read-a-thon · TBR

December TBR (Merry Bookmas Edition)

The most magical time of the year is upon us! This month In December I’ll be participating in a couple of month long readathons and the first one is the Merry Bookmas readathon hosted by Completely Melanie on Youtube and two of her friends. This readathon is food based and I had a fun time coming up with a book for each treat.

I managed to get a couple of review copies on here, a few of my 22 in 2022 books (that I will sadly fail at completing) and of course some festive holiday reads. I also have a spinner wheel on my phone that has the vast amount of unread holiday books on my TBR that I will be using throughout the month.

Sugar Cookie- Read something sweet or a comfort read

A feel-good, holiday-themed romantic comedy about identical twins who switch lives in the days leading up to Christmas–perfect for fans of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze and Josie Silver’s One Day in December.

All they want for Christmas is a different life.

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?

Candy Canes- Read a book with red or white on the cover

This book releases on April 18, 2023

From bestselling author Teresa Driscoll comes a chilling thriller of past secrets and present terror. Deep in a rural hideaway, it’s only the owls watching them…right?

After a betrayal that sent their marriage into freefall, Hannah and Sam are desperate for a fresh start with their eight-year-old daughter Lily—and where better than picture-perfect Owl Cottage in beautiful Cornwall. But something about the holiday home stirs dark memories for Hannah…

When she finds dead creatures on the doorstep and hears mysterious knocks at the door, Hannah can’t help wondering whether someone is messing with her—or whether the past she’s been running from has finally claimed her sanity.

As the disturbing events at Owl Cottage seep out into the local community and the police become involved, Hannah turns to Sam for help, but when he dismisses her worries, she wonders if she was wrong to ever trust him. Are the memories making her paranoid, or is this something more sinister than she dares imagine?

Hot Chocolate- Read something that will make you hot (steamy or angry)

Greg Wong hates when things don’t go according to plan, so he definitely doesn’t appreciate it when his mother insists he drive Tasha Edwards back to Mosquito Bay for the Christmas holidays. He likes peace and quiet when he’s in the car, and that’s the opposite of what he’ll get with Tasha, his high school sweetheart. The first woman he ever loved.

Not that he has feelings for her now. Of course not. Though while he’s trying not to smile at her laughter and terrible singing, he can’t help noticing how beautiful she is.

And then his plans veer further off course when a snowstorm forces them to spend the night in an unheated motel room with only one bed…

Eggnog- read a book you’re not sure about

*This one really stumped me and the only thing I wound up thinking of was Grady Hendrix. I gave one of his book five stars and the other one I read got two stars but I might honestly drop it down to one star because the more I think about it the more I dislike it.

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

Gingerbread– a book with one or more people on the cover

I have put this on an embarrassing number of TBR’s this year and I figured this was my last chance to actually get it done this year.

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

Yule log Cake- A book with magic

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms. 

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary. 

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

Holiday Pudding- Read a holiday book

A rich, eccentric family. A time-honored tradition. Or a lethal game of survival? One woman finds out what it really takes to join the 1% in this riveting psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water, Mr. Nobody, and The Disappearing Act. 

Harry is a novelist on the brink of stardom; Edward, her husband-to-be, is seemingly perfect. In love and freshly engaged, their bliss is interrupted by the reemergence of the Holbecks, Edward’s eminent family and the embodiment of American old money. For years, they’ve dominated headlines and pulled society’s strings, and Edward left them all behind to forge his own path. But there are eyes and ears everywhere. It was only a matter of time before they were pulled back in . . .

After all, even though he’s long severed ties with his family, Edward is set to inherit it all. Harriet is drawn to the glamour and sophistication of the Holbecks, who seem to welcome her with open arms, but everything changes when she meets Robert, the inescapably magnetic head of the family. At their first meeting, Robert slips Harry a cassette tape, revealing a shocking confession which sets the inevitable game in motion.

What is it about Harry that made him give her that tape? A thing that has the power to destroy everything? As she ramps up her quest for the truth, she must endure the Holbecks’ savage Christmas traditions all the while knowing that losing this game could be deadly.

Sugar Plums- Read a fairytale, classic, or retelling

With A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens created a modern fairy tale and shaped our ideas of Christmas. The tale of the solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of the season by a series of ghostly visitors and given a second chance, was conjured up by Dickens during one of his London night walks, who “wept and laughed” as he composed it. Taken to readers’ hearts for its humour, compassion and message of redemption, it remains its best-loved book.

Fruitcake- Read a book with LGBTQIA+ rep

Kiskeya Burgos left the tropical beaches of the Dominican Republic with a lot to prove. As a pastry chef on the come up, when she arrives in Scotland, she has one goal in mind: win the Holiday Baking Challenge. Winning is her opportunity to prove to her family, her former boss, and most importantly herself, she can make it in the culinary world. Kiskeya will stop at nothing to win , that is, if she can keep her eyes on the prize and off her infuriating teammate’s perfect lips.

Sully Morales, home cooking hustler, and self-proclaimed baking brujita lands in Scotland on a quest to find her purpose after spending years as her family’s caregiver. But now, with her home life back on track, it’s time for Sully to get reacquainted with her greatest love, baking. Winning the Holiday Baking Challenge is a no brainer if she can convince her grumpy AF baking partner that they make a great team both in and out of the kitchen before an unexpected betrayal ends their chance to attain culinary competition glory.

Reindeer Chow- read a book with an animal on the cover or in the story

*I figured this was the perfect time to pick this chunker back up. With all the Christmas wrapping and baking and all the other endless tasks this stream of consciousness novel will the perfect companion.

LATTICING one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of “happy couples”, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans?

A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder—and a revolution in the novel.

It’s also very, very funny.

Popcorn Garland- read the group book

From international bestselling author Emily McIntire comes a dark and delicious fractured fairy tale reimagining of Peter Pan. 

He wants revenge, but he wants her more…

James has always had one agenda: destroy his enemy, Peter Michaels. When Peter’s twenty-year-old daughter Wendy shows up in James’s bar, he sees his way in. Seduce the girl and use her for his revenge. It’s the perfect plan, until things in James’s organization begin to crumble. Suddenly, he has to find the traitor in his midst, and his plan for revenge gets murkier as James starts to see Wendy as more than just a pawn in his game.

Wendy has been cloistered away most of her life by her wealthy cold father, but a spontaneous night out with friends turns into an intense and addictive love affair with the dark and brooding James. As much as she knows James is dangerous, Wendy can’t seem to shake her desire for him. But as their relationship grows more heated and she learns more about the world he moves in, she finds herself unsure if she’s falling for the man known as James or the monster known as Hook.

Hooked is a dark contemporary romance and the first complete standalone in the Never After Series: A collection of fractured fairy tales where the villains get the happy ever after. It is not a literal retelling and not fantasy. Hooked features mature themes and content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised. For all content warnings, check the author’s website.

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