Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
Home means so many different things to different people, and I’ll Be Home For Christmas definitely captured that through the various short stories. Although, anthologies usually leave me with mixed feelings. I’ll Be Home For Christmas was no different. While I adored most short stories and the poem at the beginning, there were a few that I didn’t enjoy, and a couple of which that even left me confused.
This book does not live up to the preceding Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. I’ve listened to the audiobook, and reread the paperback. I’m sure I’ll reread it again in future. The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, however, is a book I most likely won’t revisit. It’s neither quirky nor charming — the very reasons I enjoy Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. These elements went completely missing in this long-awaited sequel.
As a whole I liked the concept of a collection of short holiday stories. Where My True Love Gave to Me shines is the multiplicity of views. There are stories for Christmas, Hanukkah and Winter Solstice. There are stories about people who subvert heteronormativity. There are stories about people from multicultural and non-White backgrounds.