My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published by Macmillan on October 31st 2017
Format: eBook (224 pages) • Source: Purchased
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.
But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she s stuck with him.
Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?
I was really hoping for something cute and Christmassy, which I got in some ways. Unfortunately I spent most of the book incredibly frustrated by the clueless yet often bitchy and domineering main character. I like predictable holiday stories because they’re comforting but there was literally no surprise for any element of the plot. By a quarter of the way through the book, I knew every detail about how it was going to end. The side characters were fun and nice people who definitely put up with Charlie FAR longer than I would have. Her best friend was too understanding but it helped that there wasn’t a best-friend-fight subplot. The general storyline is that she is determined (with absolutely no actual evidence) that Teo is the perfect boyfriend for her, so she stops at nothing to make this happen… and I mean nothing. She refuses to see any kind of sign that maybe he’s not the right guy for her and ignores the compelling evidence that perhaps someone else is. I definitely wanted to give her a swift kick in the ass 99% of the time, which doesn’t make for the most fun holiday read.
Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels
The book took place in Connecticut, which I love, but they didn’t really make it a point to reference that too much. The main character has (in the past) loved Christmas and she celebrates pretty hard with her mom when she’s not working. (I literally can’t even remember if they mentioned a dad? Did he die or leave or something? No clue.) Her best friend celebrates Hanukkah, so there was actually a nice amount of that holiday included (and lots of delicious food) mentioned. Without spoiling the “deleted scene,” which was really an epilogue, I’ll just mention that New Years was featured there as well. I should also probably mention that the whole book really is centered around a Secret Santa gift exchange, which means Christmas is included in virtually all parts of the plot (this is a major pro for me!).
I have to say I was really disappointed in this one. I choose to read YA books while understanding I’m not the target audience, but I have to wonder if my 16 year old sister would also find this one predictable and lackluster. There’s literally nothing to write home about with this book, possibly with the exception for her always-too-patient friends and love interest.
Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
Series: Winter #4
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published by Hachette on October 3rd 2017
Also by this author: Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms
Format: Hardcover (262 pages) • Source: Library
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
Raise one last glass with the Quinn Family at the Winter Street Inn.
It's been too long since the entire Quinn family has been able to celebrate the holidays under the same roof, but that's about to change. With Bart back safe and sound from Afghanistan, the Quinns are preparing for a holiday more joyous than any they've experienced in years. And Bart's safe return isn't the family's only good news: Kevin is enjoying married life with Isabelle; Patrick is getting back on his feet after paying his debt to society; Ava thinks she's finally found the love of her life; and Kelly is thrilled to see his family reunited at last. But it just wouldn't be a Quinn family gathering if things went smoothly. A celebration of everything we love--and some of the things we endure--about the holidays, WINTER SOLSTICE is Elin Hilderbrand at her festive best.
The final book in the WINTER series was similar to the rest of them. The book started in October, around Halloween, and had three parts for these three final months of the year. This means that unfortunately the Christmassy section was just the final third of the book. I should have known that would be the case based on the other books, but I also wish I read this around Thanksgiving instead?
There are way too many characters to go between in this series. It always feel like they take one step forward and then two steps back. They make progress in their lives, then fall back into old behavior immediately. This book was generally more depressing than others because of Kelley’s terminal cancer as well. Nothing say Christmas quite like including that as a plot point!
Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels
Christmas on Nantucket is very picturesque. I always love the setting the most and further proves I should get myself to Nantucket. Again, the holiday thing was understated comparatively but I still could picture the decked out island in the third act of the story. I love thinking about New England Christmassy towns since they’re the highlight of my life here in CT/ME. I can’t speak too much about the timing of the story without giving away how it all ends but let’s just say the actual Christmas feels didn’t happen.
This book is a holiday story in the sense that it occurs during the holiday season – from late October through Christmas(ish). However, the content of the book itself is not even close to warm, holiday feels. I don’t want to spoil the ending but reading the synopsis and the rest of the series will likely give you an idea of what to expect. The series wrapped up well for once, which was appreciated, and OVERALL I’m happy with where each character ended up.
I love this! What I really need to find is a holiday book written about something other than Christmas. I know it’s a super widespread holiday that isn’t confined to atheism and Christianity anymore but I don’t know much even about Hanukah (and that’s one of the most well known non-Christmas holidays!) so I need to change that. I love the idea of a Holiday Cheer-o-Meter 🙂 Everyone needs a little more holiday cheer in their life; it’s shame, though, that these two weren’t your favorites. Lovely reviews, Lauren!
I was hoping that My New Crush Gave to Me would be a bit more enticing, but I’m sorry to see that it just didn’t meet expectations. And I don’t know, but I feel like just by first impressions, I knew that book would be too young for me (even though like you, I’m not the target audience). Definitely seems like it’s for 12-14 or somewhere around there.
Yeah, definitely seems better for a younger YA. haha
Oh boo about My New Crush Gave to Me. I was really looking forward to it. I will probably still get to it but have lower expectations. Great reviews!
Yes, a good plan!
It sounds like My New Crush Gave to Me was really lackluster even with the holiday cheer. I am not sure I will be reading that one. *shrugs* We shall see. Thanks for the review!
Not my fave 🙁