This is a disgustingly yummy and drool-worthy office romance. The fact that it’s all instigated by Secret Santa is just all that much better. I mean, my gosh, I love a good office romance that is filled with lust and sex. But when it also takes into account a little bit of Christmas? That’s what dreams are made of… at least around Christmas time when sometimes it can be a bit hard to get into the Christmas theme around town…
I love how wonderfully buttoned up Amanda is and how she is so aware of the double standards in the world. The voices that she hears is a little bit concerning though. I mean a lot of us have the angel and devil on our shoulders bit because, well, conscience. But these ones took on a little bit too much of an intensity. It got kind of uncomfortable.
As I’ve come to expect from Denison, this is a great, light and easy read. One filled with lust and a lot of seduction. And seriously enjoyable in all of its simple glory.
I’ve loved the nutcracker as a Christmas story in whatever version for as long as I can remember. So, of course when I saw that there was a novel retelling of it in a contemporary romance format… I was pretty keen to dive right in. And I most definitely was not disappointed! This was a wonderful Christmas story in and of itself, but as a reimagining of some of the themes throughout the Nutcracker? I really enjoyed it. This was one of those rare retellings that took the themes and some of the characterisations, but Alden was able to truly make it her own.
I love that throughout this story, Nash is just trying to show Clara what there is to love about their city and life with him. He might not be exactly subtle about some of it, but he is also obviously trying to make her see what there is to love about home. And also showing how much he truly knows her. Although it’s, admittedly, a little bit manipulative, it’s also incredibly sweet. Particularly the fact that everything he chooses shows Clara just how much he adores her and knows about her.
While reading this, I did think a lot about my little sister. She too has the wanderlust and need to travel. Itchy feet can lead to some pretty incredible adventures, and I love how Clara is able to harness that within her job. However, like my sister, there is a sense of fleeing in all of Clara’s actions. I really enjoy that at the end, she doesn’t have to give up her wanderlust and enjoyment of travel. But rather it’s about finding a better balance. Both in her life and Nash’s. But honestly, seriously the coolest job ever.
This was an incredibly Christmassy book. Not just in the fact that it’s actually set at Christmas and has the whole nutcracker retelling aspect. But also, in the fact that there is so much family involvement. For me, Christmas time is all about family and the chaos that is sure to follow with that kind of gathering. It’s about love and laughter. Alden highlights all of this really well in her story and makes you think of cozy nights with family around laughing and smiling.
I did find Beth a little bit whiney in this story. In fact, at the beginning, I found her a little bit difficult to deal with. But, as the story unfolded, she kind of grew on me. Slowly but surely. And then, once I started to actually enjoy her as a character, it became a whole lot easier to enjoy this novel. Probably because once she grew on me she was also a little bit less whiney and a lot more relatable. Which for me is always important in a character.
I was expecting this to be a sunshine-grump trope romance. Beth was obviously the sunshine for all of her whininess – after all, she is still incredibly optimistic throughout the entire tale. Rocco on the other hand wasn’t quite the grump I expected him to be. He was still a total grump and not even remotely positive. But I kind of liked this really obvious vein of sweetness throughout his interactions with Beth. It made me enjoy reading this novel a lot more than I thought I would, like I said, it took me a while to respond to Beth, but I found it pretty easy to respond to Rocco.
Although this story is listed as a Christmas romance. I really didn’t find anything Christmassy about it at all. Other than the fact that it is based at Christmas time. Beyond that, there were no feelings of Christmas or the festive season throughout the story. Honestly, this tale could have taken place at any point in the year, and it still would’ve worked. An enjoyable romance, but not one that I would reread to get me into the festive spirit.
This might not have been one of my favourite novels, but it was very enjoyable. And I particularly liked how it all ended with all of the weddings and happiness and new beginnings in the air.
This is an incredibly cute and laugh out loud kind of romcom story. It is filled with many, many moments of misunderstandings and confusions. Ones that I enjoyed ridiculously and have made me add a whole lot of MacIntosh to my TBR. The fact that this was a festive, Christmas story filled with family mayhem and stupidity just added to my enjoyment. It’s a silly, funny, and sweet tale that isn’t just about falling in love and romance. But also accepting your family and all of their chaos – particularly when some of that chaos stems from misunderstandings.
