Member Reviews

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I was excited to read this one but it just didn't hold my interest.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Putnam's for the e-arc.
Adding Isaac and Dev to the book boyfriends list! A cute story, 3.5 stars rounding up to 4. Not so much a romance as the "romantic" parts between Elinor (Nory) and Isaac take place off page, which was a little disappointing, but more of a friends' reunion story. Excellent epilogue.

Without giving away spoilers, I'm not sure I would have forgiven so easily when one of the main characters betrays a trust. And why are any of them still friends with Guy? He's so toxic. I did love the friendship between Elinor and Ameerah - they are exactly what best friends should be to each other. Speaking of Elinor, it really annoyed me (to the point of distraction) that her character was alternately called both Elinor and Nory, sometimes within the same sentence, definitely within the same paragraph, throughout the entire book. Very off-putting, but that's probably just me.

I really enjoy Jenny Bayliss books, would recommend this, and look forward to her next one.

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Another Christmas book I was THRILLED to receive as an ARC. This read very much like a Hallmark Christmas movie. It is a major mash up of a lot of Christmas tropes.

The vibes:
❄️ Christmas castle setting
❄️ Christmas wedding
❄️ Cozy little bookshop
❄️ Yuppie friend reunion
❄️ Childhood enemies to lovers
❄️ Quirky bookish girl
❄️ With a side of insta-love

So TBH, I’m torn about this one. There are a lot of characters and I couldn’t keep them all straight. I didn’t relate to the “framily” friend group dynamic. The conflict was very predictable. But in the same breath isn’t this the point of a Christmas rom com? You read it knowing it’s gonna be a Christmas wonderland overload with some over blown drama?
I think this is still worth the read to get you in the Christmas spirit. The setting alone gets you in the spirit. I missed listening to the accents (my fave part about British rom coms).
Add this one to your Christmas TBR. Mark your calendar for September 24 for this release. Thanks @netgalley for this ARC!

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DNF at 53%. I started skimming around 30% hoping it would pick up but it didn't. If you're a millennial who likes winter vibes with mediocre dialogue and minimum plot, you will like this book. Unfortunately, I am not that so this book wasn't for me.

Nory is an average girl who owns a bookshop and has wealthy friends. They all go to a castle in the country for a wedding and there she reconnects with Isaac, a now gardener at the castle who she had a crush on as a teen. I got through half the book and never got excited about any of the characters or Nory and Isaac's relationship. All the characters are so violently millennial and one-dimensional. I couldn't relate to any of them, and that is fine, but I also did not care about any of them. Except for Camille, who at 50% just leaves the group? I did not see how Nory and Isaac were rivals, I only saw how he was the poor son of a gardener and she was with the fancy prep school kids--there just isn't any showing of their old relationship besides some dialogue telling you what it is, which sucks when the whole premise of the book is supposed to be Nory choosing between two lives. I never got excited about their relationship and I don't think the author did a good job of developing it at all. It was basically 0-100 of Nory got there, met Isaac, and the next day she is fawning over him at his house. At the halfway mark, there was no choosing and no conflict, and absolutely no character development. Actually, there was. There was a conflict between Camille and Guy, who are not even the main characters, and Ameera had some character development, who again is not the main character! And the dialogue... OMG, it was so boring and unremarkable that if you took out all the unnecessary mundane conversations the book would probably be at least two times shorter. I am serious, there was so much dialogue and so little plot/ action!

Because of all that, I just couldn't get into the book. I really wanted to and I was looking forward to good 'winter in the country rich kids aesthetic poor boy rich girl love story' vibes. But unfortunately other than the author directly telling you in the dialogue that the group is wealthy/ a love story was developing, nothing else showed for it. If by the halfway mark I don't care about the main characters and am not excited about what is going to happen, I can't justify reading any further.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for an e-ARC of this book.

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It’s never too early to start reading Christmas themed novels. It’s never too early to read another Jenny Baylis book. Although as I finished reading this book I realized I need another book by her soon. It’s becoming a tradition of mine to read her books during the holidays.

She did it again. The author captured my heart and made me fall in love with Robinhood Castle, Nory’s family, Isaac and Nory’s shits and giggles gang. This book is not only focused on love or friendship. It also tackled navigating adulthood, belongingness and mental health. The topics might sound heavy but the author has a way of talking about all this issue with feeling light and comfortable. As I read the book it made me think about my old gang back in high school and the fun memories we made. Some of us are still in touch and some of us are busy with adulting but all of them will hold a very special place in my heart.

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This wasn’t my first Jenny Bayliss novel, so I know her writing style tends toward the verbose. But still I simply Could. Not. Get. Into. This.

It sounded like it would be a story of growth and discovery in love, but the main character, Elinor Noel (Nory for short), lacks personality and was a big part of the reason I couldn't get invested in the story. I love a cozy, holiday-adjacent romance, but unfortunately this was not the one for me.

