Jolabokaflod – The Icelandic book-giving Christmas tradition, and some recommendations for festive reads!

This year (2020) has been pretty pants, let’s be honest. We’ve all been challenged in more ways than we could’ve imagined going into this year. But hopefully, with 2021 in sight, we can start to breath easier knowing that we’ve got Christmas just around the corner, then New Years Eve, when we can press reset and hopefully (fingers crossed) have a fabulous new year.

It may be a time for us to think about new traditions and resolutions, and one that Kate and I have been doing for the last few years is the Icelandic Christmas eve tradition of JOLABOKAFLOD. (Loosely translated as YULE BOOK FLOOD.)

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From Highlights to Lowlifes – Alyson Chattoe and Jilly Clarkby

Hall Good Books/2017

Goodreads Synopsis

What had seemed the answer to Tilly’s problems had now turned into her worst nightmare. A happily married mother-of-three, Tilly was not the stereotypical criminal – in fact, she’d barely warrant a second glance if passed in the street.

“No one will stop you, Tilly. You’re Mrs. Average. Why would any­one suspect you?”

She’d only wanted to protect her family. If your whole life was under threat, would you make the same decision?

Based on actual events and real-life diary entries, Tilly’s story shows how quickly life can turn…

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The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus – Jaime Jo Wright

ISBN : 0764233890 (ISBN13: 9780764233890) | 2020

Goodreads Synopsis

In 1928, Bonaventure Circus outcast Pippa Ripley must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of a killer preying on the troupe. Decades later, while determining if an old circus train depot will be torn down or preserved, Chandler Faulk is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than she imagined.

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The Crucifix Killer – Chris Carter

Simon & Schuster Ltd|ISBN1471128210|2009

Chris Carter was a new author to me when I bought this book. I bought it based on the blurb and the cover. I am NEVER ashamed to say that I buy a book based on it’s cover, and I generally find that I can’t go wrong if I have been drawn in this way.

I like to read a series from the start, so if I know that I am likely to enjoy a book then I won’t read it until I can start from the beginning. Luckily for me, this one was number one, so I was all set to go!

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Deadly Cross – James Patterson

This is the 28th book in the Alex Cross series…. 28th! Only a really good series can last this long. The Alex Cross series of books, has lasted so long and stood the test of time due to its originality and excellent writing. You might imagine a police procedural/thriller would be feeling a little stale to read nowadays but this trope is 100% fresh anytime a new AC novel comes out. James Patterson writes with the confidence of longevity and masterful storytelling. 

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The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchinson

Thomas and Mercer/ISBN-13: 9781503934719/ISBN-10: 1503934713/2016

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson was a harrowing read. It had a unique writing style and a disturbing plot. Once I’d finished this one, it took me a little while to articulate my thoughts enough to write a proper review, but I think I managed it. 🙂 If you pick this one up, you won’t put it down, and you’ll be captivated from start to finish.

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Mini reviews: A Mixed Bag. Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer – MC Beaton 2*. An Act of Defiance – Irene Sabatini 2.5*. Meet me in London – Georgia Toffolo 5*.

Goodreads synopsis

The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin.

As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . . . so much so that Joseph Kennell, a retired lawyer, yells at the sisters that he ‘felt like killing them’!

When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.

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The Minders – John Marrs

Del Rey, Penguin Random House/ISBN-13: 9781529100655/ISBN-10: 1529100658/17th September 2020

Happy paperback publication day (17/09/2020) to this fabulous book from John Marrs. The Minders tells the story of four people who have been given the task of holding the nations secrets – in their brains! Hypothetically, their heads are unhackable and so our secrets are extra safe in there….

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Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish – Bethany Turner

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish – Bethany Turner

Revell/ISBN-13: 978080073865/ISBN-10: 0800735234/Publication date 5th May 2020

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is a new romantic comedy from the author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey. It tells the tale of two chefs who start out as rivals and, through competitions, self reflection and plenty of banter, end up becoming a lot more than that.

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