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Books – December 2023

Coming in with some more book reviews! I was fully into all the Christmas books! But I do have some that aren’t if that isn’t your thing. I have a few more ARC copies of Christmas books that I didn’t get to last month. I am trying to decide if I am going to get to them soon or not. Most that I read this year were disappointing in that they weren’t super Christmasy at all. So we shall see. Here we go!

Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

I absolutely loved the way that the little area of NYC was written in this book. It seemed whimsical and dreamy and all the neighbors were so nice and friendly. And I have to call BS on that, because I don’t know anywhere in NYC that you can park Spammy and plug up somewhere and have all these connections for showers, food, etc. But in the spirit of Christmas I am going with it. It felt magical. I can always count on Mary Kay Andrews to bring a solid read.

Bottom Line: Read it

**I received a copy of Bright Lights, Big Christmas from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Winter in New York by Josie Silver

Oh this book! I loved it so much. I loved how the story went back and forth between the present and Iris’s mother’s past with Santos to allow us to understand what started this whole chain of events with the Belotti secret recipe. I loved all the characters in this book, the families, the tradition. Watching Iris and Gio meet and their relationship grow, it was all timed so well. My only gripe is with Iris’s lies. Why did there have to be so many? You know exactly how it is all going to come crashing down on her. But I still enjoyed the ride anyways. One of my favorite holiday reads this year for sure! Warning, you are going to want some gelato while reading this one!

Bottom Line: Read it.

One Margarita by Kerry Evelyn

I enjoyed the small town setting of this read. I liked the atmosphere of the two family restaurants and the history between our main characters. However, I felt like there were way too many side characters to keep up with!!! I think some were merged from another series from the author, which is great if you have read all her books. But I have to admit, even if I had, I doubt I still would have been able to keep them all straight. Which lead me to skimming some of the conversation between them all, because it was just a bit much. Also. While I can appreciate that it is a clean romance, all the kissing talk was a little immature for characters who are almost 30 years old. Their whole relationship track was weird in general and reminded me more of a high school relationship. I would have just preferred fade to dark scenes than talk of kissing someone silly or senseless or whatever terms were used. Over and over again. Pass. Both characters have their own issues, one with OCD and one with ADHD…so it was interesting to see their personalities come together.

Bottom Line: This wasn’t super Christmas-y to me, and the cheesiness of the kisses and immaturity of our characters left me wanting something different. It passed the time fine, but I was ready to move on to something else.

I received a copy of One Margarita from BookSiren in exchange for my review. All opinions are my I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

I am trying to decide how I want to rate this book. I like Mary Beth Keane’s writing, but I felt like this story moved a little to slow for me. And honestly, when I look over the book as a whole, there is not a whole lot going on. I enjoyed it while reading, but it did take me awhile to get through. I liked Malcom as a character, but also was mad at him a little bit, because he is selfish. And Jess, I never really connected to her at all in the story, and so I didn’t relate to anything she did. I found her selfish as well, especially when others become involved. (I will leave it there as to not to spoil, but if you read, you will know what I mean.) And then without giving away the ending I will just say that I felt neither character really grew or changed in the end. I did enjoy the side characters and the town.

Bottom Line: I could take this or leave it.

The Grumps Guide to Chaos by Valerie Pepper

Valerie Pepper became one of my favorite new authors of 2023. I read four of her books and I have enjoyed them all so much! If you are looking for spicy, witty romance…this is your girl.

Ok, and now that I have gushed about the author, let’s talk about the third, oldest, grumpiest Joseph brother…Will! Oh, Will. There were times I wanted to slap both of these characters who are so set in their ways and focused on their pasts. But that makes a good read, right? You want to be passionate about them and their choices. I liked that both characters were in their late 30s, it made it more relatable to me. Getting to build on all the characters we know and love from the first two books, and getting to know what happened with Will and the mom connects the dots with all the brothers. I love to read some family drama. And Tori had some of her own as well. Her story was fascinating with changing her career, coming home and trying something new. That was badass! I love how she just fit right in with the group of ladies we have all come to love. And I am going to miss this little Talladega town. Please, Valerie, keep writing small Alabama town romance! I may never look at Noccalula Falls the same after reading this book either. IYKYK.

We have second chance, lots and lots of steam, he falls first, firefighter/baker/innkeeper, forced proximity, one night to get it out of system, anxiety disorder, small town romance, so much. So good.

Bottom Line: Read it!

**I received an advanced copy of The Grump’s Guide to Chaos from the author in exchange for a voluntary review. **

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