I absolutely love Christmas, the decorations, the food, buying presents for people and spending time with friends and family but one of my favourite things is settling down with a gorgeously, cosy Christmas read. So I was more than happy to write a list of my favourite Christmas books but how to narrow it down to just ten when every year sees so many beautiful sparkly festive reads come to the electronic and real bookshelves. That was a lot harder than I thought. But after a lot of deliberation here is my list, in no particular order I give you...
Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan.
The most wonderful time of the year?
Jewellery designer Skylar isn't so sure. Especially if she has to spend it with cynical, aloof Alec. So what if he's a famous historian? He's also determined to think the worst of her and when a twist of fate means they're stuck together, she's expecting disaster!
But as they flee snowy London on a winter adventure that takes them from his family's festive Cotswold chaos to her native Puffin Island, she realises that she may have misjudged him.
As glittering Christmas nights draw in, the sparks between Alec and Skylar glow ever brighter. Could they find their own Christmas Ever After?
Why I love it: I love Sarah Morgan, I love every single book she writes but there is something especially wonderful about her Christmas books. She just knows how to deliver a cosy, sparkly filled festive treat wrapped up inside a gorgeously romantic love story that leaves you with a big smile on your face. This book is from her utterly brilliant Puffin Island series and although all books in the series can be read as standalones if you read the other two books in the series you would have seen the angst and sparks flying for all the wrong reasons between Skylar and Alec and now to see them come together for the right reasons was definitely worth the wait. Sarah has another brilliant series out this year though I'm yet to read Miracle on 5th Avenue, it's definitely on my reading pile this Christmas.
Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson
At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.
Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .
This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it's a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what's been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.
Why I love it: Lisa's style of writing is so fresh, unique, real and down to earth. Every time I open one of Lisa's books I feel like I'm going on an adventure with my best friend as soon as I meet her wonderful characters. Twelve Dates of Christmas is utterly brilliant as Claudia fumbles her way through dates that are complete disasters, utterly wonderful and everything in between. It was laugh out loud funny, it made me cry and made me feel all gooey inside.
North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans
Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn't think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can't get any worse. Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom. She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn't expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn't expect to fall in love with him. But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves' lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas. A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music
Why I love it: Oh my god this book!! It's a YA book with zombies so a little different to the normal Christmas chicklit but I loved it so much. It was so different, so funny and I read it all in one sitting. If you love Christmas books but are getting tired of the cute cottages, cafes, and Christmas cakes then sink your teeth into this one.
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café by Rebecca Raisin
Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she'll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!
The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe's in place - for once, everything's going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives… Suddenly, Lily's famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.
In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says 'I do', can Lily get to the church on time - and make this Christmas sparkle after all?
Why I love it: I love Rebecca's stories, her beautiful detailed descriptions make picturing the setting and falling in love with the characters very easy. This book oozes Christmas magic, from the festive treats, to the gorgeous little town and it's inhabitants and the wedding of the year, it was a sparklicious treat. This is the third book in the Gingerbread Café series but all three books can be read as standalones. They were released as separate ebooks but all three books were published together in a paperback called A Gingerbread Café Christmas, a perfect little stocking filler.
Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson
A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey's life - but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid's skirt just hours before the ceremony!
Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant - a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven!
And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he's more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas…
Why I love it: This was my first book by Debbie Johnson and I just completely fell in love with Rob Cavelli even though he's a bit of an ass at times and I loved Debbie's wonderful, addictive, edge of the seat type writing. This story actually spans two Christmases and everything in between. Really enjoyed it and just couldn't put it down.
The Christmas Bucket List by Ella Fairlie
It's Christmas time in London: there's snow in the air, Regent Street is bustling, and the Trafalgar Square tree's all a-glitter. Isobel Gray is dreaming of a perfect movie-style Christmas for her first Noël away from home, and with a hot man and a bucket list of festive fun ready to be ticked off, she thinks she has it all wrapped up. But when her boss-slash-boyfriend goes AWOL just days before the holiday, she finds herself a little Lost, Actually instead. Will she end up home alone, or is there a Christmas miracle waiting under the mistletoe?
Why I love it: I first came across Ella when she won a short story competition and had her story published in the brilliant Sunlounger 2 anthology alongside the biggest names in women's fiction. Her beautiful writing was so evocative that it captured you and drew you in. This was the perfect Christmas read. It was beautifully written with the most gorgeous characters and it was absolutely filled to the brim with every ingredient needed for a perfect Christmas. This story is so perfect that Hallmark have picked it up and made it into a wonderful Christmas movie. You can't get any more perfect than that. Hallmark approved.
Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones.
Imagine waking up in a snow globe. . .
That's how travel journalist Krista feels when she arrives in magical Quebec to report on Canada's glittering Winter Carnival.
Over ten sub-zero days Krista's formerly frozen heart begins to melt as she discovers an enchanting world of ice palaces, husky dog-sledding and maple-syrup treats galore. And then she meets Jacques, a man as handsome and rugged as he is mysterious. . .
The two share a secret that could bond them forever, but can they find a way to break through the protective layers around their hearts to warm up this winter wonderland?
Why I love it: I really love Belinda's stories and this one was extra magical. Set in Quebec which is a completely unique location when it comes to Christmassy chicklit, I absolutely loved the winter wonderland that Belinda created in this magical location. Jacques is one of the best heroes I've ever read. I completely fell in love with him.
Wish upon a Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn
Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!
If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Carl…
But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam - and his two adorable children - to turn up on her doorstep. She didn't think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?
Why I love it: This was Darcie's debut book and it was an absolute corker. Jam packed with festiveness, gorgeous characters, a wonderful warm and cosy story, it had me smiling all the way through. Sam was a gorgeous hero and I was rooting for both of them from the very first page.
A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale
Everyone loves Christmas - don't they?
Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie's spare time is spent with other people's families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year's resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.
As Carrie starts her last job, she's sure she'll be going out on a high - the house is amazing, the kids are adorable, and she's in charge of decorating the tree!
The only problem could be her boss… single-dad, Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he's always working. Doesn't he realise he's missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?
As Adam's family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There's still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn't it? Let the festivities begin!
Why I love it: Jenny Hale's books are so lovely and warm, I always find myself smiling all the way through when reading them. I loved watching Carrie help Adam and his lovely little family grow together and see what was important at Christmas. And their journey helped Carrie herself too. Beautifully written and thoroughly engaging.
Just for Christmas by Scarlett Bailey
When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants is to be alone - and as far away from Edinburgh as possible. Moving to a Cornish cottage, which comes complete with the world's scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan - and somehow Alex doesn't want to be alone this Christmas after all. But having lost one fiancé, Ruan has no intention of letting anyone get close to him again...
Why I love it: Scarlett Bailey delivers perfect Christmas stories and really likeable, fantastic characters. This was warm, funny and with enough twists, action, drama and bumps in the road to have me glued to the book until the very last page.