The festive period is upon us and for me I like to try and squeeze in a bit of Christmas cheer into my reading! I managed a couple last year and after my last blog tour obligations, I’ll be partaking again this year!
So I thought I’d give you lovely people out there a Christmas present. And what’s better than some festive reading suggestions? I’ll be honest about this, I’ve not read all of these. Some I have over the years, some I’ve got on my kindle/bookshelf already but some I’ve tracked down from that well known website that seems to sell everything now! So sit back and peruse the books I’m sharing with you both today and tomorrow (yes I really am doing two posts), see if something takes your fancy!
The Darker Side of Christmas
No it’s not really in the sentiment of “Goodwill to all” and “Peace on Earth” to have the darkest crimes at this time of year. But those crime writers that we (I) love seem to think it’s ok! So here are a few criminal festive reads for you!
Silent Nights by Martin Edwards
Christmas is a mysterious, as well as magical, time of year. Strange things can happen, and this helps to explain the hallowed tradition of telling ghost stories around the fireside as the year draws to a close. Christmas tales of crime and detection have a similar appeal. When television becomes tiresome, and party games pall, the prospect of curling up in the warm with a good mystery is enticing – and much better for the digestion than yet another helping of plum pudding. Crime writers are just as susceptible as readers to the countless attractions of Christmas. Over the years, many distinguished practitioners of the genre have given one or more of their stories a Yuletide setting. The most memorable Christmas mysteries blend a lively storyline with an atmospheric evocation of the season. Getting the mixture right is much harder than it looks. This book introduces readers to some of the finest Christmas detective stories of the past. Martin Edwards’ selection blends festive pieces from much-loved authors with one or two stories which are likely to be unfamiliar even to diehard mystery fans. The result is a collection of crime fiction to savour, whatever the season.
The Present by D S Devlin
12 deadly gifts, one killer on a Christmas countdown…
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… this is one deadly Christmas that you can’t forget.
The police are baffled by the ‘Santa’ killer, who sends his intended victims gruesome presents based on the twelve days of Christmas. When a young journalist receives a mutilated bird in the post, it’s a race against time to find the killer…
Twelve Deaths of Christmas by Jackson Sharp
The second seasonal thriller from author Jackson Sharp, this time introducing DI Kerry Cox.
It’s Christmas, but Detective Inspector Kerry Cox is not celebrating. The holiday season is usually tough for Cox, but this year she’s preparing to face down the ramifications of her most recent investigation: a fumbled child trafficking case.
Distraction comes when the body of a retired ex-policeman is found, and DI Cox refuses to buy that it’s a suicide. Despite warnings and pressures, she follows the trail stubbornly.
Teaming up with the journalist, and ex-lover, who almost ruined her career, their investigations uncover a sinister network of paedophiles operating many years before. The killer they are hunting is desperate for revenge, revenge against those who evaded punishment all those years before.
And as the bodies and historical evidence mount up, DI Cox’s focus is torn between tracking down the serial killer, and bringing the upper echelons of British society to justice . .
The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday
It looks like a regular advent calendar.
Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors . . . and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.
The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.
But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?
As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them . . .
It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.
Heart Swarm by Allan Watson
Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…
It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.
Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.
The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.
Until the killing spree begins.
Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.
The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –
Justice at Christmas by MA Comley
A Christmas short story of 10,000 involving all the old members of the team.
DI Lorne Simpkins and her partner DS Pete Childs encounter a dangerous gang of Santas who plan on creating havoc on the streets of London on Christmas Eve.
Pete is persuaded to go undercover to foil the gang’s audacious plan.
Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen
I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …
But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?
The Lighter Side of Christmas
So maybe you don’t want Christmas to be full of blood and death and gore….well here are some more light-hearted warm and fuzzy reads for you.
Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow
A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?
Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …
So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?
A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas – just the thing to curl up with on a cold winter’s night.
Home for Christmas by Cally Taylor
A sparkling seasonal tale of finding true love at Christmas.
Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she’s finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox – a charming but rundown independent cinema – and has a boyfriend who’s so debonair and charming she can’t believe her luck! There’s just one problem – none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn’t look like Aiden’s going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear ‘I love you’ for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands – and instantly wishes she hadn’t.
Just when it seems like her luck can’t get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he’s determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?
The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the café at Seashell Cove, where there’s hot chocolate to keep you warm – and the man of your dreams could be waiting…
Interior designer Tilly Campbell loves being carefree and single. But her latest job is redecorating the cosy local café for a Christmas party, and when her friends confess their plans for the big night – including a proposal, a declaration of love and a pregnancy announcement – Tilly starts to wonder if she might be missing out…
Transforming the café into a winter wonderland is more of a challenge than she thought, so when she bumps into gorgeous newcomer Seth, Tilly welcomes the distraction. Seth is a single father, struggling to settle his son Jack into their new cottage, and Tilly is determined to help them make their house into a home in time for Christmas.
But with the café still in chaos just days before the party it looks like it’s going to be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons… With friends old and new relying on her, can Tilly save the Christmas party?
And could she finally find love waiting for her under the mistletoe?
A heart-warming, hilarious read about friendship, family and the meaning of Christmas. Perfect for fans of Sue Moorcroft, Holly Martin and Debbie Johnson!
Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse
As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas…
This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there’s no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own.
But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she’s planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?
Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson
Two best friends. One big lie. The best bake off EVER.
Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…
A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas.
Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews
Join Fay and her friends this Christmas and indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best! Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson.
Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing!
Then Fay gets a call that sends her back to where it all began, back to where she first met Danny, back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn’t it?
Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking – especially now she’s on dry land again! – and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights?
No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley
It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.
The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl. But as the resort’s new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling holly!
With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince gorgeous but Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be…
So there you have it folks, some Christmassy reads for you but I’d love it if you come back tomorrow when I’ve got 18(!) more suggestions for you!