Books for February

There are quite a few February new releases on my radar – most of which I’m definitely buying, with a couple of maybes.  Help.

The definites:

30753493Wen Spencer’s THE BLACK WOLVES OF BOSTON (urban fantasy): I may not love all her books, but Wen Spencer writes so very readable characters, while always delivering something a bit different.  I’ve already finished this, and although I had trouble keeping up with the multiple POVs and also some reservations about one of the central couples, it was fun, and her werewolves and vampires weren’t the bog-standard UF ones.  I’ll be picking up the next book.


Silas Decker had his world destroyed when he was attacked by vampires outside of New Amsterdam. He rebuilt his life a dozen times in the last three hundred years—each time less and less successfully. Now he lives alone, buried under a hoarding habit, struggling to find some reason to wake up with the setting of the sun.

Eloise is a Virtue, pledged to hunting evil.  What she doesn’t know is how to live alone in a city full of strangers who know nothing about monsters.

Seth is the sixteen-year old Prince of Boston, ward of the Wolf King.  Now he is left in a city that desperately needs his protection with enemies gathering all around.

Joshua believes he is a normal, college-bound high school senior.  His life is shattered when he wakes up in a field, covered with blood, and the prom committee scattered in pieces about him like broken dolls.

These four must now come together to unravel a plot by Wickers, witches who gain power from human sacrifices and have the power to turn any human into their puppet. Four people who lost everything struggle to save Boston by saving each other.

Out now


33642764Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s HARD WIRED (contemporary romance): I’ve really enjoyed Santino Hassell’s Five Borough series, but this co-authored Cyberlove series started off on a too-angsty note for me.  I liked the second book more though, and have already bought this one.  I find the tech angle in these books fascinating – I’m not a Luddite by any means, but online gaming is pretty much a different world for me.

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

Out now


25670396Jacqueline Carey’s MIRANDA AND CALIBAN (fantasy): I keep on changing my mind on this one.  On one hand, I usually buy every book Jacqueline Carey writes.  And it’s a Shakespearean retelling, which makes it even more intriguing.

On the other hand (!!sorry, kind of spoiler-ish!!), apparently it’s not exactly a HEA (to be fair, the back cover copy refers to Miranda and Caliban’s “doomed relationship” and I suspect the retelling will stay close to the original).  Not that I need a HEA in a fantasy, but I kind of want to read uplifting books at this point in time. I’ll probably wait on more reviews before deciding.

We all know the tale of Prospero’s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin–the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Carey’s gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play’s iconic characters.

Out Feb 14


32613865Lucy Parker’s PRETTY FACE (contemporary romance): Speaking of uplifting books, this has to be one, right?  There was (deserved) buzz around Lucy Parker’s debut, and I’m looking forward to reading this.

The play’s the fling

It’s not actress Lily Lamprey’s fault that she’s all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that’s not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn’t so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He’d be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily’s suddenly rising career, it’s threatening Luc’s professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they’re not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

Out Feb 20


31368090Lisa Kleypas’s DEVIL IN SPRING (historical romance): I ended up DNF’ing the second book in this series (possibly a “it’s not you, it’s me” thing), but I’ve high hopes for Evie and Sebastien’s son’s story.

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

Out Feb 21


30517107KJ Charles’s AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION (historical romance): A new KJ Charles is always a treat, even more so when it’s the first of a trilogy.

A slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery bind two singular men in the suspenseful first book of a new Victorian series from K. J. Charles.

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship…

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding… it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

Out Feb 21


31141489Julianna Keyes’s UNDECLARED (new adult romance): Julianna Keyes’s UNDECIDED was an unexpected reading gem last year, and I’m glad she’s writing more in the NA genre.

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.

It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.

Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.

Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.

Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

Out Feb 27


30255973Ellen Emerson White’s A SEASON OF DARING GREATLY (YA): Angie’s review means that this book is pretty much a must-read for me.  I loved EEW’s The President’s Daughter series, and this reminds me that I’ve a couple of her backlist titles sitting in my TBR pile.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

This literary and engrossing story of a young woman trying to mark out a place for herself in a male-dominated world will captivate fans of Friday Night Lights, The Art of Fielding, John Corey Whaley, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Out now


25538649Julie Cross’s OFF THE ICE (YA romance): And another sports YA!  I adored Julie Cross’s gymnastics-centred Letters to Nowhere series, so keen to see what she does with ice hockey.

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

Out Feb 28


30243858Marko Kloos’s FIELDS OF FIRE (SF): And an SF to round things off.  I’ve an ARC of this, so will be posting a fuller review shortly.  It’s a solid installment in the series, and long-time readers won’t be disappointed.

