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She's home for the holidays with her starchy fake boyfriend... Although she's the fun and outgoing one, Julie Tam has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Charlotte. Now Charlotte has a good career and a great boyfriend whom their parents love, and Julie has neither of those things. Her blind date with Tom Yeung is disastrous; however, he's exactly the sort of guy She's home for the holidays with her starchy fake boyfriend... Although she's the fun and outgoing one, Julie Tam has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Charlotte. Now Charlotte has a good career and a great boyfriend whom their parents love, and Julie has neither of those things. Her blind date with Tom Yeung is disastrous; however, he's exactly the sort of guy her parents would like--a methodical, strait-laced pharmacist who even folds his underwear and wears paisley ties. So, she pretends they're a couple to impress Mom and Dad in their phone conversations. When her mother insists that Julie bring Tom to her hometown for Christmas, Tom, who has no plans for the holidays, agrees. But Julie doesn't know how she'll tolerate a whole weekend in his company, especially when they have to share a bed and participate in a gingerbread house competition together. The man is irritatingly proper and set in his ways. Except after hours of baking and skating and opening presents, she's starting to find Tom annoyingly attractive and even endearing. And now, she doesn't want this holiday weekend to end...


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She's home for the holidays with her starchy fake boyfriend... Although she's the fun and outgoing one, Julie Tam has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Charlotte. Now Charlotte has a good career and a great boyfriend whom their parents love, and Julie has neither of those things. Her blind date with Tom Yeung is disastrous; however, he's exactly the sort of guy She's home for the holidays with her starchy fake boyfriend... Although she's the fun and outgoing one, Julie Tam has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Charlotte. Now Charlotte has a good career and a great boyfriend whom their parents love, and Julie has neither of those things. Her blind date with Tom Yeung is disastrous; however, he's exactly the sort of guy her parents would like--a methodical, strait-laced pharmacist who even folds his underwear and wears paisley ties. So, she pretends they're a couple to impress Mom and Dad in their phone conversations. When her mother insists that Julie bring Tom to her hometown for Christmas, Tom, who has no plans for the holidays, agrees. But Julie doesn't know how she'll tolerate a whole weekend in his company, especially when they have to share a bed and participate in a gingerbread house competition together. The man is irritatingly proper and set in his ways. Except after hours of baking and skating and opening presents, she's starting to find Tom annoyingly attractive and even endearing. And now, she doesn't want this holiday weekend to end...

30 review for Her Pretend Christmas Date

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rose

    This is a novella length holiday themed opposites attract romance and a lovely addition to the Cider Bar Sisters series. Julie saw her sister Charlotte find love with an old childhood friend (in His Grumpy Childhood Friend) and she doesn't want to go home without a date for Christmas. She goes on a blind date with Tom, which is disastrous, but Tom is exactly the kind of guy her parents would like. As a result, she makes contact with Tom again and asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend over the This is a novella length holiday themed opposites attract romance and a lovely addition to the Cider Bar Sisters series. Julie saw her sister Charlotte find love with an old childhood friend (in His Grumpy Childhood Friend) and she doesn't want to go home without a date for Christmas. She goes on a blind date with Tom, which is disastrous, but Tom is exactly the kind of guy her parents would like. As a result, she makes contact with Tom again and asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend over the holidays. Since Tom has no plans for Christmas he accepts. Suddenly all the things that Julie had found irritating about Tom on their date become quite endearing. He's charming and funny underneath a facade that she'd initially viewed as fussy and conservative and he willingly goes along with all of her parent's holiday plans (like participating in a gingerbread house contest against her sister like they're on a reality cooking show). Plus, his kisses are swoonworthy! Their mutual sexual attraction and the forced proximity (sharing the same room) results in some passionate sexy times. At the end of the holiday, Julie realizes that maybe Tom is in fact her perfect match. It's a fun and sexy romantic comedy with likable characters and a delightful happy ending. As always, Jackie Lau showcases food, family and friendship in unique ways leaving the reader smiling. A copy of this story was provided by the author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Norah Gibbons

