Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review: All I Want For Christmas by Jennifer Gracen

Title: All I Want For Christmas
Author: Jennifer Gracen
Publication Date: November 11, 2014

Publisher: Tule Publishing
Pages: Unknown
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I received this book from the publisher via
Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cassandra Baines almost has it all: a flourishing career as one of the youngest English Lit assistant professors at NYU, an apartment in a city she adores, and a close circle of lifelong girlfriends that are like sisters. The only thing she doesn’t have is someone special to share it with. She’s been married to her work since Sean McKinnon broke her heart seven years ago.

Musician and bar owner Sean McKinnon keeps busy – too busy for a love life. He blew it with Cassie all those years ago, and no one has held a candle to her since.

But then one fateful night, of all the people in New York City, Cassandra walks into his bar, and he’s drawn to her as strongly as ever. She wants nothing to do with him, but he’s not going to give up so easily.

Can a bit of New York Christmas magic help two people take a second chance on true love?

When I first selected All I Want For Christmas on Netgalley, I wasn't really sure how the author was going to fit a story spanning seven years into so few pages but Jennifer Gracen delivers. She made such great use of backstories and flashbacks that the story really seemed to come together without being overwhelming.

The romance between Cassie and Sean is believable and sweet. I loved watching the two of them come back together. I could totally identify with all of the conflicting emotions Cassie experienced as she tried to decide whether to allow Sean back into her life - I think a lot of us have been there before. I thought, at first, that Cassie was just going to let what he did slide, but she most definitely stood up for herself. I get so tired of male characters thinking they have the right to make major life decisions for their female counterparts, but Cassie wasn't having any of it once she realized what was really going on!

I also loved that the author wrote in such a way that I felt like I was actually in New York, despite my never having been there.

My only real issue with the book was the way Sean's dialogue was written. It's as if the author wanted us not to forget that he was Irish and so she picked a few words here and there to write differently. However, this was pretty inconsistent. For example, in back to back sentences, she'll go back and forth between "you" and "ya" and I'm not quite sure why she didn't just pick one and run with it. And one word I just could not get over was "Jaysus" as opposed to "Jesus." I get that he's Irish, but I just couldn't make that work in my head and found myself giggling a little every time I came across it.

All I Want For Christmas is a fun Christmas read that's quick and heartwarming. I definitely recommend picking it up this holiday season (or next)!