November 2019 Book Review

Friends!  It’s my NOVEMBER BOOK REVIEW!!

Oh my gosh, I hope you carbed up for today’s post because it’s HUGE, and you’re going to need all of the energy you can get!

As per my tradition, this month, I read FOUR HOLIDAY BOOKS so that you can read them this December!

And friends, you’re going to want to read all four!

I was so happy about this batch of Christmas books because they are all SO DIFFERENT!  I asked you guys last month what I should read and you (of course!) came through with some amazing recommendations.  If you want cheesy/Hallmark happy?  I have it today!  If you want a more serious/not so corny/romantic holiday novel?  I have that too!  Want a little whimsy that will make you LOL?  Yup, read that!  And if you want something a little more dramatic about the dynamics of family during the holiday season?  Well, I have that too!

Grab some egg nog, open up your Amazon app and start “adding to cart”…you’re going to want to read these four books!

Awe, Nancy Thayer, you just never let me down.  If you’re looking for a sweet and happy novel that will give you all the holiday feels, here you go.  Read Let it Snow and thank me after 🙂 .  This easy to read, PG novel is set on my favorite island, Nantucket, and it’s everything a Christmas book should be.  It’s sweet, there’s a little love story, there are plenty of delicious food references, holiday songs mentioned, snow falls and it makes you happy that it’s Christmastime.  I flew through this book!  Now, it does lean a little Hallmark Christmas Movie which I LOVE, but if you’re looking for something a little “meatier” then this isn’t it.  If you’re over the hard stuff and just want to read something happy, here you go.  This novel is about a young Nantucket resident who owns a toy store on the island (of course!) and meets the son of her wealthy landlord.  There is family drama, there is romance, there are a great cast of characters as her friends…it’s perfect.

So many of you told me to read Christmas in Paris and friends, it was one of the best books I’ve read all year!!  This novel was so unexpected, so delightful, so original, and so perfect to read any month of the year!  The setting of this book is Paris at Christmas, but honestly, it’s not very “Christmas-y”, so I really think you could read it all year long.  This story is about two people, both recently out of their engagements, who have rooms next door to each other at a very posh hotel in Paris.  It’s charming, it’s a little whimsical, it’s complicated, it’s funny and truly unexpected.  I hate to play favorites, but out of all four books this month, I enjoyed this one the most.  It wasn’t too “chick lit”…it was just a really great book with excellent characters and a charming backdrop.

Christmas Shopaholic is everything you want in a Sophie Kinsella book!

I think over the years, I’ve read all of the books in this series, and this one right here has been my favorite.  I loved it because it was so relatable this time of year!  I laughed out loud so many times as Becky, the lovable main character who through the years has had her many ups and downs, navigates her first Christmas to host in her home.  Becky has to deal with her eclectic guest list not meshing, everyone’s dietary restrictions/needs, making sure everyone’s traditions are recognized, making sure she has the perfect menu/gifts/ornaments on her tree all while juggling work during this crazy time of year AND alllllllll of the kids activities we have to deal with during the holiday season too (recitals, plays, making costumes, building gingerbread houses…all of it!).  If you’ve never read a Shopaholic book there are like a dozen of them.  They all build on the same characters but honestly, don’t worry about reading the others because you’ll have no trouble keeping up with this one.  The main character is very Bridget Jones-she’s funny, light-hearted, a little whimsical, exaggerated and hysterical. This book made me both excited and terrified to host Christmas this year.  It really does comically cover every Christmas problem one might encounter.  Adorable and charming.  You’ll love it!

If you like holiday movies like The Family Stone, then you will love Seven Days of Us.  This is a fictional story of a family forced to live together for seven days in quarantine.  It’s quite complicated as they’re all dealing with their own personal issues which of course surface as they’re together in one home over the holidays.  While this novel isn’t really light and a chick lit…it’s still funny in moments, sweet and has a little romance and Christmas cheer sprinkled in.  Even though this book does take place over Christmas, again, I don’t think it’s super Christmas-y.  I really think this is one you can read year around.  It reminded me of the TV series Parenthood too.  Great parents with complicated adult children.  While this one wasn’t as light and cheery as the first book I read this month, I’m so glad that I read it.  There are some very thought provoking story lines that still have me thinking long after I closed the book.

