A California Christmas by Brenda Novak
Thanks to his troubled childhood, he’d rather be on a rock face alone than trying to connect with people. Emery, however, makes him want to overcome his past…somehow.
Both Emery and Dallas had been planning on a quiet, solitary Christmas, but the sparks between them are lighting a fire strong enough to last—possibly forever.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I walked into this book knowing two things: it was part of a series I hadn't read (this is book 7!) and that it was probably going to be similar to a Hallmark movie...and I was fine with both of these! I like reading romantic fluff - it's a great way to break up more dramatic reads and they are a guaranteed happy ending. And that's exactly what California Christmas ended up being.
Cute, Fluffy Story
When you pick up a pick with "Christmas" in the title, you should definitely know that you're goingt o be getting a sweet, fluffy romance that takes place during the Christmas season. And I love it! I love Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies and I've really enjoyed books in this genre. Who doesn't love a guaranteed happy ending? I've read books like this in the past and always enjoy having a little holiday romance to dive into (even if I'm reading this a few months early). We know Emery and Dallas are going to end up together, so what's going to happen along the way to stump their romance before this can happen? The fun is in finding out!
Not Enough Character Depth
A lot of this book felt very surface, especially when it came to character personality and decisions. I always have a hard time explaining what was missing when I read a book, but character depth was a big one here. We barely get to know Emery and Dallas before their story is done. I would've loved a flashback of them in high school, since the story begins with Dallas remembering where he knows Emery from. Maybe a little more time spent building each of their personalities would've helped - Emery and Dallas are very basic characters, which is weird because Dallas has such an intense history and Emery is going through so much public shaming. But I never felt like we really got to know either of them...
Interesting Career Choices
Ok, this might be really random to a lot of people, but I really like the career choices for these characters! My husband loves bouldering and we've probably watched Free Solo and Dawn Wall at least 6 times each, so I thought it was fun that Dallas is a free solo climber. Likewise, Emery's career choice as a news anchor was really important for her storyline and obviously reminiscent of other sex scandals where the woman is shamed while the man is applauded. I would've really liked to see more from this aspect of their lives though - we don't really see Emery actually ever deal with his bosses. What happens with the lawsuit? Do they ever apologize? What about her ex? It felt very forgotten by the end of the book.
Overall, this was a cute story but it was missing any real depth, even taking into account that this is a "holiday" book. I definitely would've like to learn more about these characters so that I would feel more connected to them. I'd recommend this to anyone who has read the rest of the series (I'm interested to know what the first 7 books are like!) or to people who like an easy holiday romance to enjoy.
FINAL RATING: 2.5/5
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Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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2020 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 20 books toward her goal of 85 books.
2019 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 5 books toward her goal of 90 books.
2018 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has completed her goal of reading 80 books in 2018!
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