So today I’m going to write about my favourite thing, books!!! After studying Literature at University I’ve become very well acquainted with writing about books but often in the format of 2000, 3000, 5000 word essays. Of course, these reviews will be much shorter and will give you a glimpse into their fictional escapist plots without giving too much away.
These chosen books are easy reads, that’s not to say they don’t have intricate plots because they certainly do but I’ve chosen these books because they are relaxing. They are perfect reads for by the fire, in an armchair with a dog on your lap- as they are romantic, thoughtful and hopeful narratives- like a hug buried within the pages.
Lets get started…
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I chose to read this Young Adult book because I watched the film on my flight home from Canada in early September. I thought the acting, the music, the whole ‘feel’ of the film was incredibly moving- it even made me cry! (Good job the person sitting next to me on the plane was asleep!) I know some people don’t like to read a book if they’ve watched the book’s movie first but I’m one of those weirdos who is able to imagine separate things. The actors are incredible in the film, (Charles Melton is a heart throb) but in the book the characters are presented differently- in their locations, mannerisms and style- for instance Daniel has a ponytail. So the book is different to the movie and I like both the same, yet for varied reasons. The film is mesmerising, atmospheric and a whirlwind of emotions. The book is thought provoking, poetically detailed and ethereal.
This is a read that is not confined to the season of Winter, in fact whilst reading it I’m pretty sure it was Summer/Early Autumn time because the characters were wearing light jackets and they also fell asleep in the park without freezing. Although no set time or date is given (maybe if I flick back it will state somewhere on a page), it is a millennial romance between two people, living in New York city. The tricky thing is, that scientific love sceptic Natasha is from Jamaica and her family are about to be deported in twenty-four hours when she meets Daniel. Daniel’s ethnicity is Korean and his parents moved to New York to try and get better opportunities for their family- they own a Black Hair Care store- they desperately want Daniel to be a doctor but he is a dreamer, a poet, a hopeless romantic and he aspires to be a writer.
Daniel is endlessly optimistic and is not phased about continuing to delay his interview for Yale that he is dressed in a suit for. He tries to convince Natasha that destiny is real, and she is his destiny. If he wasn’t so cute and endearing she might have thought he was a stalker… Yet Natasha is frantically trying to stop her deportation happening- meeting lawyers and persuading her family that they can fight, trying to convince them they don’t have to pack up and leave. She tries not to catch feelings for Daniel but his lovable, lollopy (that’s not a word but I use it to describe a lanky, sweet kind of guy) demeanour captivates her and we are taken on a journey with them throughout the period of a day. This day has many serendipitous moments, characters and events that are connected which only the reader can piece together- Daniel and Natasha notice the universe’s signs a bit, but less so. I just LOVE any story line involving fate or destiny because I personally believe in it and the theme can invoke such a warm, fuzzy feeling for a reader which is why it’s been added to this Winter Reading list!
It’s filled with thought provoking INFP/ENFP phrases too or for any quote collector word nerds out there:
Another book about fate but a little more festive…
2. It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson
I read this ‘Chick-Lit’ last year and I could not put it down! Pretty sure I wept tears of joy for this one too. I loved it so much I’m going to read it again. Even if you’re not a fan of Chick-Lit I thoroughly recommend you pick this one up to get you in the Christmas mood. It’s a story that takes you on a year long journey of Romily Parker’s life- a wedding band singer who meets a gorgeous stranger in a Christmas market just before Christmas, who kisses her and then disappears into the bustling market crowd. Unlike The Sun is Also a Star, the plot is a whole year compared to a whole day, so we can watch Romily blossom with confidence, witness her try new things and go on a seasonal journey of friendship, career opportunities and not giving up hope on meeting Mr. Mystery Market man. I could relate to her unwavering hope for true love and her humble yet determined spirit to never settle.
The ending has an unexpected twist and there are many cosy Christmas moments in it that I can’t wait to re-read. Go on, pick it up, treat yourself and indulge in the Romily’s reality of It Started With A Kiss.
3. Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin
This is the final wintry option, again, a chick-lit choice. It’s like a Hallmark movie woven into a book. Considering I can’t access Christmas hallmark movies from Italy (it’s heartbreaking, but I’ll binge some when I’m in the UK at Christmas,) I am currently reading this one- my kindle says I’m 40% of the way through and I already feel immersed amongst the guests and staff at Stardust Lake Hotel on Juniper Island- a Christmas village on a tiny island in the Shetland Isles where you can see the Northern lights. Piper Chesterfield had a traumatic childhood (I won’t give too much away) and spends her life travelling and reviewing hotels. For Christmas she stays in Stardust Lake Hotel and travels there in a plush private jet with ruby carpets and walnut panelling served by a guy that looks like Santa. Upon arrival, she soon finds out that her teenage sweetheart called Gabe is now owner/manager of the place. Heart-torn feelings come flooding back for them both and the line between professionalism and friendship begins to blur.
The images in this romantic read are vivid, rich and enchanting; plenty of snowy fields, hot chocolates, wreaths, red wine and open fires in this book! Piper is a guarded, lonely business lady who has been travelling for over a decade. She has long icy hair that Gabe’s daughter, Wren, loves to braid like Elsa from Frozen. Not much has happened yet where I am currently in the book but I have discovered a lot about the characters’ complex pasts. Character building in this way adds another dimension to this ‘cosy Christmas’ trope- meaning that when good, cheery things happen we feel even more joy for the characters- knowing that they deserve it.
It’s very difficult to put down and I find myself constantly thinking about the story and Stardust lake as I go about my day. I’m sure I’ll have it finished by the end of the week, ready to then re-read on Christmas Eve! Holly Martin also has other books I want to try…I’ll have read so many Christmas chick-lits by the end of the year my blood stream will be eggnog and I’ll be adopting all the reindeer in Finland. Now there’s an idea for a book!
Happy, cosy reading my loves. Get lit! (Literature & Candles!)