Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: December 2022

It’s the end of 2022! And there were plenty of amazing reads this month. I loved my rereads and the many new books I came across too.

Favorites

Least Favorites

  • Morning Star (Reread)
  • Lightfall
  • ACOTAR Series (Reread)
  • A Holly Jilly Christmas
  • Sisters of Sword and Song
  • Before I Let Go
  • Fractured Sky
  • The Co-Op
  • Bloodsinger
  • Dear Emmie Blue
  • A Heart Worth Stealing
  • You Wouldn’t Dare
  • The Last Tale of the Flower Bride
  • A Wilderness of Stars
  • Beauty Reborn
  • The Syren’s Mutiny
  • Just My Type
  • Cotswolds Holiday (Christmas Escapes #1) by Kasey Stockton
  • [Reread] Morning Star (Red Rising Saga #3) by Pierce Brown
  • [ARC] You Wouldn’t Dare by Samantha Markum
  • Keeper of Enchanted Rooms (Whimbrel House #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Lightfall (The Starchaser Saga #4) by Renee Dugan
  • [Reread] A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • [ARC/Novella] A Holly Jilly Christmas (Sheet Cake Love Stories) by Emma St. Clair
  • The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis
  • Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross
  • Fates Illuminated (Call of the Norns #1) by Aimee Vance
  • Before I Let Go (Skyland #1) by Kennedy Ryan
  • [Novella] Visions of You (Lost & Found #0.5) by Catherine Cowles
  • [Novella] Snowbound (Tattered & Torn #2.5) by Catherine Cowles
  • A Vision in Smoke (Until the Stars Are Dead #2) by Allyson S. Barkley
  • Fractured Sky (Tattered & Torn #5) by Catherine Cowles
  • [ARC] Never Vacation With Your Ex by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
  • [Reread] A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  • To Bleed A Crystal Bloom (Crystal Bloom #1) by Sarah A. Parker
  • [ARC] The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
  • Let it Snow by Michelle Stimpson
  • [Novella] A Very Merry Christmoose (Deadlights Cove #2.5) by B. Perkins and Aimee Vance
  • Esperance (Esperance Trilogy #1) by Heather Frost
  • [Reread] A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw
  • The Co-Op by Tarah Dewitt
  • Children of Ragnarok (The Runestone Saga #1) by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Two Wrongs Make a Right (The Wilmot Sisters #1) by Chloe Liese
  • Lord of Gold and Glory (Fae Isles #2) by Lisette Marshall
  • The Holly Dates by Brittainy Cherry
  • [Reread/Novella] A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.5) by Sarah J. Maas
  • [Novella] Christmas Presents by Tarah Dewitt
  • 50 Ways to Win Back Your Lover (Bower Boys #1) by Kelly Siskind
  • Let Love In (Canyon Cove Love Stories #3) by Marie Soleil
  • Bloodsinger (The Starchaser Saga #5) by Renee Dugan
  • [ARC] Beauty Reborn by Elizabeth Lowham
  • [ARC] Off the Map (Beck Sisters #3) by Trish Doller
  • [Reread] A Court of Silver Flames (ACOTAR #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  • [ARC] Just My Type by Falon Ballard
  • [ARC] The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
  • The Syren’s Mutiny by Jessica S. Taylor
  • Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
  • [Novella] Falling in Somerset (Lost Story Bookshop) by Jenny B. Jones
  • [ARC] A Heart Worth Stealing by Joanna Barker

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Book Review

Book Review: Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Length: 354 pages
Author: Catherine Walsh
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: October 4th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…

Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.

Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.

Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.

The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.

What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…

A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi Macfarlane, and Christina Lauren.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

This one took me by surprise and I am so happy it did. WHAT A GEM. This is a must read for my holiday romance fans!!

The angst between these two friends as they turned to lovers was immaculate. I felt the tension from the get go and within a few chapters I was completely wrapped up in watching these two fall in love. I loved the brief flashback moments that recounted all of their plane rides together. It set the stage well for where things landed in the end.

And OHMGEE SWEET ANDREW. I was very much misty eyed when I got to some of those later chapters. Straight PUDDLE. Andrew was amazing and I love him and couldn’t get enough. I really liked Molly as the FMC too. She was realistic yet willing to do what she could for her closest friend. I loved the whirlwind of an adventure they went on, literally around the world to get home for Christmas.

