Please Read...the "All I Want for Christmas" series
Updated: May 10
Merry Christmas friends! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season.
This year, I want to spread Christmas cheer by sharing a wonderful book series I just finished. If you read my previous post, Fall 2021 Reading List!, you may remember me mentioning that I was sent an eARC for the first book in a new series called All I Want for Christmas by Chelsea Bobulski. After I read and enjoyed the first book, Wise Wolf Books was nice enough to send me ARCs for the rest of the series. There are four books total:
For the last two months, I have been delightfully fixated on this series. Each book focuses on a young adult protagonist from a small town called Christmas, Virginia as they fall in love during the Yuletide season. All the protagonists and love interests had their own full character arcs and reached new levels of emotional maturity, as well as romantic happiness, by the end of their respective books. In addition to the great care given to character development, each book is a love letter to a unique interest such as alternate realities, Jane Austen, romantic comedies, and American history. These factors together make each book a real treat.
“It's a Wonderful Life meets Wish Upon A Star in this Christmas-themed young adult contemporary romance.
Graham Wallace has been in love with the girl next door for a decade. Unfortunately, she's been dating his best friend for the past two years. Out of sheer desperation, Graham makes a wish on a shooting star-all he wants for Christmas is Sarah Clarke.
When Graham wakes up the next morning, everything has changed, and he's the one who's been dating Sarah for the past two years, not his best friend. Graham assumes the wish would have only come true if he and Sarah were meant to be together, but as it becomes clear that he and Sarah bring out the worst in each other, not the best, and as he starts to fall for the new girl in town, Graham wonders if some wishes come true in order to show us what's not meant to be.”
Things I loved about Girl Next Door (read my full review here):
-Graham as a complex character who has a lot of earnest, yet flawed emotions. Those unhealthy feelings are put into a context that allows them to exist without being condoned so he is able to grow as a person throughout the story.
-Examines what makes a good, long-lasting relationship in a realistic and mature way.
-The roles of faith and magic that exist together within this story.
“It's the holiday season in this young-adult contemporary romance, and all Beckett Hawthorne wants is to make his way across the country and try to find some semblance of a life that looks nothing like his past...until he meets Evelyn Waverly.
Evelyn Waverley, Christmas High's Senior Class President, volunteer at every Christmas charity drive, and basic overachiever, has a problem - she's co-directing and starring in her dream role as Elizabeth Bennet in her high school's production of A Pride and Prejudice Christmas, but Greg Bailey, the boy who was supposed to play Darcy broke his leg.
Enter Beckett Hawthorne, Aunt Bee's nephew, former child prodigy, and recent juvenile delinquent. Beckett has arrived in Christmas, Virginia to spend his community service hours working at his uncle's Christmas tree farm, as well as to get away from his heroin-addicted mother and abusive stepfather.
Of course, Beckett doesn't have any interest in the role of Darcy either, but when he (mistakenly) mentions the play to his social worker, she presses him to do it. He agrees to play Darcy, not expecting Evelyn's joyful attitude about life and all things Christmas to melt the permafrost that has formed around his heart. Soon he finds himself imagining a very different kind of future, one that is filled with the sorts of things he always thought were too good for him-hope, love, family-and he has Evelyn to thank for it.”
Things I loved about Girl in Charge (read my full review here):
-Beckett’s deep and immediate attraction to Evelyn.
-The dual POV adding excitement and tension between the love interests.
-The backdrop of a high school theatre production and a love of Jane Austen.
“The holiday season continues in this captivating third novel in Chelsea Bobulski's All I Want for Christmas young-adult contemporary romance series.
What happens when you take a chance on someone unexpected?
Isla Riddle has been obsessed with True Love for as long as she can remember. Books, TV, movies-if it's a story about star-crossed lovers, ill-fated love, or love conquering all, Isla has read it, seen it, and talked nonstop about it. She's also dedicated her life to it by helping her mom build up Riddle's Bridal Boutique and Wedding Planning, a business they started together after her dad left town ... and they've just received their biggest break yet: a high society bride with a million-dollar budget.
