>> Thursday, February 20, 2014
Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.
Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.
Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?
Because of events in her childhood, PR professional Kayla Green really doesn't like Christmas. All the ubiquitous cheer really gets her down. So when a project comes up right before the holidays, she seizes the chance. She'll 'selflessly' volunteer to work through the Christmas period in a little isolated resort in rural Vermont.
Unfortunately for her, what she hoped would be a refuge becomes a complete nightmare. The man now running the resort, Jackson O'Neil, is struggling to apply his hard-won business experience to the task, as his family, who own the resort, don't see why they should change the way they've always done things. Because it's about to go under, that's why. But of course, because of 'reasons' (i.e. because the plot requires it) Jackson can't tell them that. And Kayla, used to doing no wrong in business and being the best PR exec ever, doesn't fare any better with them. To make things worse, everyone seems determined to welcome her into their Christmas celebrations.
Gah. I've enjoyed Sarah Morgan's books before (including, surprisingly, a couple of her Harlequin Presents titles), but I really, really did not like this one.
I had loads of issues with it, but the main one was that I just didn’t buy Kayla at all as the character we're told she is: a super successful PR executive. Yes, yet again, we have a romance heroine who's supposedly a successful career woman, but not to worry, she's not, really. Instead, she behaves like an unprofessional emotional mess. That initial meeting with the O’Neils... ah, so much wrong with it. Sure, we’re told the reason she froze and rolled over and generally made a fool of herself was because of all the inappropriate personal questions and the questions about her family, and because being confronted WITH a family being a family, rather than a group of business people, threw her.
Sorry, I don't buy that. Things were very wrong long before she set eyes on the O’Neils, and they were wrong because she prepared for her meeting in a way that I highly doubt the character she’s supposed to be would have. A big part of being a PR professional is that you are an expert in how to deliver messages to different audiences in ways that catch their attention and engage them, whether your audience is the different segments of the press, people who run social media sites, general public, whatever. She has been amply warned that the people she’ll be meeting with are Jackson’s family, and that a big part of the problem is that it’s a family business with an emphasis on the first word, and that they are not making decisions in a cool, professional way. And the idiot turns up to a home in a mountain lodge in pencil skirt and high-heels, armed with a laptop which she assumes she’ll be able to plug into a projector (in someone’s home!!), and a presentation full of jargon such as “media impressions”. Seriously! Anyone who does presentations regularly and succesfully (me included) knows that the first thing you think about is who your audience are going to be, and you tailor things accordingly. That meeting was doomed long before she was asked whether she was wearing thermal underwear, and it was doomed while she was in her comfort zone in New York, preparing for it.
And then there's the logical fallacy that she must get to know Snow Crystal really well before she can do her job. Actually, sorry, but no. She's not there to run the place. It's more important that she knows the audience and what it wants. She must know something about the resort for that, of course, but she definitely doesn't need to go skiing if she doesn't want to, FFS! But no, the author needs a reason to have her make a complete cake of herself. Ugh.
I also disliked the strong message that if you don’t like Christmas there must be something wrong with you, you must have been screwed up in some way. It’s wrong not to like Christmas, and Kayla must be made to see the errors of her ways! And Kayla does not just not like Christmas, she hyperventilates at the very idea of trimming a Christmas tree. Again, seriously!
I read about 60% of it, hoping against hope it would get better. I stopped when I realised that not only was the plot driving me crazy, I didn't care about the romance. All there is to that is basically lots of heavy mental lusting right from the start, and on, and on, and on. Boring. I think it would have had a chance at working if that aspect had been developed much more gradually.
MY GRADE: It was a DNF.