Hi everyone!! I hope you’re all doing well! We’re over halfway through December now, can you believe it? We’re also over halfway through the 12 Days of Queermas Readathon, and so I thought I’d do a little wrap up of some of the sapphic novellas that I’ve read! I have some posts that I’m really excited about lined up for the rest of the month so look forward to those too!
First up is It Had To Be You by Clare Lydon, which you can read for free if you sign up for the author’s newsletter! Last month I read another of Clare Lydon’s novellas, Try Me Again, a second chance sapphic romance set during lockdown, and I really enjoyed it, so I was eager to try out more of the author’s work. It Had To Be You is a really short and fun novella following Milly, who is dating, and in love with, a much older woman. However, when Milly brings her girlfriend, Georgia, home for Christmas, Georgia is in for an unexpected surprise when she meets Milly’s family. There was a lot of drama in such a short novella, and I thought it was a whole lot of fun! The plot twist really caught me by surprise and I actually really enjoyed it, much to my surprise! I’m not too sure if age gap romances are really for me, but overall this was a fun novella if you want something quick, full of drama and that will make you laugh!
Next up is one of my favourite novellas that I’ve read during the readathon so far – A Girlfriend For Christmas by Barbara Winkes! A Girlfriend For Christmas follows Cindy who has had a crush on her boss’ niece, Abigail, for the longest time. So, when Abigail asks Cindy for a favour, Cindy agrees straight away. What’s the favour you ask? It’s to be Alison’s fake girlfriend during a weekend getaway to try and stop her friends from constantly trying to set her up, but things don’t exactly go to plan. Although I found the start of the novella a bit too brusque with regards to setting the scene and starting the story going, I really enjoyed myself while reading the rest of the novella! There’s only one bed is one of my all time favourite romance tropes, and I’ve recently realised I’m a sucker for fake dating (thanks Written in the Stars!). The romance was really slow burn which I loved, and for some reason, while reading the novella, I couldn’t help but picture the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ trip to Ojai in season 3 as the background to the book! Overall this was such a great novella and I would highly recommend it!
Next up is my second favourite of the novellas I’ve read so far – Christmas Inn Maine by Chelsea M. Cameron. Christmas Inn Maine follows Coldon, who just wants to spend her Christmas break reading all day long, all by herself in a coastal holiday cottage. However, when that cottage turns out not to exist, Coldon checks themselves into the nearest inn – the problem being that it is owned by her work rival that she hates, Laura. First of all, I loved the own voices demigirl representation in this book – everything about it made me so unexplainably happy! I also, surprisingly, loved the rivals to lovers romance, despite it really being one of my least favourite tropes! I was a tad apprehensive about picking this one up, as I didn’t really enjoy the first book by Chelsea M. Cameron that I read this year, but I really needn’t have been, and I’m really glad it was picked as the group book for the readathon! The family relationships are definitely the highlight of this book, and once again the ‘there’s only one bed’ trope reared its head! If you’re looking for a sapphic holiday read with some really great smut, this one is perfect for you!
Sadly, the next two were misses for me. I’ve been dying to try out some of Natasha West’s writing for a while now, so I was excited to see that she had published two Christmas novellas, but unfortunately, I really didn’t like either of them. The first story in Christmas Kisses, A Mistletoe Moment, follows Sam who is, begrudgingly, at a work Christmas party at the bar that Tilda works at. The two instantly hit it off and share a kiss under the mistletoe before the night is over. Both women are eager to find each other again, but, after Tilda takes the blame for her co-worker’s mistake, she gets fired, and so things get a little tricky. First of all, I didn’t really understand the romance – they really barely interacted and Tilda kept referring to Sam as some kind of ‘compliment’ regarding her button nose (that I have subsequently erased from my memory), and I just didn’t understand why they were so desperate to find each other again. Regardless of that, the lengths the two of them went to felt…quite stalker-ish to put it simply, and it really wasn’t my thing at all. The second story, Stock Take wasn’t much better. It follows Emily, who has just begrudgingly been promoted to manager of the electronics department of her store, and who is helping train newly employed Kat. Again, I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two women at all and the story was so short I felt like nothing was really developed as much as it could have been. If you’re looking for a fun, queer Christmassy novella collection featuring the workplace, I’d recommend picking up Holiday Haunts instead of this one.
Sadly, another disappointment was She’ll Be Home For Christmas – another age gap romance that initially sounded really interesting. She’ll Be Home For Christmas follows Lucy, a famous Instagram model that doesn’t have any true friends in real life, who decides to sign up to a dating app to find friends, and potentially more. Lucy decides to hide her real identity in the hopes that people will love her for who she is and not her fame, but when her new girlfriend comes home for Christmas, Lucy must reveal who she really is. Overall, this novella isn’t a bad book – the writing style is completely fine and the concept is really fun. However, it is absolutely not a Christmas novella – aside from one mention of going Christmas tree shopping, and the very last twenty or so pages being set on Christmas Day/Eve, this novella could literally have taken place any other time of year and I’d have been none the wiser. Because of this I felt really misled and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have, had it not been marketed in such a way.
Thankfully, the most recent novella I read, I really enjoyed! Checking It Twice follows Sacha who is returning to her family holiday home for her sister’s Christmas wedding – and she’s not looking forward to it. That is until she meets her sister’s androgynous wedding planner – Hal, who seems to be prepared for everything! This was such a fun novella, and a really unique premise compared to other Christmas novellas on my 12 Days of Queermas TBR! I really enjoyed both Hal and Sacha and their romance was really soft and sweet! There were so many cute Wintery activities in here, like ice skating, gingerbread making and having fun in the snow, and I really loved the fluffy vibes! This is definitely a must read if you’re looking for a feel good sapphic novella with an adorable ending!