This happens every November - my book count goes way down because I get so caught up in Christmas prep. In November, I read 7 - but a few of them were short stories or novellas. The Rick O'Shea Book Club books for the month were One by Sarah Crossan and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, I downloaded A Little Life but I didn't get to it. I had already read One, you can find my Goodreads review here.
Review CopiesI still have a couple of books left on my Netgalley shelves that I'd like to clear by January at the latest, but I got through three in November.
The Mince Pie Mix-Up by Jennifer Joyce
A Christmas themed body-swap story in which a wife and husband get to live each other's lives for two weeks to see just how easy the other one really has it. A short book, under 200 pages, forgettable but nice for an afternoon.
Bella's Christmas Bake-Off by Sue Watson
Amy and Bella used to be childhood friends, but they fell out of touch. Bella now has her own Nigella-style cookery show, but when Amy discovers that Bella has been plagiarising Amy's mothers recipes for a new book, she vows to confront her and wins a competition to spend Christmas with her. Took a while to get going but a nice festive read.
The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Three year old identical twin Coco Jackson went missing during the weekend of her property mogul father's 50th Birthday celebrations. The book goes back and forth between that weekend and the weekend of Sean Jackson's funeral, and slowly reveals the truth about what happened to Coco. If you haven't read any of Alex's books, please do yourself a favour and get at least one - she's a fantastic crime/thriller writer.
Other Christmas Themed BooksI read three other Christmas themed books in November.
What Happens at Christmas by T.A. Williams
Holly Brice finds herself in a sleepy Dartmoor village a few weeks before Christmas to sort out her estranged father's estate when he dies. Holly wants to find out more about him, but ends up making some new friends too. An easy read, not perfect, but enjoyable enough. More of a journey of discovery than a Christmassy fiction.
The Christmas Bake-Off by Abby Clements
I had read a few of Abby's books before, and I found this short story for free on Amazon. It's a very quick read about a bake-off in a local village hall, including celeb judges and sabotage.
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan
This was my first Jenny Colgan read and I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I assumed it would be a relaxing, easy read but it had an enormous number of characters and several different arcs from an old man reliving his past to an accident to family coming for Christmas - I just found it hard to concentrate on and it didn't have a great flow. At nearly 400 pages it felt like a chore at times.
After You by Jojo Moyes
I really love Jojo Moyes and I was delighted to hear that she was writing a sequel to a book I love very much, Me Before You. In this book, we revisit Louisa and discover that she's not getting on very well after losing Will. I found this to be a very sensitive, honest portrayal of grief and was probably crying about ten pages in. It does contain one of my most hated story arcs of all time (I don't want to ruin it but it's about her 'visitor' - ugh), but when I was able to get past that I enjoyed it.
That's it! December isn't looking great for reading either, but I'll soldier on and I'll update challenge info at the end of the year! I'm currently at a total of 138 books for 2015, will I make it to 150? Who knows....