When I first started reading this story, I didn’t actually realise that Matthew was the child from Finding Pride. Mostly because I didn’t really think things through for a little while. And then it all clicked, and I immediately loved this even more. I mean, I loved the first part of this was enjoyable anyway, but when I started realising the connections and putting all of the pieces together… it made me much, much happier. Although, when it comes to a well written book that is a nice, easy read, it doesn’t take much to make me an incredibly happy woman.
Blake’s disappearance from Matthew’s life is a bit of a mystery throughout much of the book. But I did love that when the truth is revealed, it might be a little bit about love, but mostly it was just totally unrelated to Matthew at all. The fact that they both kind of subconsciously pined for each other in the two year interim… it made the quick jump from calm to steamy in their relationship a whole lot more understandable… and palatable. It was also nice to read about their Meet Cute before the sparks even start to fly.
This was a fun Christmas story, but the part of it that I enjoyed the most was the fact that it is a Christmas story set in a haunted house. That added mystery built alongside the story of Matthew and Blake’s relationship. Again, making this a very difficult book to put down. Or aside, or just forget about in any way, shape or form. There’s something about haunted houses that make me very happy, and the fact that it’s a haunted house at Christmas?
Although I enjoyed this novel, it’s probably the house that I will dream about. It had this amazing old school charm, ghosts, history and just… it felt like the vibes of my dream home. So now I shall go and dream about it in my own time…
This was a very fun and short Christmas novella. One that transports you back to Pride, Oregon. It’s made me want to dig into yet another one of these contemporary romance series set in small towns. Just too cute and sweet to be real. But a whole lot of fun to read about. The fact that it was set during Christmas time was all that much better. And the fact that although it took place in Pride, it wasn’t actually about one of the couples from this town.
I always love a good childhood friends to lovers kind of trope. Particularly when they’ve always felt that way but been unable to act on their emotions. It’s this great jump from friendship to lovers that show that they know everything about one another. Probably my favourite trope because they genuinely know where each other’s skeletons are buried but choose to fall in love anyway.
Alice and Eric are an incredibly cute and sweet couple. They’re the kind of couple that I love to read about. And the backdrop of a winter storm along a beach at a bed and breakfast? Just ridiculously wonderful and enjoyable. I love the beach, but now I have a ridiculous urge to go and see it in the winter. At Christmas. With the man I love hunkered down into the cottage with me…
This is my first every Jill Sanders book, and I’m definitely feeling like I’m a convert after reading this. Sanders has tones of Robyn Carr, not quite as impossible to put down, but still that great feeling of simplicity and joy that I’ve come to associate with her novels. The small town romances are definitely a catnip for me, one that I love to settle into and drift away with. The fact that this is also a Christmas story, set in the snow was also seriously enjoyable. Even though this started partway through the Pride series, and I was definitely missing a few bits of information, this was a wonderful contemporary romance that had me smiling and just generally enjoying the feeling of falling in love in a tiny town, covered in snow.
There were a few sad moments through this that helped to contrast with the happy feeling of falling in love and finding your happily ever after. For starters, there is Luke’s gran – she is such an integral part of his life, and her loss is definitely a tragic one. I love that Amber is happy to take the moment and let him process his grief without the complications of a new relationship. Plus, he also buys a beagle puppy which made me incredibly happy. I love that as part of the grieving process for Luke, he has the whole town banding behind him as support. This is the dream of a community – one that is there when you most need them without judgement.
There is also Amber’s backstory. At least Luke’s is filled with love, I can’t fathom the difficulties that she goes through and how callous and horrible her parents are. I thought they would be a bigger challenge to the blossoming relationship between Amber and Luke that they were though. I also love that when this knowledge comes to light in the town, the people automatically and unquestioningly band behind Amber in support. Shutting down gossipers and those who are too far into their own delusions to see reality. Both Amber and Luke have negative family moments throughout this story that they are able to support each other through. But, they also are moments which show how loyal and supportive the town of Pride is.
As an introduction to the Pride series, I found this fantastic and overwhelmingly beautiful. The Christmas aspect made it even more enjoyable. And, even though it is a story that takes partway through a established series, I still enjoyed being swept away. Now I just need to find out more about the rest of the characters and fall in love bit by bit with this tiny little Christmas town.
