Blog Series: Holidays 2016

2016 Holiday Books & Celebration

Posted November 25, 2016 / Personal / Information / Etc. / 14 Comments
2016 Holiday Books & Celebration

In previous years, I have really cozied up in the holiday season and done a lot of Christmassy reading. I absolutely love letting the snow fall outside and reading holiday books with a nice cup of hot chocolate. I am a very indoorsy person during the winter months, let me tell you. As always, I have to include a TBR post for this holiday season and share what I plan on doing on the blog. I like to read and review the books quickly so you may have some recommendations before it’s too late. (Most of my reviews are scheduled weeks or months out, which wouldn’t help you read holiday books during the actual holidays.) You can see past TBRs, readathons, and wintery graphics from 2014 and 2015 if you’re curious. I love featuring holiday-themed reviews that start at the end of November and end before New Year’s. I hope it gives people enough of a shot to get some last-minute holiday recommendations while they’re in the mood! I started a new holiday cheer-o-meter feature last year, where I rate the book on how much holiday-related cheer and feels it brings to the table. Some books I read are more winter-focused while others are full-on Christmas stories. I also include a little graphic to tell you quickly the holidays that are involved in the story. If you’re looking for something more specific, I’ve got you covered. In each review, I want to let you know just how holiday-oriented the story is, as well as […]

Holiday Review: Winter Street

Posted December 2, 2016 / Book Reviews / 9 Comments
Holiday Review: Winter Street

Basics and Initial Excitement I decided to make this my first Elin Hilderbrand novel, as well as my first holiday book of this season. The synopsis grabbed me right from the beginning… and it helps that it takes place on Nantucket, one of my favorite places to read about. (It’s a couple of hours from me and I’ve never been there, but it’s similar to Cape Cod – one of my actual favorite places.) The book came in quickly at the library and I set off on my first seasonal read. Characters and Story The story is set over the Christmas holiday and begins on December 23rd. The Quinn family is used to gathering for the holidays at the Winter Street Inn that their father owns (and some of them still live at). This year, a wrench is thrown into the works when their stepmom is found kissing Santa Claus and leaves their father. The family has to move through the holiday parties and Christmas morning without one of the main caretakers of the inn. I liked that the story alternated between all of the main characters so you could get into their heads a little bit. Some of them were harder to connect to or get a read on (because of all the POV switching) but I’m glad that format was chosen for this book regardless. The children include Patrick, who is having a breakdown over some things happening at work; Ava, a schoolteacher that lives at the inn and can’t get […]

Favorite Holiday Books and Tropes

Posted December 5, 2016 / Book Lists, Features / 10 Comments
Favorite Holiday Books and Tropes

I’ve done holiday things on the blog basically since it first started. I only read 14 holiday books before this 2016 season, but I think it’d be worth recapping all of those here! I’m going to rank them from favorite to least favorite, plus include a mini review or summary about the book so you can decide if maybe you’d like it more than I did! But first, let’s look at some of the elements of holiday books that make me love them. ? ? ☃ ❄️ What makes me love a holiday book? | Favorite Tropes Perfect snowy, cozy setting | This is the biggest thing I look for. I need to FEEL like its Christmas and let there be snow all over the place. Some of the books below have really fun settings like a B&B in a cold place, or a big mansion full of Christmas decorations and cozy rooms with fireplaces. Lots of holiday feels | I need there to be days leading up to the holidays and then a full exploration of Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I love the anticipation of the day coming and then getting to celebrate with the family. Snowed in | There are a couple books on here where a couple gets snowed in together and ends up falling for each other. This “stuck together” trope is one of my favorites (and will hopefully be a read-bait topic sometime soon!). I love the cozy feeling of being snowed in and trying to keep warm. Short stories | I […]

Holiday Review: Season of Second Chances

Posted December 9, 2016 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
Holiday Review: Season of Second Chances

