Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix–in the dead of winter, no less–the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride–and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

My Thoughts: I was really drawn to this book because the cover was very festive and looked like a lot of fun. The story was creative and unique: an elderly widow with a blog decides to take a road trip on route 66 and spread “Christmas Joy”  as she goes. She invites her neighbor, Miranda, who is facing hard times. I really enjoyed this story. The main character, Joy, was a sweet lady who made it her mission to brighten the lives of people who were down on their luck. The road trip aspect was a lot of fun…it was a fun adventure and I felt motivated to do something nice for someone after reading it. I loved that the story had a Christmas theme throughout the entire book (many times I’ve found that Christmas books don’t have a lot of “Christmas moments” in them).

The only thing I didn’t like was a very cliched plot point that occurred towards the end of the book. It was unnecessary to the story and felt very unrealistic and forced.

My rating: 4/5 stars. This would be a great book to cozy up with beside the Christmas tree with a nice cup of cocoa.

I received this book from Revell reads for their blog tour.

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The Grownup by Gillian Flynn Review

guPlot According to Goodreads: A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection; however, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

My Thoughts: I have read all three of Gillian Flynn’s books and have given them 4 or 5 out of 5 stars (Gone Girl is one of my favorite books of all time). So naturally, I was thrilled to find The Grownup as a book for request on Blogging for Books. It originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology. I knew it was a short story but was surprised at how small the book was when I received it. It’s 62 pages, but Flynn packs a big punch into every paragraph. The story was just okay for me. I think my expectations were higher than they should have been. I am not normally a fan of short stories because I don’t feel like I have enough time to fall into the story. For this book, I was able to get into the story quickly but my main issue is that it felt unfinished. It has the trademark twist that Gillian Flynn is great at but I’m not sure it worked with this story. I wanted more…she leaves the ending to the reader’s imagination but I felt as though there weren’t enough details for me to complete the story.

Overall, I’m glad that I read it, but it didn’t live up to Gillian Flynn’s other books.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.