    I received an ARC of this book to read through a review crew. All opinions are my own. Her Pretend Christmas Date is a delightful novella by Jackie Lau and is book 2.5 in the charming Cider Bar Sisters series. When Julie Tam’s roommate fixes her up on a blind date with Tom Yeung, it ends up being a disaster, and she expects never to see him again. However, Tom is exactly the type of guy her parents would love for her to be dating, so she tells them that he’s her boyfriend so that they stop criti I received an ARC of this book to read through a review crew. All opinions are my own. Her Pretend Christmas Date is a delightful novella by Jackie Lau and is book 2.5 in the charming Cider Bar Sisters series. When Julie Tam’s roommate fixes her up on a blind date with Tom Yeung, it ends up being a disaster, and she expects never to see him again. However, Tom is exactly the type of guy her parents would love for her to be dating, so she tells them that he’s her boyfriend so that they stop criticizing her life choices, which works just fine until they want to meet him. Tom is surprised when Julie calls him and invites him to spend Christmas with her family because he too thought their date was a one-time thing, but with his parents heading out of town to look after his uncle, he has nowhere else to go for Christmas, and so he agrees to help Julie out by pretending to be her fake boyfriend. Engaging and funny this low angst, but the perfect amount of steam, there’s only one bed, opposites attract romance is the perfect Christmas story to curl up with on a cold evening, and as always, Jackie Lau’s food porn is the best bar none. Another thing I enjoyed most about this book is the theme of being loved for who you are and not who others want you to be. Steam Level: Medium. Publishing Date: December 8, 2020. #HerPretendChristmasDate #JackieLau #ContemporaryRomance #ChristmasRomance #FakeBoyfriend #OppositesAttract #ThereIsOnlyOneBed #bookstagram #bookstagrammer

  3. 4 out of 5

    b.andherbooks

    Joyous Julie is aghast her blind date wears a tie and white shirt to the taco place they meet at for their date, won't eat street corn with her, and is worried everything is just too messy. The date is a bust. But, Tom was super cute, and he makes the perfect "fake boyfriend" to get her parents off her back during their phone calls. Until they invite both Julie and Tom home for Christmas. When Julie calls, Tom cannot believe it. The date was a disaster! But also, her request is intriguing, and To Joyous Julie is aghast her blind date wears a tie and white shirt to the taco place they meet at for their date, won't eat street corn with her, and is worried everything is just too messy. The date is a bust. But, Tom was super cute, and he makes the perfect "fake boyfriend" to get her parents off her back during their phone calls. Until they invite both Julie and Tom home for Christmas. When Julie calls, Tom cannot believe it. The date was a disaster! But also, her request is intriguing, and Tom would otherwise be home alone for Christmas. So they go, and Tom and Julie realize that opposites really can attract. Super fun, I love a fake dating story. Tom definitely has fire hidden under his ties, and it was really fun to see him unravel for Julie. I also loved the gingerbread "suger rush" inspired baking challenge Julie's parents force them to do. Oh, there's only one twin bed! Thank you to the author for the ARC

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Jackie Lau has perfected the soft, fluffy holiday romance: two adorable leads, plenty of food porn, zany interfering parents, and of course, just the one bed. I loved her Holidays With the Wongs series from last year, but Julie and Tom may be my new favorite couple of hers. So relaxing and sweet to watch two completely mismatched people fall for each other without even knowing it. Julie and Tom were set up by her well-meaning roommate Bridget but their date was an awkward disaster. Somehow, life Jackie Lau has perfected the soft, fluffy holiday romance: two adorable leads, plenty of food porn, zany interfering parents, and of course, just the one bed. I loved her Holidays With the Wongs series from last year, but Julie and Tom may be my new favorite couple of hers. So relaxing and sweet to watch two completely mismatched people fall for each other without even knowing it. Julie and Tom were set up by her well-meaning roommate Bridget but their date was an awkward disaster. Somehow, life and parents interfered and Julie found herself inviting Tom to be her completely fake date to Christmas with her family. Totally illogical, but it totally worked. Not just because I love a soft, gentle holiday romance but also I am a complete fool for the uptight hero. When Julie complained about Tom's paisley ties, Bridget dubbed our boy "deliciously stern" and I'm here for it. See the full review on my blog Lucky Reads Romance.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Aside from initially thinking the FMC was rather rude, and bordering on cruel, I very much enjoyed this short work. Luckily, she soon revealed herself to be much nicer than that original impression revealed. This is an example of how to do a holiday novella right. It had the perfect amount of interaction and conversation between the leads to progress their relationship from (not hate but) dislike to love. There was exactly the right amount of cute holiday activities - a gingerbread house building Aside from initially thinking the FMC was rather rude, and bordering on cruel, I very much enjoyed this short work. Luckily, she soon revealed herself to be much nicer than that original impression revealed. This is an example of how to do a holiday novella right. It had the perfect amount of interaction and conversation between the leads to progress their relationship from (not hate but) dislike to love. There was exactly the right amount of cute holiday activities - a gingerbread house building competition, snow angel creations turning to makeout sessions - and they served to build the relationship between the leads. There was the perfect amount of internal monologue to develop character. Take note, mediocre In a Holidaze!

