Let’s be honest, the REAL MVP of Christmas? Books. And there’s nothing better than walking away from Christmas morning with a big fat stack of books for your Christmas book haul.
Every year I kind of hope for book-shaped presents under the tree, but I rarely get them. Every now and then, my brother gets me a classic, or I might get the esteemed Barnes and Noble gift card. Don’t get me wrong–those things are all well and good! But, I’m not sure there’s really anything like opening a freshly wrapped book on Christmas morning. Especially, one that you’ve been wanting to buy for a while and just…haven’t got to.
This year, I’ve noticed a lot of book-tokers creating book wish lists for friends and adding them to their bio. In the past, I’ve often done paper lists for family, but I thought it might be worth trying an Amazon book wish list this year. From September through November, I added books I thought sounded cool to the wish list, and then I sent to my mom via text for easy purchasing. I promised myself that, at that point, I wouldn’t look at the list again until after Christmas, that way I would forget what books were on the list and be surprised if I actually received any of them (and there were at least 20 on this list, so there was no way I was remembering them all).
Lo and behold, on Christmas morning, there they were–beautifully, perfectly wrapped, pristine, little rectangles. It was then that I knew…my plan had worked.
All jokes aside, This Christmas was a special one for me (and my family) for many reasons, but I’m thankful for everything I received this year, including my books. So, I’m going to go through each pick and let you know which ones I received this year!
#1: A Botanist’s Guide To Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari
The first book in my Christmas Book Haul is A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons. This book is actually surprisingly smaller than I expected at only 250 pages, but I love the cover of it and its synopsis is giving me serious The Lost Apothecary vibes (which I enjoyed). This book doesn’t have the best reviews on Goodreads for whatever reason, but I’m really excited to try it.
It seems like this one is a mystery that is set in the 1920s in London. A research assistant is at a University College in a male dominated field (botany). When she attends a dinner party for the school, she expects to engage in conversations about her chosen profession. Instead, one of the professor’s wives drops to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.
Kind of sounds like a wild ride and I’m excited for it. And, I love historical based stuff like this, so I think it will be a fun read.
#2: Shutter by Ramona Emerson
Okay, so I’m so excited that I got this book for Christmas. I actually completely forgot that I added it to my Christmas wish list (it was totally an impulse add), but it sounds amazing and I definitely want to read a few more thrillers this year, since I read too many romances last year (and not enough murder! lol).
This book is about Rita, a forensic photographer who is working for the Albuquerque police force. She’s so good, she’s almost supernaturally good at her job. In fact, she’s been hiding a secret: Rita sees the ghosts of crime victims, who point her toward the clues that other investigators overlook. Shutter follows Rita’s investigation into a very specific case where a ghost latches onto her and tells her that her supposed suicide was actually a murder, forcing Rita on a quest for revenge against the killers, one of Albuquerque’s most dangerous cartels.
I’m so excited to add this book into my Christmas Book haul. It’s written by an indigenous author and has a Native American MC, which was one of the categories I wanted to read during 2022 but just didn’t get to during the year. I’ll be excited to start 2023 off with this one!
#3: The Confidence of Wildflowers by Micalea Smeltzer
I’m going to be honest, as soon as I read the quote on the top of the cover of this book, I felt really dumb for adding this to a list that I gave to my mother. I blushed EXCESSIVELY when I opened this on Christmas morning. BUT, I have been wanting to read this book for literal months now and I refuse to pay the eighteen bucks they were asking for it on Amazon. So, I was actually pretty grateful to get it in my Christmas book haul.
This book is a romance (obviously). It’s become pretty TikTok famous on Booktok, probably because there’s got to be some level of intense smut in it. My understanding is that there is a pretty age gap between the two characters and the younger character, the female, becomes a nanny for his children, because he is a single dad. Then, the two of them fall in love, even though they are fifteen years apart.
I’ve never really been one for an age gap romance, but I do really love a good single parent romance, so I’m here for it—I like trying new things and I want to see what the hype is about. Plus, this book has such a beautiful cover that even if I do manage to hate it, it will still look great on my bookshelf either way.
#4: The Water Witch by Jessica Thorne
This is probably about the time you’re thinking, what a strange collection of books. And, you would be right. I’m a mood reader and I could pick up any one of these books at any time.
When I opened up The Water Witch, I actually can’t remember adding this to my wishlist. It must be one of the first books that I added, or maybe I added it late at night. But, either way, I’m glad I did, because I am SO excited to read this one!
The Water Witch is fantasy and it takes place in France, where a woman’s fiancé drowned while searching for an underwater city. The main character, Ari, never believed in the myth. But, when Ari encounters a man emerging from the sea from a cove, she approaches him, and he swears the myths are true. And, his ancestor was cursed by a water witch that is putting them all in terrible danger. The secret to the curse lies in finding the hidden lost city. Ari has no choice but to try to help the man find the lost city, using her dead fiance’s clues.
I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this book literally anywhere, but it sounds amazing. It doesn’t even have 200 reviews on Goodreads, but most of them seem pretty positive, so I have a feeling that this is going to be a top read for me. I’m super intrigued about this one.
#5: West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
Now, just like every other book in my Christmas book haul this year, I have never read anything by this author–she’s totally new to me. However, I’ve heard so many good things about this book. In fact, I’ve seen it requested a few times at the library I work at.
West With Giraffes is historical fiction and it’s about a 105-year-old man (yup, you read that right!) who learns that giraffes are going extinct. So, he tells a story of two giraffes who made headlines during the Great Depression during a twelve-day road trip from Southern California to San Diego. The man driving the truck? A younger version of our narrator.
This book was actually selected as a nominee for the Goodread’s choice awards, though it didn’t win (to Malibu Rising, of all books) and I feel like it’s just going to be a really emotionally charged, well-written story. I’m looking forward to getting into this one and I don’t think it will be sitting on my TBR shelf for long.
#6: Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
Out of all of the books that I got in my Christmas book haul, I think Meredith, Alone is the one that I probably identify with the most and I seriously think I’m going to feel something when I read this one.
In this novel, Meredith Maggs hasn’t left her house in 1,214 days. She works remotely and she has a rescue cat. She has a friend that visits with her two children and she has an online support group that she is a part of. She swears she’s not lonely. In fact, she has lots of things to do at home from jigsaw puzzles to cooking to her grocery delivery man. But, something is about to change for Meredith, and like it or not, the world is coming to her door.
The book jacket for this one says, “A perfect story for the times we live in […] will have you laughing, crying, and swelling with hope.”
I feel like there are just some times when you need a comfort read, and this seems like a perfect comfort read to me, to be honest.
And so, that’s all of the books that I got in my Christmas book haul for this year! The colors all look great on my TBR shelf and I can’t wait to get into them as I get into the new year. My biggest issue is which one I’ll start first! Let me know in the comments below which one you think I should start my year off with!
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