Christmas Reads Roundup

xmas

OMG! It’s Christmas Eve already!

Is still have to go and brave the shops to finish off my last minute (as always) Christmas shopping but I wanted to wish all of my wonderful readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

I’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit this year by taking part in the Aussie Readers Group December Challenge at Goodreads so I thought I should do a quick recap of all of the wonderful Christmas themed novels I’ve read before I have to brave the shops. I managed a total of eight which isn’t too bad.

I kicked the challenge off with I Will Marry George Clooney (by Christmas) by Tracey Bloom      marrygeorgeclooney

Description:

A brand new very funny Christmas novel, from the bestselling author of No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday and Single Woman Seeks Revenge.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only answer is to marry George Clooney.

For Michelle, that time is now.

Slogging her guts out in a chicken factory whilst single-handedly bringing up a teenager who hates her is far from the life that 36-year-old Michelle had planned.

But marrying the most eligible man on the planet by Christmas could change all that, couldn’t it?

Sometimes your only option is to dream the impossible – because you never know where it might take you…

My Review

Then moved on to my favourite Christmas read this year, Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen. dyingforchristmas

Description:

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

My Review

Next up I read Secret Santo by Carla Caruso.    secret santo

Description:

Holly Plume is a bookseller by day and a romance blogger by night, dishing out scathing reviews under her pseudonym, Sultry Scarlet. When she scores an invite to the publishing event of the year, Holly couldn’t be more excited. Finally a chance to meet her favourite author, the mysterious thriller writer known only as AJ Ruffo.

When Holly literally falls into the arms of the mysterious and charming Santo Randolfi, she’s sure it must be AJ. After all, Santo has tousled good looks, dark curls, luscious lips . . . He’s exactly what she’d imagined. But when Santo reveals he’s actually the author of a romance novel Holly recently slammed on her blog, keeping her online identity a secret becomes vital.

As Holly struggles to keep Santo from learning the truth, she realizes just how much she likes him. But when he discovers who she is, will their relationship be over before it’s even begun?

My Review

Then I read The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster                         The Perfect Christmas Cover

Description:

A holiday short story that proves that true love is forever, not just for Christmas…

Hollywood movie star Maggie and friend and manager Zoe need an escape from their complicated star-studded lives in LA. With its history and Christmas charm, London feels like the perfect getaway.

But can they truly leave their realities behind?

In their luxurious quarters, the girls meet Holly who is ideal at showing Maggie and Zoe the sumptuous sights and sounds of London in their most glittering light. But behind her bright façade, Holly is hiding a secret: suffering from unrequited love, she’s looking for a Christmas miracle. Desperate to see an unattainable love story for Holly come together, will our LA starlets succeed in providing a Hollywood ending before the dawn of Christmas Day?

Packed to the brim with festive cheer, this is the only story you’ll need this Christmas…

My Review

The next Christmas read on my list was Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy by Megan Crane.  Come Home for Christmas, Cowboy Cover

Description:

This Christmas season, Christina Grey Cooper has finally accepted that her marriage to her college sweetheart Dare is over.

So she packs up her things, leaves a note, and heads back home for Marietta, Montana in the hope that a Christmas with her family will help piece her head—if not her heart—back together.

Dare isn’t about to let the love of his life go, and who cares if that’s what he thought he wanted? He’ll do what it takes to win Christina back—even if that means suffering through Christmas with his in-laws, pretending to still be happily married for the sake of family harmony, and trying not to get caught up in all that holiday nonsense he’s never believed in…

But Christmas is magical, especially in Montana.

And if Dare has any hope of convincing Christina to give him one more chance, it’s going to be here…

My Review

And then Christmas at Thornton Hall Christmasatthorntonhallby Lynn Marie Hulsman

Description:

Need a fun, festive treat to warm you up on cold winter nights? Don’t miss this terrific debut from a witty new voice in romantic comedy!

When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend’s apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas – with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!

So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the Earl of Gloucester’s impossibly grand ancestral pile.

The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.

But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?

As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!

CHRISTMAS AT THORNTON HALL is a country house romance for the modern age, a must-read for fans of the scandals and drama of Downton Abbey and the charm and wit of Helen Fielding.