  6. 4 out of 5

    mindful.librarian ☀️

    Cute holiday novella and I loved the family! The writing (especially steamy scenes) just didn’t work perfectly for me in this one though.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Malin

    Disclaimer! I was given an ARC of this book by the author. That has in no way influenced my review. Julie Tam's sister Charlotte is an engineer and has an outgoing and charming boyfriend, the guy who lived next door when they were young. She is everything their parents could want. Meanwhile, Julie works as a waitress in a Cider Bar and designs her own jewelry. She goes on a blind date with Tom Yeung, which starts out badly and ends even worse. Tom is a pharmacist, wears a tie on a first date, doe Disclaimer! I was given an ARC of this book by the author. That has in no way influenced my review. Julie Tam's sister Charlotte is an engineer and has an outgoing and charming boyfriend, the guy who lived next door when they were young. She is everything their parents could want. Meanwhile, Julie works as a waitress in a Cider Bar and designs her own jewelry. She goes on a blind date with Tom Yeung, which starts out badly and ends even worse. Tom is a pharmacist, wears a tie on a first date, doesn't like eating tacos (because they're messy) and is way too strait-laced and uptight for Julie. Nevertheless, the next time she talks to her mother on the phone, she tells a little white lie, which keeps getting bigger. Now her parents want her to invite her boyfriend Tom to come home with her at Christmas. Tom is rather surprised when Julie contacts him again after their rather disastrous only date, and rather amused when she explains her dilemma. To her surprise, he accepts her proposal that he pose as her fake boyfriend over the holidays. Tom really likes Christmas and his parents are away, so he'd be spending it alone. Both of them are rather surprised when Julie's parents announce that they can share a room (where there is not only the one bed but it's a narrow twin at that). While Tom and Julie didn't exactly hit it off the first time they went out, they manage to pull off the fake dating charade rather well, making Julie's parents very happy indeed. The couple even manages to combine Tom's planning skills and precision and Julie's artistic flair into sculpting an excellent gingerbread house, winning one of Julie's parents' strange Christmas competitions, fuelling the rivalry between Charlotte and Julie. After a few days in close confines, Julie no longer thinks Tom is all that annoying and is trying her very best to tease him until he loses his closely-held control. The results are rather spectacular, and soon Julie wishes that her fake arrangement was reality. This novella works fine as a standalone, but is also the third part in Jackie Lau's ongoing Cider Bar Sisters series. Charlotte's book, His Grumpy Childhood Friend, (where she reunites with her childhood bestie Mike) is the second book and came out about a month and a half ago. So if you were to start with this story and get curious about how Charlotte and Mike became a couple, that's the place to look. This isn't the first time Ms. Lau has written a holiday novella involving fake dating either. The third story in her Holidays with the Wong series had the hero bringing home a fake girlfriend for Chinese New Years to avoid his parents' failed attempts at matchmaking. As these are romances, I'm sure it comes as no surprise at all both the novellas end with the fake relationship becoming something real. Writing a romance that takes place over a short space of time is always tricky, and I am not a fan of insta-love, but since Julie and Tom first meet quite a while before they actually spend Christmas together (on a blind date set up by Julie's best friend, who claims Julie and Tom are perfect for one another) and Julie spends a lot of time thinking of Tom (even if she makes up a heavily fictionalised version of him over the phone to her parents), it didn't feel that strange that their feelings developed quickly - especially if you think how intense family holidays can be. I really liked Julie as a supporting character in Charlotte's book and was so happy when I discovered she was getting a story of her own. She's very different from her sister and really suffers because she feels she can never live up to her parents' unrealistic expectations. During their first date, Julie's very strong reaction against Tom is in part specifically because he's so very much the sort of man her parents would want her to end up with, and she rebels against that and keeps reacting to thinks she assumes he thinks about her, rather than to things as they actually are. When she has more time with Tom, she sees that she was rather quick to draw conclusions and he's not at all the stuffy killjoy she initially imagined. Tom is one of those deliciously buttoned up and proper heroes who become all the more fun once they let loose a little and allow themselves to give in to passion. While this is just a novella, there are still some really steamy scenes once Tom and Julie see past each other's differences and give into the attraction between them. Pretty much my only complaint with this novella is that I wish it had been a bit longer. I enjoyed reading about Julie and Tom together and would have liked more time with them on the page. I suppose I shall just have to wait impatiently for the next full book in the series instead. Her Pretend Christmas Date is on sale now, and a quick and satisfying holiday read. Judging a book by its cover: This may be my favourite Jackie Lau cover so far. In fact, if I were to do some sort of rating involving the covers of the books I read this year, this could very well take top spot. I just love the cover model's incredibly grouchy facial expression, and the way he's glowering out at the reader, seeming very resentful about having to even exist. The best part is that Tom, the novella's hero really isn't very grumpy and grouchy at all, just a bit slow to loosen up and very fond of having things tidy and predictable. So it's not really even representative of the contents of the story, but I still love it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren loves llamas

