I’m not much of a seasonal reader but apparently, this is the year when holiday romances are my jam and I’m having a blast with them! I binged the Holiday Brothers series by Willa Nash in two days and they were delightfully festive holiday novellas that I have no doubt will put many in a merry mood!
Goodreads: The Naughty, The Nice and The Nanny (#1)
Publication Date: 04 November 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
One week with one little girl—an angel, according to my staffing agency. Acting as the short-term nanny for a single dad should have been an easy way to make some extra cash. Until I show up for my first day and face off with a demon disguised as a seven-year-old girl wearing a red tutu and matching glitter slippers.
Oh, and her father? My temporary boss? Maddox Holiday. The same Maddox Holiday I crushed on in high school. The same Maddox Holiday who didn’t even know I existed. And the same Maddox Holiday who hasn’t set foot in Montana for years because he’s been too busy running his billionaire empire.
Enduring seven days is going to feel like scaling the Himalayas in six-inch heels. Toss in the Holiday family’s annual soiree, and Christmas Eve nightmares really do come true. But I can do anything for a week, especially for this paycheck, even if it means wrangling the naughty, impressing the nice, and playing the nanny.
This little novella was a fun and quirky holiday romance with characters that had great chemistry and a story with a good dose of touching family moments. While ultimately the romance ended up being very insta-love, it didn’t feel like it initially as Natalie and Maddox built up a good foundation of trust and respect through their bond with Violet. This was a novella, so of course, I kind of expected the insta aspect of the romance, but I also thought it was handled well enough that it didn’t bother me overly much.
I really liked Natalie—she has such a good heart and I loved how she understood and came through for Violet when her mother was inattentive and constantly let her down. Nat was so bubbly and passionate about the children she took care of and it shone through. I also really enjoyed her more comedic monologue as she reflected on how high-school Nat would feel about working closely with Maddox and having flirty interactions with him—she was a really fun heroine and so easy to root for! Maddox was your slightly typical hot billionaire single-dad who doted on his little girl. I really liked how much he adored Violet and wanted to change his lifestyle to be better for her. He was a sweet guy and I’m glad that this was told in alternating POVs so we get a good insight into both their mindsets. The chemistry and pull between Mad and Nat was undeniable and was built up really well! It’s mildly steamy but the main sex scenes are fade-to-black, so if on-page sex isn’t your jam in romances, you’ll be okay with this one!
Goodreads: Three Bells, Two Bows and One Brother’s Best Friend (#2)
Publication Date: 04 November 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I pride myself in being grounded. Sure, I’ve had my share of childhood fantasies. Winning an Oscar. Winning the lottery. Winning an Olympic medal for an athletic talent I have yet to discover. But the only fantasy I ever thought might actually happen was winning my brother’s best friend.
My crush on him has ebbed and flowed over the years, but the day I started working for his construction company was the day I smothered it for good. Sort of. Mostly. It was on my to-do list. Making it a priority would have been easier had he not arrived at his family’s annual Christmas party looking ridiculously handsome in a suit.
Then he kissed me. We stepped into an alternate universe and he kissed me. I assumed the next day I’d just be Guy’s little sister again. The office newbie. Our kiss forgotten. Except he keeps showing up at my house. With gifts.
A gold bracelet carrying three jingling bells. Two dainty jeweled earrings, each shaped as a bow. And finally, he brought himself. One brother’s best friend, asking if I can keep a secret
If you read the first book in the Holiday Brothers series then you’ll probably remember the first cheeky glimpse we get into the blossoming romance between Stella and Heath, and if you were like me, you probably also couldn’t wait to find out how they got to that point! I ended up really enjoying the romance between these two and so far, this is my favourite book in this series. There were definitely some not-so-great moments that had me cringing and also shaking my fist in rage (on Stella’s behalf) but ultimately, these two had a wonderful connection that gave me the warm fuzzies and I was here for their happiness!