Basics and Initial Excitement I’ve had this book on my TBR probably since I started blogging. I added it to my holiday TBR again this year and just resolved to finally read it. I saw that it had less than 75 pages, so why not blitz through it? I was excited to get another book under my belt early in the month because I really want that Goodreads challenge done before Christmas so I can just RELAX until January… maybe. ANYWAYS, I finally got to this one! Woohoo. The basic premise for this holiday novella is that Claire ends up stranded on Christmas Eve, trying to visit her family. Her ex-fiancee, Logan, ends up coming to the rescue. Yes, I know what you’re thinking! Second chance romance, woohoo! Because that’s totally what I was thinking. AND add in the snowed-in element? Sold. Characters and Story Logan, a single father and workaholic, lost Claire because he kept putting his job first. Claire returned to Chicago before the holidays, got snowed in, and was stuck alone in the airport on her birthday/Christmas Eve. Logan comes across her and BAM she’s at his house and feelings are pretty much back for everyone involved. I felt like the two of them were pretty well-done, in terms of characterization, considering how short of a book this was. I definitely shipped them even though some plot points were suuuuper cliche. Wintery Setting and Holiday Feels Being snowed in is one of my favorite tropes, especially if it leads […]

Holiday Review: Winter Stroll

Posted December 16, 2016 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Holiday Review: Winter Stroll

Basics and Initial Excitement Winter Street wasn’t perfect, but you better believe it made me invested in the Quinn family. I immediately requested this one from the library and it came in faster than expected. So, you also better believe I started reading ASAP! (I also requested the third one but since its a new release that might be a pipe dream this month.) The story takes place one year later, after a fairly big cliffhanger surrounding a member of the family. I won’t say who but it might come up later in this review… so be warned if you haven’t read book one! In any case, the Quinns went through a lot of changes since the previous Christmas where we left them. This story takes place at the beginning of December so the ~holiday season~ vibes are different too. Characters and Story Every character regressed so much from book one. Each person had decided on a partner or a future plan or SOMETHING in book one, but there was a bit of cliffhanger in some ways. In WINTER STROLL, all the fucking characters (okay, minus like two of them) went back on what they previously planned on or chose for themselves. I don’t want to spoil anything but there are some annoying characters that return (Nathaniel, Mitzi) to fuck shit up. Ava can’t make up her mind between her current boyfriend and her old boyfriend. Kelley can’t make up his mind between letting Mitzi back into his life or letting her go. Margaret, […]

Cozy Christmas

Posted December 19, 2016 / Personal / Information / Etc. / 9 Comments
Cozy Christmas

I loved Kristin’s Christmas aesthetic she posted last month (I totally appreciate and share her enthusiasm for starting Christmas celebrations as soon as possible), so I was inspired to do something similar to fit in with my holiday posts this month. I like to include holiday book reviews and maybe a book tag or two each season. I was also featured last year and this year on Sarah’s blog for her Home for the Holidays feature, so my holiday cheer is pretty much everywhere right now and I’m loving it. I’m posting  this earlier than expected because I’m still working my way through holiday reads I expected to finish by today. I wanted to talk about my favorite day of the year ON that day but whatever. So I love Christmas Eve Eve (23rd). I love the anticipation of being so close to Christmas Eve and Christmas day, without the feeling like they’re ending too soon. It’s the day to finish watching all of your Christmas movies in time and being super cozy. So, in the spirit of my favorite day/week of the holiday season, I wanted to put together a little collage of some of my favorite holiday things. Hopefully you can get a picture of what my Christmas usually looks like! Christmas Aesthetic Ugly Panthers sweater and ornament | I don’t own this sweater yet but it’s on my wishlist! I’ll end up with one some year. I just love the idea of having a Panthers-themed ugly sweater. I have so […]

Holiday ARC Review: All I Want for Christmas

Posted December 22, 2016 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments
Holiday ARC Review: All I Want for Christmas

Basics and Initial Excitement Every year I’ve come to look forward to Jenny Hale’s newest Christmas story. I’ll be the first to tell you that they’re formulaic (especially when you’ve read all of her Christmas stories), often predictable, and cheesy in some parts. But honestly, what good Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movie isn’t all of those things?! These books put me in the Christmas mood like no others and I am so happy to read them each year. I read this one in two settings within the course of 12 hours and I have no regrets. Characters and Story The setup for this one is somewhat similar to her others, but had some welcome twists to the norm. Leah and her daughter Sadie grew up with and loved Leah’s Nan. She owned a huge plantation where she would host events and the girls would spend time together. When Nan dies unexpectedly, Leah is not surprised to see that she was willed the plantation. However, she IS surprised to see a twist – a man from her childhood, David, is living there and was ALSO willed the mansion. When Leah, Sadie, and Leah’s family and friends trickle in for one last Christmas, sparks fly and the two have to figure out how to move forward with the mansion. I really loved getting to know Leah, Sadie, David, and Leah’s friends (Roz and Louise). They had great bonds with each other. David was incredibly kind and at times, a little too perfect. I […]

