Weekend Reads #51 – Christmas Reads

Posted December 5, 2015 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

Weekend Reads

With only 20 days left til Christmas, I’m super busy getting things ready and I’m sure you are too! So today I wanted to share with you a couple of short novellas for your holiday reading. Both are sweet, fun, light-hearted romances that will give you the warm and cozy glow.

Weekend Reads #51 – Christmas ReadsThe Christmas Bucket-List by Ella Fairlie
on 2014-11-30
Length: 82 pages
Reviewing eBook from My Book Shelf

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?

‘The Christmas Bucket List’ is a fun, festive romcom novella (25,000 words approx.) - perfect for curling up with on a chilly winter night!

The Christmas Bucket-List by Ella Fairlie is a sweet story about a South African girl spending her first Christmas in London. Isobel Grey has always dreamed of spending Christmas the way it is portrayed in the movies: snow, chestnuts over a roasting fire, lights, shopping, the works! So she refuses plane tickets home for the holidays to stay in London with her boss and boyfriend and do all the things she’s always wanted to do. There’s only one problem, her boyfriend leaves town for work. Now she’s alone for Christmas.

So for me this book was just okay. Isobel is kind of hard to like. She’s a bit hung up on her crappy boyfriend and too focused on what she thinks Christmas is supposed to be that she nearly misses out on what Christmas actually is. However I have to give her props. Rather than wallowing in self-pity because she is alone for Christmas, she focuses on still doing what is on her list. So bravo for that!

Then there’s Jamie 😀 Jaime is this really sweet co-worker who happens upon Isobel when she is attempting to ice skate. She opens up to him, telling him about the list and her boyfriend. So Jamie offers to do the things on her list with her AND show her what a London Christmas is all about. I kinda Jamie! He’s sweet, a bit nerdy, and altogether exactly what Isobel needs. Jamie is this book’s saving grace!

Overall this is an okay story. It’s short and sweet and perfect if you are looking for a quick read in between all the busyness of the holidays. However if you are looking for depth, an unpredictable plot, than I would pass on this read. The plot is predictable, bland, and the characters are 2D. It just wasn’t for me.

Final Conclusion:


About Ella Fairlie

Ella Fairlie was born and bred in South Africa, but ran off to see the world as soon as she had a literature degree. She has lived in New York, Milan and London (and been fashionable in none of them). For ten years, she worked in book publishing, before becoming a full-time blogger and digital nomad (wherever she lays her Mac is her home). She loves rugby, white wine, avocados and '80s high school movies (although not necessarily all at once).


Weekend Reads #51 – Christmas ReadsWinter in Sweetwater County by Ciara Knight
Series: Sweetwater County,
Published by Defy the Dark on 2014-01-11
Length: 144 pages
Reviewing eBook from My Book Shelf

Lisa Mortan’s ideal life crumbles when her rich and powerful fiancé demands she ends an unwanted pregnancy. With no job or social support, she flees to a small town in hopes of finding a good family for her unborn baby, but instead finds a man who is as broken as she is.

Eric Gaylord returns to his home town for a respite after a tragic loss, but when his spitfire mother takes on an unknown woman as a business partner, he is forced to face the nightmare he’d left behind or risk losing the one woman who could heal his heart

Winter in Sweetwater County by Ciara Knight is the first novella in the bestselling Sweetwater County series. Personally I had to check out this series when I realized it was set in the small-town here in East TN. I have friends from the area this is set in so I HAD to read it 😀 Each novella of the series is a standalone read which is a plus and features characters that will pop up over and over again! In this installment, we get to hear Lisa and Eric’s story and trust me when I say it’s a tear-jerker.

Lisa Mortan finds her escape in Sweetwater County. After her ex-fiance dumps her and threatens to kill her and their unborn baby if she doesn’t get an abortion, Lisa wisely lies to him and moves as far as she can get. I like Lisa. She’s a strong, independent character who will do anything for her unborn child. She’s determined to be the best mother she can be, even if she is hesitant and worries she can’t do it on her own. But really, what mother doesn’t worry about that?!

Eric Gaylord moved back to his hometown after losing everything. He is broken, still grieving after all these years, and yet he finds himself entranced by the new girl in town. I Eric! He’s kind, sensitive, and everything a girl wants in a man. He quickly becomes Lisa’s rock and even when things don’t go exactly as planned he doesn’t run. Gotta love him for that!!

This book revolves around the budding relationship between Eric and Lisa, but also focuses on Lisa’s reason for being in Sweetwater County. The author does a fabulous job of addressing not just the topic of abortion, but also domestic violence AND children with special needs all in one short book! I was impressed to say the least. If you enjoy contemporary romance, I highly recommend this series!

Final Conclusion:


About Ciara Knight

Ciara Knight writes with a ‘Little Edge and a Lot of Heart’ with her contemporary and paranormal romance books. Her most recent #1 Amazon bestselling series, Sweetwater County, has topped the charts and received acclaimed reviews. Her international best-seller, Pendulum scored 4 stars from RT Book Reviews, accolades from InD’Tale Magazine and Night Owl Top Pick. Her young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, received 5 stars from Paranormal Romance Guild and Night Owl’s Top Pick, among other praises.

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