Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book Review: A Christmas Date

By Sara Steven

Even Little Miss Grinch, Nikki, a successful and independent woman, must face her bachelorette status at the most horrible time of the year.

December is her personal version of holly-jolly hell: a merry torture made of couples kissing at every corner, forced vacation days, and an inescapable family reunion.

And when her baby sister announces she’s engaged—to Paul, the man Nikki is secretly in love with—and that he’s spending the holidays with them, Christmas starts looking bluer than ever.

Nikki can’t possibly survive an entire week trapped home as the family’s spinster. But she has no time to meet men or to try the newest dating app, she’s too busy working as a video producer for an advertising agency.

So what’s a girl to do?

Nikki has the perfect solution: to hire a fake boyfriend.

Luckily, her job gives her access to an endless catalog of gorgeous actors to choose from.

But Nikki will soon discover that keeping business and pleasure from mixing isn’t so easy, and that she might not be immune to a little mistletoe magic. Especially not when she picked out the perfect man as her Christmas date... (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Oh, this really was a fun read. Reminiscent of the movie The Wedding Date, but with a unique twist in its approach, I found myself thoroughly engrossed inside the mind of Nikki. There is a stoic way she views the world, not letting her guard down for even a second. Expressing the way she feels or having anything to do with emotional situations doesn’t appear to be her strong suit, particularly when it comes to Paul and the crush she’s had on him for several years. Throw in the fact that her sister is Paul’s love interest, and it makes for some incredibly awkward and cringe-worthy moments.

You can’t fault her for concocting a scheme to try and survive another holiday with her family. They don’t let up when it comes to where she’s at in her life, romantically. And, showing up single and watching her sister canoodle with the man of her dreams isn’t an option. There was enough resistance from the actor she hires that made this feel like it could be doable. Not to mention the pressure Nikki places on herself while she’s doing her best to ensure that they look like a couple. It made a situation that appears surreal end up grounded and realistic, along with the responses and reactions from Nikki’s family. No one can believe that she’d partner with the man she brings home for the holidays, and even she has moments of doubt.

This felt like an awakening for Nikki, not only in matters of the heart, but in her own personal acceptance. She’d placed herself in various categories, ones where she’d never be “that” kind of woman, or never be someone who could be considered desirable or sexy. For her, it was always about the practicalities, and with this experiment, she’s been allowed the opportunity to let it all go. I appreciated her transformation, the eye-opening revelations that crop up when she least expects it, lending into the charm and cadence of this Christmas story. I'm looking forward to venturing into the other two novels in the First Comes Love series, as I'm sure they'll be just as much fun to read.

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Author Bio:
Camilla Isley is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad. She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

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