Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Every time I see them together, my heart breaks all over again. It’s time for me to go. I need to move on. I need a fresh start.”
I’ve never wanted it to be Christmas so much in my life. Not only has reading this got me in the most Christmassy mood known to man, but it also reminded me of last Christmas, a time where we were all free from the pandemic with not a care in the world – or so it seems at this point! After a really busy few months, I’ve finally felt at ease reading this book and I have a lot to thank the author for. I’m so happy to share my review on this blog tour with all these other amazing book bloggers! Make sure you check them out 🙂
When Nick loses his job and is dumped by his glamorous but demanding girlfriend, he is forced to grudgingly accept work as a Santa at a local Christmas grotto. As his friends are getting married or promoted, Nick spends his days being terrorised by unfriendly elves and cried on by snotty, spoiled children.
Then he meets 4-year-old Alfie. All Alfie wants for Christmas is for his mum, Sarah, to be happy again. Moved by the boy’s selfless wish, Nick arranges a date between Sarah and his best friend, Matt. But as Sarah and Alfie become part of all their lives, Nick realises that happiness for Sarah and Matt might mean heartbreak for himself.
The book made me laugh so much straight away with just how relatable everything was! The author has really made her characters as human as possible and also as British as possible, something which I love to read in a book. The humour seems to be very consistent and the characters instantly loveable and enjoyable. It was a refreshing change to see a male lead character in a rom com – I don’t actually think I’ve read one quite like this before! I loved everything about the opening and I was keen to learn more about Nick, and just what his plans are after losing his job. I felt sorry for this guy and felt like he would hit rock bottom if he wasn’t careful. I also wondered if his girlfriend, ex reality TV star, Angela, was all she was cracked up to be… It was clear that there was so much more to discover about their lives and I was looking forward to seeing what we’d uncover along the way.
Nick starts a new job as Santa, and I have honestly never laughed so much at one scene in my life! The author seems to perfectly understand my kind of humour and I loved how all the children who come to visit him were absolutely repulsive and makes him regret his decision to take this job in the first place. That’s until adorable little Alfie asks for a Christmas wish unlike any other – to make his mother happy again. This absolutely broke my heart and made me choke up a little, and I couldn’t quite believe the sudden transformation of emotions the author made me feel! I thought this was such a perfect turn of events and it was clear that this would make such a beautiful story. I was excited to see just whether Nick manages to fulfil this little guy’s wish, and I hoped to god that he’d get rid of his annoying girlfriend. Already, I loved Nick’s character and of course, little Alfie’s too – perfectly created and so easy to invest in.
After setting up Alfie’s mum with his friend, Matt, in order to attempt to fulfill Alfie’s Christmas wish, Nick soon begins to develop subtle feelings for this woman. She’s the kind of person that anyone would want to be around, and even though Angela hasn’t been gone long, (yep, she scarpered as soon as she saw Nick’s Santa outfit) it seemed that Matt and Sarah had both found happiness in each other, leaving Nick to watch from the sidelines. I felt his feelings for her would only grow, and as his own bond with Alfie gets stronger, Sarah becomes harder and harder to ignore. What a predicament to be in! I couldn’t seem to get over just how well the author has written dialogue in this book. It flowed so well and was actually like a real human conversation! Everything from the bond between Alfie and Nick to the way characters had banter with one another was so well received by me, and I was completely in love with every aspect of this book.
“I stare at my phone, hoping the digits shown on my online banking account will magically rearrange themselves into an amount that doesn’t make my stomach catapult into my throat.”
The entertainment factor throughout the book’s opening was well and truly off the scale. It had everything I was looking for – characters whose stories pull you in and have an emotional impact, humour we can relate to and that was completely on my wavelength and an easy flowing plot that seems to unravel with ease. All these things combined made it truly special and something that I believe could be enjoyed by many, fans of rom coms or not. It was a shame I had to take a break from the book due to work and home life, but I was always excited to pick it up again! A brilliant, faultless opening, and I could just tell I was going to adore what was to come. Would Nick sit in silence and watch Matt and Sarah’s relationship develop? Would Sarah ever share the same feelings as Nick? I couldn’t even predict what would happen at this point but I was eager to join these characters in whatever was coming next for them!
Even when Nick tries his luck with friendly skating instructor, Juliette, it isn’t long before Sarah clouds his mind once again. I loved his commitment to this woman and it was so great to be able to share Nick’s thoughts and feelings the more we read, even though he keeps these to himself. I noticed a few times where Nick and Sarah share a ‘moment’, but the pair brush these off like they were nothing. Couldn’t they see they were just perfect for one another?! Despite Nick’s feelings for Sarah, it was clear they made a great team and their friendship was strong. It made the book absolutely delightful to read and it made me love these characters even more. Hearing their banter and seeing how comfortable they were around each other was so addictive; I felt like I could follow their stories forever without becoming bored! After Matt’s drunken birthday gathering, Nick’s feelings for Sarah kick up a notch. But what can he do about it?
As well as following the beautiful story line, the book gave me all the fuzzy festive feels that made me so excited for Christmas. Whether it was the characters sitting down for Christmas dinner or the description of a happy family scene or sounds of Christmas songs, I could have easily started to put Christmas decorations up myself! The author seems to just grab you and plonk you in the heart of the book and it really doesn’t get any better than this. With Sarah away for a couple of weeks, Nick has time to get to grips with his thoughts, but finds he’s missing her more than he should be, and possibly even more than Matt is. We learn more of Matt’s backstory too, and of just how significant his ex-girlfriend, Karen, was in his life. I wasn’t convinced he was over her, but maybe Sarah was exactly what he needed to move on. However, I still found myself thinking about what Nick wanted. Would he ever be happy knowing his best friend had his girl?
