In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren: It’s hard not to love a combination as magical as Christmas and Christina Lauren so I found this book to be a treat. Mae, struggling in her current chapter of life, finds herself feeling terribly sad as she pulls away from the Utah cabin that her family and two other families have spent every Christmas in since she’s been born. Unhappy in her life and the fact that she may be driving away from her final cabin Christmas, she makes a simple mental plea: ‘show me what will make me happy.’ In the next instant, their car crashes and everything goes black. When Mae wakes up, she finds herself (strangely) on a plane en route to Utah for the Christmas she just celebrated at the cabin. In a strange time loop, she tries to unlock her true happiness while waking up on the plane again and again after striking out in different comical scenarios. Ultimately, she’s just trying to end up under the mistletoe with her true love. This book is full of holiday magic with whimsy to spare. 4/5
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: The best way I can describe this book is as a Forest Gump story of sorts. It begins in 1974 with eighth grader Kate who is just trying to fit in when the coolest girl EVER, Tully, moves in across the street. The rest of the story follows the ups and downs of their unlikely friendship-through the good, the bad, the college years, the jobs, the weddings, the kids…and ultimately, tragedy. It’s a powerful read woven with the truest fibers of friendship. It’ll make you want to schedule a girls night with your best friend, trust me on that. 3/5.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: What a fun read! This novel came highly recommended from several of you on the ‘gram and you didn’t disappoint! When Evelyn Hugo decides she’s finally ready to spill all of the secrets of her star studded movie career, she seeks journalist Monique Grant, of all people, for the job. Monique isn’t exactly what you’d call an award winning journalist (yet) and when she’s summoned by Evelyn Hugo she has nothing else going her way. Determined for THIS story to be the one to jumpstart her career, she dives in headfirst. Meeting Evelyn at her chic apartment, Monique leans into every single story that Evelyn shares starting with her fleeing to Los Angeles in the 1950s. Evelyn is transparent and charming and leaves no questions unanswered. Every movie role, husband (yes, all 7 of them), lover, friend, secret, and ambitious path traveled is divulged and Monique finds that the world doesn’t even know HALF the story. She also discovers that her and Evelyn’s worlds collide in an unexpected and tragic way. In the end, she (and the world) will know the true Evelyn Hugo…but will they love her after all? 5/5.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren: If you’re in the mood for a light, semi-predictable romance novel, this is a lovely selection. Twins Olive and Ami couldn’t be more different-everything seems to be going right for Ami and everything seems to be going wrong for Olive. However, the story begins with Olive performing her maid of honor duties on Ami’s perfect wedding day. The worst part of being maid of honor, though? Having to deal with her nemesis, the best man, Ethan. The tables turn during the reception and Ethan and Olive find themselves on a flight bound for Hawaii to enjoy Ami and her husband’s honeymoon (you’ll have to read to find out why) but perhaps, in the end, opposites attract. 3/5.
Running Wild by K.A. Tucker: You all know by now how obsessed I am with Jonah and Calla. I could hardly WAIT to crack this book open but ultimately, I was disappointed. This book, the final in the series, follows Marie, a character we met during the first book but the truth is, I’m not interested in Marie and therefore struggled to stay interested in this book. 2/5.
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams: THIS book. This BOOK. The reviews I read were really mixed so I’m going to be pretty honest. I LOVED it. I found it beautifully written, poetic even. The story paints the picture of how the dictionary was written-the manpower (and woman-power) behind the research and how words came to arrive in the dictionary we use today. While the book is fiction, the acknowledgements really opened my eyes to the lengths that Pip Williams went to to keep the story as accurate as possible. As a whole, it follows Esme and her life as young girl through the end of her life. Her father worked at the scriptorium, the place where they wrote the dictionary, and as a young girl she sat under the table and soaked it all in. The story continues as Esme grows older and continues her father’s dedication to the dictionary in her own way. While I thought the story was absolutely beautiful, it is NOT a page turner. I could only read bits and pieces at a time and at times, the story did drag on. It’s a rather melancholy storyline so if you enjoy quick reads with exciting plots, this is not the book for you. BUT if you’re a lover of words and of stories so close to nonfiction that you almost can’t tell the difference, you’ll love this one. 5/5.
The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan: Gosh-this was a really fun read! It was recommended by a friend and I over her a very special thank you for suggesting it! It’s a WWII novel and it’s a touching story of friendship, girl power, and the spirit of families in a time of war. I could mention each character and their role in the story but if I did, this petite review would go on for days so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet! After a fire ruins her flat in London, famous clothing designer Cressida ends up back in the county side in the small village where she grew up. In an effort to busy herself, she begins to attend The Sewing Circle meetings. With the extreme war shortages, the Sewing Circle is nothing more than a group of tight knit women who mend garments to keep the villagers outfitted. A member of the Sewing Circle is engaged and the group pitches in to help mend her mother’s wedding dress to make it fit for a beautiful white wedding. What happens next is so inspiring! You’ll just have to read this one to fully embrace the goodness. 5/5.