The time has come to take the fight to the Lankies.

Mars has been under Lanky control for more than a year. Since then, the depleted forces of Earth’s alliances have rebuilt their fleets, staffing old warships with freshly trained troops. Torn between the need to beat the Lankies to the punch and taking enough time to put together an effective fighting force, command has decided to strike now.

Once again, seasoned veterans Andrew and Halley find themselves in charge of green troops and at the sharp tip of the spear as the combined military might of Earth goes up against the Lankies. But if there’s one constant in war, it’s that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy…and the Lankies want to hold on to Mars as badly as humanity wants to reclaim it.

Out Feb 28


And finally, the ones I’ll be (hopefully) requesting from the library:

Kelley Armstrong’s A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE (mystery): It’s a follow-up to last year’s CITY OF THE LOST, which I liked but didn’t love.

Sophie Kinsella’s MY (NOT SO) PERFECT LIFE: Her books are a bit hit or miss with me, so it’s a library request (especially as it’s a hardcover).


Patricia C Wrede & Caroline Stevermer’s CECELIA AND KATE: OR THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT (fantasy): I wandered over to scan my bookshelves for this pick.  I adore this utterly charming fantasy, in which the story unfolds through letters between the above-mentioned Cecelia and Kate.

Mixed Bag

Here are more books that I read last May.  Speaking of which, I’m finding it hard to remember that we’re already in February 2012.  Every time I see something dated February, I keep on thinking 2011.

This is a bit of a mix – a few books I loved, one I didn’t, some new-to-me writers, and some auto-buy authors.


A Kiss at Midnight (Fairy Tales, #1)A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (historical romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The “it’s not you, it’s me” when it comes to DNFs… so true.

I started reading this ages ago, but stalled after about one-fifth of the book and put it  aside. Well, I eventually returned to the book and just fell in love.

Fairytale retellings are not my favourite, but Eloisa James pulled this off perfectly. I loved the banter between the h/h pairing and their relationoship came across as a strong connection, both mentally and physically. There was both humour and passion, and of course, a perfect HEA. Great secondary characters as well, and I am glad Wick’s story was told in Storming the Castle. I closed this book with a silly grin on my face.

I should have included this in my previous post when I talked about WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST.  Because after finishing this one, I dived straight into BEAUTY and couldn’t put it down.


Faster Than The Speed Of LightFaster Than The Speed Of Light by Lucius Parhelion (m/m romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a lovely and quiet sort of romance and captured the feel of the 1940s very well. A lot of the American history and physics talk just went over my head – if not, I think I would have liked this book a bit more. And unfortunately, historical m/m romances always leave me with slight doubts over the HEA just because of the period.

This was  a new-to-me author – I can’t remember what piqued my interest in the first place, I think it was a review blog somewhere.   I think someone more familiar with American history or into physics would have really liked this book.


And Thereby Hangs A TaleAnd Thereby Hangs A Tale by Jeffrey Archer (mystery)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Say what you will about Jeffrey Archer, he’s a true story-teller. An entertaining collection of short stories, all with a twist in the ending.

I borrowed this one from the library, and finished within a couple of days.  One of the few short story collections I actually completed reading last year – I usually tend to skip some stories, but not with this book.


Warcry  (Chronicles of the Warlands, #4)Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan (fantasy romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t come across many fantasy romances (maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong places) but this is very definitely one. I originally hesitated over this book as I couldn’t get into Elizabeth Vaughan’s previous trilogy, though I loved the original Warlands trilogy. This was a good one though.

The humour in this book caught me by surprise, but it worked – it kept the book on the side of light and easy reading. The characters were appealing and engaging, and it was good to revisit Lara and Keir from the original trilogy. Yes, some fantasy tropes were way overused (long cheesy titles, anyone?) but it was great to spend a couple of hours in a slightly different world.

I’m not convinced this book would work for readers new to the world, but I think I still stand by my recommendation for the original trilogy, and I’ll definitely get the next book she writes.

Nath‘s strong recommendation for this book persuaded me to pick it up sooner rather than later, and I’m glad I did.


Paper PlanesPaper Planes by M. Jules Aedin (m/m romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really good voice and smooth writing – I sank straight into the story right from the start. The slightly unusual h/h pairing with disability, age, and cultural differences was handled well IMO.

The falling in love part was nicely done and I loved the humour in this book, but I think the eventual lack of conflict meant the book sort of fizzled out – once the initial issues were worked through, the main conflict was really just a lack of time to see each other.

Good read though, and I am definitely on the lookout for more books by this author though.

