Saturday, October 30, 2021

2021 Holiday Reading Roundup

Yes, it's still October, but Christmas season is upon us! (How do I know? Check out the Hallmark Channel 😄) As always, lots of new books are releasing around the Christmas season; here are some that have caught my eye. I'll be reviewing most of these as the season goes on, so keep an eye out! (Clicking on a book's title will take you to its Amazon page. These are affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase, I'll get a small commission.)


Unpacking Christmas by Beth K. Vogt

As Johanna, Jillian, and Payton look forward to celebrating the Christmas holidays with their families, they’re not prepared for an announcement that changes everything they’ve grown to love and cherish.

Their parents are selling their long-time family home. One change seems to lead to another, with Payton and Zach announcing their own decision to move, while Jillian and Geoff tackle the challenge of starting a family. The only ones maintaining the status quo are Johanna and Beckett—but romantic limbo is no place to be. Then their dad’s sudden health crisis spins life further out of control.

Instead of putting up holiday lights and decorating the family Christmas tree, the Thatcher sisters are helping pack up their childhood home. Along the way, they share treasured memories, try to hold onto valued traditions, discovering the struggles they’ve endured pale in comparison to the love they share with each other.

This Christmas, Johanna, Jillian, and Payton will laugh and cry together as they realize the true magic of Christmas isn’t found in gifts or decorations, but in the love of family.

This is part of Vogt's Thatcher Sisters series, which I really enjoyed! Look for my review in mid-November.

Celebration at Christmas Cove
by Carrie Jansen

Travel magazine writer Celeste Bell is in a terrible mood. Not only was her flight to the Caribbean diverted to a Massachusetts island, now it looks like she'll have to spend Christmas there. Single and still mourning the loss of her mother a year earlier, Celeste is desperate to avoid any emotional entanglements and all holiday festivities. She just doesn't feel like celebrating.
But that's exactly what community center director Nathan White and his young daughter Abigail want to do. Nathan is entirely focused on making sure that his daughter has a happy Christmas, especially with the knowledge that if he can't raise money for the community center soon, it will close and they'll have to leave the island. When he meets Celeste, Nathan begins to feel a connection and wonders if he's brave enough to risk his heart once more.

Thawing their frozen hearts, and saving the community center will require a Christmas miracle. But tis' the season...

Hello, Hallmark Christmas movie! This isn't one (yet), but it reads just like one. I'm halfway through it now and will have a review soon.

You and Me
 by Becky Wade

Easy-going, artistic Connor Bryant fell hard for his friend Shay Seaver when they were both in the seventh grade. Sixteen years later, he's returned to Misty River. She's finally between boyfriends. And his crush on her hasn't wavered. Now's his chance.

He tells Shay that he's found someone he wants to date and is in need of a makeover when it comes to his appearance and dating strategies. He asks if she'll serve as his consultant -- in hopes that he'll learn how he can become her ideal man. What he doesn't tell her? That she's the one he wants to date.

Sporty stationery shop owner Shay immediately agrees to Connor's request because he's one of the best guys she knows. However, she quickly realizes she's in over her head. She's pledged to help him win the affection of another woman -- even though she dearly wants to claim his heart.

It's Christmas in the mountain town of Misty River! This sweet contemporary romance novella, penned by Christy-winning author Becky Wade, can be read alone or paired with the other books in the series.

Becky Wade is an auto buy for me. I will happily fork over money for anything she writes! (So far, this is only available as a Kindle preorder, but if a paperback comes later, I'll also be getting that, as all of my Wade books need to live together on the same shelf 😉). This novella goes with her excellent Misty River series, and I can't wait to read it!

So, This Is Christmas by Tracy Andreen

When Finley Brown returned to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, from boarding school, she expected to find it just as she left it. Christmas hasn't changed much in her sixteen years. But instead she returns to find that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, her parents have separated, and her archnemesis got a job working at her grandmother's inn. And she certainly didn't expect to find the boy she may or may not have tricked into believing that Christmas was an idyllic holiday paradise on her grandmother's doorstep. It's up to Finley to make sure he gets the Christmas he was promised. This is Finley's Christmas. It's about home and family and friends and finding her place, and along the way she also finds the best Christmas present of all: love.

Honestly, all it took was hearing that Andreen wrote Snow Bride, one of my all-time favorite Hallmark Christmas movies, to make me say yes to this book! Plus, I love YA ... really looking forward to this one!

Advent Devotional

Embracing Advent by Jen Ludwig

Do you look forward to Christmas with eager anticipation… but then the season flies by in a flash?

Do you intend to be present and focused… only to find yourself pulled every direction as you rush to holiday parties, decorate the house, and spend hours searching for the perfect gifts?

Do you long for a deeper, more meaningful celebration… yet feel like you’re missing something?

This year, you are invited to spend the days leading up to Christmas rediscovering the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that God extends to all of us.

I've recently really enjoyed doing Advent devotionals (Advent wasn't really part of my tradition growing up, so I've only been doing these for five years or so). I was just thinking that I needed to look for one for 2021 when Jen contacted me about her new devotional. Perfect timing! She sent me a PDF copy to review, and after glancing through a few pages, I decided to purchase the paperback myself for use this Advent season. Look for a full review next month.

Book for the Whole Family

Christmas in Idaho by Ray Downing

A Christmas-themed novelette destined to inspire holiday excitement in all readers.

Enjoy the sights, sounds, and wonder of Christmas alongside Idaho, a snowman who is experiencing Christmas for the first time….. just as he discovers that time is running out.

This fictional allegory is interwoven with the New Testament account of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. Scientific and philosophical themes add an extra level of interest for the sophisticated reader.

Created by Emmy award winning 3D artist Ray Downing, this book is lavishly illustrated and gilded, with a faux leather cover and embossed panel on the cover — perfect for gift giving.

Open this book… and find Christmas. 

Christmas in Idaho is hard to categorize ... it's a gorgeous, keepsake-type book that contains a lovely story about a snowman's experience with Christmas. It comes with an audio CD where the story is read in the style of a radio drama, complete with background music and sound effects. It's a story for the whole family, though adults will certainly have to explain some things to children. And it's all quite lovely. Look for my full review at the beginning of next week.

Children's Books

Slothy Claus
by Jodie Shepherd

What will children do when a sluggish Slothy Claus doesn’t make it to their home in time for Christmas morning? This charming story helps kids learn that Christmas is about more than just presents under the tree.

This is a cute, humorous children's story! My review will be out near the end of November.

Night Night, Angel
by Amy Parker

'Tis the season for joy! Celebrate the family fun and season's blessings of Christmas with a young arctic fox as your family remembers that Jesus is the best gift of all. Amy Parker's delightful rhymes and Virginia Allyn's sweet illustrations make Night Night, Angel the perfect read-aloud for toddlers and preschoolers enjoying the Christmas season.

What an adorable board book with delightful illustrations! I'll review this one along with Slothy Claus at the end of November.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg - there are so many Christmas books releasing this year! Do you know of any that I should check out?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received some of these books free from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Love your list! I would recommend The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham! Here is a link to some of the books I hope to read for Christmas:

    1. I have heard great things about Pepper's book! And you have a great list--I've only read one of the books on it. Happy reading!


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