Book Review

Book Review: The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Holiday Romance Novella
Length: 185 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Kobo Originals
Release Date: December 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the author of THE BERGMAN BROTHERS series comes a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers holiday romance, perfect for fans of THE HATING GAME and YOU’VE GOT MAIL.

He loathes the holidays. She loves them. She’s full of festive cheer. He’s brimming with Bah, Humbugs. Besides unreasonably seasonable names, the only thing Jonathan Frost and Gabriella Di Natale have in common is a healthy dose of mutual contempt. Well, that and the same place of employment at the city’s most beloved independent bookstore, Bailey’s Bookshop. But when the store’s owners confess its dire financial state, Jonathan and Gabby discover another unfortunate commonality: the imminent threat of unemployment.

With the Baileys’ requests to minimize expenses, win new customers, and make record sales dancing in their heads, Jonathan and Gabby conclude—barring a financial Christmas miracle—one of them will soon be cut from the payroll. Neither are willing to step down from their position, so they strike a bargain: whoever has more sales in December gets to stay on in the new year; the loser will resign. With a lifetime’s worth of festive tricks up her sleeve, Gabby should easily outsell her nemesis, except the unreadable Mr. Frost’s every move seems purely designed to throw her off her game.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabby’s deceptive ex won’t quit pursuing her, and her anonymous online friend suggests they take a break. Worst of all, as the pressure mounts to save the bookshop and her job, Gabby meets a new, tender side of Jonathan. Is this the same man she’s called her cold-hearted enemy?

Maybe he’s got a motive she just can’t figure out—or maybe Jonathan Frost isn’t as chilly as she once thought. Maybe Jonathan and Gabby already know—and love—each other in ways they never thought possible.

This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

PERFECT HOLIDAY NOVELLA.

But no really. I expected no less and got more than I could hope for. These are the kind of holiday romances I love to read. I have absolutely no complaints other than I wish this was a full fledged book and hope we get more Christmas romances from the author!

There was a delicious mix of grump/sunshine and enemies to lovers tropes. Through in the You’ve Got Mail vibes and I COULD NOT HANDLE THE SWEETNESS. This slow burn gives all the best kind of angst. The begging to kiss, to shout that they love each other, let those feelings be known!! Along with great representation (demisexual, autism and type 1 diabetes) this book was a hit.

I love the bookstore setting that had just the right touch of holiday atmosphere. I wanted to curl up in that store with a book and watch these two try not to flirt as they moved throughout the store.

This is a novella that I could write an endless review for because I loved it so much. Highly recommend for the holiday romance lover, and the reader looking to try out a holiday romance! A wonderful gateway read with perfect pacing and a satisfying ending.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance Holiday Novella
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two open door scenes + innuendo
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: ableism, type-1 diabetes

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Duke, Actually (A Princess for Christmas #2) by Jenny Holiday

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Jenny Holiay
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday follows A Princess for Christmas with another delightful contemporary Christmas romance between a playboy baron and a woman who has said goodbye to love.

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything? 

CHARMING (& BETTER THAN THE FIRST).

Pleasantly happy with this one. I had some mixed feeling over A Princess for Christmas, but holiday romances call my name every year and I couldn’t skip this one. Luckily enough, it’s my new favorite of the two.

I loved the slow build between Dani and Max. The texts, phone calls, chance meetings and forced proximity moments gave them plenty of chances to turn acquaintances into lovers. I liked this that this took over a year and there were many sides to both Dani and Max’s backgrounds. They leaned on each other in the tough times and found a connection as friends before making that last leap. I thought it might hit friends with benefits territory (which I don’t personally love), but it didn’t. The progression was perfectly suited for the book.

Max was so tender and passionate. I loved watching him reconnect with his brother and coming into his own as responsibility was thrown his way. He was incredibly sweet and respectful of Dani and all of the things he did for her had me smiling. I adored Dani as well and loved that this was a dual-POV. My favorite for romances!