Another new-to-me author – haven’t read any more of her books yet, but maybe this year…  


Private (Private, #1)Private by Kate Brian (YA)

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

You know, I usually say I wouldn’t finish a book I disliked… well.

The frustrating thing about this story was that I kept hanging on, hoping that Reed would grow up or that the characters would redeem themselves or you know… something, anything that would make this book worth the time spent reading it. And it never came.

This was the sort of story which is one step forward, two steps back – you think Reed has grown a backbone, and then she suddenly she is exactly where she was a couple of chapters ago. It’s the sort of YA book that is candy with no nutritional value whatsoever.

And finally – I read the ebook version and there were typos galore – at least one per chapter.


Err… I don’t think I have anything to add to that.


Long May She Reign (The President's Daughter, #4)Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White (YA)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was really engrossed in this book from start to finish and the only reason I hesitated over the 5 star/favourites rating was the overall tone of this book. It’s gritty. Depressing may not be the right word but it is very personal and well, not an entirely uplifting story.

I posted about this earlier in the year, and ended up choosing this book as one of my 2011 favourites.  


Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2)Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh (paranormal romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely better than the first book IMO. I’m not sure if the melodrama (which I thought was OTT in the first book) in this one has been toned down or whether it was just more suited to the story. I did want more urban New York – I didn’t really care for the Refuge setting and we didn’t really get much China either. I am starting to feel the romance in Elena/Raphael’s relationship and would definitely read the next book.

A bit of an uneven series this, at least from my perspective.  I read the next book the following month, and if you read my Goodreads reviews, you’ll know I did not love it.  

Still Here, Really

So summer rolls around, good intentions disappear, and I find myself writing blog posts like this one…

It’s a combination of reeeallly long hours at work (less said, the better) and now the tennis season is in full swing (yes, I’m keeping an eye on the French Open as I write this), I’ve just about enough time to lurk on other people’s blogs.

I’ve been reading though.

I stayed up way too late this week reading Ellen Emerson White‘s “Long May She Reign”, the fourth book in her President’s Daughter series.  I read the first three books a couple of years ago now, and while I’d been meaning to get the fourth for ages, I never got around to it until now, which was rather silly of me.  I finished it in one go, and it’s not a slim book by any means.


The reason why I’m still pondering my final feelings about this book is perhaps the overall tone and subject matter – LMSR essentially deals with the impact of the previous book’s traumatic events, and not just how they affected Meg, but also the fractures created in her family as a result.  So it’s not always an easy read, but it was incredibly well-written and, I think, realistic – I felt as though I was there with Meg and I loved her wry sarcastic voice (I have to say at times, I was reminded of Ms White’s very different “Romance is a Wonderful Thing”).  I closed the book believing Meg would triumph, partly because she (and her parents, brothers, and friends) had started to heal – but also because I had to, the alternative would have been too difficult to imagine.

I’ve also been reading James Anderson‘s country-house mysteries (“The Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cosy”, “The Affair of the Mutilated Mink Coat”, and “The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks”) and I’m sad there’s only three of them.  Lovely 1930s set whodunnits with an incredible number of red herrings, with the end solution brilliantly deciphered by the self-deprecating Inspector Wilkins.

And finally, on a completely different note, I read an article about reader doorways which fascinated me (apologies, this is not the actual article I first read and I (obviously) can’t remember who originally linked to this concept).  The summary is that individuals are generally drawn to one of four aspects of a book (character, story, language, or setting), which act as their doorway to the book.  Understanding your primary doorway is the key to figuring out what other books you would like (and possibly why you just didn’t get a book someone else loved – you just have different doorways).

You can identify your doorway by thinking about how you describe a book – for instance, do you start by talking about the sense of place (setting)?  Or the prose used and the flow of language (language)?  Or the plot (story)?  You get the idea.

I’m starting to think my primary doorway is setting, with character as a close second, which is making a whole load of sense.  I used to think I was all about the characters, but when the world-building and background details are just right, I’m hooked.

2009: Recap of My Reading Year Part II

Continuing my January to June recap, here’s the second half of my 2009 in books:



51OpuIGbojL._SL160_ I finally got around to reading Megan Whalen Turner’s “The Thief” and yes, kicked myself in the what-took-me-so-long kind of way.  Because this series is an indisputable gem, so cleverly written and populated with wonderful characters.

I hit double-digits in terms of books read this month, a whole eleven books, most of which were good.  On the not-so-good side, I think I gave up on Janet Evanovich’s Plum books.  Or at least buying the hardcover.




