Christmas Recommendations!

It’s that time of year again to recommend books that are perfect to read this season!

‘Love, Lies and Mince Pies’ by Katy Cannon
This is a companion short story to ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Pies’ which was one of my top 14 books of 2014! The story focuses on Jasper, a secondary character in the both ‘Love, Lies…’ and ‘Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines’. I absolutely love that another story has been added to this series, and think it’s the perfect book to get you in the Christmassy mood! Sign up to Katy Cannon’s newsletter to receive the story for FREE on the 8th of December: here

‘Murder On The Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie
A good old murder mystery is great for this time of year – you can snuggle up and get enthralled by an intriguing crime. This mystery in particular is especially Christmassy because the murder takes place on a train that’s been snowed in. Talk about a chilling atmosphere!

‘The Fifth Wave’ by Rick Yancey

During the Christmas season, it’s easy to get caught reading a lot of cute contemporaries, but something we love to do is dip into a completely different genre. Over Christmas last year we were reading ‘Divergent’ and this year, the two books in ‘The Fifth Wave’ really caught our attention. It’s also perfect prep for the movie’s release in January 2016!

‘My True Love Gave to Me’ edited by Stephanie Perkins
But speaking of cute contemporaries, nothing can quite beat them at this time of year. What’s great about short stories is they can be read in one sitting, and having twelve different romances to read really is a gift this Christmas!

‘All Wrapped Up’ by Holly Smale
Geek girl? Check. Romance? Check. Christmas themed? Check. ‘All Wrapped Up’ has it all, so much so that Bee and I couldn’t wait until December to read it! Get to experience the beautiful and funny first date of Nick and Harriet, a couple ready to take the modelling industry by storm!

‘Sweetly’ by Jackson Pearce
And, because I couldn’t help it, I’m going to throw a fairy tale retelling in there! ‘Sweetly’ retells Hansel and Gretel in a slightly ominous and mysterious way. Twins Ansel and Gretchen go and live with a sweet-shop owner, Sophia, out in the woods, in a town where girls go missing, and not everything is as it seems…

Last Chance TBR

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As December is upon us, this is our last chance to read any books that have been dangling on the end of our to-be-read list, hoping to be finished before the end of the year. In order to wipe the slate clean, and begin a new in 2016, above and below are the books we want to read this month! Some acclaimed stand alones, some series endings, beginnings and middles, contemporary, fantasy, dystopian. Fingers crossed we finish them all!

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Christmas Recommends

As the Christmas season is upon us, and those of us that are enjoying the toils of school are soon to be released into the world of holidays, we thought it would be good to recommend our five favourite Christmassy reads (in no particular order!)

let it snow1. ‘Let It Snow’ by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
This is a super cute collection of short stories that are all linked, like ‘Love Actually’. The authors’ writing styles really compliment each other and all the characters are so well developed in a short amount of pages.  My favourite story in the collection was probably Maureen Johnson’s, the first in the anthology, and I hope to read more of her work soon!

My-True-Love-Gave-to-Me2. ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ edited by Stephanie Perkins
Basically, this in another anthology filled with short Christmas stories written by everyone’s favourite authors. They’re so sweet an quick to read, perfect for falling in love, as the tag line says. These really get you into the Christmas mood, without a huge commitment to 400 pages as they’re not all interlinked.

dash and lily3. ‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’ by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Christmas just seems to be the season to read collaborations. The book is set in a wintery New York and is about two unsuspecting teens finding romance. What’s not to love? Again, this is a quick read, but full of laughs and anecdotes, you can’t help but feel cheerful the whole way through.

Fangirl4. ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
I chose ‘Fangirl’ because I think there’s a real emphasis on the importance of family and communicating with them, which is a great message for the Christmas season. All Cath is in a completely new environment, her family and love interest offer her comfort and security. A tear-jerker, but the most adorable and relatable book ever written.

divergent5. ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth
This might seem like an odd choice because there’s nothing Christmassy about it at all. I mean, a war between factions, with murders, conspiracies and battles? Not exactly all merry and bright. However, I think it’s the perfect book to take you somewhere completely new. It will absorb your whole mind and make your heart race – something to keep you completely occupied on a Christmas afternoon.

Preview Review: My True Love Gave To Me Anthology

My True LoMy True Loveve Gave To Me Anthology
Contemporary, Romance, Anthology
Published By: Macmillan Children’s
Pages: 320
Format: ARC E-Book
Rating: ★★★★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

From the two stories I’ve read from this anthology, I can just say that October 14th could not come fast enough. In the excerpt given, I got the chance to read Rainbow Rowell’s and Stephanie Perkins’ editions to the holiday short story collection, ‘My True Love Gave To Me’.

I’m guessing, because they’re romantic stories, the main characters get a kiss, but I’m hoping that someone gets six geese.

There’s nothing I love more than a good holiday themed short story. I read ‘Let it Snow’ by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and John Green last year and loved how the stories were all interwoven. However, with this collection I’m expecting the stories not to be connected. (12 authors in contact at the same time about their characters? A dream come true, though highly unlikely.)

I imagine the culmination of these stories happened in a boardroom, similar to ‘The Apprentice’, with Stephanie Perkins at the head of the table, delegating work to her eleven author elves that must churn out stories for Christmas.

So, Rainbow Rowell’s story was obviously written by Rainbow Rowell. There’s definitely not some Christmas ghostwriter out there, dictating what the authors write. In a similar style to ‘Landline’, the story takes place through flashbacks to previous New Year’s Eve parties. We get to see the friendship between Mags and Noel as it develops from just acquaintances to please-be-mine-forever lovers. It was adorable. I love it when a story line is quite circular, where things that were planted, earlier on in the story, grow into something constant and recurring. This was also the shorter of the two stories, but because it takes place over three years, it feels a lot longer. Heck, I would have been happy to read about Mags’ and Noel’s New Year’s Eve parties for a whole novel. Can that happen?

As for Stephanie Perkins’ edition to the anthology, I was equally impressed. It held her usual romantic and humorous style within fewer pages and managed to deliver a very satisfying story that gave my cheeks a warm glow. I loved that the main character, Marigold, and her mother were struggling with their bills and general living – it’s nice to see that these issues and real life situations are still being dealt with in short stories. Even though these stories are romantic, they are not romanticized.

Marigold and North were both adorable characters, on par with Anna and Etienne. Perkins’ characters are so quirky and loveable it’s hard not to enjoy whatever she writes.

I need more short stories from this collection ASAP. These ladies have definitely set the standards high and have done what they do best. It looks like my true love gave to me a five star book.