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25 Days 'til Christmas

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A contemporary, emotional, but ultimately feel-good, festive up-lit novel for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin. Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That wa A contemporary, emotional, but ultimately feel-good, festive up-lit novel for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin. Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That was before Kate's husband went away with the army and didn't come home. Now she can hardly stand December at all. Kate's lonely. She doesn't think she's ready for romance, but she needs more than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What Kate needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn't one on its way, she'll just have to make her own. So begins Kate's advent countdown to the best Christmas ever. She has it all planned out, but you can't plan for the unexpected, and when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, she just might find a way to save Christmas for all of them...


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A contemporary, emotional, but ultimately feel-good, festive up-lit novel for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin. Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That wa A contemporary, emotional, but ultimately feel-good, festive up-lit novel for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin. Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That was before Kate's husband went away with the army and didn't come home. Now she can hardly stand December at all. Kate's lonely. She doesn't think she's ready for romance, but she needs more than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What Kate needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn't one on its way, she'll just have to make her own. So begins Kate's advent countdown to the best Christmas ever. She has it all planned out, but you can't plan for the unexpected, and when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, she just might find a way to save Christmas for all of them...

30 review for 25 Days 'til Christmas

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mischenko

    25 Days 'Til Christmas was nothing like what I expected. It's much more complex than any other Christmas books I've read, dealing with some tough issues like depression, death, loneliness, suicide, and learning disorders. In this story we read about Kate and Daniel, both living in Bristol, England, who are now suffering grief after loss. Kate's husband (Tom) passed away after leaving for the army and she's left to care for their young son (Jake) with little support. Daniel lost his sister (Zoe) 25 Days 'Til Christmas was nothing like what I expected. It's much more complex than any other Christmas books I've read, dealing with some tough issues like depression, death, loneliness, suicide, and learning disorders. In this story we read about Kate and Daniel, both living in Bristol, England, who are now suffering grief after loss. Kate's husband (Tom) passed away after leaving for the army and she's left to care for their young son (Jake) with little support. Daniel lost his sister (Zoe) due to a heart condition that was left untreated. The holidays are a trigger for sadness and depression for many people, and Christmas is just another day--one that Kate would love to avoid altogether. Having Jake though, it seems obligatory to celebrate Christmas, and Kate wants him to be happy. The issue is that Kate's depressed and misses her husband. Even though she works very hard selling Christmas trees and even has some side work, she's living paycheck to paycheck and consistently has to count pennies to be sure there's food on the table. What she needs is to find a social connection, to get outside her comfort zone, and to get back to living life. With the help of a friend and by using an advent calendar, she makes an effort to do something Christmassy with Jack every day in December leading up to Christmas day. With new problems on the horizon, Kate isn't sure she can manage all these struggles, and questions how anything can possibly work out. Daniel's story is also unfortunate. After losing his sister just under a year ago, he can't stand the thought of spending this next Christmas without her. In his spare time he volunteers on a crisis helpline that assists people who are struggling with mental health issues--mainly suicidal thoughts. He genuinely wants to help others. Daniel strives to connect with someone he's met in the past, someone he calls 'The Christmas Tree Girl', but he isn't sure the best way to go about it. I was invested in these characters from the very start. The story felt realistic and believable because every conflict faced by these characters is logical and part of everyday life for many of us. As much as I love the holidays, they always seem to evoke some sadness and depression in me due to lost loved ones, and that made the book feel relevant to me. My emotions were running high throughout. The author's writing is great, but the story was honestly somewhat of a slow burn for me. It was insufferable at times because it was so depressing. For once, I just wanted something to work out for Kate, Jake, and Daniel, and situations just seemed to gradually get worse. With that said, the final pages of the book left me satisfied and I'm so glad to have made it through. This book brought me down, but built me back up again. Even though the ending was rushed, it was lovely. 4**** I won this book in a giveaway. This is my own, honest review of the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Me when I picked this book up: So excited to read this cute fluffy Christmas romance!!! Me after I finished this book: I am suffering. I am the void. I have seen the darkest things this world has to offer and then things darker still. Basically what I’m saying here is...this book did not have to go this hard. This was NOT a romance. This was more like...if you’re having an extremely difficult time in your life in which legitimately everything is going wrong, you can read this book in which everythi Me when I picked this book up: So excited to read this cute fluffy Christmas romance!!! Me after I finished this book: I am suffering. I am the void. I have seen the darkest things this world has to offer and then things darker still. Basically what I’m saying here is...this book did not have to go this hard. This was NOT a romance. This was more like...if you’re having an extremely difficult time in your life in which legitimately everything is going wrong, you can read this book in which everything is going wrong but then during the last 30 pages things get happier than ever and they’re all tied up in a bow by deus ex machina in the form of a handsome sensitive man. Gift wrapping pun semi-intended. It was simply okay. Reading this book at a time of frustration in my life, it was equal parts like “ah, things will be okay” and “AHHH THINGS WILL NEVER BE OKAY BECAUSE I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYONE NAMED DANIEL, AND I CERTAINLY HAVEN’T MADE ANYONE BY THAT NAME FALL IN LOVE WITH ME WHILE I AM SELLING CHRISTMAS TREES IN AN ELF COSTUME.” So a mixed bag. Bottom line: If you are thinking of reading this, proceed with caution. --------- NOTHING about this cover, title, or synopsis prepared me for discussion of ableism, income inequality, workplace sexual harassment, suicide, grief, dementia, systemic oppression, or the problems of a standing military. and yet here we are. talkin' bout all of them. review to come / 3 stars --------- don't mind me, just getting in the christmas spirit in the middle of january

