2018 Christmas Reads

Hello Readers! Hope you are still enjoying the holiday season as we patiently await New Year’s day. Here’s a little post about what I read this year before Christmas and what my thoughts were.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Authors: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Genre: YA Romance, Contemporary
Read if: you want a teenage NYC romance with personality.

Overall: 3/5 stars. So Wholesome!

Goodreads Synopsis: “I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Non-Spoiler Review: The biggest note I took while reading was how much I loved the plot. Now, I understand that this is not the most creative, out of this world, revolutionary plot. But I thought it was very original and I loved how it let the reader explore NYC with the characters and go on these adventurous dares! Which, as someone who has lived in the city for almost four years, this book does an excellent job of illustrating the hidden gems of the city.

The second thing I loved about this was the emphasis they placed on vocabulary. This is a book comprised of fictional letters from kids who are studying for the SAT for other kids who are studying for the SAT. I learned quite a few words while reading this novel including the verb “shanghai” which I had previously only known as a city.

Overall I thought it was a festive and wholesome read!

Spoiler Review: I just wanted to mention here how much I loved that the characters were just teenagers, and like teenagers they made mistakes. The characters were really well written and I felt their frustrations in the manifestation of Shrilly and the very imperfect first impression. I also really loved the relationships with all the side characters. Each one was so uniquely tied to the protagonist and they each had something to contribute.

One Day in December

Author: Josie Silver
Genre: Romance

Overall: I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. Sadly, a DNF.

Goodreads Synopsis: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness. 

Non-Spoiler Review: There are a few things that I really liked about this book. First, the writing style was great! The prose was easy to fall into and atmospheric. The only thing that was convincing me to keep going was how easy it was to read and how vivid the scenes were. Second, was the friendship between Sarah and Laurie. I loved reading about the ins-and-outs of their friendship and getting all the backstory to their inside jokes.

There were, however, a few things I didn’t like about this novel. First, is the amount of alcohol. Now, I understand that this book is formatted in a way that we only see several days out of the whole year. However, every chapter followed the same format where we were introduced to the setting, then the characters grabbed a drink, then the action started.

The second, and perhaps biggest thing I disliked about the novel, was Jack. Jack is not a very likable character. This is perhaps meant to make him more realistic and less of a prince charming, which I understand completely. But I think this particular character was a little too much. He was cowardly, jealous, egotistic and overall not the guy I’m rooting for.

The last thing that bothered me wasn’t exactly a dealbreaker, and I guess it should even be expected of most romance novels, but it definitely left a sour taste in my mouth. And that is how gendered everything was. Everything all the way from the girly girls and the manly men down to the drinks. Where the women drank creative cocktails and the men liked whiskey and beer.

I was looking for a cute Christmas romance and I some drinks and about ten years of drama. Nothing against people who love the drama of romance, but I am just not one of them. So as hard as I tried, I just had to put this book down.

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