Back in November while I was subbing for a reading class, I decided to flip through Scholastic book catalogs left in the classroom for the kids. I’m trying to stay hip on new trendy books. While the kids were actually being quiet (rarer than a solar eclipse) and reading Wonder, I quickly wrote down YA/middle-aged level books that seemed interesting to me. One of these books were Hot Cocoa Hearts by Suzanne Nelson. Of course, since this was in November, I promised myself I would read it in the beginning of December. Yes, my dearest readers, I actually kept this promise to myself. I will admit I have been trying to break my romance novel habit and avoiding winter books like the plague. Hot Cocoa Hearts is a nice in between novel. It has wintery elements and a nice adorable slow burn teenage romance.
Forced to be an elf at her parents photo booth at the mall, Emery Mason dislikes it. Repeatedly, Emery communicates to the readers her feelings on the commercialism of Christmas, angry parents, and hangry kids. Been there, hangry kids are not fun. Lacking the Christmas spirit her family seems to have, she is the teen romance equivalent of the Grinch. Overall, Hot Cocoa Hearts had an adorable plot and warmed my dark soul like hot cocoa title.
A Couple of Quick Notes about Hot Cocoa Hearts:
-Emery’s character seemed a bit over the top, and I initially found her annoying. I dislike admitting this about any character, but she acted immature in the beginning of the book. By the end, she began growing on me and redeemed herself.
-Alejandro Perez, slowly becomes her friend/has a crush on her, now if only I could find an adult male version of him.
-Secret Santa plot line (I don’t want to spoil it) pays attention and really understands what kind of gifts she would enjoy.
-I enjoyed the budding friendship between Nyssa Vanderfield and Emery.
-I want more Jez!
5 Wintery Books on My TBR
1. Snow One Like You by Natalie Blitt
Out of all the books on this list, Snow One Like You is the most similar to Hot Coco Hearts in terms of plot. In the town of Flurry, Vermont, every year there is a Winter Festival. With no prediction of snow, Mia wonders how the town will have their festival and how to work up the courage to show the new boy Yoshi how much fun snowball fights can be.
2. Secrets in the Snow by Michaela MacColl
Following the 19th century stereotype, Jane Austen’s family is eager to marry her off to the closest living man they could find. While her family plots and probably puts some adds in the local newspaper, Jane wants to write books. Her parents, finally catch a live one, want her to marry Tom Lefroy. Believe it or not, Jane starts to fall for him. Good choice parents, the personal ad did the trick. During the course of the novel, her cousin is accused of aiding the French, finds herself busy proving her family’s innocence, solving a murder, and facing a decision that might mean the sacrifice of her one true love. Deep stuff.
3. Decked with Holly by Marni Bates
Unlike some YA books, the premise of Decked with Holly attracted me to it. The premise is pretty simple. Girl goes on Christmas cruise. Girl meets boy. Boy is a rock star. Then, girl becomes boy’s fake girlfriend.
4. Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz
At this rate, I’ll never actually read the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen especially after Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Instead, I’ll probably be settling in with this Christmasy gender swapped version!
5. Jane Austen and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron
Damn, Jane Austen does a lot of crime solving in mysteries. How does she ever have time to write? Note: I have never read any of Jane Austen’s works. Don’t let this wintery list fool you!