    I love Jackie Lau’s books, especially her Christmas ones. And it’d be hard to beat this one, with its hilarious first-date-gone-wrong, opposites attract, fake dating, just-one-bed tropes – plus a dash of zany family antics, including a surprise gingerbread house competition. I had a big smile on my face the whole time reading this. “And now you’re faking a relationship and inviting him home for Christmas.” Bridget giggled. “It’s perfect. You’re so going to fall in love.” “The man wears paisley tie I love Jackie Lau’s books, especially her Christmas ones. And it’d be hard to beat this one, with its hilarious first-date-gone-wrong, opposites attract, fake dating, just-one-bed tropes – plus a dash of zany family antics, including a surprise gingerbread house competition. I had a big smile on my face the whole time reading this. “And now you’re faking a relationship and inviting him home for Christmas.” Bridget giggled. “It’s perfect. You’re so going to fall in love.” “The man wears paisley ties to first dates at taco restaurants, Bridget. Paisley ties.” In the last Cider Bar Sisters book, Charlotte got her second chance romance with her childhood friend, and for this novella, we switch to her sister Julie. Now that her sister’s happily paired off, Julie feels even more like the misfit of the family. Her parents don’t approve of her job, but Julie loves waitressing at the cider bar and making jewelry in her spare time. Fed up with her parents’ criticism and comparisons to her sister, she makes up a boyfriend, and just happens to base it on her last disastrous date. Tom’s a pharmacist and the kind of guy who wears ties to a taco restaurant. In other words, exactly the kind of guy her parents would like, and a complete mismatch with Julie. But when her parents insist on Julie bringing her new boyfriend home for Christmas, she’s forced to come clean to Tom, and to her surprise, he agrees to pretend to be her date. But can two people who barely got along on one dinner date hold up the charade for a whole Christmas of family fun? “They were two puzzle pieces that hadn’t fit together at first, but if you rotated them… Ugh. Did that metaphor make any sense? Sometimes her brain didn’t function properly when she was touching him, but that was okay.” I have a thing for meet-disasters, especially ones with bad first impressions (but seriously, Julie, mayo on corn?). Tom’s responsible and serious, while Julie’s, well, not. But Julie’s happy with her life and who she is, and she certainly doesn’t need to be judged by yet another person in her life. But as the trip – and its forced proximity just-one-bed-ness – progresses, Julie realizes that there’s more to Tom than his stern exterior and paisley ties, and Tom realizes that, quirky food choices aside, there’s place for a little creativity and loosening up in his life. It certainly helps that even during their disastrous first date they had sizzling chemistry! I liked that even after they started falling for each other, it wasn’t an immediate thing; it took time for them to understand the potential for a relationship between them. “She and Tom were making the best damn gingerbread house that two people who’d never made a gingerbread house before could construct.” The Tams are hilarious, and the gingerbread competition (inspired by Julie’s mom binging on too many cooking competition episodes) was the highlight of the book for me. It was the perfect way to show both Julie and Tom how well they worked together. I also liked seeing Charlotte and Mike again, especially once they had to compete against Julie and Tom. As for cons, the only thing is that I didn’t quite buy Tom’s reasons for going along with Julie’s charade (he loves Christmas and didn’t want to spend it by himself). Overall, this is another great Christmas novella by Jackie Lau, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Jackie Lau has done it again, thrilling readers with romance and fun in “Her Pretend Christmas Date” - book 2.5 in the Cider Bar Sisters series, bringing us the story of Julie Tam, sister of Charlotte who we met in book 2, “His Grumpy Childhood Friend.” Julie gets a lot of grief from her family: they don’t approve of her job or her lack of boyfriend; she is constantly compared to her older sister Charlotte. I think they mean well, they want the best for her or what they think is best for her, bu Jackie Lau has done it again, thrilling readers with romance and fun in “Her Pretend Christmas Date” - book 2.5 in the Cider Bar Sisters series, bringing us the story of Julie Tam, sister of Charlotte who we met in book 2, “His Grumpy Childhood Friend.” Julie gets a lot of grief from her family: they don’t approve of her job or her lack of boyfriend; she is constantly compared to her older sister Charlotte. I think they mean well, they want the best for her or what they think is best for her, but to Julie the criticism is getting to be a bit much … which leads her lie about having a boyfriend, a boyfriend who her parents now insist come home to meet them for Christmas. One date with Tom Yeung is enough for Julie to know that he isn’t the man for her. He wears a shirt and tie, doesn’t like tacos OR mayo. Really who is this guy? But he is her parent’s idea of the perfect man so Julie invents a relationship, with Tom in the starring role, just to get her parents off her back. But when Julie lets straightlaced Tom in on the secret and asks him to help her out by pretending to be her boyfriend over Christmas, well, how can Tom (who would otherwise spend the holiday alone) say no to that offer. How in the world is Julie going to handle an entire holiday with the anthesis of what she wants in a man, especially when they have to same room! But spending all that time together, seeing a different side to Tom than Julie expected … sparks begin to fly and this relationship might become more fact than fiction. This was a wonderful Christmas novella; it was funny and sweet, filled with classic holiday moments like making gingerbread houses, skating and snow angels. I had no idea snow angels could be that sexy! I simply could not put this down. If you’re into Hallmark movies or simply want a fantastic book to curl up with next to the tree as you sip your mulled wine, you absolutely cannot go wrong with “Her Pretend Christmas Date.” It will definitely put you in the Christmas mood!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Her Pretend Christmas Date was so much fun to read! I loved Julie and Tom's romance--from their disastrous first date to the epilogue, it was a crazy but somehow still romantic ride. At first glance, it seems that the two of them could not possibly work--he wears a tie to a first date at a taco place! She eats everything bagels with cheddar cheese and peanut butter!--but it turns out that together they help to fill in all the awkward spaces in each other. Who knew that Tom had a hidden craving f Her Pretend Christmas Date was so much fun to read! I loved Julie and Tom's romance--from their disastrous first date to the epilogue, it was a crazy but somehow still romantic ride. At first glance, it seems that the two of them could not possibly work--he wears a tie to a first date at a taco place! She eats everything bagels with cheddar cheese and peanut butter!--but it turns out that together they help to fill in all the awkward spaces in each other. Who knew that Tom had a hidden craving for a little chaos in his life? Or that Julie would come to find his neckties endearing? (Not to mention fun to take off... ;)) Their story is a novella, the perfect length to squeeze into a busy weekend. Since the bulk of the story takes place at Julie's childhood home (there's only one bed! Or should I say there's only one sleeping bag? ;)) and both Julie and her sister are there for the holiday with their respective boyfriends (boyfriend, fake boyfriend...potayto, potahto) I really recommend reading this one after Charlotte's story ( His Grumpy Childhood Friend ) so that you fully understand the family dynamics on display here. You *could* read this as a standalone, but you'll enjoy it even more if you've seen things from both sisters' points of view. (Is it wrong that one of my favorite parts of the whole story is that they actually ate and enjoyed their gingerbread houses? No slowly petrifying food sculptures for these characters, and I am here for it! And I'm also a little hungry now, honestly...) I'm counting the days until the next Cider Bar Sisters book comes out! Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Viper Spaulding

