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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review: Kavanagh Christmas by Sarah Robinson

There's a possibility that I might be the only one who didn't enjoy this one which makes me all kinds of sad because I have loved this series from the beginning. To me it was more "heartbreaking" than "heartwarming."

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: November 7, 2017

The heartfelt holiday conclusion to the Kavanagh Legends family saga revisits all the couples that readers have fallen in love with throughout the series. An angsty and loving Christmas novella, it's the perfect goodbye to these Irish MMA fighters and a glimpse into what the future holds for them.

With the Christmas season fast approaching, the entire Kavanagh family is feeling anything but the holiday spirit. Commitments are questioned, relationships are tense, and bickering is nonstop.

However, when a crisis strikes and the family realizes that they might lose one of their own, they'll come together to remember the reason for the season is first, and foremost, love and family.

NOTE: This novella also contains a free short story, Rory & Clare, and two excerpts from other Sarah Robinson novels at the end. The holiday novella itself is 35,000 words.

What’s it About? Readers get to catch up with the Kavanaghs for the holidays as established relationships are tested, new relationships take it to the next level and the entire clan gets a VERY solid conclusion.

Overall reaction to the story? I was not expecting this type of conclusion and honestly, I didn’t think it was up to par with what I’ve come to expect from this author and this series. I’ve been in love with the Kavanagh series from the start and have looked forward to each book in the series. This family has had its ups and downs but through it all they’ve always had each other’s backs, yet I felt like these characters were strangers to one another. I had two big issues with this novella that is supposed to serve as the conclusion to a series that was always high on my “Must” list.

In Kavanagh Christmas readers are invited back into the large, boisterous Kavanagh family for the holidays to see just what they’ve been up to since the ending of the fourth book, Chasing a Legend. However, the tone of this book is just so different than the others, and this was my first issue with it, I wanted to fall back in love with this clan, not feel like I need to get away from them and their too-heavy-for-me problems. What I’m trying to say is if you’re looking for an uplifting, happy holiday read, this is NOT it.

I’ve liked that author Sarah Robinson didn’t shy away from life’s tough spots, Rory with his demons and addictions, and Kieran with his prison record but I wasn’t expecting that she’d take the holiday season and turn it into a tear jerker from start to finish. I’m not sure that that is everyone’s cup of tea during the holidays. I know it wasn’t mine when I read it, mostly because I wasn’t prepared for that level of heartbreak. So yeah, that wasn’t something I wanted to read about right now.

The four relationships that have already been established in previous books that are being revisited here and I was thrilled about that. These couples are all still in love but at the same time they’re quick to show that their relationships didn’t get easy just because they told each other the big “L” word. Nope, everyone is dealing with their own little (or big) bumps in the road. Some were sweet and silly but others were pretty heavy. I could handle that if it was one couple in their own book, but this was almost EVERYONE having some major conflict and that really set the tone for the novella to be depressing and discouraging. Again, not something everyone is going to want to read right now.

There’s also the introduction and peek into the relationships of the two remaining Kavanaghs, youngest son Jimmy, and the Kavanagh cousin Casey. These two characters’ respective relationships happened “off page” and are stable points when the novella starts. This was a second big issue with me.

I’m not gonna lie, I really felt cheated as a faithful fan and reader that the series ended without giving the two youngest members of the Kavanagh family their own stories. In particular Casey who had a scene in Chasing a Legend that made me hope she would get her own story. Instead, we get the fast forwarded version in Kavanagh Christmas where everything is said and done and she’s in a relationship, about to take it to the next level. I definitely put my cranky, that’s-not-fair pants on for that. Disappointed like you wouldn’t believe!

Normally when a much loved series is at its end, a reader feels a bit of sadness when reading the last book, but there’s always a smile and a sense of lightness when that last page is read. I didn’t get that with Kavanagh Christmas, sadly, I felt depressed that one of my favorite families didn’t end on a high note, and very cheated that Jimmy and Casey got shafted out of their own stories. I still love Sarah Robinson as an author and I’m curious to see what she’s planning next but this wasn’t one of her best works. I hate that I didn’t love it.

Click It or Skip It? Skip it. I really am having a hard time getting past this conclusion to a series that still had some legs (and two remaining characters) to it.

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