It’s time for another festive blog tour! Before I start, I must apologise for how late this post is going up. Last week, I mistakenly thought, “I won’t have much work to do the week before Christmas, surely!” Oh, how wrong I was. It’s been one of my busiest weeks in ages! Today was no exception, so please forgive me for the extremely late post! I got there in the end.
This blog tour is a bit different because it’s not for a novel – it’s for a collection of festive short stories by 11 different authors. I thought the best way to review this would be to write mini-reviews for each of the stories in the book. There were some I liked and some I didn’t like, and the reviews vary in length. I tried my best, though!
Review: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit
1: Deck the Malls with Purple Peacocks by Amy Gettinger
The premise of this story reminded me of The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. The main character, Araceli, is living in America illegally, and she’s fighting to stay. I felt so badly for her because she just wants a better life, away from the crime and fear in Mexico, her home country. I really wanted her to succeed. I loved her group of friends; they didn’t judge her like everyone else did, and they worked together to try and keep her in America.
It was made more lighthearted with a lot of humour from Quito, Araceli’s co-worker from Cuba, and it was great to see their relationship develop. In terms of the story, it was great at moving along at a good pace and not rushing things. Some short stories tend to skim over events and they can be difficult to follow, but this one wasn’t like that. I liked it!
2: It Doesn’t Show Signs of Stopping by Geralyn Corcillo
This story was a quick snapshot of a couple in a long distance relationship. It moved along quickly, but then so did their relationship! Within 16 hours of knowing each other, they realised they liked each other a lot, and they agreed that they’d try their best to stay together.
Tanya, one of the main characters, suddenly decides one day that she’s going to catch a plane and surprise her boyfriend. and it all ends up being a big mess that sorts itself out in the end. I like the ending to the story. Not much happens, but it’s a fun little snapshot into their relationship.
3: The Miraculous Power of Butter Cookies by Holly Tierney-Bedord
I think this one is one of my favourite stories. Three sisters are born and they’re all beautiful. Brandi, the youngest and the most beautiful, becomes a TV commercial star as a child but later on, the family are running out of money. They all have to try and work together to make some money for the family. They attend a school fete with some butter cookies that their mum made, but they’re asked to leave because they didn’t pre-book a spot.
The story jumps tp 25 years later. Sadly the girls’ mother has died, and the three sisters decide to work together to compete in a baking competition. They’ll do it to honour their mum, and use her best recipes. Will they win their own TV show and $100,000? I liked this story a lot, mainly because it wasn’t romantic and it was a lot of fun! It also had great character development. Initially I disliked the sisters because they were so bratty and spoilt, but throughout the story, I liked them more and more. I didn’t really connect to any of the characters but it was a fun, festive read about baking!
4: Jingle Bells and Social Fails by Jax Abbey
I couldn’t really think of very much to say about this one. It definitely wasn’t my favourite. I just didn’t particularly like the main character very much. She was so dramatic about everything, and it really started to annoy me. (I don’t like people like that in real life either!)
The story was okay – maybe just not my thing – but it was the least interesting one to me. It was still a fun, light read, though, and I read it in about 15 minutes which is what I like from a short story.
5: I’m Scheming of a White Christmas by Kate O’Keeffe
Meh. It was okay. It was entertaining and fun to read, but not my kind of thing. I don’t really like “childish revenge” storylines and that’s what this whole story was. The main character and her friend tried to plot revenge at the Christmas party, against someone who humiliated her in high school.
I’m sorry to say it, but it was full of clichés that almost made me roll my eyes. The most irritating thing for me in a lot of chick-lit is when someone gets with the person I want to see them with least, and that’s kind of what happened. and I didn’t really feel for the characters either. It was okay, and definitely not the worst story I’ve read. There were some entertaining bits. But I finished it and just thought, “Meh.”
6: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Laurie Baxter
After being a little disappointed with the last one, I was glad that I quite liked this one! I liked the setting of the story and the way it was described. I could picture it well.
