Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and wrapping up warm! During December I took part in the 12 Days of Queermas Readathon, hosted by Arin and Brittany over at Sapphic Saturdays and I had so much fun! I also read a ridiculous amount, although admittedly most of it consisted of novellas! Because there are so many, I wanted to do a separate wrap up from my December wrap up, or else we’d all be here for hours! So, without any further ado, here’s the wrap up!
I primarily read a lot of sapphic Christmassy novellas throughout the readathon, as they were what I was mostly in the mood for. Although some were really great – A Girlfriend for Christmas and Christmas Inn Maine (the group book) – some were also a wee bit of a disappointment for me – Christmas Kisses and She’ll Be Home For Christmas. If you want to know my thoughts on these novellas, I have a whole mini review post up for them already!
One of the first books I read for the readathon was also one of my most anticipated reads of the year – Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur! This was a really fun sapphic Pride and Prejudice retelling that just completely solidified my love for the fake dating trope! Again, I have a full review of this one on my blog already, but just know that it definitely lives up to the hype! After reading Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman earlier in the year (coincidentally during another queer readathon!) I was really excited to pick up her holiday novella – Fearless. This one features a butch/femme dynamic which I love and really want to see more of in lesfic, and has the really cute premise of being snowed in during the main character’s daughter’s orchestra practice. Sadly, much like Knit One, Girl Two, this one fell a bit flat and I didn’t find myself all that invested in the plot or the main characters. Overall, I just found it to be okay.
Right at the end of the readathon I picked up my third Margaux Fox novella – Her Christmas Carole. After really enjoying the previous two novellas by Margaux, I was so excited to pick this one up, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed! It follows to women who fell in love in their childhood but have since drifted apart, now only seeing each other every Christmas. Margaux’s writing is absolutely beautiful in this novella and it was such a melancholy yet gorgeous read! I couldn’t help but wish that it was a full length novel as I really think it would be something even more amazing if it were! I highly recommend this one and can’t wait to pick up more by this author! Sadly, my last read of the readathon was a DNF, and it was The Holiday Treatment by Elle Spencer. I’ve been wanting to read something by Elle Spencer for a wee while now and was so excited by the Hallmark movie premise of this one, and, in fact, the start of the book was really promising. However, around the 45% mark I decided to DNF it as the execution of the plot just seemed a bit lackluster and we were still in Hawaii by that point in the book. I also found the attempts at tongue-in-cheek humour to just be a bit awkward – they were the kind of jokes you would give a polite laugh to rather than actually finding them funny. Despite this, I will be picking up something else by Elle Spencer in the future, because I am really excited about her writing!
I also picked up quite a few novellas featuring trans and nonbinary main characters! After hearing nothing but rave reviews for Eli Wray’s A Very Enby Christmas series, I knew I had to pick them up! All three novellas follow nonbinary trans pairings in their 20s, 30s and 40s and it was so refreshing to have trans main characters at the forefront of these stories! My favourite of the three was definitely the first novella, Sugar and Spice, with Secret Santa coming in second! Although these are a series they are all standalones and can be read in any order. There is a lot of smut in this series (perhaps too much in the second novella when you consider its size), so if that’s not your thing then this may not be the series for you.
Right at the start of the month I picked up I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver and I was so excited to see that a Christmassy sequel novella was also being released, so of course I had to preorder it! I’ll Be Home For Christmas follows Ben as they are trying to fly home to surprise Nathan for Christmas, bringing Nathan’s dog along with them, but the snowy weather seems to have other ideas! As someone who’s had to fly home over Christmas, a lot of this was all to real to me (Charles de Gaulle airport is hellish enough without it also being three days before Christmas)! Just like I With You All the Best, Mason Deaver managed to get me to cry again! This is the sweetest, most wholesome novella and I highly recommend picking it up if you loved Ben and Nathan’s story! Lastly, I picked up an ARC copy of The Christmas Chevalier by Meg Mardell – a trans historical romance. Despite being so excited for this book, I had some rather mixed feelings about it. The plot overall was a lot of fun but I wish that it revolved less around the trans main character being trans and not much else other than that, particularly since this resulted in a lot of misgendering and blackmail involving outing said main character. Aside from that I did enjoy it and I wish it had been longer to develop the relationships between characters a bit more. I’m excited to read the sequel which is out next year, as it’s set during Hogmany!
Finally, I read two queer anthologies during the readathon! The first was Holiday Haunts by Imogen Marwell-Tweed and Wendy Dalrymple – a Christmas paranormal romance anthology! This anthology was so much fun and exactly what I needed to break up all the contemporary romance. The first two stories are sapphic and achillean respectively and the last two are cis-het, and surprisingly I enjoyed the latter more! All the stories are connected as they all take place in one shopping centre, and I really enjoyed that cohesiveness. The second two stories felt more Christmassy than the first two, but overall this was such a fun read that I highly recommend! Then I picked up Gay Apparel, which I was really looking forward to reading as it included other festivities than just Christmas. It’s split into 24 super short novellas (a couple of pages each at most) but to me they were all just too short to really get into and the first story also included some ableist language. I only found out after DNF-ing this that the stories can be read like a little advent calendar so I might give it another shot next year, but for now it was a little bit of a let down.