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By: Giovanna Fletcher
Published Year: 2013
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 352

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): In this utterly sweet and moving women's fiction novel, a celebrity comes to town and sweeps a young woman - who is used to being overlooked - off her feet.

Sophie May is content with her life in her small English village, working in the local coffee shop and living with her mom. But when famous actor Billy comes to town to play Mr. Darcy in a new film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Sophie's quiet life is quickly turned on its head. Billy is adored by women around the world, but he only wants Sophie on his arm. But being with Billy comes at a price, and Sophie is thrown in the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy?

                                                                         First Impressions

Such a cute chick lit cover! When I first heard that Giovanna Fletcher was coming out with her debut novel, I was really excited to read it. However, it wasn’t available in the US. If it had been, I definitely would’ve read it immediately.
                              
                                                      What I thought


This book was exactly the cute chick lit that I thought it would be and needed.

Sophie May is a small town girl who helps to run a tea shop. She grew up in this same town and never left. She even still lives with her mother. The town gets shaken up when a movie ends up being filmed in their town. An up and coming star shows up for the lead role and falls in love with Sophie. The novel follows them in their new love and all the trials the meeting of their two worlds create.

While initially the story doesn’t seem completely unique, it didn’t play out the way I expected. I expected the story to be about the process of Billy and Sophie falling in love, but instead it’s more of the after. I liked that this was different from a lot of other stories that have had similar plots.

I enjoyed Sophie a lot and liked that she seemed like a normal person with normal problems. She isn’t perfect but it doesn’t seem unbelievable that a movie star would fall in love with her. I will admit that the relationship does come with a bit of insta-love which can be annoying, but their relationship ends up being really sweet. I wish there had been a bit more of playout with the beginning of the relationship as it seems to become very intense very quickly.

I think my favorite character was Sophie’s friend and tea shop owner Molly. She seems so sweet and fun and I wish that she had been in the story a little bit more. I liked that she supported Sophie but that she also told it like it is.

While this story is pretty predictable, the writing definitely puts it a few steps above those similar stories. It is an easy, quick, read and very enjoyable. I know that there is a follow up to this story and I can’t wait to read it to find out what happens with Billy and Sophie. I am so glad that Fletcher’s books are now available in the states and I can’t wait to read the rest of them. I would recommend this to any chick lit lovers or someone looking for a fun, light book.

 
 
Hey Everyone!

I know I've been a bit MIA on the blog lately and while it's mostly due to being busy for the holidays (traveling out of state for family and other things) it's also partly just been a bit of a funk with the blog. Last summer I felt a bit of staleness with my blog and I intended on doing a redesign. But then I was busy with work and an amazing trip to the UK and it never happened, so I think a bit of that carried on. I definitely feel the need to spice things up on here and I hope you readers aren't bored with me!

I know that my beauty and haul posts have been lacking and that is pure laziness. I sit here knowing I should take pictures and write about things I bought but instead this is what I pretty much end up doing.
And while there's nothing wrong with taking time to chill in bed and watch TV, I do feel like I've been letting it impact my content. I've stayed consistent with my book reviews but the beauty and hauls are so rare. So if those are what you keep waiting for and I've disappointed you, I apologize.

I've also started the year in a bit of a reading slump. It's not that I've read bad books or that I don't have a desire to read, but I just can't figure out what I want to read. Like every time I'm looking for a book to read I'm like 'hmmm I don't know if this genre fits what I'm feeling right now." So that's been hard. Since starting this blog I've read a lot of YA and contemporary fiction. While I love those, I do feel a bit like I want to read something drastically different but I can't figure out what that is yet. If you have any suggestions, please leave them below!

That's pretty much what's been going on over here. I don't even have any exciting reasons as to why I've been a slacker. Just your typical blogger slump. I'm hoping that this year I will get back into it a bit more!

Hope you all had a Happy Holidays!
 
 
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By: J.P Delaney
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 320

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.

Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

                                                                    First Impressions

I received an email for this book and when I read the summary I was instantly drawn in! I was a bit apprehensive because every book I’ve read that’s been compared to Gone Girl is always a letdown, but this one sounded interesting regardless. I feel a bit iffy about the cover, but I probably would have picked it up from a table to see what it was about. It definitely isn’t a buy based on the cover type of book for me though.

                                                               What I thought

This was one of the better thriller/mysteries that I’ve read in a while! I couldn’t put it down and was intrigued from beginning to end.

The Girl Before revolves around the house at One Folgate Street. The house was built by a Edward, a minimalist architect. Not only is the house pretty much bare but for the essentials, but there are over 200 rules that one must follow in order to live there. In addition to that, there is an intense screening process of first filling out a questionnaire, and then if you make it past that moment, completing an in person interview. Emma and her boyfriend Simon are chosen as residents and then three years later, Jane is chosen. The book alternates between Then: Emma and Now: Jane. Both Emma and Jane have ended up at One Folgate Street trying to recover from a tragedy. Emma was recently the victim of a break in and Jane gave birth to a stillborn child.

The way that the story moves between then and now is pretty flawless in my opinion. I love the way that the stories parallel each other and overlap. The house is also a highly technological house which reminded me a bit of Smart House from the Disney channel. It is meant to learn about you as you live there and learn your preferences for light and temperature and even adjust based on your moods.

Edward, the architect is a bit of an odd duck. Not only does he require all of these rules for someone to live inhis house, but the reason he created the house like this was because his wife and son died while making the original property for this spot. When they died, he completely changed the plans for the house and built One Folgate Street. He’s also a bit creepily involved with the residents that live in the house.

In Emma’s story, she is dealing with anxiety from the break-in as well as her current relationship with Simon and how to deal with that after the break-in. In Jane’s story, she is dealing with the grief of a stillborn and leaving her job because of that grief. It’s interesting the both of the main women are dealing with past tragedies and showing how the house and style of living helps them compensate.

As for the mystery aspect of the book, without giving too much away, Edward and the house itself are super creepy. The whole situation is just a bit odd and I personally would never live in a house like that. Not only am I someone who finds comfort in clutter, but just knowing that someone else was dictating how I live would bother me. Anyway, the mystery is interesting as I read this book in a day because I wanted to know what happened/if I was right. While it didn’t surprise me completely, there were aspects of it that threw me and that I didn’t expect. I guess I would say, it was a decent mystery and an interesting story.

I really enjoyed this book and it is definitely a story that I haven’t read before. The mystery isn’t completely shocking, but the psychological thriller side of it was fascinating. There were a lot of pieces to this book that I greatly enjoyed, but the ending disappointed me a little bit. I would say if you like psychological thrillers that you should check this book out! It has already been signed for a movie deal and I will definitely go see it! I wouldn’t re-read it because I think the not knowing with these types of books is what makes them fun to read.

 

26 Kisses

01/13/2017

1 Comment

 
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By: Anna Michels
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Kasie West meets Morgan Matson in this hilarious and heartwarming debut about a girl’s summer mission to get over her ex-boyfriend by kissing her way through the alphabet.

Getting dumped by her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. So she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, to move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet.

From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the break-up doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.
               
                                                First impressions


I first saw the cover for this in a Debut Author’s Challenge feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Obviously, the cover caught my eye and the summary did too. It seemed like a really cute story, exactly the kind of book I would pick up. It also reminded me a bit of The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart that I read in high school. It definitely felt like it was going to have that kind of vibe which appealed to me.

                                                                    What I thought

What a cute book! I wish I could have read this in the summer as it is exactly the kind of summer read I enjoy, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

Veda is in the summer before her senior year. Her boyfriend of 3 years just graduated from high school and broke up with her because he didn’t want to have a high school girlfriend in college. Veda has only ever been with Mark and is having a difficult time moving on. Her friend Mel comes up with what she thinks is the perfect idea to help Veda move on. She challenges Veda to kiss 26 guys in alphabetical order by the end of summer. She tells Veda this is because she shouldn’t be jumping from one relationship into another, but about having fun and moving on.

