Saturday 26 December 2020

The Christmas Pact, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane & Duffy The Christmassy Dragon!

Three festive reads for the festive season!

Heat up the holidays with this sizzling new novella from New York Times best-selling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her colleague, Kennedy Riley.
The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party. As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be gorgeous…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor—and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: He’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding.
It sounds easy enough. But little by little, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact—and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.

This was a quick-to-read festive novella with a fun concept. It made me laugh and cringe and I enjoyed it but I could take or leave Riley and Kennedy as a couple. I'm unsure what caused the disconnect between me and the characters but I just wasn't invested in their story... This made the drama towards the end tediously annoying rather than something that added a little bit of spicy tension. Honestly, I expected more from these authors... Their full-length co-written books are very well done but maybe novellas just aren't their forte? That said, it was definitely better than most novellas and it was a fun way to pass a couple of hours so I'm not complaining too much.

It’s the most magical time of year, and anything can happen…
Nia Maddison has always believed that wishes come true on Nutcracker Lane. So, when she gets the opportunity to run her own Christmas gift shop on the most magical street in town, it feels like her wishes have been finally granted.
But working late one night, Nia discovers yet another boyfriend has cheated on her. As she trudges home – alone, again – she passes the (supposedly) magical nutcracker and half-joking thinks a wish can’t hurt. Cracking a nut in its mouth, she wishes to find Prince Charming.
The next day Nia gets to work to find another decoration shop has opened directly across the lane from her own, and she can’t resist having a nose around.
Whilst there, she accidentally backs into a human-sized Nutcracker, knocking it over and breaking it. Mortified, she flees from the store but when she gathers her resolve to go back and apologise, she stumbles across the gorgeous shop owner James, who looks exactly like Prince Charming…
Could her Christmas wish from the night before really be coming true?

I'm so conflicted over this book! On the one hand, it's delightfully festive, has a couple that I adored and a supporting cast of random characters that made me giggle. I enjoyed the slow burn of the romance, the hope and magic of Christmas that the author captured perfectly, and the simple joy it brought. However, it was so long-winded that it felt like a slog to get through it... I feel that it could have been shortened by a good amount and been a better, punchier, story.
I'd still recommend it though. Admans knows how to write Christmas. Her love for the holiday season bleeds through on every single page and I'm convinced that she could make the ultimate bah-humbugger feel festive.

Duffy The Dragon helps Santa one icy Christmas Eve.

First off, I loved the illustrations for this book! There is something so incredibly old-worldy and timeless about them... They just make you feel all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic.
Secondly, the story is utterly charming! It flows lyrically and tells the story of how Duffy the Dragon helps Santa on Christmas. It gave me Night Before Christmas vibes in how it flowed from one verse to the next... It's a perfect story to read to the little ones on Christmas Eve!



  1. Keeland's books are usually fun. Your rating looks like 4.5, but your review sounds like less. I am not a huge novella fan, so I don't rush to them.

  2. I have the Christmas Pact I think but haven't read it. Maybe next year's holiday season. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. The Christmas Dragon looks fabulous! How fun. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!!

  4. I read a couple of Christmas romances this holiday...The Twelve Dates of Christmas and In a Holidaze. I liked both of them.

  5. I listened to the audio of The Christmas Pact around this time last year and really enjoyed it. I think having my favorite narrators (Andi Arndt and Sebastian York) doing the voices helped make it such a fun experience.

  6. The Christmas Pact is such a feel good story with so many laugh out loud moments. I read so many different genres of books that I needed this book and boy did it deliver. I LOVE this Dynamic Duo when they collaborate on a story!


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