Book Review

Book Review: A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Jenny Holiday
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 13th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Leo Ricci’s already handling all he can, between taking care of his little sister Gabby, driving a cab, and being the super of his apartment building in the Bronx. But when Gabby spots a “princess” in a gown outside of the UN trying to hail a cab, she begs her brother to stop and help. Before he knows it, he’s got a real-life damsel in distress in the backseat of his car. 

Princess Marie of Eldovia shouldn’t be hailing a cab, or even be out and about. But after her mother’s death, her father has plunged into a devastating depression and the fate of her small Alpine country has fallen on Marie’s shoulders. She’s taken aback by the gruff but devastatingly handsome driver who shows her more kindness than she’s seen in a long time. 

When Marie asks Leo to be her driver for the rest of her trip, he agrees, thinking he’ll squire a rich miss around for a while and make more money than he has in months. He doesn’t expect to like and start longing for the unpredictable Marie. And when he and Gabby end up in Eldovia for Christmas, he discovers the princess who is all wrong for him is also the woman who is his perfect match.

PRETTY CUTE.

I adored this on some levels, and others maybe not so much.

What I did love was the overall story. There was plenty of Hallmark vibes and I love a good princess story. There was a fun meet cute, and I felt the connection between Leo and Gabby immediately. I was surprised that even though this is a small timeline, that things didn’t feel forced between them. Not really insta-love or anything like that, a nice change!

The love scenes were out of place. It went from Hallmark to whoa whoa whoa steamy scenes, that were long and very open door. My general issue is when those scenes don’t match up with the vibe and tone of the rest of the novel.

Without that it was cute. Leo’s little sister Gabby and his friend Dani were wonderful additions. And y’all, there was a ball at the end. I’m a sucker for a good ball in a book and this was definitely hit the mark. Totally cheesy, totally perfect.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: a handful of very open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved one(s)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction
Length: 260 pages
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Warner Books
Release Date: November 4th, 2001
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief … and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.

WHAT A RIDE.

Am I clever yet?

I didn’t have any sort of expectations going into this. I picked it up at a free little library years ago, and chose this past Christmas to finally read it. I also listened to it on audio and thought it was well read there too. It had fun train sounds between chapters that added to the atmosphere.

This book had its ups and downs. I liked Tom and thought the concept of riding a train during Christmas was a solid idea. I’ve never ridden one so it was fun seeing how everything is set up for a passenger train. Tom ran into a large cast of characters on his travels. Some of it felt a bit scattered, but things came mostly together by the end to not leave wide plot holes.

I liked the soft second-chance romance. It sweet and fit in nicely. I thought they had chemistry and were clearly still into each other. I thought Tom and Ellie were able to finally communicate and work things out together which was was nice to see.

The ending was a bit improbable, but I guess with the other antics and hijinks of the story it worked out well enough. This felt Christmas-y and was a quick read. A nice holiday choice.

Overall audience notes:

  • Christmas Fiction
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, some innuendo
  • Violence: avalanche, theft

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Book Review

Book Review: A Timeless Christmas by Alexi Stanton

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 296 pages
Author: Alexis Stanton
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Release Date: October 23rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

They’re from two different centuries,
but they’re perfect for each other.

Megan Turner is in love with the past. As a tour guide at a beautiful historic mansion, she tells visitors about its original owner, Charles Whitley. An inventor and businessman in the early 1900s, he rose from poverty to wealth…only to disappear without a trace.
Charles was always intrigued by the future. He just never expected to go there. But when he repairs a mysterious clock he bought on his travels, he’s transported to the twenty-first century, with his home decorated for Christmas and overrun by strangers.
Charles is determined to find a way back to his own era, especially when he learns about what happened after he left. But as Megan introduces him to the wonders of smartphones, pizza, and modern holiday traditions, they both feel a once-in-a-lifetime connection. Could it be that, somewhere in time, they belong together?

MAYBE THE MOVIE IS BETTER.

Went into this knowing exactly what was being laid out, a Hallmark movie as a book (or was it the other way around? I don’t know which came first for this novel).

And it may have been laid on a bit too thick for me.

I don’t mind cheesiness (when expected) and a fast-paced romance, but this was like whoa. Can we back up and add some more plot here? The book took place in less over a time span of what I gathered to be less than a week and I wasn’t even feeling the connection between the main characters. I think some further development was needed.

The concept was there and the writing was pleasant . It was easy for me to fly through it and appreciate the aspects presented. There’s some sweet moments and a connection to letting people who care about you in and coping with issues that have crept up from the past.

Maybe I’ll try watching the movie and see what I think of it compared to this!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: It Happened at Christmas by Christen Krumm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 236 pages
Author: Christen Krumm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 22nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this enchanting YA spin on While You Were Sleeping, Christen Krumm delivers laughter and Christmas sparkle through a swoon-worthy story of first love and belonging.

Life at Iverson Preparatory Boarding School isn’t easy when you’re basically the maid. Murphy Cain spends her days cleaning up after her upper class peers in exchange for tuition while dodging their cutting remarks. All of that changes when she rescues her crush, the popular and hunky Tripp Harrington, after a near-fatal accident and is mistaken as his girlfriend.

Murphy finds herself struggling with the choice to reveal the truth or play along. As Tripp’s girl, his wealthy family will offer Murphy something she’s been craving her whole life—a chance to be one of the “in” crowd. A chance to belong. Without it, she’ll be right back where she started.

It only gets worse as Tripp’s brother Hank enters the picture. He’s handsome, down to earth, and seems to understand Murphy better than anyone else. The only problem? She’s supposed to be dating his brother.

As Christmas break draws to a close, Murphy must decide if telling the truth is worth losing it all or if the risk will bring a greater reward in the end.

PERFECT FOR THE SEASON.

SO CUTE. I am so pleased with this book y’all. It is what a Christmas book should be. All the warm fuzzies and happy endings. This was recommended by a friend (and is on Kindle Unlimited!) and I’m so happy I picked this one out as my first Christmas book of the season (which I realize this post is coming way after the fact).

The romance between Murphy and Hank was really sweet. I thought that for a book with a short time frame the way this romance played out was on point. I was smitten with the flirtatious banter of Hank and watching Murphy trying to figure out her feelings for him. They had a lot of tender quiet moments and perfectly swoony for the season.

It was also rewarding seeing Murphy find a place to belong and call home. After being forced to be a Cinderella at her own school I was intensely frustrated with her whole situation. Hand claps all around that this absurdness was rectified with a glorious moment brought on by Hank. I mean, could this guy get any better?

Atmospherically this screamed Christmas, and that was EXACTLY what I was going for. I feel that’s the best part of seasonal books. Really letting myself feel the spirit of the book made me appreciate and love it all the more.

I did take off a half star because there were a few noticeable grammar mistakes throughout. And I’m only mentioning it now because it happened often enough for me to really pick up on them. Otherwise, the writing was great and it was a super quick short read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary [seasonal: Christmas]
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: mentions of losing parents through a car wreck

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