Readers' Favorite

November 17, 2022

My Reading List is Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

by Donna Huber



I like to start reading Christmas books Thanksgiving night. As a reviewer, I often have Christmas ARCs starting in September and I've missed my Christmas story binge fest so this year I've held off on a few books so that I will be able to read almost nothing but Christmas books from Thanksgiving to New Year's. In case you are looking for what to read this holiday season, I decided to share my list.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss

book cover of holiday romantic comedy Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss
September 2022; G.P. Putnam's Sons; 978-0593422229
ebook, print (432 pages); romantic comedy

I don't read a lot of romance novels, but the holidays are the one time of year that I love a good rom-com. Plus this one features a bookshop owner and I love books that have books in them.

A city bookshop owner heads to the English countryside for a holiday reunion— only to face her childhood enemy.

Elinor Noel—Nory for short—is quite content running her secondhand bookshop in London. Forever torn between her working-class upbringing and her classmates’ extravagant lifestyles at the posh private school she attended on scholarship, Nory has finally figured out how to keep both at equal distance. So when two of her oldest friends invite their whole gang to spend the time leading up to their wedding together at the castle near their old school, Nory must prepare herself for an emotionally complicated few days.

The reunion brings back fond memories, but also requires Nory to dodge an ill-advised former fling. When she falls quite literally into the arms of Isaac, the castle’s head gardener, who has nothing but contempt for the “snobby prep school kids,” the attraction between them is undeniable. And as Nory spends more time with Isaac during the wedding festivities, she finds herself falling hard for the boy she used to consider an enemy. Nory and Isaac explore their common ground, but pressures mount on all sides, and Nory must decide what kind of life she wants to live and what sort of love is worth the risk. (Goodreads)


Christmas at the Ranch by Anita Hughes

book cover of holiday romance novel Christmas at the Ranch by Anita Hughes
September 2022; Griffin;  978-1250818584
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); romance

I loved the last Christmas book by Anita Hughes so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Filled with Christmas cheer, and the magic that can only be found in Jackson Hole, Wyoming under the shadow of the Tetons, Anita Hughes's Christmas at the Ranch is a love story that is sure to enchant, and warm your heart like a cup of hot apple cider.

It’s days before Christmas and Samantha Morgan is in her Brooklyn apartment when her editor, Charlie, shows up. Her publisher Arthur Wentworth is throwing a Christmas party and wants Samantha to be the guest of honor. Samantha tries to come up with an excuse to miss it. She writes a series of books featuring a female James Bond-type heroine named Sloane Parker and Charlie is the only person who knows that Samantha is the opposite of Sloane, though the marketing team has built up an entire social media presence for her claiming that she is just as adventurous. In reality, Samantha rarely leaves her neighborhood and does her research online. She is afraid of almost everything and is only happy when she’s sitting in her apartment and writing.

Samantha reluctantly agrees to go. But instead of taking her to Arthur’s house in Connecticut, the driver goes to the airport. On the phone, Charlie admits that the party is at Arthur’s new ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For a person who hates even walking around the block when it snows, this is her worst nightmare.

But when a handsome stranger sits next to her on the plane, things begin to look up. She feels comfortable enough to spill all her secrets to him, including all of her fears and the truth about her fake Instagram account. However, when she shows up at the house, it turns out that this man, Drew, is Arthur’s son. Now Samantha is worried that Drew will tell his father about her lies.

Over the course of Christmas week, Samantha grows closer to Drew. But when his fiancée, Beatrix (who recently gave him an ultimatum about settling down), shows up, things get more complicated. As Samantha’s fears of bison and giant icicles subside, and her feelings for Drew grow deeper, new fears develop…

Will she leave this Christmas adventure broken-hearted? Or will true love prevail? (Goodreads)

Buy Christmas at the Ranch at Amazon

Dashing Through the Snowbirds by Donna Andrews

book cover of Christmas cozy mystery Dashing Through the Snowbirds by Donna Andrews
October 2022; Minotaur Books; 978-1250760227
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery

I didn't realize that this is part of a cozy mystery series, so I'm hoping it can be read on its own. I thought the cover was cute and the story sounds fun.

Christmas in Caerphilly is wonderful! Unless you’re a Canadian whose inconsiderate boss is forcing you to spend the holiday there, far from family and friends, with only a slim chance of a white Christmas. Meg already has her hands full, trying to make the season festive for the dozen programmers who are staying with her and Michael while working on a rush project with her brother’s software company. At least it’s an interesting project, since the Canadian company is doing forensic genealogy and DNA analysis.

When the inconsiderate boss is found murdered, there are too many suspects. Even before their Christmas in exile, his own employees had plenty of motives, and the growing number of people suing the company for faulty DNA analysis and invasion of their genetic privacy include at least one notorious murderer. Can Meg crack the case in time to keep the Yuletide bright? (Goodreads)


The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber

book cover of holiday romance The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber
October 2022; Ballantine Books; 978-0593500101
audio, ebook, print (240 pages); romance

I loved Debbie Macomber's Christmas books. Often, I enjoy them more than her summer books. 

Peter Armstrong and Hank Colfax are best friends, but their lives couldn't be more different. Peter, the local pastor who is dedicated to his community, spending time visiting the flock, attending meetings, and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity. As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang.

