I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Published by Macmillan Audio, St. Martin's Press on September 26, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Women
Length: 8 hours 8 minutes
Format: ARC, Audiobook
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From Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The Homewreckers and The Santa Suit, comes a novella celebrating love and the warm, glittering charm of the holiday season.
"Nobody does Christmas like Mary Kay Andrews." ―Debbie Macomber
"Cozy up with Santa's favorite novelist!” ―Adriana Trigiani
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.
This was a really sweet story and a delight to read. Kerry goes to New York to help her brother sell Christmas trees from their family farm. She grew up with their mom while her brother grew up on the tree farm with their father so they aren’t especially close. They are staying in an old motor home affectionately named Spammy. As Kerry starts to get to know the residents of this area, she feels like she belongs. She becomes especially close with a young boy, his attractive father, and an older gentleman in the neighborhood.
This was a fun, low-conflict story filled with Christmas cheer and wonderful characters. I liked getting to know Kerry, her brother, and the other characters. I appreciated the fact that there was a bit of mystery worked into the story in addition to just the right amount of romance. Kerry seemed like she just belonged in the neighborhood and I hoped that she would figure out how to make her visit more permanent.
I listened to the audiobook and thought that Kathleen McInerney did a great job with the story. I thought that the voices she used for the various characters did a great job of helping to bring the story to life. I found her voice to be very pleasant and am certain that her narration added to my enjoyment of this book. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to others. I found this to be a very well-done holiday story that kept me hooked until the very end.
I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Audio and St. Martin’s Press.
I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lotus by Jennifer Hartmann
Narrator: Marie Hawkins, TJ Clark
Published by Bloom Books, Tantor Audio on September 5, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Length: 12 hours 49 minutes
Format: ARC, Audiobook
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"All these years, I've never given my heart to anyone...
The truth is, I didn't have a heart to give.
My heart was with a ghost."
To the rest of the world, he was the little boy who went missing on the Fourth of July. But to Sydney Neville, he was everything. Her heart hasn't been the same since her best friend disappeared, but she's learned to build her life around that missing piece.
Twenty-two years later, the last thing Sydney expects is for Oliver Lynch to return. Having been captive underground for decades, he's unfamiliar with the strange new world that awaits him—but he's alive. He's here. And no matter how he's changed, he and Sydney both still feel the connection that runs between them.
But as their reborn friendship begins to feel like something more, Sydney and Oliver realize there are still jagged, painful truths creating space between them. The walls Sydney's built don't want to come down, and as Oliver hunts for his missing memories and lost time, he realizes his nightmare is not yet over.
With nothing as it seems, is there space for love to bloom in this dark place?
"I have such a soft spot for strong but innocent heroes, and Lotus has one of the best there is. If you are looking for a compelling story that touches on deep, emotional topics, a heroine who is easy to love, and a beautifully vulnerable male hero, pick this one up immediately." -Mia Sheridan, NYT bestselling author
I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t nearly as dark as the other book that I read written by this author, Still Beating, but these characters still go through some pretty tough stuff. Oliver disappeared as a child and has been found alive 22 years later. Sydney and Oliver were best friends as children and she has remained close to his brother in the years since Oliver’s disappearance.
I loved getting the chance to see Oliver work through the things that he has been through and finally get some answers. Syndey and Oliver were great together and it was interesting to see how they had been affected by the things that happened in their past. It really seemed like they were destined to be together but it was obvious that it would take some work. The mystery involving Oliver’s disappearance kept me guessing and surprised me before the book drew to a close.
I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrators did a great job with the story. Marie Hawkins and TJ Clark both did a great job of portraying this group of characters and I felt like they added just the right amount of emotion to their reading. Their narration added a lot to my enjoyment of this wonderful romance. I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well-done romance filled with characters that really deserved their own happily ever after. I hope to read more of this author’s work in the future.
I received a digital review copy of this book from Bloom Books and Tantor Audio.