Sunday, 6 December 2015

Little Northern Christmas: Book Review - The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson

book reviews"At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.
Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .

This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it's a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what's been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas."

From following Lisa Dickenson on Twitter, I've come to see just how outgoing, witty and downright fabulous she is. I haven't read any of her books before, but I was hoping that her charm and hilariousness would filter through into her writing. I'm SO pleased to tell you that it absolutely, 100%, totally does. The Twelve Dates of Christmas is a funny, witty read with an unusual take on the build-up to Christmas. It was originally released last year, but has been re-designed with a pretty, sparkly cover and brought out in paperback, and I think it's safe to say it proving pretty popular.  

The story centers Claudia, who finds her long-term relationship with her (excuse my language) dickhead boyfriend Seth come to an abrupt end, after a pretty hilarious situation causes them to have an argument (I won't give the game away too much but I was laugjing out loud when they were in the toilet with his, ahem, parts, on display!) The Twelve Dates of Christmas then pretty much does what it says - we follow Claudia as she goes on twelve different dates in the run-up to Christmas. 

The story is downright hilarious. It's not often I actually laugh out loud from a book, but this one had me in stitches (and put me on the receiving end of some veryyy confused looks from the OH!) I loved the format of The Twelve Dates of Christmas - each chapter forms a different date and I loved seeing the different antics Claudia get's up to, not to mention meeting a whole host of men - some perfect, some handsome, some delirious and arrogant. It really showcased Lisa's talents for creating such a wide range of different characters and personalities, but every single one being realistic. 

It's clear from the offset that there is major chemistry between Claudia and her 'best friend' Nick. (I'm putting best friend in marks because it's just slap-you-in-the-face obvious that they are so much more than that, even if they won't admit it). Because of the clear attraction between the two of them I loved watching them interact and become even closer. I was willing for them to turn into more than friends and enjoyed seeing their story play out. 

She also has a great friendship with the other member of the trio, Penny. At times I felt for Claudia as Penny is living out Claudia's dream of being a ballerina, but thankfully there's no hard feelings and they have a hilarious close friendship that I loved. At times, there are issues and I really hoped they'd work through them and remain close - after all, isn't that a sign of true friendship? 

I also can't write this review without quickly mentioning Claudia's adorable Dad... he just made my heart warm! He is so cute and caring and just wants the best for his daughter. He's a truly wonderful character, possibly the nicest ever, and I loved seeing him and Claudia spend Christmas together. 

Now, The Twelve Dates of Christmas is obviously a festive read and I LOVED this element of the story. It is done so so well... it makes you excited for Christmas but it isn't too in your face -there's just plenty of lovely, subtle hints at the holiday season. Think gingerbread lattes, ice skating, snow and Christmas songs. All these fab elements incorporated together to make me feel really happy and festive. 

One of my favorite scenes in the whole story has to be the Christmas Day, which comes towards the end of the book. There's been a lot of build up to this day, not just because of Christmas but also because of the events leading up to the day (with a lot of drama occurring on Christmas Eve - FYI) so I was eager to see what would happen. I don't want to spoil it so let's just say the drama is resolved and Claudia's Christmas sounds like the perfect way to celebrate. She is surrounded by those she loves, indulges in some drool-worthy sounding food and relaxes in front of a film with her family. It reminded me so much of my Christmas Day's that it got me really excited for it! 

The Twelve Dates of Christmas is a fab festive read that I utterly adored. Brimming with funny, down-to-earth characters, some hilarious situations and plenty of delicious sounding food, it's the perfect read to get you into the Christmassy spirit. Lisa Dickenson is one to watch and I can't wait to make my way through her other stories - she is just brilliant. I feel I've become a bit of a fan girl for her as I sing her praises (not quite literally, but I'll say them very excitedly!) to anyone that will listen. I'd strongly suggest grabbing a gingerbread latte, mince pie and this book and you're in for a real treat. I love, love lovedddd it! 

*A big thank you to the publishers of The Twelve Dates of Christmas for an advance copy of the story via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 


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