I liked the idea of the 26 kisses challenge. She doesn’t have to kiss everyone on the lips, and family members and male dogs do count! I didn’t initially expect for it to have to be in alphabetical order but it definitely made it fun. Maybe because I’m a YA reader I didn’t think of it as being slutty, but that judgement did come up. It’s funny because I really didn’t think that kissing multiple boys in a summer would label someone a slut. If she had been sleeping with them yet, but just making out? It could also be because I’m older, so I know people who would make out with multiple people in a single weekend in college.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like Veda’s friends at all. Her best friends are Seth, who lives across the street with her and has been in love with her since he was 10 and Mel, who moved to Michigan from New York in middle school and immediately became her friend. I found Seth to be overly moody and not really there in any way shape or form as a friend and I found Mel to be extremely selfish. The entire time I felt like Mel was having Veda complete this challenge more for herself than for Veda. She was very pushy and never seemed to be listening to what Veda wanted.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the setting! I immediately connected to it because it is set in Northern Michigan, in what I imagine what is supposed to be Traverse City. I used to vacation up in that area and then I lived in Michigan during college, so I related to this setting perfectly. Michigan summers are magical and Michaels expressed that perfectly in this book.

I also want to comment on the fact that typically I review books like these by saying they were predictable but in a good way but that is not the case with this one. It took me by surprise! I thought it was going to go one direction but ended up going in a bit of a different direction. And I loved it! I liked that what could have been a predictable YA formula was turned a bit on its head. It didn’t immediately fall into the typical tropes and it was so refreshing. I definitely look forward to more books by Michaels!

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This is the perfect summer read. I think it is a YA that if you are younger you will appreciate it a little bit more, but that’s not to say you won’t enjoy it as an adult. If you like fun summer romances and books that have a challenge or goal, I recommend this book. It also is not your typical summer YA formula which is refreshing. I wouldn’t re-read or purchase this one, but Michels is definitely a strong debut author and I look forward to what she writes in the future!

That Artsy Reader Girl
 
 
This month’s book club book was picked by Stephanie and was London Belongs to Me. I think our book club could call ourselves a group of Anglophiles as we all love England, their royal family, and their history. I was excited when Stephanie picked this book because I had been wanting to read it for a while!

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By: Jacquelyn Middleton
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Kirkwall Books
Pages: 394

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads):
Your flight is now boarding! Join Alex Sinclair for a life-changing, trans-Atlantic journey. London Belongs to Me is a coming-of-age story about friendship, following your dreams, and learning when to let go … and when to hang on.

Meet Alex, a recent college graduate from Tallahassee, Florida in love with London, pop culture, and comic cons. It’s not easy being twenty-one-years-old, and Alex has never been the most popular girl. She’s an outsider, a geeky fangirl … with dreams of becoming a playwright in a city she’s loved from afar, but never visited. Fleeing America after a devastating betrayal, she believes London is where she’ll be understood, where she belongs. But Alex’s past of panic attacks and broken relationships is hard to escape. When her demons team up with a jealous rival determined to destroy her new British life, Alex begins to question everything: her life-long dream, her new friends, and whether London is where she truly belongs.

                                                                    What I thought

After heartbreak and college graduation, Alex decides to move to London to try to be a playwright. She was actually born in England and her father currently lives in Manchester. When she first moves to London, she moves into her friend Henry’s flat for cheap rent. However, the flat is also occupied by his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s brother. This story follows Alex as she tries to find herself and find success in a new country.

I definitely wanted to like this book so much more than I did and I worry that this review might come off more negative than I mean for it to. So I will start by saying, I enjoyed this book and read it quickly. At no point did I feel like I wanted to put it down but was only finishing it because of book club. Now that I’ve made that clear, I did have issues with this book.

Alex is not a likeable main character. She is immature and whiney and frankly annoyed me. Now, I am in my late 20s and Alex is only 21, so maybe I’ve just already lost touch with what it’s like to be a young 20-something and insecure? Either way, I never found that I could really root for Alex because she didn’t know how to root for herself. She had so much that was given to her and she never did anything with it. She is such a weak person and I definitely could not have stood to be friends with her.