So, those are the four new holiday books for 2019.  Don’t forget, you can see my TOP 11 CHRISTMAS BOOKS TO READ in this post HERE.

Now, I’m off to finish up my reading for the year.  Next month, I’ll review my December read and announce my TOP THREE books of 2019.  I’m so excited about that post!  It really is my very favorite of the entire year!!  In the meantime, what are you reading right now?  Tell me please!

Don’t forget!!  To see a running list of the books I’m reading this year, click HERE.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2018 (all 61 of them), click here.
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  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog November 25, 2019 at 4:54 am

    Ooh, excited to start reading these! I loved the Shopaholic series when I was younger! 💕✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply Emma Patterson November 25, 2019 at 5:10 am

    Look into reading 10 Blind Dates! It just came out it is Christmasy and also had me laughing so hard!

  • Reply Carly November 25, 2019 at 5:41 am

    So interesting about Christmas in Paris not being too Christmasy. Per your other list, I’m reading Christmas in London and it has so many great Christmas travel references! I’ve also added The City Bakers Guide to Country Living. Another favorite influencer recommendation 😉

  • Reply Kelly M Sites November 25, 2019 at 6:15 am

    YOU MUST MUST MUST read The Giver of Stars (Jo Jo Moyes). Best book I read of 2019 (and I read a ton).

    • Reply LisaD November 25, 2019 at 7:25 am

      Absolutely! Giver of Stars is such a lovely book!

    • Reply Rayne November 25, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      I agree!!

  • Reply Narci November 25, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Oh, I think is my favorite book review of the year!!! (And I love them all!) Can’t wait time read some of these!

  • Reply Erika Slaughter November 25, 2019 at 6:24 am

    I’m gonna need you to take about six months off so I can catch up. M’kay?

    • Reply Becky November 25, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      If you go on to Amazon Kindle and shop, then click on Prime Reading, all those are free books. I have read some of the very best books on there. Inglath Cooper books are great and right now I am reading Until the Day I Die by Emily Carpenter. I can’t put it down!

  • Reply Sheaffer Sims November 25, 2019 at 6:33 am

    If you could recommend any Christmas short stories, I’d be appreciative. Maybe a Christmas essay?

  • Reply Madeline November 25, 2019 at 6:34 am

    If you haven’t already done so, you need to read The Alice Network by Kate Quinn! It’s on Reece’s book club list and it’s SO GOOD!

  • Reply Alexis deZayas November 25, 2019 at 6:40 am

    I’m reading Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova!

  • Reply Allison November 25, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Can I just say, I love how much you read. I’ve always been a big reader and it’s great to see I’m not alone!! 🤓

  • Reply Elspeth November 25, 2019 at 7:06 am

    These all sound so fun and perfect for the Christmas season, lots of variety! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Kristine November 25, 2019 at 7:11 am

    I want to check out Christmas in Paris! Sounds lovely! I’m currently reading The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. It’s a Jenna Bush Hager book pick about faith, marriage and friendship. Would love to hear your thoughts on it!

  • Reply Lori C November 25, 2019 at 7:23 am

    You have to read The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. It has been my favorite book this year!

  • Reply Heidi November 25, 2019 at 7:42 am

    I’m a librarian so go to the library. Most have these new reads.

    • Reply Kate November 25, 2019 at 8:28 am

      Agreed! I rarely buy books because the libraries around me are go great. Another good option is to buy from a small, local bookshop where the funds help your community.

      • Reply Susy Watts November 25, 2019 at 5:08 pm


    • Reply Andrea Hooper November 25, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      Yup I read these reviews and request the good ones at the library!

  • Reply Kate November 25, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Awesome, thank you! I just finished Let it Snow and I really need another holiday book. I loved Let it Snow, I want more from these characters, I wasn’t ready to let them go!

