Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Too Soon For Holiday Reading?

I love a good holiday romance, whether that be YA or of the Adult variety. However, I'm not much of a fluff girl (sorry Hallmark Holiday Viewers, that's a bit too much cheese for me!). I still yearn for substance in my reading, even if the theme is set around the holidays time. I've recently read two, one YA and the other Adult Romance, that I felt really hit all the right notes for me. Below are mini reviews of each and links to add them to your TBR for this holiday season!

Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle
To be published: January 2, 2018
About the book: Combining the emotional deftness of Sarah Dessen with the magical spark of New York City in wintertime, this affecting novel will inspire readers to pay closer attention to the world around them.

What does it really mean to be kind . . . and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing in the world to do? High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City during the holiday season. Racked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets.

Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?

Jennifer Castle’s latest novel is a romantic, thought-provoking tale of human connection and how we find—and make—our place in the world. [goodreads]
This young adult novel is written by one of my favorite YA writers, Jennifer Castle -- who I feel deserves way more attention! Each of her stories pull at my heart strings, while delivering a very fulfilled reading experience. This particular story is set in New York City, just after Christmas and before New Year's Eve. I love the time frame of the novel and how we're almost racing against the clock, alongside the characters, to accomplish their random acts of kindness before the year is up.

Kendall and Max are both equally developed characters, with rich voices, demanding to be heard in their own unique way. They're both very different, yet their uncertain paths is the bond that unexpectedly ties them together. I was mesmerized by the city during the holiday season, but it was the true depth of the story that really sucked me in. It's the kind of novel you find yourself rooting for the characters, hoping they'll find their way to happiness, even if the path gets messy along the way.

An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
To be published: November 7, 2017
About the book: She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along. [goodreads]
Oh how I really, really enjoyed this one! Lauren Layne is slowly becoming a favorite adult romance writer. Each of her stories end up surprising me, even though they shouldn't, with how cleverly written they are. On the surface this story has all the fixings for a fluffy holiday romance, but once I started reading I soon discovered a highly emotional investment. 

Kelly is spending Christmas at home in her small town alone and she seems perfectly fine with that. Until a random stranger scares the you know what out of her by predicting she's already found her one true love & that they'll connect by Christmas. This sends Kelly on a hunt through her recent ex's list. As she marks each guy off, her best friend of ten years sits patiently (yet a bit brooding and irritatingly) by. You know where I'm going with this right? Yeah, the storyline is predictable, but I still had a lot of fun reading it.

The sexual tension in this novel was scorching! The friendly banter between Kelly and Mark was sweet, yet sexy. The odes to some of my favorite holiday movies such as Love Actually was a nice touch. But it was the emotional attachment I felt in the end that really took me by surprise. I hadn't realized just how invested I had become in Kelly's happiness. Her joyous spirit during the Holidays is infectious and you can't help but be rooting for her to find her happily ever after. Though it took her a little bit longer to recognize it, it was still a sweet surrender when she finally does.

Are you reading any Holiday novels yet? If so, tell me about them! 


  1. I love holiday novels, but like you, need more substance than fluff for sure. I'm really looking forward to TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT. Christmas + romance + NYC = the trifecta!

  2. I JUST added Together at Midnight to my TBR this morning! This story sounds so sweet and lovely. I have really enjoyed her books in the past, and I agree that she doesn't get as much attention as she deserves.

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