Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.
Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.
But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?
DNF at 37%.
I tried, I really, really did. The premise has the possibility to be adorable, but the reality of it was a little too cheesy for me. I don’t mind silly or even just plain goofy, but this was bordering on ridiculous.
The main character, Bettie, accidentally summons a human-version of the Holiday Spirit. This spirit goes by the name of Hall. He is…basically Buddy the Elf, but on steroids. He’s innocent, has magic, and is trying his best to turn Bettie into a good person. Now, some of that would be fine, but Hall is almost child-like in his innocence. Like to the point that I wondered how he was going to turn into a love interest at all. I genuinely couldn’t see past that, and that’s one of the bigger reasons I gave up on this book.
The other reason I DNFed is that almost every OTHER character in this book — including Bettie — is an awful, self-centered mess. I cannot stand books where every character is horrible. Her entire family is horrible. Literally, every single person in her family is just awful. Bettie is trying to use Hall and his magic to get famous again, to get back at everyone who has ‘wronged’ her, when its her own damn fault that she’s in the situation that she’s in.
JUST LIKE MAGIC WILL BE RELEASED OCTOBER 4, 2022.
Preorder at your local indie bookstore, or at the following links: