Home For The Holidays by Sara Richardson (2020)
I picked this book up on a whim - I loved the cover and the blurb, about three sisters coming together at their aunt's inn for Christmas, really appealed to me. I'm happy to say this book really delivered!
As children, sisters Dahlia, Magnolia, and Rose used to spend every Christmas at their Aunt Sassy's Juniper Inn, but it's been years since they all got together. Dahlia is busy raising her children and getting over her divorce; Magnolia is running a bakery business while struggling with infertility; and Rose is planning a big Southern wedding, but she's not sure her fiance's society lifestyle is what she really wants.
When the sisters arrive in Colorado, they immediately remember all the good times they had there; I loved hearing about their family traditions and seeing the way they worked together to bring that magic to the inn one more time. There's a bit of romance and some family secrets to work through, but the main focus is on the sisters and how they each make realizations and plans for the future. Although it was pretty predictable (and oddly, had quite a few typos), this was a heartwarming read about family, love, and the holidays. 4 stars
Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd (2019)
I seem to be in the minority, because this book has generally very high reviews on Goodreads, but this one did not work for me at all!
Public relations intern Olivia loves everything about the holidays; during the company's seasonal events, she decides to act as her boss Asher's fake girlfriend, to make his ex jealous. Along the way, she realizes she has feelings for him. There was just so much about this book that felt off for me. Olivia's character is so contrived; she seems to subsist on coffee and sugar (let me know how that works out for you when you hit 30, Olivia). For awhile, I couldn't figure out how old Asher was (turns out he's 26/27), but the two of them together act like immature teenagers. Their banter is not cute, witty, or sexy; it's often mean-spirited and awkward. I don't think Olivia understands the concept of "fake girlfriend," as from the beginning she's constantly coming on to Asher even when his ex isn't around. The whole vibe is unprofessional and inappropriate - in what universe is it okay to walk around in your underwear in front of your boss or use his credit card to send him unwanted items? While the tone of the book is mostly light, the author then adds this subplot of sexual assault surrounding one of the PR firm's clients. It felt completely out of place and seemed kind of ironic given Olivia's own behavior towards Asher. 2 stars
* This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no cost to you, on qualifying purchases.