What Light by Jay Asher

9781595145512_8d3be

What Light will be published on October 18, 2016 by Razorbill (a Penguin imprint).

Though meant for the young adult audience, adults would really enjoy this story as well. With respect to many YA books, the language and romance are very tame. What Light was like a breath of fresh air, compared to some of the YA books that I have read which are full of sex scenes and unsavory language.

This is a perfect book to get into the Holiday season and spirit of giving. For Sierra, Christmas tree farming has been in her family for generations and it is her life. She looks forward to the Holiday season each year, when she temporarily moves from Oregon to California to set up a Christmas tree lot there. Having done so since she was 5, Sierra has developed a set of best friends and neighbors in each of her homes. This Holiday season, however, is going to be bittersweet because it may be Sierra’s last winter spent in California. Her family doesn’t know how much longer they can afford to keep the tree lot open in California during the Holiday season. As with all the years prior, Sierra spends her days working at the Christmas tree lot and her free time with her best friend, Heather.

Though determined not to, Sierra ends up meeting and falling for a guy. Right away, Sierra can tell that Caleb is unlike any of the guys she has known in the past. Sierra has heard rumors about his past and she wonders about the truth. How can a guy who uses his own hard earned money to purchase Christmas trees for others be as bad as the rumors suggest? As Sierra gets closer to Caleb, despite her father’s protests, the Holiday season is also drawing to an end. Once Sierra discovers the truth about Caleb, will she be able to move forward and help him find forgiveness?  Along with the themes of first love and friendship, this novel also has a large focus on family relationships. Sierra’s relationship with her parents will change a bit this Holiday season as well.

I truly loved this book, and I couldn’t put it down. It really put me into the spirit for the upcoming Holiday season. Jay Asher has a knack for creating real characters; characters we can see in those around us on a daily basis. I highly recommend this book!

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Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s been much too long since I have been immersed in the Quinn family, with all of their romantic drama and hilarious situations. I truly enjoyed this book, but the only problem is that it ended far too soon and with many cliffhangers to boot!

Winter Stroll is the second installment in the Winter Street series, and I do hope Elin Hilderbrand doesn’t leave us hanging without many more books to come. Readers cannot help but fall in love with the characters, despite each of their faults or mistakes. Winter Stroll is an annual weekend in Nantucket in which the street is closed and visitors and residents shop and gather together to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. It also happens to be the weekend of the newest Quinn family member’s baptism, which is cause for a Quinn family celebration.

This winter season finds Kelley alone after his second wife, Mitzi left him last winter for the annual Winter Street Inn Santa Claus, George, after a 12 year affair. Kevin, his French girlfriend Isabelle, and their newborn, Genevieve, also live at the Inn with Kelley, where Kevin and Isabelle manage most of the day-to-day affairs. Kelley’s daughter, Ava, an elementary music teacher, also holds residence at the Inn, and she is still dating Scott, the school’s assistant principal. The oldest sibling, Patrick, is serving his time in jail after being charged with insider trading, while his wife Jennifer and three young sons try to keep the home fires burning until he is released in the summer. Jennifer, always the good girl and pleasing everyone, has developed a bad habit of her own as she struggles to deal with the stress. Kelley and Mitzi’s son, Bart, a Marine, is still missing after being captured in Afghanistan last Christmas.

The Quinn family, though quite dysfunctional, is loving and resilient. One of the things I love most about them is that they do not hold long grudges, but embrace the current, former, and future family members with love and acceptance.

On the weekend of the annual Winter Stroll in Nantucket, quite a few individuals from the Quinn family’s past happen to be in town and cause quite a stir.  There’s Nathaniel, Ava’s former heart-throb boyfriend, Norah, Kevin’s estranged ex-wife, and Mitzi, who is having an awful time worrying about her only son Bart, and missing Kelley as well.

And to top off the fun, Kelley’s first wife and mother to Patrick, Kevin, and Ava, Margaret, a famed Today show anchor is spending the weekend at the Winter Street Inn with her family, and her new boyfriend, a well-to-do surgeon who has never really minded being without a family until meeting Margaret.

As with Winter Street, Winter Stroll has plunged me into the holiday spirit longing for cozy nights beside the Christmas tree with its twinkling lights. The story is pure enjoyment, with lighthearted moments, love triangles galore, jealousy, rekindled romances, forgiveness, longing, and perhaps most important of all, hope for the future. A beautiful story through and through.

The 13th Gift – by Joanne Huist Smith


The 13th Gift is a true story of one family’s difficult Holiday season after the untimely and sudden death of their husband/father. The story is interesting, as it includes a bit of mystery which builds as Christmas day approaches. The book had me laughing out loud as well as crying at times. This is a wonderful story for those who love Holiday novels, but also for anyone who has lost a loved one and had a hard time going through the Holiday season without their loved one present. The author writes exactly how she and her children are feeling in the wake of the loss of their husband/father. The Christmas “miracle” the family experiences is really quite moving and humbling. The greatest message is that anyone can be giving and any day can be like Christmas. What a great book!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.