  • Reply Jess Wade November 25, 2019 at 7:45 am

    I just finished reading Forgotten Bones by Vivian Barz. I got some email from either Good reads or Amazon and could pick a book for free (can’t remember exactly), but the synopsis intrigued me on this one and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s suspenseful, has great character development and then a twist at the end you would never expect. I woke up yesterday morning to read a couple chapters (the chapters are short). It got so good that I got sucked in to the second half of the book, finished it, and realized a whole two hours had passed! It was one of those page turners where it goes from one character in one chapter and the other character in another chapter, so it really makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens. Disclaimer, I did think it took just a little while to really get sucked in, but once you do, it’s hard to put it down.

  • Reply ERICA POLLAK November 25, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Oh, I wanted to tell you I saw The Boxcar Children Complete Set at Costco this weekend. Has Kensington read these books? I started in about 4th grade and LOVED them as a kid. I read them all. Just wondering if maybe yours would like this too. Just a thought. Merry Thanksgiving to the Shulls !!

    • Reply Ashley November 26, 2019 at 6:36 am

      Loved The Boxcar Children growing up!!

  • Reply Kelly November 25, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Christmas in Paris is waiting at the library for me to pick it up today!:)

  • Reply Ashlee Brown November 25, 2019 at 8:23 am

    I just read the Bromance Book Club and was surprised by how much I loved it. It includes baseball and takes place over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think you would really like it!

  • Reply Amy D. November 25, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Love these posts. Thank you for sharing, as always.

    I’m currently reading One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot.

    I have some recommendations for you:
    Christmas At Silver Falls -Jenny Hale (I love her Christmas novels.)
    The Gift of Happiness -Holly Martin (I love her Christmas novels as well.
    How Hard Can It Be? -Allison Pearson (sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It, which I also recommend if you haven’t read it)
    No Judgments -Meg Cabot
    The Bookish Life of Nina Hill -Abbi Waxman (loved this novel)

  • Reply Kristen November 25, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I know you’ve blogged about your Kindle, but do you use Kindle Unlimited? Trying to figure out how to read an abundance of e-books without breaking the bank. I am finding that Kindle Unlimited has millions of selections, however popular or best sellers are not part of of it. Look your book review posts!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 25, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      I do not! I’m always trying to read books based on reader recommendations, so I just purchase them in order to make sure I’m reading the exact books you guys suggest.

    • Reply Carly Hewett November 25, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Kristen, you can borrow ebooks to your Kindle from the library! For free! Use the overdrive app and set it up with your library card, and you’re good to go!

  • Reply Julie November 25, 2019 at 8:59 am

    ‘The Dutch House’ is so so so beautifully written and the brother-sister relationship warms the heart! I’m 3/4 of the way through but it may just be my favorite book of the year. I don’t want it to end, highly recommend! Thanks for reviewing shopaholic, that book was on my to-read list and now I know I’ll like it!

  • Reply Coreline November 25, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I immediately bought Christmas in Paris and have added the rest to my Amazon wishlist so I don’t run out of Christmas read! Thanks for sharing, love that you read Christmas books ahead of time .. in time for us to enjoy over the holidays 🙂

  • Reply Amber November 25, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I look forward to your book posts every month! Thank you!

  • Reply Jill November 25, 2019 at 10:02 am

    I’m currently reading Night Road by Kristin Hannah per your recommendation and I am enjoying it so much! Before that, I just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Not a light and fluffy book, difficult to read in parts, but a novel that is beautifully written and one I’m so glad to have read.

  • Reply Melissa Batts November 25, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I just finished “One Week ’til Christmas” by Belinda Missen and could NOT put it down. Such a happy and romantic Christmas story set in London!

  • Reply Sunshinealli November 25, 2019 at 10:32 am

    These books lists are awesome! I am new to your blogs and its so fun to read! One of my favorite things you do in your review is let us know what you think the book is rated (PG, PG-13 or R) and that is so helpful when you have some teens in your house that love to read.
    You said Let it Snow is PG… How about the others? I am always looking for clean, no major swearing or sex for
    my teen daughter. Thanks for any recommendations 🙂

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 25, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      I really think the other three are PG 13. None of them stood out to me as R. The more serious content and some language would be why I say PG 13.

  • Reply Lisa November 25, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Loved Christmas Shopaholic! Sophie Kinsella doesn’t disappoint, I always laugh out loud📚Going to add Christmas in Paris to my list, thanks!

