Book Review

Book Spotlight: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Synopsis in under 100: Single, successful, worldly creative type can’t find Mr. Right, because she’s already found Mr. Right-Under-Her-Nose. It’s Christmas time, and nothing says “Happy Holidays” like speed dating for 12 days. There’s also snow – EVERYWHERE and ALWAYS. Snow and realizing past loves are the real loves are the only two motifs of this novel, so you don’t have to think much about it.

Review: Look, let’s say what this is: The Twelve Dates of Christmas is a “beachside novel.” It’s designed for easy reading with absolutely no effort involved for the reader.

There are a handful of characters that aren’t so much developed as they have one defining quality that makes you remember them: sits-on-the-porch guy, loves-to-knit lady, dad’s girlfriend, super-pretty competition, best-friend-with-all-the-kids. It also has super simple plots so you can read a chapter and pick right back up without having to pay too much attention. There were whole “dates” I was bored of, so I skipped the chapter completely and didn’t miss anything overall plot-wise.

This novel is a mindless piece of entertainment, and I genuinely mean that with respect. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do: entertain with minimal effort. I read it in 3-4 days.

It would also function exactly like a Christmas special: kooky pretty girl in a small town, beloved by all, trying to find love – and does so just as the last mistletoe is being hung for the holidays. I mean, it’s Hallmark perfect, so I can’t really fault it for being true to what it is, can I?

No, I can. Because this is about taste, not rating something in fairness based on the author’s intent. That’s not what my spotlight reviews are about – they’re about me and my willingness to recommend the title to others.

I would never in a million years pick up a book like this for myself. However, it was gifted by a good friend of mine and she wanted to do a mini book club about it. So, of course, one has to read the damn book. For however positively intended this book was given, I cannot recommend anyone to spend actual money on it. Or the time, for that matter. Exactly what you think happens, and there’s only maybe 3 dates that are funny enough to hold real interest. Other than that, you’re left with about 150 pages of “eh” with an altogether un-creative use of language by the lackluster author.

There were several times in which I cringed or had to look away from the book and gather myself from the second-hand embarrassment of the turns of phrase. Some things I’d snort at because they were just that dumb to’ve read by a published author. And this book was fairly popular. I wanted to switch to the kindle one night and went to download the ebook from my library – there were about 28 copies checked out and 3 times as many people on the waitlist. WTF!?

Also, how is the main character a 30-something year old woman and she’s terrified of sex with absolutely no background? There’s a saving-myself-for-marriage vibe as if the author just isn’t that sexually aware or is just that timid in her own sexuality. I’m just saying, even the “super hot make out scene” happening while the credits roll is rated G. Is there something lower than G? E for “everyone?” whatever “Sesame Street” is rated, this book is also rated. Wholly disappointing having finished a rom-com novel that was slightly com and absolutely zero rom.

This novel gets 2 stars because I finished it, and those are the rules. My heart says 1 star, though. Total waste of time.

Snagged the “book with a number in the title” square

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