“You’re absurd.” It comes out sounding like You’re adorable.
“You’d love it.” He grins. “Don’t lie.”
When you’re fake dating the, ah, literal Holiday Spirit, things are bound to get complicated. This chaotic, charming, one-of-a-kind story is filled with holiday fun that put a smile on my face. I’ve been a huge fan of Hogle’s work since the start, and every book is an EXPERIENCE of its own. Just Like Magic is everything I could want in a holiday romance – it’s festive and heartwarming, with a slow-burning love story that was all kinds of adorable. Our hero is the ultimate cinnamon roll; I wasn’t kidding when I said that Hall is the literal spirit of the holidays, so he is the swooniest, most adorkable, Christmas sweater-wearing, sweetheart you can dream up. Watching him experience all of the simple pleasures of life was just as endearing as watching our heroine reconnect with her family and herself. It’s the perfect kind of romance for the holidays, with a zaney, quirky storyline that is sure to fill you with holiday cheer.
The story follows Bettie, a woman who let social media stardom get the best of her. While she was once an IG darling with sponsorship offers coming from all directions, she is now penniless and hiding from the spotlight. Feeling blue as the holidays approach, Bettie is startled when a cute, cheerful guy interrupts her sulking and claims to be the Holiday Spirit, aka Hall. He says that he’s been tasked with rekindling Bettie’s love of the holidays. So when Hall starts granting Bettie’s wishes – no matter how non-sensical or ridiculous – she soon realizes that he was serious. It’s not long before things start snowballing, and Bettie finds herself claiming Hall as her fake fiancé as they spend the days leading up to Christmas with her family. But Hall is all things good and light, so falling for him is easy… even if Bettie knows he’s set to disappear as soon as joy comes back to her life.
So, yeah. The plot is pretty ridiculous, lol. You’ll need to get behind that if you want to enjoy the ride, because this is high-octane fun with one whacky thing after the next. It’s FULL of holiday humor and quirkiness, with a story that kept me on my toes. It’s got the soft, swoony feel that Hogle is known for, with everything dialed up another notch. I thought that Hall was adorable, and he really complements Bettie well. As they both grew and progressed, the romance just got richer and sweeter. Exactly the kind of rom com that I want to curl up under a cozy blanket with on a winter night, and one that I’ll definitely revisit in the future. I do think that the actual relationship development in Hogle’s first two books was much stronger, but this more than makes up for it with the humor, heart, and holiday fun.
The holidays were never her thing, until she accidentally conjures the Holiday Spirit…before her very eyes.
Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a collection of designer purses and an enviable dream home in Hawaii. That was before she lost all her money. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.
Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backward and accidentally conjures up Hall, the Holiday Spirit, in the form of a charming and handsome (if offbeat) man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.
But as some of Bettie’s wishes lose their charm, she finds herself thrown off-kilter by Hall’s sweet nature. Suddenly, grumpy Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways return as soon as the holidays are over?
Other 5-star reads from Sarah Hogle!
Both of Hogle’s previous books have made my Best of the Year lists, so I highly recommend them.
Twice Shy is one of the only books that has made me cry happy tears, and that is quite the accomplishment. It’s such a unique story, with an intricately developed romance and a narrator who learns as she goes. I love the journey this couple takes together, and this hero has got to have one of the best transformations. It’s rare that enemies to lovers romances feel so utterly romantic by the end, but this certainly accomplishes that. I absolutely loved it!
Fun fact: When I finished reading this the first time, I was crying happy tears, feeling the swoons in a big way, and planning out a glowing review in my head… and then I turned to the acknowledgements and saw my name! So freaking cool. I’ve loved Hogle’s work since her debut novel, You Deserve Each Other, and it was immensely flattering to have her publicly thank me for my support. But really? I’m thanking her for writing these memorable, original romances!
Read the review here
You Deserve Each Other is Hogle’s debut novel, and it is equally fantastic – in a different way. Her books are told exclusively from the heroine’s perspective, so the dynamics of each relationship reveal themselves slowly as the narrators learn more about their partners. You Deserve Each Other also has such a unique premise – it follows an engaged couple in a lovers to enemies to lovers-esque relationship. Our heroine believes they’re battling it out to see who will finally break down and end the engagement now that they’ve realized they’re not right for each other, but… is that what’s really happening?
When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.
Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.
But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
Read the review here
About the Author:
Sarah Hogle is a mom of three who enjoys trashy TV and provoking her husband for attention. Her dream is to live in a falling-apart castle in a forest that is probably cursed. She is also the author of You Deserve Each Other and Twice Shy.
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