Book Reviews

November 2020 Book Review

Happy December 1st! Did anyone else wake up with a little extra pep in their step today?! The advent calendar is set, our elf has returned and has a slew of treats for the kids to open each day, and it was freezing cold this morning with a chance of snow this week. I love every single moment of this month and the build-up to this magical season is even better than the actual holiday to me. Anyone else? I’m a true lover of all holiday eves. The building and the excitement is so special to me!

And with the start of a new month, it’s time to share just what I’ve been reading this past month and share some of my thoughts on the reads. For November, I shared that I would be reading all holiday books to share with you in enough time for you to get your paws on them before Christmas. So let’s be real, I’ve been fully immersed in the Christmas spirit since November 1st. 🙂

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

First up was such a clever idea for a holiday book. It wasn’t your typical Hallmark-type love story like most Christmas reads tend to be. This book was a fiction read all about how the brilliant Charles Dickens came up with the idea for his ever-so-popular novel, A Christmas Carol.

At the start of the story, Dickens is facing declining book sales, an ultimatum from his publishing team, and an ever-growing family that is essentially facing the poorhouse. He’s being forced to write a Christmas story or he’ll be dropped and forced to pay back more money than he currently has in his bank. With little motivation, focus, and positive attitude, life slowly unravels around him. What comes is an adventure to curate one of the most beloved Christmas stories, and him finding the true meaning of Christmas himself.

I know so little about Charles Dickens, but I’ve read that Silva weaves in fiction and non-fiction into this story, adding true details about this time in Dickens’ life. What I wouldn’t give to know the whole story! But the guessing and assumptions are almost as fun as knowing the truth.

There are parts of this story that disgusted me a bit and I was extremely disappointed in our character’s moral compass, but the end tied everything together so well and had me feeling all the warm Christmas feelings. It comes together as well as the Carol itself, finding the true meaning of Christmas amid some of the most troubling times. Sounds like something we all could use a little of right now!

**If you are more of a book on tape person, I’ve heard that the audio on this book is wonderful! Some even say it’s the best they’ve heard. Could be a great one to listen to as you are wrapping gifts or baking some cookies this season.**

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I’ve never read any of the books in the Shopaholic series, but I think I may just start after the holiday season. Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is suddenly in charge of hosting 12 people for Christmas this year and is overwhelmed with a slew of requests from everyone requiring their personal traditions (i.e. piñata, three types of stuffing, all plastic-free, ethical shopping products, etc.).

I would equate Becky as a Lucille Ball-type character, that seems to find herself in pretty funny situations that just bring a smile to your face and have you realizing that everything Becky does, she does with a heart of gold. Although superficial at first, she’s such a solid character that has so many layers to her. As the book unfolds, you can’t help but love her!

The premise isn’t deep by any stretch. And for awhile, I felt like the books could have been a solid 100 pages shorter. HOWEVER, I was actually crying happy tears at the end. I finished it with a smile on my face and a heart a little more warm. Isn’t that just what you need in a Christmas book? I really loved this book. Stick with it…I promise it will be worth it!

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Okay, here it is. The far-fetched love story that takes place in a beautiful snowy cabin in Utah with a family of beautiful characters with immense hearts and a love of Christmas. It’s the quintessential holiday romance novel and I gobbled it up in about 3 days.

Maelynn makes a little drunken mistake on her family’s traditional Christmas vacation together with the Hollis family. She’s already in a not-so-great point of her life, and now she think she’s blown it with the man she loves. But fate has a little different plan and throws her into a “Groundhog’s Day” time loop, where she keeps restarting the vacation. She has the ability to change the course of her trip and get what she’s really looking for.

The characters are so darling, even the more background characters. You can’t help fall in love with the leads of the story and you just root them on to find what will truly make them happy. This is a great holiday read, a cute story, and something that you can easily read in your coziest spot by your tree. I think this might be one of my favorite Christmassy books!

I have some great stories already loaded up on my Kindle, but I’m going to keep on this Christmas book kick for another month. These books did the perfect job of putting me in the Christmas spirit, taking my mind off the seriousness of the world, and adding a little more warmth to my night. Any great recommendations? I’m thinking about finally reading One Day in December. Anything else?

See you back here for a little holiday home tour this week!

xx Rachel


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