Review: What Light by Jay Asher

29093326What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings. (Thanks for the book trade!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.


I have to admit I hadn’t read any of Jay Asher’s previous novels prior to picking up What Light. I’m ashamed of that because I actually own Thirteen Reasons Why. It definitely won’t be sitting on my shelf much longer!

In What Light, Sierra and her family make their yearly voyage from Oregon to California to sell Christmas trees. While some teenagers might not want to leave high school and their friends behind for a month, Sierra looks forward to being reunited with her Christmas town and friends.

This year is different, though. Sierra meets Caleb. The cute and troubled boy has her rethinking her no holiday romances policy. The more Sierra gets to know Caleb, the more returning home to Oregon doesn’t sound as exciting as it has in the past.

I was immediately enchanted by Jay Asher’s writing. The way he puts words together is so simple, yet pretty. There was a lightness to the tone, even though there were some darker issues to parts of the story. We all have pasts we want to leave behind, and I loved the lessons this book shared relating to that topic. I was very impressed and flew through the book.

What Light‘s setting was really cool and unique. I was intrigued by the traveling Christmas tree farmer part of the story. Honestly, I’ve never thought much about Christmas tree farmers. There’s several in my area, but I have only seen the local aspect to their business.

I loved the main character, Sierra. She was pretty, smart, and mature. Sometimes I couldn’t believe how mature she was, but I felt like going back and forth between California and Oregon probably gave her a greater knowledge of the world than her peers. I loved that she wasn’t quick to judge others and set such a great example of how to treat others.

What really made me love What Light was the relationships between the characters. All the relationships revolved around the main character, Sierra. First, there was the close and open relationship she had with her parents. I loved how honest they were with each other about their feelings. Then, there was Sierra’s relationship with her different sets of friends. Their friendships weren’t without teenage drama, but way they stood by each other was really cool. Everyone should have friends like them. Finally, there was Sierra’s relationship with Caleb. That was my favorite one. There was just a teenage innocence and sweetness to it. Their influence on each other was really special. I won’t go as much into as I would like to because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but the way they fell in love made me so happy!

What Light was a sweet holiday story that will have you smiling. I’m so happy I got the chance to experience it. I would highly recommend reading it. It’s filled with warm and touching moments that are sure to inspire readers this season.

 

Review: A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

A Winter Wedding (Whiskey Creek #9) by Brenda Novak

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Mira

Synopsis:

Kyle Houseman has given up on love. He’s already married and divorced the wrong woman once. He also knows he’ll never find anyone that compares to his ex-girlfriend, Olivia. Kyle knows it’s his fault they didn’t end up together, but the fact that she married his step-brother is still raw. It makes family dinner tons of fun.

Country music sensation Lourdes Bennett came to Whiskey Creek to escape the spotlight and work on her new album. She was supposed to be spending the Christmas holiday squirreled away in Whiskey Creek with her fiance Derrick. Instead, she’s here alone dealing with the possibility that Derrick might not be as loyal to her as she thought.

When Lourdes can’t get her rental’s furnace to work, she calls her landlord, Kyle. As Lourdes and Kyle begin to get to know each other and become friends, they both notice a spark. But will Lourdes be willing to give up Nashville for a quieter kind of life in Whiskey Creek?


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Whiskey Creek is one of my favorite contemporary romance series. I love the group of friends Brenda Novak has created the series around. I’m always curious to find out which friend is the next to fall in love and who it will be with.

I was excited when I learned we were finally getting Kyle’s story in A Winter Wedding. I’ve been waiting to see inside his head ever since I read Olivia and Brandon’s story in When We Touch. Since Kyle’s been (not so secretly) in love with Olivia the entire series, I wondered what kind of woman would be able to capture his attention.

Brenda Novak couldn’t have created a better character than Lourdes to win Kyle’s heart. She was strong and independent — everything Kyle needed in a woman after dealing with his ex Noelle. I loved the connection they had and how protective of Lourdes Kyle was.

Since I mentioned Noelle, I have to say I absolutely loved her part in this story. It was fun to get a glimpse into her head and see what she’s been thinking the entire time she’s been pining after the ex-husband who is in love with her sister.

Kyle’s story was everything I was hoping it would be. A Winter Wedding was the perfect Christmas-time contemporary romance  read. It was fun, fast-paced and included all of the Whiskey Creek characters I’ve grown to love. If you love contemporary romance series, I would highly recommend the Whiskey Creek series and A Winter Wedding.

Other books in this series:

        

Marry Me at Christmas

Marry Me at Christmas (Fool’s Gold #19) by Susan Mallery

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug has the biggest crush on actor Johnny Blaze. She was excited when he moved to Fool’s Gold, but she’s tongue-tied every time she sees him in town.

Madeline is going to have to get herself together, though. Thanks to Mayor Marsha, Madeline is going to be helping Johnny plan his sister’s wedding. That means she’s going to be spending a lot of time with the actor.

Johnny moved to Fool’s Gold looking for normal. He never planned on finding love. When he meets Madeline he finds her not only beautiful, but refreshing. She doesn’t care that he’s Johnny Blaze the actor. Madeline treats him like a normal person.

As they plan his sister’s wedding, sparks begin to fly between Madeline and Johnny. But will they be able to have a normal relationship with Hollywood interfering?


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Marry Me at Christmas was a cute holiday romance. Just like previous Fool’s Gold romances, it was filled with fun characters and silly moments.

Madeline was sweet and a little bit insecure. Johnny was a gorgeous actor looking for a normal life. I loved them together! But I have to admit it was the moments between Johnny, Eddie and Gladys that were my favorite parts of the book. Those two old ladies bring such humor to Fool’s Gold!

My only complaint about the story was the ending. It felt too rushed for me. I don’t want to give it away but I didn’t quite buy it. But hey, it’s a Christmas-time novel. It was definitely fun and sweet. Marry Me at Christmas will put readers in a jolly holiday mood.

Other books in this series:

Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1) Almost Perfect (Fool's Gold, #2) Sister of the Bride (Fool's Gold, #2.5)  Finding Perfect (Fool's Gold, #3)  Only Mine (Fool's Gold #4)  Only Yours (Fool's Gold, #5)  Only His (Fool's Gold, #6)  Only Us (Fool's Gold, #6.1) Almost Summer: A Fool's Gold Novella (Fool's Gold, #6.2)   Summer Days (Fool's Gold, #7)  Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, #8)  All Summer Long (Fool's Gold, #9)  A Fool's Gold Christmas (Fool's Gold, #9.5)  Halfway There (Fool's Gold, #9.75)  Just One Kiss (Fool's Gold, #10)  Two of a Kind (Fool's Gold, #11)  Three Little Words (Fool's Gold, #12)  Christmas on 4th Street: Yours for Christmas  When We Met (Fool's Gold, #13)  Before We Kiss (Fool's Gold, #14)  Until We Touch (Fool's Gold, #15)  Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, #15.5)  Hold Me (Fool's Gold, #16)  Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17)