Holiday Books I Read Last December & Favorites From Years Past

 Last December I read a good 1/2 dozen adorable Christmas stories but it seemed rather silly to share them in January so I held onto this post to share for this holiday season.  I also came up with a list of favorite books from years past.  


1. Dashing Through the Snow by Carol Higgins Clark-- A cute little Regan Reilly/Alvirah Meehan mystery series novel set at Christmas time in a small New Hampshire town. The town of Branscombe, New Hampshire is preparing for the Festival of Joy when the night before the festival a group of co-workers from the local supermarket win a huge, life-changing lottery... but Duncan (one of the co-workers) is missing. The Reillys and the Meehans are arriving for the festival and get pulled into the mystery of the missing Duncan (and the second winning lottery ticket that was bought just one town over).  


2. Last Christmas in Paris: A novel of World War I by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb-- Oh I loved this historical fiction novel.  Set during World War I and written as a series of letters back and forth from Evie to her brother and her brother's best friend (plus a few other assorted characters) it was such an intriguing look at a time in history I know very little about. Every year during the war Evie and Tom write of spending Christmas in Paris and promise each other that they will go as soon as the war ends. 


3. Home Sweet Christmas by Susan Mallery-- I loved this second Wishing Tree book just as much as the first (The Christmas Wedding Guest that I read in 2021).  In this book Camryn is home running her mother's wrapping paper business and raising her twin teenage sisters after their mom passed away.  Determined to get her old life back after the twins go off to college Camryn has decided not to fall in love with anyone. But when Jake and Camryn are thrown together repeatedly, Camryn can't  help but notice that Jake is cute and so much fun to be around. Meanwhile Camryn's friend River is shy but determined to try and meet townspeople after moving into Wishing Tree. Camryn conspires to get River elected Snow Queen where River meets up with Dylan; a local cabinet maker with a big heart always ready to lend a helping hand.  River, however, thinks that Dylan might be hiding something... There are so many cute ways in which all these characters and stories and townspeople overlap and interact and it was a lot of fun to read.


4. The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber-- This adorable story sucked me right in! Hank and Pete are wonderful friends; one is a bartender and the other a pastor.  They decide to trade jobs for one full week the week leading up to Christmas.  Both are convinced that their jobs are so much harder than the other and both are about to find out they are far wrong about all that the other one does.  


5. A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes-- This was a cute little story and I think it would be so fun to read right before planning a Christmas trip to New York!  Struggling journalist Sabrina gets a holiday job working as a ghostwriter for a famous art dealer's memoir; a job that comes with her own suite at the Plaza hotel! Feeling a bit like Eloise, Sabrina is determined to make the most of her time there. So when she meets Ian and he assumes she is a wealthy patron of the hotel, Sabrina does not correct him. It was a really cute love story and what is more magical than the Plaza hotel at Christmas time? 


6. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox-- I just love a book that centers around baking! Chef Charlie gets hit on the head during the taping of her reality TV baking show. Only problem is that the accident has knocked out Charlie's sense of taste and smell which she needs to judge! She begs her identical twin sister Cass to switch places with her. Only swapping lives when they live apart is much harder to do than when the two were in grade school.  Throw in a couple of gorgeous and sweet men and things get real complicated real quick.  It was another really adorable book. 


Now, for some of my favorite holiday books from years past:

  Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler-- When Haley's boss sends her to Christmas Camp to prepare for a big advertising campaign, Haley has every intention of finishing up the camp activities as quickly as possible so she can get back to her life.  But once at the Inn Ben, his son Jeff and all the other campers soon worm their way into Haley's heart.  It was such a cute and heartwarming story-- by far my favorite Christmas book I read this year. 

 Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber-- This was a cute little Christmas story that I read in a day. Both Dash and Ashley need to get to Seattle but all the flights are booked and when they realize that the last car the rental agency has is up for grabs they reluctantly agree to ride to Seattle together but neither one could have any idea how crazy the ride was going to get.  With a roadside puppy, a slew of FBI agents after them, and a crazy mechanic it was a pretty adorable story that had me both chuckling and rolling my eyes.  I can definitely see why it was made into a movie back in 2015. 


Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs-- Another fun and light holiday novel.  When Logan decides to sell his business and buy a local ski resort he's determined to make it a success.  He asks his entire family to come to the mountain hoping to give his son the best Christmas ever before his son moves away to Japan with Logan's ex and her new husband.  He is not expecting to fall in love but finds himself increasingly intrigued by his sister's friend Darcy.  Darcy has only been divorced just over a year and is determined never to marry a man with kids ever again.  I bet you can guess how this one ended!

Candlelight Christmas (The Lakeshore Chronicles Book 10) by [Wiggs, Susan]

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren-- First off I enjoy the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and this book reminds me of it-- just set at Christmas.  Mae and her family have always celebrated Christmas at a cabin in Utah with her parents' friends from college and their families.  It's a tradition she usually enjoys but everything seems to be going wrong this year. When they are heading back to the airport after their disappointing trip, Mae makes a wish that the universe will show her what will make her happy... just before the car crashes and everything goes dark.  Mae gasps awake to find herself on the plane on her way to Utah to celebrate Christmas...again!  And so it goes over and over. It was great!


Winter Street-- Book one finds the Quinn family getting ready for their annual Christmas party.   Spirits are high but soon plummet as one downfall after another strike the family down.  A marriage crumbles, one family member is heading to jail, one family member is lost, one family member is struggling with love and relationships.  As each person starts to despair the family bands together and holds one another up.  It's a wonderful 3 book series 


The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews-- Another fun and light Christmas story!  When Ivy buys an old farmhouse sight unseen she may have gotten more than she bargained for.  She arrives to find the house fully furnished with everything in the cabinets and closets too.. including an old Santa suit.  She finds a note inside the suit and becomes curious about the story of the family.  She tries to track them down all these years later and along the way makes new friends in her new town. 


 A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan-- Rosie gets engaged at Thanksgiving and decides she wants to get married at Christmas, in Aspen, Colorado. When she calls home excited to tell her parents she has no idea her parents are planning to divorce and were hoping for one last Christmas at their Oxford, England home.  Her sister reluctantly agrees to be maid of honor but secretly thinks Rosie is being impulsive and plans to try and break up the wedding.  With all her sister's doubts swirling around in her head, Rosie begins to have second thoughts as well. With lots of tension under the surface and multiple storylines, I thought this was a great book. 


The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan-- I wasn't sure I was going to like this book at first but it ended up being one of my favorite Christmas books I read or listened to this year!  When Carmen finds herself out of a job and living back at home with her parents her mother coerces her sister to find her a job.  Only problem is that the job requires Carmen to move in with her sister Sophie and her three kids.  A local bookshop is going to go bankrupt and needs to turn their sales around in the last month of the season.  Sophie hopes Carmen is up for the job.  Sophie is 8 months pregnant and her husband is away on business, she needs more help than just her nanny but both sisters are reluctant with the arrangement as they have never been close.  At first I just didn't like Carmen much or feel sorry for her but as she grew and changed throughout the book and became a real part of the community and her sister's family, I found myself enchanted by the story and curious to see how it was going to end. 
 

I also tend to like most of Nancy Thayer's Christmas books since they are set on Nantucket during stroll weekend too. 

Do you have some favorite holiday books?

Linking up with: Spread the Kindness, 





Comments

  1. Love this! I have one more holiday book waiting at the library for me and the one I have here at home. Hoping to start reading them over Thanksgiving break. I also hope to put up my decor so I will get in the mood to read the holiday books, too.

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    1. Yeah, we plan to put up our decor Thanksgiving break too and then I'll dive into some Christmas books.

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  2. Oh thank you so much for sharing- I need to pick one of these for December!

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  3. I’ve only read two of these, I cannot wait to dig into some more. I love that I’m done decorating and once I get my shopping done I’m really going to enjoy the holiday season!

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    1. Look at you go! I haven't started on anything for Christmas yet this year (which is soo odd for me; I'm usually done by Thanksgiving!).

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  4. Love a good holiday book! I am currently reading The Wake Up Call by Beth O'Leary and it's a cute holiday book so far.

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  5. I've read two of these. I have some Christmas books to read this year.

