Reading List: No. 18
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, the family drama that ensues will change their lives will change forever. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva. Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the authors I will read whatever she writes. I absolutely loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (a top 5 in 2020). I rooted for Nina and her siblings and both couldn’t wait to turn the page and didn’t want the book to end.
- Rating: 4
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.
A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.
For whatever reason, I’ve had a hard time getting into Ghosts. I haven’t given it up completely as I know so many people that read and loved it. I’m about halfway through and set it aside to come back to whenever it strikes me.
- Rating: 2.5
A holiday follow-up to the popular Peachtree Bluff series, Christmas in Peachtree Bluff follows 3 generations of the Murphy women (a mother, her 3 daughters, and their spouses/kids) as they navigate a late season hurricane and the holidays.
Christmas in Peachtree Bluff is a surprise follow-up to Kristy’s best-selling Peachtree Bluff series (one of my very favorite beach reads). I don’t know if it was the time of year or the surprise of the new release, but reading this felt like a big, warm hug. If you read and enjoyed the other Peachtree Bluff books, I think you’d absolutely enjoy this holiday version.
- Rating: 4
Always, in December by Emily Stone is a new release this holiday season. Every December, Josie mails a letter from her home in London to the parents she lost on Christmas many years ago. One year, her annual trip to the mailbox is interrupted when she rides her bicycle right into a handsome stranger named Max. They end up spending the holiday together and Josie thinks it might be the start of something special, but then Max disappears without saying goodbye. Over the next year, Max and Josie finds that fate continues to bring them together.
Always, in December is described as a “devastating, romantic, life-affirming love story” so I knew there was to be a devastating component that I found myself bracing for as I neared the end. It took me a week to finish the last 50 pages because I wasn’t in the right headspace to do it. That said, I loved this book. It’s different from a typical holiday rom-com, but still has lots of romance. It will definitely make you feel.
- Rating: 3.5
The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?
Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . .
- Rating: 2.5
A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh
Lauren Richmond isn’t a fan of Christmas. Which is why she rarely makes the trip home to the Midwest for the holidays. After all, she has plenty to keep her busy—namely, her duties as a set decorator on a TV sitcom. But this December, Lauren’s brother and his wife are expecting a baby, so her brother arranges a ride home for her with his good friend, Will.
Unfortunately for Lauren, she’s been trying to forget college baseball coach and childhood crush Will Sinclair for more than ten years. Now, thanks to her fear of flying, she’s stuck in a car with him from California to Illinois. She’s circumspect and organized. He’s flirty and spontaneous. She’s convinced that people don’t change. He’s trying to prove to her (and himself) that he has. On this cross-country road trip, they’ll both discover that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself. . . but like any good Christmas carol, it does have a second verse.
While I found the premise a little unrealistic (Lauren was traumatized by a seemingly small broken promise by Will 10 years ago), I quite enjoyed this book. I read it the week between Christmas and New Year’s and it was perfect for a relaxing week.
- Rating: 3
5: A book that you treasure and keep prominently displayed on your bookshelf. All other books will likely be measured against this one.
4: Could not put it down, possibly read through the night, still thinking about it, extremely satisfying and highly recommended
3: Captured my interest, entertaining, would seek other titles by the same author, would recommend
2: Okay to pass the time, probably not memorable, just okay
1: DNF or ended up feeling dissatisfied