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Unlike the majority of festive fiction, Poppy Alexander's novel is not escapist fantasy or humorous fare, it is dark and gritty, an authentic picture of Britain with people feeling the cold winds of austerity, with the repercussions of the harsh economic and political climate. Set in Bristol, Kate Potter is a single mother, with a son, Jack, trying to do her best for him, living in a cold and small flat, facing desperate poverty even though she works hard. She lost her beloved soldier husband, T Unlike the majority of festive fiction, Poppy Alexander's novel is not escapist fantasy or humorous fare, it is dark and gritty, an authentic picture of Britain with people feeling the cold winds of austerity, with the repercussions of the harsh economic and political climate. Set in Bristol, Kate Potter is a single mother, with a son, Jack, trying to do her best for him, living in a cold and small flat, facing desperate poverty even though she works hard. She lost her beloved soldier husband, Tom, in Afghanistan four years ago and she just isn't over his loss. She is working her minimum wage job, selling Christmas trees outside, but her employers are threatening her with the loss of her job and pushing more and more responsibilities on her over burdened shoulders. Daniel is a chartered surveyor who has lost his Down's Syndrome sister, Zoe, earlier this year and is overwhelmed by grief. He and Zoe used to buy their tree from Kate, and a lonely Daniel feels an emotional connection, referring to her as The Christmas Tree Girl, understanding intuitively that Kate too has experienced loss. In Kate's efforts to get more into the Christmas spirit, she plans a series of festive events in the countdown to Christmas for Jack, putting notes in an Advent calender for him. Kate's dream is to begin a business selling the jewellery that she makes herself, but this seems unattainable in her current circumstances. To assuage his grief, Daniel fills his hours working as a volunteer manning the phones at Crisisline, and finds himself drawn to help the independent retail businesses based at the Christmas Steps area of the city, under threat of losing their livelihoods with the rising rent and rates. Kate's employers have tasked Kate to head a charity effort to raise £1000 for the Apple cafe that supports young people with disabilities. Daniel and Zoe were regulars at the cafe, and he too supports the cafe. Daniel and Kate find their paths crossing but obstacles litter their path to a festive romance. As Kate finds herself being crushed by the unrelenting mind boggling problems that assail her, will a Christmas miracle rescue her and Jack? This is a festive read that more accurately reflects the reality of so many people trying to survive and endure Christmas in the harsh climate of foodbank Britain of today. Poppy Alexander writes of a much needed Christmas miracle for Kate, slowly finding herself moving on from her grief and loss, to once again engage in life, opening her heart to others and letting them into her life, renewing her capacity to once again love again. This is heartbreaking fare, lifted by the strong sense of community, and seeing Kate's travails eventually begin to lift. This is lovely Christmas fare, grounded by the daily struggles of so many ordinary people, sacrificing so much to try and provide a wonderful festive season for their friends and family. Whilst this is not escapist or humorous fare, it is hugely engaging and it makes a change to have characters like Kate and Daniel, doing the best they can when the last thing they feel like doing is celebrating Christmas. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Corina

    3.5 stars So, when I picked up this book, thanks to the cover, I expected the book to be light and fluffy. Clearly I didn’t read the blurb. Anyway, the novel was surprisingly emotional, mostly because of the topics that the story focused on. It’s definitely not the fluffy Christmas/holiday romance some might expect, it’s actually gritty and dark at times. As was mentioned in the blurb, which I read just now – sigh, this book is an “ultimately feel-good” novel. But the path to that “ultimately feel 3.5 stars So, when I picked up this book, thanks to the cover, I expected the book to be light and fluffy. Clearly I didn’t read the blurb. Anyway, the novel was surprisingly emotional, mostly because of the topics that the story focused on. It’s definitely not the fluffy Christmas/holiday romance some might expect, it’s actually gritty and dark at times. As was mentioned in the blurb, which I read just now – sigh, this book is an “ultimately feel-good” novel. But the path to that “ultimately feel-good” ending was emotional, and at times heart-breaking. The romance itself was slow burn and not really the focus of the story. But the possibility of a love match gave me a warm feeling throughout the entire story, because if someone deserved a HEA, Kate and Daniel certainly did. Now, neither Kate nor Daniel were characters I LOVED, but they were ok. Even though I wouldn’t wish Kate’s burdens on anyone, because she had many, she wasn’t as strong of a character as I liked. She did the best she could do, but there were just too many things stacked against her, and not all of her decisions sat well with me. And although Daniel was too beta for me to be really invested in him, his personality was just too bland to be interesting, he was nevertheless very kind and gentle. And in his reserved way and with help from friends he charmingly courted Kate to a HEA. The only complaint I have is that this novel touched on too many topics/issues. I felt overwhelmed at times, that’s probably how Kate felt, but still, I rather not feel that way reading a book. Both Kate and Daniel, lost someone they dearly loved, and for both the grief was still palpable. Additional, Kate had to handle some school administrative decisions that would have a real impact on her son’s life. Including financial woes, sexual harassment, and an uncertainty about her future, it all was a bit much. I would have liked one or two topics explored in depths instead of the avalanche of issues. The Christmas miracle, mentioned in the blurb, was certainly needed. Now, apart from all that, I had no issue completing the audiobook. I think all in all it didn’t take me longer than 4-5 days. BUT the one thing I will take away from this book is the way Kate fixed up her son’s Advents Calendar. Instead of sweets, she put notes into each window about daily excursions, or Christmasish things to do for each of the 24/25 days of the Advent Calendar. I’m going to plan on doing one exactly like that next year. It will take some planning and researching but I absolutely LOVED the idea. An amazing way of exploring all things Christmas, and enjoying the days leading towards the holiday in a festive way. It will make for an memorable December. Audiobook generously provided in exchange for an honest review. ___________________________________ Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog. Find me on Bookstagram.

