Author: Debbie Macomber
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Audiobook Length: 5 hours 23 minutes
In a festive annual tradition, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with another original holiday novel full of romance and cheer. This time around, a plucky young woman clashes with a real-life Scrooge—her grouchy, arrogant, annoyingly handsome neighbor—and tries to get even the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.
Twelve Days of Christmas follows Julia and Cain who are neighbors. Julia begins an experiment of doing kind things for Cain for twelve days and then she’ll document the results on her blog. The premise of the novel sounded like an ideal read, but, unfortunately, there were small elements within the writing that just did not jive with me. This could be a case of wrong place and wrong time, so I will not rule out re-reading this in the future. The story begins with the two as enemies where Cain is the grumpy Scrooge and Julia is the holiday-filled sunshine-type. Without the random elements that I did not enjoy, this was a festive holiday read that I think many people will enjoy.
Throughout the twelve days, Julia does multiple kind-hearted things involving Cain that I loved. My turning point was when Julia becomes sick with the flu after taking care of Cain. Here she barely can get out of bed, but she is determined to weigh herself on the scale and becomes thrilled when she discovers that she has lost five pounds. While this is a very tiny event in the story, it stuck out in my mind for Julia’s character. She was sick less than 24 hours and lost that much weight, but there was not a lot of concern for her health as that is a lot to lose. Aside from this, there were other pieces here and there with Julia’s reactions to Cain doing anything for her as her inner thoughts were resistant compared to her pushing herself on him. While it is written to build up the tension of the two of them resist their attraction to each other, it just did not come across well for me.
Overall, I absolutely loved the premise of bringing kindness into the world and spreading joy. I believe many people will love this story and would recommend others to give it a try as I am most likely in the minority in my thoughts. There are multiple points of tension throughout the story as Cain and Julia both have their own backstories and motivations that are explored. While this may not have been the story for me, I still greatly enjoy the author and will gladly read more of her other works.
Author: Katlyn Duncan
Narrator: Jennifer Woodward
Audiobook Length: 7 hours 44 minutes
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…
Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.
Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.
But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.
Wrapped Up for Christmas was a very fun and enjoyable festive read. The story definitely has the Hallmark feel where a woman returns to her hometown and rediscovers some magic. The main character, Angie Martinelli, loves Hallmark-style movies, which brings a nice tie-in to the fact that she is in her own version. After breaking up with her boyfriend (and boss), she was also let go from her event planning position at the hotel she worked at in California. She returns home to Connecticut for the holidays and now needs to decide what to do next. She begins by applying to multiple jobs, but she does not hear back for some and her savings are running out fast. Despite all of these downfalls, Angie is determined to try to make the best of everything.
As she is in need of money, Angie ends up taking her old job from high school at the information desk at the local mall. She ends up running into Nick and has an instant attraction to him. Each has their own reasons for jumping into a relationship, so they begin as friends; however, as this is a holiday romance, their connection continues to grow. Nick has his own issues that he is going through, especially with his family, which creates many moments of tension in the story. It did feel a bit much given the reason for the tension as most of it stems from an incident with Nick’s brother, but Nick is not the same person, so it was difficult to comprehend. (It is difficult to discuss more without spoiling this element.)
The romance between Nick and Angie moves very quickly considering they do not spend a ton of time together, but it did not bother me as much considering it can happen if you are swept away in the magic of the holiday. Another portion that was rushed was an incident with Angie and a homeless woman she helps, as it was very sweet, but it felt very rushed. I wish that there were more backstory/set-up for this part of Angie’s personality as it seems that this is a major turning point yet there was no build-up. Overall, this was an enjoyable story and a great holiday/cozy read.