by Codi Hall
Series: Mistletoe Romance #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: October 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Humor, Romance
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Nick Winter is just out of the military, and his Christmas homecoming is not going as planned. What was supposed to be a memorable holiday with his long-time girlfriend goes sour when he learns she cheated on him while he was stationed overseas. At least Nick can rely on his usual shift at the family Christmas tree farm with his best friend, Noel Carter, and her endless supply of Christmas tunes to lift his spirits. A night of fun together is just what he needs to forget about his ex.
But then they kiss. And it feels...so right.
If Noel can turn Nick’s Blue Christmas merry and bright, this might be the last Christmas Nick spends with a broken heart. This year, they’ll be Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree as a couple―as long as Nick’s ex doesn’t go standing under any mistletoe.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I love the warm feeling that the holidays bring. Seeing that this book would revolve around Christmas, I knew it was a must read and I was excited to read about these best friends. Nick and Noel embodied the warm feeling of love and comfort that every Hallmark Christmas movie captures. Their dialogue and complete familiarity with one another was one of my favorite aspects of this book. We are thrown into the story as Nick returns home from the military and we come to see the present status of his relationship with Noel after being away for so long. Hall does a wonderful job in capturing the lifelong friendship between these two friends and how their relationship revolves around music, family and their childhoods. Nick and Noel fit perfectly as friends, and I found no difficulty in coming up to speed with the state of their friendship. However, their transition into romantic love did have a few bumps along the way.
When Nick returns home, his immediate thought is to stop by his girlfriend’s house—Amber—to surprise her; however, Nick quickly becomes the one surprised as Amber admits to cheating on him and breaks up with him. Nick is a romantic, and seeing his future with Amber completely crumble in front of my eyes makes me believe that their relationship meant something to him. Yet his heartbreak heals as Noel kisses him. I struggled with how quickly Nick seemed to fall for Noel as a romantic partner and how he never thought back on Amber and the core issues of their relationship. This was also further emphasized as Amber seemed to regret her choice, but her lack of character depth and sole purpose of being a threat to the main couple proved to be an issue of itself.
Noel held the most depth as a character, especially with her tragic backstory and struggle with accepting love and family, constantly fearing that one day it would all be taken from her—just like her parents were. Noel’s arc through grief held my attention throughout the book and sometimes seemed to overshadow the romance, which I actually did not mind. Noel’s grief about losing her parents and how that translated into her lack of stable companionship felt realistic and was one aspect of the book that I felt was done incredibly well. I also liked how Hall showcased Noel’s fear of loving Nick romantically because if it all went south it would mean losing the one person who meant everything to her.
Overall, this was a read that I enjoyed because at its core, it was meant to be a cute, fluffy read. While there were cliches sprinkled throughout the story—such as the shallow ex-girlfriend—this book was funny and heartfelt in its vital moments. As Noel comes to learn through Nick, grief and loss would always be a part of life, but what is grief if not love persevering?
Hi, I’m Elizabeth!! I am 22 with a bachelor degree in English Literary Studies. I love to read and talk about books 24/7, and when I’m not reading I am usually rewatching my comfort movies and shows for the hundredth time—specifically, anything Jane Austen!