August Harker doesn't have to think much about his life-it's already been planned for him. He has the parent-approved heiress girlfriend, the 4.0 GPA at an elite college preparatory school, and over a dozen lacrosse and debate team trophies. He has no reason to think his life won't turn out just like his dad's, which is exactly why he isn't into planning weddings, parties, or any other event where hundreds of his father's closest clients and legal associates discuss affidavits, jurisprudence, and all the things that make his father the most sought-after criminal defense attorney along the Eastern seaboard. It only reminds August that he'll be discussing the same things with the same people in ten years' time between glasses of champagne and unfortunate run-ins with the electric slide. However, planning a wedding is exactly where he finds himself as his older sister prepares to walk down the aisle.
As Isla works with August behind-the-scenes, she becomes more and more convinced that he's the one: the soulmate she's been waiting for. August feels it, too, that rightness of being with Isla, and as August hears Isla talk about dreams like they're real possessions that can be achieved, he dares to hope for another future entirely, one in which he can become what he's always wanted to be.
But can their love-and August's newly-resurrected dreams-survive the layers of expectations and ambitions that have been placed upon him?”
Things I loved about Boy I Can’t Have (read my full review here):
-Frequent check-ins with Evelyn and Beckett!
-Isla as a romantic who also kicks butt as a wedding planner.
-The sweet moments of Isla and August watching movies together that feel reminiscent of a long-distance relationship.
"College freshman Savannah Mason doesn't believe in magic or true love. She believes in science, and science tells her that love is nothing more than a biological impulse to breed-an impulse that can, thankfully, be ignored. Which is a good thing because no woman in her family has ever been lucky in love. In fact, all of them have ended up broken hearted and insistent on blaming a mysterious, vengeful curse. But Savannah is determined to rewrite her story, and as far as she's concerned, she's never going to fall in love.
Jordan Merrick is a junior at William & Mary and on the fast track to obtaining his life's goal: becoming the next Ron Chernow. He vaguely imagines that, someday, he'll have a wife and kids. But like Hamilton himself, Jordan's drive is to accomplish his goals as quickly as possible. Love can come another day once his career is cemented.
What neither Savannah nor Jordan planned on is meeting each other, and as they keep crossing paths on campus and Savannah finds herself helping at Jordan's archaeology site, all their reasons for putting their love lives on the back burner start to blur.
Forged together, Savannah and Jordan investigate Savannah's family's curse on love and explore a collection of love letters between a revolutionary soldier and the girl he left behind. But when they come face-to-face with the truth about themselves-and with the truth about what they've become to each other-Jordan's outlook on love starts to waver, and he begins to wonder if he can convince Savannah that love is real. But will Savannah run before her heart is able to let go of cynicism and believe in the power and magic of love?
At once thought-provoking and charming, All I Want for Christmas is the Girl Who Can't Love will stir a longing in every reader's heart for the hope in magic and romance that can only be found during the holiday season.”
Things I loved about Girl Who Can’t Love (read my full review here):
-The way Jordan validated Savannah’s struggles while also encouraging her to step outside of her comfort zone.
-Discussions about intergenerational curses and how pain and bad behavior is passed down through families.
-The full-circle ending for Savannah, Jordan, and everyone in Christmas, Virginia!
What I loved the most about this entire series is the way relationships are portrayed in a healthy and realistic, yet still optimistic, way. Each couple’s process of getting together shows that love is magic, but also a phenomenon in which two people must grow together over time. This theme is emphasized many times throughout the series, especially in the heartwarming and satisfying final epilogue.
Thanks again to Wise Wolf Books for reaching out and sending me the ARCs, and to Chelsea Bobulski for writing these wonderful books. Merry Christmas to all!!