HOLIDAY CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Summary (from the publisher): 

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?


My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

You might know that I read The Wedding Date companion series way out of order. I started with the latest release & book #5, Party of Two, then went back to beginning and read book #1, The Wedding Date. Then, I skipped book #2, The Proposal (for now), and then jumped to book #3 and #4, The Wedding Party and Royal Holiday.  I can say that Jasmine Guillory’s storytelling gets stronger with each installment. I enjoyed The Wedding Date and The Wedding Party, but they just felt like they were missing something. I absolutely loved Party of Two and consider that to be my favorite in the series, but Royal Holiday was such a strong installment and is now a go-to holiday romance recommendation! 

Royal Holiday follows Maddie’s mom, Vivian, who joins her daughter on a Christmas work trip to England. Maddie, who appears in The Wedding Date and is the female lead in The Wedding Party, is styling the Duchess of England –  you better believe I had the IRL royals pictured in my head- for the holiday and has her mom accompany her on the trip. Vivian instantly has chemistry with Malcom, the private secretary of the Queen, and the two spend the holiday getting to know one another. With a new job on the line at home in California for Vivian and Malcom busy working for the royals, the two know this relationship can’t possibly work out, but dread the end of the time together. 

Based on friends’ reviews on Goodreads, I actually think I’m in the unpopular opinion category based on how much I enjoyed Royal Holiday! Royal Holiday is definitely a quiet read and doesn’t have a ton of action, but to me, it’s such a quintessential, cozy holiday read. I loved the England and royal setting, as Maddie and Vivian stay at one of the royals’ country estates. There’s scones, tea, horse-back riding, nights sitting by the fireplace, aka everything you could possibly want in a Christmas -themed read. Blame it on my current extreme wanderlust, but I also loved when the book transitioned to London. I loved escaping into holiday London and watching fireworks over the Thames. I’m someone who tends to like quiet and more character-driven reads, as long as I connect to the writing style, and I thought Royal Holiday was well-written. I loved Vivian’s charm, and her and Malcom’s flirting was so fun to read. Read More »

FAVORITE MEMOIR & 2 ROMANCES: December 2020 Mini Reviews

With my 2020 favorites posts and 2021 anticipated lists on the way, I’m trying to share some mini reviews early on this month. These three mini reviews include one of my all-time new favorite non-fiction books – I think it’s my favorite non-fiction read of 2020- as well as two contemporary romances, of course. There are also a few quarter star ratings in these reviews because I felt so strangely indecisive about giving a full or half star ratings. 

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Bess Kalb’s Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is one of the best books I’ve read in 2020. I admit that I am still somewhat of a newbie non-fiction & memoir reader, but I can safely say that Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is one of the best non-fiction books I’ll ever read. It’s the kind of book that will make you laugh and cry at the same time, and make you call (or long to talk to) the most important female figure in your life. 

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is written by Bess Kalb, but is told from the perspective of Bess’ grandmother, Bobby. Bobby shares the story of the four generation of women in Bess’ family, specifically exploring Bobby’s relationship with her mother, her daughter (Bess’ mom), and Bess. The book alternates between Bobby’s narrative telling, Bobby’s voicemails to Bess while she was still alive, and conversations between Bess and Bobby. Bobby’s humor and wise words are filled throughout. Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is not just Bess’ love letter to her grandmother, but also a story of strong, smart women who are bonded together for their love for another. The section about Bobby and Bess was extra special and made my heart shatter. Bess’ love for her grandmother are evident throughout, and Bobby’s love for her granddaughter is found in both the little & big moments.

At not even 200 pages, Nobody Will Tell You This But Meis the perfect read to consume in one sitting.  I’m super tempted to reread Nobody Will Tell You This But Me on audio and buy a copy for everyone I know. Read More »