I loved all of the Christmas and holiday spirit, the families were stellar. Always love a supportive and loving family as side characters. The ending was all the best things and now I want to read this author’s other books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: Some strong
  • Romance: 2ish open door; low-med explicit
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: pregnancy (side character), childbirth, mentions of alcoholism

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Holly Jilly Christmas (Love Stories in Sheet Cake) by Emma St. Clair

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Holiday Romance Novella
Length: 124 pages
Author: Emma St. Clair
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: December 9th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

My life is nothing like the movies we make at the studio where I work–especially not when it comes to relationships.
Which means that there will be absolutely NO romance between me and Case, the grumpy exec I’ve had a crush on from our very first not-so-meet-cute.
We’re simply two coworkers scouting the town of Sheet Cake, Texas as a location for filming.
That’s it.
Though, to be honest, I’m suspicious of why Case came on this trip at all.
Whatever the reason, there will be no Christmas magic, and definitely NO mistletoe kisses.
But when Case actually starts talking to me–gasp!–and reveals the humor and kindness buried beneath his gruff persona, my little crush explodes into something a lot harder to hide.
Except he’s harboring secrets of his own.
And I’m starting to wonder if his cagey behavior is because he’s planning to take credit for my (admittedly brilliant) idea to make this town our central filming hub.
He’s not that kind of man … right?
All I wanted for Christmas was a promotion, and now I’m falling for the man who might be trying to steal it.

A Holly Jilly Christmas is a grumpy sunshine Christmas novella set in the world of Sheet Cake, Texas.You’ll get all the chemistry and laughs in this closed door romance.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

LOVED SO MUCH.

I have been chomping at the bit to get my hands on this book and when it dropped in my inbox I was on cloud 9. Emma St. Clair books never disappoint and I need y’all to had this to your holiday TBR’s. It is a GEM.

I adored Jillian and Case. It was the perfect forced proximity set-up. A car break-down, small town shenanigans that lead to more? Give it all to me. ALL. This is beyond filled with the best flirtatious banter that had me grinning like a fool and swooning to a puddle. I LOVED IT. Everything was perfectly timed and I can not even with a guy falls first scenario.

There’s a small dose of the holiday season that slides in well between the romance. I loved seeing a few characters from Sheet Cake (and wow, every time I read a book in this series do I want to go make sheet cake ASAP).

This is simple, light, and full of all the feel goodness you want this time of year. I loved every dang page.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance Novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mentions of loss of parents

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Two Bells of Christmas by Joanna Barker

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Holiday Regency Romance Novella
Length: 142 pages
Author: Joanna Barker
Publisher: Rose Petal Press
Release Date: November 21st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Christmas is the perfect time to fall in love—unless you’re pretending to be your twin sister.

Cassandra Bell is happy to stay in the shadow of her poised and proper twin sister. After all, her only goal for the Hastings’ Christmas house party is to not make a complete fool of herself. Vivian, however, has much higher aspirations—her heart is set on a proposal from the eligible Mr. Hastings himself. But when Vivian grows ill, she begs Cassie to switch places with her and keep the other conniving ladies away from Mr. Hastings. Cassie reluctantly takes on the role of her twin, certain the charade will end in disaster.

Anticipating a quiet Christmas in the country, Roland Hastings arrives home to learn his matchmaking mother has organized an entire house party to help him find a bride. The last thing Roland wants is to spend the Yuletide season fending off simpering ladies—that is, until he meets Miss Bell. Spunky and unconventional and refreshingly honest, Miss Bell sweeps into Roland’s heart like a whirlwind. A whirlwind he has no desire to escape.

Mr. Hastings is nothing like Cassie expected, and the closer she grows to her handsome host, the harder it becomes to hide her true self—and her true feelings. But falling in love was never part of the plan, especially since Roland believes she is someone else. With Vivian quickly recovering and the house party coming to a close, Cassie is torn between loyalty to her sister and the unexpected yearnings of her heart . . .

The Two Bells of Christmas is a sweet Regency romance novella that was previously published in the Timeless Regency Collection, A Christmas Promise. This edition has a bonus epilogue and new edits.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

LOOOOVED.

Joanna Barker’s books never let me down. Even her novellas are some of my favorites because she can captivate an audience beautifully with whatever romance she is writing. I AM HERE FOR IT ALWAYS.

I loved both of these characters. Roland and Cassie were the sweetest. There was plenty of interaction between them, lots of soft moments, and kisses in the snow. YAY.

The plot was handled amazingly too. I loved how the twin switch worked out between Cassie and her sister. I love when siblings love and take care of each other and this was no exception. Especially when the go get the girl line comes up? Done. I am a puddle of swoon.

All in all, perfect for the season. You’ll love these characters and this story and I hope it gives all the warm fuzzies it gave me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Holiday Novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: none

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