My Review

Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks was chosen by some lovely readers for me next.

Description:  bahhumbug

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block – until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes this is the perfect place for his villain to hide the weapon. He digs into the snowman to discover two things: the weapon fits int he body just under the head, and the snowman was supposed to be the back drop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship. Can there be more for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

My Review

And I finished off with A Kirribilli Christmas by Louise Reynolds Akirribillichristmas

Description:

Eight years ago Shelby left Sydney for LA, determined to set the world on fire. Now she’s nearly broke and her boyfriend has left her alone at Christmas. Lonely and miserable, Shelby finds herself drawn back to the childhood home she thought she’d left behind . . .

Frangipani House now belongs to Dan Sayers, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks who found a new start in Kirribilli. When he spots Shelby dragging her suitcase up the front steps on Christmas Eve, he can’t believe his eyes. It’s been four years since he last saw her. Then, she’d been aloof, a stranger in designer sunglasses and killer heels, barely acknowledging their shared past.

As Christmas unfolds, Shelby and Dan grow closer than ever before and Shelby begins to see her ramshackle home in a new light. But before she and Dan can have any hope of a future together, they must first confront their past.

My Review

Have a great Christmas Day and I hope you all find lots of great books under your tree!

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Book Review: Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks

Title: Bah, Humbug                                                                    bahhumbug

Author: Heather Horrocks

Published: September 9th 2011 by Word Garden Press

Genre: Romance, Chick Lit

Pages: 96

My Rating: 3/5

Description: From Goodreads

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block – until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes this is the perfect place for his villain to hide the weapon. He digs into the snowman to discover two things: the weapon fits int he body just under the head, and the snowman was supposed to be the back drop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship. Can there be more for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

My Thoughts:

I downloaded my copy as a free download from Amazon.

As most of you know I have been reading Christmas themed novels as part of the Aussie Readers Group December Challenge at Goodreads. I put the call out to my readers to choose my next Christmas read here and Bah, Humbug was the hands down winner. I think everyone was very intrigued by the name. Thank you Holly, Delia and Marjorie for the input!

Bah, Humbug tells the story of Lexi Anderson, the next Martha Stewart, who has recently moved next door to her children’s favourite author, Kyle Miller, just before Christmas. At first she is horrified to discover that Kyle is a bit of a Christmas Grinch but she soon discovers that he has his reasons to dislike Christmas so she conspires to save Christmas once and for all for Kyle and his family. How does she do that? With lots of decorations and food of course!

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and this is definitely the case for Kyle Miller. I find that my boyfriend is generally especially nice to me if I cook any of his favourite foods so I think that Lexi could be on to something here! Kyle starts to realise that he is falling in love with Lexi but will she reciprocate those feelings or fall for the charms of Kyle’s handsome and charming brother?

Bah, Humbug is a nice and easy Christmas themed novella. I would recommend it for anyone who loves the romance or chick lit genres or for anyone looking for a short, Christmas themed read that is easily read in one sitting.

Amazon     Goodreads

Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman Book Review

Title: Christmas at Thornton Hall  Christmasatthorntonhall

Author: Lynn Marie Hulsman

ISBN: 9780007568871

Published: Dec 2013, HarperCollins UK, Harper Impulse

Rating: 3/5

Pages: 386

Description:

Need a fun, festive treat to warm you up on cold winter nights? Don’t miss this terrific debut from a witty new voice in romantic comedy!

When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend’s apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas – with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!

So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the Earl of Gloucester’s impossibly grand ancestral pile.

The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.

But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?

As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!

CHRISTMAS AT THORNTON HALL is a country house romance for the modern age, a must-read for fans of the scandals and drama of Downton Abbey and the charm and wit of Helen Fielding.

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas at Thornton Hall is the 6th Christmas themed book that I have read as part of the December Challenge that I’m participating in with the Aussie Readers Group at Goodreads. This one was a bit longer than a lot of the other Christmas themed novels around and it took me a little bit longer than I would have liked to get through. That’s my own fault though, not the book’s, since I must have gone crazy for a while earlier this year and elected to study two university subjects over the Christmas break so I have been pretty busy around here lately!