This short story is actually a little bit heartbreaking, not because of the story per se, but because it focuses on society’s reactions to those who are bigger. Don’t get me wrong, it was also an incredibly cute story. It’s just that the crap that the protagonist has to deal with because she has a bigger frame is horrible. And the fact that she has to handle more of this nonsense than her male counterparts… incredibly annoying. Like I said, a bit of a heartbreaking commentary on our society.
I love that both of the characters in this story are plus sized. And that throughout their short interaction, he encourages her to be a little more comfortable and confident. Particularly when confronting her family who is too busy fat-shaming her to be anything but horrifying. It’s a reminder that sometimes the expected “family time” around the festive season shouldn’t necessarily be adhered to. At least, that’s the way I found it.
The idea that words don’t have an impact is highlighted as seriously wrong in this short story. Bell highlights how much can be internalised from bullying, nonsense and constantly being spoken down to. Although the Meet Cute on the plane in this story potentially will lead to a better, more positive outlook, it’s still a very open-ended story. As much as I would love to believe that this helps in the long term, I’m not entirely sure that it does.
Overall, I loved this short story. It was a great approach to have a holiday story which is not so much about the holiday, but the travel to and from it. And, although my cynical side doesn’t quite get the happily ever after from this, I loved the potential for this. I can’t wait to see what a full-length story from Adrienne Bell reads like if the short story is this good.
There’s a positive and negative to this short story. The positive is that this was seriously enjoyable and I kind of fell in love with it a little / a lot. The negative, now there’s another author and series that I’ve got on my ever-growing TBR. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think I’ll ever catch up on all of the reading that I want to do. Decked Out was a great story featuring a family holiday gone seriously wrong. Kind of hilariously wrong if I’m being honest. It was a little cringy to read, but in the best way possible.
Natalie and Enzo are a wonderfully cute couple. I love that this tale features a woman who is pregnant with twins, and although I know that there is more to their story available in Stripped Down. But, even having not read that, it is possible to put together some of their history and feel the passion of their relationship. Now I can’t wait to see how that developed in Stripped Down. Adding into that Natalie’s ex and the calamities of the two families… this was a seriously wonderful story.
I do love how it is both the best and the worst Christmas. One in which both parties have to find out how to communicate a little better and be a part of a healthy, functioning relationship. Definitely an enjoyable story, that had me giggling quite a bit throughout. Particularly when the pickled grandmother gets involved…
Dave and Tina are a very nice couple. You get behind them from the very beginning and want to see their version of happily ever after completed. Especially as the difficulties in starting their relationship are hinted at. I love that although I haven’t read anything else in this series, it was incredibly easy to figure out the important parts of their relationship. But not enough that you’re not biting at the bit to read the rest of the Love on the Line books. The fact that this short story mentions another couple from the series and is all about spending the holidays with family made them an even cuter couple.
Although most of Dave’s family is completely amazing, Lonnie and Calvin are legitimately the worst family ever. Like, I was completely awestruck by the fact that they not only stole the presents that Tina and Dave were going to give to the rest of the family… they also managed to get half the family arrested and stole identities. It was incredibly impressive and horrible, all at the same time. Makes any chaos within my family seem a little bit more tame.
I loved the proposal twist at the end of this short story. I like when there is a bit of an extra twist to go with all of the stealing and criminal twists throughout this very cute Christmas story. It’s definitely got me intrigued to read more of the Kari Lemor books on my shelf now.
I have to start this review by admitting that I absolutely loved the pun that was in this title. Which I didn’t get until halfway through. Because it is called Exposed and features two photographers – exposed and cameras. It made me very, very happy. It also highlighted how exposed both of the leads felt in this interaction, but that goes down a whole other rabbit hold.
This kind of had Let it Snow vibes with the whole being stranded on a train in the snow. I kind of love these stories which give you a tiny little bottle in which interactions are forced. When it happens with snow, it feels kind of magical. Although, since I’ve only seen snow maybe twice in my life, it’s a bit hard to actually know if it is as romantic and magical as it reads…
Not only was this a fun novella and one that stands beautifully by itself, it also touches upon two other stories in this series. Firstly, there are a few mentions to the previous novella – Baby, It’s Cold Outside. And then, there’s hints towards what Tag’s story in Catch Me If You Can will be like. Both of which I loved. It’s always nice to have a vein of connection throughout stories which stand beautifully by themselves, but also work well together.
