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A Christmas Reading Challenge

I’m putting together a new reading challenge for myself, a Christmas themed one…well, more a holiday themed one since it includes a few Hanukkah themed books and a Solstice story. But it’s mostly Christmas themed.

It’s only September, so it feels way too early to be thinking about the holidays. But if I want to finish a holiday challenge by Christmas, I have to give myself time to actually read the books. Which means starting about now. I’ve done this sort of thing before, though on a smaller scale.

I picked out the books with the super scientific method of scrolling through my TBR on Goodreads and picking out all that had obvious holiday themed covers or titles. I’m sure I missed some, but it still added up to a not insignificant number.

snowball-Image by StockSnap from PixabayWhat tends to happen over time is that I pick a few Christmasy titles up every year, thinking I’ll bask in the season. But, if I don’t read them immediately, they get dropped onto my TBR and forgotten about until the next Christmas. When I might or might not remember them. Then I pick up a few more, repeating the cycle. Thus, the pile of unread Christmas books snowballs, getting bigger every year.

The oldest on this list has been on my TBR since 2013! It will be especially satisfying to mark some of those titles that have been hanging around for while as ‘read.’

This year, I found 62 Christmas stories languishing on my shelves. Well, 58 Christmas, 3 Hanukkah ones, and 1 set during the Solstice. I don’t have enough to make a Hanukkah or Solstice challenge of their own. So, I’m including them here. Luckily, most of these 62 ‘books’ are pretty short (stories more than books, honestly). When I first thought to do this challenge the plan was to read all my holiday themed books. But then I saw how many there actually are. So, my revised goal is to read and review as many of them as I can by Dec. 25th.

I’ve broken them into batches, by length (Under 100 pages, 100-200, 200+). Let’s see what we have. (I know some have newer covers, but these are the editions I have.)

Under 100 pages:

2021 less than 100 pages christmas

Haunted by the Holidays, by Kathryn Blanche
A Private Miscellany, by K.J. Charles
Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus, by Bey Deckard
Illicit Activity, by J.R. Gray
Christmas at the Wellands, by Liz Jacobs
Chasing Christmas Past, by Melanie Karsak
A Wizard for Christmas, by Dorothy McFalls
The Christmas Prince, by Liv Rancourt
God Rest Ye Merry Vampires, by Liv Rancourt
The Santa Drag, by Liv Rancourt
The Ugliest Sweater, by Gillian St. Kevern
Fred and Ginger, by Isobel Starling
The Greatest Gift, by Felice Stevens
Family, by Brigham Vaughn
Winter Spirit, by Indra Vaughn
Twist of the Magi, by Caren J. Werlinger
63 Days Later, by Adrienne Wilder

Plus, The Eighth Night, by Jenna Kendrick, as a bonus

100-200 page

2021 christmas 100-200 pages
Gingerbread Mistletoe, by Amy Aislin
In Case of Emergency, by Keira Andrews
A Wedding in Twinkle Falls, by Freda Ann
Will & Patrick Do the Holidays, by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Charley’s Christmas Wolf, by C.D. Gorri
Mischief & Mistletoe, by Tanya Anne Crosby
Holiday Haunts, Wendy Dalrymple & Imogen Markwell-Tweed
Christmas Lites anthology, by Amy Eye and others
His Christmas Bride, by Merry Farmer
To Linzer & to Cherish, by Jen FitzGerald
A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong, by Cecilia Grant
Second Chances, by Kiska Gray
Cabin Love, by Hayden Hunt
Winter Blom, by D.J. Jamison
Bittersweets Christmas, by Suzanne Jenkins
Christmasly Obedient, by Julia Kent
Cold Feet, by Jay Northcote
Mine to Five, by Tara September
From out in the Cold, by L.A. Witt

Plus Solstice Surrender by Tracy Cooper-Posey and Highland Stranger by Kerrigan Byrne as Solstice bonuses.

200+ pages

christmas 2021 200+ pages

A Hopeful Christmas, by Anneka R. Walker, Sian Ann Bessey, Carla Kelly & Krista Lynne Jensen
The Problem With Mistletoe, Bring Me Edeweiss & Mistletoe in the Marigny, by Kyle Baxter
Mr. Frosty Pants & Mr. Naughty List, by Leta Blake
Merry Elf-ing Christmas, by Beth Bolden
The Christmas Lights Battle, by Skylar M. Cates
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, by Jenny Colgan
Fighting for Us, by Bella Emy
Sleigh Spells, Bella Falls
A Wolf is not Just for Christmas, J.F. Holland
A Christmas Date, by Camilla Isley
Frosting Her Christmas Cookies, by Alina Jacobs
Naughty & Nice, by D.J. Jamison
Where We Begin, by Janey King
Last Blue Christmas, by Rose Prendeville
Smokin’ Hot Cowboy Christmas, by Kim Redford
Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas, by Terry Spears
The Plight Before Christmas, by KateStewart
Shrewd Angel, by Anyta Sunday
A Christmas Promise, by K.C. Wells

Plus, Eight Kinky Nights by Xan West and The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish as Hanukkah bonuses.

While ‘read all your holiday themed books and short stories’ sounds deceptively easy, the challenge isn’t without it’s…well, challenges. First, very few of these happen to conveniently be the beginnings of series. The short stories especially tend to be bonuses for existing series. Mostly series I’ve read at least some of, otherwise I wouldn’t have picked up the short. But few in series I’m caught up with or have read recently. Most are contemporary romances and, frankly, I’ve not been reading much contemporary anything lately. So, many are outside my current reading preferences.  At least one of these I picked up on an Amazon free day because I thought the blurb sounded so problematic I wondered how the author would rescue it (if she could rescue it). One or two I’m not 100% are actually holiday themed, as opposed to just being set during late Winter. And there are just so many more than I expected when I thought up this challenge. Plus, I fully expect I’ll add a few more books to the list before I call the challenge finished on Christmas day. Either because I find them in my TBR between now and then or because I pick them up new this holiday season. Regardless, I’m going to do the best I can.  **ganbatte**

Other than knowing that I’ll review all of the short stories in a single post and that I’m going to prioritize physical books over ebooks, I’ve not entirely decided how I’ll be running the rest of this particular challenge—if I want to post reviews individually, in batches, one a day over a set time, all at once on Christmas day, etc. But I have time to figure that out. Regardless, I’ve got enough holiday cheer to keep me busy for a while. How about you? Anyone else have an unreasonable number of holiday themed books sitting around and want to join me getting them read this year?

Note: I’ve edited this post since first publishing it to add a few books and keep the tally up to date. I found some that I owned but had missed in Calibre and (because I have no self control), I picked up a few freebies this year.

santa-claus-Image by Igor Link from Pixabay

Just because he made me laugh

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