Title: The Christmas Lights Battle
Publication Date: December 5, 2018
Length: 212 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
For a single dad and his neighbor, the Christmas competition is on!
Julian Moss wants to give his children a happy Christmas. Since his divorce, Julian has no time for a social life; he’s been doing the tiring work of two parents while his cheating ex-husband dodges his responsibilities. If that isn’t stressful enough, he has to deal with his new—and ridiculously good-looking—neighbor and his noisy dogs. Christmas used to be Julian’s favorite holiday, but lately all he sees is the cost. Then Julian’s young son tells him about a Christmas lights competition with a much-needed prize.
Leo Adams is going to be alone for Christmas…again. All he’s ever wanted is to be accepted by his family, but he knows that will never happen. Deciding to focus on his career as a personal trainer, Leo develops a boot camp program on the beach, but he needs publicity. The lights competition offers Leo a way to get some free press, and if it annoys his snooty neighbor Julian—all the better.
The battle is on, and both Julian and Leo want to win. The stakes are high, the reward is great, and the neighbors are in it to win it. There’s nothing like a little competition to make Christmas at Shelby Beach extra merry and bright.
Season’s Greetings! Skylar, here. I’m thrilled to be here to share my upcoming release The Christmas Lights Battle: A Shelby Beach Romance.
Many times when I attend a conference, one of the most popular questions is “Where do you get your inspiration?” Truthfully, there are some books that do not have an interesting origin. But The Christmas Lights Battle was inspired by my real life friend.
Every year, my friend James has a huge party at his house the day after Thanksgiving. He sends out invitations a month in advance. So last year, even though we were still full from all the turkey and pies, my husband and I knew the party would be massive.
We expected to eat a lot of food. Not wanting to go to the party empty-handed, I made a pasta salad and my children baked cookies. When my husband returned from the Black Friday deals (he’s the shopper in our family), we all piled into our van and drove to his house. Then we arrived at the house, and I saw this party would be different from the other ones that James had thrown.
He had always loved Christmas lights. One of his joys was to decorate his yard. But that year…well, James had gone light-crazy. He had big lights on his six-foot tree with a giant Santa underneath playing a guitar that flashed Christmas Rocks! There were different colors every five minutes—it was rainbow overload. My kids pointed out the inflatables from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that decorated his porch. He had Santa and Rudolph, but also the Abominable Snowman and even Hermey, the aspiring dentist. When we saw how many lights he had, my husband and I laughed and said his electricity bill must be sky high. But honestly, we also thought it was sweet. James clearly loved Christmas and had gone all out.
James told us that he was thinking about entering a lights competition. He wanted to use his computer and create an entire show, timing the lights with music. As he excitedly discussed his plans, the idea for The Christmas Lights Battle was born!
All writers can relate to this next part: I wanted to leave because I needed to write.
Already ideas were shaping in my mind of who might enter a lights competition and why. From then on, it was all I could think about. I didn’t leave since the party had just started, but as I stood in his yard and gazed at the twinkling lights, Julian and Leo spoke to me. In spite of the noise of the crowd, their voices were all I heard. Julian and Leo would be neighbors. Their battle would begin with some hostility, but soon it would give way to friendship and then to love….
Flash forward one year later: I am standing with James, admiring his new decorations. My book is in the final stages of being edited, and I feel blessed that exactly a year ago the inspiration for this story came to me. It arrived the way the best things in life often do—as a surprise.
Julian had a lot of family and love and Leo didn't. Sure Leo had friends, his chosen family, but this time of year always left him aching for family. Julian has that in abundance, and while he's going through some struggles of his own he realized Leo was the final piece to the perfect family.
When I finished reading this book I felt lighter and happy and like I needed to up my lighting game. This is a do not miss for your holiday TBR list. And when I say list, I mean bump it up there. You won't be sorry.
Tell me about your most memorable holiday party. One commenter will win an e-book of choice from my backlist.
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