Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday-Themed Mini-Reviews


Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (2017)

The Birch family is under quarantine over Christmas, due to daughter Olivia coming home after treating the Haag epidemic in Africa.  The family, consisting of Olivia, sister Phoebe, mother Emma, and father Andrew, don't normally spend a ton of time together, so this forced holiday may be a strain on all of them.

We find out pretty early on that each family member is hiding something from the rest - Olivia had a relationship with a fellow doctor, who ended up contracting Haag; Phoebe is newly engaged but doesn't seem all that happy about it; Emma just found out she has cancer; and Andrew was recently contacted by a son he knew nothing about.  While I thought all of these secrets were realistic in their own way, it seemed a bit coincidental that they were all happening at the same time. 

Emma is probably the only likable character in the family - she just wants to take care of everyone, have the perfect holiday, and not worry anyone with her health issues, at least not until after Christmas.  Andrew seems pretty unhappy with his life, especially with the way he and his wife have grown apart.  Olivia is rather detached from her family, and Phoebe is kind of spoiled and immature.  I thought the book was well-written and I appreciated that the story didn't get too outlandish.  It felt real, and often melancholy, but there were glimmers of hope, as well.  3 stars


Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz (2017)

A modern and gender-swapping take on the classic Pride and Prejudice.  Darcy Fitzwilliam is a rich and successful woman living in NYC; Luke Bennet is a carpenter still living in their hometown.  When Darcy comes home for the first time in years, sparks fly between her and Luke.

For some reason, I've been into Pride and Prejudice retellings lately, and this was a fun one.  I loved that the author made the "Darcy" character a women - it was an interesting dynamic having her as the more "successful" one.  And since the book was from her POV, we got to know her way better than Luke; although people often saw her as cold, she actually had quite a big heart and longed for love.  It really made me see that the original Darcy character was probably a bit misunderstood!

This book was super-short, only 225 pages, so I flew through it in just a couple hours.  The writing was good, but sometimes I felt like I was getting whiplash from how quickly things were happening; conflicts seemed to get resolved too quickly.  However, because it's a holiday story, I appreciated the sappiness more than I normally would.  3.5 stars

16 comments:

  1. Great reviews! I also really enjoyed the sappiness of Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe! Such a fun cutesy read for the holidays.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I keep hearing such mixed things about Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. Some people hate it, some people like it, and then some love it. There's no consistency! I think I may get it from the library eventually, because I have liked Melissa's books in the past and I do love Christmasy books. Seven Days of Us also looks good. That is a bit too coincidental that all the crazy things were happening at the same time, but I'm guessing it really amped up the drama. Great reviews! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lauren! I would say if you're interested in reading PP&M, then get it out of the library. It might be a miss for you, but it's so short so not a huge commitment!

      Delete
  3. Seven Day sof US was an interesting read but I agree the characters weren’t very likeable and I wasn’t a fan of the way it ended.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is something about the holidays that makes me want to read these Christmas contemporaries just for the sappiness! I haven't read Seven Days of Us, so I think that it will be one to add to the TBR. I also found Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe to be a really fast read and a lot of fun. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this was the first year I actually read some holiday-themed books, but it was a good way to get me into the spirit, so it may be something I start doing every year!

      Delete
  5. I like mini reviews. These both sound fun, especially Seven Days of Us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they were both good in their own ways!

      Delete
  6. I still haven't read P&P but need to so I can read the retellings like this one. Glad you mostly enjoyed these!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only read P&P for the first time last year, but I've now read a few retellings, so it was worth it!

      Delete
  7. I never read P&P, and I think that is why I rather enjoyed P&P&M. It was a cute contemporary romance for me. I am a little disappointed that you did not enjoy Seven Days of Us more. That one was on my radar and sounded promising.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seven Days of Us was different from what I expected. I thought maybe it was going to be funny? It definitely wasn't.

      Delete
  8. I actually really liked Olivia in Seven Days of Us, as well as Emma. She's been through so much and her family just really wasn't there for here. I do think I'd find it harder to like her in person though, since it did seem like she could be more sanctimonious than was really necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I felt like Olivia focused too much on the wrong things, like how different she was from her family, instead of trying to find ways to connect with them. Emma tried too hard sometimes to be upbeat. Interesting dynamics, though!

      Delete

I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!