December 5, 2016

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Twenty-Four

Once again I am several book reviews behind. So! Since I know that this month is bound to get crazy and finding time to get full reviews written for these stories will probably be get mini reviews instead! Besides, I want y'all to try these books, so the sooner I write about them, the sooner you realize you need to read them. Right?? ;)

Starring Christmas by Allison Pittman & Rachel McMillan
Are you a Christmas movie addict like I am? I'm talking about the cheesy and romantic hallmark channel sort. If so, then I can pretty much guarantee you'll love these two short stories, because they both read like swoony and fun Christmas movies! I know both of these authors are fans, and it so clearly shines through. I loved every reference, especially to a few favorites of mine. Best of all though? Even as things happen pretty rapidly in the romance department, the characters are so lovable and believable as they fall in love that it doesn't really matter. The heroes are swoonworthy and gentlemanly, both heroines are hilarious and sweet, the chemistry is fabulous, and the storylines are loads of fun. Basically I just grinned my way through both stories and loved every single minute! (Even the cheesy and silly moments, because what Christmas movie doesn't have those? The cheesier the better, am I right? ;) A perfect read for Christmas time!

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
I've been a fan of Ms. Kinsella's adult fiction for some time now, so was intrigued when I heard she was writing a YA novel. Then when several blogging friends loved the story, I knew I had to try it. Cut to one night at B&N, I picked it up and read the first chapter or four, quickly realized I had to know what happened next but needed to leave for my evening plans, so I proceeded to read it while waiting in line, and once I got home later that night, devoured the rest of it in short order. Yes, it was that good! I loved the honesty of Audrey and how she dealt with her disorder. I loved how her family worried over her and cared for her, but never made her feel less than for going though it, nor do they ever baby her in any way (they're simply honest about their sadness and desire for her to get better). I even love how she doesn't magically get better by the final page! She struggles and even as she takes baby steps through her darkness, it's hard. She eventually arrives at a much better place, but hard work and the love that surrounds her is how she gets there. And Linus? Oh my heart, I loved he and Audrey's tentative steps toward each other. I loved how he made every effort to let her set the tone and speed of their relationship. Plus he's just adorable! As you can see, I loved so much of this book. It's a wonderful and authentic look at one girl's anxiety disorder and how she and those around her work through it. Beautifully written!

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
Oh friends, y'all know how I gushed over Ms. Lloyd's first book, A Snicker of Magic, so you can imagine my excitement over anticipating this one! It did not disappoint. At all! :) I absolutely loved meeting Emma and Granny Blue and everyone in Blackbird Hollow. There is simply a poignancy and sweetness that infuses this story. Watching as Emma works through her emotions and searches to find her joy again spoke to my heart so truly, because that's what I've been doing this year since losing my own mother. It's not an easy road, to come back to happy after losing someone you love, and it affects everyone around you almost as much as it does you. I loved how this little town of quirky and awesome characters drew together through Emma's journey. She has so much to learn and so much to teach her friends. Every single character is wonderful! (Well, except for a couple. But they don't deserve to be named.) As I expected, Ms. Lloyd's writing is exceptional, which is only enhanced by the narrator's southern twang from the audiobook. I loved listening to this delightful story as much as I loved my actual reread after! Highly recommend if you enjoy magical adventures with gloriously quirky and lovable characters. :)

Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
I really enjoyed Ms. Gier's Ruby Red trilogy, so have been definitely looking forward to this new series! And what a great start. It's a pretty easy and quick read, nothing really extraordinary happens, but that doesn't mean there isn't lots of fun to be had! The plot went in a few unexpected ways, which kept me on my toes wondering what was coming next. Plus the romantic bits made me swoon a little, and I laughed several times while reading! So while much of the plot could be considered slightly predictable, there is enough cute and sweet moments, plus some fun bantering between the main two characters, that I truly enjoyed my reading experience. And I'm looking forward to seeing where book two will take us! One of the things I especially liked about it is the fact that enough storylines get resolved by the end that, while there is a bit of a cliffhanger, it didn't get me upset. While I'm waiting for book three to get published, I feel satisfied enough with where book one took me that I can wait a little closer to that publication date to finally read book two.

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson
Why it took me so long to finally read this book I have no idea. Because I loved it! I already knew I want to visit Prince Edward Island (thanks to Anne of Green Gables naturally :), but after finishing this delightful story my desire to visit has quadrupled! I absolutely loved the setting and Ms. Johnson describes every detail so beautifully (her love of the island shines through very clear) that so many times it felt like I was actually there, feeling the wind on my face. But it's not just the setting, it's the characters. I instantly loved Marie. I don't know what it was about her precisely, but I sensed a kindred spirit. She has been through so much before the story begins and having the privilege of watching her grow stronger and work through her turmoil is an honor. Her journey isn't easy, but neither is Seth's, and together they stretch each other and help the other learn to move forward into happy and joy. Their romance was definitely a highlight of the story for me! The chemistry between them speaks for itself. :) I currently have book two quietly waiting while I savor the last bits of this one and am finally ready to dive into Caden's story. Because one of the big pluses of this series? Is the fact that they can all be read as stand-alones! I love that. (Also Caden's story promises to make me hungry for baked goods. As did this one, so be warned. ;) Read this one, friends! It's worth it, trust me.


  1. I'm still so glad you liked Finding Audrey. I'll have to check these others out.

    1. Jenny: Me too! I'm so glad y'all convinced me to try it. :)

  2. Hooray for Finding Audrey!! Our book club read that recently, and I really liked it. I agree that it was good to see Audrey not magically get better. People deal with mental illness their whole lives.

    I'm usually not into cheesy Christmas movies, but I've been watching one almost every day. I don't know what it is, but I just feel like watching bad cheesy Christmas movies. Some of them aren't too bad, and I'm just eating it up. I'm trying to get my hubby to watch some with me, but he is reluctant.

    1. Kami: Your review was one of the ones to convince me to try this one! And yes, exactly. People DO deal with mental illness all their life, I thought the way Kinsella handled it here was very well done.

      I love it! Wonder what it is about them this year that got you so addicted. I'm pathetically addicted to them myself. It's ridiculous, but it happens every single year! :)

  3. I'm so glad you loved Finding Audrey. I knew you had from Goodreads, but I still love seeing how much you loved it! :D

    1. Jenni: And I still love that y'all convinced me to try it! You and Kami and Jenny and Suey. It's not every book that you all agree on, so I knew this one must be special. And it is! :)


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