  5. 4 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    DNF at 50% I seem to be in the minority here, but I couldn't finish this book. I gave it until half way but I was bored. I've read some cracking books recently, which I couldn't put down, but this was not one of them. The main couple hadn't even spent any time together yet! It's more about Kate's relationship with her son, her job and money problems, and boy do we hear about the money problems! It also focused on Daniel's job and late sister. It's quite depressing, and not romantic in the slighte DNF at 50% I seem to be in the minority here, but I couldn't finish this book. I gave it until half way but I was bored. I've read some cracking books recently, which I couldn't put down, but this was not one of them. The main couple hadn't even spent any time together yet! It's more about Kate's relationship with her son, her job and money problems, and boy do we hear about the money problems! It also focused on Daniel's job and late sister. It's quite depressing, and not romantic in the slightest, and I didn't sign up for that. I also didn't expect the bashing of teachers, ed psychologists and the education system in general! I was struggling to want to read this anyway, but a series of events infuriated me! I work in education and didn't appreciate having to read a book demonising the teachers in the son's school, for trying to assess him, and perhaps find a better setting for him. Schools are under funded and stretched as it is, and you see the local school very unfavourably compared to a cute private school... Schools need to assess early to apply for funding and support, and I see so often in real life, parents who don't want to label their child, so that child's needs go unfulfilled, and the other 29 children in the class suffer too. I came for a cute Christmassy story, but ended up thinking about my job! I hate to DNF Arcs, but sorry this one was not for me. Many thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for the digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 I would like to start out by saying 25 Days 'Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander is not going to be for the person looking for a light, fluffy Christmas book that reads like a Hallmark movie. But if you are looking for a Christmas themed book with soul, depth, and a mix of both happy and sad then you should love it! I don't normally like the idea of reading reviews before reading the book, but I would say that is almost a necessity here, so you know exactly what to expect from it and ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 I would like to start out by saying 25 Days 'Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander is not going to be for the person looking for a light, fluffy Christmas book that reads like a Hallmark movie. But if you are looking for a Christmas themed book with soul, depth, and a mix of both happy and sad then you should love it! I don't normally like the idea of reading reviews before reading the book, but I would say that is almost a necessity here, so you know exactly what to expect from it and won't be expecting something it's not. I went into 25 Days 'Til Christmas with appropriate expectations and I absolutely loved it. I cried, I laughed, I got mad; I experienced a wide range of emotions, and I enjoyed it all. I think the synopsis is extremely misleading and makes you think you are in for a light, fluffy romcom when that is not the case at all. The romance really comes more towards the end and this book definitely deals with the sad before it gets happy. There is pain, loss, and darkness, but also joy and finally, the romance! I loved so many characters but especially Kate and Jack. Their story totally engulfed me, and I read this book in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down. I know a lot of people said it was too slow for them, but for me the pacing was fine, and I didn't think the book was too long either. Some parts were predictable, and there are definitely some very unlikable characters as well, but I enjoyed it, nevertheless. Overall, I am probably more at a 4.5/5 but since I am not doing half stars anymore I wanted to give 25 Days 'Til Christmas the full 5 because I think it deserves it. Song/s the book brought to mind: Not Going Down by Jo Dee Messina Final Thought: You are going to need the tissues for 25 Days 'Til Christmas, but there is so much about it that will also make you smile and feel good that it won't matter. I'm pretty disappointed with all the low ratings for this book since I loved it so much, but I can definitely understand how it wouldn’t be for everyone. And I repeat, this book is NOT LIGHT AND FLUFFY. You're welcome. Alexander has found an instant fan in me at least so please keep them coming!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Gilbey

    What an amazing book - Poppy Alexander has managed to deal with a whole host of tough issues, while surrounding it with this most magical Christmas book that for the most part is incredibly uplifting, and utterly enchanting to read. I loved the idea of Kate making Christmas special again for her and Jack by doing one Christmassy thing a day for the whole of December, and it doubling up as a low cost advent calendar. For as a single mum, Kate is struggling big time with finances and with the whol What an amazing book - Poppy Alexander has managed to deal with a whole host of tough issues, while surrounding it with this most magical Christmas book that for the most part is incredibly uplifting, and utterly enchanting to read. I loved the idea of Kate making Christmas special again for her and Jack by doing one Christmassy thing a day for the whole of December, and it doubling up as a low cost advent calendar. For as a single mum, Kate is struggling big time with finances and with the whole manner of other things going on in her life, she is an inspirational character for so many. There is so much I would love to say about this simply wonderful plot but yet I think it really would be one of those books to come into fresh with no knowledge like I did and simply lets the words carry you away to Kate and Jack's lives and also meeting Daniel and what he has been through, and discovering the ups and downs of the book for yourself. A fair amount of the meatier topics don't become as apparent until quite a way into the book but I believe they are writen and dealt with in a suitable manner, and highlights all sorts of things, some of which I rarely see in fiction, so are certainly eye opening. On the face of it it is a mother and son trying to feel more festive and I loved all the activities that were planned, and Jack is a lovely little boy. There are some true acts of kindness in this book, some selfless helping, and just some absolutely wonderful characters (as well as at least a couple I really disliked). As each chapter more or less is focused on another of the days in the countdown to Christmas, if you are a book lover without much time, I think you could easily read each day of the book, at one a day in your own countdown to Christmas - as a little Christmas treat to yourself. Or you can do what I did and sit and devour it, I found the tube journeys I was taking to and from the theatre the day I read most of this, flew past and I'm glad my subconscious seemed to know where I was. This is the first book I have read by the author and it certainly won't be the last. I can 't wait to see what the comes up with next. Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elle's Book Blog

    Release Date: October 8, 2019 Actual Rating: 4.5 stars Holiday Novel | Chick Lit I must admit that I purchased a copy of this book based on the cover. It’s so cute and gives off Christmas vibes which is exactly what I was looking for- a Christmas novel. Not only that, I saw a few people posting about it on Instagram and thought that if they liked it, I would too. Thankfully, I was right! 25 Days ’Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander is a sweet novel about a single mother who is having a hard ti Release Date: October 8, 2019 Actual Rating: 4.5 stars Holiday Novel | Chick Lit I must admit that I purchased a copy of this book based on the cover. It’s so cute and gives off Christmas vibes which is exactly what I was looking for- a Christmas novel. Not only that, I saw a few people posting about it on Instagram and thought that if they liked it, I would too. Thankfully, I was right! 25 Days ’Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander is a sweet novel about a single mother who is having a hard time during the holiday season. Her husband passed four years ago and since then she’s been living in a fog. Wanting to make this Christmas special for her little boy Jack she decides to use an advent calendar with special surprises in it that she can do with her son leading up to Christmas. For the most part, it works well. She’s not only spending time with her pride and joy but she’s beginning to feel somewhat alive again. That is until things start to take a turn for the worse. First her job causing her problems. Will she have it by the end of the year? Who knows? Then her son is being persecuted at school for not being “normal” (as they say). Then, her grandmother in law with Alzheimer’s, may not have the care she needs because they want more money from Kate (the MC). What’s a girl to do? Kate may be in a tough spot this holiday season but with a little help from friends and some faith things just may work out in the end. Some may be wondering why I chose to give this book 4 stars rather than 5 since I loved it so much. This was hard for me because while I did LOVE the story as a whole, it was much bleaker than I thought when I first purchased. When I look at the cover, I think the book will be an airy, light, and fun holiday read. However, the book deals with many serious issues and at some points was rather depressing to read. I felt for Kate really, I did but there was SO MUCH DRAMA in her life. It was a little overkill. Then when everything suddenly looked up for her, the story ended. I felt like I needed a little more because of all that drama. In any event, I’m glad I took a chance on a new author and look forward to reading more books by Poppy in the future. If you’re looking for a holiday read, this is a nice one just be prepared for a lot of soul searching within the characters and some dreary and sad times.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    25 days in December is the perfect, heartwarming festive read which I absolutely loved reading and didn’t want to end! The story follows Kate and Daniel as they try and prepare for the Christmas season which they are finding hard due to individual circumstances. I really enjoyed following them throughout the book with all the near misses the two of them have until they finally meet. I felt this story let’s the reader into the characters personal lives as we get a fly on the wall, intimate view of 25 days in December is the perfect, heartwarming festive read which I absolutely loved reading and didn’t want to end! The story follows Kate and Daniel as they try and prepare for the Christmas season which they are finding hard due to individual circumstances. I really enjoyed following them throughout the book with all the near misses the two of them have until they finally meet. I felt this story let’s the reader into the characters personal lives as we get a fly on the wall, intimate view of them which made me feel that I knew them personally. This book touches on some quite hard subjects which I wasn’t expecting and this leads to some emotional scenes. The author cleverly manages to show the two sides of Christmas, the magical side but also the difficulties some families can face. This really made me think and ensured that I kept thinking about it long after I finished reading it. The book is divided into the 25 days of Christmas which makes it very easy to read and put down if you wish. I liked Poppy’s advent calendar idea of doing something festive each day instead of a traditional calender. I’d love to do that in future years. Overall I thought this was an absorbing, beautifully written and plotted book which is just perfect for this time of year. It would make a great book club read as I think there is lots to discuss. Huge thanks to Alainna from Orion for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book via Netgalley.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)