  • Reply Kelsee Viano November 25, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I loved Let it Snow and Christmas Shopaholic too. Can’t wait to check out the other two suggestions as well!

    This month I read:
    When Life Gives You Pears by Jeannie Gaffigan: 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed this one! It was deep, funny and interesting memoir.
    The Marriage Pact: 2/5 stars. Super disappointed by this one. I really was expecting more.
    Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin: 4/5 stars. This is such a great chick-lit book. I would highly recommend it!!
    The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian: 3/5 stars. This one also left me wanting more, but overall it was an interesting read
    After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 5/5 stars. This one was by far my favorite book this month. I flew through it If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it.

  • Reply Sarah November 25, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Yay! Best day of the month…but have to admit, I look forward to Sheaffer’s comments almost as much as your book reviews! 😂

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 25, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Me too 😉 .

    • Reply Susy Watts November 25, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Make that three!
      We love you Shaeffer!

  • Reply Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams November 25, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    I mean if Nancy Thayer has a Christmas book set in Nantucket, it’s now moved to the front of my reading list!! Love reading a good seasonal book around the Christmas tree!!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams 

  • Reply Sheila November 25, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    The Giver Of Stars Jojo Moyes You have to read!

  • Reply Jenny November 25, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Loved your book review!!! Nancy Thayer is one of my favorites as well so it’s always fun to see you highlight her books. Random but after following you on Instagram for awhile and listing to your videos/stories do you have issues with your vocal chords? I don’t mean to come off rude by any means but was wondering since you have said in the past you’ve had issues with your bite and didn’t know if it may be related.

  • Reply Maureen November 25, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Read them all! Great Christmas reads!🎄

  • Reply Shannon November 25, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    The Dutch House was amazing on audio. Tom Hanks narrates it!

    Currently reading “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11”. It is incredible and will probably be my favorite book of the year (out of 50+ books).

  • Reply Amanda November 25, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I am not sure if Andrew enjoys a good book like you do, but if he does… does he have any suggestions for a good book or two to get the hubby for Christmas? Always looking for some good books to put in his stocking! Thanks!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 26, 2019 at 7:23 am

      He does! Right now, he’s reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz!

  • Reply Lisa Chapman November 25, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Shay,
    This won’t have anything to do,with today’s post…. but I have a question for you!? I live in Victoria, BC and get to come to Oregon State this weekend. I am finally getting to visit a Trader Joes and wondering what are some fun seasonal things I need to try/buy? Love your blog and giggled when you stopped here on your Alaskan Cruise. Love the Island and feel blessed that I get to call it home.❤️❤️

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 26, 2019 at 7:22 am

      This is kind of an amazing time to go because you’re getting both the pumpkin stuff and the Christmas stuff in stores!! Did you look at my fall TJ post…get the pumpkin butter, apple cider butter, pumpkin bread mix…stuff like that that’s about to go away. Seriously, there is so much to get. Have the best trip!

  • Reply Kim S November 26, 2019 at 7:31 am

    I just finished reading ‘What Happens in Paradise.” Is it just me or did the story line not really move forward? I liked seeing the story from Rosie’s point of the view but nothing really happened with the other characters.

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 26, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Oh it wasn’t just you. I think this series in general has a very weak plot.

  • Reply Kiley November 26, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I have a recommendation for you! The Book woman of Troublesome Creek. Just finished it and I thought it was good!

  • Reply Mother of 3 November 27, 2019 at 4:48 am

    Those do all sound great! I’ll have to pin them to my board.

  • Reply Jen November 27, 2019 at 11:24 am

    I’m reading Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber and it’s SOOOOO good!! Add this to your Christmas book list if you haven’t read it already!

  • Reply Tracey November 27, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Have you ever read RaeAnne Thayer’s Haven Point series? The first book is Snow Angel Cove. There are 10 books in the series (the most recent just came out) and they are the most wonderful Hallmark movie style books and I’m just obsessed with them! Most are set around Christmas time although some are set in the summer. Just kissing in them so definitely rated PG. Highly highly recommend!

  • Reply Dena November 30, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Love your book reviews! Have you read Between Shades of Gray or Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys? Great books and I just saw she has a new one out The Fountains of Silence. They are categorized as YA but are so beautifully written. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

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