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    1. I just picked up a couple at the library yesterday.

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  6. I typically don't do seasonal reading, but there are some really inviting book covers. I've been thinking about picking one up to see what I'm missing. However, I wasn't sure where to start. Thanks for sharing this list, it helps a lot.

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  7. I took of picture of these so I can see which I can check out next month!
    www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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  8. I loved Last Christmas in Paris and I always buy Debbie Macomber's Christmas book. I'll have to check out some of your other recommendations.

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    1. I like Debbie Macomber's Christmas stories too; they are very heartwarming.

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  9. Joanne, you read so many books last December. I love reading Debbie Macomber books and I will add some of these to my TBR list.

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  10. I do love a Christmas themed read (as you know) and there are some good ones on this list!

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  11. I'm amazed there are so many xmas books. Off to google if that is Mary Higgins Clark's daughter. That's kind of cute if it is...#WeekendCoffeeshare

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  12. I'm surprised I haven't read any of these. Thanks for the ideas.
    XOOX
    Jodie

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  13. I love the Elin Hilderbrand series. I think there are four now. I read a Christmas themed book last year, but I can't think of the name of it. It was definitely more than just soft porn, but the story line kept me reading it. I just skipped over those spicy parts!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. I find I prefer the ones that are little meatier than the more traditional Hallmark movie kind of books; though those will help get me in the spirit if I'm lacking that!

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  14. JoAnne,
    Thanks so much for sharing all these wonderful books for Christmas....I am almost done decorating and can not wait to sit back and enjoy the Season and I hope to do some Christmas reading...Thanks so much for stopping by!!! Have a great weekend!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  15. I haven't read any of your Christmas books, so a few for my list. Last year in December, I read only Christmas books, but I haven't decided whether to do that again this year.

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  16. I don't even watch Christmas movies, lol, let alone read a Christmas novel! Perhaps I should give it a try.

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  17. I am adding at least three of these to my list!!! The Santa Suit and the Jenny Colgan (LOVE HER) for sure, plus that one about the bartender and the pastor. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Thank you for your weekend coffee share. I read Jenny Colgan and Christina Lauren Christmas books before. I’ll have a look at the other books on your list.

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  19. All of these books look great. I just love Last Christmas in Paris. It is one of my fav cities and so inspiring.https://www.bauchlefashion.com/2023/11/why-real-real-is-number-one-place-to.html

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  20. I don't think I have a favorite holiday book, probably because I don't read a lot of holiday books (other than the occasional Deathlehem horror anthology). I have an anthology of Christmas mystery short stories in my queue for this year though.

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    1. That sounds fun! I have a much harder time with short stories though since I feel like just as I'm getting into them... they end.

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  21. Thanks for sharing these holiday-themed books. I think I have read 2 or 3 on your list. Glad for some new suggestions. Pinned your graphic. Really like the looks of the cover of Last Christmas in Paris. That might need to be my Christmas read.

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  22. Some great recommendations here - I really like the sound of The Christmas Spirit. I've just finished The Clause in Christmas by Rachael Bloome which was a really festive, easy read :)

    #MMBC

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  23. This looks like a fun selection. I remember seeing the Dashing Through the Snow Hallmark movie -- it's really pretty good. And the one set in Paris would be my next choice. Elin Hildebrand rarely disappoints, either!

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    1. I bet Dashing Through the Snow made a great movie!

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  24. Those look so fun. I love finding sweet holiday e-books. I've downloaded a few, I suppose I should get started on them. I think I have the Christmas Bookshop. Maybe I'll read that one first. A few I read last year, but honestly don't remember(just looking on my goodreads)..A Christmas Blaze (The Ornamental Match Makers #35), A Cheyenne Christmas #1, Melody's Christmas #1, Miss Kane's Christmas,

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I have a few waiting for me this winter too but haven't gotten around to starting any yet.

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  25. I loved In a Holidaze! I don't think I've read any of the other ones other than the Winter Street series.

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    1. You have to read a Magical New York Christmas before/during/around your trip!

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  26. I would love to read Dashing Through the Snow because I love reading mysteries. I have to see if it is at the library.

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