Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Mini Reviews: Holiday Edition II

Well, Christmas is almost here! That came up quickly! Wasn't it just December 5th the other day? Time always flies by this time of the year. Today I'm sharing two more holiday reads that would be perfect to enjoy, especially as we approach New Year's Eve.

Snowed In by Catherine Walsh
Pages: 348
Genre: Romance/Holiday
Pub. Date: November 1, 2023
Publisher: Bookouture
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "Megan is dreading going home for the holidays. She’s the village pariah, the she-devil who left local golden boy Isaac at the altar four years ago and ran away to the big city. She could really do without the drama. Particularly as he’s engaged again, and she’s just been dumped for the fourth time this year. Christian’s fed up of being on his own every Christmas. He doesn’t mind being alone , but he hates his family’s sad eyes and soft tones as they sit around coupled up. Because he’s actually, totally, fine. So when Megan literally bumps into Christian in a Dublin pub, they come up with a pact to see them through the holiday season. They’re going to be the very best fake dates for each other, ever . Rules are drawn up, a contract is signed on a wine-stained napkin. They will sit through each other’s family gatherings and be outrageously in love until freed from their annual obligations. After all, it’s only for a few weeks. But with everyone home for the holidays, two big families to deal with alongside old friends, old flames and old feelings, things are bound to get messy. And when a snowed-in cabin and a little Christmas magic are added to the mix, anything could happen… A swoonworthy and utterly gorgeous romantic comedy that will make you laugh out loud and fall completely in love. Fans of Emily Henry, Sophie Kinsella and Abby Jimenez won’t be able to put this down!"


While at a Dublin pub one evening, Megan runs into a childhood friend, Christian. They both have something in common: they don't want to deal with their family this holiday season. Megan doesn't want to return to her hometown as she is known as the runaway bride. She left her fiancé at the altar four years ago. On the other hand, Christian never brings home a girlfriend during the holiday season and his family pities him as everyone expects him to be in a serious relationship by now. So, they agreed to be each other's fake dates this holiday season and they set a few ground rules. It's only a few weeks, so what could go wrong? Catherine Walsh's Snowed In is a delightful holiday romance complete with fake dating, romance, and holiday drama.


Snowed In is the first holiday romance I've read by Walsh and it did not disappoint. While the fake dating trope has been done a lot this holiday season, Walsh made it feel fresh and fun. I adored Megan and Christian's relationship and there were some hilarious laugh-out-loud moments. The secondary characters of Molly and Hannah were great along with Megan and Christian's extended family. I also enjoyed the Irish setting in Snowed In and the various village pubs they would visit---so quaint and cozy. If you want a sweet holiday romance, look no further! I'll be reading Walsh's other holiday romance next year.



The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner 
Pages: 336
Genre: Romance/Holiday
Pub. Date: December 5, 2023
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "In this unforgettable story full of charm, wit—and just a bit of magic—a woman down on her luck is given a second chance at fixing her life and trying one year all over again. Perfect for readers of Josie Silver and Rebecca Serle.  Sadie Thatcher’s life has fallen apart in spectacular fashion. In one fell swoop, she managed to lose her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend—all thanks to her big mouth. So when a fortune teller offers her one wish, Sadie jumps at the chance to redo her awful year. Deep down, she doesn’t believe magic will fix her life, but taking a leap of faith, Sadie makes her wish, opens her eyes, and . . . nothing has changed . And then, in perhaps her dumbest move yet, she kisses her brother’s best friend, Jacob. When Sadie wakes up the next morning, she’s in her former apartment with her former boyfriend, and her former boss is expecting her at work. Checking the date, she realizes it's January 1 . . . of last year .  As Sadie navigates her second-chance year, she begins to see the red flags she missed in her relationship and in her career. Plus, she keeps running into Jacob, and she can’t stop thinking about their kiss . . . the one he has no idea ever happened. Suddenly, Sadie begins to wonder if her only mistake was wishing for a second chance."


Sadie is down on her luck. Her boyfriend dumped her and she lost her job as a pastry chef at a high-end restaurant. Is this because she just can't fall in line? Her ex, Alex, didn't like that she pushed back on his sexist Wall Street colleagues and she also questioned her boss at work. To top it off, Sadie can't pay rent, so she has to stay in the spare bedroom of Jacob, her brother's best friend. Needless to say, this is a very, very bad year. Her best friend convinces her to come out to a New Year's Eve party and while there she asks the fortune teller for a chance to do the entire year over. Well, the magic works and she wakes up the next day with her boyfriend and her beloved job. She can avoid all the problems in this do-over year, right? Except can she forget the magical kiss she had with Jacob on New Year's Eve? Melissa Wiesner's The Second Chance Year is the perfect read as the New Year approaches.


I really liked Sadie from the start of The Second Chance Year. She is opinionated, spunky, and an all-around likable person. I felt bad for her because how her family doesn't really respect her profession as a pastry chef. It was irritating. While this is a holiday romance with some time loop moments, I did appreciate the feminist undertones throughout. Sadie questions her boyfriend's sexist friends as well as the abusive behavior at her work. While she probably could have handled it better at times, I felt like her comments were 100% necessary. Overall, this was a delightful romance that reinforces the importance of accepting who you really are and what you truly want. It's a great way to end the year.


Have you read either of these holiday romances? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 



  1. The Second Chance Year sounds like my kind of book - I love a time travel element!

    1. Yes! It's a great book to usher the New Year in, too! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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