I spent most of last week in El Paso, where the weather hit seventy degrees almost everyday. And then I got back to Wisconsin, where it was nearly sixty. We’ve had only one tiny dusting of snow that lasted about three hours, and that was a month ago, so I’m feeling a little disassociated, weather-wise, as I prepare for the holidays. (It’s twenty degrees right now, so I guess we’re headed in the right direction.)
Having grown up in El Paso, I know that the season doesn’t depend on snow (of course!), and it was nice to get back to my roots, with Southwest-themed Christmas decorations and an abundance of luminarias lit against adobe and a desert backdrop. But I have become slightly spoiled over the last decade in Wisconsin, where White Christmases were the rule rather than the exception.
However, the important pieces are in place. Younger son is home for his winter break, elder son lives in town now, so they’ll be home to open presents (yay!). While I was celebrating my mom’s birthday in Texas, the awesome husband put up the tree and house lights and even wrapped some presents to pile under the branches. And, since he and elder son are huge Star Wars fans (younger son and I are slightly less, umm, obsessed passionate), we have advance tickets for The Last Jedi. (That’s a new Christmas tradition, isn’t it? New Star Wars films?)
I haven’t had the chance to read too many Christmas books yet this year. I’ve already mentioned A Christmas to Remember, the wonderful anthology by Lisa Kleypas, Vivienne Lorret, Megan Frampton and Lorraine Heath (Kirkus review here) and the LGBTQ anthology If The Fates Allow (review here).
Top of my “if I could find the time to read them, I would” list is Kieran Kramer’s Christmas at Two Love Lane; Anita Hughes’ Christmas in London (I adored last year’s Christmas in Paris - review here); and Nina Lane’s Sweet Life (which releases next week and rounds out her Sugar Rush series, a lighter, more fun alternative to her amazing Spiral of Bliss titles. (Full disclosure, Nina is a close IRL friend, but I love her writing and her books, and I’m happy to see her with a Christmas title, yay!)
Of course there are the Christmas standards: RaeAnne Thayne always has a delightful Christmas-themed release, and this year’s Sugar Pine Trail even has my dream Victorian house on its snowy cover!
For some people, Christmas just isn’t the season without their yearly Debbie Macomber holiday title, and this year’s Merry and Bright looks adorable, with a Christmas romance that starts online and looks quite promising, yet may not survive when the two potential sweethearts realize they already know—and aren’t too fond of—each other.
Sheila Roberts has practically made a Christmas cottage industry (sorry, couldn’t resist) out of her Icicle Falls series, which she’ll be ending with this year’s release, Christmas in Icicle Falls. Still, my favorite of Roberts’ books remains The Nine Lives of Christmas, which focuses on a cat and the couple he plays matchmaker for in hopes he’ll find a warm home for Christmas. Dogs are very popular romance and Christmas fiction fare, but this was the first book I found written from the perspective of a cat!
Samantha Chase rounded out her Shaughnessy brothers series with a sweet (yet sexy!) Christmas tale that released in November, Holiday Spice, aka sister Darcy’s story (review here), plus she has another seasonal title with her novella, A Very Married Christmas. She’s also celebrating the release of a past book, The Christmas Cottage, as a Hallmark Christmas movie this Saturday. Congratulations, Samantha! xo
Jill Shalvis’ Chasing Christmas Eve might be my favorite Heartbreaker Bay so far, when enigmatic millionaire falls for YA novelist Colbie Albright (review here), and she too has a Christmas novella, Holiday Wishes, which looks like a second-chance-at-love storyline.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas reading, if nothing else!
So what about you? What great holiday titles have you discovered this season, or what are some of your all-time faves?
If you’re as much of a Christmas romance fan as I am, then you might want to check out these and some other great authors who’ll be taking part in the Holiday Author Open House at the Romance of Reading Facebook page this Saturday, December 9th from 10 to 7 (Eastern).
Authors taking part and the books they’ll be highlighting are:
Kieran Kramer - Christmas at Two Love Lane; Vivienne Lorret & Megan Frampton -
A Christmas to Remember; Nina Lane - Sweet Life; Sheila Roberts - Christmas in Icicle Falls; RaeAnne Thayne - Sugar Pine Trail & The Rancher's Christmas Song; Anita Hughes - Christmas in London; Erin Finnegan, Pene Henson, Lilah Suzanne, Lynn Charles - If the Fates Allow; Maisey Yates - Christmastime Cowboy; BJ Daniels - Cowboy’s Legacy; Katharine Ashe & Caroline Linden - At The Christmas Wedding; Regan Walker - A Secret Scottish Christmas; Jen Doyle - Holiday House Call; Shannon Stacey - Hold Her Again; Roxanne Snopek - Saving the Sheriff; Jamie Beck - Unexpectedly Hers; Susan Sands - Christmas, Alabama; Pamela Yaye - Seduced By the Tycoon at Christmas; Manda Collins - With This Christmas Ring.
Hope you can join us!