Cover In a Holidaze: A light green background with christmas lights and ornaments strewn about

About the Book

Title: In a Holidaze
Published: 2020
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Deck The Halls: Merry And Bright
Naughty or Nice List: Nice
Melt My Marshmallows: Squishy And Sweet
On A Scale from The Grinch to Buddy The Elf: Hallmark Should Take Notes

Deck The Halls: Merry And Bright

While that bright green doesn’t exactly scream “Christmas!” to me, it does catch the eye and stand out from all the other snow-covered house/landscape covers, and once you’re looking you’ll notice the twinkle lights and the ornaments. So I guess I’d say it does its job.

What’s Going On In Santa’s Workshop:

Maelyn Jones LOVES Christmas with her family, especially this year when it breaks up the monotony of her unfulfilling job, her lackluster love life, and distracts from the fact that she had to move back in with her mom and new step-dad. Her “Christmas family” consists of her parents’ college BFFs and their children, and their annual tradition of spending the week at the Hollis’ Utah cabin has been going strong for more than two decades…which is why it’s so upsetting to Mae when she learns that Lisa and Ricky are selling the cabin.

Coupling that with a regrettable late-night make out session with the younger Hollis brother, Theo, Mae is at a low, low point as they head to the airport. She throws out a call to the universe to show her what would really make her happy. Right after, her dad gets into a car accident and they wake up on the plane—heading TO Utah, about to relive the entire week again. Mae is the only one who notices they’ve done this all before. Is this her chance to make a change, or is she stuck in some kind of weird Christmas limbo?

Naughty or Nice List: Nice

A plaid square with "naughty or nice" where "naughty" is crossed out

Mae isn’t as forthright about her wants and needs as much as she could be, but don’t many of us have issues standing up for ourselves? She also goes a little cuckoo as she relives the same first few days over and over, trying to parse through the right actions she needs to take to actually get through the full week, but I can’t really blame her for being freaked. Nothing she does is so over-the-top ridiculous—compared to many Christmas romances I read—and I think that’s because authors Christina Lauren know what they’re doing in the rom-com department. 

Melt My Marshmallows: Squishy And Sweet

So I know I mentioned Mae’s moment with Theo above, but her heart has actually secretly belonged to his older brother, Andrew, since she was thirteen and realized how a chiseled jaw and floppy hair got her heart a-fluttering. But Andrew has never seen her as anything but “kid sister” Mae, and even if he did, if he ever found out she kissed Theo, it’d be over. Luckily for Mae, no one else remembers anything from the “previous” timelines, so this might be the time for her to be bold and honest about what she wants.

I’ll admit at first I was totally expecting this to be a surprise romance in which she realizes Theo is the one for her but…spoiler alert, it wasn’t. But after I got that notion out of my head, Mae’s moments with Andrew were sweet and just dirty enough (if you’ve read Christina Lauren, you know they can go DIRTY in certain books, but tend to stay hard PG-13 in their rom-coms).

We Got (Christmas) Spirit, Yes We Do!

Buffy the Elf excited when he sees a dept store Santa

This was exactly the right amount of Christmas cheer I needed to get into the spirit this holiday season. Since Mae goes back in time to the beginning of her vacation, we get to see all the annual traditions and even the start of some potential new ones. There’s something so cozy about everyone bunked up in unusual sleeping arrangements and in close proximity that brings to mind family vacations where everyone actually likes each other. As someone who considers some of her best friends from college like siblings, I loved the idea of them all getting together every year specifically to be with their found family, even through tough things Mae’s parents’ divorce.

Mistletropes

Various Christmas things like trees, cookies, lights, etc.

What Christmas trope isn’t in this book? You’ve got ugly sweaters and Christmas tree lots, snowball fights and snow sculpture contests, presents by the fire and a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt. I can’t leave out the wintery backdrop and the cabin in the mountains, along with some skiing and traditional holiday dinners. And of course, lest we forget we’re in a rom-com, some mistletoe action with everyone urging the awkward couple on with evil glee.

On A Scale from The Grinch to Buddy The Elf: Hallmark Should Take Notes

I’d say this book is full-on singing it loud for all to hear with its holiday glee and sweet romance. Plus it’s well-written and fun to be around to boot! I would totally be okay with Christina Lauren giving us a new holiday-themed novel every year.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Gallery Books. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. In a Holidaze is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.