Review: Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

  
This book is EXACTLY WHY I put so much stock in endings. For example, I loved Outlander but hated the ending. In fact, the ending RUINED the whole book for me. 

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses, however, had such a lovely ending that it redeemed a book I almost gave 2 stars. That’s me being honest, not mean! 

Christmas Wishes started out slow, but I’m a sucker for a merry Christmas story, so I marched on. The middle was more interesting, but also contrived. I mean, how many “accidental” ways are we going to get Nick and Abbey in the same room? 

And then came the last third of the book. The third where I was so invested I could feel the scarf on Abbey’s neck, I could hear Nick’s mom’s crazy voice, I could see the excitement in Max’s eyes. I cried, people. Cried!!! 

So, ultimately, I’m glad I read Christmas Wishes. Hale wrote a wonderful hero in Nick, and gave him realistic charm. Abbey being a nurse / designer was a fresh take on the young-woman-figuring-out-life trope. Most importantly for me: a happily ever after in the best way possible. 

-calliope

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Review: Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

wonderland-9781501115189_hrJennifer Hillier is one messed up writer. And I mean that in the best possible way. I mean, how else can you explain the brilliance of Creep, Freak, and then the Butcher? And then along comes this one. And there are clowns. And scary dolls. All of the most important elements of one heck of a scary story.

Vanessa is forced to return to her hometown after a scandal nearly cost her a career. With the help of some much needed connections, she’s able to secure a job as Seaside’s chief of police. There’s some comfort in bringing her children home to the place where she grew up, a small touristy town that owes its existence to the omnipresent Wonderland. Everyone wants to be there, and everyone has been at one time or another.

But her less than happy homecoming is thwarted when she’s immediately thrown into the thick of things. A dead man has been found inside the amusement park, after hours no less. And he’s been dead for a very long time. Is this connected to the spate of missing teens that nobody wants to talk about? And what kind of secrets are lurking behind the gates of Wonderland, just under the smells of cotton candy and the cheerful sound of carnival music?

At the very surface, this is your basic scary-mystery-serial killer-slasher story. All the elements of the genre are there. But it goes much deeper than that, thanks to the brilliance of the author. She knows how to set the stage and how to build suspense from page one. This story is scary, and the fears are real. Grab it and settle in for a good read. With the lights turned down low. And then be prepared to sleep with the lights turned back on.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Wonderland

Review: Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

  

Even through her grief, Freya has to carry on selling mistletoe from the family farm. Sam and Stephen, owners of nearby Henderson farm, don’t make it easy on her, as they want to buy her property in the middle of the Christmas season! 

Davies writes a magical story, where Freya lets the wonder of the season speak to her through a mystery visitor. When Freya opens up her heart, she finds her happily ever after – and so does one of the Hendersons. 

I liked that this novella was a light read but had a deep message. Davies reminds us that we can find happiness and love despite grieving a loved one. Tis the season. 

-calliope

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