Cover Image: Last Christmas

Last Christmas

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Last Christmas 🎄🩸

Brief Synopsis:
The doorbell cuts through the sound of the howling wind outside. Snowflakes from the freezing December air whirl into the house as I open the front door to the police. The look on their faces says everything. My husband is dead. Did one of my family kill him?

Thoughts:
The plot twist at the end!!!! Honestly improved my rating because I was so happy and did not see it coming. This book starts the reader with a glance into the POV of the FMC and her husband, who we know is going to be murdered shortly into the Christmas holiday per the book description. They are not doing well in their marriage and had been struggling with infertility for some time which is straining their mood, as is the husband's alcoholism. I enjoyed that the author gave us the MMC's death scene through his POV with enough vagueness that we were unsure he was dead at that time and who killed him. Throughout the book, the FMC remains distraught at the death of her husband despite being pregnant, with her family questioning who the father is. Family secrets are exposed throughout the novel in the setting of dynamics changing due to the FMC's husband dying and her father's health declining.

Was this review helpful?

A Christmas Murder Mystery?! I think yes! I was excited to be accepted for this book because it’s hard to find good suspenseful books taking place around the holiday season and I’ve been looking for things to add to my TBR and to advertise during this time. I liked this book. I thought it was nicely executed (pun intended).

Was this review helpful?

4.5 star

Wow! This was the perfect holiday thriller! It had everything I’ve been craving in a book.
It’s a faced paced family drama obviously set around christmas. It had enough twists to keep me turning the page. I read it in a single sitting.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, I loved this book - I could not put it down, such a page-turner.
This is a family drama like no other, ending in death - and at Christmas as well!
There is no end to the shocks in this story, it was so well written the page were turning themselves!
Brilliant thriller - couldn't recommend highly enough.

Was this review helpful?

This story has a lot going on touching on depression, mental illness, alcoholism, suicide, infertility, infidelity, betrayal, terminal illness, parental loss, sibling rivalry, and a mysterious death during a family Christmas holiday get-together. The dysfunction of this family dynamic is off the charts and their family holiday is pure chaos. All of the characters are so flawed, that none are very likable.

This was a slow burn as the characters were being developed in the beginning but picked up speed about a quarter of the way through and was a quick read.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC in return for my voluntary and honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Last Christmas is a quick read with an interesting twist at the end. The book came off more as a drama to me than a thriller. It was not much of a Christmas book as it was a family drama. I think it was a well written book, but not the kind of book I typically gravitate towards. I was a little put off by the how whiny some of the characters came across. In this book, you can trust no one.

Was this review helpful?

Neil and Sacha are having relationship difficulties, so it's probably not the best time for them to spend Christmas with Sacha's family - especially since Neil can't stand Sacha's two brothers-in-law and one of her two sisters! And on top of that, Sacha's father is terminally ill, so this may be their last Christmas together.

Given that Neil is already suffering from depression - and they are both struggling with fertility issues - it is not surprising when various familial resentments quickly spill over into ugly confrontations.

While one person ends up dead directly as a result of the events over Christmas, it seems likely that the deaths in the family will not end with him.

This story did a good job of delivering several plot twists, but I figured out what was happening reasonably early on. And the more sordid aspects left me thoroughly disliking almost everyone. Though I did feel for Sacha's parents...

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to #NetGalley and #Bookouture for the ARC #LastChriatmas by #MariaFrankland. I loved this book and all the drama it entails. The relationships with the family and all the problems take you to an incredible, twist ending. Amazing!

Was this review helpful?

Neil and Sacha have been having a tough time, between depression, infertility, unemployment, and alcoholism. So the last thing they need is the stress of spending Christmas with Sacha’s family, where Neil has always felt like an outsider. As the drinks flow, animosities rise to the surface, and tempers flare, someone is going to wind up dead. Is it a tragic accident or is there a killer in the family’s midst?

Last Christmas is a quick, solid read, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. There are so many Christmas rom coms and not enough Christmas thrillers, so I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, it’s much more a family drama than a thriller. Even calling it domestic suspense is a bit generous, as the cast of characters is small and only a couple of people could be the potential killer. Also, it wasn’t nearly Christmassy enough for my taste, as only the first third and the epilogue take place at the holidays, and even those sections felt only vaguely Christmassy.

The story was interesting and well-written but overall missed the mark for me. Plot points and characters felt in-your-face and over the top with no subtlety or nuance. Every single one of the characters is unlikeable, and not in that fun-to-hate-them way. I couldn’t believe grown adults would be so constantly and blatantly nasty to each other. Even Neil, who should have been more sympathetic with all his mental health and life struggles, comes off as a whiny and selfish drunk.

If you like spiteful sibling dramas with a side of murder, this book may be for you. Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me an advance copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

Sacha and Neil are experiencing relationship troubles, alongside infertility, mental health issues, family drama, and parental terminal illness. When they decide to go to Sacha's family's house for Christmas, tempers flare and everything escalates, resulting in someone's death. As the authorities investigate the death (which initially seems like a suicide), new information comes to light, and it becomes clear that many members of Sacha's family are hiding big secrets.

