Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! I naturally was curious about the sequel and when she offered to send me “Happy Everything” I felt it was a fitting way to begin my New Year reading the sequel and kicking off my #SaturdaysAreBookish featured reviews.
Except to say, it took me until #IndieApril to find the focus I needed to re-absorb myself back into this lovely series – as the first bits of the New Year did not quite pan out the way I had intended them too! By sharing this review during April, I was hoping to re-highlight how much I enjoy hosting my #SatBookChat authors whilst also noting that I am a champion for #IndieAuthors both on my blog Jorie Loves A Story and through my @SatBookChat showcases.
I had the best of plans to run this during #IndieApril – however, a migraine and seasonal pollen allergies interfered and I had to bump this showcase forward to a weekend where I was free of both! I find May the hardest month to transition through for my pollen allergies and thus, this review kept getting bumped forward until now, finally in JUNE I can share it at long last! It also kicks off a new sequence of #SatBookChat Reviews wherein I am reading and reviewing my @SatBookChat backlogue!
I received a complimentary copy of “Happy Everything” direct from the author Debby Caruso in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
On what I enjoyed about “Merry Hanukkah”:
We enter Rhonda’s life at her wedding – where despite the festive nature of the day, there is a foreboding undercurrent of doubt in regards to whether or not her in-laws truly accept her as they’re daughter-in-law; as an ill-fated scene played out at the height of the celebrations. You could gather there was something brewing in the background – perhaps, the in-laws weren’t certain of their son’s choice due to the combining of their religious backgrounds? As the ceremony was delightfully equally divided between both their traditions, uniting them both through love and the faith they shared between them. Yet, I could imagine this might not settle well for traditionalists who might prefer the ceremony had been singular rather than plural and spilt.
It is here where you see how Rhonda is trying to balance her life through the holidays – as we fast forward a bit to where she’s bursting with anxiety about how to combine Christmas and Hanukkah – or rather, to come up with a crazy plan of action with her best friend Dez (whose never out of zingers and zany remarks!) as this is the year she wants to prove to her mother-in-law she and James can have a happily ever after as a family who celebrates both religious heritages. The irony though is that she is approaching it as if she needs to make it the picture perfect reality she envisions rather than trying to keep it a bit more real and humble, knowing not everything has to go smoothly in order to be the best holiday you’ve celebrated.
Before Rhonda can make her plans though, life starts to grab her at the quick! Her agency wants her to be part of the team who can deliver an ad campaign worthy of a New Year and her husband’s family goes through the process of loss before the holidays even start to blink into sight. It proves that no matter how hard you try to organise your life, there are days and moments you can’t plan for ahead of time. Life finds a way to unsettle your status quo and take you for a bit of a ride whenever things seem to be a bit on the quiet side.
As soon as you pick up Merry Hanukkah, you know your in for a delightful fun read – as Caruso has a natural talent for humour and wit; lacing in her style of Contemporary life with the fuell of comedy she evokes a sense of festive cheerfulness in her story. This isn’t a story to take too seriously as at the heart of the story itself is the truer blissitude and purpose behind why we all celebrate the holidays together as best we can as we merge our families together. Not all families can agree on the details but for those of us who celebrated the holidays whilst combining traditions and memories, those were the holidays you remember the most. Where everyone found a way to come together uniting through the blessing of the season and finding a reason to celebrate the joyfulness of being together.
This is what you can pick up on whilst reading the story – as Caruso wants to show how even if you have a family at odds with one another on certain points, there is renewed hope in being able to come together for the special moments in life which unite us without having to worry about all the little particulars that no one will remember anyway!
Caruso has a quick style – similar to writing for screen where she places you in-scene rather immediately and lets each individual scene speak for itself. As you shift between the chapters, you notice her style as you don’t wait long for embellishments on the previous disclosure and sequences, as you’ve found the plot has already moved forward. This works well for a short Holiday Contemporary like this one, as the pacing is matching the rush you feel at the holidays where there is never enough time to get everything accomplished you wish to get done.
-quoted from my book review for Merry Hanukkah
Happy Everything is the ongoing story of Rhonda and James, following them from Merry Hanukkah directly into the much anticipated second installment in the Merry Hanukkah series.
Everyone’s favorite newlyweds have settled into married life, but now it’s Dez and Jack’s turn to make it official. In typical Rhonda fashion, she’s determined to give her best friend Dez the best bridal shower ever, all while juggling yet another work crisis and still trying desperately to fit in to her new family situation. Unfortunately, Aunt Bunny is diagnosed with cancer, and the entire family starts coming apart at the seams. Rhonda and James step in to help support Uncle Ben any way they can, but it’s never enough for Rhonda’s incorrigible mother-in-law, Vivian. Will Vivian’s constant meddling finally cause Rhonda and James irreparable damage? Is there any way that Rhonda can pull the family together by hosting both Passover and Easter on the same weekend?
Why is Rhonda’s Dad suddenly dating someone much younger than him? And how can Rhonda come up with a new and exciting way to sell protein bars?
Follow Rhonda into this new chapter of her life, where success hinges on the latest and greatest ad campaign, and her personal triumphs are determined by how much she can do for others. Journey with her as she begins to slowly realize that she can’t be all things to all people; even the ones you love the most.
Places to find the book:
Published by Self Published
on 13th September, 2019
Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback
The Merry Hanukkah series:
Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review
Happy Everything (book two)
Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #WomensFiction or #RomCom
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook Read More
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- #SatBookChat Reviews 2020
- 2020 Backlogue Reviews