Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements
Paperback, 320 pages

Published 25th October 2013 by Quercus

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, books-i-own, chick-lit, christmas-books, mum-has, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel's lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Laurie is living in London and dedicated to her career, keeping track of her friends on Facebook. Rachel is seemingly living the family idyll in a cottage in Yorkshire - except she worries her marriage is starting to show cracks. When Rachel's mother in law falls ill and needs treatment in London, and Laurie decides she needs to get away for a break, a house swap falls into place. Soon Rachel is braving the mean streets of London while trying to keep her family together, while Laurie tries to figure out how to work an Aga and befriend the locals - and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home in time for Christmas?


After reading Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream this year, when I found out that the author, Abby Clements, had written a Christmas-themed book, I put it straight on my must-read list for this year's festive season. I bought the book a few months ago, but as soon as the calendar announced that it was December, I couldn't resist picking it up and reading it! This story leads up to Christmas day and certainly has the right amount of Christmas spirit! 

I really enjoyed the build up of the holiday excitement that this book created and the festive atmosphere that it conjured - it is a really good book to get you into the Christmas mood. This book doesn't drown you in Christmas though, so I think that it would be a fantastic read at any time of the year. 

Abby Clements has such a lovely way of writing. Her writing is simple, fluid and so easy to read, it's a page turner and very easy to lose track of time when you're reading. However, despite the simplicity, the book is not missing anything, nothing feels inadequate - there is just the right amount of substance and enough detail to make the characters seem authentic and the settings realistic. There are surprisingly quite a few different issues with different characters in this book, but it really is well balanced and well paced so that there is no risk of becoming bored. Another positive in to this book was that it was refreshingly unpredictable - there were a couple of twists to the story that I really was not expecting!

I can honestly say that I liked all of the characters in this novel. Laurie and Rachel were our main characters and two very different people, lifestyle wise, but it was obvious to see why they made such a great pair of friends. Though they have different personalities, it was very easy to warm to them both and I felt like I was making new friends alongside the other characters in the book. It wasn't just Laurie and Rachel that impressed me though, all of the supporting characters were as equally well formed as our protagonists. Clements managed to create a surprisingly fun, older rural Yorkshire community and a very colourful and warm spirited community in urban London. The chemistry of the characters was interesting to watch and read about. I liked seeing the different characters help each other with their own individual thoughts and skills. 

One of the issues that the characters faced was Milly, Rachel's teenage daughter, who became interested in a guy she met in their village pub. I thought Clements handled the subject amazingly well, in such a realistic way, despite the complications. I particularly enjoyed reading about Rachel's family relationships, seeing how they all pulled together throughout a difficult time. 

Overall this book has confirmed what I already thought, Abby Clements is a very talented writer and her stories are just so easy to devour - I can't believe that this book was actually her debut novel, as she writes just as well, if not better, than many chick-lit authors with many years experience. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this author and check out whatever else she has to offer, it would only be a bonus if she wrote something else that was so festive! A top read for the winter months.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (78)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


This week I received one book for review, which I am extremely excited about - it's called Mother, Mother and it sounds like it has the potential to be incredible! I'm sure it'll be one of my first reviews of 2013. I also snapped up a copy of Keeper of the Light which was only £1 (for a brand new copy) on Amazon this week.

Hope you're having a great December so far!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

From the Review Pile (81)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Wrapped Up In You!
This book was released some time ago yet I still haven't gotten around to reading it, despite my festive indulgence! I think that I bought this book last year. I plan to read the latest book by this author soon, so I'm hoping that I like her writing!

Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 27th October 2011 by Sphere

A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right ...but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide and fully fledged Maasai Warrior Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him? Packed with unforgettable characters, romance and laughter, Wrapped Up In You is your very own perfect Christmas Carole!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Make My Wish Come True


Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper
Paperback, 384 pages

Published 1st November 2013 by Mills & Boon

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, awful-cover, books-i-own, chick-lit, christmas-books, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Family-orientated and Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire Juliet is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show.

