Happy Holiday season!! I have been very M.I.A. this past week… but I have resurrected from Finals Week hell. Thirty pages of research, five final exams, and two presentations later… and I am ALIVE, ready to destress and enjoy this holiday season. Holiday break is my favorite time of the year. It is a time for family, love, and that charming spirit this winter season brings. One of my favorite things to do this season (other than watch Love, Actually and The Holiday over and over) is to read endless books that have that enchanting, heartwarming feeling to get me into that holiday spirit. Here is what I’ll be reading this month, from charming Christmas tales to sexy romances to magical adventures abroad:
13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
For some reason, holiday break always has me daydreaming of a romantic getaway across seas (maybe because I watch The Holiday so much…where is my Jude Law?). The wanderlust is enchanting and gets me into that magical holiday spirit. If you’re like me, always dreaming of your next trip, then 13 Little Blue Envelopes is your next holiday read. Ginny Blackstone never thought she’d spend the summer backpacking across Europe, but that was before she opened the first little blue envelope from her Aunt Peg. Aunt Peg recently passed away, so Ginny’s curiosity sparks when she finds $1,000 cash for a passport and a plane ticket inside the envelope. With instructions on how to find the other twelve letters Aunt Peg wrote, Ginny quickly finds herself swept away by her first real adventure. Traveling from London to Edinburgh to Amsterdam and beyond, Ginny uncovers the letters from her aunt while also learning more about who she really was. Most importantly, Ginny’s traveling adventures help her discover more about herself. This is a novel that will make you feel that addicting, magical wanderlust spirit.
Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris
You can’t spend your holiday break without reading a thrilling page-turner by the fire. Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace… you know the type: good looking, wealthy, charming, elegant. Jack is a top-notch attorney who has never lost a case, while Grace is a beautiful homemaker and dedicated gardener and cook. You try not to like them, but you do. You cannot seem to find a flaw in Jack or Grace, for their charm just pulls you in. Jack and Grace are inseparable and you think it looks like true love. Except others wonder why Grace never answers the phone… or why she can never meet for coffee… or why she doesn’t work. Or why there are high security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows… Some wonder what truly goes on between the couple behind closed doors… Well, stay tuned.
Christmas in Paris – Anita Hughes
I had to put a charming holiday read on the list. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to daydream about a Christmas strolling the romantic Parisian streets? As Isabel Lawson, a Philadelphia finance woman, stares out at the sparkling lights of Champs-Elysees, she wonders if she has made a terrible mistake. A week before her wedding, she decided to call it off, realizing she wasn’t ready to trade in her city lifestyle to marry a guy who was about to take over his grandparent’s farm. So, Isabel decides to use the honeymoon tickets to Paris for herself, thinking it will be the perfect place to clear her head. That is until Isabel accidentally locks herself out on the balcony of her hotel in the middle of winter. Luckily for Isabel, her french neighbor Alec comes to the rescue, nursing his own broken heart this Christmas. As the two neighbor’s get to know each other and explore the charming streets of Paris during Christmas together, Isabel begins to question everything she thought was important. A moving story on love, self-discovery, and adventure, Christmas in Paris will leave you completely charmed.
Moonglow – Michael Chabon
Since it was just named the best book of 2016, I knew I finally had to give this novel a read. For historical fiction lovers, this one is your holiday read 2016. An autobiography-fiction, Moonglow starts off with a deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to as his grandfather. As Chabon listens to his grandfather recount the stories of madness, from war and adventure, to sex and marriage, to the technological advantages at midcentury, readers learn about the impact and creative power of keeping secrets and telling lies. Chabon’s powerful storytelling will make you feel the passion between the narrator’s grandfather and grandmother. Chabon also reveals secrets of his own imagination , from Jewish slums, to the invasion of Germany, to the space program of the American century. The novel packs in a whole era of a single life into one week, revealing truths of not only the narrator’s grandfather, but the society in which we live in.
