Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Mini Reviews: Holiday Edition

'Tis the season to enjoy some holiday novels. I've got two to share with you today. Both are perfect for curling up with along side a fire or your Christmas tree; however, one is a bit more serious than the other. Do you like your holiday books to be all fluff or do you enjoy some serious aspects?


 Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: October 10, 2023
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher for review
Other Book By Author: The Christmas Bookshop
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "Christmas comes early—far too early—to McCredie’s little Old Town bookshop in Edinburgh. It’s summer, but an American production company has decided that McCredie’s is the perfect location to film a very cheesy Christmas movie. After all, who can resist the charmingly narrow historic street with its Victorian grey stone buildings and warmly lit shop windows? Carmen Hogan, the bookshop’s manager, is amused and a bit horrified by the goings-on, but the money the studio is paying is too good to pass up. She uses the little windfall from filming to create new displays and fend off a buyout offer from an obnoxious millionaire who wants to turn McCredie’s into a souvenir shop selling kilts made in China and plastic Nessies. Still reeling slightly from a breakup, Carmen’s not particularly looking forward to the holidays. But just as snow begins to fall and the lights of Christmas blink on, all sorts of lovely new possibilities present themselves…for McCredie’s bookstore, and for Carmen herself."



Readers find themselves back at McCredie's Bookshop in Edinburgh at Christmastime. This novel picks up where The Christmas Bookshop left off and readers are reunited with Carmen Hogan, manager of the adorable bookstore on Victoria Street. Carmen is feeling a lot of pressure though. Not only is she still upset about her breakup with Oke, but she is also worried about the fate of the bookshop. It's struggling financially and the owner is considering selling it to someone who would turn it into another cheesy souvenir shop. Just as in the first book, there's Carmen's family who still play a major role in her life, including her adorable nieces as well as a cast of memorable secondary characters. Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan is an adorable sequel to The Christmas Bookshop. While it isn't as compelling as the first book, who doesn't want to transport themselves to a bookshop in Scotland during Christmastime? It's the very definition of Christmas coziness.

I really enjoyed Carmen in book one, so I was happy to continue her story. I don't think you need to have read 
The Christmas Bookshop to entirely appreciate this novel; however, I do think it helps. I also enjoyed Carmen's family and their antics, including Pippa and Phoebe, which were a nice touch. Colgan's cast of secondary characters were all a lot of fun and reminded me of a Hallmark movie. I read Colgan's novels to be transported to a different time and place and Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop fits the bill. Christmas in Edinburgh sounds dreamy and I loved being lost on historic Victoria Street in a bookstore decorated beautifully for Christmas. The fate of the bookstore is balanced nicely by Carmen's problems, but it never feels overly heavy. Colgan fans will want to snuggle up with this book during the holiday season. 

One Christmas Morning by Rachel Greenlaw
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: October 17, 2023
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher for review 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Eva has spent the past three years burying herself in her work, trying to forget the heartbreaking events of the Christmas that ripped her world apart. And this year, on the eve of her shop launch, the last thing Eva wants is to drive to the wild moors of Cornwall to attend her friends Hallie and Kian’s Christmas party. But at her husband James’ insistence, here they are. Worse still, Hallie announces she is pregnant, bringing Eva’s pain to the surface.  Overwhelmed by her friend’s news and the bittersweet memories of past Christmases, Eva tries to sneak back to London in the middle of the night. But as the clock strikes midnight, she is visited by the ghost of her beloved grandmother. Gran tells Eva that if she doesn’t face her ghosts head-on and stop shutting out her loved ones, she risks losing them all forever.  When Eva wakes on Christmas morning, she finds herself living not her own life, but that of her hardworking assistant, Diana, whose overflowing inbox isn’t the only secret she’s been keeping. The next day, she wakes on Christmas morning again, this time in the body of Hallie’s sister, Natalie. As Eva lives Christmas Day again and again through the perspectives of her friends, she is offered a glimpse into the lives of those she has been pushing away. With each Christmas Day comes a new lesson—and an insight into the secrets and struggles her loved ones have been hiding. To move forward, Eva must let go of the past. But is it too late to fix her future?"


Eva is obsessed with her work; she is opening a new store and is completely consumed by that. Things with her husband, James, aren't good, and they are en route to Cornwall from London to go to Hallie's holiday party. Eva is trying to make things right with her husband, but she is completely triggered by Hallie's party and the news that Hallie is pregnant. This brings up a lot of unresolved issues in Eva's life as she has suffered a devastating miscarriage and she attempts to return to London at night. While heading there, she is greeted by the ghost of her grandmother who tries to talk some sense into her as her relationships are suffering greatly. When Eva wakes up, she finds herself in a different friend's body and living out their Christmas morning, but also getting inside details as to how her behavior impacts everyone. This is Eva's chance to start over despite her setbacks and trauma and repair the relationships in her life before it's too late. One Christmas Morning by Rachel Greenlaw is a melancholy holiday read, but ultimately by the story's end, it is one filled with hope.

Eva is a difficult character in 
One Christmas Morning. She has a lot of trauma and issues that she hasn't explored. Since she hasn't faced it head-on, her issues spill over into her personal life, which is why she dives head-first into her work. Greenlaw includes a lot of depressing topics for a holiday novel such as various traumas like the death of a loved one, marriage problems, and miscarriage. It felt a bit heavy for a holiday novel and the story took a while feel warm and fuzzy. By the last portion of the novel things were looking up, but it was a difficult road to get there as the story was mostly sad. However, I will say I love a modern take on A Christmas Carol, so that part of this debut novel, as well as her beloved grandmother being the ghost who warns her, was a nice touch.   


Have you read any of these holiday novels? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. Oof, One Christmas Morning was a tough read. So heavy, so dark for a Christmas book.

    1. Yes! It was much darker than I was expecting; thankfully, it did end happily! Thanks for dropping by, Angela!


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