Let’s Read Christmas Books! Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand

Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand

Holiday, Christmas, Family, Fiction
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 14th, 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
In the past, I haven’t generally been one for reading holiday novels. When it came to Christmas, the kinds of books I would read didn’t change from the rest of the year.
This year, however, I decided to change things up. I had received an ARC of Hildebrand’s Winter Stroll at BEA in the spring, and wanted to give it a read. Because, why not, right? But then I discovered that it was actually the sequel to Winter Street. So I picked up the first book at my library.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t read any of Hildebrand’s books before, either! I knew that she fell into the “lighter” category of fiction, generally relegated to summer reading. At this point though, I was up for anything and dove right in.

 Winter Street is the story of the dysfunctional and semi-broken family of the Quinns. Here’s the synopsis from the publisher:

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.
As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.

This book was everything that I wanted it to be! It was basically a Christmas Lifetime/Hallmark made-for-TV movie in book form. But one of the slightly better and less cheesy ones.  
I enjoyed all of the characters and their side stories and especially liked how everything all came back to the Inn and the family. This could have easily been a cringy book, but I found Hildebrand juggled the comfortable predictability, the well-rounded (for the most part) characters, and holiday spirit quite well.
This book may not have particularly complex plotlines or characters, but it’s not complete fluff (not that there’s anything wrong with fluff). I give this one a thumbs up and recommend it this holiday season if you’re looking for a festive read about family! (And it’s only $7.79 on Book Outlet right now!)

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems of 2015

Today I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday which is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today’s prompt is Top Ten 2015 reads! My take on this prompt is the Top Ten Hidden Gems I read in 2015. So basically here are ten books that I loved that have not gotten quite as much attention as they deserve!

Okay, not exactly a totally hidden gem, but this is an amazing book (and amazing author) that doesn’t get enough attention. Really, even if it got ALL of the attention, it wouldn’t be enough attention. Because it’s super amazing.
I absolutely adored this book when I read it in the spring. It’s an exquisite family saga told with such delicacy and depth. READ IT! Spread the love!

This is another family saga with a darkly humorous tone. I loved the family dynamic amongst the sisters and really loved the original way the story is told.
This is a historical fiction based on the Matchless six, a group of Canadian women in the Olympics. It’s an amazing read.

This is a powerful tale of female friendship and its lasting impact. I loved reading about the four main characters and how they have come back together after all these years.

I feel like this series doesn’t get enough attention! It’s so flipping good. It has the perfect amount of mystery, romance, and the paranormal. READ IT!
I don’t think I had previously read much YA historical fiction. Wein’s previous books Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire got more attention than her latest. I haven’t read those two yet, but I read this one and loved it! And I haven’t heard many other people talking about it. So, READ IT!

A couple of years ago I read Between by Warman and enjoyed it. While not blown away, I did like the book and was surprised to that I didn’t see many others talking about it. I saw this one at the library in the spring and it sounded so good I had to pick it up. It did not disappoint! Check it out.
This book is full of intrigue, small towns, quirky characters, and family secrets. It’s got a splash of pretty much everything that I love. The main character is just so sassy. I loved being along for the ride!
This story is both creepy and beautiful. It’s a retelling of The Girl Without Hands. I didn’t know that was even a thing but it sounded interesting. I’ve seen this one a couple of time around the blogosphere, but not enough! If it appeals to you, definitely give it a try.

Just realized that I read half of these books for TLC book tours! So thank you TLC for introducing me to these great reads and authors 🙂 
There you have it! Ten books from 2015 that I adored and need more attention! What books have you read this year that maybe not everyone has heard of? Hit me up with some recommendations!

It’s Monday December 14th, Whatcha Reading?

Hey friends. It’s been a little while since we’ve chatted. The thing is, life has gotten a little too real over the last few weeks. Without going into too much detail, I am newly cat-less and newly single. This kind of led to lots of chocolate eating and Jessica Jones binging. Not a lot of reading was getting done. That turned into a reading slump. I really wanted to be un-slumped, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to actually care about any book characters or their lives. So, thinking about books and talking about books was kind of totally bumming me out.
I didn’t consciously decideto take a little break from blogging; it just kind of worked out that way. And it’s been kind of great. Instead of putting pressure on myself to write X amount of posts, or read X amount of books, I just went with the flow. I still engaged on social media, but in a more detached way. It was a relief really, because I didn’t have room in my brain for anything more than what was already there. 

 Now, however, I am emerging from my slump and am trying to engage with the world again. Things are a bit different now. There’s not really any getting around that. However, I’m not going to hide from the things I love or the people I love! I’ve starting reading again (wee!) and have started leaving my house for more than just work 😛 I’ve been hanging out with friends and making new ones.
Things are evening out, so to speak. I’ve read a few books in the last week or so, and have missed talking about them with you lot! So, for all intents and purposes, I’m back!
The first thing I read in attempt to get me out of the slump was Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. I wasn’t able to get into any of the novels I had tried, so when this beauty showed up at my door from Penguin Random House Canada, I thought I would give it a shot. Brave Enough is a collection of nuggets of wisdom Strayed has imparted throughout her writing career. I sat down and read it in one sitting, flagging all my favourite quotes!
Reading and enjoying Brave Enough gave me the confidence to pick up a graphic novel/comic. I read the second volume of Lumberjanes. I really enjoyed it! I loved getting back into the crazy antics of Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley.
Wanting to get into a novel, I decided to read one on a serious topic. I picked up What We Saw from the library. In this YA novel, the author delves into the issue of consent and rape culture. Because of the subject matter, it was impossible not to care.
What We Saw got me back into the swing of things. At this point, it was December and I thought, why not? Let’s read some Christmas books to get into the spirit. I haven’t read many holiday books so while a little hesitant, I was also excited some good ol’ romance and Christmas cheer! I picked up Winter Street  and Winter Stroll both by Elin Hildebrand, and am now reading Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan. This last one isn’t really all that Christmasy. I am enjoying it though! I’m almost halfway through!


Now that I’m out of my reading slump, I’ve got to get out of my blogging slump. Let’s see how that goes…
If you’ve stuck around, thank you! And if you continue to, thanks again.

Hope you are all having a happy December.
It’s Monday December 14th, what are you reading?