I have no idea why, but I woke up in like late October and was like I WANT TO READ ALL THE HOLIDAY BOOKS FOR BLOGMAS! In part, I think this was because of the new Christina Lauren holiday book, but who knows honestly.
But, the idea stuck and I read quite a few holiday books this holiday season. The irony is, I don’t think I like holiday books as much as I thought I did. Read on for my ~thoughts~ on holiday rom coms!
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Published: October 6, 2020
Rating: 2.5/5 starts
Plot: Mae gets stuck in a groundhog’s day type situation where she relives her family’s annual trip to a cabin with all their family friends.
Look Christiana Lauren is a hit or miss author duo for me. The Unhoneymooners (review) and Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating are some of my favorite romances, but I’ve been meh on many of their other books. But, I had seen some positive reviews for In a Holidaze so I figured I would give it a try.
I read this book in one sitting in like two and a half hours. Lowkey I sort of skimmed the last thirty percent. I enjoyed it, until I realized what I thought was going to happen (aka what I wanted to happen) was not going to happen.
I enjoyed the cabin vibe and the fun winter shenanigans that Mae and the group partake in. I enjoyed seeing a character in their mid twenties who still lives with her parents and is trying to figure out her life. I did think it was weird that Mae would confide in her parent’s 50+ year old male friend, but I guess whatever works??? I did like their conversations and I did LOL a few times, but it just was a weird dynamic. I mean I can literally count on one hand the personal details I have shared with my parents’ male friends that I grew up seeing.
My main issue with this book is the romance, which in a romance novel, you never want to happen. There are going to be slight spoilers here, so beware if you plan on reading this one. There is sort of a love triangle, but one side is way more developed than the other and that is the guy that she ends up with at the end, but I thought there was still unresolved things/baggage/feelings with the other guy. Even though she kept saying she had no feelings for him, I thought the story was going to be about her realizing she did have feelings for him, but that is not what happens. I will say if her and the guy she does not end up with, had a heart to heart and like a real conversation I would have accepted it, but instead it’s just like “we cool?” “we cool.” I hate love triangles, even ones that are not fully fledged.
Wrapped Up in You by Talia Hibbert (novella)
Published: November 16, 2020 (Kobo Exclusive)
Rating: 4/5 stars
TW: anxiety and mentions of past abuse
Plot: Abbie and Will grew up together and only see each other at Christmas. They both have very different lives, but Will is determined to show Abbie that he cares about her while Abbie will do anything, she can to hide that she cares about Will.
Look I love Talia so even though I had no idea what the heck Kobo was, I had to read this holiday novella. Will I read another Kobo novel again, we’ll see.
I am not a huge novella fan, unless it is a wrap up to a series or something, I have a hard time getting attached to the characters and usually want more, but this novella worked for me! I am not a fan of friends to lovers either (lol), but I think a shorter friends to lovers plot worked for me in a way that friends to lovers novels don’t.
In part, I enjoyed this because I love Talia’s writing. Her characters are witty, clever, and always have the best banter. By page six or something I had already laughed three times. It was just a cute and a fun time. If you are a fan of hers I would recommend checking this one out.
Even though this is short, the characters were developed enough, although I would have liked to see a bit more of the side characters. This would have worked as a full novel I think, but the friends to lovers plot made me glad it was shorter. There is also a pregnant cat which was a grand addition.
Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date #4) by Jasmine Guillory
Published: October 1, 2019
DNF @ pg. 50
Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date was one of the first adult romances I read when I was starting to get into the genre. I was not a fan. But, when I asked for holiday rom com recs someone suggested this one. Unfortunately, I still am not a fan of Guillory’s writing. It just is a bit too cheesy and sappy for me.
I got to about page 50 and realized I did not care about reading more. I will say both characters are Black and in their 50s which is cool for a romance, but I just did not care for the plot. This book isn’t terrible, but I knew I would just give it three stars and it wasn’t holding my interest, so DNF and on to the next.
Forever Wild (The Simple Wild #2.5) by K.A. Tucker
Published: December 1, 2020
Rating: 4/5 stars
Plot: Calla and Jonah celebrate Christmas with their parents all under one roof. What could go wrong?
I am a massive fan of The Simple Wild (review) and I really enjoyed the sequel Wild at Heart (review) so obviously I had to read this novella. This is not being billed as a Christmas novella per se, but since it takes places during the holiday season, I figured I would include my review here.
~Minor Spoilers~ Overall, I really enjoyed this novella. I love Calla & Jonah and seeing them happy and settled was really sweet. Nothing really surprised me about this novella which was both good (I don’t like massive plots that are miraculously solved), but also made the novella a bit boring. The main plot felt super rushed as it was. I also wish we had not had an OH NO SOMEONE IS MISSING moment since it took up way too much time with how short this one was.
If you like Calla and Jonah and want to see more of them I recommend this one. Also, I’m hyped for Marie’s story?? But, I’m warry of K.A. Tucker’s books that are not The Simple Wild so we shall see.
*Thanks to Valentine PR & the author for an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday
Published: October 13, 2020
TW: death of parent (prior to novel)
Plot: The synopsis of this one gives away SO MUCH. All you need to know is this follows a princess and a new York taxi driver who instantly connect after a chance meeting.
I have been waiting for Jenny Holiday to write a holiday book since I started reading her books (see my review of her Bridesmaids behaving Badly series here). I lowkey am trash for royal romances and the film A Princess for Christmas with Katie McGrath is the best.
This book starts strong, but by the end I was more lukewarm about it. They make tons of jokes along the lines of “This feels like a Hallmark movie” and this novel does. Just with more steamy scenes. I really enjoyed their time in New York and all of the “discover the city” together moments, but once the plot progresses past that, I was less of a fan.
There were a few comments that Leo, the love interest, makes that did not sit right with me. His grand gesture relies on “showing everyone that she is his” which like… and there are a few other comments that were kind of ehhh.
Overall, if you like Hallmark movies I would recommend this one, just there is some steam.
Miracles and Menorahs (Friendships & Festivals #1) by Stacey Agden
Published: October 13, 2020
Rating: not finished yet
Plot: Sarah is trying to save her town’s Hanukah festival from being turning into a holiday (cough Christmas) festival and needs Isaac’s help.
Most holiday novels are very Christmas focused and I wanted to include a non Christmas book so I purchased this one from The Ripped Bodice (one of my favorite independent bookstores). They also featured it on their Instagram which is where I first became aware of it.
Sadly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this one. I could not really get into it. With romance novels I can usually tell by 50 pages in if I will like the story and I just could not bring myself to pick this one up and actually read it.
What makes me sad is that I have not heard of any other Hanukah rom coms because this is not a great book that I would recommend. If you know of any Hanukah rom coms let me know because I would love to read more.
So this was a super long post & if you made it this far, THANK YOU!