Book Review

Book Review: A Not-So Holiday Paradise (Christmas Escapes #5) by Gracie Ruth Mitchell

Rating: ★★★★
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Length: 242 pages
Author: Gracie Ruth Mitchell
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: November 16th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads



1) Sunscreen, obviously. Because these Irish freckles of mine will burn, baby, burn, and lobster red is not a great color on me.
2) An extra dose of my seizure meds, just in case.
3) A backpack full of snacks, including but not limited to a canteen of Dr. Pepper, a box of mini Christmas cookies, and granola bars—the gross crumbly kind, not the chocolate chip kind, because I’m trying to be healthy.
4) Sunglasses, so that when I inevitably wind up staring at my brother’s best friend—who I haven’t seen in years—no one will be able to tell. I’ve been in love with him forever, but it would never work out; he lives on a literal island, while I’m still in grad school. It can’t hurt to look, though, right?
5) Also bug spray.

My packing list is all well and good for a quick port excursion as part of my family’s Christmas cruise. But when the cruise ship leaves me behind, with only the contents of my bag and my brother’s best friend to keep me company? Well, I’ve got problems–especially since I’m going to run out of medicine soon. And I don’t think they make sunscreen strong enough to block the sparks that are growing between Beckett and me…

Enjoy the other books in this series that can be read in any order:


This felt fresh to the holiday genre. Set on a cruise and a small island, it’s got a much different vibe without any snow around (but there’s a big storm, don’t worry!).

What I didn’t know would be my kryptonite was the phrase good girl used in here. Not commonly seen in sweet romance books I loved how this was used here! I’m going to need to see that more often ASAP.

There’s some great forced proximity moments between these two and I always love a brother’s best friend trope. I thought both of these played well. I didn’t always love the FMC, but I did love the epilepsy rep. And the MMC anxiety rep! Both of these were written well and I loved learning more about epilepsy from the author.

I thought the book overall was sweet and fast paced. I really just enjoyed reading it, ya know? There’s bit of a momentum loss towards the end but those last few pages help make it up and I love a down the years epilogue to feel all the flutters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: on page epileptic seizure, anxiety depiction

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