I enjoyed this book a lot! It was a slow burn that really took the time to develop characters and to help us get inside their heads to experience what they are feeling. I loved the exploration(s) of mental illness, the murder mystery, and the deep dive into family politics. I wish the ending had been more about showing what was happening rather than telling overall, but there is one scene that was incredibly satisfying and tied everything together.

I love almost any thriller or novel set during the Christmas season! Thank you to the publishers at NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me an e-ARC! I went through it in a night, starting late and reading into the wee hours of the next morning. Thriller readers will definitely want this on their list for Kindle reads in November!

Was this review helpful?

Wow! Don't let the title of this book fool you into thinking it's a nice, sweet Christmas story. This book is full of self-centered people, and there are some sad and distressing things happening, but I could not put it down! So many of the characters do horrible things and don't feel badly about it. And then they treat their stress with excess alcohol which often makes it worse. One of the characters has severe depression which can be painful to read about, so if that can be triggering for you, be warned. There's lots of jaw-dropping craziness and continuous revelations throughout the book that kept me turning the pages. I'm not sure I'd want to be friends with any of these people, but they sure kept me entertained. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the eARC.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Net Galley and Bookouture for allowing me access to the ARC of Last Christmas in exchange for my honest review.
This book was intriguing, intense, and suspenseful up until the very end.
It was about three sisters along with their husbands and parents celebrating Christmas together. There are secrets, lies, jealousy, tension, and lots of family dysfunction that made this one hard to put down.
It is told from the perspective of two sisters and one husband providing multiple viewpoints. The characters were well developed, each holding secrets and drama of their own.
Fantastic read, 4/5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

Amazing book.
Had me hooked instantly.
Having 3 peoples stories really intrigued.
Would recommend to family and friends.
So many twists in the story to keep you interested

Was this review helpful?

This was more of a family drama/suspense and not really a thriller in my opinion. After reading the synopsis I was excited to read this, but I had higher hopes. I didn’t feel connected to the characters. I did however find the story well written and it did keep me engaged. I just didn’t overly enjoy the last bit of the book. It’s hard to rate it, because I liked it but at the same time I didn’t like it that much.

Was this review helpful?

This book started out strong but got didn't continue its momentum.
SPOILERS:
The characters are not likeable. Neil, who I did feel sympathy for somewhat, gets killed early on. However, despite his depression, his behavior really grated on me. The whole drinking and throwing up on his in-laws' porch was disgusting. I was shocked Sacha stayed with him.
Later on, we find out Sacha wasn't so great either. The author tried to make her a sympathetic character but then we found out she had been sleeping with her sister's husband.
Christy's POV felt unnecessary in moving the narrative forward. I started off liking her but I was puzzled why she was with her toxic husband, Adam. Later on, we find out Adam had been hitting on Christy's sister and despite this, Christy stays with him.
The ending was quite predictable. It didn't even feel much like a thriller. The tepid climax / ending made it feel like a family drama of a highly dysfunctional family.

Was this review helpful?

2 stars out of 5.

Based on the synopsis, this book sounded really good but it did not deliver and I was left disappointed. The book started off with so much potential, it really drew me into the story, but then it just got boring. I almost didn't finish this book on multiple occasion. When the ending came along, it was predictable. None the of the characters were likable either. This one just wasn't for me.

Sacha's husband Neil ends up dead at the bottom of a cliff while at Sacha's families Christmas celebration. Multiple people in Sacha's family don't like Neil, so could one of them have killed him? Or was his death an accident?

Thanks Netgalley and Bookouture for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Overall this book was a good read, it had some good twists. However it wasn’t what I was expecting somehow,

Was this review helpful?

Threads Loosen..
Tensions rise over the Christmas period leading to, perhaps, unexpected results in this dark domestic noir. Relayed effectively with the use multiple narratives, viewpoints are exposed and the drama escalates as threads loosen and the family tapestry inevitably falls apart. Twists and turns litter an immersive plot populated by well drawn and credible characters and where more detail is given over to the domestic drama saga than the murder mystery. A well done insight into a, mainly, appalling family enduring extreme tragedy and who are most definitely not having a Merry Christmas.

Was this review helpful?

The author did an excellent job of describing Neil and how he was struggling with depression, poor self esteem, was feeling like a failure as he couldn't get his wife pregnant and was dreading the Christmas holiday. Neil really wanted to stay home but his wife-Sacha told him they needed to spend it with her family as her father is dying. Your heart goes out to Neil as he is struggling and once you meet all of Sacha's family even more so.

This family is so dysfunctional that you will be thankful you don't have to spend the holidays with them. So much family drama, lies, murder and of course jealousy make for one Christmas you won't soon forget.

This is a pretty heavy emotional read for a holiday book.

Was this review helpful?

This book was just not what expected it to be…
I read this book as an ARC.
I don’t think this book can count as a thriller or crime book.
However, it wasn’t fun for me. I was really happy when I finished it… it was boring. Nothing exciting happens and everything is predictable. You can predict who the killer is and there are not any plot twists.
I can’t say more about this book. I’m sorry.

Was this review helpful?