Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Review: The Ex-Max Holidays by Zoe Allison


The Ex-Mas Holidays by Zoe Allison
Publication Date: September 26th 2023 by Berkley & Penguin Audio
Pages: 400
Audio Book Length: 10hrs 58min
Narrator: Nikki Massoud
Source: Publisher & library audiobook
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
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.  

4 Stars

Book Description:

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.


  1. Sounds fun. I love skiing.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. It's been a long time since I've skied, but I do enjoy it. It would be neat to ski in the Scottish Highlands!

  2. Sounds like a warm, cozy read, perfect for the season.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  3. I just finished reading this one, and at first I was like, "just have a conversation and clear up that past miscommunication", but then I saw how that incident played out with both Sam and Maya later on, and it all made sense for the story. And I really liked both Sam and Maya and how they rekindled their friendship first. And the ski resort setting was so fun. I enjoyed this one. :D

    1. Yes, I did think that too, but light gradually started coming on with the past for them. I enjoyed how it played out, too! Yes, loved the Scottish Highlands! Glad you enjoyed it too! :)

  4. I'm not keen on miscommunication in the current circumstance romances, but I've loved several second chancers when they came back together after. The way they worked out their issues supportive of each other sounds great.

    Sophia Rose

    1. It didn't end up being a big frustration like it usually is for me. I was pleasantly surprised!

  5. Miscommunication frustrates This looks cute though!

  6. These cute romances are perfect reads for the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I am always up for a second chance romance, and I am very intrigued to learn more about their viewing their past in a different light.

  8. This sounds fun, I have seen it around. The title is pretty eye catching