Holiday Book Buddies: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Posted December 23, 2016 / Book Buddies Reviews, Book Reviews / 6 Comments
Holiday Book Buddies: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Book Buddies is a discussion-style “review” that takes place with Cristina from Girl in the Pages. (You can check out past posts here.) We both read the book, have a discussion, and post our conversation (plus other fun things sometimes!) here. Book Buddies is a seasonal feature that now happens four times per year. Be sure to check out the other half of our feature and discussion on Cristina’s blog (link below)! Check out Cristina’s post here! We’ve decided to bring some new elements into our Book Buddies posts, so it will be less Q&A discussion between the two of us, and more personal applications to the book. Because this book featured a bunch of lists the main character keeps in her head, we decided to channel the same thing for our post! The lists below are generally related to the book too. Chloe gets stuck at work in a grocery store on Christmas Eve, so you’ll see some place and food-related questions below! 5 Things About This Book This book made me so nostalgic for my grocery store days. I worked at Geissler’s Supermarket, a family-owned chain only in Connecticut and Massachussets, throughout the end of high school and beginning of college (on breaks). This book is incredibly accurate for what it’s like to work in a grocery store, from scheduling breaks to weird relationships with coworkers to having to work on Christmas Eve. Chloe and her coworkers were a bit presumptuous. I didn’t like so many of the assumptions they made about fellow […]

Holiday Mini Reviews: Winter Storms and What Light

Posted December 24, 2016 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
Holiday Mini Reviews: Winter Storms and What Light

Story Winter Street swept me away pretty quickly for some reason. I was instantly intrigued by the Quinn family and wanted to get to know all of them. Once I finished with the bit of a cliffhanger, I moved on fairly quickly to Winter Stroll. The characters, over the course of the year between stories, regressed so much. They went back on decisions they already made and then made stupid ones. I didn’t like it nearly as much, but you know I was ready for the final book in the WINTER trilogy to arrive at the library. It unexpectedly did last week, so I was quick to hop right into it to finish it off. This book was definitely worse than the first one but better than the second one. I was incredibly annoyed by Ava mostly, with her love triangle that turned into a square. (Yep.)  I thought she became much snootier and more guarded than necessary. I think her character “developed” in the wrong direction. The other characters were their usual selves and I didn’t mind them as much. I love where the story went for Kevin and Isabelle, Margaret and Drake, and somewhat for Patrick and Jennifer. The ending was very abrupt and I kind of hated it. I think things were left too open-ended for my liking.  So, there was some good closure with a few characters but not all of them. Wintery Setting and Holiday Feels This story was interesting because it started in the spring […]

Merry Christmas! // The Christmas Tag

Posted December 25, 2016 / Personal / Information / Etc. / 2 Comments
Merry Christmas! // The Christmas Tag

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!! One of my favorite days is finally here. It actually shouldn’t say “finally” because I feel like this month FLEW BY. Seriously, each month has this year but December… damn. Busy and quick. I wanted to post a little something on the blog for Christmas today so I thought The Christmas Tag would be a perfect fit to finish off the season. I hope you enjoyed all of the holiday reviews and features on the blog! Here’s a little recap of them, if you’d like to catch up and get in the spirit today. General holiday posts: Holiday Introduction, Favorite Books and Tropes, Christmas Coziness Holiday-Themed Top Ten Tuesdays:  Holiday Gift Guide for My YA Sister, Wishlist for Santa Holiday reviews: Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, Season of Second Chances, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless (Book Buddies), All I Want for Christmas, What Light • Found on Spines and Covers and previously on The Enthusiast • What is your favorite Christmas film? No-brainer. I love The Santa Clause way too much. I used to watch each year with my parents and will ALWAYS put it on at least once or twice in December. I even watch the sequels, even though they’re garbage. From the second this movie starts until the second it ends, I’m so happy and Christmassy. Have you ever had a white Christmas? Yes absolutely! I live in Connecticut so we usually have a white Christmas. I don’t think we’ve had one in the past two years or […]