Review of ‘Party Favors’ by Erin McLellan
I love it when I go into a wlw holiday romance book for the sex and then get all sappy because there are also so many feelings.
Amanda and Wren have been online besties for five years. Wren is a badass lingerie designer, impulsive, and oh so cool. Amanda sees herself as the opposite of cool. Her nickname – which she hates – is the disco ball heiress. She does what is expected of her, endures her job at her family’s business in California and only rebels through her clothes, preferring vintage to anything her mother would rather she wore.
Wren, on the other side, is not entirely happy with the “fun” label she’s often stuck with. Just because she loves to have fun doesn’t mean she can’t take things seriously, right? After years of daily messages, Wren convinces Amanda to come and celebrate New Year’s Eve with her and her friends at a resort in the middle of a snow-covered forest. Neither is prepared for what their meeting in real life will do to them.
‘Party Favors’ is the fourth book in the ‘So Over the Holidays’ series and the first f/f one. I usually like to read series in order but it didn’t seem necessary here. I did read the blurbs – two m/f, one m/m, which explains why I didn’t rush to read them, even though I’m now curious about these stories too – so I had an idea who Wren’s friends were and what they were into. Not that it matters so much to Wren and Amanda’s story but it was nice.
From the reviews I’ve read, these books are hit or miss. I think it’s pretty obvious from the first sentence of this review that ‘Party Favors’ was a complete hit for me. I loved everything. I loved the tone, I loved the setting, I loved the characters, I loved how sex-positive it all is (and the whole series, it seems). I loved how Wren seems to be in control of her life but lets her vulnerability show when it comes to Amanda, I loved that Amanda feels safe enough with Wren to ask for what she wants (repeatedly), I loved how hot the sex is and how genuine the emotions feel. I loved that both women are bisexual and it’s not just a label. I loved that after so many years of remote friendship, they know each other so well that it doesn’t take them long to realise a holiday fling will never be enough and yet they’re careful with each other. Their relationship is both fresh and established, exciting and tender, sweet and naughty. Complex and simple at the same time, as most successful love stories. And did I mention the sex is hot? Yeah, there’s that too. Merry Christmas.