Rocco and Billie work incredibly well as a couple together. I love all of their shenanigans and high jinks throughout the group dating adventures that they go on. Actually, I love all of the shenanigans and high jinks that Billie manages to get herself into without Rocco. When he’s added to the mix, it’s even more hilarious. In particular, I loved the scone scene and how they were able to constantly orchestrate chaos. Both meaningfully and unintentionally. Add into the group dynamic Billie’s misunderstanding with Leila… and it was honestly comedy gold. I was smiling and grinning throughout this couple’s slow graduation to their happily ever after.
I can’t imagine my whole family showing up uninvited to stay over Christmas. I mean, I love them dearly, but I need to mentally prepare myself for extended periods of time with, well, anyone. The chaos of family where all boundaries are essentially removed? That’s a whole other level of emotional overstimulation. Billie just seems to fling herself from chaotic moment to chaotic moment throughout this. First with her mother, then her sister, then her father and stepmother… and then into the world of Rocco and Leila. I was actually expecting Billie to completely lose her mind and have a huge argument with her whole family, but it didn’t actually end up like that. It was far fuzzier and sweeter. Completely opposite to what I thought I wanted, but apparently EXACTLY what I needed for the happily ever after.
Again, most of the chaos and shenanigans in this story are kind of caused by Billie not thinking things through and the misconceptions that she has about other people. Some of these are boundaries, but other moments are just pure jumping to conclusions. And, as I mentioned before, I jumped to a few conclusions of my own as I thought I knew how this story would unfold. Which made the two twists with both Rocco and Kenny towards the end of the story even more brilliant. I didn’t see them coming, but I definitely enjoyed them, and it’s made me even more obsessed with MacIntosh.
Ana Maria’s family is fun, fantastic and truly quirky. I love the idea of a big family and all of the shenanigans that follows. The fact that there’s a petulant cousin, drunk uncle, petty aunt… it is just wonderfully brilliant. And gives a wonderful feeling of family, with all of the silly nonsense that that can entail. Although I loved this storyline and the insanity of family, Ana Maria’s cousin is more than just petulant… she’s severely unhinged. As in painfully so. The way that others stand up to her though was kind of fun.
This is truly a festivus story. A story about the ways that family gatherings can be intense. Without actually focusing on the religious and political connotations of this time of year. I kind of like the idea of having a celebration in the festive season that pulls in all of the different faiths and practices. Even if I know nothing beyond my Australian version of Christmas…
This wasn’t one of those stories that was high octane or driven in any way – rather it was an enjoyable story about bringing a guy home to meet your family. Knowing that there will be chaos and riding the waves of it anyway.
This is an incredibly cute and easy novel to read. It’s one of those fun Christmas adventures that leaves you smiling and laughing, feeling incredibly happy and at ease with the world. Not only is it a cute romance, but it’s also a sister story which I always think is amazing. There are high jinks and shenanigans abound. Also, the fact that both sisters manage to find their happily ever after and balance in a space they just weren’t expecting.
I love how both Cass and Claire are able to find their own, better versions of happiness. Life is all about balance, and these two are able to find that again in their sister swap moment. Alright, as siblings are wont to do, they also harshly judge each other’s decisions and find a way to make things go completely hectic and haywire. But, still, they are able to really stop and think about their own lives and figure out what it is that’s making them so unhappy. I think that Christmas is a time of year that these self-reflections are a lot more poignant, at least they always have been for me.
This is a very Hallmarkesque feeling of a story. It has high jinks and everyone falling happily ever after. It also left me smiling and laughing quite a bit throughout and was an incredibly cute way to spend a few hours. The fact that you have the big city sister and the country town sister both realising that they’ve made some pretty big assumptions just made it all that much better. Christmas, snow, and fairy tale romances just tie off the bow in the Hallmark feels.
Although the romance and the shenanigans are wonderful in this book, it’s the sisters that I love the most. Both Cass and Claire manage to stand up for the other one in a way that is a little bit brutal, but also kind of brilliant. They completely shut down those who they see as being detrimental to their twins’ happiness. Which, even after I finished this book, are the moments that truly stick with me.
This was one of the best holiday collections that I’ve read in a while. It included a whole lot of humour and romance, shenanigans, and high jinks. What I loved most about it though is that it really helped to capture the whole holiday feeling. The way that the holiday season is always chaotic and goes a little bit awry. But there’s always a silver lining if you look hard enough.
