him but he thinks she should and pressures her to date because of all the things he's done for her and he could be so good for her. UGH. I know I'm not normally so negative in these reviews but the whole book left me feeling icky instead of festive.
This novel was really cute. Schaler is the woman behind the Netflix sensation The Christmas Prince (which I've watched and I definitely enjoy her books more). I was supposed to attend an event hosted by HarperCollins Canada when Schaler visited Toronto but we were hit with a majorly dangerous ice storm and my friend and I weren't able to make the drive to the city. HCC sent us copies of the book though so I was able to enjoy the adorably festive novel. Bookmark this one for next Christmas because it's full of holiday feels and it's best read curled up next to the Christmas tree with a mug of hot chocolate.