I also liked the main character, Ming. I found it really interesting that she loved films, and the descriptions of her film passion made me believe the author does too! The diversity was great, with Ming being Chinese-Jewish. I related to the story too. There was a character that Ming really didn’t want to be around but he just wouldn’t go away, and I’ve definitely known people like that! It was a fun story and very quick and easy to read.
7: All I Want For Christmas Is…? by Monique McDonell
This was another story that I wasn’t really a fan of. I enjoyed the beginning, and I really related to the main character. She isn’t a romantic and she thinks that over-the-top romantic gestures are cheesy, which is exactly the same opinion as me.
However, as the story went on, she met a man and within 2 days, they were head over heels in love with each other. I know all of these stories are supposed to be light-hearted, chick-litty and festive, but I just didn’t like how she progressed from cold unromantic to putty in a man’s hands in 2 days flat. It had quite a few cliche phrases that made me groan too. It was okay to read, and fun at the beginning, but sadly I lost interest towards the end. Definitely not one of the worst stories, though!
8: Christmas Cookies by Vivian Brooks
I liked this one a lot more than the last one. I liked the main character’s Grandma – she bakes cookies for literally everyone! I want to know a grandma like that!
The romance element of this story was definitely a lot less gushy and over-the-top in this one too, which suited me. Although the romance was the main point of the story, as it is in most of these, it wasn’t too much. One thing I did like was the fact that Perry, the man that the main character fancied, completely changed at the end. Character development is great, especially in a short story!
The ending was still a bit cheesy, but not as bad as some of the other stories.
9: A Holly Jolly Heartache by S.E. Babin
This one might be one of my favourite ones from the book. The character was so relatable and so quotable! There were gems like these:
“Not the heartbreakingly tragic love that so many of us like to watch on television, but a warm, fuzzy pair of favorite socks kind of love.”
“I was slim, yet a little bit out of shape because I preferred books over treadmills … I was well-versed in all things literature, though I hoped I could be forgiven that my tastes ran more modern instead of classics. I couldn’t tell you a thing about Jane Austen, but I could definitely tell you all the professors who taught at Hogwarts.”
She even owned a bookshop with an adorable flat above it. That’s my dream! It was more exciting than other stories in the book, and included car crashes, broken legs and feuds with exes. Oddly, even with all of that, it was one that made me feel most cosy and festive. It even had an element of supernatural and Pandora’s Box in it too, which made it more exciting an interesting to read.
10: Mistletoe and Mayhem by Susan Murphy
I didn’t connect with this story at all, really. I just couldn’t get into it. Usually, I tend to like stories with normal characters that I can relate to. However, the characters talked a lot about things like designer brands – basically. things that are far away from what I’m interested in. However, I really liked the sound of the dreamy hometown that the main character, Callie, came from. There was a cute bakery that has a menu of amazing-sounding cakes – what more could you want?!
One thing that confused me a bit was that the way Billy, the story’s love interest, was described. In my head, I imagined him to be a lot older and a bit camp. (Have you ever seen Miranda, Miranda Hart’s BBC sitcom? Imagine Clive.) So, (spoilers!) when they suddenly kissed at the end, I was a bit creeped out. Hmm.
It was an okay story overall, but couldn’t get into it very much.
11: Candy Christmas by Tracy Krimmer
To finish off the whole book, I liked this story! (I was glad. I didn’t want to end on a bad note!) It was simple and understated, and wasn’t too romancey.
I really liked that the main character, Candy, was such an introvert and hated parties, just like me. She’d prefer to sit alone and have a few good friends, rather than dozens of okay ones. I like characters like this because I can so easily relate to them! The romance element was okay in this one too. It wasn’t too extreme and cheesy like it is in some of the stories, which suits me well. A good story to end on!
I think I’ve realised after reading this book that maybe chick lit definitely isn’t my genre of choice. Some of the stories I enjoyed, but on the whole, I couldn’t get into them. Some people devour stories like these, but I just couldn’t! Everyone’s different. It was still a fun, lightheated read before Christmas though!
My favourite stories: Deck the Malls with Purple Peacocks by Amy Gettinger, The Miraculous Power of Butter Cookies by Holly Tierney-Bedord, and A Holly Jolly Heartache by S.E. Babin