    I was on the promotional blog tour for this book! T/W- Depression, mentions of Suicide, Grief, Harassment This was a really good festive read, with a very local setting to me (Bristol, England). Kate and her six year old son Jack experience a lot of hardship throughout the novel but with the arrival of a mysterious man, his character was truly a heart of gold. I think we all need someone like ‘him’ in our lives. The novel itself was not only festive, but really opened my eyes to current issues su I was on the promotional blog tour for this book! T/W- Depression, mentions of Suicide, Grief, Harassment This was a really good festive read, with a very local setting to me (Bristol, England). Kate and her six year old son Jack experience a lot of hardship throughout the novel but with the arrival of a mysterious man, his character was truly a heart of gold. I think we all need someone like ‘him’ in our lives. The novel itself was not only festive, but really opened my eyes to current issues such as lack of funding and zero-hours contracts. It was well-researched and has a array of characters that kept the story-line interesting. It is long but do take your time to immerse yourself in and you will find yourself transported just like I was. Hard-hitting but at the same time, a book I couldn’t put down. Notes- The ending did feel a little rushed, would have preferred the pacing to be a little slower.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Are all holiday romances set in the UK? Here is another, with young war widow Kate barely making ends meet. In her crap job selling Christmas trees for a department store, she meets a man she remembers from previous years, but this year he looks alone and sad. It's a story about two people coming together who are "meant for each other" but also a story about gentrification, making it as a single mother, and elder care. I had a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    This was such an unexpected heart warming Christmas read!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Listened to this on audio. It wasn't the romcom that I was looking for, but I still loved it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: 25 Days 'Til Christmas Series: Standalone Author: Poppy Alexander Release date: October 8, 2019 Cliffhanger: No Genre:Romance I'm not a big holiday novel reader, and I can't pinpoint what exactly tempted me to pick this one up, but I'm very glad I did. In comparison to the other Christmas themed books I've tried this one really stands out and has a completely different feel from the norm. Whereas most lean more towards fluffy and perhaps even a little cheesy, 25 Days 'Till Christmas was much m Title: 25 Days 'Til Christmas Series: Standalone Author: Poppy Alexander Release date: October 8, 2019 Cliffhanger: No Genre:Romance I'm not a big holiday novel reader, and I can't pinpoint what exactly tempted me to pick this one up, but I'm very glad I did. In comparison to the other Christmas themed books I've tried this one really stands out and has a completely different feel from the norm. Whereas most lean more towards fluffy and perhaps even a little cheesy, 25 Days 'Till Christmas was much more serious in tone. It focuses on two people in the aftermath of losing a loved one who are struggling to return back to normalcy and find joy in the holidays again. It could have easily been quite a depressing story, but somehow it didn't feel that way at all. Yes, I was sad for both Daniel and Kate, but at the heart it was an uplifting story of healing and hope on both the main characters' parts. One a young widow who is now a struggling single mother to a special needs son, and the other a man who lost his parents and sister in a short span of time and finds himself all alone at Christmas for the first time. It's been almost four years since Kate lost her husband, and since that time it's been one challenge after another. You really feel for this young woman who has so much on her plate and not enough hours in the day to adequately get everything done. The time when she had a partner to share the burdens of parenting and the harsh realities of adulthood is a distant memory. She's a wonderful mother to her young son, but always feels the worst sort of failure for them having to struggle so hard financially. She has a crappy job that barely pays for their needs, especially after childcare costs. But when her son Jack wants or needs something, she'll happily go without in order to provide for him and make him happy. This year, she's come to the realization that she has been stuck in a rut and it's not healthy for herself or her son, so she sets out to make the season a happy time for the both of them. Each day leading up to Christmas, they will do a fun holiday activity together which she plans out and puts in Jack's advent calendar. She needed to share the joy of Christmas with her son: to be his mother properly, to be there . . . He deserved nothing less, but where would she find the strength to do it? She needed a Christmas miracle. Things don't go quite as smoothly for her however, because she's constantly hit with a barrage of huge problems. Her son being forced out of his school because he is deemed to have special needs, an elderly family member with dementia who is running out of savings for their care, her company possibly laying her off soon, and the worry of finding the money for basic needs like food and clothing. There's also a horrible woman from Jack's school who takes advantage of her, and a boss who does the same using her tenuous hold on her job over her head. Everything just seems to snowball as time progresses, but she finds it hard to ask for help from her friends. Daniel was just the sweetest man ever. His awkward fumbling around Kate during his attempts to introduce himself and ask her out were so endearing. He's been out of the dating life for a long time due to devoting his time to taking care of his terminally ill sister. He's always had an attraction from afar for the woman who sold them their Christmas trees every year but never did anything about it. He's such a warm and caring person that you can't help but root for him. He's trying to move on with his life now, but grief will hit him at the most unexpected moments and he finds that he needs to keep busy in order to keep himself distracted. In his time off work, he selflessly volunteers at a crisis call center where he takes calls from suicidal people who need someone to talk to. The two of them don't interact much at all until around the halfway point. And even then, I wouldn't say that the romance is in the forefront of the story. Eventually they get to know one another a little better on a fun snow day, and their attraction grows, but Kate is hesitant to make the decision to start her first relationship after her husband. This didn't bother me all that much because I was really invested in Kate's journey to happiness. My one complaint would be that there were a couple of moments where I felt that she was acting out of character in immaturity. She came into the school meeting with a chip on her shoulder and spitting angry at the teachers and administrators who were trying to get Jack tested. In some ways it made sense, because they were trying to send him to a school with expelled, misbehaving kids where he wouldn't flourish. They were also clearly uncaring about where he went and spent no effort in helping her place him in the school he needed because of costs. But to angrily blame them for simply suggesting he needs to be tested for proper placement? She was being pretty belligerent about it. Usually she was so level-headed and rational, but there were points I was kind of confused over her attitude. Overall, I enjoyed the book and found it to be a really refreshing read. It was also very fast paced and engrossing, lacking any moments of detachment. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a more sober look at Christmastime that's filled with a lot of heart and emotional depth. Kate felt like she had spent the last four years since Tom’s horrific death trying to find a way back home, like Dorothy, only to discover that home was not a place, it was people and had been there all the time. All she had to do was to wake up. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carlene Inspired

    Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired. I picked up 25 Days 'Til Christmas last week when the quarantine life (for those who read this a few months from now during Christmas, yes COVID-19 quarantine) became too much for me and I was finding myself in a cycle of anxiety and worry. I have tons of books I need to read, more ARCs than I know what to do with, but a Christmas book just sounded like the right thing to read and, well, I hadn't read this one yet. While I was seeking a story of Ch Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired. I picked up 25 Days 'Til Christmas last week when the quarantine life (for those who read this a few months from now during Christmas, yes COVID-19 quarantine) became too much for me and I was finding myself in a cycle of anxiety and worry. I have tons of books I need to read, more ARCs than I know what to do with, but a Christmas book just sounded like the right thing to read and, well, I hadn't read this one yet. While I was seeking a story of Christmas cheer and hope, I got so much more out of 25 Days 'Til Christmas. Poppy Alexander tells a story of having little and loving a lot. More than just hope, it's a story of love, grief, forgiveness, starting new, and giving. Kate needs a jolt to her Christmas spirit and through the eyes of her son and the help of a few friends and an admirer she finds the joy she'd been missing. 25 Days 'Til Christmas isn't about a scrooge who finds joy, it isn't about a wealthy person who has lost the holiday cheer, it isn't a fluffy, snow filled meet cute, it's the story of a hard working widow, her young son, and a handsome stranger who can't get the Christmas Tree Girl of years past out of his mind. It's a story about the realities of life, about the hardships some face during the holidays, the constant reminder of loss during such a cheerful time, and the friends and family that can bring the spark back into you with just a few small Christmas wishes. It isn't the most cheerful holiday read, but it is complex and it finishes with the same heart-warming feeling I get from all the Christmas reads I usually reach for in December. I'd say it was perfect for getting me out of my head. Kate and Daniel are such charming characters, their stories are so similar and seeing them going through the stages of grief was really interesting. Of course, the real winner of the story is Kate's adorable son Jake and his childlike view of, well, everything. While Kate is faced with money problems and questions about Jake's educational future, Jake is thinking of Santa, snow, and the advent calendar Christmas wishes. He's the twinkle lights on the tree, bringing glee and hope just by being young. 25 Days 'Til Christmas may be a more realistic story than most holiday books, but it doesn't lack in the holiday spirit department. The characters overcome difficulties to make the most of the holidays, to find the bright lights in the darkness, and like I always want in a holiday read, find love along the way. ARC provided

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    A dark, stark and emotional Christmas story, but nonetheless, extremely fascinating. This book was always going to be a winner for me with it's Christmas-themed synopsis that sounded a little different from the other books in the genre. '25 Days 'til Christmas' by Poppy Alexander made perfect reading for me as someone who enjoys the odd Christmas novel. Single mother, Kate Potter, is trying to do right by her son, Jack. She is living on the breadline, even though she has a job selling Christmas t A dark, stark and emotional Christmas story, but nonetheless, extremely fascinating. This book was always going to be a winner for me with it's Christmas-themed synopsis that sounded a little different from the other books in the genre. '25 Days 'til Christmas' by Poppy Alexander made perfect reading for me as someone who enjoys the odd Christmas novel. Single mother, Kate Potter, is trying to do right by her son, Jack. She is living on the breadline, even though she has a job selling Christmas trees, and their poky little flat is always freezing cold. She lost her husband, Tom - a soldier in Afghanistan until four years ago - and she has not yet come to terms with his passing. Chartered surveyor Daniel has recently lost his Down's Syndrome sister, Zoe, and is consumed with grief. He and Zoe used to buy their tree from Kate, so he and Kate know each other in passing, and a lonely Daniel feels an emotional connection, referring to her as The Christmas Tree Girl. Lonely Kate doesn't think she's ready for romance, but she needs more than she currently has, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. Kate is due a Christmas miracle, and so begins Kate's advent countdown to the best Christmas ever. Set in the Set in Bristol in the run-up to Christmas, this was a wonderful standalone read that brought no disappointments. The opening chapters drew me into the story and captured my attention immediately. Poppy Alexander's writing style is very natural, with a good steady pace and she has done a sterling job of marrying a traditional Christmassy book with several current, poignant and hard hitting topics: exploring loss, austerity, loneliness, poverty, and supporting local businesses. This is a heartrending tale, lifted by a strong sense of community, and seeing Kate's woes gradually diminishing. Whilst this is not in any way escapist or an amusing story, it is still tremendously engaging and delightful to read. A fabulous Christmastime read that I am delighted to recommend. I received a complimentary copy of this novel, at my request, from Orion via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adele

