Thursday 27 November 2014

Review ~ This Christmas by Katlyn Duncan.

Title: This Christmas (This Summer #1.5).
Author: Katlyn Duncan.
Publisher: Carina UK.
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance.
Publication Date: November 18, 2014.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

This year, if Hadley wrote her dream Christmas list, it would go something like this:

1. Spend every waking – and sleeping – moment with her incredibly gorgeous boyfriend, Will.

2. Figure out what’s been bugging him lately. Yes, going away to college has been tough…but it’s time they reconnected.

3. Enjoy a sparkling Christmas in New York City, gazing at the Rockefeller tree, going ice skating, and drinking steaming mugs of cocoa in Central Park.

So, driving off to spend Christmas in a rustic cabin in the woods wasn’t exactly the plan. But when it comes to her irresistible, and at times, impossible boyfriend, nothing’s ever that simple. And as fantasies of an icy Times Square are replaced by a clumsily decorated tree, making snowmen and the warmth of a log fire, Hadley feels herself falling in love all over again.

Except does Will have something to tell her that could change Hadley’s happily-ever-after Christmas dreams into a not-so-winter wonderland after all?

This Christmas is the festive novella sequel to This Summer, continuing the romance story of Hadley and Will. Although you don’t necessarily need to have read This Summer first, I think you’d get a better reading experience if you did because there are a few references back that I understood, because I’ve read the first book, but not everyone will pick up on. In This Christmas, Hadley’s finals are over and she’s looking forward to spending her first Christmas in a relationship with Will – although his Scrooge-like mentality seems to be stopping any sense of fun she had. Concerned that Will was only interested in her for a summer romance, Hadley is determined to get their relationship back on track by putting a smile back on his face and helping him enjoy Christmas.

I liked This Christmas a lot more than the first book in the series. It didn’t have many twists or surprises but it didn’t need them either – it was cute and light-hearted and an easy read to put you in the Christmas spirit. Hadley’s character has won me over a lot more now and where in book one I was all about Will, I think I actually preferred her here. She was more feisty and willing to stand up to Will when he was being inexplicably moody and she felt a lot more fun here too, without taking herself too seriously. This Christmas was all about the story of Hadley and Will, so I was a little worried I wouldn’t connect with the Christmas theme as much as I’d like to because for me, Christmas is about being surrounded by your family. But I was wrong because I loved how Katlyn wrote in Hadley’s text messages and communication with her parents and Ethan. I really enjoy reading about Hadley’s family because they actually get along unlike quite a lot of New Adult books which seem to think all teenagers hate their family. Hadley’s family’s involvement was written in perfectly to allow the focus to still be on Will and Hadley yet contribute more to the festive feel of the novel because not many people of Hadley’s age would be away from their family at this time of year.

I loved the format to this book and how the chapters are all a countdown to Christmas Day. As the countdown gets shorter, the festivities increase and though at first I thought Will’s bad mood meant I wasn’t going to get much of a festive feel from the novella, I was proved wrong again. From putting up the Christmas tree and exchanging presents to Christmas carols and turkey, This Christmas had a lovely build-up of components to make it a happy time of a year for a young and in-love couple. There was even a snowball fight which I thought kept in fitting with the ages of both characters. My only issue with this book was how abruptly it ended, and it was way too quick. The ending was cute and actually fitting but the whole book was leading up to Christmas day, surely, with the chapter names and how hard Hadley was working at getting Will to have a good time on the day. So I thought it could have been worked differently because without offering spoilers, the Christmas Day chapter wasn’t even needed it was over that quickly. It was a shame that this book felt cut short because really, it was charming and endearing throughout and a delightful Christmas read. Through their ups and downs, Hadley and Will have me constantly smiling – they’re such a sweet couple and I’m hoping I get to read more from them both soon. If you like your Christmas stories short and sweet, This Christmas definitely needs adding to your list!

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

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