Thank you to Putnam Books and NetGalley for sharing this advance reader copy!

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𝐵𝑜𝑜𝓀: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
𝒜𝓊𝓉𝒽𝑜𝓇: Jenny Bayliss
𝒢𝑒𝓃𝓇𝑒: Holiday Romance
𝑅𝒶𝓉𝒾𝓃𝑔: 5 stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
𝒫𝓊𝒷 𝒟𝒶𝓎: September 27, 2022
Penguin Group Putnam
 I bring you yet another BANGER of a book in my #ChristmasinJuly readathon. I present to you a book set in the Christmas season about a bibliophile who’s described as a “mouthy woman.” Sign me up! We meet Nory, who’s obsessed with flowers & plants and her life revolves around books. Top it off with a Christmas romance! What more could you possibly want?! This novel follows the relationships and their dynamics of a group of 8 adults that have been friends since childhood. The group’s banter and rapport are laugh out loud funny and heart-warming. This story is full of. . .
❄️ Snow
💕Heart to heart conversations
👊🏻Fist Fights
Again I ask, what more could you possibly want?
To date, I have read every novel Jenny Bayliss has written and I just absolutely love her. She writes charming characters that really engage you in her stories. She writes enchanting love stories, lovable friendships, angelic elderly people, and seductive romance scenes. Even when she writes in an unpleasant character whose attitude is bellicose and difficult, you still just love them as well because her backstories and contextual writing is just entirely captivating. I would absolutely love to see this turn in to a series following more closely each individual that made up this friend group. Personally, Pippa and Ameerah stole the show for me! I cannot wait to purchase this novel on pub day to add to my Bayliss collection!

Thank you Penguin Group Putnam for this #GiftedArc in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved Meet Me Under the Mistletoe! Christmas theme, likeable characters, fun story…check! Check! And check! You know you’ve enjoyed the world the author has built when you think about the characters again even after the story is over!

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Sweet, light read! I love a holiday romance :) It could have been more spicy and more focus on the romance. I enjoyed it!

Thank you NetGalley and Jenny Bayliss!

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A weeklong boarding school friend reunion, filled with fun activities in a local castle. Followed by the wedding of two of said friends in the same gorgeous setting. Sound like a dream vacation? Maybe not to Nory, a local girl who attended school on scholarship and wants to avoid one of the party goers. When Nory reconnects with her old arch nemesis who works on the castle grounds, vacation becomes a lot more interesting.

I enjoyed reading this story. I don’t think I would classify it as a holiday romance. The actual romance part seemed secondary to the relationships of the friend group. I wished for more between Isaac and Nory. The tension promised but didn’t really deliver. It was all very cozy, though. 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the opportunity to review this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. #MeetMeUndertheMistletoe #NetGalley

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This has all the fun, sweet elements I wanted in a book, so cute! I’d definitely recommend it to my family and friends.

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I thought this was a cute story. It wasn't my all-time-fave or anything, but it was a good read. I think some of our patrons will really enjoy it so I'll definitely purchase for the collection.

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Thank you Netgalley, Penguin Group and Putnam Publishing for the ARC of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. All opinions are mine.

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is a love story full of vibrant characters and lush settings.
Elinor Noel, Nory, is about to reunite with her very posh boarding school friends for weeklong wedding festivities at a castle in the village where she grew up. Nory was a scholarship student, and has always struggled to reconcile her modest upbringing with her boarding school education and "elite" friend group. Except, she doesn't think of them as elite.

Nory is the kind of no-BS person who treats everyone the same, no matter if they come from money or not. That's what I loved about her and related to the most.

While at the wedding party, Nory runs into an old nemesis/crush/brother's best friend, Issac, who is now the head gardener at the castle. Sparks fly and the tension between Nory and Issac is very sweet. And the love is instant, which I am a fan of instant love so... yay!

Overall, I thought this was a really well-done holiday romance. There were some issues with the pacing. The beginning was slow to start, and the end also lagged. Another issue I had was the fade to black romance. I'm not opposed to fade to black but it did feel that, with all the great tension, Bayliss could have given the reader a little more passion. I felt a little cheated on that score.

I enjoyed all of Nory's friends, except Guy, when I was able to wrap my head around all the players. I love the moonlight croquet, and all of the really beautiful elements of Nory's bookstore, the castle, and the gardens. It was really lovely. I recommend if you're looking for a sweet, Hallmark-esque, holiday read.

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First off, Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I really wanted to love this but it just wasn’t for me! The story was overall cute, but just left me kinda meh? I honestly could not connect with any of the characters.

The main issue I had was the book was mainly about Nory and her friends reuniting for a wedding. But the romance felt really just pushed aside. I just wanted more fluff and romance in this Christmas read! I did find it enjoyable at times. The book just didn’t meet my expectations. 3 stars out of 5.

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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read and review this book before the release date.