The longer than usual length allowed the author, Lynn Marie Hulsman, to pack in a lot of action and interesting characters. I quite often felt a bit stressed out for Juliet, the main character, because there was so much going on around her. She’s a top chef to the stars dealing with a break up with her boyfriend, Ben and sexual tension with Edward, her sexy fellow chef and Jasper Roth, her handsome and wealthy boss while cooking for a huge, snobby Christmas party on her own at Thornton Hall which is one of those super wealthy English properties that have been owned by titled families for generations.

There were quite a few times that I questioned whether Juliet really had true feelings for any of these men as she seemed to be able to jump from fantasizing about one to another in a matter of seconds. Her previous ex was also brought up often so that makes four love interests in one book which is perhaps a few too many for me.

Juliet was a bit of annoying main character to be honest. 99% of her problems could have been solved just by talking about them to the relevant people but she seemed to avoid that like the plague. I could certainly relate to her tendency to drift off and daydream at the drop of a hat but I found myself getting frustrated at her indecisiveness and unwillingness to talk to anyone about anything.

The other characters were all well developed although I would have liked to have read more about Edward the fellow chef. He was missing for the majority of the story and from what I did read about him he seemed like a pretty interesting guy. He leaves Juliet in the lurch at the beginning of the book to cope with the Christmas festivities at Thornton Hall on her own with no explanation after a night of passion. I found it difficult to believe that Juliet simply didn’t bother to give him a call to find out why he left. If some guy pulled a stunt like that on me I’d be chasing him down if only to give him a piece of my mind!

Edward had his reasons for leaving but will he be able to explain everything in time to stop Juliet from traipsing off to America with her married boss? Jasper Roth is rich, handsome and American so he did what any American who wants to succeed in London does apparently and married Lady Penelope who is titled but crazy. He has been after Juliet for ages and hopes to leave his wife and take off home to America with Juliet. Jasper wasn’t the most likable of characters, he was far too interested in expensive things and rude to his staff for me.

There are a host of terrific supporting characters in Christmas at Thornton Hall. At times it was perhaps a few too many to keep up with. Some of my favourites included Terrence, the sassy gay butler, Rose and Seamus, the elderly and kind couple who have worked at Thornton Hall most of their lives and The Earl of Gloucester who is known by the downstairs staff as The Painter since he is a well known artist. The Earl has some interesting secrets of his own.

Christmas at Thornton Hall is a Christmas story with an interesting plot and characters. There is mystery, plenty of romance and few steamy love scenes. There are plenty of laughs and I found it to be a really enjoyable Christmas themed read with a noticable lack of cheesiness which I quite liked.

View on Goodreads

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I need your book recommendations. Help me decide which Christmas themed book to read next!

As you know I have been reading mostly Christmas themed books this month as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge over at Goodreads this month.

So far I have read:

Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen. Read my review here.dyingforchristmas

Secret Santo by Carla Caruso. Read my review here.

secret santo

I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom. Read my review here.

marrygeorgeclooney

Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy by Megan Crane. Read my review here.

Come Home for Christmas, Cowboy Cover

The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster. Read my review here.

The Perfect Christmas CoverI am currently reading Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman. (Review coming shortly)

Christmasatthorntonhall

So I need your help to decide which Christmas themed book I should read next!

Should I read A Kirribilli Christmas by Louise Reynolds?

Akirribillichristmas

Or Yours For Christmas by Susan Mallery?

yoursforchristmasOr how about Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks?

bahhumbugPlease save me from my indecision! Have you read any of these books or have read any amazing Christmas themed books? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Scatterbooker Reviews Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy by Megan Crane

Title: Come Home for Christmas, Cowboy Cover Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy

Author: Megan Crane

ISBN: 9781942240242

Published: 17th November 2014, Montana Born Books

Rating: 3/5

Description:

This Christmas season, Christina Grey Cooper has finally accepted that her marriage to her college sweetheart Dare is over.

So she packs up her things, leaves a note, and heads back home for Marietta, Montana in the hope that a Christmas with her family will help piece her head—if not her heart—back together.

Dare isn’t about to let the love of his life go, and who cares if that’s what he thought he wanted? He’ll do what it takes to win Christina back—even if that means suffering through Christmas with his in-laws, pretending to still be happily married for the sake of family harmony, and trying not to get caught up in all that holiday nonsense he’s never believed in…

But Christmas is magical, especially in Montana.

