Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

P is for Poetry #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

December 22, 2020

Enjoy Some "Me Time" with 2 Holiday Romances

by MK French

Christmas is only a few days away. Are you finished with the decorating and wrapping, and baking? Then it is time to relax with a holiday romance. And because holiday romances are often like sugar cookies and you can't consume just one I have two holiday romances for you today. One is a Victorian romance that wraps up Julia London's Royal Wedding trilogy and the other is a contemporary romance in Jackie Lau's Cider Bar Sisters series.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Princess by Christmas by Julia London

Princess by Christmas
October 2020; HQN; 978-1335080615
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); Victorian romance
"The widow Hollis Honeycutt was in a prickly mood as she waited admittance at the gates of St. James Palace. For one thing, she was standing in the middle of a throng of gentlemen, all of them chatting quite loudly in various languages, without any regard for other conversations occurring nearby. A warm-blooded woman of a certain age missing her late husband could have been intoxicated by the scents of citrus and tobacco that seemed to follow so many men about, but Hollis didn't care for all that privileged masculinity pressing up against all her femininity. It was as if they didn't sense how their bodies fit into crowded spaces - they kept bumping into her, tossing their casual pardons at her." (chapter 1)

Hollis Honeycutt, left behind when her sister and their best friend married, still publishes her gazette and is always on the lookout for news. Overhearing a conversation about treachery in Wesloria, she immediately is suspicious of Marek, a Weslorian that always looks uncomfortable in Polite Society. He's partially deaf and had spent most of his time on a farm in Wesloria, but has a secret of his own that he's keeping. They're drawn to each other, and Hollis will continue to push for the truth, no matter what.

Princess by Christmas is the third of the Royal Wedding novels, after The Princess Plan (read my review) and Royal Kiss and Tell (read my review). It helps to have read those first to know the story for Eliza and Caroline, but it's not necessary. Right off the bat, we know that Eliza married the Crown Prince and then Caroline married his brother with a bit of scandal behind them. The summaries of their stories catch you up to speed if you haven't read those books yet, but this is all Hollis' story. She is very observant and stubborn but also jumps to conclusions quickly. Her hunch that Marek is hiding a secret is correct, but she's wrong about what it is and can't let go of her need to go looking for something new to discover and publish.

I enjoyed the chapter headings of article snippets from her Gazette, each selection reflecting the contents and events. Hollis is drawn to Marek's quiet and his good looks, and he has a strong, loyal core that she appreciates. For his part, Marek had always been afraid to trust in people before. Hollis is engaging and charming and doesn't let him wallow in his fears. The two enjoy each others' company and can bounce ideas off each other. He enjoys her intelligence, and they are very well matched. It's in their discussions that they figure out what the overheard conversation is really about, and Marek has learned to trust enough to reach out for help. There isn't the same level of danger as there had been in the first two novels, but elements of it still exist for them. Hollis and Marek get their happily ever after, which isn't the hustle and bustle that you'd expect given Marek's secret.

This was a fun way to tie off the trilogy, now that all three of them are happily married and looking toward the future. All of the characters are taken care of now, not just the main heroines, so we can enjoy their happily ever afters as well.

Buy Princess for Christmas at Amazon

Her Pretend Christmas Date by Jackie Lau

Her Pretend Christmas
December 2020; Jackie Lau Books
ebook (104 pages); multicultural romance
"Julie Tam's roommate had one flaw: she was a matchmaker." (chapter 1)

Julie Tam had a disastrous first date with Tom Yeung, but he’s the exact type of man her parents would approve of as a boyfriend. Living in the shadow of her older sister Charlotte, she used him as a fake boyfriend during phone calls. Now that it’s Christmas, she needs him to pretend to be her boyfriend. At first, she was dreading the time together, but learns more and more about him, and really enjoys his company.

Fake dating tropes can be such fun to read about as long as the secondhand embarrassment factor is low. Julie is fairly judgmental on their first date, and Tom’s attention to detail and serious nature are a complete turnoff for her chaotic nature. Still, he doesn’t want to be alone for Christmas and doesn’t back out of promises, even when he feels awkward. Definite points in his favor before they even get to the Tam household. He’s methodical and schedule oriented, not as stuffy as Julie had assumed. She’s still a roiling ball of chaos, though he starts to appreciate some of that. The two notice each other while in close contact, especially with her mother’s holiday challenges, which is part of the fun with this trope.

The real beauty of the relationship as it develops is that they learn how to appreciate the differences in each other now that they have time to actually talk with each other and see those traits in action. A lot of the discomfort they had with each other is due to misconceptions and reacting based on those misconceptions, a good lesson to learn for Real Life. Once Julie and Tom have a more open mind, they’re able to see each other as who they really are, not as who they think the person is. That’s when they really form the connection that they build from. This is a cute addition to the Cider Bar Sisters series, and a fun book to read.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. I love holiday romances. Her Pretend Christmas Date sounds really good.

  2. Your books look tempting! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.