What I Read This Week: December 5, 2021

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Hello and welcome to the first Sunday in December. I did a lot of reading this week because I was sick for a few days. I managed to finish eight books!

Also this week I discovered that Santa erotica is a romance sub-genre so I had to give that a try, since it’s Christmas time!

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Contemporary romance

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This is my book club’s December pick. It’s a charming novel with a supernatural spin. The women in Sabrina’s family can see ghosts and help them find peace so they can move on. She’s shared this with men in her past, only to be rejected. So when things start going well with Ray, she’s determined to keep this part of herself secret. This is a fun book about accepting you are worthy of love. I recommend it for romance readers.

Prose Before Bros by Cathy Yardley

Contemporary romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book four in the Green Valley Library series, which is a spin off from the Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. The last book in this series had no tension and this one is nothing but! Thuy has come to this small Tennessee town with her best friend Maddy to support her after her father’s death. She doesn’t expect to stay in the town and she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Maddy’s brother who is a member of a dangerous motorcycle gang. This book is packed with action and emotion. It’s a heavy story, about gangs and violence, and familial abuse. I highly recommend it for readers of romance.

The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson

Memoir/Audiobook

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I read this book on the recommendation of a family member who heard the author interviewed on a podcast. We were expecting the book to be darkly hilarious and heavy. While it does cover heavy subjects and has moments of humor, it wasn’t what I was expecting. The author doesn’t go very deep in some areas, particularly in regard to her feelings for her mother or the abuse she suffered. I respect that as her choice, but it leaves a lot of gaps and I felt unsatisfied when the book was finished. I never felt emotionally connected to to the author and most of that was her narration of the audiobook. My family member said on the podcast the author was very animated and emotional when talking about the book, but the narration was flat and felt like she was reading it instead of relaying her life story. There are definitely powerful moments here, and the overall message is one of resilience and perseverance. I recommend it for memoir readers and I say skip the audio and pick up a physical copy.

A Very Grumpy Christmas by Jerica MacMillan

Holiday romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. Sarah is the manager of the family business, Christmas Emporium, and sometimes works as one of Santa’s elves. She lives for Christmas year round. Her neighbor Shane has slammed his door in her face and appears to be a real life Grinch. But then he shows up to see Santa with the six year old sister he’s raising since their parents died. Now Sarah’s impression of him is very different and she’s determined to get to make his first Christmas without his parens a happy one. This is a sweet, funny story from start to finish. It made me laugh and swoon, and it’s a bit of a heartbreaker. The subject of grief from loss of parents is huge throughout the book. The only thing keeping me from giving it five stars is that the writing was weak in spots, mostly in dialogue. Some spots were clunky and repetitive, it felt like the author didn’t trust the reader to remember what had previously happened. Otherwise, this was a great start to my exploration of holiday romances. I highly recommend it and I’ll look for more by this author.

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Contemporary fiction

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This book is something else. It’s impossible to put it into one category. It has romantic elements but it’s not a straight up romance novel. There’s mystery and drama and betrayal and grief. It’s an intense emotional rollercoaster of a book. We get alternating perspectives from Clara and her mother, Morgan. We learn about Morgan’s adolescence and that she is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. Then a tragedy falls upon their family and everything they thought they knew about their lives is turned upside down. This is a real, raw look at a mother daughter relationship that is being put to the test. These characters are messy, and I really liked them. They don’t always make good choices. My only “complaint” is I felt there should have been more consequences of their actions at times, things went a little too smoothly. I highly recommend this one for readers of contemporary fiction.

The Naughty List by Ellie Mae MacGregor

Erotic romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. At first Kate thinks she’s having a sexy dream about Santa, but she quickly realizes she’d wide awake and Nikolai is very real! My only “problem” with this novella is the length. It’s so short that we don’t get much back story or character development. I think I would have liked this a lot more as a full length novel with some tension in the romantic relationship. It’s a fun sexy read for the Christmas season and I recommend it.

Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey

Holiday romance

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After thoroughly enjoying Tessa Bailey’s last two novels, this one was a bit disappointing. It’s partially because the boss/employee romance always bugs me a bit. There are some authors that can get it right but this isn’t an example. The fact that Aiden gets Stella the job so that he can see her regularly is kinda creepy. Otherwise, I really liked his character. The spin on a typical grumpy/sunshine was refreshing. Stella’s grumpiness is understandable and it was nice to see her grow as a character. This book had a lot of funny moments and some WTF moments (like the fact that it talks about the COVID pandemic as if it’s totally over) but was overall a fun, quick read. One thing I do appreciate about Tessa Bailey is that her sex scenes often are atypical, which I find refreshing. I recommend this one for readers of holiday romance.

Santa is Going to Town on Me by ML Eliza

Erotic romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. Holly hates Christmas and she wakes up on Christmas Eve to discover she’s being burgled. Except, it’s not a burger it’s a real live Santa Claus and he’s HOT. This Santa is a magical being and he can read her desires so he comes back the next day and gives her what she’s wanting (lots of hot sex!) While I found the premise kinda weird, this is ultimately a sweet story. I recommend it for those who enjoy holiday romance and want something different (and sexy).

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