The Ex-Mas Holidays by Zoe Allison
Publication Date: September 26th 2023 by Berkley & Penguin Audio
Audio Book Length: 10hrs 58min
Narrator: Nikki Massoud
Source: Publisher & library audiobook
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads
The Ex-Mas Holidays was a sweet second chance romance! Despite having miscommunication as the original source of conflict and the fact that Sam has a girlfriend for two-thirds of the book, I whole-heartedly enjoyed it! The author weaved a compelling story, and it was easy to like and relate to Sam and Maya. Their interactions were as reluctant friends, both wary because of what they thought happened in the past. As they get to know each other again, the events from the past don’t seem to fit, and so they start to question what really happened. I was invested in seeing Sam and Maya sort out the past and work their way back to each other.
I loved the support they provided for each other, and the awesome friends that also helped guide them! Both needed it as they faced their own separate issues. Sam with a toxic girlfriend, gaslighting him and undermining his confidence. Maya’s parents loved her, but her father had very set ideas about the career path Maya should take. He considered the job that brought her joy beneath her, and Maya had a hard time disappointing him.
I alternately read and listened to an audio copy, and I recommend either version. Nikki Massoud’s wonderful performance enhanced my enjoyment. I loved her Scottish accent! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.
It’s hard to escape your ex when you’re working together over Christmas in the Scottish Highlands, but being stuck together might be the best possible present in this sparkling new contemporary romance.
Maya Bashir is dreading her drive home for Christmas and having to explain that she's just left her high-paying job and a long-term relationship, so a brief detour to her friend’s festive party doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Until Maya walks in to find the last person she wants to see. Sam, the boy who broke her heart eight years ago. And he’s serving drinks. Naked.
Sam Holland is working an extra job on the sly to help his friend get by. But little did he expect Maya Bashir to come barrelling back into his life, learning about his secret side-hustle and taking back her old job alongside him at his daytime role as a ski instructor on the slopes of the Scottish Highlands.
As both Sam and Maya realize that their reason for heartbreak so many years ago wasn’t entirely as it seemed, they must learn to stand up for what they want the most…or else miss their second chance at love.