Bright and vivacious Gemma was always the favourite daughter…So she has no qualms about leaving Christmas in her sister Juliet’s capable hands; and escaping the pressures of her glamorous job, and the festive madness by jetting off to somewhere warm. 

When Gemma shirks responsibility once too many and announces she’s off to the Caribbean (again!); Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solution - to swap Christmases: she’ll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break.

In the midst of all the chaos, there’s Will, Juliet’s dishy neighbour who’s far too nice to float Gemma’s boat and may secretly harbour feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door, who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind. 

Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas
swap to remember?


I love books that set a traditional winter scene, something to get me in that festive mood, featuring snowy weather, warming up by the fire. So naturally, as soon as  I heard about Make My Wish Come True, a new book based around two sisters and their rather different Christmases, I had to pick it up. I loved the sound of the stay at home, traditional English country Christmas, though I can't say I was keen on the thought of a Caribbean Christmas. However, I picked the book up and was excited to start reading. 

This story focuses on two sisters - Juliet and Gemma. Juliet and Gemma are quite different characters, mainly reflected in the very different lives at they lead. Juliet is a single mother, highly organised but always running flat out doing everything she can for her children and community. Gemma is an actress, not often staying in one place and not one who takes on many responsibilities. Juliet is planning a big traditional Christmas, cooking a big meal for all invited. When Gemma tells her sister that she will be flying out to the Caribbean for the big day, a quick and somewhat crazy decision is made - for Juliet to take the break she needs by going alone to the Caribbean, whilst Juliet takes over the big festivity that was planned at home.

My Christmas book wishes were more than fulfilled with the experience of Gemma's quite dysfunctional English Christmas. With this Christmas I got everything I asked for for, from the little mentions of the decorations to the children's excitement and squabbles. Harper did fantastically well creating a real sense of festive spirit. Her half of the story really showed the spirit of the community around her as they all pulled together to make the day a good one.

Although I personally find the thought of a Caribbean Christmas awful, thankfully it was certainly not bad to read about. Harper was able to switch me from the a chilly cottage in England to the sweltering beaches in just a turn of the page. I thought it may be a bit difficult getting into two different main settings but it was surprisingly easy and it was actually really enjoyable to see the difference between the two and makes the festivity a little less 'full on' for those who just like general chick-lit. Of course, it also allowed for character reflection and for more, different character relationships.

I came to really like both Juliet and Gemma as the book progressed. From the beginning, I found Juliet nice enough and she had a real sense of realism - she is the character that I think that most will prefer at the beginning of reading. I didn't particularly like Gemma at the beginning of the book (though I didn't particularly dislike her, either) mainly because I didn't really get much of a sense of who she was. I most certainly warmed to Gemma throughout the book, as did other characters, by seeing her in a different light. The author did a really good job of helping us to understand how and why the sisters didn't fully understand or appreciate each other.

As with most chick-lit books, there were of course love interests for our two protagonists. I was completely caught up in the atmosphere with Gemma and Will, they worked surprisingly well together, though I admit I would haven't have been best pleased if I was Juliet. Juliet's relationship with the charismatic Marco was so fantastically written - though I was cautious, I was sucked in and I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach towards the end - but that's what good writing does! For me, it was the family relationship that really made this book what it was - seeing the family and friends come together definitely shone through the pages.

Make My Wish Come True is definitely on my recommended reads list, for anyone who is a fan of well written chick-lit. Whether you'd like a traditional country christmas or one in the sun, this book shows you what Christmas really is about, without losing any of the fun!



Sunday, 8 December 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (77)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received two books in the post this week. The first is a book that sounds very dark and different, which is why I am so excited about it - it is called Gretel and the Dark. Another book which I received and is set for release next year is Summer at the Lake - it may be quite the opposite to Summer right now, but I'm looking forward to the change, nonetheless. 