Irresistibly Yours – Lauren Layne
Because we all need a little new adult romance during our winter breaks. Meet Cole Sharpe – the arrogant freelance sports editor at Oxford magazine. When Cole hears a full-time position has finally opened up, he figures he easily has the job. However, he soon finds out he has competition… female competition. Meet Penelope Pope – the beautiful tomboy who can hang with the dudes, writing riveting sports articles that has Cole worried about his chances. Cole can’t seem to take his eyes off the sassy rival. However, Penelope is determined to stay away from Cole, for she knows he is as arrogant as he is handsome. But why does he make her want to get back into the dating game? When an unexpected kiss leads to a night of passion, Penelope must figure out if their relationship is just a game to win the magazine position, or the real thing.
Christmas Days – Jeanette Winterson
Time to get into the holiday spirit with Winterson’s new collection of short stories. Christmas Days offers twelve imaginative, enchanting stories that will help you feel the spirit of the season. Winterson’s short stories cover the time of giving, the childlike wonder of the holiday, and the charming romance during the winter season. The perfect book for reading by the fire or traveling home for the holidays. This is your new Love, Actually transformed into a short story book.
Mrs. Hemingway – Naomi Wood
One of my favorite books of all time is Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife. I loved learning about the history of my favorite writer Ernest Hemingway from his first wife Hadley’s point of view. So I was pretty excited when I heard about Mrs. Hemingway. Wood’s new novel also focuses on Hemingway’s romantic life. However, instead of focusing on only Hadley’s story, Mrs. Hemingway addresses the story of each of Hemingway’s wives: Hadley, Pauline, Martha, and Mary. Told in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams, Mrs. Hemingway tells the true story of how it felt to love and be loved by the most famous writer of his generation. Spanning from bohemian Paris in the 20s to the Cold War in the 60s, this is a story of love, heartbreak, and passion.
Womanizer – Katy Evans
Callan Carmichael is the last man in his group of friends to find The One. His reputation sure doesn’t help…it screams “Caution! Womanizing Billionaire! Stay Away!” However, he can’t seem to stay away from his new intern, Olivia Roth, who so happens to be his best friend’s sister. Olivia Roth has never been drawn to a guy the way she is with Callan. She knows she should stay away, but their chemistry is irresistible. Pretty soon, Callan and Olivia’s emotions get the best of them and they cross that line between co-workers and lovers… between off-limits and hot hookup. Olivia promises that sex is as far as she’ll go. No relationships and absolutely no falling for him. No one can know their secret. He isn’t The One. He’s just a womanizer…
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst
The story starts with a dinner party invitation. When young journalist Thomas Clearly is sent to investigate a legendary film producer to write his obituary, he encounter’s the man’s quirky daughter who offers him exclusive access to Hollywood society. As Thomas enters a new world of private jets, spectacular mansions, and even bigger egos, his life and writing career takes a turn beyond his wildest imagination. Then he meets Matilda Duplaine, the beautiful and mysterious daughter from a wealthy Hollywood family. Thomas is intrigued by Matilda’s eccentric character and the two begin a secret love affair. However, the more he uncovers Matilda’s identity, the more he realizes that privilege comes with a price…
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
This is a charming novel from the same author of bestseller A Man Called Ove (if you haven’t read his debut novel, I highly recommend it for this holiday break too!). With similar heartwarming emotions as Tuesdays with Morrie, Backman’s second novel focuses on the relationship between a seven-year-old named Elsa and her crazy grandmother. Elsa is different, and her grandmother is even more different… as in stands on balconies and fires paintballs at strangers different. However, her grandmother is Elsa’s best and only friend. She loves listening to her crazy stories where everyone is different and nobody needs to be normal to live a fulfilling life. When Elsa’s grandmother passes away, she leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged in her lifetime. And so, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Following the letters’ instructions, Elsa encounters apartments full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and other crazy people Elsa has only heard about in her grandmother’s stories. Through her journey to apologize to these people, Elsa learns the truth about her grandmother and her fairytale stories. This is a story about life and death, and most importantly, how important it is to be different.
HAPPY READING AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!