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: In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.”

REVIEW:

In a Holidaze has been all over my instagram and I was excited to see that it was one of the December choices for Book of the Month. This book was definitely worth the wait. It put me in the holiday mood, and was perfect as I watched Winter Storm Gail hit my parents’ house. This was also my first Christina Lauren novel, and now I need to add more to my TBR.

I personally really connected with Maelyn. I am a late 20-something who recently had to move back in with her parents. I was laid off, due to Covid-19 and couldn’t afford my rent on my unemployment benefits. These last couple of months have been hard, and I’ve struggled to really find what makes me happy. I’m also a people pleaser. I am so worried about disappointing my family, that I often make decisions that would make them happier than myself. Though I don’t have a hunky life-long family friend who I’ve been in love with waiting in the wings. Because of these similarities, In a Holidaze really hit home for me. I do think that Maelyn will be relatable to a lot of people. It was just really nice to read a book where the lead was a bit lost and stuck.

I loved Andrew and Mae’s relationship. The chemistry is so well done, and also captures the history that is in their relationship. All the characters in this book are fleshed out really well. You can feel their love and support of each other. I loved learning about their holiday traditions. You can really feel Mae’s frustration and panic over why she has been sent into this time-loop.

I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a fun festive read. The overall flow of the book is great, so it is a super quick read as well.

RATING: 4/5

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