Thanks to Partner NetGalley and Gallery Books for the digital ARC of Marissa Meyer’s Instant Karma in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on Tuesday, November 3!
Marissa Meyer is an auto-buy author for me. I absolutely love her fairy-tale inspired Lunar Chronicles series and stand-alone novel Heartless, and her original take on superheroes in the Renegades trilogy is amazing. So, when I saw that she had a YA rom-com coming out, I instantly requested it.
Instant Karma is so much fun. It has a clever premise: sophomore Prudence Daniels has had a frustrating last day of school plagued by an unreliable partner and a low grade on their final project. So, she’s thrilled to go out with her twin brother Jude (yes, all five kids in Prudence’s family are named after songs by The Beatles) and her best friend Ari for a relaxed evening and some karaoke. After Prudence takes a bad fall and passes out, she wakes up with a strange new ability: she can make karma strike in the moment.
Prudence, who has a strong sense of responsibility and of right and wrong, has no patience for people who defy rules. So, if someone is putting gum under their table or not picking up their dog’s poop or just being unkind, Prudence is thrilled to have the ability to make sure that person suffers, just a little bit.
She can’t however, totally enjoy her new ability because she’s still trying to bring up that final grade. And, since her science teacher is (in Prudence’s eyes) totally unreasonable, he insists that teamwork is the one skill she most needs to learn. She’s still stuck, therefore, with unreliable partner Quint . . . who may not be quite the person she thought he was.
Meyer’s touch with magic is light here, but this book is a perfect addition to her catalog of YA books. I love the array of characters who round out Prudence’s life, and Prudence herself (while sometimes frustrating in her lack of self awareness) is a nuanced, thoughtful character. This book is perfect for anyone wanting a sweet, fast-paced read with an emphasis on first love . . . and lots and lots of Beatles references.
Thanks to Partner NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablance for the digital ARC of Sarah Morgenthaler’s Mistletoe and Mr. Right in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published tomorrow, October 6!
Sarah Morgenthaler’s Mistletoe and Mr. Right is her second rom com set in Moose Springs, Alaska, a small town with a fancy resort, plenty of quirky locals, and some personality-filled moose. Book one told the story of Graham, the grumpy owner of The Tourist Trap, and Zoey, the sweet tourist who dreamed of visiting Alaska one day. In book two, Morgenthaler shares the story of Zoey’s glamorous friend Lana who has been buying up property in the town in an effort to save it. Unfortunately, the locals don’t see it that way . . .
One of those locals is Rick, owner of the pool hall and divorce who has never quite gotten over his wife leaving him. He lives with her nephew Diego, a super-grumpy cat, and a sweet hedgehog. And he has a crush on Lana, who he knows is WAY out of his league.
Morgenthaler has a perfect touch for this type of rom com: she’s nailed both the humor and the sweetness of this new relationship between two people who seem mismatched but are, at heart, both just really lonely. I appreciate her nuanced portrayal of Lana, who is definitely controlled in part by her money and obligation to the family business but is in no way a victim—she’s not looking for an escape, and her parents aren’t abusive, but she does need something more than business.
Rick, though shy, is still confident, and his affection for his friends and family and pets and neighbor . . . well, his loyalty is remarkable and was something I loved in the book.
In just two books, Morgenthaler has made quite a mark for rom-com readers, and I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book! If you haven’t visited Moose Springs, Alaska, yet, now is the time to start!
Thanks to Partner NetGalley and Gallery Books for the digital ARC of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published tomorrow, October 6!
Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze is a perfect holiday rom com with a fun, engaging premise. Maelyn Jones is relishing her holiday tradition of vacationing with her family and friends in a cabin in Utah—every year, she joins her now-divorced parents, her younger brother, and her parents’ college friends and their families to celebrate the season. Maelyn loves everything about this annual gathering, especially the faithfully-followed traditions and time with her long-time crush, Andrew.
This Christmas, however, Maelyn has made a mistake: in a drunken moment, she made out with Andrew’s younger brother Theo. Now, Theo won’t talk to her, Andrew thinks they’re together, and Maelyn finds out that Andrew and Theo’s parents are selling the cabin, meaning the end to the traditions she holds so dear. She’s bemoaning her life situation on the way home with her family when they hit a deer, and . . .
She wakes up, back at the cabin, on Christmas Eve again.
Yes, it’s like Groundhog Day! Maelyn has the chance to live her Christmas vacation over again, searching desperately to get things right, to save her holiday traditions, and to figure out how to win Andrew.
I’m a sucker for this trope—who hasn’t wished for a do over at some point?!—and for the balance of comedy and serious soul searching from this fabulous writing duo. I’m a big fan of Christina Lauren’s books, and I felt as if this was a real return to form, hearkening back to some of my Christina Lauren favorites.
If you’re looking for a holiday romance with a lot of heart, this is the perfect book to add to your Christmas reading list!
I'm Jen Moyers, co-host of the Unabridged Podcast and an English teacher.