Her Inconvenient Christmas Reunion

“He was the man he had left her to become.”

Her Inconvenient Christmas Reunion by Nina Singh is the childhood sweethearts second chance Christmas romance with a dash of travel and the ONE BED trope sprinkled on top..one bed in a romantically decorated Parisian hotel-between Izadora and Zayne. These two were a thing once upon a time..until they weren’t. One day Zayne just left with no explanation. Well, he’s returned to his small Napa Valley town after his aunt has passed away and left him her winery, but only half of it. The other 50% belongs to Izadora aka Izzy. She leaves them both the message that they “need each other.”

I don’t really have any cons with this one. It’s less than 200 pages, a Harlequin romance, so I went in knowing what I was going to get. We get straight to the point to make everything come together in a short amount of time. For so long, Izadora has harbored the hurt and disappointment of the love of her life just leaving with no explanation. As the reader you are privy to why Zayne left and this secret looms for basically the entire book; Izzy doesn’t learn the reason why until the end–I’ll give you a hint; small town bad boy falls in love with the driven, determined smart girl and could totally be a distraction. Zayne goes away and gets his shit together to become the kind of man Izzy deserves but because of the LIES about himself he has grown to believe based off how he was raised; absent father, mother who took off to travel the world leaving him to be bounced around from family member to family member-even though he has his crap together there is this fear of still not being good enough for her.

For Izzy, she’s this character who has been living her life with the cards being dealt to her without really knowing the cards were even being dealt. Decisions that affected her, were made for her without her even knowing it.

“her insides were shaking. He was really here, standing before her. Her first love, the one who’d crushed her heart when he’d just up and left town on a sudden whim. She hadn’t been enough to keep him nearby.”

This is what this book tackles and so much more in less than 200 pages. It’s a story with a lot of threads to it and everything comes together nicely in the end. I really have come to adore second chance romances especially when it has that childhood sweetheart spin to it. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Nina Singh.

Rated: 4/5 Stars on Goodreads

One Wedding One Christmas by Therese Beharrie

A Wedding One Christmas was my first read by Therese Beharrie and won’t be my last, for sure. I discovered her this fall while browsing through the different Harlequin lines on their website and seen that she has quite a few titles under the Harlequin Romance line and I have a couple Kimani romances titled by her as well. I get very excited when I discover a new to me woman of color author writing for Harelquin, so I was so happy when their publicity team sent me A Wedding One Christmas by her.

This story takes place over the course of one day and is set in South Africa. Hello, location I’ve yet to read a book set in! I think setting a book that is over 200 pages in one day is a bold move, and I’d imagine hard to pull off. This is the romance between Angie and Ezra who meet after Angie coincidentally stops at a location she used to visit with her family prior to her father’s passing away and is dressed basically identical to the bridesmaids at the location for a wedding. She is constantly being mistaken for a bridesmaid, stops in a cafe and asks Ezra if she can sit with him and if he can go along and pretend that they are together.

What made this book work for me is that you don’t focus so much on the ‘time’ element because we spend a lot of time in the minds of the characters. We see them, in the words of my sister, ‘making it make sense,’ all their internal stuff! If you are an internal conflict person, this book delivers on that! Both Angie and Ezra have their ‘stuff,’ and we spend a lot of time witnessing the tug of war, back and forth that comes along with their attempts to rationalize this ‘stuff.’

At the core of this story is that on a random day, two people who have been battling their own ‘stuff,’ wind up at the same place and sitting apart from one another at a cafe. I think a ‘fake couple’ storyline lends itself perfectly to the story because it causes these two random people to spend a lot of time together which of course leads to conversation and them getting to know more about one another. Then there is the worry about ‘time.’ We’ve only just met, but I’m getting feelings and this doesn’t make sense! But it’s like, how do you deal with yourself tomorrow, after having walked away, and it hits you that you just walked away from your person?

It’s chatty and the chatter can make it feel slightly like the story is dragging but it’s one of those situations where I encourage you to just hold on! The author makes it make sense in the end.

4/5 Stars

Love At The Icicle Cafe by Denise Wheatley

Love At the Icicle Cafe by Denise Wheatley

Releases 29 December 2020

Tule Publishing

About: Mina Richards is a California lawyer who grew up loving to bake and helping her Mom out in the family co-owned cafe in small town Gosberg, Germany. Her parents let her know that they, along with the other couple they own the cafe (the Icicle Cafe) back in Germany with, want to sale it so they can fully enjoy their retirement. Mina’s Dad winds up having an accident and physically can’t fly to Germany so they ask Mina to do. Once back in Germany, she meets up with Scott, the co-owner’s son and the chef who has been holding down the cafe. Scott is unenthusiastic about selling. The more the two spend time together, romance ensues.

