The Top Ten Books to Read in December 2020 and a Romantic Binge

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In the hubbub of December, don’t forget to take a deep breath and curl up with a great book. 

Why I Held Your Hand by Augusta Reilly 

A wonderful romance with a new twist. Two love interests! 

Laura Delaney loves her small mountain hometown of North Powell with its quaint charm, stately Victorian homes and surrounding hiking trails. That’s why she hires a hotshot marketing team to figure out how to inject the old magic back into North Powell’s sagging tourist trade. What she doesn’t expect is for the team to include David Harper. Smart, funny, handsome, and amazing in bed, he’s the perfect man.

She is assigned to work with Spence Markham, the company’s offbeat “idea man” and David’s professional nemesis. When Spence suggests hosting a Dickens Festival to revitalize the town’s once-booming holiday season, Laura is thrilled. 

As the Festival nears, Laura’s feelings for both men intensify. Her relationship with David has only gotten better—and hotter—and yet she finds herself counting down the days until she can see Spence again. Soon, what started as a simple assignment becomes a tale of two possible futures. But which one will Laura choose? 



Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre

Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.

Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.

Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.

As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.

The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn

Coming to Netflix on Christmas Day, this series is a gem.  Downton Abbey meets The Crown.  

Set between 1813 and 1827, the Bridgerton Series is a collection of eight novels, each featuring one of the eight children of the late Viscount Bridgerton: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. Originally the series was to be a trilogy. But readers really took to the Bridgertons (and to the mysterious  Lady Whistledown, whose gossip columns “narrated” the first four books) and the series became eight novels.

Julie Andrews has been cast as the voice of Lady Whistledown in the Netflix production. Here is the Netflix trailer. It will be hard to choose between the new Wonder Woman movie on Christmas Day and Bridgerton!  

Colin is my favorite Bridgerton by the way!

Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan

What happens when your love life becomes the talk of the town?  

As birthdays go, this year’s for radio producer Everly Dean hit rock-bottom. Worse than the “tonsillectomy birthday.” Worse than the birthday her parents decided to split (the first time). But catching your boyfriend cheating on you with his assistant?

But this is Everly’s year! She won’t let her anxiety hold her back. She’ll pitch her podcast idea to her boss. There’s just one problem. Her boss, Chris, is very cute. Also, he’s extremely distant (which means he hates her, right? Or is that the anxiety talking)? And, Stacey the DJ didn’t mute the mic during Everly’s rant about Simon the Snake (syn: Cheating Ex).

Suddenly, people are lining up to date her, Bachelorette-style, fans are voting and her interest in Chris might be a two-way street. It’s a lot for a woman who could gold medal in people-avoidance. She’s going to have to fake it ‘till she makes it to get through all of this. Perhaps she’ll make a list: The Ten Rules for Faking It. Because sometimes making the rules can find you happiness when you least expect it.

Under A Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake

An enthralling novel of secrets, a tumultuous war of ideas, and murder as classes collide in the shadow of Biltmore House.

Biltmore House, a palatial mansion being built by the Vanderbilts, American “royalty,” is in its final stages of construction in North Carolina. The country’s grandest example of privilege, it symbolizes the aspirations of its owner and the dreams of a girl, just as driven, who lives in its shadow.

Kerry MacGregor’s future is derailed when, after two years in college in New York City, family obligations call her home to the beautiful Appalachians. Her family’s land is among the last pieces required to complete the Biltmore Estate. But something more powerful than an ambitious Vanderbilt heir could change Kerry’s fate as, one by one, more outsiders descend on the changing landscape—a fugitive from Sicily, a reporter chasing a groundbreaking story, a debutante tainted by scandal, and a conservationist prepared to put anyone at risk to stoke the resentment of the locals.

As Kerry finds herself caught in a war between wealth and poverty, innocence and corruption, she must navigate not only her own pride and desperation to survive but also the temptations of fortune and the men who control it.

The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

Over a century after Coco and Antoinette Chanel opened their first hat shop in Paris, Chanel is without a doubt still the most iconic fashion brand in the world.  This coming January will mark the 50th year since businesswoman and creative genius Coco Chanel has passed away. 

The Chanel Sisters is a stunning historical novel that traces the struggle of the sisters as they rise from orphan hood and poverty, always knowing they were destined for something more. The novel is told from the point of view of younger sister, Antoinette, a particularly authentic narrator who knew Coco in the intimate way only a sister can. Set from 1897 to 1921, Antoinette takes readers though the humble beginnings and ambitious rise of the sisters against the backdrop of Parisian life, as they come to create what we know today as the timeless and endlessly elegant international fashion label.  

Abandoned by their family years before, Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel grow up in a convent under the guidance of pious nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers.  Beneath their floorboards lives a secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts that they devour by night and are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive. 

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car — strange for a frigid night. 

Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away. 

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries. 

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Have you ever been wrong about someone? The Wrong Family is a taut new thriller that’s riddled with twists in all the right places.

Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.

Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.

Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…

She shouldn’t get involved. She really shouldn’t. But this could be her chance to make a few things right. Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

A novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

Truth Lies and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson

A sweet and sassy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson.

Captain Ava Capp has been flying from her past for a decade. She’d much rather leave it, and her home state, behind forever. But when she finds herself back in Minnesota, against her better judgment, everything goes sideways in a way she never expected it to. 

M.E. Dr. Tom Baker has never forgotten Ava and the cold case she ran away from. When she shows up unexpectedly in town, in spite of himself, sparks fly. Which is terrible because he can’t stop his growing attraction to her. Can these two Type-A’s let their guards down and work together to put Ava’s tragic past behind her for good? And keep their hands off each other at the same time?

And a binge….

Magnificent Century is the story of Suleiman the Magnificent, and a Ukranian slave girl’s rise to power to become Hurrem Sultana, Suleiman’s wife. The episodes are long and the love story of Suleiman and Hurrem is one for the ages.  Find it here on the Magnificent Century channel on Youtube.

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