When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy compared to him, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. To their surprise, the responsibilities of a bartender and a pastor are similar, but taking on the other's work is more difficult than either Peter or Hank expected. As the two begin to see each other in a new light--and each discovers a new love to cherish--their lives are forever changed. (Goodreads)

Buy The Christmas Spirit at Amazon

A Christmas Deliverance by Anne Perry

book cover of Christmas mystery A Christmas Deliverance by Anne Perry
November 2022; Ballantine Books; 978-0593359105
audio, ebook, print (224 pages); mystery

Anne Perry's Victorian Christmas novels are growing on me. There is just something about an old-fashion English Christmas that puts me into the holiday spirit.

Scuff has come a long way from his time as a penniless orphan scraping together a living on the banks of the Thames. Now he's studying medicine at a free clinic run by Dr. Crowe, a thoughtful if stoic mentor. But lately Crowe has been distracted, having witnessed an altercation between a wealthy former patient of his named Ellie--a woman that he not only treated but developed unacknowledged feelings for--and her controlling fiance. It seems someone is forcing Ellie to marry the man. When Crowe's emotions come flooding back, he sets out to uncover the troubling connection between Ellie, her father, and her betrothed.

With Crowe engrossed in his investigation just weeks before the holidays, Scuff is left to run the clinic on his own, treating London's poor and vulnerable. In the holiday spirit, he offers Mattie, a young girl in need, a warm place to stay as the winter chill sweeps through the city. Together, Scuff and Mattie must also fend off the police, who are growing suspicious of Crowe's amateur sleuthing. Will Crowe be able to help Ellie, and will Scuff be able to ensure that he and Mattie--and all of their patients--have a safe and peaceful Christmas? (Goodreads)


The Naughty or Nice Clause by Kate Callaghan

book cover of Christmas romance novel The Naughty or Nice Clause by Kate Callaghan
November 2022; CallaghanWriter; 978-1739753740
ebook, print (258 pages); romance

This looks like another fun holiday romance with a bit of fantasy thrown in.

When Lyla’s father retired as CEO of the toy company which has been in their family for generations, she was meant to receive his shares. Instead, she discovers the company is bankrupt and her father has given her shares to Mason Klaus, an investor known in the corporate world for his cold and callous nature. Much to Lyla’s frustration, her only option is to run the company with him, despite their evident loathing for one another.

When Mason cancels the annual Christmas party, Lyla throws it anyway – only for the event of the season to result in a terrible fire. With the offices and Lyla’s credibility ruined, Mason offers her a deal: he’ll forget her part in the disaster, but she must join his family for the twelve days of their Christmas holidays.

Taken to a fantastical winter wonderland, Lyla hopes that she might discover some of the secrets Mr Klaus is hiding, and maybe even a way to get her company back. However, when Mason introduces her to the secret village as his fiancée, she is horrified to realise she has no choice but to go along with the pretence – because the cost of bringing an outsider to their magical land is far too high. (Goodreads)


The Christmas Trip by Sandy Barker

book cover of holiday romantic comedy The Christmas Trip by Sandy Barker
November 2022; One More Chapter
ebook (392 pages); romantic comedy

When I reviewed Sandy Barker's The Christmas Swap I hinted that I would love to see a sequel. So I'm super excited about reading this book.

Another year has passed and it’s Christmas again. This year best friends Chloe, Jules and Lucy are all loved up but living worlds apart.

Chloe is madly in love with her celebrity beau, Archer, but after a whirlwind year in Hollywood’s limelight, she’s desperate to get away and spend some quality time together.

Jules loves her Melbourne life – and gorgeous winemaker Matt – but a crowded flat share has her longing for a place of her own.

Meanwhile, Lucy is stuck in a long distance relationship, jetting back and forth between Colorado and London to see Will.

When Archer’s plan to whisk Chloe to Paris goes awry, he surprises her by bringing her friends together for a Christmas to remember…

The perfect feel-good holiday romance for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jo Thomas and Holly Martin. (Goodreads)

Buy The Christmas Trip at Amazon

A Wish for Winter by Viola Shipman

book cover of winter romance novel A Wish for Winter by Viola Shipman
November 2022; Graydon House; 978-1525804892
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); women's fiction

I just recently read Shipman's last winter/holiday novel The Secret of Snow (read my review) and I'm looking forward to reading this year's book. Susan has already read it if you want to check out her review.

With echoes of classic Hollywood love stories like Serendipity and An Affair to Remember, Viola Shipman’s latest winter charmer following the USA TODAY bestseller The Secret of Snow is sure to tug on heartstrings and delight readers who love books about books, missed connections and the magic of Christmas.

Despite losing her parents in a tragic accident just before her fourteenth Christmas, Susan Norcross has had it better than most, with loving grandparents to raise her and a gang of quirky, devoted friends to support her. Now a successful bookstore owner in a tight-knit Michigan lakeside community, Susan is facing down forty—the same age as her mother when she died—and she can’t help but see everything she hasn’t achieved, including finding a love match of her own. To add to the pressure, everyone in her small town believes it’s Susan’s destiny to meet and marry a man dressed as Santa, just like her mother and grandmother before her. So it seems cosmically unfair that the man she makes an instant connection with at an annual Santa Run is lost in the crowd before she can get his name.

What follows is Susan and her friends’ hilarious and heartwarming search for the mystery Santa—covering twelve months of social media snafus, authors behaving badly and dating fails—as well as a poignant look at family, friendship and what defines a well-lived and well-loved life. (Goodreads)

Buy A Wish for Winter at Amazon

So there is my Christmas reading list. I don't know which one to start with as I'm so excited about all of them.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.



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