Mischievous Bites: In a Holidaze and Get a Life, Chloe Brown

26 February 2021

I'm bringing back the bite-sized reviews for the times I just can't for the life of me write a full-length review. So, here we go. 

In A Holidaze
Published on October 6th, 2020 by Gallery Books

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners..

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

I had fun reading In a Holidaze, but it didn't wow me as much as Christina Lauren's other books (read: The Unhoneymooners and Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating). Nonetheless, I did find myself smiling because of how light-hearted but at the same time, slightly morbid this book was (it's not that kind of morbid, don't worry). 

After a not-so-good Christmas week with family friends, followed by a car accident, Maelyn ‘Mae’ Jones wakes up back in time: she’s time-traveled back to the very start of their Christmas vacation. Enter a lot of hijinks and shenanigans, Mae needs to figure out what she did wrong so she can break free from whatever mumbo jumbo is happening to her.

I kind of had a hard time getting into In A Holidaze at the beginning, most probably because of the many side characters being introduced into the story. It makes sense, given that it’s a huge family Christmas vacation story, but it was kinda hard to keep track of who’s who. Who’s Kennedy? Who’s Aaron? There are just too many of them. However, I did manage to figure out the actual family tree… pretty much halfway through the book. It feels as if this setup was made more for a movie than a book.

Of course, the romance is also adorable and super cozy. Mae and Andrew are just the cutest. Their romance is a bit quick, given that it began and developed over the course of the Christmas holidays, but their relationship as childhood friends pretty much cancels out the ‘insta-love’ trope. However, in the beginning, I initially assumed Mae and Andrew were in their late teens or very-early 20s because of how juvenile they sounded. Add in the fact that there are like five parental figures in this book, who kept on calling them ‘kids’.... Yeah, that’s probably why. 

Overall, In a Holidaze may not have been a ‘wow’ in my book, but it's good enough if you want something cozy to get you through a heavy day. 

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Get A Life, Chloe Brown
Published on November 5th, 2019 by Avon
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And... do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

I had fun reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown but it felt subpar for me. I had very high hopes for this book, especially after seeing so many five-star reviews. Don't get me wrong; I had fun reading this; I enjoyed the banter and the dialogue but for some reason, it wasn't enough to 'wow' me. I'm not sure if this is an 'it's not you, it's me' kind of situation given that I had just come from a Bridgerton binge read, but it felt like there was something missing in this book.  

Get a Life, Chloe Brown follows the story of the titular character who suffers from a disorder called Fibromyalgia and a particular incident prompts her to start reevaluating her life; hence, the idea to create a 'Get a Life' list. She ends up enlisting the help of her apartment's superintendent, the guy who she's clashed with since Day One of her move to her new space and in usual enemies-to-lovers fashion, the pair realize that they just got off on the wrong foot then move to being friends. 

First and foremost, I loved how Talia Hibbert wrote well-rounded characters in the form of Chloe and Red. Although Chloe's illness may have been a baseline for the plot, it wasn't an overbearing focal point that just took over the whole story. I also think the way Hibbert explored Red's vulnerabilities in relation to his past was refreshing — it's not everyday you read about male characters written in a vulnerable manner. 

While I adored Chloe and Red as individual characters, the romance itself fell a little flat for me. Sure, there were sexy and steamy parts but I think it just lacked a bit of foundation because, at one point, they hate each other then all of a sudden they're all over each other. Everything just felt so instant and I ended up feeling bored in between. 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown would have made a stunning enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance but it just wasn't it for me. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood. Who knows? The rest of the series are still on my TBR so I'm hoping for a better reading experience with them.

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo