Book Review / Books / Literary Women

What I’m Reading This Christmas (‘All I Want For Christmas’ and ‘A Christmas Cracker’ Review)

Continuing with blog tradition, it’s time for my annual ‘What I’m Reading This Christmas‘ post and trust me when I say that I have gone all out this year as I have two festive themed reads that I’ve been indulging in over the past few weeks to share with you!


Christmas comes once a year… But true love comes once in a lifetime.

Snowflakes are falling, there’s carol singing on every corner, and Leah Evans is preparing for a family Christmas at her grandmother’s majestic plantation house in Virginia. It won’t be the same now that her beloved Nan is gone, but when Leah discovers she has inherited the mansion, she knows she can give her daughter Sadie the childhood of her dreams.

But there’s a catch. Leah must split the house with a man called David Forester. Leah hasn’t heard that name in a long time. Not since they were kids, when Davey was always there to catch her.

Now David is all grown up. He’s gorgeous, successful, and certain of one thing: Leah should sell him her half of the house.

They can’t agree, but as they share memories over wine by the log fire, Leah notices a fluttering in her stomach. And by the look in his eyes, he’s starting to feel it too.

Will it be Leah or David who must give up their dreams? Or, with a little bit of Christmas magic, will they finally understand Nan’s advice to them both about living life without regrets… and take a chance on true love?


While quite sappy, I found All I Want For Christmas to be a charming read and unlike the other Christmas novel that I’ll talk about next, Hale’s book really did do its job and put me in the festive mood.

It’s a heartwarming tale that captures – what I believe to be – the true essence of Christmas and that is gathering together with friends and family and reminiscing on the good old days. There is plenty of that in this novel with Leah and David looking back at fond memories from their childhood. Thankfully, none of the romance between them felt forced or rushed which can be the case in some Christmas novels.

All I Want For Christmas is a tender, emotional story that is brought to life with Hale’s vivid writing.



This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!

Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.

But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new
flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.

But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget.


I hate it when a book doesn’t live up to expectations – especially at Christmas. I hate to say it, but A Christmas Cracker was an absolute disappointment from start to finish and I’m glad that it was only £2 from The Works‘ Christmas book sale because if I’d had to pay the full retail price of £7.99 for this, I would’ve been fuming.

This novel shouldn’t have been marketed as a Christmas read at all, because it’s not. There’s very little festive spirit in this supposed ‘Christmas novel’ and any Christmas cheer that does occur is towards the end and very short-lived.

From the get-go I knew I would have problems with A Christmas Cracker. The instant I saw that there were changes in the point-of-view (something longtime blog readers will know is a pet peeve of mine) my heart sank. Both Tabitha and Randal’s view points were quite dull, but Tabby takes the cake for having about four chapters revolving around her bloody cat.

If I ever have to read the name ‘Pye’ again, I think I might cry. A Christmas Cracker very nearly ended up in my ‘Did Not Finish’ pile, and while I did skip a lot of chunks of the book, I generally powered through for the sake of trying to understand the point and in foolish hope that the romance I had been promised would suddenly blossom. No such luck. It’s insta-love with zero to no connection being formed between Tabby and Randal.

Now, I tend to quite enjoy following the exploits of slightly arrogant characters if they’re written in a humorous, cheeky and likeable manner. Heck, Christian Grey, as cold as he is, did display some hilarious banter in the phenomenon that was Fifty Shades of Grey. However, Randal is just a straight up twat. He’s boring, uncharismatic and unnecessarily rude to the point where I wanted to smack him in the face. I just couldn’t comprehend why Tabitha, who despised him just as much, was snogging him and agreeing to marry him within the space of a hundred pages. It made no sense!

Is this the most savage I’ve been towards a book I didn’t like? Possibly, but it’s not without reason. Neither the story itself nor the writing could compel and convince me which is normally something I accept because not everything I pick up is going to be my cup of tea. However, I’m a bit miffed that I was promised this ‘cracking Christmas read’ and it didn’t deliver what was said on the tin…or rather blurb. Had it been marketed without any mentions of a big festive romance then I’d have steered clear.

I’ve never read anything else by Trisha Ashley, so I can’t comment on whether this is typical of her novels or not. I also won’t be rushing to be read anything else by Ashley as I found A Christmas Cracker to be the most lacklustre and entirely disappointing book I’ve read this year.

If you’re looking for a book full of seasonal fun and Christmas spirit, you’re better off giving this one a miss.



Happy Christmas and I’ll see you for more book related talk in the New Year!

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