I love Christmas and I absolutely love Christmas stories. I’m huge in the hallmark channel, so romance Christmas stories are always a big hit with me. I will say that this is more of an adult Christmas story with all the curse words and with some of the talk the friends have.

I really wanted to love to story but it just didn’t meet all the expectations I guess you can say that I had for a Christmas romance. It’s about Nory and Issac who kindle a flame while Nory and of her friends from school reunite for a wedding. Isaac is the head Gardner at the place they are staying at.
Although I really don’t feel like the romance really started until well after half of the way into the book. I also don’t see how they really hit it off when they didn’t really seem to talk enough to spark a relationship I guess you could say. I mean I guess since he was her childhood crush that it wasn’t as weird in a way since they had known one other prior to her staying at the Castle.

I also think the story could’ve been a bit shorter. I feel like there was way too much wording in it and some of it could have been cut out and to the point of the story if that makes sense. I will say I do like the serious topics that this story did bring up. I feel like it brings awareness and that’s always a positive in any story.

All in all the story was cute. I did enjoy reading it and I’m glad it had a good ending.

3.5 stars but rounded up to 4!

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This book wraps around you like a warm hug and fills you with warmth like the cups of hot cocoa everyone frequently drinks. I absolutely adored Elinor, “Nory” as the soft-hearted, genuine lead character that she was. Her group of friends and family are not perfect, but they are relatable and loving. Isaac is a wonderful lead man, too. This is a perfect cozy winter read, and a must for book loving romantics. You’ll laugh, maybe cry, but in the end, be left with the warm satisfaction of a great story.

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Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for the ARC. This is a cute holiday romcom that follows Nory, a bookseller in London, and her reunion with her school friends at a castle in her hometown. There’s some drama within the friend group, particularly with a guy who she hooked up with in the past. When she reconnects with Isaac, a gardener at the castle, she starts to believe love might be possible for her after all.

I thought this was a cute story but it was just okay for me. There were a lot of details that I wanted to skim over and I wasn’t overly interested in the different characters from Nory’s friend group or all of the talk about money. I did like Isaac as a character and their interactions were cute but it was also a little instalove-ish. I’m also not sure why the “enemies” aspect is played up in the synopsis, they really aren’t enemies at all. Overall this would still be a nice read for the holidays.

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i received an ARC of this book from netgalley and it was definitely a great romantic story. this book is about a girl named nory noel who owns a 2nd hand bookstore in london. she and her best friends from grade school reunite for jenna's wedding at the castle close to her parents' home.

at the castle, nory is reunited with guy, who is part of the gang, but she also had a one-night stand with him and he was married!! (in her defense, she didn't know.) she also encounters her brother's best friend, isaac, who is the gardener for the castle. there's definitely chemistry there, but nory always feels like isaac sees her as her brother's little sister. the sparkles are flying with them and any chance they get, they seem to spend time with each other.

isaac's love for plants is in his blood as his grandma heba painted plants and created beautiful artworks.. nory's 2nd hand bookstore shares a similar love with artwork from de-veer, who painted plants. little did nory know that isaac's grandma painted those paintings from de-veer. long story short, the de-veer had the paintings under their name to give the paintings more value since heba is a person of color. nory asks guy to investigate this story since guy is an investigative reporter...what could possibly go wrong?

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I think I’ve learned that Jenny Bayliss books just aren’t for me with this one…

I really tried to like Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, but I struggled. A LOT. The premise of the book sounded like it would be up my alley, but I didn’t like or connect with Nory or her friends. The book seems to focus more on their friendships than really focusing on the romance, and I went into this thinking it’s a holiday romance is kind of disappointing when you realize it’s not, not really. Her and Isaac’s insta-love, whirlwind romance doesn’t even really become the focus of the book until the last 20% percent, and didn’t feel all that realistic (the pacing was so weird).

Overall this just wasn’t for me, but thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this arc!

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Elinor “Nory” Noel owns a rare bookstore in the heart of London. One of her best friends from the boarding school she attended is getting married and invites everybody in their high school friend group to spend the week before her wedding in the castle near their old school. This would serve as a reunion for not just the friends but would also reunite Nory with Isaac, the handsome gardner she had a crush on as a child. In a place where Christmas magic is flowing she would find love growing in places she wouldn’t expect.

This book felt like a mug of mulled wine. Warm, cosy, and full of Christmas love. I enjoyed the dynamics of the friendships that were at play. With such a large ensemble it can be hard to keep track of everybody’s interactions but that wasn’t a problem here. I loved the small details, like how Issac and Nory bonded over flowers, Jenna’s spray tan mishap, and the evolution of pretty boy Dev (he’s simply the sweetest).

I think the one aspect of this book that bothered me more than anything was Guy. I found myself so upset by some of his actions that it really distracted me from the rest of the story. His wife Camille must be an absolute saint to deal with him and his attitude.

Overall I enjoyed this book and am really thankful to NetGalley and Putnam for providing me an arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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