by Megan Crane
Series: Greys of Montana #5
Publisher: Tule Publishing Group
Publication Date: November 20, 2017
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Dependable Devyn Voss is no stranger to cleaning up her mother’s messes, but this one’s gone supernova. In search of love, her flighty mom has invited all of her exes to celebrate her Christmastime 50th birthday. Which is trouble enough, but only gets worse when Devyn’s former stepbrother shows up to the party. His dark brown eyes and lazy smile still setting sparks off inside of Devyn that she’s desperate to ignore.
Nashville songwriter Vaughn Taylor only came to the party to support his dad. And if he happens to see his pretty ex-stepsister there, that’s just fine. But the minute he lays eyes on her, he’s gripped by all his old desires--to undo all her uptight and get past that guarded exterior.
They were never supposed to see each other again, but now that they have--all those sparks have become a bonfire. But will this little bit of Christmas crazy last... or will it end with the season?
“I like my life the way it is. Clean. Controlled. Absolutely devoid of messes.”
Devyn’s used to her daughterly duty of flying in, cleaning up her mother’s messes, and then returning back to her neatly organized life in Chicago. Except this Christmas, her mother has arranged what Devyn calls “an episode of the Melody Grey Bachelorette” and has invited all of her ex-boyfriends, including Devyn and Vaughn’s respective dads, along with her family, for a crazy amalgamation of a Christmas and birthday party. Ten years ago, Devyn and Vaughn lived together for a few years while their parents were dating, and though both seemed to feel something for each other, they hid it behind teen snarking. When they meet again at holiday getaway, it’s obvious their attraction is still there, and even harder to deny. Is it just a guilty holiday pleasure, or will it turn out to be a Christmas miracle?
Devyn has always lived a life as far opposite of her flighty mother’s as she can manage. I liked how, as the book progresses, Devyn finally admitted that while she loves her controlled everyday life, she also loved being the ringleader at her mother’s circus, as Vaughn put it. I liked how Devyn and Vaughn interacted with each other – still slightly snarky but with an underlying vulnerability that was simply charming.
Overall, though, the book is an ode to family. There are several lovely scenes of Devyn reminiscing about her childhood while surrounded by a gaggle of cousins, aunts, and uncles, and they were very sweet. In a lot of books that deal with family relationships and parental baggage, it often feels like the family members are there solely to be the bad guys. I liked how in this one, while the not particularly pleasant quirks of the family members were explored, there was still a general fondness and love for them. To me, family is really the heart of the holidays, no matter how much they drive you crazy, so this really gave it that special holiday feel for me.
“What if you could be anything you wanted to be—a little bit crazy and a little bit controlled and anything else your heart desired? What would you be then?”
As for cons, I disliked that Vaughn seemed perfectly fine keeping Devyn in the dark about his career. While I wouldn’t say he intentionally misled her, it did seem like it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal to just tell her. As I picked this up without reading the previous Greys of Montana book, I did have problems keeping the minor Grey family members straight, though it didn’t affect the main plot of the story or my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, this was an enjoyable and lovely family-oriented holiday novel!