Review: All I Want for Christmas

Title: All I Want for Christmas
Author: Wendy Loggia
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Underlined
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This sweet and magical romance about a girl who has just one wish–someone to kiss under the mistletoe–is the perfect holiday escape!

Bailey Briggs is counting down the days to Christmas: she lives for holiday music, baking cookies, going on snowy sleigh rides, and wearing her light-up reindeer ears to work at Winslow’s bookstore. But all she really wants this year is the one thing she doesn’t have: someone special to kiss under the mistletoe. And she’s 100 percent certain that that someone isn’t Jacob Marley–athlete, player, and of questionable taste in girlfriends–and that Charlie, the mysterious stranger with the British accent, is the romantic lead of her dreams. Is she right? This will be a December to remember, filled with real-life Christmas magic . . . and, if she stays on Santa’s nice list, a wish that just might come true.

Review:

All that Bailey Briggs wants for Christmas is a kiss under the mistletoe. Christmas is her favourite holiday, so she goes all out with baking, decorating, and shopping. One night, she meets Jacob, a boy from school, while she’s working at a bookstore. He doesn’t seem like her type but they start hanging out. Then she meets Charlie, a hot British guy, who seems to be exactly what she’s looking for. Jacob makes an effort to spend time with Bailey, but she thinks she’s meant to be with Charlie. Bailey has to figure out which guy will fulfill her Christmas wish.

This is a fun holiday romance. Bailey and her family love the holidays, so they have lots of Christmas traditions. There were some classic Christmas scenes, such as cookie decorating, going to a tree farm, and lots of shopping.

Even though Charlie seemed like the man of Bailey’s dreams, I found him creepy at first. He appeared just when Bailey needed help many times. Everything made sense in the end, though. It turned out to be a clever holiday story, even if it was a little cheesy at the end.

This is a great holiday story to put you in the Christmas spirit.

What to read next:

New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Have you read All I Want for Christmas? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Apocalyptic Books

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Apocalyptic Books. Here’s my list:

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

3. Legend by Marie Lu

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

5. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

(All book covers from Goodreads)

If you’d like to do this list too, consider yourself tagged!

Did you make a Top 5 Saturday list?

Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 5, 2009 (first published April 1986)
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“How about making a bargain with me?” said the demon. “I’ll break your spell if you agree to break this contract I’m under.”

In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help – the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.

But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls…

Review:

Sophie Hatter’s family runs a hat shop. When her father dies, her stepmother makes plans for Sophie and her sisters. Her sisters are sent away to apprenticeships, but Sophie is kept at home to run the hat store. One day, Sophie encounters the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her which makes Sophie look like an old woman. Sophie runs away from home so her family doesn’t see what happens to her. She goes to the castle that moves around town and belongs to the wizard named Howl. Sophie makes a deal with a captured demon in Howl’s castle to release him from his curse if he can release her from hers.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this story, and I really wanted to love it, but I just didn’t like it. I found the story complicated and confusing with lots of similar characters. One thing that I noticed from the beginning was that I wished the story was about Sophie’s sisters instead. They seemed to have an interesting story to tell. When they were sent away to their apprenticeships, they made a spell to switch places. I kept hoping more of their story would be told, but they only made brief appearances in the story.

Unfortunately, this story didn’t work for me.

What to read next:

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Have you read Howl’s Moving Castle? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – December 4

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

“The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Check out my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses here.

Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? What did you think of it?

Review: Juliet Takes a Breath

Title: Juliet Takes a Breath
Author: Gabby Rivera, Celia Moscote (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL ADAPTATION OF THE BESTSELLING BOOK! Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But don’t worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that’ll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she’s going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane – her favorite feminist author, someone’s who’s the last work on feminism, self-love and lots of of ther things that will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There’s just one problem – Harlowe’s white, not from the Bronx and doesn’t have the answers. Okay, maybe that’s more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan… Critically-acclaimed writer Gabby Rivera adapts her bestselling novel alongside artist Celia Moscote in an unforgettable queer coming-of-age story exploring race, idenrity and what it means to be true to your amazing self. even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.

Review:

Juliet Palante leaves her home in the Bronx to do an internship in Portland. Her idol, the feminist author Harlowe Brisbane, has invited her to go work with her for the summer. Just before she leaves, Juliet comes out to her family, which they don’t take very well. Juliet can embrace her queer identity in Portland, but she has to learn that Harlowe isn’t the perfect idol that she expected.

This is a graphic novel adaptation of the novel Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. I haven’t read the novel, but I loved this graphic novel. It is a beautiful queer coming of age story.

Juliet is discovering her own feelings and trying to find answers to all of her questions. Since Harlowe’s book explained feminist ideas to her in a new way, she thought that Harlowe was the best person to continue teaching her about feminism. However, Harlowe has flaws that her friends know, and Juliet has to learn the hard way.

I loved the art in this graphic novel. Most of the characters were curvy. Juliet felt self conscious about her body, but she learned to be comfortable with showing it off. There was great body positivity theme in this story that went along with Juliet discovering her sexuality.

This is a great graphic novel!

Thank you BOOM! Box for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Have you read Juliet Takes a Breath? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – December 3

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: A Princess by Christmas (A Royal Wedding #3)

Title: A Princess by Christmas (A Royal Wedding #3)
Author: Julia London
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

She’s discovered his secret.

Now the trouble really begins…

After three years of mourning—and turning her dear deceased husband’s gazette into the ton‘s sauciest source of fashion and gossip—Hollis Honeycutt feels her life has been strangely bereft of late… Her sister is living abroad, and her best friend moved to the country. What must a young widow of rank and reputation do? Why, transform her society gossip sheets into serious investigative news, starting with a rumored coup…and the rather dashing, mysterious gentleman whom Hollis suspects might be the villain of her first real story, and she is the only one who can write it.

Marek Brendan is investigating terrible rumors of treachery and treason that threaten his home country of Wesloria, but he must proceed with caution. No one can discover the truth. After all, who would ever believe he is Wesloria’s lost crown prince? Only Hollis Honeycutt’s cerulean-blue eyes seem to know more than she’s letting on—and worse, Marek can’t seem to resist her curious charms. But even as betrayal threatens a nation and a throne, nothing is quite so dangerous as the lovely young widow who’s determined to find the truth…and a prince of her own.

Review:

Hollis is adjusting to her new life without her sister and best friend, who are now happily married. She is the editor of a women’s magazine that she inherited from her deceased husband. When the King of Westloria visits England, Hollis discovers a possible coup. At an event with Queen Victoria, Hollis meets Marek, a mysterious stranger who has traveled from Westloria with the King. Marek is investigating his own suspicions of treason in the kingdom. Hollis and Marek are drawn together to investigate the rumors of a coup within the kingdoms.

This story is the third in the series, but I didn’t feel lost without reading the first two. I could tell by the way that Hollis’s sister and friend were settled into their marriages, that they were probably the focus of the first two books. The characters were introduced enough that I understood what was happening, and didn’t need to read the first two books first.

I didn’t find the romance in this story believable. Hollis and Marek were strangers who were suspicious of each other, since they both were searching for answers to the rumors they’d heard. Then all of a sudden, after spending some time together, they were in love. There wasn’t a build up to a romance that I would have expected in this kind of story. There also wasn’t the Christmas theme I was expecting. The story ended at Christmas, but I thought there would have been more of a Christmas theme throughout the story, since it had “Christmas” in the name.

This story was a little disappointing, because it wasn’t the holiday romance I was expecting.

Thank you HQN Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Catch a Wicked Viscount by Amy Rose Bennett

Other books in the series:

  • The Princess Plan
  • A Royal Kiss and Tell

Have you read A Princess by Christmas? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – December 2

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite. The expected publication date is January 5, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Hate U Give meets Get Out in this honest and powerful exploration of prejudice in the stunning novel from sister-writer duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?

When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash and Lily #1)

Title: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash and Lily #1)
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. 

What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Co-written by Rachel Cohn (GINGERBREAD) and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES is a love story that will have readers scouring bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Review:

Lily, a sixteen-year-old girl in New York City, left a notebook with dares written inside it in The Strand bookstore. She was hoping that the right guy for her would find the notebook and complete the dares. Dash finds the notebook and starts the scavenger hunt around the bookstore to complete the dares. Then he sends the notebook back to her with his own dares inside. The notebook sends Dash and Lily around New York City over Christmas and eventually leads them to each other.

This story is a fun holiday book. Dash and Lily were brought together by chance, because Dash happened to find Lily’s notebook where it was hidden. As they progressed through the dares, it became obvious that they had a lot in common. They even almost crossed paths a few times before they actually met.

A bookstore romance is the dream for book lovers! This hunt around New York City would be so much fun, but I wouldn’t do some of the dares they had to do, which included going into crowded stores on Christmas Eve and going to a night club on Christmas night.

I loved how this was a romantic story, yet the characters didn’t even met in person for most of the story. There was a clear romance developing between Dash and Lily through their dares, but they were only communicating through the notebook. This made it even more special and unique, since they fell for each other without actually being physically together.

This was a fun story! I’m excited to watch the new Netflix adaptation.

What to read next:

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins (editor)

Other books in the series:

  • The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
  • Mind the Gap, Dash and Lily

Have you read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Want to Read Again

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a Freebie. Here’s my list:

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

4. Followers by Raziel Reid

5. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

6. Jo and Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz

7. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

8. American Royals by Katharine McGee

9. Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

10. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

(All covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?