When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell–both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.
With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician’s assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
If you are craving a holiday baking completion meets a book with a setting like Gilmore Girls meets The Parent Trap/sister-switching-places shenanigans, look no further than Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap.
The Holiday Swap follows identical twin sisters, Cass and Charlie, who both need a break from their careers and decide to switch places for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. After Charlie, a co-host of a popular Christmas baking completion show, has an accident at work that leads her to lose her sense of taste & smell, she convinces Cass, who is running their small-town, family-owned bakery during the busiest time of year, to switch places. As the twins step into each other’s shoes (& baking aprons), Cass and Charlie make some big realizations about their sister’s life…and yes, might develop some feelings for a local fireman and physical’s assistant along the way.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
When Christina Lauren announced that they would be coming out with a HOLIDAY romance earlier this year, the contemporary romance & holiday fangirl that I am ran to add it to my TBR. I know readers are divided on CLO’s newer releases (the division seems to be around their books published pre-2019 vs. during 2019), but I have personally loved their newer releases, The Unhoneymooners, Twice in a Blue Moon, and The Honey-Don’t List all included. In a Holidaze seems to be another CLo release that readers either LOVED or felt meh about, but I’m so, so happy to report that I absolutely loved this one! I plan on doing a ‘ranking my favorite CLo books’ post one day (I still need to read a bit more of their backlist), but just know In a Holidaze is for sure in my top five favorites.
In a Holidaze is a holiday romance, following Mae and her family’s annual vacation to a family friends’ cabin in Utah for the week leading up to Christmas. The week at the cabin is always Mae’s favorite time of the year, with her immediate family coming together to hang out with her parents’ college friends and their families. Mae’s favorite week of the year soon becomes her least favorite when she drunkenly makes out with the son of her mom’s best friend, Theo, while harboring feelings for Theo’s older brother, Andrew. On top of all that, Andrew and Theo’s parents share at the end of the trip that they plan on selling the cabin. On the way to the airport, Mae finds herself wishing for her to figure out what make her happy and after a freak accident, she finds herself transported back in time to the beginning of the trip.
I 100% admit that I was also hesitant going into In a Holidaze because I’m usually not a fan of the time loop plot trope, but it totally worked for me in this book! It wasn’t repeated as much as I thought it would be, and even when Mae began a new loop, I love how CLo just jumped ahead to where we left off the first time. Read More »
Trust me when I say that Michael Bublé’s Christmas album is most definitely playing on my Spotify right now as I write this holiday TBR. I usually save my holiday reading and watching for November & December anyway, but I think we could all use some early holiday cheer this year, to say the least.
I haven’t dug too deeply into holiday TV and movies just yet – I did watch the first episode of the current season of Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network and Holidate on Netflix. I’ll probably share more of my thoughts on the latter in my November wrap up, but this movie wasn’t as Christmas-y as I thought it would be (which I guess makes me feel less guilty for watching a Christmas movie already during the first week in November). It was also unfortunately on the ‘stupid comedy’ side of cheesy Christmas movies. At this rate, I should probably do a post on upcoming holiday movies coming out this year, but I’m actually not too excited about this year’s new release lineup? I’m most looking forward to the second season of Sugar Rush Christmas on Netflix, and I will be checking out the second Princess Switch movie and Dash & Lily. Knowing me, I will check out more of Netflix’s Christmas movies and a cable one or two, but I have a feeling I’ll be relying on some old favorites this year.
Back to the books, I’ll be sharing the holiday-inspired reads I’ll be reading in November and December!
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – I am so excited that one of everyone’s favorite contemporary romance authors, Christina Lauren, have come out with their first holiday romance! I’m having trouble tracking down physical copy from my county library, but I do have a e-copy on hold from the Libby that I should be getting access to later in November or early December.
Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date #4) by Jasmine Guillory – Yes, I will be continuing to read The Wedding Date companion series out or order, but it is 110% worth it because this fourth installment is holiday-inspired! I admit that I haven’t read too much of the synopsis, other than the fact that it takes place in England, but it really doesn’t matter because I’m just looking forward to checking out Jasmine Guillory’s holiday take on this world. I’ll likely end up reading The Wedding Party (book #3) before I read Royal Holiday, aka the perfect excuse for a series binge-read!Read More »
The holiday season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely love getting into the festive spirit and listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album. Although I couldn’t be more than excited for the new year ahead, I admit that I still have a little bit of the holiday spirit in me- how could I not when Arthur Christmas was just added on Netflix?? I have a few bookish and fangirl gifts that were generously given to me by Santa (aka my family) this Christmas that I have to look forward to using and reading in 2020.
Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu
Rebel is the much anticipated follow-up fourth novel to Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy. The Legend trilogy were the first Marie Lu books that I had ever read. They still remain as my favorite Marie Lu series. I had intended to reread Legend, Prodigy, and Champion in 2019, but I’ll be 100% honest and admit that I ended up not in the mood to reread them this past fall. Rebel can apparently be read as a standalone, but I really want to re-familiarize myself with this world. One of my reading goals for January and February is reread all three books and then dive into Rebel.
The Risk and The Play (Briar U #2 and Briar U #3) by Elle Kennedy
Elle Kennedy is one of favorite new adult authors, having loved her Off-Campus series and really enjoying the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase. Briar U is the spin-off series to Off-Campus. Both books are set at the fictional Briar University and follow relationships between a wide cast of female characters and male Briar U hockey players. I absolutely love sports romance, so I knew I needed to continue on with the Briar U series with The Risk and The Play. Each of these books can be read as a standalone, as they follow different couples in the Briar U world. However, I personally like reading each book in publication order because Elle Kennedy often features previous main characters. I decided to ask for these books for Christmas because my library unfortunately does not have the Briar U series and I already own The Chase.
Although I am a firm believer that the Christmas spirit can be found anytime of year, I especially love bringing some holiday cheer to my TBR in December. I love reading holiday or Christmas-inspired books during this season to fully embrace the holidays, a cup of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket included. I have two holiday books on my TBR for this year, Cynthia Hand’s The Afterlife of Holly Chase and Josie Silver’s One Day in December—which also means give me all of your holiday book recommendations in the comments!
Since I’m always on the hunt for a holiday book, I will be discussing all of the holiday-inspired books that I’ve read over the past few years, along with a few favorite books of mine that feature holiday scenes for your own holiday TBR hunting purposes.
Let It Snow by Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson & John Green-Let It Snow is hot on everyone’s holiday book radar this year, thanks to its recent Netflix adaptation. Let It Snow is always the first holiday book that comes to my mind, being that it was one of my first ever YA books back in elementary school. I’ve read it at least two times, and I have some more reread motivation thanks to Netflix.
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins- Another YA holiday book classic, My True Love Gave to Me is made up of twelve holiday short stories from twelve YA authors. Each story is so cute and has its own little quirks. Last Christmas, I went back and reread a few of my favorite stories. I would love for Jenny Han’s story, “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Be,” to be turned into a full book, and Rainbow Rowell’s “Midnights” is now also featured in her two story collection, Almost Midnight.
Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan- Although technically the sequel to Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, Christmas at the Cupcake Café can be read as a standalone. I have much love for the first book, so this Christmas fangirl was more than excited to reunite with this world following a woman’s adventure opening a cupcake bakery. As expected, there was so many Christmas-y desserts, and Jenny Colgan included recipes to some of them! This book is also partially set in New York City, allowing readers to get a taste of the city winter wonderland.
Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm- Considering that I consider myself to be a holiday book conssieur, I was pleasantly surprised last year when I picked up Stephanie Kate Strohm’s Prince in Disguise last December, only to find it out that it takes place during Christmas! If you love books about weddings, royalty, or Christmas (or like me, all three put together), look no further than Prince in Disguise. The book follows Dylan, who is whisked away to Scotland for the holidays to serve as maid of honor in her reality TV star sister’s wedding to a Scottish laird-to-be.
My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff- If there’s one book that deserves ALL the stars for its festive spirit, it’s Shani Petroff’s My New Crush Gave to Me! The book follows Charlie’s mission to find the perfect Secret Santa gifts for her crush. Charlie spends the season experining new and old Christmas traditions, as well as celebrating Hanukah with her best friend.
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston- This 2019 holiday-inspired release has deservedly been on the top of everyone’s holiday TBRs as well. 10 Blind Dates is another book that deserves all the stars for its holiday mood, as Sophie spends Christmas with her entire extended family while also, as the title suggests, being set-up on ten holiday-inspired dates.
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak-Seven Days of Us follows one very dysfunctional family’s Christmas, having to stay inside quarantined. Although I loved its family focus, I wish there had been a touch more of the holiday spirit.
Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Graynor & Heather Webb-Last Christmas in Paris is the perfect blend for holiday and historical fiction fans. The book takes place during World War I and is told over a series of letters and other exchanges between a couple separated by war.
What Light by Jay Asher- I admit that I don’t remember much about Jay Asher’s What Light, but why wouldn’t I enjoy a book that takes place on a Christmas tree farm??
Books with Christmas Scenes
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- If you’re not the biggest fan of holiday books but still want some festivity in your reading life, the season makes for one of the best times of the year to read or reread Harry Potter. Each book involves chapter(s) set during Christmas.
Rainbow Rowell: Landline, Carry On, Fangirl, and Eleanor & Park– It’s probably no coincidence that my favorite author happens to have so many books that feature scenes during the holidays. Whether you’re looking to read the entire book or just reread the holiday scenes, I’ve broken down where and how each book interweaves Christmas
Landline– Set during Christmas time
Carry On– Christmas-y chapters, about half way through the book
Fangirl – Chapter 20
Eleanor and Park– Chapters 32-33
What holiday books have you read? Any of the above? Share in the comments!
Summary (from the publisher): Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Ashley Elston’s 10 Blind Dates made my TBR radar earlier in 2019 thanks to its holidays-inspired premise. As many as you know, I love when books incorporate one of my non-bookish faves. And Christmas is definitely a favorite interest of mine. I am proud to admit though that I have been fully embracing fall and Halloween this year by decorating my dorm room and purposely buying a Halloween costume. But never fear, my Christmas decorations are at the ready. Anyway, I also wanted to read 10 Blind Dates because I wanted to read more of Ashley Elston’s work. Although I enjoyed it, I wasn’t a super fan of her This Is Our Story as much as I hoped to be given the hype. However, I was really excited to embrace her first true contemporary story.
10 Blind Dates follows Sophie’s holiday break at her grandparents’ house in the next town over, after deciding to stay home while her parents visit her very pregnant sister three hours away in South Louisiana. Sophie couldn’t wait to get some alone time with her long-time boyfriend, Griffin- until she’s overhears him talking at a party about breaking up with her. With a big family who wants nothing but happiness for Sophie, her cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles set Sophie set her up on ten blind dates.
One of my favorite parts of 10 Blind Dates was of course Sophie’s crazy extended family. There are a lot of family members, but Ashley Elston does a really nice job of reminding readers who is who and focusing on the ones who are most central to the plot. Sophie’s Nonna was my favorite family member, creating the blind date idea and having homemade cannolis ready at the go. Living with her grandparents also allows Sophie to reconnect with her childhood best friends and cousins Charlie and Olivia (not to mention their best friend and neighbor, Wes).
While the new year is such a refreshing time, this fangirl is still getting over her Christmas spirit. Christmas time is always a good time for this reader and fangirl. While I wasn’t expecting too many fangirlish presents from Santa (my family) this year, I was so surprised, excited and fortunate enough to receive the following bookish and fangirl items.
I didn’t go all out asking for books on Christmas list this year, mostly because I’m running out of bookshelf space and your girl loves supporting her local library.
Summary:In the standalone sequel to Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, Issy Randall couldn’t be happier and more in love. Business at the Cupcake Café is thriving, close friends surround her, and her relationship with Austin is in the perfect place–except that he’s in New York City for work right before Christmas. When Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to consider a long-distance romance and the fate of her bakery.
Summary:As the younger sister of the former Miss Mississippi and reality TV show star of Prince in Disguise, life feels real enough for Dylan. But since Dusty’s wedding to Scottish laird-to-be, Ronan, is going to be aired on the show, maid of honor and camera-shy Dylan finds herself in front of the camera as well. As she is whisked off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the big day, Dylan begins to discover that the show’s producers has even more surprises in store, including family secrets, long-lost relatives, and Dusty’s future-mother-in-law who decidedly doesn’t think Dylan’s sister is good enough for her son. At least Dylan has Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsmen, to relieve some of her stress… unless the show plans on making Dylan her own reality TV sensation.
Summary:For the first time in years, the entire Birch family will be under roof for Christmas. And it’s only slightly because they have to. Andrew and Emily’s daughter, Olivia, who is often off saving the world, is forced to stay in quarantine for a week after treating an epidemic abroad… and her family should stay in quarantine too. For the next seven days, the Birches will be cut off from humanity- including decent Wi-Fi, in their aging country estate. While younger daughter Phoebe focuses on her upcoming wedding, Olivia struggles to accumulate herself into her family’s life, especially as Andrew and Emily hide their own secrets.