Love At the Icicle Cafe was my first Denise Wheatley but definitely won’t be my last! This book was an unexpected surprise. I went into it expecting a really sweet holiday read because the cover just screams cozy Christmas vibes; and while it was that, it was so much more. This book isn’t just atmospheric, dreamy winter descriptions and mouthwatering scenes of baking desserts; it’s also heavy and intense from beginning to end.

Mina is in the run for partner at her law firm. Obviously, traveling to Germany physically removes her from her day to day and allows the guy she’s up against to perform his snake in the grass tactics but sometimes I think we have to physically remove ourselves from our day to day to look at our situation and decide if it’s truly what we want. When reading from Mina’s perspective, you understand that she has worked very hard to get where she is but it’s also very obvious that she’s working in an environment that she may find herself continuously in this cycle of maybe next time. Though she is on an entirely different continent, for most of the book, Mina still prioritizes work until things happen and she doesn’t. What I like specifically with Mina’s character is that the author makes nothing easy on her. Even with her romance with Scott; we know it is going to come at a price. Mina finds herself teetering between two worlds; the one she worked very hard to build but wasn’t at her happiest and this new one full of possibilities but is very far away.

Scott and Mina dated briefly in high school so I loved the second chance/childhood sweet hearts aspect to their romance. I loved the close proximity with Mina stepping in for her parents and taking an active role in the cafe. I loved that the cafe symbolizes a place that has come to mean so much to the community and that small town determination to hold onto the small businesses rather than allow structures to be taken over by big corporations.

Overall, this is a quick, really well written holiday romance starring two people of color. I can’t recommend it enough!

Rereading One of my First Romances

Hello Friends! I hope all is well with you. I recently reread one of the first romances I read since deciding I wanted to give the romance genre a try. Once I decided I wanted try reading romance, I googled something along the lines of, “romance author who writes the best Christmas romances,” and my results were flooded with titles by Debbie Macomber. Through a bit of searching, I saw that in just a few short weeks, she would be releasing a new Christmas title called “Merry and Bright.” So, I pre-ordered it (as you do) to download to my Kindle as soon as it released. I read it, and loved it.

I am not much of a rereader. As much as I wish that I was, when I think of dedicating time to reading something that I’ve already read when I have so many unread books, I get a bit anxious. ‘Merry and Bright’, however has been heavy on my mind for experiencing again.

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This go around I listened to the audio version of Merry and Bright which was narrated by Em Eldridge, who did a fantastic job.

This is the romance of Merry Knight and Jayson Bright. Merry is a temporary worker for Jayson’s company and Jayson is the quintessential Scrooge! He refuses any signs of Christmas cheer, doesn’t allow employees to eat at their desk and has one woman come into work, knowing her child is home sick the flu. Jayson is super unlikeable..at first.

Jayson gets a call from his cousin asking him to be the best man in his upcoming wedding, which completely takes Jayson by surprise. Apparently his cousin reconnected with a childhood friend of theirs via a dating website. So on one lonely night, Jayson creates an account.

Merry’s mother and brother create her a dating site account for her birthday because she hasn’t been on a date in a very long time, and they want her to get out and enjoy herself for a change. They put her profile picture as the family dog, that way suitors will have to get to know the real her without knowing what she looks like. Jayson sees this photo of a dog and starts reminiscing about his childhood dog, and clicks to begin a chat.

First things first, yes Merry works for Jayson, but the company has been spelling her name Mary so he totally has no idea that it is the same person.

I loved this book just as much this go around as I did the first time. I am really considering making this a yearly fall/winter read.

Merry’s family is great. I loved her Mom and Dad, and her relationship with her brother Patrick. The scenes with Merry’s family were filled with so much warmth and it is so easy to see why they are so important to her. So much of what Merry does is because of them.

Merry and Jayson agree to meet for coffee to see who each other are. When Merry arrives though and sees that Jay she’s been chatting with is actually Jayson she works with, she stands him up. I thought this was a good twist to the story. You as the reader know that both people are who they are and you’re anxious for that meet up to see how it is going to go! I thought it added a nice spin for Merry to see that she’s actually been chatting with her boss and high tailing it out of there because now we see that inner conflict she goes through with trying to separate her super scrooge boss from super sweet Jay. Eventually it comes out that the two know each other but Merry doesn’t elaborate on how, so Jayson begins really humbling himself. He knows that somewhere along the way he met Merry and was mean to her but he still has no idea when and where, but knows he’s paying for it now because she stood him up.

Just liked I cried last year, I cried this year reading this book at the end. Everything just wrapped up perfectly. Debbie Macomber’s romances make me so happy. Yes, this is a romance but it is full of the joys of the holidays and the importance of family.

I am so glad I gave it a reread.

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