    I adored this sweet, sexy romance! Julie and Tom have a perfectly disastrous first date, after which they both agree not to pursue a second. But then Julie is put on the spot by her inquisitive and slightly-pushy parents, so she claims Tom is her boyfriend, believing they'd never need to meet him. I loved the way the author gently presented Julie's dilemma, how she was getting just enough positive response from her parents that it was difficult for her to "break up" with Tom to them, which (of co I adored this sweet, sexy romance! Julie and Tom have a perfectly disastrous first date, after which they both agree not to pursue a second. But then Julie is put on the spot by her inquisitive and slightly-pushy parents, so she claims Tom is her boyfriend, believing they'd never need to meet him. I loved the way the author gently presented Julie's dilemma, how she was getting just enough positive response from her parents that it was difficult for her to "break up" with Tom to them, which (of course) results in her needing to convince him to participate in the pretense and join her family for the holidays. Tom is only interested in not spending the holidays alone as his own parents will be elsewhere this year, so with some trepidation, he agrees. The beauty of this romance is in the way the author shows that even though Tom and Julie are exact opposites in temperament and interests, they have quite a lot of shared, common values which, along with a healthy dose of respect, establishes an unbreakable foundation for a legendary love story. Tom may not be who Julie was looking for, but he's exactly who she needs and I was enthralled with watching her growing realization of this. One of the things I really enjoy about this author's characters is that they are very down-to-earth and relatable. All her characters feel like new best friends, people that you feel you've known for years and they must be real because they've taken up residence in your heart. After getting to know Julie's sister, Charlotte, in the previous book, it was especially nice to get to know their entire family in this delightful, humorous story. In a perfect world, we'd all get to spend the holidays with the Tam family. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    M. K. French

