Sunday, April 9, 2023

In a Nutshell Reviews - The Holiday Edition


In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Published by Berkley Books on November 1, 2022

Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2


‘Tis the season for a Bromance Book Club matchmaking mission! This time, they’re pulling out the mistletoe for everyone’s favorite country music star, Colton, and his second chance at love.

Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity.

It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…

Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together.

I have grown accustomed to a new Bromance romance each year, and this year’s release was a double delight for me. Not only did I get to enjoy the hilarity and chaos of these men, but it was set during the holidays. Gretchen and Colton’s dates laced with holiday traditions were some of my favorite moments in this book. The book-within-the-book was a sweet, fun, Hallmarkish grumpy-sunshine romance, and it was fun to watch Gretchen catch on. There were also many nods to A Christmas Carol which fit perfectly in this story. And THIS time, the “manual”, aka romance book, was given to the heroine.

Colton was such a sweetheart, and I love that he fell for this intelligent and driven woman, but it was Gretchen who evolved the most. When people say money can’t buy happiness, they were talking about Gretchen’s family. They were miserable! It was beautiful when Colton and the Bromance family welcomed her to the fold. Sweet and fun, I was left with a big smile on my face and toasty warm heart.

The Christmas Wish by Lindsay Kelk

Published by HarperCollins on November 10, 2022

Age/Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Time Loop

Rating: ★★★★


What if it really was Christmas every day?

Gwen has had quite the year. Newly single and in trouble at work, a family Christmas could be exactly what she needs – fresh country air, piles of presents and festive films. But since when were families relaxing? Between her parents interfering in her love life, fighting with her sister and an awkward run-in with Dev, the boy next door, Gwen is grateful that Christmas only comes but once a year.

But when someone in her family makes a Christmas wish, she wakes up to discover she has to relive the day all over again.

And again.

And again.

As Gwen does her best to grant the wish, she begins to realize that even the people closest to us have secrets of their own, and just because her heart is broken, doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed with a little Christmas magic…

Time loop books can be really fun when done right, and I rather enjoyed Kelk’s take on this story structure. As with most time loop books, the character has to figure out why it happened and how to escape the loop. Gwen suspected one of her family members found the Christmas pudding sixpence and made a wish. She was determined to spend a re-do day with each member in order to try and make their wish come true.

Each day was filled with madcap antics, but also, lots of tender moments. It was lovely watching Gwen reconnect with her family, and as she learned about the burdens each person was carrying, she was also learning a lot about herself. Though the story focused more on Gwen’s personal journey, it also featured a wonderful romance. Dev was the beautiful boy next door, and he was a fantastic love interest. Each do-over day, he won another piece of my heart, and I was filled with glee that he was part of Gwen’s story.

Overall: A fun and festive Groundhog Day story which navigated some hefty topics with lots of warmth and humor.


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