Wow! Five books in December to get to 42 books for 2023! It’s not my goal of 52,  but I think it’s pretty good, especially since I went through a several-month reading slump. I read three Christmas fiction books and two non-fiction books this month. 

What did you read in December? Any good Christmas books??

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The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

Read by Stephanie Cannon

☕☕☕☕ / 5

The Holiday Swap is a grown-up The Parent Trap meets Hallmark holiday movie. Charlie gets a concussion on the set of her baking show “Sweet & Salty” and can no longer taste or smell. She has the brilliant idea to switch places with her identical twin, Cass, who runs the family bakery.

The Holiday Swap is an easy-to-read book that feels like watching a cheesy movie. The pacing was decent, but it felt like the climax came late. It didn’t drag, but reaching the climax took longer than usual. There was good tension and conflict, but I felt there could have been more pushback from some of the characters once they learned about the switch.

It does use the trope of a twin swap, but I did want to keep reading to see how each twin would handle being their sister. The book is told from two points of view: Cass and Charlie. The flow between points of view was great, and it was easy to tell when we were switching twins. The author also included reminders throughout the chapter as the twins had to remind themselves they were the other. 

I liked all of the characters. They felt relatable and down to earth. Of course, there were a couple of obnoxious people, but they were written that way, which helps move the story forward. I thought Cass and Charlie learned and changed from their experience. 

I recommend this book if you like light romance and Hallmark holiday movies. It is the perfect amount of fun, romance, and holiday hijinks. 

Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer

☕☕☕ / 5

Lussi needs a job, and she gets the job when an interview goes bad. Her coworkers haze her, and receives an odd Secret Santa gift. Then, bad things start happening to her coworkers.

Although somewhat predictable, I did want to keep reading to see how it all turned out. The workplace was well described, and I could picture the type of New York City home converted into an office/business. I wanted to learn more about the other characters. We only really got a good picture of the main character, Lussi. We got glances of her co-workers but I was left wanting more.

I also wanted a bit more horror. I felt there wasn’t enough tension or scares for a horror book. Overall, it was a decent read. I would recommend it to people who aren’t into gruesome horror but are looking for a little bit of a scare revolving around Christmastime. 

Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandria Sokoloff

☕☕☕☕ / 5

What can a screenwriter teach authors? How to watch movies and follow scriptwriting to help your book be the best it can be!

Reading this one took me a while, but that is not the author’s fault. At the end of each chapter are assignments, and I was trying to complete the assignments before moving on to the next chapter. I finally realized I can read the book and then go back and work my way through the assignments.

Sokoloff does a great job breaking down movies and books to help writers. I often had ideas while reading and had to email myself so I wouldn’t forget!

I would recommend this book if you are interested in writing fiction.

The Christmas Fix by Lucy Score

☕☕☕ / 5

Reality house flipper Cat is ready to help out the small town of Merry, CT, after a hurricane hits it and get it ready for it’s annual Christmas festival. But city manager Noah stands in her way.

The author does a great job describing the small town of Merry in this enemies-to-lovers Christmas novel. These are all predictable, but I love reading them, knowing it will be a happy ending. This one is no different. The climax was where expected, and there was plenty of tension between Cat and Noah.

I liked Cat and Noah, but the original conflict felt too forced and unnatural. It was as if the author was trying to insert too much conflict. 

The Christmas Fix was an easy read (I finished it in a day) and had good transitions between points of view. After the first third of the book, the dialogue became much more natural and flowed nicely. 

I would recommend this book if you like cheesy Christmas stories. Please note there is some language people may consider inappropriate and some steamy-ish scenes. 

Photo Quest by Rick Sammon

☕☕☕☕ / 5

A photo book without any photos? What?! Rick Sammon writes about art, photography, and all the things that go along with those. He talks about creativity, business and has friends pop in and give their thoughts. He also gives assignments at the end of each chapter. Some are more involved than others. 

I would recommend this book to photographers. I think Rick has a lot of wisdom, and I hope to absorb a fraction of it!


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.