Time for another round of Yvonne’s Shorties! This time around a double dose of Christmas reads; one that sadly didn’t work for me at all and one that I did enjoy despite a few niggles.

Title: The Christmas Tree Cottage
(Wishing Wood #3)
Author: Holly Martin

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 7th 2022
Finished reading: December 22nd 2022
Pages: 280

“When things seem too good to be true, they usually are.”


WARNING: apparently even Christmas reads aren’t safe from an unpopular opinion review!!

Call me a Grinch, but this Christmas story and me REALLY didn’t get along. I’ve enjoyed this author before, so I fully expected to have a great time with The Christmas Tree Cottage… It’s true that I haven’t read the first two books of this particular series, but I was hoping this Christmas story could be read as a stand-alone as well. I don’t think that is what went wrong for me with this sequel though. There was just something about the writing style and tone that really didn’t work for me this time around, although I can’t put my finger exactly on the why. It probably had to do with the overdose of sexy scenes and sexual content in general; I’m never a fan of those, and they just felt wrong here (and sometimes extremely awkward). And what is with all those weird names? Seriously, it seems like the author tried to look up the most fantastical names in a name book, and instead of only using one or two, just about every character has one. I started to feel annoyed every time one of their names popped up, and that is never a good sign. I also didn’t feel the chemistry between Heath and Evergreen; it was all too insta-love and then ‘I can’t be with you because I’m not ready for a relationship‘ and ‘I’m in love with you anyway but I won’t face the facts‘. Ugh. I did like the setting and Christmas descriptions, and the plot itself had potential, but the execution just didn’t work for me. And then I’m not even talking about all the cliches and drama incorporated… All in all this definitely wasn’t the Christmas story for me.

Title: Once Upon A December
Author: Amy E. Reichert

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 4th 2022
Publisher: Berkley
Finished reading: December 24th 2022 
Pages: 335

“But loneliness was different. More pervasive. Loneliness was the absence of someone to love.”


I really liked the sound of this Christmas story with the Milwaukee Christmas market setting and the promise of a magical twist. I’m glad I added Once Upon A December to my Christmas TBR, because I ended up having a great time reading it despite a few niggles. I loved the idea behind the Julemarked, its many descriptions and the idea that it just keeps jumping to different locations around the globe to celebrate Christmas. This magical realism element gives the story such an unique touch, and it’s definitely the reason why it ended up being a success for me. The romance itself did feel a bit too much like insta-love, but Astra and Jack do have chemistry and the flashbacks help create more dept. I loved how big of a role dog Bernie played in the story! And Astra’s friendship group was great as well. I could have done without such a big focus on Astra’s ex-husband Trent and his abusive behavior; Astra’s lack of backbone to stand up for herself for a long time kind of put a damper on things. I also wasn’t a fan of the drama in the last part of the story… I would have enjoyed the story a lot more without those final twists. That said, Once Upon A December was still an entertaining Christmas romance and the magical realism element really took the plot to the next level for me. It also made me want to try a kringle!

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