Book Review

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Sandy Barker
Publisher: One More Chapter
Release Date: October 16th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Chloe, Jules, and Lucy meet at a Maui resort kids’ club, aged 11, forging a lifelong friendship spanning two decades and three continents.

Twenty-two years later, they decide to swap Christmases, none of them expecting the hilarity and romantic escapades that will ensue.

Chloe from Melbourne spends her Christmas with Lucy’s mum and dad in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England, stunned to the core when she discovers who grew up across the road from Lucy.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend a balmy ‘Orphan’s Christmas’ with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away from her mundane life is just what she needed.

Join these three lovable women as they each get a Christmas to surpass their wildest dreams.

JUST STOP.

Oh goodness. I can’t with insta-love y’all. I will admit, I have read good renditions of it, this was not one of those.

There’s 400 pages to cover three entirely separate story lines. It was clearly not enough to actually put any angst or moments into anyone’s romance. I couldn’t get past how quickly everything was happening and wanted it to just slow down. There was no background on relationships and the love interests. All 0 to 100 faster than I could convince myself to read this book.

I wanted to like everyone, and I did for the most part. And the premise was a nifty idea. Switching places with friends to enjoy a “new to them” Christmas celebration seemed enchanting.

I’m going to keep this short because I don’t have any desire to rip into this more. It wasn’t a love story I was on board with.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; mentions of nights together (but no details)

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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: Snow Angel Cove (Haven Point #1) by RaeAnne Thayne

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 378 pages
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne welcomes you to a small town full of big surprises that are both merry and bright…

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a helping hand…for her sick young daughter’s sake as well as her own. But she’s not expecting her holiday hero to almost run her down with his car!

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew that what his life was missing was Eliza and her little girl. But is he willing to risk hoping for a yuletide romance that could lead to forever?

A MIXED BAG.

To break this down, what I enjoyed was the romance. I thought the chemistry and relationship between Eliza and Aiden was sweet. It moved well for the short time-period and I was invested. The banter, passionate kisses and everything was great.

I also really enjoyed the setting. The small town, holiday/Christmas vibes was perfect for the season. With an awkward meet cute and lovable family members it made for a good started book for the series.

What I struggled with was the tragedy that enveloped every single person. Each one of them (as in, each character) had a backstory that was intense and took away from the story. It was then repeated way too often and sentiments were added every time they looked at another character. Repeat this scenario every few pages and I was exhausted from it all.

A bit good, a bit eh. It was a nice quick read though. I flew through it and it was overall enjoyable to check this off of my holiday TBR read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: main character with cancer, loss of a loved one(s), a child with a life-threatening condition, getting hit by a car

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Book Review

Book Review: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 404 pages
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Release Date: July 19th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

FIRST KINSELLA BOOK.

Was it the best one to choose? I have no idea. I did enjoy this one at least. A comment to the audio book though, did not love it.

Anywho, Samantha definitely had me laughing at some of the antics she got wrapped up in. It was funny and great to see her struggle with some of the very basics of house care. I didn’t love her at first (and that was probably the intention) because of how much of a workaholic she was. The change over the course of the book for Samantha was very needed and well crafted. Her new persona felt like it really matched the true Samantha by the end.

I wish the romance was more developed. Her and Nathaniel went from zero to one-hundred like whoa. Granted, there were some cute moments, especially near the end, that worked in their favor. Overall though, I wanted more.

I’m so glad that this story had some great resolutions. Getting more to Samantha’s life as a lawyer and what happened with her law firm helped me appreciate the entire story. I needed to know that it worked out in Samantha’s favor one way or another and this is why I love a good happy ever after!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance / Fiction
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; some closed door scenes and a mild open door scene

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