Book Review

Book Review: Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 272 pages
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: October 13th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A young workaholic avoiding home for the holidays discovers that you can’t run away from who you are–a heartfelt Christmas novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Everly Lancaster always dreamed of leaving her hometown in rural Illinois. Now she helps run a burgeoning startup in Chicago, where her professional goals leave little time for friends…or a vacation.

When a massive snowstorm hits, Everly’s mother urges her to come home for Christmas, but she hesitates to return to the life she’s worked so hard to escape. Searching for other holiday plans, Everly tasks her assistant with booking her a cruise–the perfect getaway. Embarking on a weeklong tour of the Amazon guided by charming naturalist Asher Adams, Everly slowly but surely begins to realize that relationships are more important than work–and just might decide to journey home just in time for Christmas Day.

Debbie Macomber’s signature wintry warmth shines in this holiday delight.

MISSED ITS CHANCE.

Not gonna lie, the more I sat on this review, the lower my rating went.

There was an incredible amount of potential here. I thought the premise was a fun take for a holiday romance, could have led to a lot of different avenues, and took me nowhere. Or more, took me everywhere at an intense speed I couldn’t keep up with.

Insta-love/connections can work. I have read many good ones, but I tend to struggle with them more quickly when it’s truly rushed. Before halfway our couple had already had the big “conflict fight” and went separate ways more the moment. But I realized that they had hardly spent time with each other, so I never formed a connection with them. The amount of telling vs. showing me feelings and moments ruined most of this for me.

I liked how it ended and the resolutions that were made on both sides. There was better communication and compromises on both sides that worked for the story. Just wish that was fleshed out a bit more and that there was more story and moments.

Overall audience notess:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 369 pages
Author: Josie Silver
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

Written with Josie Silver’s trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life’s crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.

LACKED PLOT.

I had such a hard time reading this book. Not because of the nature of it, but because it lacked a lot more substance to bring the story home.

This book hurt. I feel like anyone with a significant other will attest to that. It’s not a light read. Grief, depression, devastation, all topics on this scale are discussed. I wanted to connect more to the characters and lives of everyone, but never quite got there.

It was unique to have two different worlds Lydia could live in while she was working through her grief, but I also feel this really hindered her. It slowed everything down and rather than watching her move forward (at her own pace) it felt like everything was held back. I thought a handful of sub-plots weren’t necessary and didn’t fit in with the narrative.

And the ending, I was wishing the entire time that that wouldn’t happen. Then it did, and I felt conflicted? I thought the writing was engaging enough to give hope to the end, even if I may not be completely on board.

I don’t have a lot to say towards this. I think it will hit hard for some and be a miss for others. And while it was a miss for me, it didn’t detract from the pain I know I would feel it something like this happened to me. Everyone does grieve in their own ways and while I may have struggled with this book, I think it brought up a lot of good topics and talking points that could be discussed with others.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: a few fade to black scenes, nothing descriptive
  • Trigger warnings: car wreck causing the loss of a loved one, depression/grief

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