The week between Christmas and New Year’s often feels like a time warp. The kids are still out of school, but work goes on, and what day is it again?
Though Christmas is over, the decorations are still hung and a pile of Christmas-y sweets is taking up a whole corner of the kitchen (holiday baking is kind of my jam, y’all). If you’re still in the holiday mood and looking for some fun holidays-ish reads during this strange week, cozy up next to the tree, grab the recommended treats, and read on.
Book: Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban, Young Adult but perfect for adults, too.
Treat: Best paired with peppermint hot cocoa and molasses cookies, but any cookies will do.
What makes it great? Francie’s family is the center of all things Christmas in Hollydale. They run a shop, host a Santa school, and help Santa appear on a local cable access show each year. With Francie in her first semester at a new school, she’s struggling to keep up her old friendships while dealing with the resurgence of a bullying campaign aimed at her and her epic fail of a first kiss. Add an overbearing aunt possibly trying to take over the family business, a super stressed out dad, two wild brothers, a baking Gram, a cyborg-ish intern, and Francie has a lot on her plate (other than Christmas cookies, of course). But what makes this fun Christmas-time romp truly great is that there is always depth to Urban’s novels. Talk Santa has a misleadingly lighthearted title, and while there is plenty of lighthearted Christmas joy, fun, and light, there is also the depth that makes the characters feel real and the plot believable. As one character says, what makes a kiss mean something is that it must be of consequence. This plot is of consequence, so that the reader truly cares about what happens to Francie and her family. It’s heartwarming, heart-tugging, and just full of heart in the most un-cyncical, non-saccharine way.
Book: The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews, adult fiction
Treat: Snowcream, if you live somewhere with snow. Vanilla ice cream stirred smooth will do in a pinch.
What makes it great? Andrews once again combines an intriguing mystery with relatable, well-developed characters that readers will want to befriend. Old houses, snowy landscapes, a chicken coop project, and a mysterious Santa suit will keep readers hooked from the very start. You can read my full review here.
Book: The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan, adult fiction
Treat: Mulled wine/spiced cider and shortbread cookies
What makes it great? Colgan makes me want to visit Scotland with every book, but The Christmas Bookshop makes me want to visit at Christmas-time. With adorably quirky children, a flawed yet relatable main character, and the gorgeous descriptions of Edinburgh in December, this novel is irresistible. Add in a hefty dose of book love and the Christmas movie trope of saving a local business, this delightful read is enchanting.