    25 Days in December by Poppy Alexander is such a wonderful feelgood story. It gave me all the best heart-warming vibes but it had so much more going on. Kate has been bringing up her young son by herself for four years now since the tragic death of her soldier husband, Tom. She's struggled as a single parent, juggling work with school times and trying to balance the bills. She's also still finding herself living in a fug of despair since her sadness began. At this time of year Kate tries her best 25 Days in December by Poppy Alexander is such a wonderful feelgood story. It gave me all the best heart-warming vibes but it had so much more going on. Kate has been bringing up her young son by herself for four years now since the tragic death of her soldier husband, Tom. She's struggled as a single parent, juggling work with school times and trying to balance the bills. She's also still finding herself living in a fug of despair since her sadness began. At this time of year Kate tries her best to be positive for 6 year old Jack but this year she plans to inject a little more festive spirit into their lives throughout December leading up to Christmas, a bit like an inspirational mindfulness advent. Daniel too is finding this festive season in particular difficult, it's the first Christmas since the death of his beloved sister who he spent most of his life caring for. One of Daniel and his sister, Zoe, favourite things to do was to pick a real Christmas tree together. The memory of this act was bitter sweet but he always remembers how kindly the Christmas Tree Girl treated Zoe. Daniel always had a smile for the young woman who worked at the department store selling Christmas trees and he's now wondering if she's out in the cold again this year selling those trees? Selling the Christmas trees once again came down to Kate dressed up as warmly as she could in her festive gear she too couldn't help thinking about the charming young man with his sister and wondered if they will return to the store again this year? 25 Days in December is such a beautifully written love story that is so sad and tragic in places but it's filled with charming, tender moments that fill your heart with warmth and joy. I adored this story, my heart ached for both Kate and Daniel, I felt the whole hopefulness of new beginnings and cherished the warmth emanated throughout.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Agi

    Kate Thompson hates Christmas, since her husband was killed four years ago during his service abroad as a soldier. However, her son Jack is desperate to have a lovely Christmas, with a tree and presents. Kate, struggling financially and emotionally, doesn't know what to do and how to do this. She's stuck at a low paid job, now she must also sell Christmas trees dressed as an elf and freezing and is not sure what the future is going to bring. Her friend comes up with an idea of doing a special ad Kate Thompson hates Christmas, since her husband was killed four years ago during his service abroad as a soldier. However, her son Jack is desperate to have a lovely Christmas, with a tree and presents. Kate, struggling financially and emotionally, doesn't know what to do and how to do this. She's stuck at a low paid job, now she must also sell Christmas trees dressed as an elf and freezing and is not sure what the future is going to bring. Her friend comes up with an idea of doing a special advent calendar with a festive activity to do together for every day in the countdown to Christmas. Daniel is not looking towards Christmas after the death of his sister. He used to buy Christmas trees from Kate and he knows only as Christmas tree girl. They start to bump into each other more and more and soon realises there is much more to Kate than meets the eye. But Kate's life is really complicated - can she cope? Will she cope? Can somebody help her? Kate was a great leading character - there were so many challenges on her way, her life was so demanding and yet she more than often put others above herself. Struggling with money, with being a single mum, she was a realistic, genuine character. It was beautiful and also heart - breaking to see how much she tried to organize the unforgettable Christmas for her son and how far she's go to guard him. The idea of Kate creating the advent calendar for Jack and making the time so special for her and her little boy was brilliant. The Christmassy things that they were supposed to do in the countdown to Christmas were so nice and so different to everything that we're used to, and now I really feel like preparing something like this for my family. The pace in this story was just spot on, and there were many things happening, and the book itself brings together threads of different characters. The chapters are more or less a countdown to Christmas - it is a second book in the last weeks that I've read written this way, though they were both absolutely different in style and voice but this way worked great in both of them. I loved how it shows that Christmas is not only about commerce and presents but about what it really is that counts - family, friendship, helping each other, appreciating what we have. It was a real rollercoaster journey, full of ups and downs, filled with feelings and emotions. It tugs at all the right heart - strings, it's this kind of book that'll make you smile and cry, that is poignant and uplifting. The author has in such a gentle, subtle way dealt with so many tough and heavy issues and there was the overwhelming festive spirit. She has touched upon different things, some of which I don't often read about, and it was truly great, thought - provoking and eye - opening. Poppy Alexander is for sure an author to have on your radar, I'm already waiting for her next offering. Highly recommended! Copy provided by the publisher.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    Poppy Alexander has created a Christmas tale reminiscent of It's A Wonderful Life in this heart-rending story of grief, struggle, hope, and grit. Full Book Review Quick Synopsis: Kate Thompson is a war widow that is struggling with some heavy issues (grief, poverty, elder care, workplace concerns, and her son's school issues). Can she find some purpose and hope in the 25 days leading up to Christmas in order to turn her life around? My Thoughts... 2.5 stars Unpopular opinion and full-out honesty aler Poppy Alexander has created a Christmas tale reminiscent of It's A Wonderful Life in this heart-rending story of grief, struggle, hope, and grit. Full Book Review Quick Synopsis: Kate Thompson is a war widow that is struggling with some heavy issues (grief, poverty, elder care, workplace concerns, and her son's school issues). Can she find some purpose and hope in the 25 days leading up to Christmas in order to turn her life around? My Thoughts... 2.5 stars Unpopular opinion and full-out honesty alert: I feel hoodwinked by this novel. Or at least by the publisher's synopsis. The back of the book says "In this heartwarming, feel-good holiday novel, one woman needs to find a little inspiration in the 25 days leading up to Christmas to help her remember the magic of the season and the magic of falling in love." I was expecting a corny, fluffy Hallmark-worthy Christmas movie in book form... I'll admit that, by the end, my heart was warmed. But there is no way that this is a "feel-good holiday novel" in the slightest! Poor Kate needs a whole new outlook on life after the death of her husband, her son is facing school troubles, they're struggling with poverty, she's paying out elder care for a dying woman, and her working conditions are horrendous. These are huge issues (that I feel were addressed with great compassion and realism) that really weigh down the mood of the book. She definitely - and understandably - needs more than "a little inspiration" to muddle through all of that to find the spirit of Christmas. Perhaps with a more realistic set of expectations, I would have liked this book more. It really is full of heart and perseverance and hope. But the love story was such a slow burn, that halfway through, I'm not sure they'd even had a conversation yet. There was 90% struggle, and only the ending was uplifting. Overall, an okay read. It plodded along, but had some really beautiful elements of grit and hope. I did chuckle and tear up at some parts, so points added for that. I think the meat of the story is solid, but it could have done with a bit more pep to live up to promises of the back cover blurb.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette

    It’s a misconception that everyone is happy at Christmas. If you are struggling to make ends meet as Kate Thompson is it’s anything but happy. She is a widowed, single Mom who would like nothing better than to make his a perfect Christmas for her son, Jack. Her friend, Seema, suggests an advent calendar filled with activities she can do with Jack that don’t cost money. Obviously, obstacles are thrown in her path- her son is struggling at school; she may lose her job- The stress keeps building. But It’s a misconception that everyone is happy at Christmas. If you are struggling to make ends meet as Kate Thompson is it’s anything but happy. She is a widowed, single Mom who would like nothing better than to make his a perfect Christmas for her son, Jack. Her friend, Seema, suggests an advent calendar filled with activities she can do with Jack that don’t cost money. Obviously, obstacles are thrown in her path- her son is struggling at school; she may lose her job- The stress keeps building. But this is a Christmas book, so it couldn’t be a complete downer. We learn that sometimes people are good and kind and miracles can happen. The ending was too perfect and contrived for me. I definitely could see it coming. I also found it to be quite repetitive. Maybe this was one too many Christmas books for me this year, as it just didn’t create any magic for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyne

    I listened to this one on audio and it was really easy to get into. I really enjoyed the narrator and the story was great. I thought it was going to be a fluffy Christmas book (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but it had much more depth than expected! Very enjoyable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Myrna

    Not a fluffy light read but complex, deep, and heart-wrenching for the most part. Still enjoyable for this reader.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Brinkman

    Twenty-five days 'till Christmas: Twenty-five chances for Christmas magic... right? The holidays haven't been the same since Kate's husband,Tom, died four years ago. Kate's been struggling to provide for herself and her young son, Jack. Even as the threat of losing everything looms near, Kate is determined to make Christmas special again. As the last twenty-five days 'till Christmas count down, she sets off on a crusade to stir up as much Christmas magic as she can. But the Christmas spirits have Twenty-five days 'till Christmas: Twenty-five chances for Christmas magic... right? The holidays haven't been the same since Kate's husband,Tom, died four years ago. Kate's been struggling to provide for herself and her young son, Jack. Even as the threat of losing everything looms near, Kate is determined to make Christmas special again. As the last twenty-five days 'till Christmas count down, she sets off on a crusade to stir up as much Christmas magic as she can. But the Christmas spirits have minds of their own. A huge thank you to William Morrow and Poppy Alexander for my review copy! A tale of holiday cheers, fears, and tears. One woman's efforts to make all merry and bright once more. Trigger warnings for death, loss of a loved one, spousal/parental death, sibling death, grief, talk of suicide, poverty, and sexual assault. Depressed but determined, Kate wasn't sure she was ready to take on the holiday season. Between the possiblity of losing her job, school problems, and financial woes, the odds were stacked against her as she battled the grief of losing her husband. My heart warmed as this inspiring single mother did her best to fill her sons life with light, love, and normalcy. For as many good people as Kate came in contact with she also confronted some scrooges as well. Much to Kate's surprise, romance found her for the holiday season. It was hard to watch her struggle with her accompanying feelings. As much as I adored her, it was tragic to see all of her character development unravel towards the end. Sweet, gentle Daniel had a heart of gold. Shattered by the death of his sister, Zoe, he knew he wasn't prepared to spend Christmas alone. After years of seeing the "Christmas tree girl" and harboring a major crush on her, he began to get to know her. Between his social awkwardness and the often sad circumstances of his job, romance wasn't easy for him. His perseverance in the face of grief was inspiring. My heart melted as he did his best to help out everyone he met. He was utterly charming. From a gross, grinchy boss to kind coworkers, from parents that acted like kids to clients with heartwarming entrepreneurial drive, from supportive best friends to a sweet child, Kate and Daniel were never alone. A mixture of holiday humbugs and bright lights, The supporting cast both warmed and broke my heart. For every lump of coal Kate and Daniel came across, there was always someone to remind them that the true meaning of the season wasn't dead. Coming earlier and earlier each year, the holidays are a tender mix of joyous tension. No one knew that better than Kate and Daniel as they tried to find hope during the season of hustle and bustle. More a slice of life story that a romance, it was delightful to read about two souls doing the best they could to put good into the world. Feel good moments of holiday cheer lent much-needed levity to the gloom that threatened to spoil the characters' spirits. Refreshingly realistic, Poppy Alexander's easy prose carried her characters through grief, financial woes, anxiety, and loss during the "happiest time of year". Although this tale quietly slipped away like the last days of the year, the pacing was slightly off. This was a wonderous tale until the ending, which felt unsettled and rushed. Not unlike the Advent calendar Kate and Jack shared, this contemporary was a reminder to open your heart to new chances every day. 25 days 'Til Christmas shows that it's never too late for a miracle.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather Alderman

    This was not the light, fun Christmasy book I was hoping for, but a cute story, although depressing and dark at times. Even though the happy ending was welcome for this story, it made everything a little too neat and tidy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    Went in thinking this would be a fun, cute holiday read but it got deep and a bit sad. I guess I’m on the watch for cozy happy reads when it comes to Christmas books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    Kate, a widow with a six-year-old son, is lonely and barely getting by on her meager salary. She in inundated with problems, and it seems like every day brings a new struggle. Daniel is lonely, too, having lost his sister in the past year. But getting these two people, who to the reader are meant for each other, takes a bit doing on the author’s part. This book is much more than a typical Christmas book whose only purpose is to give the reader a warm fuzzy feeling. It deals with death, suicide, Kate, a widow with a six-year-old son, is lonely and barely getting by on her meager salary. She in inundated with problems, and it seems like every day brings a new struggle. Daniel is lonely, too, having lost his sister in the past year. But getting these two people, who to the reader are meant for each other, takes a bit doing on the author’s part. This book is much more than a typical Christmas book whose only purpose is to give the reader a warm fuzzy feeling. It deals with death, suicide, mental illness, child behavior problems, sexual harassment, loneliness, and more, and yet it offers hope and encouragement and solutions in a positive way. And it’s all tied together with Christmas as its foundation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee Gwyn (literarypengwyns)

