Bright Lights, Big Christmas
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
To Be Published: September 26, 2023
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: August 20- September 3, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
When fall rolls around, it’s time for Kerry Tolliver to leave her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina for the wilds of New York City to help her gruff older brother & his dog, Queenie, sell the trees at the family stand on a corner in Greenwich Village. Sharing a tiny vintage camper and experiencing Manhattan for the first time, Kerry’s ready to try to carve out a new corner for herself.
In the weeks leading into Christmas, Kerry quickly becomes close with the charming neighbors who live near their stand. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family,
And complicating everything is Patrick, a single dad raising his adorable, dragon-loving son Austin on this quirky block. Kerry and Patrick’s chemistry is undeniable, but what chance does this holiday romance really have?
Filled with family ties, both rekindled and new, and sparkling with Christmas magic, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS delivers everything Mary Kay Andrews fans adore, all tied up in a hilarious, romantic gem of a novel.
I absolutely loved MKA’s last Christmas novel The Santa Suit when it came out in 2021, and when I found out she had a new Christmas novel coming out in 2023, I knew I had to read it! (Honestly… I have to read any and all of her books!) Like always, MKA delivered! She brings the Christmas spirit and Christmas joy to the reader no matter what month the book was read. I was honestly worried about starting this book in August that would it be too early for me to get in the Christmas spirit. But NO, it didn’t! I swear as I was reading, I could smell the pine trees of Christmas! All I needed was cold temperatures and some hot cocoa! (Which will be coming very soon!) We don’t usually get snow here in Georgia, but I found myself wanting that as well even though I was reading the book in 90+ degree heat!
MKA can truly write and just captures the magic of the Christmas season! Bright Lights, Big Christmas deals with the Tolliver family who live in North Carolina. Every year they bring their family owned and grown Christmas trees to NYC and sell them for enormous prices. They are well known in the area and this Christmas we have Kerry taking her father’s place to help her brother Murphy sell the trees. Kerry is going through some life changes and finds herself growing to love the people and the neighborhood. And we get a little Christmas romance with a single dad and his utterly adorable son Austin! MKA also gives us a little bit of a mystery as well!
This is such a sweet, fun, and fluffy read to get you in the Christmas spirit! It deals with family, friendships, romance, and holiday cheer! You can’t help but become attached to these characters. And we have Spammy the vintage camper that Kerry and Murphy are living in which ends up being its own unique character with its own history in of itself!
If you are a fan of MKA and/ or Christmas stories in general, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Bright Lights, Big Christmas when it comes out on September 26th!
Many thanks to the publisher St Martin’s Press for granting me an arc to read, review and highly enjoy!
Forever Hold Your Peace
Narrator: Nan McNamara
Published: July 11, 2023
Audiobook: 9 hours 15 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: June 30- July 6, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Father of the Bride meets Bride Wars in Forever Hold Your Peace, in which two ex-best friends find themselves shockingly entangled after more than two decades apart, for fans of Good Company.
When their newly engaged kids ask all four divorced parents to meet each other over brunch, everyone RSVPs yes–secretly hoping someone at the table will get to the bottom of the bottomless mimosas fast enough to say what they’re all thinking: that this engagement, coming after a whirlwind romance between two people barely out of college, is too much too soon.
But at that brunch, it’s not the impulsive couple’s decisions that end up under the microscope, as it turns out June, mother of the bride, and Amy, mother of the groom, certainly do know each other–they’re ex-best-friends who haven’t spoken since their explosive falling out more than twenty-five years ago. Reeling from their unwanted reunion and eager to shift the spotlight off their past as decades-old secrets and rivalries come to light, the two moms battle it out for the prize of Most Enthusiastic About This Wedding.
But when their history—and their present-day shenanigans—threaten to crack the foundations of the happy couple’s future, June and Amy find themselves becoming unexpected allies in an all-hands-on-deck effort to get their kids (and themselves) a happily-ever-after two generations in the making.
This is the second book I have read from BFFs Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke and I have more of theirs on my TBR just waiting to be read! This is also their first book they have written in several years. If you follow them on social media you will know the story and their journey with that and their dedication of the novel to other authors.
It was a fun yet predictable beach read, but that’s how rom coms work. Yes, it was a mesh of Father of the Bride and Bride Wars! If you like wedding rom com movies such as the previously mentioned Father of the Bride, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, (insert your favorite here, it WILL fit in with the others) then you will enjoy this book. I can even see it becoming a beloved wedding rom com movie.
The bride and groom are not the main focus of the novel but three of the parents and what happened in their past to destroy their friendship. The novel is about letting go, forgiveness, second chances and more! It is also done with humor, so the book is enjoyable. I will say this: Those mothers, OMG, they drove me crazy! I really thought ‘how old are we and how old are we acting’ several times.
The narration was very well done! I will look for more audiobooks narrated by Nan McNamara.
Fenton and Steinke tend to write thrillers, so you know they are on my list to read more of! This is far from a thriller and I also enjoyed it! I’m off to go see how many of their books I actually own now!
Many thanks to the publisher for granting me an copy to listen to and review! I enjoyed it!
The Summer Melt
Author: Emily March
Published: June 23, 2022
Audiobook: 2 hours 52 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: June 16-17, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
It’s peak tourist season in Eternity Springs, and Dana Delaney has her hands full running her ice cream parlor, Scoops. The last thing she needs is for her star employee to fall sick, but she’s in luck when a newcomer to town offers to fill in…and the fact that he’s sinfully handsome with a sexy Scottish accent is an added treat.
A-list sports agent Cal Buchanan is visiting Eternity Springs to scout marriage proposal locations for a client, not get distracted by the beautiful owner of the local ice cream parlor. But when she’s short staffed, he can’t resist the opportunity to dip in and help. If he plays it right, she might even return the favor and give him a tour of the town’s most romantic destinations. Will their attraction lead to a romance more decadent than Scoops’ Double Chocolate Toffee Crunch—or will it melt away by summer’s end?
This was a cute, little novella that was a quick listen that I enjoyed it up until the end. I liked the story and the fact that we had hot Scottish brothers both working in Scoops and their competition. I even enjoyed the touring the town for a proposal bit of the story. Then came the ending. It just came extremely fast for me. Between the ending and the cursing by saying ice cream flavors I had to knock half a star off. The cursing by flavors was cute at first, but after the third time I was over that.
There were two narrators and one would have sufficed. The female narrator was able to pull both male and female voices off, but the male narrator… Between that accent and his terrible narration of the female character… Nope!
This is a great read for summer that deals with the heat and all the different flavors were leaving me wanting some ice cream or something cold at least! I’d say skip the audio version and just read this novella.[Top]