Quickfire Reviews: Christmas Edition

Merry Merry Merry Merry Happy Christmas!

I thought I would take a small break from mince pies and card games and post a few Quickfire Reviews of the festive books I've read in December, mostly because I thought it would be nice to do a post on Christmas Day and I've not done one of these for ages, so here we are.

If you're new here, Quickfire Reviews is a thing I do very sporadically when there are books to talk about that I should have reviewed but haven’t. Sometimes I didn’t like these books enough to want to review them; sometimes I loved them but time got away from me; and sometimes, less is just more. I’m trying to do it semi-regularly as a feature and actually, that seems to be working out ok. Yay. Go me.

What’s it About? A circus troupe are staying at the Plum Cottage  B and B in Christmas Village....it's all festive and lovely until the entertainers start dying, one by one...

What I liked It's cute, and festive - it's set in Christmas Village for crying out loud and it had that Agatha Raisin feel about it which is always a good thing. It's a quick and easy read, which was what I wanted and mostly it was a nice enough story. Everybody loves a good Christmas mystery am I right?

What I liked Less Honestly for at least a third of it I was bored - it was so predictable and the writer was very much about the telling not the showing and somehow I just couldn't get into it, which was a shame because it had a lot of promise. 

What’s it About?  Daisy's Christmas is not so Merry - she's going through a messy breakup and had to move back in with her mum, and then she chokes on the sixpence in the Christmas Pudding and ends up in A&E which is even more embarrassing because the Dr is so dishy. (I love that word - I'm always telling my best guy that he's dishy!)

What I liked The cover is fun, and the story is ok - I flew through it, and Daisy was a nice enough character that I was rooting for her and I am such a sucker for a comedy Grandma (Grandma Mazur anyone) and only those with a heart of stone don't like a Christmas romance, right? RIGHT?

What I liked Less Could it have been any more predictable. OMG. Also Noah has to be the worst doctor to the point that his incompetence really distracted from the story for me and it just became tedious. I skim read a lot of this book, and rolled my eyes more than I would like.

What’s it About? This is the third in a the Paradise Cookery School series, and sees pastry chef Millie off to work at the prestigious Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course - she's excited not just about the job of a lifetime but also at being able to meet up again with the gorgeous estate manager, Zach. However, when she gets there she finds the school under threat and herself under a time limit - both to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe.

What I liked This book made me hungry. Seriously, the descriptions of food are mouthwatering and it's a cute little easy-reading festive romance. It's a bit paint by numbers but I knew that going in and for the most part it just made me smile. 

What I liked Less I hadn't realised it was the third in a series when I started and there were a few references that I missed although that was my fault; I can't blame the book. It was perhaps a little too predictable and I honestly didn't feel much of a spark between the two love interests - again, maybe because I was coming to their story late. Also, I felt like the resolution to the whole mystery part came too quickly and too easily: more drama please.

What’s it About? It’s a fairytale at its heart. Set in Russia, it follows Vasya, who lives in a small northern village where she is the only one who can see the demons and spirits that move among them - protecting them, a saviour more than a threat. When her father remarries and it turns out his new wife can also see the spirits she calls on a new, and arrogant priest to help her. He feeds the villagers fears until they stop paying the tithe to the demons and their protection begins to fail. Meanwhile the frost demon has his eye on Vasya and there's little she can do to resist. 

What I liked Oh, but this book. This is everything I love about storytelling: it's smart and beautiful and so so atmospheric. It's magical and whimsical and whilst not Christmassy, it's the perfect book to read at Christmas, all magic and snowstorms and wonder. It's dark too, and really it appeals to me on so many levels. I absolutely loved it - I loved it in the same way I loved Uprooted - a fairytale about a girl who is stronger than anybody could see and a villain with a twist. It's just...wonderful and now I have started I wish I'd saved this to review properly. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It may well become a regular December re-read...I am so excited for the other two books in the trilogy.

What I liked Less How are Russians not just totally confused all of the time because every person has about 12 variations on their name and it took me an ages to work out who was who because sometimes it felt like every sentence was calling them something different. Such a minor niggle though, I perhaps just need to get over myself. 

And that, as they say is that: my little Christmas quickfire reviews - I hope you're all full of Christmas dinner and having the most wonderful time.