Again, because this is a novella, things move pretty quickly on the romantic front; however, I thought their connection as a result of their lifelong friendship and the mutual attraction they felt (and that they kept secret from each other) was established well enough that the fast pace didn’t feel unnatural. I’m not one for pining and angst but this had some great mutual pining that had me giggling because I just wanted them to get together already! I thought they suited each other really well and I loved how both of them were all-in from the beginning; despite the pretty uncool and bumbling secret-keeping fiascos instigated by Heath once they got together! I really liked them individually as well. Stella was a bit of a typical quirky heroine but I can’t lie, I loved the way she twisted aphorisms (and ngl, most of her twists make so much more sense)! 😂 I also loved the way she became an adorably *awkward* mess whenever she’d meet Heath—it’s just so relatable! Despite a few fumbles himself with the secret-keeping, Heath was a pretty good guy. He was a player in his younger days but I never got those vibes from him, even when we met him in book one, and his steady and hard-working presence was only proven in this story. I wished we got a little bit more character depth from both of them but I thought they were decently developed for a novella-length romance!
Goodreads: A Partridge and A Pregnancy (#3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
There are a lot of places I’d rather spend Christmas Eve morning than on a cold, snowy sidewalk outside someone else’s home. I’d kill to be sitting beside a fireplace, drinking cocoa, wearing flannel pajamas and reading a book.
Instead, I’m here, standing in front of my one-night stand’s house, working up the courage to ring the doorbell and tell him I’m pregnant.
I hate that term—one-night stand. It sounds so cheap and sleezy. Tobias Holiday is neither of those things. He’s handsome and caring. Witty and charismatic. And once, a long time ago, he was mine.
Our one-night reunion was only supposed to be a hookup. A fling with an old lover. A parting farewell before I moved to London and put my feelings for him an ocean away. How exactly am I supposed to explain that to Tobias that I’m having a baby? His baby? Maybe I could sing it. He always loved the silly songs I made up in the shower.
Three French hens, two turtle doves.
And a partridge and a pregnancy.
In the previous two books, we briefly learn about Tobias and the surprise pregnancy with his ex, Eva, but of the three brothers, he’s the one who has been around the least. It was great to finally meet him and get his story, but out of the three Holiday Brothers books, this one was probably my least favourite! I’d seen some mixed reviews and wasn’t even sure that I wanted to read it anymore cos I thought I’d end up annoyed but I’m glad I did and finished the series. It wasn’t that the story or writing was bad, I just didn’t connect with the characters.
From the reviews I’d seen, I had expected to find myself hating the heroine, but I felt more indifferent than anything. I mean, I didn’t particularly like or understand her, but I also empathised with her situation. With a job that has her frequently relocating on little notice, she lives a pretty lonely life and with her next big move already in the works, and now a surprise baby on the way, I think her being thrown for a loop was realistic. I would also probably be freaking out in this situation! But I did think she was a little selfish and I never really understood her desire to not stay when it was clear as day that Montana was home to her—what point was she trying to prove and to whom? (view spoiler)
That said, they also never properly discussed the situation because she either ran away as she doesn’t like confronting problems, or Tobias would get frustrated and say hurtful things, or both of them would get overwhelmed by the sexual tension and instead of talking, they’d have sex (which happened a few times). Tobias definitely could’ve been more communicative too and said what was on his mind—well, actually, they both definitely should’ve used their words and been y’know, adults about the situation (lol), but after being unceremoniously rejected by Eva at the end of their college years, I get why he felt that way and why he believed she didn’t want to stay.
Overall though, while they did have the chemistry of old lovers and their steamy moments were hot, I just never really felt invested in their story because it was just overly dramatic and I didn’t feel like it was for any good reason (or at least not a reason that I understood or that I felt was clearly explained). Obviously, their HEA was nice and I’m glad that they both found their happy place together, I just think their journey would’ve been better had they actually talked.
Have you read the Holiday Brothers series or is it on your TBR?