    Julie Tam had a disastrous first date with Tom Yeung, but he’s the exact type of man her parents would approve of as a boyfriend. Living in the shadow of her older sister Charlotte, she used him as a fake boyfriend during phone calls. Now that it’s Christmas, she needs him to pretend to be her boyfriend. At first, she was dreading the time together, but learns more and more about him, and really enjoys his company. Fake dating tropes can be such fun to read about as long as the secondhand embarra Julie Tam had a disastrous first date with Tom Yeung, but he’s the exact type of man her parents would approve of as a boyfriend. Living in the shadow of her older sister Charlotte, she used him as a fake boyfriend during phone calls. Now that it’s Christmas, she needs him to pretend to be her boyfriend. At first, she was dreading the time together, but learns more and more about him, and really enjoys his company. Fake dating tropes can be such fun to read about as long as the secondhand embarrassment factor is low. Julie is fairly judgmental on their first date, and Tom’s attention to detail and serious nature are a complete turnoff for her chaotic nature. Still, he doesn’t want to be alone for Christmas and doesn’t back out of promises, even when he feels awkward. Definite points in his favor before they even get to the Tam household. He’s methodical and schedule oriented, not as stuffy as Julie had assumed. She’s still a roiling ball of chaos, though he starts to appreciate some of that. The two notice each other while in close contact, especially with her mother’s holiday challenges, which is part of the fun with this trope. The real beauty of the relationship as it develops is that they learn how to appreciate the differences in each other now that they have time to actually talk with each other and see those traits in action. A lot of the discomfort they had with each other is due to misconceptions and reacting based on those misconceptions, a good lesson to learn for Real Life. Once Julie and Tom have a more open mind, they’re able to see each other as who they really are, not as who they think the person is. That’s when they really form the connection that they build from. This is a cute addition to the Cider Bar Sisters series, and a fun book to read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharonda

    Definitely four stars for the writing and the fake dating vibes but… Let me tell ya’ll how Julie Tan got on my nerves, lols. Okay, so Julie is not the favorite daughter or so she thinks….but I got why she thought that way. Anyolways, so her roommate sets her up on a date (like she always does, Julie really needed to start telling this woman no but I digress)....so, she goes on this date and instantly doesn’t like Tom Yeung because he is everything that her parents want her to be AND the kind of g Definitely four stars for the writing and the fake dating vibes but… Let me tell ya’ll how Julie Tan got on my nerves, lols. Okay, so Julie is not the favorite daughter or so she thinks….but I got why she thought that way. Anyolways, so her roommate sets her up on a date (like she always does, Julie really needed to start telling this woman no but I digress)....so, she goes on this date and instantly doesn’t like Tom Yeung because he is everything that her parents want her to be AND the kind of guy her parents would definitely want to see her with. So what does miss thing do? Ruin the date on purpose, she didn’t even give the man a chance to fuck up...if he was… Ya’ll! Julie was doing the absolute most in this books, lols. I wanted to shake her head off her shoulders. Again, I got why she was the way she was but my gawd today. Tom Yeung was too patient with her ass. Like girl, that man was doing you a favor...she stayed putting words in his mouth. He was confused ya’ll so was this reader. She ain’t know that man like that to be doing all that, lols. Her insecurities about her status in her parents life were at ten. Thank gawd for Tom, he won me over and he saved this story. Again, his patience with Julie was outstanding but also, he saw the kind of pressure her parents tended to put her under. He wanted her to understand that she didn't need to be parent perfect for him. Tom’s nerdiness and Julie’s extrovert-ness were the perfect opposites attract and the fake dating set up mixed in with them being at her parents home was cute and hilarious. Chile, them parents, lmao...funny especially the mom. She was a mess. I liked the story, I do feel like Julie overdid it but still a good story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    I received an ARC from the author as part of a review crew in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Her Pretend Christmas Date is both a stand-alone novella addition to her current Cider Bar Sisters series and her third Christmas novella. And once again, on both counts and as a story in its own right, it’s a lovely treat. There’s the sweet, cozy feel of the season and a hot romance building in the midst of it. The food porn is a staple of Lau’s work, and this one is no different I received an ARC from the author as part of a review crew in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Her Pretend Christmas Date is both a stand-alone novella addition to her current Cider Bar Sisters series and her third Christmas novella. And once again, on both counts and as a story in its own right, it’s a lovely treat. There’s the sweet, cozy feel of the season and a hot romance building in the midst of it. The food porn is a staple of Lau’s work, and this one is no different. My mouth definitely watered at the descriptions of the delicious sounding fusion cuisine. And fake relationships can be hit-or-miss for me, but I liked the development of Charlotte and Tom’s relationship, especially since they don’t start off by hitting it off like gangbusters when they’re set up. But her realizing he’s the type her parents would like and deciding she’s willing to put up with him to measure up to her perfect sister was so relatable, and I liked seeing that transition from the relationship being transactional to being something more. This was a lot of fun, a sweet yet sexy holiday read that is a wonderful continuation to Lau’s annual tradition. If you love contemporary Christmas romances and are looking for something shorter to curl up with, you’ll enjoy this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    It's the third year of a joyous literary holiday tradition: Jackie Lau publishes a romance novella featuring Christmas and the only-one-bed trope! This time, little sister, jewelry-maker, and cider bar waitress Julie Tam brings home a fake boyfriend for her family Christmas. She and uptight pharmacist Tom Yeung went on one very bad blind date together, and while they were both relieved to go their separate ways afterward, Julie ends up enlisting Tom into pretending to be her boyfriend on her Chri It's the third year of a joyous literary holiday tradition: Jackie Lau publishes a romance novella featuring Christmas and the only-one-bed trope! This time, little sister, jewelry-maker, and cider bar waitress Julie Tam brings home a fake boyfriend for her family Christmas. She and uptight pharmacist Tom Yeung went on one very bad blind date together, and while they were both relieved to go their separate ways afterward, Julie ends up enlisting Tom into pretending to be her boyfriend on her Christmas trip home. After all, he has all the traits of the sort of person her parents want her to end up with: responsible, serious, utterly incompatible with who Julie is. But in spending more time together and getting to know each other beyond their initial judgmental perceptions, the two of them start falling for each other for real. This was warm-hearted and enjoyable. There's some good fun going on--Julie's mother, having binged on Sugar Rush, decides to orchestrate a gingerbread-house competition--but what I liked best were the small steps Julie took toward knowing, accepting, and appreciating Tom, and how that went a long way for her to doing those same things for herself. FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melisa

