Thursday, January 19, 2023

Mini Reviews: Winter Romance Edition


This edition is focusing on two holiday/wintertime romance novels. While the holidays are over, I think these two books can be enjoyed all winter long.

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Putnam
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "A city bookshop owner heads to the English countryside for a holiday reunion— only to face her childhood enemy. Elinor Noel—Nory for short—is quite content running her secondhand bookshop in London. Forever torn between her working-class upbringing and her classmates’ extravagant lifestyles at the posh private school she attended on scholarship, Nory has finally figured out how to keep both at equal distance. So when two of her oldest friends invite their whole gang to spend the time leading up to their wedding together at the castle near their old school, Nory must prepare herself for an emotionally complicated few days. The reunion brings back fond memories, but also requires Nory to dodge an ill-advised former fling. When she falls quite literally into the arms of Isaac, the castle’s head gardener, who has nothing but contempt for the “snobby prep school kids,” the attraction between them is undeniable. And as Nory spends more time with Isaac during the wedding festivities, she finds herself falling hard for the boy she used to consider an enemy. Nory and Isaac explore their common ground, but pressures mount on all sides, and Nory must decide what kind of life she wants to live and what sort of love is worth the risk . . .


Nory works in a bookstore in London and likes her quiet life. She lives a very normal life despite the fact that she was a scholarship student at a very prestigious private school and in turn, many of her friends live an entirely different lifestyle than herself. Nory gets invited to a wedding at her old private school, and when she returns, it brings up a lot of memories surrounding bullies, grief, romance, and poor decisions. Her group of friends also feels bad about bullying the gardener's son, Issac, when they were students at the school. Well, Isaac just so happens to be working at the school as the head gardener. He, surprisingly, forgives Nory and they have an undeniable connection. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss is a cute holiday romance that can be enjoyed all winter season.

Nory is a delightful main character in Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. What's not to like? She is bookish, owns a second-hand bookstore in London, and has a lot of very amusing friends.  Even though she rubs shoulders with a lot of "posh" friends from private school, she isn't snobbish in the least. Returning back to school brings up a lot of unresolved issues, not to mention the fact that she has to avoid a former fling that she regrets. Weddings are always stressful for people, but this one reuniting all her private school friends, has proven to be more difficult than not and Isaac has her questioning things. Although the romance is slow, once it develops it is definitely cute. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is a wonderful romance to curl up with this winter.

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: December 1, 2020
Publisher: Putnam
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "The instant New York Times bestseller adored by readers around the world! Curl up with the refreshingly romantic and unputdownable rom-com which has everyone falling head over heels... Get ready to fall for this year's most extraordinary love story Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year's Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart. Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn't be more different. Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time. What if fate is trying to bring them together? Maybe it's time to take a chance on love..."




Minnie Cooper and Quinn Hamilton were both born at the same hospital on January 1, 1990, but only one baby, Quinn, received the big cash prize as being the first baby of the New Year. This irritates Minnie's family as they could have used the money, whereas Quinn's family doesn't need it in the least. Minnie and Quinn's mother shared a birthing room and subsequently Minnie's family resents Quinn's, because not only did Quinn's family win the cash prize (which they don't need!), they took the "lucky" name Quinn, which Minnie's mother was going to name her. Because of this Minnie has always felt like her birthday has been a series of unfortunate events since. Fast forward to New Year's Eve 2019 and Minnie finds herself at a not-so-fun party in which she gets trapped in the bathroom. Enter Quinn, who ends up "rescuing her" from the locked bathroom and cue an unlikely romance. Minnie has a lot going on though. Her catering business is struggling and her landlord is going to evict her, which is pretty much the polar opposite of Quinn's stellar life. 

There are flashbacks to previous New Year's Eve which further illustrates Minnie and Quinn's past and fills in any blanks along the way. This Time Next Year is a slow romance, but once it picks up it is very satisfying, especially if you are a fan of rom-coms. This is another one that is can be enjoyed all winter season.


So, what do you guys think? Have you read either book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  



  1. I've enjoyed Cousens' books. She has such great hooks that draw you in, and then she twists it up and really develops the stories nicely.

    1. Agreed. I hope to read more of her novels in the future- this was my first! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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