I didn’t like the running away trope towards the end, but the rest of the book was stellar enough that I kept my rating. It was a great vibe of Hallmark after dark and plenty of Christmastime cheer too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: alcoholic & abusive father, loss of a parent (on page), divorce

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Sweethaven Press
Release Date: October 26th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lauren Richmond isn’t a fan of Christmas.

Which is why she rarely makes the trip home to the Midwest for the holidays. After all, she has plenty to keep her busy—namely, her duties as a set decorator on a TV sitcom.

But this December, Lauren‘s brother and his wife are expecting a baby, so her brother arranges a ride home for her with his good friend, Will.

Unfortunately for Lauren, she’s been trying to forget college baseball coach and childhood crush Will Sinclair for more than ten years.

Now, thanks to her fear of flying, she’s stuck in a car with him from California to Illinois.

She’s circumspect and organized. He’s flirty and spontaneous.

She’s convinced that people don’t change. He’s trying to prove to her (and himself) that he has.

On this cross-country road trip, they’ll both discover that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself. . . but like any good Christmas carol, it does have a second verse.

PULLED AT MY HEART.

This is one of those five stars that even when you noticed some flaws, the read still pulled at your soul in so many ways that it deserves the highest rating. What a great Christmas-time read and put me into the spirit of the season.

I love how even over the course of just a few days I felt drawn and attached to Lauren and Will’s second chance romance. A lot comes out when you’re stuck on the road for long periods of time, and wow did it! They were both deep and nuanced characters who I resonated with. I felt for them, I wanted to hug them, and I really wanted them to JUST KISS ALREADY. Don’t worry, I got that too.

Filled with holiday goodness I highly recommend this one for your TBR. Couldn’t get enough. It’s fast paced and easy to fly through. I love the theme of grace and choosing your own story, even when you need to rewrite a few pages. There’s hope in the future.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: divorced and neglectful parents

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: On the Second Day of Christmas (Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair #4) by Deborah M. Hathaway

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 228 pages
Author: Deborah M. Hathaway
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Slipping on the ice is bad enough—being treated by the physician she rejected years ago is simply unbearable.

Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair
Sweet, Regency Christmas Romances

Five Christmas romances and the Frost Fair that started them all

Headstrong and independent, Miss Lucy Lincoln wishes to find a husband who shares her taste for adventure. Until then, she is determined to live her life without regrets. Well, except for the one she already has—humiliating poor Benjamin Kent after his unwanted marriage proposal years earlier. After an accident at the Frost Fair draws that same insecure gentleman to care for her injury, she finally asks for forgiveness. But Dr. Kent, now a respectable gentleman and physician, is unwilling to accept her apology.

Benjamin Kent wants nothing more than to live out his days in peace and seclusion away from London Society—and away from his memories of Lucy Lincoln. But when his conscience forces him to treat the woman, he cannot pass on the opportunity to finally let her know that she no longer has him under her spell.

Rather than being relieved with Benjamin’s indifference, Lucy struggles to accept the fact that little, shy Benjamin now shows irresistible confidence—and an unsettling apathy toward her. When sparks smolder between them, though, Benjamin must fight to keep his old feelings in the past, and Lucy must realize before it’s too late that either Benjamin has changed…or her own feelings have.

This is the fourth book in the clean and sweet Regency romance Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair series.
Although this second chance romance is a stand-alone novel, the books are best enjoyed when read in order.

A GREAT RESOLUTION.

I’ve made it through four of these books now, and they’re totally predictable and have some of the same characteristics. BUT, they are also easy reads with adorable romances and subtle moments that I’ve really enjoyed diving into. Quick Christmas regency romance reads.

I liked that this one differed from the others in the overall plot. Lucy had to try and regain Benjamin’s confidence and right several wrongs of their past. It made for great banter that had me smiling and loving the connection they were reforming. Some of the side characters were a touch too much, but they seemed to add contrast to the main’s.

Ben and Lucy both had flaws and I loved seeing those along with them growing and recognizing how they both could work together. This installment was incredibly sweet and I have been loving all of the holiday vibes.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: slips & falls, nearly falling into an icy river

Instagram || Goodreads