Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for Exmas (from Goodreads):
This Christmas, I’ll be getting a visit from a man in a suit, only it won’t be Santa.
Let me first say: Reed York was never my boyfriend. He was the pen. I was the company ink. Though if you want to get technical, we were more like colleagues-who-hated-each-other … with benefits.
Everything was fine until the charming jerk went behind my back, stole my promotion, and became my boss—literally overnight.
Refusing to work beneath him (professionally speaking and otherwise), I transferred 2,014 miles away to our Chicago division, and I’ve spent the past year trying to remember how much I hated his panty-melting smirk so I can forget how much I secretly loved the way his ocean eyes lit every time I walked into the room.
But he’s just announced a last-minute site visit the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and on top of that, he’s audaciously designated me as his ‘right hand gal’ during his visit. If he thinks he has a snowball’s chance in this hell at getting back in my good graces, he’s got another thing coming.
Reed York might be a man used to getting everything he’s ever wanted, but Joa Jolivet is a woman that never forgets.
He can put me on his Christmas list all he wants, but everyone knows naughty boys only get coal.
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source & Format: Hidden Gem Reviews–eARC
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I love Winter Renshaw’s work and she’s a must read author for me. I’m not usually one for “holiday” reads but I liked the premise of this second chance romance. I always enjoy books with a bit of a “mystery” to the break-up and I couldn’t wait to figure out why Reed stole Joa’s dream job.
Sometimes, flashbacks to the past can be distracting but here I think it truly cemented their relationship and shaped them as characters. Otherwise, I would have wanted more from the present day plot because they don’t interact that much romantically. The flashbacks sold me on the second chance romance aspect; through them I was able to see how these two worked as a couple and why they are still hung up on each other a year later.
It’s a little light on the Christmas aspect but that’s ok. You could read it any time of the year but if you are reading it around the holidays, it’ll bring out the best in the season through Joa’s family.
My reason for the lower rating is that I wanted a little more from the drama. While I liked the mystery behind why Reed got the job, it was kinda predictable so that blew some of the wind out of the anticipation. Getting his POV gives his motives away even if I understand the reason behind his actions. I think that’s why I enjoyed the flashback scenes so much; in a way, it gave me something to look forward to.
In a way, you kinda get two stories in one thanks to the flashbacks. Each “present day” chapter is followed by a snapshot of the past and I liked the anticipation that built up to the story because you are getting the pieces one at a time to the full picture.
I really liked these two as individuals. Reed was my favourite; I thought he had the best development. He was sweet and Joa slowly melts his heart and opens up his views on what he wants in life and love. Joa was great too–I just got frustrated with her anger towards Reed because it was a bit of a communication assumption for why he took the job and her stubbornness (avoiding talking to him) caused their issues. I also think her character growth wasn’t as strong.
I loved these two and their hate-to-love-you romance. They had such great chemistry together so it was a treat to watch their story unfold. Again, the flashbacks really sold me on the romance.
My Rating: 4.5/5
It’s an addicting, quick read that fans of second chance romances will enjoy.
Read if You Like: second chances, workplace romances, flashbacks
Avoid if You: want a more suspenseful read
- Sweet Spot by Stella Rhys (Irresistible Series #1)
- Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick (Jackson Boys Series #1)
Hate to love is my top-most romance tropes! Although I am keeping my distance from NA contemporaries for now since every one of them is feeling quite the same, however, this one sounds promising. So, I might give it a try in the future. Great review Lauren!
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I’m not sure if you’ve ever read anything by Winter Renshaw but she does a great job of making her NA stories fresh and unique even if they features a lot of common tropes.
But I totally get what you mean about NA seeming too similar; I’ve been gravitating towards non-contemporaries to have a bit of a change.