Leading up to Christmas, I enjoyed a few holiday-themed audiobooks from Audible’s free for subscribers collections. One was my traditional (at least for a while) visit with Charles Dickens and the other two were very different ends of the rom-com spectrum.
For a while, I followed a tradition of visiting Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol each holiday season. And while that tradition fell to the wayside the last few years, I decided that 2020 seemed like as good a time as any to revive it.
This year’s visit is a full-cast adaptation by R.D. Carstairs. Featuring a solid cast that includes Derek Jacoby as the narrator/Dickens, this version of the Carol hit all the right notes. The cast is solid, the adaptation is good, and I even found myself picking up a few highlights or notes that I hadn’t before.
Rachel met Oz at last year’s Hanukah party. But despite having a great connection and meeting him first, her friend Tamara swooped in and has been dating Oz for a year while Rachel pines away for him, filling journal after journal with love letters for Oz. Then, Oz hurts his leg and gets jilted by Tamara, who conveniently asks Rachel to take care of him while she’s partying in a sunny, warmer clime.
But Oz isn’t going to take the break-up lying down and enlists Rachel to help him win back Tamara. Enter the journals and a lot of unrequited feelings from both sides.
As a distraction, Liz Maverick’s Eight Winter Nights is a fairly sweet, tame romance story of two people who are right for each other but can’t quite admit or see it. There’s a lot of tension taking place throughout the story and narrators Eva Kamisky and Jason Clarke bring it out, especially Clarke with his confusion on the feelings for Tamara and Rachel.
It’s a fun holiday story that’s light and frothy and won’t harm you much from reading it. But it’s not likely to leave much of an impression on you once the holiday season is over.
Nick Winters and Noel Carter have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But when Nick finishes up his time in the Army and returns home to the small town of Mistletoe, there may be something more that friendship on the horizon for them this holiday season.
A friends-to-more romantic-comedy, Codi Hall’s Nick and Noel’s Christmas Playlist is a solid enough entry built on strong characters. Noel lost her parents a decade ago and has kept people at a distance since for fear of losing them and experiencing a broken heart again. Nick just got dumped by Amber, a girl he dated long distance while in the Army and he thought would be ready to settle down and begin his dream of having a family.
By alternating viewpoints of Nick and Noel, we get to see their growing attraction as well as the concern they have and how the couple attempts to work them out. Of course, being a rom-com there are speed bumps along the way, especially in the form of Amber, who once Noel enters the scene, begins to feel a bit of regret over dumping Nick. Things aren’t helped that Amber and Noel are old rivals and part of their best friend Gabby’s hasting, Christmas-themed wedding. (It ends up in a huge food fight that is both funny and cathartic).
This one wanders a bit more into the steamy side of things, leaving little to the imagination. But it wisely spends the first half of the story building the tension and attraction between the two title characters. The story also doesn’t give into the temptation to wrap up everything with a neat little bow. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Hall give us another look into the world and lives of Nick and Noel at some point. Nor would I be averse to spending a bit more time with them in the future.