I’m never really quite sure when to start sharing festive content here, because I know that most people don’t want to hear about Christmas this far ahead, but at the same time I want to give you enough time to track down the books (and related goodies) that I talk about in time for you to read them or gift them in December. So this year I thought I’d start today – with exactly 3 months (which is also 13 weeks) to go until the big day. I’m planning to post weekly, starting with a preview today of 5 Christmassy books that I am really looking forward to reading this year. Throughout October I will mostly be sharing reviews, but as we get into mid-late November I have some different bits and pieces planned.
You know how I love a Q&A, and in 2018 I did a couple of Christmas-themed ones with Aussie authors – like this one here with rural romance writer Maya Linnell. They were so much fun that I have decided to do some more this year, along with some chats with some of my favourite local Canberra makers, all of whom have wonderful products that I think the book lovers in your life will love if you are looking to shop local this year. On the topic of presents, I do also plan to share a few of my favourite books and bookish goodies that I think would make good gifts too.
Of course it isn’t Christmas here without tea, baking, and some cheesy romance movies, so you can also expect to see lots of hot beverages in Christmassy mugs (the one in the photo here is a fave I bought from PaperFury here), a few recipes and maybe some movie reviews too. I had fun doing a comparison of Debbie MacComber’s Dashing Through the Snow last year for this post, so I might see if I can get my hands on some movie/book pairs to look at too (if you happen to be in Canberra, ACT Libraries have the book and the movie available to loan, and I do recommend both).
So, let’s get started with a look at five upcoming Christmassy new releases that I’m looking forward to reading this year! (These are in no particular order, and just so that you know I have received review copies of some of them from their publishers through Netgalley – as always, the views in my reviews are my own, and I’ll always let you know where I have been given a book for review by the publisher)
THE CHRISTMAS SWAP by Sandy Barker
Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!
Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.
Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.
And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.
The majority of Christmas romance/romcom novels I read are from the UK or the US, so I am always on the look out for Aussie authors and stories. The Christmas Swap sounds like a lot of fun – and is kind of timely since I’ve just read Beth O’Leary’s The Switch. This one is out from Harper Collins Australia mid-October for the eBook, and then in paperback early December. (I have received a review ecopy via Netgalley).
CHRISTMAS AMONG THE GUM TREES by Susanne Bellamy, Nicole Flockton, Jennie Jones, Lauren K McKeller, Anslie Paton
12 Days at Silver Bells House by Jennie Jones
Escaping to the country, Kate has twelve days to find herself. The last thing she expects is to find an attractive yet uncommunicative man living in her holiday home. Can the enchanting Silver Bells House and a community dripping in holiday spirit bind Kate and Jamie together? Or will love get lost on the highway back to the city?
Her Christmas Kisses by Susanne Bellamy
Stranded in Rainbow Cove with no car, no work and no prospect of saving her family’s restaurant, Flick needs a Christmas miracle. It may have been his car that put her in this mess but Xander, luxury resort owner, might just be the solution Flick is looking for-if only Flick and Xander can ignore the undeniable spark between them.
Naughty or Nice by Lauren K. McKellar
Claire wants one thing this Christmas: to land the big promotion at work and finally dispel the office gossip. ‘Nice guy’ Hamish has his own reasons for wanting that same promotion. The last thing either of them needs is an office fling. Their naughty games could ruin everything, but are Hamish and Claire about to discover what it truly means to win?
Christmas in Ghost Gum Springs by Nicole Flockton
A lover of all things Christmas, publican Connor is determined to bring Christmas spirit to the small town of Ghost Gum Springs. He’s ready to take on the grinchiest of Scrooges-even the unhappy American girl staying at the pub who would obviously rather be anywhere else. He just didn’t expect Scrooge to be quite so attractive …
Tinsel in a Tangle by Ainslie Paton
It’s Shelby’s job to make sure the office Christmas party is a success. She didn’t think she needed to worry about the shy new guy, her inappropriate crush, ending up in the emergency room after decking one of their colleagues. But since Shelby’s New Year’s resolution is to go after what she wants, maybe there’s still a chance this season will be jolly.
