The Christmas holidays have arrived, and here in Australia, the lazy days of summer are back!
These past few months, I’ve been busy working on edits for my upcoming release, so some short reads have been a welcome distraction. This selection mainly consists of authors new to me, so I’m only too happy to help spread the word. 😊
Happy reading and best wishes for 2023!
The Curse of Morton Abbey by Clarissa Harwood
In 1897, after the death of her father, Vaughan Springthorpe is hired as a legal assistant to prepare papers for the sale of Morton Abbey. It is a remote mansion located on the Yorkshire moors, containing locked rooms, and hidden passageways. Shortly after her arrival, strange things begin to happen, including the sound of a child crying at night. Her work is disrupted, convincing Vaughan that someone wants to be rid of her. The local town also has its mysteries, for the children who live there are only boys.
This novel is ‘The Secret Garden’ for adults and is a Gothic romance involving a love triangle between Vaughan, the gardener, and the ill, brooding, Nicholas Spencer. The plot and characters are well developed, and I especially liked Vaughan’s determination to prove herself in a male dominated profession. If you enjoy Gothic romances with a good mystery, I highly recommend The Curse of Morton Abbey.
No Such Luck by Staci Troilo
Piper is fired from her job as a journalist and returns to her hometown for Christmas. Here, she meets up with her best friend, Jack, and her high school crush, Tommy. She eventually becomes torn between childhood fantasies and reality, questioning which one is her perfect match.
The characters are well developed, and the writing is flawless. The first novella in the Keystone Couples series, this is a short, sweet romance, and the perfect holiday read. This is the first time I have read a book from this author, and it won’t be my last.
The Colony is a place where one’s profession is determined by an exam. The lower the score, the less desirable the occupation. Ward’s job is to slaughter dogs for a restaurant, and despite his best efforts, he cannot leave.
Bettis has created a dystopian novella, a harsh place, where residents are devoid of empathy. Ward hates his job and has suicidal thoughts. The reader sympathises with him and the situation he is in, which is skilfully done.
I admit, being a dog lover, it took me a while to read this book. I applaud Bettis in tackling such a difficult subject matter. Some scenes are confronting, and one in particular gave me pause, but the author reveals the realities of the trade, leaving an imprint on the reader long after they’ve finished.
Well written, this novella is a powerful statement of man’s cruelty to animals, as well as ourselves.
Ghosted by Melanie Pickering
It’s Christmas Eve, and Holly is not in a festive mood. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend, her best friend is away for the holidays, and her mother is working on Christmas Day. In a last-minute attempt to buy her mother a present, she goes to the town’s Christmas Carnival, where she encounters the new boy in town, her secret crush.
This young adult novella is a fresh take on A Christmas Carol, where Holly must decide what she really wants in a relationship. A sweet romance, the characters are relatable (my favourites being Jody and Marley), and I would be interested to see more of some secondary characters. I enjoyed the setting, which brought to life the carnival atmosphere. This fun, quick read, is perfect for the holidays.
What books are you reading these Christmas holidays? Have you been reading books from new authors lately? Do you have a favourite summer read?