In addition to not enjoying Alex, I found the writing to be average and predictable. There were some writing choices that grated on me as I read them and they took me out of the story. For example, Alex is blonde and Henry’s girlfriend is brunette. These are things that only need to be stated once. However, when doing something or saying something, they are often introduced as “the blonde” or “the brunette.” And in totally random places! I don’t need my main character to be referred to in such an abstract way. As for the predictability, it is glaringly obvious that Henry’s girlfriend is going to cause a problem for Alex and find a way to kick her out of the apartment. It is frustrating because it is such a petty character that feels so 90’s rom-com to me. There are also other aspects of Alex’s story, such as past and present romances and the trajectory of her playwriting career, that I figured out within the first few chapters of the book.

Now, I will say that I greatly enjoyed Alex’s friends and that the writing about the setting and the sitting of London was done well. I always enjoyed seeing Alex with her friends because they brought some life, maturity, and dimension to the story (not including Henry who is such an undeveloped character that even though he is her lifeline when she moves to London he is barely mentioned). I also thought that the writing about the actual city of London was done beautifully. It is obvious that this city holds a special place in Middleton’s heart.

                                                                         What Book Club Thought
Book club pretty much had the same issues I listed above. One of the things we agreed on is that it seemed like there were a lot of things going on and just not enough time to dedicate to everything. If Middleton had eliminated a few of the story lines and really focused on a smaller amount, it could've been a lot stronger. We also discussed that a lot of the solutions to the problems seemed to perfect and fell into her lap or came out of nowhere. For example, when looking for an idea for a new play, all of a sudden she has a grandmother who used to be an actress but gave up acting to have her son/Alex's dad. This is a piece of information that Alex has never heard before this exact moment when she needs it. We agreed that while yes, things like this happen in real life, it's rare. For Alex, it's pretty much every solution to every problem.

This was a fun book to read for book club because it wasn't perfect. The story was fun and enjoyable, but there were a lot of core issues. If you need a book club book, I would recommend this book.



 
 
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Traveling Light
By: Lynne Branard
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Pages: 320


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.

Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Driving from North Carolina to New Mexico with her three-legged dog, a strange man's ashes, and a waitress named Blossom riding shotgun isn't exactly what Alissa Wells ever wanted to be doing. But it's exactly what she needs...

It all starts when Alissa impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart's remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life.

She isn't wrong.

Especially when Blossom, who just graduated from high school, hitches a ride with her to Texas, and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa's eyes to the road in front of her and to how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming.

                                                                    First Impressions

I was drawn in immediately by the summary. It sounded exactly like a book that I would read. I also really love the cover and if I had seen it somewhere I would’ve picked it up. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up in December/January, but over the summer it would’ve been in my beach bag instantly.

                                                                    What I thought

This book was so cute!

Alissa Wells (AKA Al) has discovered a box of ashes in a storage unit that she bought. She finds out that they belong to a man who was cremated in New Mexico and decides she’s going to drive from North Carolina to return them to the man’s family and find out how they ended up so far away from his home. Along the way she meets some interesting characters and, of course, discovers a bit about herself.

Al works at the small town local newspaper that her father owns. While she enjoys doing it, she has fallen into this life as a sort of duty and not of passion. While traveling, she meets a teenage waitress who ends up becoming her travel companion. Blossom, the waitress, is actually one of my favorite characters. She feels like one of those waitresses that would be an old lady who has seen the word and can give you all of the advice, but she’s trapped in a teenager’s body.

For a road trip/life discovery book this was a lot lighter than I expected it to be and I really appreciated that. Sometimes books like these can get a bit heavy and this one seemed relatively realistic to me. There weren’t unnecessary road blocks so that the main character could learn about his/herself. Al is a relatively easy going character and because she goes with the flow, it leads to interesting opportunities.

There is a little bit of romance in this book but it’s not a main point. It’s definitely a strand in the story and it plays a part in her self-discovery, but it isn’t as though she finds herself by finding the right man. Considering how many novels have the main character not able to find out who she truly is until she finds her true love, it was refreshing to see a character find herself first.   

This book would also make a wonderful book club book. It’s an easy read but because it deals with life, it has some really good discussion points. There are a lot of fun characters and each one has an individual personality. Like I mentioned, it’s not a heavy book so you could easily count it as a beach read but there is still substance to it which is what made it so enjoyable.


I loved Al and Blossom and that’s really what made the book for me. Al’s journey is unique to ones that I have read and while not completely unpredictable, it doesn’t always play out in the way you expected it to. I would definitely read this book again, if only to choose it as a book club book so I can discuss it with my friends! If you like road trip novels, books about learning who you are, or female centered fiction in general, you would definitely enjoy this book!

 
 
Play! By Sephora is a monthly subscription box by Sephora. It costs $10 a month and you received 5 beauty and skincare samples plus a perfume sample each month. Previously, you needed to put yourself onto a wait-list and wait to receive an email before you could subscribe, as they were rolling it out to limited quantities.

In addition to the products, Sephora includes a booklet that includes information about the product, the brand, and then tips of how to use the products. Also at the back of the book is a Play! PASS. This Pass gives you a complimentary one-on-one session with a Sephora artist as well as an extra 50 Beauty Insider points when you scan the pass at the register with any purchase. If you have the Sephora app, you can also scan the images of the products to learn more about them.

Previously, everyone received the same exact box. Lately it seems like they offer two or more varieties based on the preferences that you select for your profile. This month’s theme is (fittingly) The Partygoers.

As a heads up, the boxes are a little bit larger and will not fit into a small apartment sized mailbox. For reference, a Birchbox box is able to fit almost perfectly into my mailbox, but this one has no chance. Therefore, I’ve had to go to the post office both months to pick up my box.

This month the products I received were as follows:

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (Full-size $30)
Bobbi Brown is a great brand and I was excited to see this in my box. I haven’t purchased a mascara in a long time because of samples that I’ve received, so I always welcome new ones. This mascara claims to deliver both volume and length. The brush doesn’t look revolutionary, but I’m sure this will be a great standard mascara.

Make Up Forever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Smoothing Primer (Full-size $37)
I’m not a primer girl, so I don’t know how much use I’ll get out of this product, but I’m always up for trying it. Especially around the holidays when I’m out and about and need my makeup to last. The interesting thing about this primer is that it comes in different shades to address specific problems. I believe the color that I got is to make a natural finish. I think it’s interesting that there are different colors to address different skin tones and skin issues. I’m curious to see how this works with makeup!

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red (Full-size $14)
Sephora has given a few of their lip products in previous boxes and I have enjoyed them. I haven’t had a chance to try their stain and a blue based red will be perfect for the holidays! Stains are always great because with all of the eating and drinking regular lipstick comes off way too easily. Only bummer is that the sample is so tiny. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a lip sample this small!

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (Full-Size $31)
I actually own the full size of this spray and love using it in the summer. It helps to keep my makeup from sliding too much when I’m sweaty. The mist is nice and light and there’s no odd scent. It really does help to make my makeup set and I enjoy the product. It’ll be nice to have a travel size for when I go on trips and it will last me a long time.

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo (Full-size $23)

Dry shampoos are meant to remove oils and odors from your hair on days when you just can’t wash your hair. They are also often used to add some volume and texture to hair for styling. However, it’s been tricky for me to find a way to work dry shampoo with my hair. I don’t wear my hair down often and with my curls I definitely don’t need extra volume. I will probably pass this one on as I do with most dry shampoos.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon (Full-Size $85)

http://www.sephora.com/nirvana-bourbon-P410640?keyword=ELIZABETH%20AND%20JAMES%20Nirvana%20Bourbon%20P410640&skuId=1849942&_requestid=175929

As a young girl, I was obsessed with Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen. As they’ve aged, I have always had an interest in their fragrances and clothing lines. I was honestly a bit disappointed in their Black and White fragrances as I wasn’t really drawn to either of them. When I did get a sample of the black (which I preferred over the white) my husband didn’t like it at all. I’m excited to try this new fragrance! Bourbon has notes of vanilla bourbon, oakwood, and tuberose. It’s a spicier scent which I tend to enjoy in the cold winter months. I have a bit of a cold so I can’t give an honest opinion of the scent, but I’m looking forward to trying it and seeing what my husband thinks.

This box is a bit of a miss for me. One of the first misses that I feel like Sephora has had. While I’m thankful for the mascara and the red lip color, I do own a lot of mascaras and red lips. This box consists of things I own or things I don’t really have a desire to try so it’s a bit of a meh for me. But luckily I have people who will enjoy a lot of these products so I will pass them on!

 
 
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By: Elin Hilderbrand
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 256

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.

Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Some of the stormy weather of the past few seasons seems to have finally lifted for the Quinns. After a year apart, and an ill-fated affair with the Winter Street Inn's old Santa Claus, Mitzi has returned to rule the roost; Patrick is about to be released from prison; Kevin has a successful new business and is finally ready to tie the knot with Isabelle; and best of all, there's hopeful news about Bart, who has been captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan.

That doesn't mean there aren't a few dark clouds on the horizon. Kelley has recently survived a health scare; Jennifer can't quite shake her addiction to the drugs she used as a crutch while Patrick was in jail; and Ava still can't decide between the two lovers that she's been juggling with limited success. However, if there's one holiday that brings the Quinn family together to give thanks for the good times, it's Christmas. And this year promises to be a celebration unlike any other as the Quinns prepare to host Kevin and Isabelle's wedding at the inn. But as the special day approaches, a historic once-in-a-century blizzard bears down on Nantucket, threatening to keep the Quinns away from the place--and the people--they love most. Before the snow clears, the Quinns will have to survive enough upheavals to send anyone running for the spiked eggnog, in this touching novel that proves that when the holidays roll around, you can always go home again.

                                                                         First Impressions

When I first say Winter Street 2 years ago, I had no idea that it was going to be a trilogy. I was so excited when I saw it was time for the third and final installment. I think it’s my second favorite cover of the trilogy and I would easily pick it up off the shelf based on the cover alone.

                                                                          What I thought

This was a really nice conclusion to the series. I feel like I have lived with this family for years and it was a unique experience to feel their joy with them. If you haven’t read the other novels, there might be spoilers ahead.

Unlike the previous two stories, Winter Storms follows the Quinn family from Spring-Christmas Day. It was a bit different to see the families outside of Christmas but I enjoyed it. It allowed for me to get to the know each family member a little bit more. Ava is working through deciding who she wants to be a relationship with, Kevin is enjoying his new baby with Isabelle, Patrick is getting out of jail, and Margaret is planning her wedding with Drake.

I think part of what makes this story so enjoyable is how realistic the family drama is. While it’s definitely not full of events that I have personally experienced, the craziness isn’t unbelievable. The story was a bit short for my tastes and I felt like everything moved a little quick. I would’ve enjoyed more time with Ava and Jennifer and Patrick. Patrick gets out of jail in this novel and it seems a bit too easy and unfinished after the lead up. His wasn’t the only story that felt that way either. The conclusion of Bart’s story line seemed so rushed considering it felt like all three books were bringing us to this event.

This was also the least Christmas centered story. while I enjoyed seeing the Quinn family outside of Christmas time, I think I expected a little bit more based on the previous novels. It’s still a book to read to get you in the Christmas spirit, but the other ones had more of a Christmas theme.


If you like family stories with realistic drama, then you will love this series. All three books are solid and they are fun to read near the holidays. While the conclusion seems a bit rushed, it is still wonderfully done. I think I’d re-read it in a few years if I decide to re-read the whole series.

 
 
This month Logan chose Lauren Graham’s autobiography Talking As Fast As I Can. Since our whole book club is fans of Gilmore Girls and A Year In The Life came out in November, she felt like it was perfect timing to read the book too!

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By: Lauren Graham
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages:224

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Summary (Provided by Barnes & Noble): In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.





                                                                                    What I thought

This book was pretty much everything that I wanted it to be!

Lauren Graham is best known for her role of Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls and as Sarah Braverman on Parenthood. This past year, Gilmore Girls was revived in the way of a 4 part Netflix mini-series. At the same time, Lauren was writing her autobiography.

Lauren discusses a little bit of her childhood, the beginning of her career, and then a decent amount of Gilmore Girls. The final portion of the book is from a diary that she kept during filming for the revival of Gilmore. Lauren’s writing is just as funny and light as you  would expect it to be. There were definitely moments where I could almost hear Lauren speaking as Lorelai. The only thing that threw me a little bit (and not necessarily in a bad way) was that there were a few chapters that were a bit random and not tied to any time period of her life. It reminded me of chapters from Mindy Kaling’s autobiography and other comedian’s that have written where not every chapter is a part of their lives but some are lists or other funny “bits”. Like I said, it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t necessarily expect that from Graham.

If you are a fan of Lauren Graham, you obviously need to read this book. It’s short and quick and fun from beginning to end. I wouldn’t call it a “tell all” but she gives a lot of fun peeks into her life.

                                                                         What Book Club Thought
We all agreed that this book is enjoyable if you are a fan of Gilmore Girls or Lauren Graham. It is no tell-all, but has some interesting pieces of information. It wasn't a great book for discussion as there weren't a lot of earth shattering moments, but it allowed us to transition into talking about the newest Gilmore Girls episodes which was part of the reason we read the book anyway.

Next Book Club Book: London Belongs to Me By: Jacquelyn Middleton


 
 
Picture
By: Jay Asher
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 256

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

                                                        First Impressions


A few years ago I read Jay Asher’s novel 13 Reasons Why and absolutely loved it. When I found out he was coming out with another book I was super excited. Even if I hadn’t read his other novel, how beautiful is this cover?? It immediately puts me into the Christmas spirit and all I want to do is read it in front of a fireplace while it’s snowing outside.

                                                                               What I thought

Sierra’s family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Every year, starting the day before Thanksgiving, she and her parents drive down to California where they have a lot to sell their trees. For an entire month, their family lives in this town and sells their trees as they have done for almost 30 years. This year may be their last year and it is also the first year that Sierra meets a boy who catches her eye. However, Caleb carries a lot of baggage and Sierra is worried about falling in love before she has to return to Oregon.

What Light is a very cute Christmas story that is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Sierra and Caleb are not my favorite characters, but their story is cute and short which is just what I need in a holiday love story

Sierra lives in California for a month during the holiday season and has done so since she was a year old. She has formed a little bit of a life there with one best friend. Every year, she enjoys working on the tree lot with her family and spending time with her friend, but other than that she doesn’t do much. Her dad, as a former baseball player, has always hired boys from the high school baseball team to work on the lot. However, they have always been very off limits. Sierra and her dad have never wanted her to fall in love during that month, like her mom and dad did, because they knew heartbreak would be waiting when she had to leave for another year.

While I understand the teenage thought process, I felt her dad was a bit overkill. Considering the tree lot is where he met his wife, it seemed a bit unbelievable that he would be so vehemently against Sierra meeting someone. It also got to be a bit annoying hearing Sierra with the same thought process. I felt like every other line was “but I will leave in a month! And maybe never come back!”

Caleb is an interesting character and I can’t decide how I feel about him. While I want to believe, like Sierra, that he made a mistake and is a different person, something about him seems a bit off. I feel like her relationship with him, while adorable and fun, really did only start to scratch the surface. He does some very sweet and good things, but I would definitely read an entire book on him just because I feel like there is a lot more to him that I need to know.

Overall, the story is a cute, predictable love story that is centered around the holidays. I loved the holiday aspects and the fact that there was a set timeline on how long Sierra was in California. My one issue with the book, and maybe this is because I’m not in my late (eek!) 20s, is that all of the characters were so whiny. Not only were Sierra and Caleb moody and whiny and refusing to enjoy what they had while they had it, but her friends were super complainers as well.


This book is cute and easy to read. If you want an easy Christmas story to read during the holiday season, I would recommend it. It’s not a book that I will read again or purchase, which is why I didn’t rate it higher. I finished it in a day and enjoyed every minute, so don’t let the maybe not so rave review deter you from this book.