December 15, 2020

Abbreviations #113: In a Holidaze, Well Played + The Midnight Library

If you’re in the mood for a holiday rom-com read, In A Holidaze could be the book for you! Christina Lauren’s latest release centers around Maelyn Jones, who is despairing over a few things this holiday season: the fact that she still lives with her parents, her job situation, a drunken lapse of judgment, and the knowledge that the holiday tradition she has known and loved all her life is going to be over with the sale of the Utah cabin where her family and two others spend their holidays. When she’s magically thrown back to the start of the week all over again, Mae has the chance to figure out what’ll really make her happy. But will she be able to break this unusual time loop or will she be stuck reliving this week forever? In a Holidaze had a lot of predictable elements to the plot, but I did enjoy it. I really liked the found family in the tale, with all their eccentricities and quirks and the familiarity between everyone that came across so well on page. I also enjoyed all the fun holiday traditions they had for their week away, which got me in the holiday spirit! But certain elements were just okay, including the characters (I didn’t connect with anyone), the romance (I didn’t feel very invested in their HEA, to be honest) and the actual plot and resolution. It was, overall, a likeable read, especially for the holiday season. 

In a Holidaze was published on October 6, 2020 by Gallery Books.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for review.

Readers are invited back to the Willow Creek Renaissance Faire in Well Played, the companion novel sequel to last year’s Well Met. Our heroine Stacey has decided that it’s time for her to stop putting her life on hold, and to hopefully have things (including her love life) figured out by the time Renn Faire rolls around again next year. She impulsively reaches out to her Faire fling Dex MacLean online to see if there’s more to their relationship than spending the night together. After a year of exchanging emails and texts, Faire rolls around again and Stacey comes face to face with the man she’s gotten to know… only to discover that he’s not who she thinks he is. Well Played was a cute read that has a lot of lovely moments (romantic and otherwise), and still has that charming small town vibe. We are also reunited with familiar faces from book one and that was a personal highlight! I enjoyed it, especially since I’m a sucker for stories that involve the relationship developing through text and email interactions. And while the deception aspect made me uncomfortable, it didn’t bother me as much as it probably would have if I’d started reading this one without knowing it was part of the romantic plot. Unfortunately, there were two specific things that brought my overall rating for this one down. First, there is another deception in the second half of the story that didn’t sit well with me. And second, I would have liked it if our love interest had done a little more (or if maybe we’d gotten his perspective). Still, overall, I did like Well Played and would consider it a solid addition to the series. (I’m really eager to get my hands on the third book though!)

Well Played (Well Met #2) was published on September 22, 2020 by Berkley.
Previous Book in Series: Well Met
I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for review.

The Midnight Library
is my first Matt Haig novel, and it certainly won’t be my last. This book tells the story of Nora Seed, a young woman who feels like her life is not meaningful or important and so, she tries to take her own life. But between life and death, Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library, a place where you can revisit your past regrets and see what your life would have been like if you had made different choices along the way. I was drawn to the concept of this novel immediately after hearing about it! It really sounded like a story that would leave readers with a lot of food for thought, and that turned out to be the case for me (and my sisters and my cousin). I was caught up in Nora’s tale, and the interesting way Haig portrayed the variety of paths her life might have taken as well as the realizations she comes to during her time at the Midnight Library. This novel is an appealing exploration of themes centered around life, choices and regrets, and it invites the reader to ask questions and then reflect on their answers. The only thing that didn’t personally work for me is Haig’s writing style; he tells his story with brevity, using simplistic language and going straight to the point, and I tend to prefer my writing a little more flowery. Still, The Midnight Library was entertaining and thoughtful, and I’m very glad I read it.


  1. I can't wait to read In a Holidaze and The Midnight Library!

  2. I loved In a Holidaze. I had some issues with Well Played, but still am interested in reading more in that series because I do like the characters. I didn't know that's what The Midnight Library was about so I may have to give that a try, it sounds good! If you want, HERE is my review of In a Holidaze.


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