    This adorable novella from Jackie Lau features an opposites-attract couple, faking dating, delightful holiday antics and even a gingerbread house making contest! Julie and Tom are set up on a blind date where it is clear they are complete opposites. They go their separate ways but Julie realizes that Tom is the perfect boyfriend that her parents’ want for her. To get her parents off her back, she tells them about Tom and pretends he’s her boyfriend. To her surprise, he agrees to the charade and This adorable novella from Jackie Lau features an opposites-attract couple, faking dating, delightful holiday antics and even a gingerbread house making contest! Julie and Tom are set up on a blind date where it is clear they are complete opposites. They go their separate ways but Julie realizes that Tom is the perfect boyfriend that her parents’ want for her. To get her parents off her back, she tells them about Tom and pretends he’s her boyfriend. To her surprise, he agrees to the charade and to spend Christmas with her family. I loved the contrast between Tom and Julie and how what initially put them off each other becomes adorable as they grow closer. It was interesting to read a story where the attraction isn’t a first sight but grows the more they get to know each other. I don’t read a lot of holiday romances but this one definitely put me in the Christmas spirit and I greatly enjoyed it! *Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    There is nothing better than seeing a handsome but rigid, uptight man become flustered by a free spirited woman he's attracted to. This little story packs a pretty big punch. Buttoned up Tom goes on a disastrous date with live in the moment Julie and both walk away less than impressed. Julie However, knows that tie wearing Tom the pharmacist is a parent's wet dream and lies for weeks that they are dating. When forced into a holiday visit she asks Tom to fake it for the weekend as her boyfriend. There is nothing better than seeing a handsome but rigid, uptight man become flustered by a free spirited woman he's attracted to. This little story packs a pretty big punch. Buttoned up Tom goes on a disastrous date with live in the moment Julie and both walk away less than impressed. Julie However, knows that tie wearing Tom the pharmacist is a parent's wet dream and lies for weeks that they are dating. When forced into a holiday visit she asks Tom to fake it for the weekend as her boyfriend. Tom is alone and forlorn for Christmas and agrees. They had sooo much fun needling each other and their habits. Both took it with surprising grace and humor. Neither went too far with their teasing and they astonish each other with real feelings. This book felt like it had a higher page count than it did because it was such fun.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    3.5 rounded up. I am a sucker for a holiday romance novella. I read and enjoyed Lau’s Holidays with the Wongs series and after reading The Ultimate Pi Day Party earlier this year I signed up for Lau’s reviewer list – and Her Pretend Christmas Date is the first work I’ve received as part of that. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this quick, easy read. Lau has a way of writing books that feel like sitting down with a quick snack and a cup of tea, while also making them a little steamy. I’ 3.5 rounded up. I am a sucker for a holiday romance novella. I read and enjoyed Lau’s Holidays with the Wongs series and after reading The Ultimate Pi Day Party earlier this year I signed up for Lau’s reviewer list – and Her Pretend Christmas Date is the first work I’ve received as part of that. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this quick, easy read. Lau has a way of writing books that feel like sitting down with a quick snack and a cup of tea, while also making them a little steamy. I’m all for it. Full review: https://faintingviolet.wordpress.com/...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    This Christmas novella made my heart sing. It's got a fake relationship between a free spirited woman and a starchy man, only one (twin) bed, and it's full of the Christmas spirit. I loved Julie and Tom's disastrous first date - it was adorable. I loved Julie's parents forcing their daughters to have a gingerbread bake off. I adored Tom's tie and sweater combination. I can't say I loved Julie's leftovers sandwich, but it certainly was memorable. It's a fun, fast read that will make you smile. I v This Christmas novella made my heart sing. It's got a fake relationship between a free spirited woman and a starchy man, only one (twin) bed, and it's full of the Christmas spirit. I loved Julie and Tom's disastrous first date - it was adorable. I loved Julie's parents forcing their daughters to have a gingerbread bake off. I adored Tom's tie and sweater combination. I can't say I loved Julie's leftovers sandwich, but it certainly was memorable. It's a fun, fast read that will make you smile. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Her Pretend Christmas Date arrived on my kobo this morning and I found the time to read throughout the day. I don't always like novellas, but this one worked very well for me. I liked that Julie and Tom had a "past" to build on (brief though it was) and I enjoyed reading about them getting to really know each other. The confrontation with Julie's parents worked well and I really liked the details that went into the gingerbread making contest. Her Pretend Christmas Date arrived on my kobo this morning and I found the time to read throughout the day. I don't always like novellas, but this one worked very well for me. I liked that Julie and Tom had a "past" to build on (brief though it was) and I enjoyed reading about them getting to really know each other. The confrontation with Julie's parents worked well and I really liked the details that went into the gingerbread making contest.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    3.5 stars I couldn't stop giggling at Tony and Julie's horrendous first date--oh my god I would've made an excuse to leave within the first 15 minutes. But all is well in the end, obviously. LOVE the Tam family and their Christmas challenges. E-ARC is received thanks to the wonderful author. 3.5 stars I couldn't stop giggling at Tony and Julie's horrendous first date--oh my god I would've made an excuse to leave within the first 15 minutes. But all is well in the end, obviously. LOVE the Tam family and their Christmas challenges. E-ARC is received thanks to the wonderful author.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Very cute, light holiday read. I liked how Julie and Tom didn’t really like each other in the beginning, odd as that sounds. First impressions aren’t always the right impressions. I received a free ARC from the author. Thank you!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Quirky and fun! I enjoyed this story very much - I wish it were longer! It was such fun watching these opposites attract. And the surrounding characters were also fun. Looking forward to reading more of Jackie’s work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Perfect Christmas warm fuzzies This is such a wonderful and sweet Christmas novella. It's a case of opposites attracting that works so well. I love how they get hot and bothered by things that initially make them skeptical about each other. I really loved Tom. He is definitely one of my favorites! Perfect Christmas warm fuzzies This is such a wonderful and sweet Christmas novella. It's a case of opposites attracting that works so well. I love how they get hot and bothered by things that initially make them skeptical about each other. I really loved Tom. He is definitely one of my favorites!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cutler

    This was fine. I've loved other novellas and stories of hers much more, though. I thought the plot and characters were too similar to others she's done. And perhaps I'm a bit tired of her meddling parents plots. This was fine. I've loved other novellas and stories of hers much more, though. I thought the plot and characters were too similar to others she's done. And perhaps I'm a bit tired of her meddling parents plots.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jacki

    4 stars for chemistry, doing a trope well, and heroine's parents forcing the sisters and their significant others to compete against each other in a surprise Sugar Rush-esque gingerbread house bake-off. As usual with this author, though, I found the love scenes awkwardly written. 4 stars for chemistry, doing a trope well, and heroine's parents forcing the sisters and their significant others to compete against each other in a surprise Sugar Rush-esque gingerbread house bake-off. As usual with this author, though, I found the love scenes awkwardly written.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    Cute and fluffy, typical Jackie Lau, liked the characters and the fake boyfriend/only one bed trope and the cozy Christmas vibe.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Extra star for the gingerbread house competition.

  29. 4 out of 5

    French_fry

    I know exactly what to expect with Jackie Lau and I like it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    Jackie Lau writes books that are like cozy cups of hot chocolate. Seriously.

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