Cover Image: Christmas with Hamish

Christmas with Hamish

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Member Reviews

I have had this book on my virtual shelf for a while, as the Christmas in the title would attest. I finally got around to reading it, and I am torn about how to talk about my review and rating. I gave it the positive rating because the author was able to conjure up the characters in a very vivid fashion and it was a quick and easy read.

On the other hand I was torn by the pace of the story and the harsh tones of some of the characters. I did not see them coming and it felt a little off from the kind of book this looks to be thanks to the blurb and cover. Verity is attending her sister’s wedding. She does not seem too welcome or even to be enjoying herself. She meets her new brother-in-law’s neighbour, who seems as interested in her as she is in him. Things change when Verity suddenly is to dog-sit over Christmas with no say in the matter. Things move along in a positive fashion from that point on.

Verity’s family history is extremely shocking and it helps set up the foundation for the happily-ever-after that we usually want from books like this. Although I did not completely enjoy the plotline, the writing and the characters as individuals, not to mention the dogs made it an enjoyable read. I woudl recommend it to readers of this genre. Others will definitely be less picky than me in the small things that bothered me.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
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In Christmas with Hamish, h/h Verity and Nikau meet at her sister's wedding and later find their paths crossing as Verity dog sits during the honeymoon. Having been unhappily treated by her family all her life, it's lovely to see the much-deserving Verity at last find happiness in this charming romance, aided by a pair of adorable canines.
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Oh, I’m really, really glad that Nikau and Verity got their happily ever after. They both deserved it. But Andy, oh, poor Andy, what will happen to him now?
This is the first book I’ve read by Sophie Penhaligon but will not be the last. She writes fast-paced stories, with characters that grow along the story and that one can relate to. Romantic, brutally honest, real, this one is about a survivor of child abuse that deals with all the emotional baggage and insecurities that’s been dragging her down and with the self-sabotage that comes from not feeling worthy enough.
I’m really happy for having the chance to read and review this book. It has dogs, food, photography, ballet and it’s in the Christmas season.
Me alegra que Nikau y Verity tengan su final feliz. Los dos lo merecen. Pero, ¿qué va a pasar con el pobre de Andy?
El primero de muchos libros que espero leer de la autora Sophie Penhaligon. Escribe historias interesantes, con personajes que crecen a lo largo de la historia y con los que uno se puede relacionar. Romántica, honesta, real, ésta es la historia de un sobreviviente de abuso infantil que trata con la carga emocional y las inseguridades que la han estado saboteando en su vida adulta.
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Dogs - check!
Christmas - check!
Romance - check!
Yup, this book has everything!!
I fell in complete love with this story, I read it over Christmas and was wicked away, it's full of love and festive joy plus dogs!! Yep, I am hooked and will certainly be reading more from Sophie Penhaligon's, I can't believe I haven't read her books before now - yes I have been walking around with my head in the clouds. 
I loved the writing it's fast-paced and engaging, it's full of heart and Christmas cheer, a real winner!
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Thank you to netgalley and the author and publisher for allowing me access to the eARC of this book in exchange for a review. 

Apologies for the late review life has been hectic. 

This is a short story romance based around the chistmas time with festive cheer and a dog so it kind of checks all the boxes for me when it comes to a good short story its festive romantic funny and has a dog do Im happy.
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I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley

A little long but a sweet book.
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A heartwarming quick read.  The story put a smile on my face from looking at the cover to the end of the book. 
Verity goes to her sister’s wedding with plans to stay just one day and then go off skiing with friends. That was not what happens. Her sister goes off on her honeymoon and Verity ends up staying to dog sit Hamish, her sisters’ dog.
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This one was okay, sitting firmly in ‘middling’ for books for me. It’s another of my 2021 festive reads, and I picked this up almost immediately after Humbug (which I loved), which was always going to be a tough act to follow!

Verity’s sister is a bit much, with every minor inconvenience being a crisis. Including losing her dog sitter when she’s about to go on her honeymoon. Luckily, Verity is right there, and is strong armed by her family into dog sitting, when she should be off skiing with her friends. But it does mean getting to know her sexy neighbour, Nikau, that little bit better.

There are some things in Romance that when done well, I really like. A darker edge to the characters, a bit of mystery in their past. This had that sort of darker edge, but overall it wasn’t handled too well and left me feeling disappointed. The ‘twist’ about why Verity doesn’t get along with her family fell kind of flat and wasn’t given the attention that sort of thing requires, especially coupled with her mother’s abuse. The characters were all just a little flat – Verity is a bit too perfect, except for apparently not knowing dogs can’t eat chocolate? Which is something almost everyone knows, right? Nikau was…Nikau didn’t interest me at all.

Again, as a character, he’s just too perfect. I liked some of the sweet moments between them, but their whole relationship just felt too easy. Honestly, I definitely prefer books where the characters have to work towards a relationship, or when it feels like they’ve kind of earned that HEA.

Admittedly, Hamish and Nikau’s dog often stole the show when they were on page, and they were super cute, especially with how their friendship almost mirrored Verity and Nikau’s. But other characters were too starkly written, with a lack of nuance to them, becoming too cartoonish and over the top compared to the saintly, angelic couple.