I hope you've had a lovely week!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

From the Review Pile (80)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Sleigh Bells in the Snow!
This book has already been released and I was actually sent it a couple of weeks ago for review, but as I have had such good experiences with Sarah Morgan's festive books in the past, I'm sort of trying to save this as my ultimate festive book indulgence, so I plan to read it around Christmas week... if I can wait that long!

Sleigh Bells in the Snow (O'Neil Brothers #1) by Sarah Morgan
Paperback, 384 pages

Published 29th October 2013 by Mills & Boon



Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year. 

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus. 

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Christmas at the Crescent


Christmas at the Crescent by Veronica Henry
E-Book, 83 pages

Published 7th November 2013 by Hachette

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, chick-lit, christmas-books, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, short-stories
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Behind the gorgeous Georgian sweep of Pelham Crescent, Bath, everyone's getting ready for Christmas...

At Number 14, Josie Ballard is up to her ears in brandy, raisins and cherries as she battles to make forty Christmas puddings to sell at Bath Christmas Market. Ever since Giles walked out the day their baby was born, Josie has had to work twice as hard to make ends meet. Sacrificing a career as a chef, her famous steamed puddings keep her and her gorgeous baby boy Titus afloat. Almost. So when, in the middle of Stir Up Sunday, a new neighbour in the Crescent complains about the noise that Titus is making, Josie gives him a basinful...

Giles, meanwhile, is finding life in the fast-lane with his uber-glamorous new girlfriend Rebecca rather draining. With one party blurring into another, he's now wondering if he hasn't made a terrible mistake in abandoning Josie and his child. Isn't it time he grew up, his mother asks, and Giles is starting to agree. So when he discovers Josie has a handsome new neighbour, Giles decides it's time to step up to his parental duties...

Christmas just got complicated.



I am not one that usually reads eBooks, but even I couldn't resist a copy of a Christmas read! As you will all know by now, I love seasonal reading and thought that a short story would be a great way to slowly ease myself into the festive spirit! Christmas at the Crescent was a great choice as, though it would be nice to read any time of year, it had just the right amount of festivity.

Christmas at the Crescent is the first book I've read by Veronica Henry and I'm sure it won't be the last. For the most part, I enjoyed the writing and I think that she managed to create some solid characters and a vivid setting very well in such a short story. The pace was leisurely and pleasantly constant meaning that the story held my attention throughout. Although it was very easy to read and understand, at some points I felt as though some of the words that were used were a little grandiloquent and unneeded, losing the fluidity of the writing.

The story introduces to a flat in Pelham Crescent, home to Josie, a single mother devoted to her child, Titus, and baking. Josie is still slightly struggling with coming to terms with living alone since her ex-partner (Giles) left her on their child's birthday to live with the more outgoing and charismatic Rebecca. During this 'noella', we get to explore Josie's relationship with herself, her child, Giles and the man that has been living in the flat above her, Harry the script writer. I really enjoyed reading about all of the characters and exploring the chemistry between them.

Our protagonist, Josie, was a pleasure to get to know. Josie is one of those characters that is simply lovely, she seemed so authentic and I loved her down to earth personality. She is definitely a character that's both easy to sympathise with and to relate to. I wholeheartedly wished her well and was hoping the best for her.

I also had a real soft spot for Harry. I found him to be really interesting - I would have loved to have been able to read more about him and get some proper closure from his character at the end. On the other hand, I realise that this slight mystery is what made him an attractive character and this was a short story, so maybe I'm just being a bit greedy!

Overall, Christmas at the Crescent was the perfect start to my 2013 festive reading. This book is heartwarming, fun and atmospheric. If you're a fan of festive fiction or haven't tried any at all, this would be the perfect introduction. Though I'm sure that this read would be enjoyable all year round, it had that fantastic festive edge and is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit if you read it this December!


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (76)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


 I received three lovely books for review this week! I was particularly excited to receive another two Christmas themed books, Calling Mrs Christmas and Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop, and as it's December, watch this space for a lot of festive book reviews! I also received a very intriguing story which I can't wait to delve into at the end of this month, The Twins.

I hope you've had a great week!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

From the Review Pile (79)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Allegiant!
I have to admit, I'm pretty nervous about starting to read this book! After only a brief scan through other reviews, it looks as though it's left quite a big impression on readers, both positive and negative, dividing opinions. I absolutely loved Insurgent, so I'm hoping that I like this one just as much when I can get around to reading it!

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Hardback, 449 pages

Published 22nd October 2013 by Harper Collins


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

By My Side


By My Side by Alice Peterson
Paperback, 376 pages

Published 18th July 2013 by Quercus

Shelves: 
arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, chick-lit, lasting-impression, medical-conditions, mum-has, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

One step can change everything… 

Cass Brooks loves her job, her boyfriend Sean, her life. Until, leaving home one morning, distracted and hungover, she steps into the path of a truck. 


When she wakes up, she can’t walk. And suddenly all her hopes and dreams, the plans she’d made with Sean, the future she thought she’d have, seem out of her reach. 


But then fate intervenes again. Cass meets Ticket, a loyal golden Labrador who refuses to leave her side. And on a flight to Colorado, she sits next to Charlie, who believes he can show her a life full of possibilities, if only she’ll let him. 

Cass wants her life back the way it was. Charlie knows this cannot be. Yet a future beckons all the same...


When I was sent this book for review, I have to be honest and say that I wasn't sure what to expect. Though I thought the blurb was certainly intriguing, I also had my reservations. My main issue was that there's an animal involved in the story - I am an animal lover and I tend to steer away from anything that could possibly involve animals getting hurt or lost or anything like that, as I find it hard to read about. The book did, however, seem to imply that the dog was a real symbol of positivity and hope, and so I did decide to give the book a go. Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about and I soon started to enjoy the book. 

Though I've read quite a few books in the chick-lit and women's fiction categories, I am still discovering what I like and what I don't like as these genres are so huge. I like quite a bit of depth and detail in the novels I read, and I realise that some books that are marketed as chick-lit lack a certain amount of substance. This book is certainly not one of those books - this is a book that really made me sit back and think about a lot of important things. Despite its pretty cover, there's a really hard-hitting and emotional story in this book. This story is a love story, but it's certainly one hell of a journey too, introducing us to many difficult situations, (physical and emotional) and it certainly taught me something along the way.

There is an abundance of well thought-out, structured and individual people in this book and I especially loved our protagonist, Cass. Cass is a young woman, who has her life turned upside down after having an accident which confines her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. As well as that, her boyfriend decides to leave her as she lies in hospital. I can only imagine how Cass felt, but Peterson did a fantastic job of portraying it. I am so glad that Peterson didn't sugarcoat the issue in any way. Cass realistically found adjusting to her new life difficult and I admire how she handled it. It was interesting to see everything that changed for Cass and it really did show how much people take for granted. This book really was eye opening and I would hope that it will be for many others. The way that Peterson once again very realistically helped her face and overcome hurdles was truly inspiring.

Relationships, especially friendships were vital to Cass during her recovery and I really loved reading about the people that she met and befriended after her accident. Cass made two fantastic friends at hospital and then when she became involved with an organisation who helped disabled people find canine partners who can help them with everyday living, she met a lot of new friends there. Whilst on a trip away with an organisation for those with spinal injuries, Cass met Charlie.  I didn't  actually know anything about these sort of organisations, so it was interesting and very heartwarming to hear about how they worked. I particularly loved reading about Cass and her relationship with her working dog, Ticket, as it was so fantastic to see their bond together and to see how much Ticket improved Cass's life. It was also very interesting to see how it all worked. 

As I mentioned, amongst other things and mixed up relationships, this story is a love story. I have to say that I was kept up late at night reading this book, turning page after page and quite frankly, getting so annoyed with the characters! The author did a fantastic job of creating tension between Cass and Charlie, I don't think I've ever wanted to grab two characters, put them together and shout 'kiss already!' to both of them! The couple of characters are so genuine and they just worked together so well. I actually liked that they had had issues to resolve though as once again, it gave a sense of authenticity to their story.

Another character that I feel as though I have to mention as he had a huge impact upon me was Guy. I will not reveal anything about him in this review, because his story is something that has a real impact when you read it, but once again, Peterson hit us with some harsh reality.

Overall, after the first quarter of the book, I was absolutely gripped, it was a certain page turner. By My Side really opened my eyes to the life of those who have spinal injury and definitely taught me a lot about the issues that those who are confined to a wheelchair every day. More than that though, it taught me to not take anything for advantage and it also inspired me and gave me a real sense of hope. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone and I certainly commend Peterson on her writing.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (75)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received one book for review this week and it's a book that I'm very, very excited about! As you may know, I love Christmas themed books and I enjoyed Bailey's last festive book, so I am hoping that this one, Just For Christmas, will be just as good. I can't wait to get stuck into it! 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

From The Review Pile (78)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase The Cuckoo's Calling!
Although this book was released quite a while ago, I still haven't picked it up, even with the huge hype around it. After being  - if I'm honest - slightly disappointed with The Casual Vacancy, I'm hoping that this is more impressive.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Hardback, 449 pages

Published 18th April 2013 by Sphere


After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle
Paperback, 368 pages


Published 5th September 2013 by Penguin UK
(First published October 1st 2008)

My shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, christmas-books, read-in-2011, realistic-fiction, really-good, short-stories, young-adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads
An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle - bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.




This was just what I wanted and just what I expected from these three talented young-adult authors. I have read a few of Green's books, one of Johnson's and not yet read anything from Myracle, but with the hype surrounding all three of them, I had high expectations and it's safe to say that they were met! This book is separated into three relatively short stories, but they all entwine. It's hard to tell that the stories are written by seperate authors as the style, quality and humour is constant from beginning to end.


The Jubilee Express is the first story in this book, written by Maureen Johnson. I've read Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and really enjoyed it, but this was something quite different. Her writing was still very fun and humourous, but it also felt like it was more mature. This was probably my favourite of the three stories in the book. Even though it wasn't exactly the most realistic story you could find, it was extremely enjoyable. Jubilee was a really individual, quirky character that I grew to really like in a short space of time and I loved what became of her and Stuart. Johnson does an incredible job of setting the scene of a very snowy Gracetown and left me wanting more.


John Green's A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle was next which introduced us to more characters as well as continuing to develop characters that were in the previous story. I thought that this was definitely the funniest of the three tales and it had the most action. The romance that was established between Tobin and the Duke was my favourite as it just felt so natural between the characters - Green really managed to connect the characters together and ensure us that they were well bonded friends. The characters aren't perfect, but this just made them even more loveable.


Lauren Myracle's The Patron Saint of Pigs was probably the least strong of these stories, but this doesn't mean that it was bad, in fact it was enjoyable, with yet more development of previously mentioned characters. I didn't manage to connect with Addie as much as I did with the protagonists of the previous stories as I didn't really like her - she didn't have the same charming quality as the others. The main issue for me was the ending of this one as it seemed as though she was trying forcibly to get all of the mentioned characters (which was quite a few!) to intermingle. However, it was nice to see everything, and everyone, come together by the end of the book.


Overall, this was a lighthearted read that really managed to put me into the festive mood. The time period of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, alongside the snow covered setting of Gracetown was perfect for this time of year. I could've easily devoured this book in one sitting. The stories were charming, the romances slightly predictable but extremely enthralling, and most of all, they were fun. This is definitely something that I'd recommend and I can't wait to read more from these authors!


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