Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

By: Jenny Bayliss

Blurb:

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .

Review:

I didn’t read all of The Twelve Dates of Christmas before I set it aside. I read about forty percent, and I feel like that’s enough to write a review.

I read the back of the book blurb before I began reading, and I almost wish I hadn’t. It gave away who she would wind up with, so the entire premise of twelve dates meant nothing. It was frustrating and annoying to know what was going to happen and that most of what I was reading meant nothing for the overall romance.

Kate was in her mid-thirties and had never settled down with anyone. Her longest relationship had been for four years and had ended long before the story starts. The book starts right before her first date on a Christmas themed blind date marathon. She’s paid a lot of money to go on twelve dates before Christmas in the hopes of finding the perfect person. Each date that I read had something “wrong” with them. One guy was a no show, one guy was gay, one guy didn’t want kids, one guy was hung up on his past girlfriend, and another guy was as well. It was ridiculous.

In case you couldn’t figure it out from the blurb, Kate winds up with her friend Matt. They grew up together, had a thing during college that ended poorly, and he was in a long term relationship with another woman. Still, Kate rejects every man she was presented with, and Matt’s girlfriend realized he was in love with Kate. So it all worked out beautifully.

I was not a fan.

2/5

In a Holidaze

In a Holidaze

By: Christina Lauren

Blurb:

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.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Review:

In a Holidaze is a Christmas Groundhogs day story, two things that I love, so I was particularly excited to read it. I was hoping for a bit more Groundhogs day than I got, unfortunately.

Maelyn does her best not to make waves. She wants to make sure everyone else is comfortable, sometimes at her own expense. She’s also a stickler for tradition. When everything seems to go wrong at her usual family Christmas vacation, she finds herself reliving the entire trip. It wasn’t until she decided to say f-it, I’m going to do what I want when things started to go right. I was actually a bit disappointed by that. I wanted more times through, but at the same time, I was annoyed at how obvious what she needed to do was.

Andrew, Maelyn’s love interest, seemed like a good guy. She’d had a crush on him for half of her life, but he had her firmly in the little sister category. Things, of course, changed in that department. Their intimate scenes were closer to fade to black than explicit, which was fine.

In a Holidaze was a fine book. It just needed to be punched up in a couple of plot areas. There was a large cast of characters, and they didn’t all get the time they deserved. They seemed interesting and were fleshed out, but several didn’t contribute much to the story. I was also disappointed in the handling of Andrew’s brother, Theo.

It was a cute holiday book and, with the right expectations, enjoyable.

3/5

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

By: Sarah Morgenthaler

Blurb:

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Review:

I don’t put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. I don’t watch Christmas movies until then either. That rule does not apply to books. I really love Christmas books and movies, but I’m not able to stop myself when it comes to books.

Mistletoe and Mr. Right was just as cute as the previous book in the series. Lana is in control of herself in a way that I will never be. She’s gorgeous and driven. She’s a huge success in her business life, but she is incredibly lonely.

Rick’s ex-wife has left him scared to get into another relationship. It’s taken him three years to be ready to date again. He gets completely tongue-tied around Lana and has been harboring a crush for her for years. It’s adorable.

They decide on a holiday romance, but you know it’s never going to last. They are everything the other has always wanted. Their second date is freaking hilarious and the best date I’ve read all year.

The book did end up being a sweet romance, so there was nothing graphic. I would also not recommend reading this unless you’ve read the first. All the previous characters are there and play a pretty significant role, as well as the town. You’d have a lot of catching up to do if you started here.

The next book in the series comes out in January, and I’ve already pre-ordered it. I did that with this book too. If Morgenthaler had written anything else, I’d be binging it all. It’s a few days early, but I’m definitely in the holiday spirit.

5/5

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

 

Home Alone 2

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Director:

Chris Columbus

Starring:

Macaulay Culkin

Joe Pesci

Daniel Stern

Plot:

One year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City – and the same criminals are not far behind.

Review:

When I was growing up this was my favorite Home Alone movie. Kevin, Macaulay Culkin, gets to go to a big city, all by himself, go to a massive toy store, and eat tons of rubbish. Even as an adult he’s living my dream. Well, not really the New York part, but whatever, close enough!

Now, watching Home Alone 2, I don’t view it as positively. There is, of course, the taint of seeing Donald Trump in a beloved classic, but there’s also the fact that Kevin gets pretty extreme in his booby traps. Holy cow he would have killed the bandits many times over if it had been real. Definitely darker than the last.

I like to think that after this movie the whole family decided no more holiday traveling and they got Kevin the mental help he needed. Hopefully, he was able to live out a long, loving life, without needing to defend himself or his family from criminals that wanted to kill him. Who knows, though, maybe the Sticky/Wet Bandits broke out of jail again and finally got to seek their revenge. It’s not like anyone else knew exactly what Kevin did to them this time around.

4/5

Christmas Wedding Planner (2017)

Christmas Wedding Planner

Christmas Wedding Planner (2017)

Director:

Justin G. Dyck

Starring:

Jocelyn Hudon

Stephen Huszar

Plot:

Wedding Planner, Kelsey Wilson, is about to have her big break: planning her beloved cousin’s lavish and exclusive wedding. Everything is going smoothly until Connor McClane, a devilishly handsome private investigator, shows up and turns Kelsey’s world upside-down. Hired by a secret source, Connor quickly disrupts the upcoming nuptials but wins Kelsey’s heart in the process.

Review:

Kelsey Wilson, Jocelyn Hudon, is in the home stretch of planning her perfect cousin’s wedding. All of a sudden the bride’s gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Stephen Huszar, shows up and the mother of the bride is concerned. Not about to let all of her hard work go up in flames Kelsey pounces on him and next thing you know she is in the middle of a stake out montage that doubles as them falling in love.

Kelsey goes from thinking he’s hot, to wanting him to leave her alone, to helping him, to loving him, to feeling betrayed and hurt, to remorseful for misjudging him, and then freaking marrying him.

That’s right. She marries him at the end of the movie, even though she’s known him for maybe a week. Maybe. It’s bat shit crazy. Bat shit. There was so little romance and frankly Connor was a bit of a dick, but nope she married him without even a prenup and only two kisses under her belt.

Yeah. Christmas Wedding Planner went a bit too off the rails for me there at the end.

3/5