Follow The Artsy Reader on

Book Review: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello #BlogTour

My dear bookish friends!

I am way too late this year (for my taste anyway) to start my festive reads, so I was super happy I got to read Only for the Holidays for this blog tour (thank you so much to Literally PR and the author for my ebook and tour spot – none of which influenced my rating in any way), and it was the perfect first festive book of the year for me! Please read on to find out what I loved so much about it!

About the Book

The Spanish Love Deception meets The Holiday in this fake dating YA romance about a city girl and country boy’s lives colliding at Christmas.

City girl Tia Solanké is dreading the festive period. She’s on a break with her boyfriend and the last thing she wants to do is spend Christmas away from London. Arriving at Saiyan Hedge Farm, Tia takes an instant disliking to it. She falls in horse manure, is chased by sheep and the Wi-Fi sucks. How is she meant to stalk her ex now and concoct a foolproof plan to win him back?

Country boy Quincy Parker and his family run the farm, and this year they’ve been selected to host the biggest event in the town’s calendar – the Winter Ball. Preparations are underway, and Quincy is working around the clock to make it a success. The only problem is, he’s told everyone he has a date to the ball, when in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.

At first, Tia and Quincy don’t see eye to eye, until they realise they both have something to gain by pretending to be a couple. But when a snowstorm threatens to cancel the Winter Ball, their fake relationship is put to the test. Will Tia and Quincy be able to keep up the pretence and save the day, or will real feelings get in the way?

My Review
  • A magical winter ball? Check
  • Fake dating? Check
  • An adorable new couple? Check
  • A wonderfully festive feeling? Check! ✓

This YA festive romance full of all the good stuff you see above is a page-turner and I loved every minute of reading it! Only for the Holiday has all the things I like in a good YA contemporary romance: deep friendships (even in the family), strong family bonds, first love(s), mixed with all the problems of growing up.

Tia is infatuated with her first ever boyfriend Mike – he is super cool and gorgeous, and she can’t believe how lucky she is that Mike wants to be with her. And so it is only natural that she is planning Mike’s birthday party set just a few days before Christmas. They have been happily dating for almost a year now – or so Tia thinks, until a text message crushes her: Mike needs space and wants them to take a break. But why? What has she done wrong? And then, her mother drops the next bomb on her: the family is going away for Christmas! What would normally be wonderful news scares Tia – after all, Mike might want to get fully separated the longer their break is taking and the longer she is away!

I really liked that we get different chapters from different points of view. The other perspective we get is that of Quincy, whose family have been chosen to host the annual winter ball, which is quite a big thing. Not only is it a huge event every year, Quincy’s family is also the first ever black family selected as hosts! The problem is, Quincy told everyone he has a date for the ball, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, as fate will have it, Tia’s family holiday takes her to the farm that belongs to Quincy’s family, and he comes up with a great plan both of them would benefit from. That is, if their feelings didn’t have other plans…

I absolutely loved this book right from the start. The dual point of view gives us the chance to see both MCs’ perspectives, and we really see their personalities shine through. The vulnerability in Tia made me really feel sad for her when she received Mike’s text, especially because she was so dedicated to him – he really didn’t deserve her! I was so glad she has such a great family though – her relationship with her sisters is so deep, and her mum is so loving and tries her best for the girls.

Quincy’s family and friends are all their own distinct personalities – this cast of characters sure know how to shine! Even though there was so much to love about this book I think the side characters were perhaps the biggest plus for me. What I also really liked was how involved the parents were in this book. Oftentimes, parental figures tend to be absent rather than involved in YA books (and even children’s fiction!), but this was not the case here, which I found rather refreshing. These parents actually knew how to fulfill their roles, and that was really nice to read.

I haven’t read many fake-dating stories yet (I don’t even know why because I really like them!), but I loved how the relationship between Tia and Quincy slowly progressed and turned into something real. Of course, overall it can’t have taken too long because Tia only spent about two weeks on the farm, but it felt like a much longer time, and I liked how well they got to know each other even in such a short time. Also, how cool was the moment when Tia finally realised that Mike wasn’t as great as she thought? I was so proud of her!!

Only for the Holidays is the perfect cosy, warm, wintery read for your TBRs! I loved the small-town setting in the English countryside (which reminded me of Iris’s home in The Holiday!) with all its Christmassy traditions, people knowing each other and caring about each other, the preparations for the winter ball, the farm animals (lots of funny situations there too!).

5 stars from me, and I can’t wait to read more by the author!

Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you decide to pick up this book for the upcoming holidays!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow The Artsy Reader on