After an embarrassing encounter with his ex, Nick spends his New Year feeling pretty low. With Sarah due to return soon, I felt his feelings for her would escalate beyond his control. Should he tell Matt how he feels about his girlfriend? The author constantly keeps us in a state of “will he, won’t he” when it comes to Sarah. I loved how the author makes us readers desperate for Nick and Sarah to get together, but it’s definitely not as simple as that. I also wanted Matt to be happy, especially after all he and his family had done for Nick over the years. I felt a little torn, I must admit! With so much on his plate, including trying to find a new job after his Santa days were over, I felt that a new year with new goals would do him some good. It was strange – the author has made Nick (as well as every other character) so realistic that I had to remind myself that he wasn’t real! Character creation had obviously been nailed on the head in this book, and I could sense that I’d feel some kind of loss when it was over.
“Sarah makes me feel like everything will work out. Like everything will be OK… but how can it be?”
The book continues in a whirlwind of happiness, and even though Nick’s feelings for Sarah won’t go away, he begins to come to terms with them having a great friendship. I loved hearing of all the things they get up to, with Sarah even being Nick’s plus one to a wedding, and his rollercoaster buddy too. Their friendship is something that everyone craves, but it still pained me at the back of my mind that he couldn’t be with her. The author keeps this consistent and seems to capture the emotions of the reader so well, making us feel for all the characters we meet. I couldn’t help feeling that Sarah had some sort of feelings for him too, and that the author had something unexpected planned for the ending. The book has been so easy going up to now, and it flows perfectly, making this book absolutely perfect for after a busy week. I couldn’t help but think of my own conclusions for the book at this stage. Would Nick ever be able to find true happiness without Sarah?
Nick comes to his senses and realises that all his friends are moving on with their lives and settling down, getting married or having kids, whereas he can barely keep a job together. I’m sure many of us have felt this way at one point or another and I loved how relatable it was. He begins to get in the mindset that he needs to move on from Sarah, but what does this mean? There was only one thing I had in my mind; he needed to move away. As much as this broke my heart as well as his, I felt it was probably the best decision with how things stood at the moment. By leaving, he could let Sarah and Matt live their lives and he could prevent the daily battle he was experiencing by not having Sarah as his own. I was shocked at how much this part of the book threw me off course and I was sad about it for ages! Matt is also upset about his decision, which made it so much worse. I was curious to see how Sarah reacted to the news!
Emotion is at an all time high and I had to force myself to take a few deep breaths to make sure I wasn’t going to completely lose it! Just when I thought Nick’s departure couldn’t get anymore depressing, Sarah well and truly shocked me with what she came out with next! I wanted to scream at them both and tell them to get their act together and to tell each other how they really feel before they make so many decisions they’ll regret! I was completely absorbed in the ending of the book, and I had absolutely no idea of the decisions characters would make in the end. I think the uncertainty of it all was one of the big reasons why I loved this book – you never know which direction things will go in, and you’re constantly thinking of all the different possibilities. Would Nick leaving be the best decision after all?
I thought the author’s way of ending this book was so perfect – even though I was incredibly anxious for Nick! As well as my intense excitement for what was to come, my eyes were brimming with tears which I felt a bit silly about, but that’s exactly the impact this book has on you. It captivates you at every turn and leaves you wanting the very best for all the characters we meet. I really hoped these characters would appear again in a different book as they’ve been some of the best character’s I’ve met, and possibly the ones I’ve felt connected to the most. With things working out so much differently for Matt than I could have ever imagined, Nick has one very important job to do and a very important person to talk to. Would we get the ending I’d hoped for all along? I desperately wanted to know how this ended!
“My life will pass me by if I don’t start living it… properly living it.”
Okay, NOW the tears started properly! Oh my god, such a heartwarming, perfect, emotional ending to satisfy my inner hopeless romantic, and I could not get enough of it. I even went back to read the epilogue for a second time because I loved it that much! The author has really outdone herself with this book, and I am now heading to Amazon to buy every other book in her collection. Not only has this book quickly become my favourite festive read, but I’ve also found a new favourite author too. Thank you, Joanna, for lifting up my spirits and for giving me a few days of pure joy and contentment from reading this book, something we all need as news of a second lockdown is announced. Five stars for this beautiful book without a doubt, and I hope to be re-reading it again closer to Christmas!
Not only has this book filled my heart and soul with love, laughter and happiness, but it’s also made me think about what’s important in life. This beautiful book explores this in such an entertaining way and is filled with the most memorable characters you’ll ever come across! It’ll take a lot for this story to be erased from my mind, (if it ever will) and after reading, I’ve felt much more content than I have for a while. I want to thank the author for creating a story that will brighten up anyone’s day and that will well and truly get them in the Christmas spirit, even with everything that is going on in the world at the moment! A perfect book that I can see myself reading again and again whenever I need a pick me up (or a good cry!)
A huge thank you to the author, Joanna Bolouri, and Quercus Books for my beautiful copy! You can purchase your own copy of All I Want For Christmas over on Amazon now, available on Kindle and in paperback. The perfect Christmas read! Make sure you’re following the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates!