For the Holidays
by Brenna Aubrey
Published by Silver Griffon Associates
Novella in the Gaming the System Series
Hey you! Adam and I are organizing a holiday retreat this winter for all our friends.
We are sooooo excited to invite you, too. We've rented a place in the mountains. There will be skiing, other snow sports and all kinds of fun. The whole gang will be there--Jordan & April, William & Jenna, Lucas & Katya, Heath and of course, Adam and me.
Please come along with us! It’ll be epic.
For the Holidays is a novella in the Gaming the System Series, and occurs after the 8th novel in the series. Its a multiple POV between the series' main couples, Adam & Mia, April & Jordan, Jenna & William, Kat & Lucas, and of course, Heath. Adam and Mia decide to celebrate their first anniversary in style, in a huge cabin in Whistler, BC, with their closest friends. Each couple has their own set of worries and problems, but at the end of the day, love conquers all.
For the Holidays is a perfect addition to my countdown to the holidays, and, for now, finishes off the Gaming the System series for me. I'm going to start off by saying the things I liked about this novella. First, I liked that the problems - for the most part - were realistic. Adam and Mia's especially. It's SO normal for couples to wonder if the magic is gone in their marriage, and it's not explored a lot. There was some humorous moments as well. But ... it was a letdown for me. There was a lot of repetitive lines, and overdone storylines. And the conflict between Lucas and Kat? Just ... what?
Adam and Mia - Great conflict, horrible way of building it up. An online quiz? Really? I feel like they are smarter than this. But I have to admit, some of the tasks Adam created to "up their score", led to some funny moments.
Jordan and April - Another realistic problem. It was obvious where it was heading, (Jordan's inner monologue about marriage is hilarious) and I liked the resolution. It works for them.
Jenna and William - A very realistic problem, yet very minor. A look into the different needs of different people, and a nice, romantic resolution. Although, in my opinion, it was obvious how William felt without the words.
Kat and Lucas - One of my favorite couples and such a ridiculous conflict. Ugh.
Heath - My last review I mentioned that I was hoping that we were going to get a Heath book, because I was starting to feel like he was the token gay character. My favorite chapter of this novella is the one chapter we get from Heath's POV, and it seems we just might get that. He is ready.
Anyway, for a short little holiday read, it's okay. Not my favorite, but a nice revisit to the Gaming the System couples.
All of Jordan's comparisons to marriage
Mia and Adam being interrupted in the hot spring by what they think is a bear (it's a deer)
April telling Jordan that she loves him, but neither of them are ready for marriage
William telling Jenna he loves her, because he understands the words are important to her
Mia and Adam finally having the family talk
But hey, it had been over a year since I'd realized that April was the girl for me, so it was time to get this shit done. Jump over that cliff yelling Banzai! while also screaming like a scared little girl all the way down.
Adam: "Get her a big rock. Women like big rocks."
Jordan: "Well, there's all this shit about cut and carat and clarity and whatnot."
Adam: "Do you have an idea how much you want to spend? Get her the biggest rock you can possibly get for the price. Size matters when it comes to diamonds."
Jordan: "Who are we kidding? Size matters in all cases."
Lucas: "Got any ideas on safer ways to say I love you?"
Jenna: "Have you tried just telling her those three magical words?"
Lucas: "I actually make a point of those being the last three words I say to her every night before we go to sleep."
William: "I can measure the salt. How many milliliters?"
Jenna: "Uh ... She said a pinch of salt and a couple grates of nutmeg."
William: "What? That's not milliliters."
Jenna: "Mama makes this recipe a lot. She just ... you know .... feels it."
I blink at her, horrified.
William: "Feels it? A recipe is a chemical formula. How do you feel it?"
Mia: "That's poutine?"
Jordan: "It's not a food. It's the culinary equivalent of having unprotected sex with a prostitute in a truck stop."
Kat: "Speaking from experience, Jordan?"
Jordan: "Hey Kat. Did you hear about that terrible case of Canadian graffiti? Someone spray-painted 'Sorry about your wall.' "
Kat: "Hey Jordan. Did you hear that when god created Canada, he decided to create the most perfect, beautiful country with breathtaking natural scenery, bountiful resources, and really nice people. When one of his angels told him it wasn't fair to give Canada all of that, God said 'Wait 'til I create their obnoxious, loud, and entitled neighbors. That'll make up for it."
We learned that there was never a finish line, never one fixed point that defined a happily every after. That happily ever after was a thing to be guarded with vigilance, that took work and communication to maintain.
My god, were Emilia and I finally grown-ups?
Mia: "Oh mr. Drake, if you want torture, I know much better ways. For example ... I could strap you down -"
Adam: "Now you have my attention -"
Mia: " - In front of a TV and play The Last Jedi on endless repeat."
I cringed, pressing a fist to the center of my chest.
Adam: "Please, God, no. That's not the kind of torture I want from you."
Mia: "There's more where that came from."
Adam: "You make it hurt so good."
Mia: "Of course. This is the way."
Mia: "I promise you I will always be honest with you. And yes, there is a risk. But there's always a risk. For everyone. It might not be cancer or whatever. But risk is always there. It's life, Adam. And I want to live it. I want a family with you."
Check out the rest of the Gaming the System Series