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What: You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

Who: Sourcebooks Casablanca

When: October 4th 2022

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca for review.

Bring a little joy to the world?

Not today, Santa.

Matthew Prince is young, rich, and thoroughly spoiled. So what if his parents barely remember he exists and the press is totally obsessed with him? He’s on top of the world. But one major PR misstep later, and Matthew is cut off and shipped away to spend the holidays in his grandparents’ charming small town hellscape. Population: who cares?

It’s bad enough he’s stuck in some festive winter wonderland—it’s even worse that he has to share space with Hector Martinez, an obnoxiously attractive local who’s unimpressed with anything and everything Matthew does.

Just when it looks like the holiday season is bringing nothing but heated squabbles, the charity gala loses its coordinator and Matthew steps in as a saintly act to get home early on good behavior…with Hector as his maddening plus-one. But even a Grinch can’t resist the unexpected joy of found family, and in the end, the forced proximity and infectious holiday cheer might be enough to make a lonely Prince’s heart grow three sizes this year.

I saw this being pitched as a Grinch retelling, and I was THERE for someone learning to appreciate the joy that Christmas can bring into people’s lives. Unfortunately, there was no joy for me when reading this novel.

Some people may enjoy reading about unlikeable characters, and you do you for them, but for me there needs to be at least something redeemable and/or likeable about the character I am spending multiple hours inside the head of, and there was none of that for Matthew Prince. He was just a selfish, spoiled brat that I could not have cared less about.

The romance was also … not it. Especially towards the end where Matthew literally calls Hector a “bottom feeder” because he thinks Hector did something shitty, and there was no apology, no regrets, nothing. Hector was just like “uwu I understand why you would have felt that way if it was me”. I do not stan couples that start with this kind of thing.

All in all, this book was a hell of a disappointment. Traditionally published Christmas books are really not hitting the mark.

© 2023, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

classism, parental abandonment, forced outing recounted, on-page anxiety & panic attacks, on-page (from Trigger Warning Database)

What: In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae

Who: Kensington

When: August 30th 2022

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Kensington for review.

With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . .

Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.

When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?

God this book was so extremely average, I was almost brought to tears.

One thing that I am getting so tired of is books being marketed as “romantic comedies” and proceeding to have exactly zero comedy. This book literally says “laugh out loud” in the blurb and not once did anything remotely funny happen. Not. Once. Please, publishing, don’t just use romcom as some blanket term for a contemporary romance. There is “contemporary romance” for that exact reason.

But even the romance in this was not on the mark. The two characters never even spent time reconnecting over their many years without speaking. It was just “omg I hate her” to “omg I want to bang her” with nothing in between. And even when they did start banging, there was no development beforehand. They were basically frenemies with benefits tbh. They spent all their time either bickering or banging.

Also, there was nothing even Christmassy about this book. They literally mentioned Christmas only at the very end, and yet I was under the impression this was a Christmas book. The entire point of a Christmas book is that Christmas plays an integral role in the storyline and it simply did not in this.

All in all, another disappointment.

© 2023, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

parental abandonment, parent with alcoholism, grief & loss depiction, death of a parent from cancer recounted (from Trigger Warning Database)

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Posted on: July 5, 2023 • By: Chiara

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