Are you a book-loving introvert who finds the intense socialization required of holiday celebrations overwhelming?
Would you rather have your nose in a book than spend your time decking the halls (whatever that means)?
To help you get in the holiday spirit without any actual social interaction, here are some recommended reads. None of these are heavy, so if you hit the mulled wine (please, not egg nog—that stuff is vile), you should be able to get the gist of these quickie stories.
Jaci Burton’s Kent Brothers Series (Carina Press)
I discovered this series about three brothers in a small town in Missouri through the first Carina Press holiday anthology, after reading rave reviews of Shannon Stacey’s contribution. The three brothers run a construction business together and while romance is at the center of each of the stories, my favorite scenes are those featuring, Wyatt, Brody and Ethan—their good-natured bickering and teasing (which can be amusingly mean) actually sounds like the sort of conversations real guys have. The most recent, The Best Thing, clocks in at around 35,000 words and is my favorite in terms of reading like a complete story. I’d recommend reading these in order, just to get a sense of who all the characters are, but it’s not necessary. (eBook only)
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the Carina press holiday anthology from the publisher.
Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey
Yes, I know I’m a big Shannon Stacey pusher, but I find her sweet and fun romances absolutely delightful. They’re generally about normal people with normal jobs and normal lives and while they’re not breaking any ground in terms of character or plot, but they’re a guaranteed win in terms of enjoyability. Both of her holiday novellas are fun reads, but I do prefer Holiday Sparks—about a web designer who breaks the electric panel while housesitting for her parents over Christmas, resulting in the need to call in the local hottie electrician—to Mistletoe and Margaritas because it reads more like a complete novel. (eBook only)
Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
I mentioned in my post last week that I’ve enjoyed the Jill Shalvis’ fluffy Lucky Harbor series about a quirky town near Seattle, Washington. While the books are best enjoyed in order, I think the exception is the new short story, Under the Mistletoe, which features Mia, the 22-year old daughter of Tara, who’s a main character in the third book in the series. Mia is currently living in New York, and is saddened when her starting-to-seem-serious boyfriend, Nick (of course), won’t come home with her for the holidays. Her family’s B&B is busy and bustling for the holidays, so it’s a fun read with the backdrop of reconnecting with family, but the main focus of the story is, of course, Nick and Mia’s story. It is very sweet, even though the ending is rather over-the-top. (eBook only)
An aside: it’s interesting the no one has slapped a “new adult” label on this story, since it fits all of the parameters: early twenties protagonist, romance, confusion and stress about life, etc.
Disclosure: Received for review from the publisher.
Let it Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson
If young adult is more your speed, the Let it Snow trio of short stories by three prominent YA novelists should be the perfect fit for your holiday reading. Each are set in the same town during a Christmas Eve snowstorm, featuring interconnected characters. These are funny stories that are indicative of each of the author’s styles, so if you’ve wanted to check any of them, out this is a good low-commitment way to do so. (It’s important to note that these should be read in the order they appear.)
An aside: I swear this cover image was used in another book, but I can’t place it.
All of us at Clear Eyes, Full Shelves wish you a happy holiday season. Hopefully it will be filled with good books, good food and good friends. And if it all gets too stressful, just use Laura’s tried and true holiday coping method.
Quick trip to grocery store list: 1lb beef, one onion and…one big-ass bottle of vodka.— Laura W. (@StretchedOctave) December 23, 2012