Review: The Mistletoe Pact by Jo Lovett

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“On Christmas Eve eight years ago Evie and Dan made a pact: if they weren’t married by thirty, they were going to marry each other. Of course, neither of them took it seriously, even if Dan has always been mesmerised by Evie’s beautiful smile, and Evie has always fancied Dan, her best-friend’s brother.

But then “it” happens. They wake up on Christmas Eve, the night before Evie’s thirtieth birthday in Vegas… married. In a honeymoon suite filled with hundreds of heart-shaped pillows, they realise too late what they’ve done – just like Ross and Rachel.

Surely if they just get a quickie divorce, they can go back to the way things used to be, right? If it wasn’t for the alcohol and Susan-with-the-huge-beehive-hairdo who just wouldn’t take no for an answer, none of this would have happened. They can just go back to being friends.

Except moving on is easier said than done when you’ve secretly loved each other forever… but if one of them doesn’t admit that, what happens to their friendship? If they don’t get together this time, what happens to the pact? Are they really ready to let it go for good?”

REVIEW:

The Mistletoe Pact follows Evie and Dan. Dan is the older brother of Evie’s childhood best friend, Sasha. They’ve always kinda had crushes on each other but never really acted on them. We learn about their mistletoe pact, a deal they made that if neither one was married by Evie’s 30th birthday, they would get married. It was made in jest but always hung around in the back of their minds. The story jumps around time-wise. We open on Evie’s 30th birthday with Dan and Evie having had a true drunken one-night stand in Vegas and actually gotten married. Both so spooked by this and terrified to destroy their friendship, both panic and ignore having a serious conversation immediately getting the marriage annulled. We go back in time to get a sense of how their friendship started. We also jump to the year after their spur-of-the-moment wedding and annulment. Evie and Dan both have baggage from seeing their parents’ relationships growing up. Evie was raised by a single mom who always had a new boyfriend of the month. She just wants to have stability with whoever she chooses to grow old with. While Dan watched his father cheat regularly and ultimately leave his mother. He’s terrified to fall in love and having his heart broken.

This book is a fun, sweet read perfect for Christmas time. Once I picked up the book it just flew by. I could see myself just curling under a cozy blanket or sitting in front of a fireplace reading this, those are just the vibes this book gives off. I liked that you got alternating points of view, getting both Dan and Evie’s perspective on what was happening. I did feel like this book left a lot of loose ends. I wish we had gotten more of what Sasha thought about Dan and Evie together. I wish there had been just one heart to heart conversation with either Sasha and Dan or Sasha and Evie with what was happening in their relationship. I feel like it would have really added a wonderful depth to the story. I also felt like Dan had a few too many problems. He had commitment issues because of his parents marriage, guilt over an accident with his brother, an unplanned pregnancy with an ex-girlfriend. Because there was so much going on, none of these issues got the full development they needed. some just felt unnecessary.

Overall, this is a fun book. It is a quick read, perfect if you are looking for a book to get you in the Christmas spirit. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC.

RATING: 3/5

Review: To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.”

REVIEW:

This is my first Lauren Layne novel, and now I need to read more! When I saw the summary of this book it checked off a lot of boxes; set in New York City, and hints of You’ve Got Mail. This book couldn’t really go wrong in my eyes.

Gracie, our protagonist, is a hopeless romantic. She feels stuck in a rut. She put aside her artistic dreams several years ago to take over the family business which was her father’s dying wish. She has gotten a bit too comfortable and is scared of taking chances. The highlight of her day is often her messages from her mystery man, Sir. They met on a dating site, where it is encouraged to fall for the personality first, so no pictures. She has been talking to Sir for months, but one complication is that Sir isn’t available. Sebastian then enters the picture. Her rival soon turned love interest. His company is her shop’s landlord, and he is trying to buy her out. Her family shop isn’t exactly profitable, but neither her nor her siblings want to give the shop up. Sebastian doesn’t fit what Gracie has always thought her dream man would look like. but after a meet-cute moment in the street and an undeniable connection she finds herself meeting up with him again and again.

Sebastian and Gracie’s chemistry is there from the start and the dialogue is superb. Their relationship develops gradually, never feeling rushed. Our main characters are rounded out with well thought out supporting characters that help build the world. Gracie’s relationship with her siblings is a definite highlight of this book. There is a lot of joy and hopefulness is this book, which I adored. While the book can be a bit formulaic plot wise, everything else is so well developed that it doesn’t hurt this novel.

To Sir, With Love feels just like a fairytale that our heroine loves. To Sir With Love will be released June 29th, 2021 by Gallery Books. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the ARC. All thoughts are my own!

RATING: 5/5

Review: To Love & To Loathe by Martha Waters

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.”

REVIEW:

First off, I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria for the advanced reader copy. All thoughts are my own, and I was given this copy for an honest review.

I was sucked into To Love & To Loathe from the synopsis alone. I honestly love a book where two people don’t realize that they’ve been in love with each other for a while, and they are the last to figure it out. So I was very excited to get to read this early.

This was my first Martha Waters book actually, I haven’t read To Have & To Hoax (but now I might have to go back and do that). I really loved her writing style. This book is easy, breezy, and very binge-able. Jeremy and Diana are obviously the heart of this book and their banter and chemistry are incredible. I also loved the awareness of the misogynistic laws and the ridiculous patriarchal standards by the characters. This is often something that can be forgotten or swept aside in historical romances. This novel is also very sex-positive. Sure it is scandalous in society that Diana might take a lover, but none of her friends or acquaintances hold anything against her. Also, the bedroom conversations that Diana and Jeremy have about how important it is to listen to your partner were incredible and definitely unique to what I normally read.

I did have one big problem with this book, and that problem is a bit spoilery but I will try to be vague. One of the characters is revealed to be gay. When Diana has a conversation and this bit of information is revealed to her, the character asks for secrecy (understandably). Diana, in the next scene, tells her two friends and then later tells another person. She swears them to secrecy as well, but this is not Diana’s information to tell, even if this bit of information helps Diana come to terms with her feelings for Jeremy and thoughts on marrying again. This was one of my only problems with this book, but it did bring down my rating.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book and it definitely makes me interested in Martha Waters’s other novel. If you are looking for a well-written historical romance then you should definitely check out To Love & To Loathe.

RATING: 3/5

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date (US): April 6th, 2021
Series: The Regency Vows #2
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 384
Genre: Historical Romance/Romantic Comedy

WWW Wednesday – March 24, 2021

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! I’m answering the three questions below. Let me know your answers in the comments, or share to your own blog!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?


I’m continuing my re-reading adventure of the ACOTAR series by reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I am honestly loving this re-read. Because I know what is going to happen, I’ve been paying so much more attention to the little things happening. All the little details between Feyre and Rhysand, this re-read has been exactly what I need right now.

What did you recently finish?

I just finished up Storm & Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’ll have a full review posted soon, but I really enjoyed this book! It is a spin-off of her Dark Elements series. Storm & Fury is an urban fantasy dealing with angels, demons, gargoyles and everything in between. Honestly, I want to pick up the next book right away because it set up a really exciting story, but I have other books I got to read first.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m super excited to start To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters! I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review. So this will be my next read since it comes out super soon, and I want to have my review posted right away. This is actually my first ARC since starting this blog, which is a really nice growth opportunity for me as well.

As always let me know in the comments what you are reading or whether you have read any of these books. You can also follow along on Instagram!