November 2022 Mini-Reviews 

Review: Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban

*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Talk Santa to Me is basically Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer meets a Hallmark movie.

Frankincense “Francie” was born in a stable. Well, a stable at the Hollydale Holiday Shop, her family’s Christmas store. Francie loves her family’s store more than anything. But this year is annoying. Her Aunt Carol is back and trying to make the store more corporate feeling, a la cousin Mel from Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer.

Francie wants to save the magic of Christmas for her family, while also trying to kiss the cute guy from the tree lot next door. It’s bound to be an interesting holiday season.

While we liked parts of Talk Santa to Me, but we didn’t love the story. It started out strong and engaging, but at times fell flat and dragged on. We thought the whole family having holiday-themed names was cute. We also liked learning about the store and how Francie fought her aunt at every turn.

However, we felt like the romance was almost an after thought, because it doesn’t even play a role in the story until the second half of the book. It felt like Hector didn’t play a big enough part in the book and we didn’t get to know him too well.

While we though the holiday aspects and the cover were so cute, it just didn’t feel like a fully developed Christmas romance.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review: The Summer I Fell for My Best Friend by Sara Jane Woodley

In The Summer I Fell for My Best Friend, Bree expects to spend her summer in beautiful sunny Portugal. But after a conflict, her parents send her to spend the summer working at the family hotel. Goodbye beaches, hello mountains.

Bree thinks it will be the worse summer ever, but things change when she learns her former best friend Noah is also working at the hotel all summer. Three years ago something happened between them and they haven’t spoken since. But a summer together under the stars might be what they need to rekindle the flame.

This book can easily be described as fluffy. It’s a super quick read, one that should take you no more than a day or two and it’s a fun summer romance. Kind of ironic we put the review in between two Christmas books.

We liked Bree and Noah a lot, as individuals and as a couple. They both have difficult family lives that they needed to work out. Both had a summer away to gain clarity and decide what they truly want for their futures. As a couple, they really connected. Some of our favorite scenes were their dates, where they went storm chasing. We liked this unique hobby.

The only aspect we didn’t like was how conflicts got handled at the end of the book. Everything seemed magically fixed and forgiven, which hindered the character development a bit. It felt like the pacing worked until the last 1/4 of the book and then everything was magically fixed for everyone.

However, this is a fun and light summer read. It’s perfect for those who want to get away and spend the summer in nature.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review: The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park

*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

We wanted to read plenty of holiday romances this year, which led us to the Christmas Clash, which promised to be an adorable holiday enemies to lovers.

The story follows Chloe Kwon and Peter Li, who both spend all their time at the local mall. Chloe’s family runs a Korean restaurant and Peter’s a Chinese one. Also, both have holiday-themed jobs. When the news hits that the mall will be torn down and replaced with a new development, the two enemies come together to save their families.

Based on the description, we thought we would read an adorable Christmas enemies to lovers. But this wasn’t enemies to lovers at all. They said they didn’t like each other, but they had no reason for conflict. There wasn’t a conflict because they stopped “hating” each other 20% of the way in. There also wasn’t any resolution, they just suddenly liked each other.

While the writing wasn’t bad, it just felt dull. We found it hard to get through. We liked the diversity aspects and how the main characters are fighting back against corporate greed, but then not much happened. It felt like 100 pages could be cut and the book wouldn’t lose any of the plot.

We’re sad to say that The Christmas Clash didn’t work for us.

Rating: ⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

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