And if Dare has any hope of convincing Christina to give him one more chance, it’s going to be here…

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy is my fifth Christmas themed book that I have read so far as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge.

It is about Dare and Christina, former college sweethearts who are facing the end of the marriage. Christina finally has had enough of being shut out by Dare so she decides to pack up and go home to her parents in Montana just in time for Christmas.

Dare has deep scars from his childhood and doesn’t believe he is worthy of being loved and he is terrified of starting his own family and making the same mistakes that his father did. I think Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy could have explored Dare’s past a little further. I think this would have made him a lot more likable since I thought he was awful for at least three quarters of the book.

This book was quite angsty, not quite the typical Christmas themed romance although there is plenty of Christmas cheer and a Christmas miracle or two. Montana is a lovely Christmas setting, I can imagine that it would look like a winter wonderland during Christmas.

Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy is a nice and easy Christmas read with a touch of angst thrown in. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of Christina and Dare’s back-storys but it was still a great Christmas themed romance.

Amazon     Goodreads

Book Review: Secret Santo by Carla Caruso

Title: Secret Santosecret santo

Author: Carla Caruso

ISBN: 9781760141080

Published: December 2014, Penguin Books Australia/Destiny Romance

My Rating: 3/5

Description:

Holly Plume is a bookseller by day and a romance blogger by night, dishing out scathing reviews under her pseudonym, Sultry Scarlet. When she scores an invite to the publishing event of the year, Holly couldn’t be more excited. Finally a chance to meet her favourite author, the mysterious thriller writer known only as AJ Ruffo.

When Holly literally falls into the arms of the mysterious and charming Santo Randolfi, she’s sure it must be AJ. After all, Santo has tousled good looks, dark curls, luscious lips . . . He’s exactly what she’d imagined. But when Santo reveals he’s actually the author of a romance novel Holly recently slammed on her blog, keeping her online identity a secret becomes vital.

As Holly struggles to keep Santo from learning the truth, she realizes just how much she likes him. But when he discovers who she is, will their relationship be over before it’s even begun?

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Secret Santo a fun Christmas novella which is just perfect for this time of year with all of the interruptions and distractions that come along with the silly season.This was another book that I read as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge.

The main character is Holly a romance blogger who loves everything about Christmas, romance novels and her favourite author AJ Ruffo.She has just posted a scathing book review about the most awful romance book that she has ever read when she has to dash off to the most exclusive Christmas party in the publishing world of Melbourne. (Yay Melbourne, I love my home town!)

Confusion and mayhem ensues since it seems that every single person at the party writes under a pseudonym. Is Santo the handsome hunk a hack or the real deal? Either way you will enjoy this quick, fun Christmas read.

Goodreads     Amazon

Book Review: Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

Title: Dying For Christmas dyingforchristmas

Author: Tammy Cohen

ISBN: 9781784160173

Published: November, Transworld Publishers, Random House UK

My Rating: 4/5

Description:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

My Thoughts:

Dying For Christmas is another Christmas themed book that I read as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge but this is definitely not your typical Christmas themed book.

Jessica has been kidnapped and help captive by a handsome psychopath for the 12 days of Christmas. She is a fascinating character, a little bit ‘weird’ but completely relate able.

Domenic Lacey is one of the creepiest ‘bad guys’ that I have ever come across. He is handsome, charming and well off on the outside and a complete psychopath on the inside. Once he begins to reveal details about his childhood you almost start to feel a bit sorry for him.

The book is also narrated from the perspective of Kim, the policewoman who is investigating Jessica’s disappearance. Kim has problems of her own. She feels that she is being forced to choose between her career and her family but she thinks that she should be able to have both.

Dying For Christmas was fascinating to read, full of plot twists and really interesting characters. I had to read this in one sitting since I needed to find out what happened in the end! I recommend Dying For Christmas for anyone who enjoys the thriller/mystery genres or anybody looking for a Christmas themed book with a difference.

Editing to add that the author Tammy Cohen is absolutely lovely. Add this one to your to read list!

Goodreads      Amazon