    3.5 Stars So I’m trying to swing fully into the Christmas spirit here by continuing to read Christmassy books, so for my third choice, I grabbed 25 Days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander. I’m sure you’ve seen this one around this season, but I noticed there is something about this book that isn’t being discussed in a way that I would, so I’m throwing in my two cents. Kate is a struggling single mother, who lost her husband, Tom to and IED in Afghanistan. It’s been four years, and his loss is still 3.5 Stars So I’m trying to swing fully into the Christmas spirit here by continuing to read Christmassy books, so for my third choice, I grabbed 25 Days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander. I’m sure you’ve seen this one around this season, but I noticed there is something about this book that isn’t being discussed in a way that I would, so I’m throwing in my two cents. Kate is a struggling single mother, who lost her husband, Tom to and IED in Afghanistan. It’s been four years, and his loss is still fresh, but she’s determined to be happy this year, for her son Jake’s sake. Her life is in a holding pattern: temporary job and living space that have become the norm. Daniel lost his sister Zoe to a heart issue she’s had from birth and he’s struggling this Christmas without her and their parents. This story is of the 25 days leading up to Christmas and how their lives come together and change throughout the holiday season. Now I mentioned loss. There is a lot of struggle and loss is in this story. Daniel volunteers for a suicide prevention hotline to help fill his time missing Zoe and Kate is struggling so much financially, that you will also feel stressed. BOTH ARE GOING THROUGH THE RHYTHM OF THE SEASON WITHOUT WANTING TO REALLY GIVE IT THEIR ALL. Why? BECAUSE GRIEF! This book is a very real and a very accurate depiction of MOST PEOPLE’S VARIOUS STRUGGLES WITH THIS SEASON! Christmas is one that is happy and joyful and we love that, but I for one have hated the holiday season for the past few years THANKS TO NOT HAVING PEOPLE I LOVE THERE THAT HAVE PASSED AWAY. So, when I see this book being belittled for how sad or serious or “not heartwarming” it is, I’m like....well...I’m happy you don’t have to deal with the struggles of grief, financial insecurity, depression or loneliness this time of year. This book handles those topics in spades. SO YES, it isn’t an all around cheerful holiday read, but I think that is the point. Poppy, chime in any time. The ending does resolve a lot of issues and provides that sense of security and happiness and hope we all crave during the season, so don’t let the other bits scare you off! I really enjoyed this story and the characters. They are real and fragile and stronger as a unit.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan Collins

    This is the first Christmas book I’ve ever read, and it won’t be my last; in fact, I'm thinking of adding “read a Christmas book” to my December traditions from now on. 25 DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS follows widow and single mom Kate, who is still grieving the husband she lost four years ago. But this December, she’s determined to turn her life around and at least pretend to have holiday cheer, for the sake of her son, Jack. And when Kate meets Daniel, who’s grieving the loss of his sister, it seems the This is the first Christmas book I’ve ever read, and it won’t be my last; in fact, I'm thinking of adding “read a Christmas book” to my December traditions from now on. 25 DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS follows widow and single mom Kate, who is still grieving the husband she lost four years ago. But this December, she’s determined to turn her life around and at least pretend to have holiday cheer, for the sake of her son, Jack. And when Kate meets Daniel, who’s grieving the loss of his sister, it seems the two are meant to be a part of each other’s lives. But with mounting problems in her career, a difficult situation at Jack’s school, and a responsibility to her husband’s grandmother, who suffers from dementia, Kate may not be able to see the blessings right in front of her. 🎄 I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was an addictive read; I flew through the last 200 pages yesterday, and I wouldn’t stop for anything. There were also many scenes that were cute, cozy, and comforting, and there is not one, but several Christmas miracles that occur by the end of the book. At the same time, the story was pretty depressing at times (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing for me; people have problems, even at—and sometimes especially—the holidays, so the book was true to life in that regard), and I didn’t love how many of the miracles that happened for Kate were outside of her own control. I would have liked to see her actions create her happy ending, instead of having it be the result of the kindness and generosity of others. But then again, I love kindness and generosity, so why should I complain about that? So it seems for every “issue” I have with the book, I see the merit of those decisions as well. Either way, I can definitively say this: I enjoyed reading this novel, I cared about the characters (though Daniel seemed a little too perfect for my taste), I appreciated how the author gave attention to very real and pertinent issues, and the story gave me all the Christmas feels. I’d recommend it those who love watching It’s a Wonderful Life this time of year.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jess Anne

    I have a terrible habit of judging a book by its cover. When I bought this book, I assumed it was going to be a happy Christmas book. I was surprised when I read this book that it was a lot more depressing than I realized. But, I still enjoyed reading the book. Not everyone is happy around the holidays, and Kate is one of them. Kate is a widow and wants to have the best Christmas for her son Jack. But, she is struggling to make that happen. Thankfully, her best friend, Seema is here to help! She I have a terrible habit of judging a book by its cover. When I bought this book, I assumed it was going to be a happy Christmas book. I was surprised when I read this book that it was a lot more depressing than I realized. But, I still enjoyed reading the book. Not everyone is happy around the holidays, and Kate is one of them. Kate is a widow and wants to have the best Christmas for her son Jack. But, she is struggling to make that happen. Thankfully, her best friend, Seema is here to help! She suggests that Kate makes an advent calendar of activities that she and Jack can do! Meanwhile, Daniel is struggling with his own life issues also. Daniel is lonely, after loosing his sister due to a medical condition. Daniel spends all his free time volunteering for a suicide prevention hotline. Both are going through the motions of the holiday season, but neither are excited about Christmas approaching. I felt like this book was a nice reminder of what others could be going through, and that not everyone is excited for the holidays. The ending was really sweet and heart warming. It was a cute holiday book!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Hawthorn

    Poppy Alexander should be immensely proud of this book, I loved it and couldn’t but it down! I was expecting this to be the usual Christmas story of a mum and child enjoying the festive run up. Instead we meet Kate, Jack and Daniel. Kate is recently widowed and has been left with a 6 year old son, Jack, both have their own issues and Kate is struggling both emotionally and financially to give Jack the Christmas he deserves. And then there is Daniel who is not looking forward to his first Christma Poppy Alexander should be immensely proud of this book, I loved it and couldn’t but it down! I was expecting this to be the usual Christmas story of a mum and child enjoying the festive run up. Instead we meet Kate, Jack and Daniel. Kate is recently widowed and has been left with a 6 year old son, Jack, both have their own issues and Kate is struggling both emotionally and financially to give Jack the Christmas he deserves. And then there is Daniel who is not looking forward to his first Christmas without his sister. It was quite obvious from the start that they were going to get their happily ever after but it was magical to see how they all got there. Interestingly it also made me reflect on some of my own Christmas ideas, I loved Jacks advent calendar and will be incorporating this into our run up to Christmas - who needs chocolate when we could be doing things together - starting today with paper chains. Fabulous book, thanks for letting my read. Big thumbs up, and a five star rating!

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