Book Reviews: With Love From London, The Holiday Switch & The Christmas Dress

With Love from London by Sarah Jio

Goodreads blurb: A librarian inherits a bookshop from her estranged mother, leading her halfway across the world on a journey of self-discovery that transcends time and honors the unbreakable bonds of love and family. When librarian Valentina Baker was a teenager, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own. Now in her thirties and fresh out of a failed marriage, Val feels a nagging disenchantment with her life–and knows she is still heartbroken over her mother’s abandonment. In a bittersweet twist of fate, Val receives word that Eloise has passed away, leaving Val her Primrose Hill apartment and the deed to a bookshop Val never knew she’d owned. Though the news is devastating, Val finds herself more determined than ever to discover who her mother truly was. She jets across the Atlantic, departing Seattle for a new life in charming London. Slowly but surely, Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the UK, falling in love with her pastel-colored flat, cozy neighborhood, and tucked-away storefront. But when she discovers that The Book Garden is in danger of going under, Val must work with its eccentric staff to get it in working order. In the process, she learns more about Eloise than she ever thought possible. And as Val races to save the shop, Eloise’s own story unfolds, leading both mother and daughter to unearth revelatory truths  ( This in an ARC book review, thanks to a gift from the publisher. It will come out Feb 22/2022)

My take: 4 out of 5. I really enjoyed this book. It has a nice blend of heart and heartache to tug at your heart strings in all the right ways. Its always lovely when the characters are booklovers and reading and their stories inform so much of the story. I also really enjoyed all the scavenger hunts within the book! The book also has so many definitions of love within the book, and how all of them have their place in time.

The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

Goodreads Blurb: Lila Castro is ready to take on her last winter break of high school. The snow is plentiful, the mood is full of holiday cheer, and she’s earning extra cash working at the cozy local inn. But her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Veracruz, becomes her coworker. When they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they both realize they’ve been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets–and a dash of holiday spirit–bring them closer to love? Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it.

my take: 3.75 out of 5. This book is a really cute YA Christmas story. I enjoyed the characters, and the fact that Lila has a book blog about Christmas books made me like her even more. It had a very good mix of elements to make a successful Christmas story: A little mystery, perfect picturesque town and lovely Christmas activities (there’s cookies, sledding, cider, Santa pics, ice skating, you name it!). This would make the perfect predictable but nice Christmas Movie and a great book to read to get you into the Christmas Spirit.

The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole

Goodreads blurb: An enchanted Christmas dress brings two generations of women together for the magic of the season in this delightful holiday story from author Courtney Cole. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season.

When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in the fashion business are over. Add in her father’s eclectic roster of tenants who all need Meg’s attention (ASAP!), a host of building related disasters, and a handsome handyman she keeps embarrassing herself in front of, and this has all the makings for the worst Christmas she’s ever had.Ellie Wade, one of the building’s longtime residents, is also not feeling the Christmas Joy this year. She is preparing to move into a nursing home (reluctantly), and is in the process of sorting through her belongings to downsize. Every corner of her apartment holds memories, some good, some bad. But there’s one dress she hesitates to pack up as it represents both the best and worst night of her life. Ellie and Meg strike up an unlikely friendship and the story of Ellie’s dress comes out. Ellie gifts the gorgeous dress to Meg, hoping that it will bring her more luck, on the condition that she wear it to the building’s Christmas party. The dress magically fits, and while it eventually leads to the best night of Meg’s life, it also acts as inspiration for Meg to follow a life-long dream of her own, a dream that will help save the crumbling Parkview West, and restore it to its former glory, and keep it as a safe home for all of the current tenants. The dress and the magic of the holiday season helps both Meg and Ellie find their own happy endings.   ( This in an ARC book review, thanks to a gift from the publisher. It came out Nov 9th)

my take: 3 out of 5. Its a cute Christmas story that tried to cram too many flavors in a recipe that ended up getting muddy. Some things going for it: its a very quick and engaging read, I love all the tenants from the building and the whole architectural storyline is cool. What i think didn’t do it for me is that it tried to get too many storylines in a short story. the “magical” dress could have been the only storyline, but you add to it a building falling apart, reconstruction of the building, ridiculously quick romances, jilted ex lovers etc. and its just a lot of story to go around, even though each individual storyline is quite interesting. All together it just seems a bit far fetched and veers on my Christmas ranking on Predictable but naughty.

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