Holiday, Romance

Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle

Christmas AngelsChristmas Angels by Nancy Naigle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Looking for a super cute and light holiday read? Reading Christmas Angels was like reading a Hallmark or Netflix original Christmas movie. Now before you get the wrong impression (because we know these movies can sometimes be extremely cheesy), this was like one of your FAVORITE Hallmark Christmas movies. It was charming and light and authentic.

When Liz stumbles upon her grandparent’s old bed and breakfast going up for auction, she takes the opportunity to complete one of her life dreams. Owning the B&B and living in the quaint little town of Antler’s Creek. But when she discovers that the home has been essentially gutted and destroyed, the only thing to do is try to restore it to it’s original glory.

Along the way there is a man. Because there’s always got to be a love story in these types of things.

Was it the most original story? No. Was it a story that requires deep thinking? No. But was it the perfect light read to make you smile during the holidays? Yes.

If you find yourself hung over from some emotionally draining novel or a book that feels heavy and you’re looking for pure joy and happiness, here you go.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Nancy Naigle, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Holiday, Romance

Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes

Christmas in Vermont: A NovelChristmas in Vermont: A Novel by Anita Hughes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Looking for a cheesy Christmas romance in the vein of Hallmark or a Netflix original? Well, here you go.

Christmas in Vermont was exactly what I expected it to be. It was cliche and predictable. One of those books where you know the ending from the very first pages. But I think there is a market for those types of book, so if that’s what you’re looking for, it would be right up your alley.

I personally had a hard time with quite a few things in the story that caused me to rate it lower:
1. A 9 year old girl who felt to be more like 12 or 13 at times.
2. A father that let the 9 year old girl roam around a foreign city with very little supervision or guidance.
3. Lots and lots of grammatical errors (I usually don’t comment on grammatical errors when I’m reading ARCs because I recognize they haven’t gone through the entire editing process, but in this case the errors were distracting and excessive).
4. I despised the way some of the characters reacted to various situations. Characters who fell in and out of love at the snap of a finger, characters who had no backbone/not an independent bone in their body, etc.
5. An overall need to suspend all reality to believe some of the coincidental events within the story.

I previously read Anita Hughes’s Christmas at the Chalet and had similar feelings, albeit maybe not as strong. Perhaps this holiday genre that requires one to fully suspend reality is just not my cup of tea.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Anita Hughes, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Holiday, Reese Witherspoon's Book Club, Romance

One Day in December by Josie Silver

One Day in DecemberOne Day in December by Josie Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick for December, y’all! I love my girl Reese and try to read all of her book club picks because I’ve never met a pick I didn’t like. And One Day in December is no exception.

This book in several words… cute, charming, Hallmark-esque, perhaps a tad cheesy, and heartwarming.

So what’s this book about? Girl on bus sees boy on street and it is love at first sight. Bus drives away and girl spends the next year of her life pining over stranger we shall refer to as “bus boy.” I know… I know… super unrealistic but bear with me. Girl gets introduced to best friend’s new boyfriend. And you guessed it! Bus boy. Girl and boy spend years in angsty (dare I say slightly depressing) turmoil waiting for their lives to align so they can finally be together.

Funny that the author, Josie Silver, should mentioned the movie The Holiday at the beginning of this book because it was similar in nature. The main character reminded me of Kate Winslet and her slightly sad, depressing life until Prince Charming (Jack Black) walks in. And it continues to be a little sad and depressing until she finally gets her fairy tale ending.

I will say this book wasn’t super mind blowing in its content. It’s a simple holiday romance novel that I could see being made into a made-for-Netflix movie one day. But it was a super quick read and perfect reading for the holidays.

Reese strikes again! Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a nice wintery, holiday romance.

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General Fiction (Adult), Holiday, Humor

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Evergreen Tidings from the BaumgartnersEvergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and what a great win it was!

Just published last week, Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners is a quirky, holiday read about a Midwestern family with its share of issues. Violet is the matriarch (we all know one) who needs everything to be perfect at all times, lives for appearances, and couldn’t be more traditional. Her daughter Cerise is a lesbian (gasp!) who is pregnant with child (double gasp!) and Violet does NOT know how to deal. What ensues is Violets incessant desire to find out how Cerise conceived and who the “father” is despite Cerise insisting that it doesn’t matter. Her and her partner Barb are the baby’s parents, and that is that.

Although Violet is a politically incorrect nightmare, the way she was written was quite humorous. She was a trip through the whole book, pushing and prodding and poking until she got her way.

The one downside…. there was a secondary story line written from the perspective of Richard, a family friend, and quite frankly, I wasn’t super invested in that story line. I didn’t see how it related and felt like it was kind of a “filler.”. Others may disagree as the story eventually ties in.

On another note, the physical book was beautiful. The pages had jagged edges and gave the appearance of letters bound into a book with a “worn” feel. Which was perfect given the fact that interspersed throughout the pages of text were Christmas letters written by Violet to the family over the years.

This book is heartwarming. It is humorous. It has a great holiday feel. It comes highly recommended.

Thank you you Goodreads, Gretchen Anthony, and Park Row Books for my giveaway copy!

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General Fiction (Adult), Holiday, Romance

Christmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes

Christmas at the ChaletChristmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Out today!

The first thing that drew me to this book was that gorgeous cover! I mean, look at it. Who wouldn’t want to be snuggled up in a little mountain chalet drinking hot chocolate in front of a warm fire while reading this book? Yes, please!

The second thing that drew me: Christmas! Yes, I know it’s not even Halloween yet and I’m all about the spooky reads right now but I’m preparing myself for the holidays, okay?

Anita Hughes gives us three stories in one with this book. A charming wedding dress designer whose long-term relationship is crumbling, a up-and-coming fashion model trying to get her divorced parents to cooperate for the sake of her wedding, and a glimpse into the past at those parents and their journey from love to disaster.

So… this book was essentially a Hallmark or made-for-Netflix holiday movie in book form. It was cute and enjoyable. It made me happy to read and I would totally love to curl up with it on a cold winter day. That being said, it was not the most well written and was kind of basic. Most of the character interactions were pretty cheesy and weren’t really believable. I don’t know if I can get on board with a character falling in love in a matter of days or with two divorced parents who hate each other magically reconciling overnight. Again, Hallmark. If you can see past all that though, it’s a great “feel good” story and at 288 pages it’s a breeze.

The other thing I was slightly disappointed in was the lack of Christmas spirit. While I totally got the Swiss Alp/ski lodge feel this book was going for, I didn’t really feel like it screamed “Christmas.” Yes, it took place over the Christmas holiday but otherwise was more of a “winter” read than a “Christmas” read.

All of that being said, if you’re just looking for a light hearted, quick read for winter, this is your book.

-I was gifted an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Anita Hughes, and St. Martin’s Press (faves!) for the opportunity to review.-

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