I loved the compromise at the end of this story. I am a strong believer in the idea that relationships are all about compromise. Whether they be romantic or platonic. So the fact that Austin and Delilah manage to find that compromise in their own version of happily ever after left me feeling very content. There’s nothing more that I hate than a story which features a couple in which one has had to give up everything to be with the other.
Finally, it was Austin’s final leap of faith and confidence in each other that made me really enjoy this novella. Those grand gestures that are always in media are just so damn cute and this one definitely gave me all of the happy feelings.
I have to start this review with the point that I swear to god I’ve seen this movie on Netflix. But, as I don’t have Netflix anymore, I’m not entirely certain. But, I swear it feels like I’ve seen this before. The fact that it is Jenny Holiday’s version of a Hallmark Christmas movie might be why it seems so familiar though… but I digress. This was a fun and entertaining Christmas read that had me smiling and just generally enjoying the feeling of the season. A great way to get myself mentally prepared for the insanity that hits around December 25th.
Although this was a wonderfully cute and funny story, it did take me a little while to get into it. Leo and Marie are a nice couple, but I didn’t immediately fall in love with either of them, so it was hard to start barracking for the couple. Eventually though, I started to actually want to know that they were going to find their happily ever after. Particularly since this was a romance that was built primarily on friendship, rather than the insta-love tale that sometimes fills my shelves. I love how Leo and Marie slowly get to know each other and just enjoy each other’s’ company for the first half of the book. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a romance that is built upon a friendship first.
If you read the author’s commentary on why she wrote this book, she points out that this was supposed to be her version of a Hallmark Christmas movie. There are so many sassy little references to this throughout the book that leave you smiling and laughing. I love how Holiday is able to poke fun at the genre even as she is writing within it. Yet, there is also something wonderful about the idea of the picturesque country and town of Eldovia where hot chocolate competitions are considered completely normal and there is snow everywhere. Definitely a book I will reread next year in the lead up to Christmas.
Leo and Marie are a somewhat cute couple, one that I did enjoy getting to know. But, I must admit, that there are moments when Gabby steals the show a little. She’s such a happy chatterbox and sweetheart. I hope that she at least makes a bit of an appearance in the next two books in this fun Christmas trilogy.
I laughed so much throughout this story. It was hilarious and pithy and sassy. Everything I like in a short story that is designed to just sweep you away for a little while. I should have gotten from the title that I would find this humorous, but as the story unfolded I just found everything more and more entertaining.
Bringing families together can always be a fairly intimidating thing to do. It’s almost always slightly chaotic, but the pure, unadulterated chaos in this story was of a whole other kind. The fact that it was going to be chaotic due to the secrets that Rafe was hiding anyway, started it off on a good note. But then the fact that his family basically got Mai’s tightly buttoned crew high… such a ridiculous story. Honestly, everything about this was funnily ridiculous.
I loved this short story. It was a fun and chaotic Christmas family time. Mixing in the paranormal, secrets and drugs… a recipe for pure enjoyment and chaos.
Jada and Marsh are an absolutely gorgeous couple. One that I look forward to reading more about in their full-length novel, Loaded. They have such a wonderfully comfortable way of being together. The glances and non-verbal communication that great indication of a healthy, understanding relationship. It’s made me want to dive right back into the Gilded Love series and get to this story…
I love that although Jada and Marsh have a clearly happy and healthy relationship, there are still a lot of secrets between them. Throughout this short story, there is a slow unveiling of these secrets. Mostly on the behalf of Marsh, and the way that they deal with this conflict works well. Particularly how Jada puts up with all of the nonsense that is thrown her way during the course of meeting Marsh’s family.
All family is kind of batty and insane, but Marsh’s definitely takes the cake. Every moment in this story unveils a moment of just pure insanity. I spent most of the time reading this shaking my head in bemused horror. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to walk unprepared into such a ridiculous situation.
Ultimately, I loved this whole story, particularly the ending. Especially the way in which there was poetic justice and a whole lot of happy comeuppance to the painful characters throughout this story. It had that nice feeling of poetic justice at the end and a happily ever after journey into the sunset.