I only knew one author in this collection when I added it to my ereader – Kilby Blades. Now I have an absolutely stacked TBR in my ereader from all of the fantastic new authors I got to discover throughout this collection. I always love a good collection of stories that starts with an author that I know and love, and then just… expands my horizons. I don’t think I’ll ever get through all of the lovely books on my shelves. But there is so much wonderous potential…
Every story in this collection is chaotic and kind of humorous, poking fun at the challenges of the holiday season. But they all have very different themes. Everyone does highlight that the worst of the holiday season comes from the chaos of family. For some the love also comes from there, for others, it comes from elsewhere… the range within this collection is brilliant and made me love it just that much more.
This was a fantastic collection of short stories set around the chaos of family in the holiday season. Definitely a collection I’ll read again and again at that time of year. If only to remind myself that maybe my own family isn’t so bad after all…
Bad Boys in Kilts is a deliciously yummy Scottish, contemporary romance collection. It features three novellas about the Chisholm Brothers, which all lead perfectly into the follow-on novel about the fourth. Each of the brothers are great characters on their own. A great way to drift away into a happy world of lust and love, and happily ever afters. Kauffman manages to follow a family of boys who all have completely different lives, whilst keeping the thread of family alive between them. A wonderful few hours reading to relax and leave a smile on my face.
I love how each of these novellas is a wonderful standalone, but they also lead wonderfully into each other. The three women partner alongside the three men wonderfully. All of the dynamics are starkly different to one another, stopping that feeling of same same that often comes along with novellas written by the same author one after the other.
This collection was all around delicious. It was fun, light and engaging. Incredibly cute, and now I can’t wait to read about the fourth Chisholm Brother.
I absolutely loved this romance, it was fun, cute and adorable. It just makes me want to dive right into the next and the next and the next Smartypants Romance book. Which honestly always happens when I read one of these books. I’ve also had a great new author to add to my shelves. Finally, the creation of this romance was so damn wonderful that I can’t wait to read Code of Matrimony – Colette was so lovely and sweet in this and I look forward to getting to know her better in the next novella, when there are wedding bells on the horizon.
Darius’ description as a Disney prince is yummy. I also like how he has a POC background and how this is responsible for some of his hang-ups. I mean, his parents flee from Israel because of political persecution, which then informs his whole life. Completely understandable. But he then becomes so rigid in these lines he drew for himself that he almost let’s Anna get away. That’s not even starting on the racist bullshit that is touched on within this glorious novel…
Anna is too gorgeous. Totally get what it’s like to have a broken filter and not really be capable of lying. I mean, I wish that I could control my facial expressions and mouth and actually lie. However, unlike real life, this is really endearing in a romance novel. Though I wish I had her super ninja powers. The fact that she learnt all of her ninja powers to be more like her DnD character…even more stupid in love with this character!!
Seriously enjoyed the mystery and crime that tied them together. The whole story was a bit open ended how that was left though. I might be a bit of a sucker, but I love it when there are consequences for the bad guy. Maybe it’ll happen in the follow up novella? Now I’ll just have to dive in in the hopes that the bad man gets his comeuppance.
I knew Willa and Everett’s story was going to be adorable from their first glimpses in Crime and Periodicals. But I didn’t quite expect this level of intensity. Or outside drama. I mean, I knew Willa had crap to deal with, but I didn’t quite expect either of their baggage to be so intense. Which, of course meant that it was seriously difficult to put this down and go to bed at night…
Everett’s issues were a little bit less intense than Willa’s, and I also found them to be a little bit disjointed. He has so many self-confidence issues with women because of his geekiness. And the fact that women don’t want a hot, geeky, lumberjack in their lives. Personally, I just can’t picture this. I mean, who would NOT want that man in their lives and their bed? Maybe his issue is actually shyness, or I’m just projecting because that’s what I’d want in my bed…
Unlike Everett’s backstory, Willa’s actually broke my heart a little bit. Firstly, she has a mother who is just horrible and passive aggressive. Then there’s her ex-husband who is seriously terrifying. I mean, it doesn’t matter if he only hit her once. The man is a damn stalker and bully. It definitely hurt to read about. But then there’s her sisters. They’re freaking amazing. Like Ruby in Crime and Periodicals, Gracie is full of sassy teenage spunk. Spunk that helps her older sister find herself. (Not to mention that Ruby makes plenty of appearances too). And Sadie and Clara are most definitely “crazy sisters” but are willing to kick butt and take names in solidarity with their sibling.
Carpentry and Cocktails is yet another fantastic SmartyPants Romance and Nora Everly tale. It has all of the great cameos from other stories and hints at the next Monroe brother to fall. It was a constant struggle to try and out this book down, one that I honestly didn’t fight too hard against. One that I look forward to picking up again and again in the future.