Each of the past three Christmases I’ve picked up these collections of Australian Christmas romance short stories, and I have really enjoyed each one (you can see some of the previous titles in this post and this one). I love that they are set in our summer Christmas time, and it’s also great to get a little sample of stories from a few different Aussie authors. I’m really looking forward to this one, which is out in paperback from Harper Collins Australia (Mira) in early October.
TINSEL: THE GIRLS WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS by Sibéal Pounder
What if somewhere along the way we’ve all got the Santa story a bit wrong…? Join Blanche Claus and her best friend Rinki for a funny festive sleigh ride you’ll never forget!
From Sibéal Pounder, bestselling author of the Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series, this tale of friendship and mince-pie feasts is the perfect book to curl up with this winter. Funny, feminist and with a huge heart, it’s a gloriously Christmassy adventure that will delight even the biggest Grinch.
I do love a bit of middlegrade magic fantasy, and if it’s Christmas themed all the better! Previously we’ve loved Matt Haig’s Christmas series (the audio book of A Boy Called Christmas is read by Stephen Fry and it is so good) – you might have seen me rave about these books here or here – and Sibéal Pounder’s upcoming Tinsel: The Girls who Invented Christmas looks like it will hit that fun, silly, magical spot! This is a Bloomsbury title, and it is coming out in hardcover at the start of November.
CATHY’S CHRISTMAS KITCHEN – by Tilly Tenany
Cathy cooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.
There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapist Matt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart…
But just as Cathy is feeling she might find joy again, her ex returns to Linnetford, desperate for a second chance. With Matt becoming distant as his life gets more complicated, it seems so easy to return to the safe embrace of someone she knows so well. Can Cathy avoid the temptation of falling back in love with the man who broke her heart and let Christmas bring her the greatest gift – that of happiness?
Tilly Tenant is one of my favourite cosy Christmas romance writers, and I look out for her festive release each year – you can see my review of a couple of my favourite books by her here. Her books are always sweet and fun, and packed with snow and feelings, and her 2020 Christmas release sounds no different. Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen is out from Bookouture on 1 Oct (eBook format). (I have received a review ecopy via Netgalley)
CHRISTMAS AT FIRESIDE CABINS by Jenny Hale
For Lila Evans, Christmas is the toughest time of year––a heartbreaking reminder of losing her father, and just how lonely she is… This year, she’s organized a blissful getaway with her closest friends: just the remedy for the December blues.
The countryside resort of Fireside Cabins, tucked away in the snowy Tennessee hills, seems like this year’s perfect setting to get into the festive spirit. But it’s far from a winter wonderland––the crumbling cottage is falling apart, and the owner, a widow named Eleanor Finely, confesses that the cabins are on the brink of closure. Lila and her friends should pack their bags right there and then, but Lila can’t bear to leave the tearful elderly woman. She clearly has no one, and Lila, more than anyone, knows how that feels.
In search of holiday cheer, the women find a local coffee shop. But the rugged, surly owner Theo Perry has an apparent aversion to Christmas, seeming downright angry when Lila asks for a peppermint latte. No one in the area knows who he is––but it’s clear he’s running from something.
Yet there’s more to this small town than Theo’s frosty reception. As much as his coldness infuriates her, Lila can’t deny that on the rare occasions when he does smile, it feels like coming home. Plus, the cabins are just calling for some festive sparkle.
And, unexpectedly, Pinewood Hills could hold a new beginning for Lila… But can she save Fireside Cabins in time for Christmas? With a dusting of festive magic, spiced apple cider and sugarplum pie, could this be the first holiday she doesn’t spend alone?
Jenny Hale is another perennial favourite festive author of mine. Her books are set in the US, and they probably have the most Hallmarky feel of the authors I regularly read (in fact, a couple of her books have been adapted by Hallmark – Coming Home for Christmas and Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses). I find her Christmas books real comfort reads, and Christmas at Fireside Cabins sounds really sweet. This is also a Bookouture title and the eBook is out mid October. (I have received a review ecopy via Netgalley).
So, that’s my list of my 5 most anticipated Christmas reads! I’d love to know if any of these sound interesting to you too, and do keep an eye out for my reviews all the way up to Christmas!