12.5.2023 | Tuesday

Pumpkin Spice and Not So Nice

category: Book Reviews
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Pumpkin Spice and Not So Nicetitle: Pumpkin Spice and Not So Nice
author: Becky Monson
published: 8 September 2023
publisher: self-published
genre(s): holiday/seasonal, romance
pages: 237
source: Kindle Unlimited
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

rating: three-stars

the blurb

If I were ever to write a memoir, it would be titled, Jenna Peterson’s Guide to Dating Emotionally Unavailable Men. I’m like a professional at it. I’m so good, I can take any dysfunctional man and turn him into Prince Charming, just in time for him to dump me and then go on to marry the next woman he dates. I’m about ready to give up on loving real men and focus on lusting over fictional men in the Turkish dramas I can’t stop devouring.

But then . . . I find a mysterious fifty-dollar bill with a handwritten note on it that was donated to my family’s pumpkin patch by accident. And wouldn’t you know it, the mystery man it belongs to is emotionally unavailable, albeit freakishly attractive. I keep telling myself to walk away, but there’s something about Aidan St. Claire that makes me want to unravel all his secrets. All I know is he sure can heat up the cozy fall nights. I can’t help but think that maybe this time I’ll get to keep Prince Charming for myself.


  • a few notes
  • mini review in 5
  • full review
  • read this if…

POV: 1st person
keywords/phrases: fall, Halloween
tropes: friends-to-lovers
spice: 🔥
language: 🤬
cover notes: gives off cozy vibes for fall reading

  1. The book is a small-town, holiday romance with a good, underlying story.
  2. Dampening that was the fact that I found it difficult to connect to Jenna, who took far too long to realize she was wasting her time with unavailable and toxic men.
  3. It also felt incredibly cringey, which ruined the otherwise good story.
  4. The chapter titles were meant to be funny, bits of advice on dealing with emotionally unavailable men, but they felt like ill-advised encouragement to stay in unhealthy relationships.
  5. They sent the message that it was better for women to be miserable and in a relationship that out of one.

This was a quirky read with small-town charm, and a lot of potential with the underlying storyline. The story itself was, overall, pretty good. So I wanted to love this, as I’ve enjoyed the other companion novels from the same author and Jennifer Peel. But there were a couple of things that really ruined that for me.

Part of the problem for me was Jenna herself. I had a hard time connecting to her. She was a smart woman, but it felt like it took her entirely too long to realize that she needed to stop wasting time on toxic men.

But worse, at least for me, had a high cringe factor that brought an otherwise good story down for me. The chapter titles are a tongue-in-cheek reference to a fictional guide created by Jenna, all based on her lack of success in romance, on dating emotional unavailable men. Her bits of “advice” felt so cringey, encouraging women to stay in relationships that are anything but healthy. The snippets were meant to be funny, but they just fell flat for me. Instead, they literally encouraged women to stay in relationships that were emotionally draining, even abusive. It sent the message that it is better for women to be disappointed and miserable and in a relationship, to have the onus of the relationship on them, rather than be single. It was… weird.

Read this if you like sweet romance with fall vibes.


About Becky Monson

By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last… but it probably won’t.

Rating Report
plot
three-stars
characters
three-stars
writing
three-stars
pacing
three-stars
Overall: three-stars

reading challenges:

  • 2023 Linz the Bookworm Reading Challenge
  • 2023 PopSugar Reading Challenge
  • 2023 What’s In A Name Reading Challenge
::spread the love::

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