E-Originals, November 16, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Two mature characters help each other come to terms with their families in this satisfying twist on a Christmas romance; the perfect romance to read with a cocoa in front of the fire; Holiday shows that what happens after happily ever after can be just as much fun to read

Week ending November 16, 2018

Beharrie, Therese. A Wedding One Christmas. Carina: Harlequin. Nov. 2018. 223p. ebk. ISBN 9781488051180. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Angie Roux and Ezra Johnson are both dreading returning home to Cape Town, South Africa, and facing their families for Christmas. They both stop at the same Caledon café, only to find themselves in the middle of a wedding. Instantly physically attracted to each other, they pretend to be together and spend the afternoon and evening alternately dodging the wedding and getting sucked into the festivities. In between humorous hijinks involving interfering aunties and uncles and ad-libbed nativity plays, they take advantage of being strangers to open up to each other, admitting things they’ve barely admitted to themselves. Despite the book taking place over just one day, the level of emotional intensity builds a strong and believable bond. Beharrie (Surprise Baby, Second Chance) manages a solid balance between raw honesty and witty banter in her dialog-heavy text.
VERDICT Two mature characters still have blind spots concerning their families but help each other come to terms with them in this satisfying twist on a Christmas romance. [Previewed in Kathryn Howe’s “Love Changes Everything,” LJ 10/15/18.]—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington P.L., VA

Collins, Dani. Wedding at Mistletoe Chalet. Tule. Nov. 2018. 161p. ebk. ISBN 9781949707212. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Kristen Benz has scheduled a nice two-week vacation for the holidays from her job as a hotel manager. When the news comes that her brother will be out East with his wife’s family, and her parents won this year’s raffle for the Christmas cruise, she takes a chance at a last-minute temp posting to help out at the Mistletoe Chalet. Kristen wanted to try her hand at managing in a smaller setting where the guests feel more like family. What she didn’t expect was having the chance to feel like family. Finn Garrett is overcome with guilt. His childhood neighbor and former girlfriend turned down spending the holidays with his family to work. Finn decides it’s time to clear the air over their breakup and tell Kristen the truth behind his decisions. As tends to happen in the mountains, a quick afternoon chat at Mistletoe Chalet turns into a few days stuck in the snow—just long enough to rekindle old flames.
Verdict The pictures Collins paints of the Mistletoe Chalet definitely evoke the feeling of Christmas (and home). Some may feel the romance is a bit too straightforward and planned, but this is the perfect romance to read with a cocoa in front of the fire. A must-add to your Christmas romance rotation.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, SILS, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Holiday, Jenny. Merrily Ever After. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, Bk. 2). Dec. 2018. 120p. ebk. ISBN 9781538744604. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Elise Maxwell and Jay Smith are living a blissful newlywed life, looking forward to their first Christmas together. When Elise discovers she’s pregnant, their venture toward happily ever after takes a sharp turn. Jay has never wanted children, which was fine with Elise as she was told conceiving for her would be nearly impossible. When impossible becomes probable, Elise and Jay must determine how they feel about this new, uncertain future.
VERDICT This heart-warming novella falls between series titlesIt Takes Two and the forthcoming third book, Three Little Words, and gives Elise and Jay the chance to shine. While readers may miss the opportunity to watch the couple fall in love, Holiday shows that what happens after happily ever after can be just as much fun to read.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash

LJ Reviews

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