51PzrTZeJGL._SL160_ Another Patricia Briggs book, this time “Hunting Ground” in her Anna and Charles series, was the standout book of the month for me.

I also loved Robin McKinley’s “The Hero and the Crown” (YA fantasy, and a beautifully-told coming-of-age story), which I picked up thanks to a rec from Angie, and heaved a huge sigh as I turned over the final page of Megan Whalen Turner’s “King of Attolia”.  Ah, Gen.

And with eleven books read this month, this quarter was looking good.



Wait for it… I read a massive 21 books.  Yes, I was on holiday.

51l1odgzyAL._SL160_ Lisa Kleypas’s contemporary romances “Blue-Eyed Devil” and “Smooth-Talking Stranger” impressed me with the way she dealt with serious issues while keeping the romance firmly at the centre of the story – her contemporaries are now autobuys for me.

I also got around to reading Mary Ann Schaffer & Annie Barrows’ “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” – it made me laugh and cry (at different times, before you ask).  A proper feel-good book.

And I also enjoyed Lisa Lutz’s “Curse of the Spellmans” (mystery, funny with heart), Ellen Crosby’s “The Merlot Murders” (mystery, loved the winemaking focus), and Mary Kay Andrews’ “Savannah Blues” (contemporary romance, filled with Southern charm and lots of humour).



510CGKLV3pL._SL160_ So after the wonder that was September, I read seven books in October.  But they were mostly good.  I loved Sharon Shinns “Quatrain” (fantasy anthology) because her writing is beautiful and it was like revisiting old friends.

I finished my mini-glom of Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier books (mystery) – I very much enjoyed the small-town college setting and the literature element of the mysteries.  And I really liked Ilona Andrews’ “On the Edge”  (paranormal romance, which felt almost like a frontier-set historical romance) and Ellen Emerson White’s “The President’s Daughter” (YA, and read thanks to another rec from Angie – no prizes for guessing who was responsible for quite a bit of my book spending this year).



518m9fIkHlL._SL160_ A measly four books read (I think this was payback for September).  I made time to read Juliet Mariller’s “Heart’s Blood” (fantasy), and it was very much worth it.  Not quite as magical as her Sevenwaters world perhaps, but a very good read.

And really, that’s all I can say about November, which saw my number of blog posts also fall to a dismal three during the month.




41K28wvJBOL._SL160_ the_dark_tideRounding off the year with 17 books read, I read and raved about Kristin Cashore’s “Fire” (fantasy) and Josh Lanyon’s “The Dark Tide” (mystery / m/m romance) in the final days of 2009.

But before that, I also loved Eloisa James’ “A Duke of Her Own” (historical romance), which wowed me with the very sexy and steamy chemistry between the hero and the heroine.  Unusually standalone for an Eloisa James book as well.

And technically a 2010 release, except I read it this side of the new year (just), I adored Karen Chance’s “Death’s Mistress” (urban fantasy), which was packed full of action and humour, and sneaked into my list of top reads for the year.


And that brought my total number of books read over the year to 115, which, while 40 fewer than what I read during 2008, had some truly excellent books.

One more post with lists and numbers, and that’ll be it for 2009, I promise!

More Books for the TBR Pile

The upside of having unreliable post is that you forget what you’ve ordered and then when it does arrive, it’s like an early Christmas present. 

51921cI86bL._SL160_ Which was what happened with my not-so-recent purchase of Ellen Emerson White’s “White House Autumn” and “Long Live the Queen”.  I ordered them after I finished “The President’s Daughter” (thank you Angie for the rec!), which I read back in October.  And like all of Angie’s recs, it was a good one! 

41cTc9KizIL._SL160_ I don’t think I’ve mentioned this book on the blog, but I did like many elements of the story, not least the peek into life on the campaign trail and in the White House.  Obama’s presidential campaign this time last year caught my imagination, and I admit that certainly contributed towards my fascination with this book.  I have to say that EEW came across as knowing her stuff very well; while I don’t claim to be an expert on politics, the endless press coverage of the US elections meant that we all pretty much became armchair pundits and all the tidbits of political info rang true to me. 

411i9cGvZoL._SL160_One of the things that did throw me though, was that I opened the book knowing it was written back in the 80s, and then suddenly there was talk of the internet.  I figured out pretty quickly that the book had been rewritten to make it less dated, but this actually disappointed me slightly because one of the things I love about reading older “contemporary” books is absorbing the accepted norms and behaviours of those times.  I would love to know what changes EEW made, and would do a re-read if I could get my hands on the original version.

I am all excited about diving back into Meg’s world and finding out how she grows up in the public spotlight – another two books go on my reading list for the Christmas holidays!