November has been a good month for reading here at AHL HQ. I’ve read both audiobooks and physical books, as well as dipping into e-books this month.
I found at the beginning of the month that the books on my TBR shelf all featured some form of “Summer” or “Christmas” and November is the middle ground between these. It really wasn’t the right mood to read about summer romances, nor the right time to get into the Christmassy spirit. So, I had to go looking for some new reads (I KNOW! Don’t kill me! I needed to, I swear!).
This meant a lot of searching through charity shops and local bookstores, but it seemed like even they were selling summer or Christmas to me in the autumn. Does anyone even write books about autumn?
I gave myself the goal to only read Christmas books after the 23rd (my brothers birthday) and was finding it hard to get some book inspiration.
So, on to e-books.
I do love physical books – there is honestly nothing that beats holding the book in your hand, turning the pages, and (honestly) taking the time off technology. But e-books also work, and I love knowing that I have a book in my back pocket if I ever need something to read.
So, on I went to the Kindle store and found some good ones that are about fall, and then went on to reading about CHRISTMAS!
1. The Hygge Holiday – Rosie Blake
This was an obvious pick for my autumn feels. The very word hygge brings about memories of fires roaring as the leaves turn brown, and bundling up in hats, scarves, and gloves. The book is also set in November so that’s a bonus for my context-dependent mind (curse you university education for teaching me about how books relate to you).
The book centres on the town of Yulethorpe and its failing high street. The last shop has just closed down, leaving the street barren – that is until Clara Kristensen arrives. She sees potential in the small toy shop and decides to stay on in the town instead of moving on after her holiday. Things take an unexpected turn when the toy shop owners’ son, Joe, comes to check on the shop.
The book teaches us, through teaching Joe, how to slow down and enjoy life through the modem of hygge. A perfect read for this time of year, it introduces the Danish art of coziness through loveable and relatable characters. A definite autumn-read, this book left me wanting to read more, with its loveable main characters and cute plot.
2. Goddess – Josephine Angelini
My young adult read of the month came in the form of the third book in the Starcrossed trilogy.
This book is the final installment in the story of Helen Hamilton, a doppelganger of Helen of Troy. We see her struggles with a life mirroring Greek mythology, as well as the typical teenage love triangle. Helen has to create her own path through life, even though the world (and other worlds) are trying to hold her back. This series lured me in with the promise of mythology, but I was wowed by the way it was incorporated. It centres around the Greek myths but also bears mentions to Arthurian legend – something this massive nerd was a big fan of.
Perfect for lovers of young adult fiction, but also those who maybe want to learn more about Greek myths and how they would relate to us today.
3. The Last Piece of My Heart – Paige Toon
The Last Piece of My Heart is phenomenal. Bridget is a travel writer/ aspiring novelist who wants to turn her dating blog into a book. But with her agent telling her the story isn’t ready yet, she needs to find some other way to turn her writing dream into a reality. Enter Nicole Dupre, successful novelist, and recently deceased. Nicole left her sequel unfinished and the family wants a ghostwriter to complete it for the fans. Through writing Nicole’s novel, Bridget finds out all about her life, whether for better or worse.
This is a corker of a book. As a spontaneous buy, this book wowed me. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that was so amazing, just that the writing stuck with me for days after. Paige Toon is an author that I want to read more of, and TLPOMH really cemented that opinion in my head.
With a swoon-worthy male lead, a relatable main character, and the beautiful area of Cornwall, this is a relatively quick read that will become your new favourite.
4. A Very Distant Shore – Jenny Colgan
Okay. I love Jenny Colgan. I currently have 11 other Jenny books on my shelf but did not hesitate to add this to the growing TBR pile. A lucky find at my local charity shop, I started reading this in the car on the way home because I just couldn’t wait.
This is another book to add to the world of The Summer Seaside Kitchen, a sort of add-on in the middle. It’s a quick read, so only short, but it packs so much into the few pages it has. The backstory of Saif, as well as his ongoing feelings, was so well written.
It follows two protagonists, Lorna, the local headteacher on the island of Mure, and Saif, a refugee doctor who is coming to treat the residents. Both of these characters are so lovable, and you are left feeling like their story could go on forever.
For anyone wanting to dip into a book, but knows that time is limited, this is a perfect start – and will definitely make you want to read more from Jenny Colgan.
5. Christmas at Lilac Cottage – Holly Martin
Ooo, my first Christmas book of the year! And what a way to start. I started this book before going to bed, read 100 pages, and woke up early the next day just to finish it off. Although admittedly not too Christmassy for me, it was a really nice way to kick off the festive season.
Holly Martin writes about Penny Meadows, a young woman who wants to rent out her annex, so she can make a new friend. Thinking she’s renting it to a husband and wife, she prepares for a Christmas spent with two new friends – and gets one very friendly woman and one very grumpy man. Hilarity ensues throughout this book, with two main characters who are so relatable and funny that I had to hide my laughs behind coughs and big smiles behind the book (don’t read in your grandparents’ kitchen if you don’t want to have to answer questions about why you are smiling so wide).
Featuring ice sculpting (which I now really want to try) and a Christmas Eve ball, a massive dog and some complex backstories, this is definitely a recommended book this Christmas season.