Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Christmas 2021 Reads - Mini-Reviews

I'M BACK! After a nice long break (yes, this Christmas blog holiday was longer than normal, but I'm quite happy with this decision as, sometimes, we need a long break to find ourselves and make plans...). Anyway, for the next few weeks, you will be reading write-ups of books/audiobooks that I have read/listen to over the Christmas break. Normal(ish) schedule will resume in the next few weeks. So, once we get into (let's say...) February, you will see my 2022 reading! So, brace yourselves! 

Anyway, I was hoping to get this up last year, but one of the MM romance novellas I was reading took a little longer than I was expecting so decided to push this MM romance heavy post back to 2022. 

Now, originally, the initial plan was I going to do individual reviews on some Christmasy titles that I read or try to read before I go on my Christmas blog break, but as I was writing to write a short review for eNovella, How To Catch The Boss by Ana Ashley (4.5 in the Chester Falls series, in case you are curious), I decided that I might push a few titles together and show you guys that I have gone against my typical "I need to play catch up on my reading/review (which yes, I am!) and read something Xmas!" And so, here are a few titles.

So, let's start with my first Christmas-y novella, How To Catch The Boss by Ana Ashley. Now, this wasn't meant to be my first read of December 2021. I wanted to read something very Christmasy such as So, This Is Christmas by Tracy Andreen, Star by Holly Webb or The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict, but when I tried to read either on these, my brain went "Nope!" and, for some unknown reason, I remembered I had this Christmas novella and went "Oh, you wanted to read the other Chester Falls title before this? Well, you can't! Sorry, but READ THIS!"

So yeah, back to the MM romance I go as two bodyguards of the Lydovia go to a cabin in the wood: one to put the royal decorations away and the other, his boss and the prior's older brother's best friend, is trying to take some time off and figure out his feelings. You see, they both have been in love with each other for years but never acted on their feelings... Let the Christmas magic change that. 

This is such a sweet, fun story, very in keeping with what I felt when I read the first and third in the series (when have I ever read anything in order?!): How To Catch A Prince and How To Catch A Bodyguard. Both were fun, silly and ridiculous reads and yet, I adore my time with the lead characters. And the same goes with here. I think I might have liked this story and these characters more than the lead in the full length stories. These are no/little angst candy-cane reads (see what I did there?) and it just felt lovely and Christmasy. So yeah, I had fun with this and am looking forward to read the other two titles I own (I thought I owned one till I checked and remembered I got the other when it was on a 99p Sale): How To Catch A Bachelor (book 4 in the series) and How To Catch A Vet (book 6 in the series). 

Let's change authors in the MM romance world, shall we?

Now, this is the title that threw my Chriastimasy reads out of the window because this took me much longer to read than I thought! 

Now, this title did come to me from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and reaction. So, not gonna lie to you here - it's ok. Middle of the road read. But more on that later. 

Christmas Wish List by N.R. Walker is the second book in the Hartbridge Christmas series, set several years after the events of Tic Toc Mistletoe (a title that I have been eyeing for a little while), this follows aussie ex-pat Jayden Turner agrees to a short-term chef position at a Bed and Breakfast over the Christmas holidays. After all, how hard could it be in a small town in the mountains of Montana? But after meeting Carter “Cass” Campion, owner of the Bed and Breakfast, who has recently come out and is determined to get it ready for the busy holiday period. 

But Christmas is a time of magic and a spark between the two, can a Christmas romance be on the cards? 

This feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie: very sugary, very sweet, very fluffy with no real angst (which is surprising as Case is a recently divorced and has two kids. In most romance, the vengeful ex-wife or the bratty kids are usually a troupe to rock the fledging romance, but here, no drama. The ex is lovely and the kids are sweet). 

It was a lovely, hot chocolate of a MM romance to read at Christmas, and I did like it. But, for a reason I can't figure out, I never really warmed to the story. Maybe I do need a little hint of angst in there, but both Cars and Jayden got over the issues in a refreshing way: they talked and listened (no miscommunication troupe here - thank f*** for that! I LOATHE that troupe in romance. That and s****y parents). Maybe it's because this book, while taking place over several days, had a mix of slow burn/instalust. Or maybe it was because, at times, both the leads (though I liked hugely) did things that annoyed me - Jayden was sometimes a tad full on. I'm not sure, but I couldn't fully fall for this book. I think I wanted something more. 

But I do want to try this author again. I'm not sure when or what title (I suspect it will be Tic Toc Mistletoe or a later title in this series as I did like this little village) but I do want to return. 

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