Author: Erin McLellan
What I’m Talking About:
Though I’ve read two of the four stories in the So Over The Holidays series, I enjoyed them both a good deal. The latest, Party Favors, features Wren Rebello, a flirty, outgoing, and “fun” lingerie designer entrepreneur, and Amanda Ellis, reluctant silver spoon beneficiary/heiress who’s not afraid of hard work—if only her family would stop insisting she be appropriately grateful for her good fortune. Despite my misguided assumptions about how things would play out, the entire narrative ended up being more charming than I’d imagined.
Not all series that claim its individual stories can be read as a standalone do so successfully, and I was a little concerned that I’d feel left out when it came to the dynamics between the characters in Party Favors. Worse was the possibility of feeling disconnected with regards to some crucial understanding of the one most closely attached to the collection as a whole. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case here. Rather than leaving a maze of inside jokes and prior claims, the group collectively exuded warmth and familiarity that they were more than willing to share—including the audience.
Reading Party Favors also reminded me that I have a soft spot for stories involving relationships that get their start on the internet. Wren and Amanda have known one another for five years prior to meeting in person for the first time, and, though that introduction was kind of hilarious, I think it was a perfect non-beginning for them. The foundations that are possible virtually—and which are improbable, at best, outside of those chosen spaces due to proximity and other issues—are presented well here, and I liked the genuineness of regard that the author was able to create.
All the stories in the So Over the Holidays series are described as being “sex positive,” which was certainly the case with Party Favors. While there was a brief worry for both of the main characters that sex might change things, neither used it as an excuse to deny the attraction between them. I especially appreciated that the word “naughty” was part of Amanda and Wren’s sex speak, not merely a fulfillment of someone else’s arbitrary classification. I found it very easy to believe that their interactions were based on desire and enjoyment, not just poorly-negotiated taking that happened to involve intercourse. It was nice.
Party Favors is a sweet, easy-to-read romance that is more about acknowledging the love that’s already there than finding it in the first place. Wren and Amanda are both thoroughly likable characters, and I’d have a difficult time choosing a favorite, if asked. As was the case with Candy Hearts, the second novel in the series, sex is something to be reveled in and appreciated for its own sake, an attribute that worked especially well in the context of this narrative. At some point, I’d like to read the entire collection from the beginning, but I’ll keep my eyes open for any additional titles yet to come.
My Rating: B, Liked It
About the Book:
Amanda Ellis knows three things: she’s tired of doing what’s expected of her, she hates her job at her family’s business, and the last thing she wants to do is attend her parents’ boring New Year’s Eve ball with a date her mother picked. A few days of fun with her online best friend is exactly what she needs to ring in the New Year on her own terms.
Wren Rebello is impulsive and always ready for fun. A last-minute girls’ getaway sounds like the perfect way to spend New Year’s. But even Wren isn’t prepared for the spark of attraction she feels when she meets Amanda in person for the first time. Good thing Wren loves popping Amanda’s cork.
After days spent sharing end-of-year resolutions and the one bed in their cottage, the clock strikes midnight and the ball drops on their time together. As Amanda and Wren go their separate ways, they leave new resolutions unfulfilled. Is there enough New Year’s magic left to turn their online friendship into real-life love?
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Publisher: Erin McLellan
Series: So Over the Holidays #4
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, lesbian romance
Format(s): paperback (204 pages), e-book
Book Source: A Novel Take PR
Amazon (affiliate link)