This was one of the hardest things for Florence and I to do at this time of year. How does one choose favourites, it's almost impossible! However, after much hair pulling and chest beating, we've each chosen our Top 5 .... and we cheated with a few honourable mentions each, but who's counting?
The books can be from this year or previous years. The only rule that we *tried* to stick to is that it couldn't be part of a series where it couldn't be read as a standalone. We managed that one, sort of, if you squint really hard and look sideways!
So without further ado.......
1. The Holiday Hookup ~ Baylin Crow
If you only read one Christmas book this year, make it this one!
I honestly did not expect the sensual intimacy in this novel. Reading the blurb it sounds like your regular fun Christmas shenanigans type story, but it's so much more. Sure, shenanigans ensue, but it's also deeply romantic and a happily emotional experience. This one should be read and enjoyed at any time of the year!
2. Lights, Camera, Christmas ~ J. D. Light
This was a spur of the moment book pick when I was feeling a bit down and was looking for something to engage my interest, but wasn't too heavy. I was initially drawn to the description of one of the MCs not being the usual body shape (by romance novel standards). I love books that have characters that have body issues, but its dealt with in a body positive fashion. This book was funny and romantic, with a cast of quirky characters, and two MCs for whom it was impossible not to fall in love.
3. Mr Frosty Pants ~ Leta Blake
I didn't expect this one to be as emotional as it was. Put simply it was All. The. Feels!
Sweet and sexy, I loved the portrayal of Joel's demisexuality and that it wasn't made a big deal, it was just Joel, and that's how it should be. Although, I have never wanted to push through a page and slap a character so hard, Joel's father was simply a monster! I loved how Casey never wavered, once he was even 2% sure Joel returned his feelings that was it, he was in for the long haul, no matter what Joel thought. It was so refreshing just to see Casey's total certainty in them as a couple. A beautiful Christmas story that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
4. On a Midnight Clear ~ Lily Morton
Lily Morton showcases her talent as an author with this beautiful fantasy involving an impoverished lord, a boon from an ancient winter god, a statue brought to life, and lashings of Christmas magic. This one just has to be experienced, but just know that it is a sweet, funny, and romantic tale as Barnaby teaches Cosmo about daily life, and Cosmo teaches Barnaby how to live.
5. Let Your Heart Be Light ~ J.R. Lawrie
This was an amazing set of stories.
For Services Rendered is a very sweet Christmas short story involving two lonely men, it hits you in all the right places and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Kind of a Big Deal & The Farringdon Club, form a novella, and it is a beautiful experience. It's hard to imagine an author packed so much emotion into a short novella. This book is intensely passionate, the chemistry between Richard and Zach leaps of the page and slaps you in the face. The sex scene is not so much sexy hot, but intimate and sensual. It blends perfectly with the passionate, sensual nature of the story.
This trio of stories is heartwarming entertainment. They could, and should, be read and enjoyed at any time of year
Merry Measure ~ Lily Morton
This is a perfect example of a feel good story. Jack and Arlo just worked, as was said in the story Arlo was Merry to Jack's Measure, and between the two of them they balanced and complemented each other. Very funny and romantic, with a wonderful cast, this is a book to enjoy.
A Boyfriend by Christmas ~ Raleigh Ruebins
Light, funny, and using the fake boyfriend trope, this was always going to be a winner. But, any book that references the movie, Naughty Marietta, through the use of a song just has to be rewarded!
Santa Daddy & Merry Cherry Christmas ~ Keira Andrews
These books are standalone but occur in the same universe and there is a small crossover of characters. These books are so very Keira Andrews: sweet, funny, and HOT! Most importantly though they involve characters you can't help but be invested.
12 Days of Gay ~ Ana Byrde
This book was filled with humour and warmth. Like all of Ana Byrde’s characters, Casey and Ashton were genuinely likeable, and it was so easy to look forward to their HEA. A lovely Christmas story, it is a light, low/no angst, but compelling read. I enjoyed every moment of this story and didn’t want to put it down.
Spiced Kisses ~ Charlie Novak
This book would have made it into the Top 5 if I wasn't desperately trying to stick to the only rule I set myself - not be part of a series that can't be read as a standalone. I worked around it by telling myself that *technically* it could be read in isolation (but I really don't recommend it). This is a beautiful ending to the series and Ianto and Ben's relationship is pure magic on the page.
1. A Christmas to Fight For ~ Jessica Frances
I love a good reversal of the typical tropes in books, so the plot of this book, which is a corrupted Santa organization that tried to get rid of all the Krampuses and the only remaining Krampus fighting them just really fascinated me. And this book is an enemy to lovers with Santa Claus and a Krampus, which is another trope I just love in books. I was so into the idea of the book and I absolutely loved it. This book was such a fun take on the typical Christmas stories and it just really worked for me. It was also super heartwhelmingly sweet and was just one of the best Christmas reading experiences I have ever had.
2. Shades of Winter ~ E.M. Lindsay
This book was exactly what I wanted it to be, and I absolutely loved it. This was such a sweet romance but it still had a lot of substance and thrilling moments. And I loved the kink in it, it was so good and all I wanted from a kinky Christmas book. I swear my heart melted while I was reading this book. It gave me all of the feels and I just loved it, so much. This book was simply perfect for me at this time in my life, and I just adored it.
3. Christmas Mountain ~ Garrett Leigh
This is more angsty than the typical Christmas book, but I really fell in love with Garett Leigh's writing this year and this book gave me everything I wanted out of it. It was super heart warming sweet and full of pining, mixed in with some very delicious angst and I really enjoyed how Christmas forward it was, it was just the perfect level of Christmas cheer for me.
4. Reindeer Games ~ N.R. Walker
When I think of what I want in a Christmas book, it's a combination of a very sweet love story, a lot of Christmas cheer and lovely sex scenes. Which is exactly what this book gave to me. I keep going back to this book, I have re-read it so many times already, because it just gives me all I want in a Christmas book and it's such a sweet and hot story.
5. Five Gold Blings ~ Clare London
I just had the best time reading this book. It was so much fun and I really loved the time I spent reading this book. It gave me all the Holiday feels I wanted and it was super hilarious and sweet too. It was the perfect combination of everything I want in a Christmas book.
The Geek Who Saved Christmas ~ Annabeth Albert
This book was very Christmas forward and gave me so much Christmas cheer while I was reading it, which was absolutely my favourite part of it, it just put me in the best mood for Christmas. Also I always love a good grumpy and sunshine story and this one had all the elements I want in those books.
What Happens at Christmas ~ Misha Horne
It's just super sweet and full of really hot sex scenes, I had a very good time reading it.
Satisfying ~ Onley James