The book had some interesting ideas and a few adorable scenes, which were enjoyable to read, but overall the characters were a bit too flat for my liking.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. Reviews remain my own.
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I am always a sucker for books that have animals in them. I am so glad I happened to run across this one on NetGalley. It satisfied my need to read a happy holiday story where animals played an important role. This is just what I wanted!
Verity has been dreading the trip to Vancouver for her sister’s wedding. She has always been an outsider and her sister and mother treat her more like a servant than family. She consoles herself knowing she will have a ski vacation to enjoy with her friends after the wedding. However, when her sister’s dog sitter cancels at the last minute, she gets roped into dog sitting.
Dog sitting is totally outside Verity’s comfort zone. Fortunately, the neighbor down the hall, Nikau and his dog Chunk, come to the rescue. Before long Verity is an unofficial dog Aunt. In addition, to learning all things dog, she has an instant connection to Nikau and a budding romance begins. 
This is a typical feel good romance with a happy ending. I liked the characters a lot. I was especially happy with Nikau. He was loving and protective but not smothering. There needs to be more people like him in real life!
The story was good and the plot moved nicely. There was a bit of tension in the story that keep me interested. Overall, very well done. 
I recommend this books for fans of romance. I also think readers who love a Christmas story will enjoy this too. Yet, it is not only a great holiday story, it is a story feel good story for any time of year.  
I received a free copy, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
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Loved this book!Perfect for Christmas even though I have only just got around to reviewing!

This is perfect for anyone for those who love to read Christmas novels at Christmas….or anytime of the year!
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A lovely new take on a familiar holiday trope. Verity goes back home to Vancouver for her sister’s wedding and winds up dog sitting for Christmas week. She and the sexy neighbor spend the week together and end up working on getting over terrible childhoods. Recommended for fans of Josie Silver and Sophie Cousens.

Big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Perfect holiday read if you want to feel cozy. Loved the characters. But for sure it was the pups that won my heart!
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Sophie Penhaligon captures the magic of falling in love with both an unexpected stranger and the Christmas season in Christmas with Hamish. This entertaining, Yuletide novelette is a wonderful romantic escape from the busyness of the season and pleasant reminder that there is still magic to be found in the holidays. Verity Robinson’s dysfunctional family dynamics have not only soured her view of relationships but have ruined the holidays for her. She deals with her family in Vancouver by living in Toronto, even though the Pacific Northwest is where she would rather be, and having very little contact with them. However, her younger sister’s Christmas wedding is something she can’t get out of, even though she wants desperately to RSVP “not attending”. A chance interaction and potential wedding fling with the handsome wedding guest, Nikau Taylor, is rudely interrupted when Verity is guilted into dog sitting her sister’s pampered Scottish Terrier, Hamish McDuff, while her and her new husband jet off on their honeymoon. But, all is not lost when Verity realizes that her sister’s neighbors are none other than Nikau and his corny dog, Chunk.

From the opening pages, I liked Verity and Nikau. There was something about her brashness, as a way to mask her insecurities and pain, that made her personable and very real. She shows up at her sister’s Disney themed Christmas wedding wearing a stylish, tailored, black tuxedo with her hair cut into a sharp, graduated bob sporting smoky eyes and a vampy red lipstick. And how could I not like a sexy man with a Kiwi accent coming to Verity’s defense when her mother tries to humiliate and denigrate her in front of everyone. Their attraction is palpable in the flirtatious banter that then proceeds:

“But you wore the suit, anyway.”

I managed a smile. “I come from the dark side Nikau. I’m only surprised you didn’t feel a disturbance in the force.” I hummed the Darth Vader theme song for emphasis.

He put his head back and laughed before he leaned across to whisper in my ear. ” I f#cking like you. How dark are you exactly?”

I raised my eyebrows. “Probably much too dark for you pretty boy.”

“Oh, I doubt that very much,” he murmured.

If Christmas with Hamish is a romance between Verity and Nikau you are probably confused about the title. Sophie creatively uses Hamish and Chunk as the reason to bring Verity and Nikau together and the thread that intertwines their lives in a deeper way. In a short time, the sparks they generate initially build into a blazing fire that warms their lonely hearts and burns through the painful trash of their pasts, leaving them open to the magic of the holiday season. It’s a wonderfully heartwarming story with a very satisfying happily-ever-after ending.

FYI – I wanted so badly to give a higher review but felt that the portrayal of Verity’s family was so extreme and blatant in their hateful words and actions towards Verity, think the evil stepmother and stepsisters in Cinderella, that it didn’t fit with the complex and nuanced people that Verity and Nikau were. While Sophie’s writing whisks you away with her story telling and main characters, Verity’s family is distracting from an otherwise wonderful story.
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A new favorite holiday romance! Verity and Nikau meet at a wedding where they both don't quite fit - Verity's sister is marrying Nikau's neighbor - and when things go horribly wrong with their dog sitter for the honeymoon, Verity winds up dog sitting Hamish next door and getting to know Nikau in the process. As they get to know each other, they learn a lot about their individual familial baggage in past and present, finding themselves with immediate chemistry and connection that only grows from there. 

I would say things probably moved a bit quickly, in terms of them falling for one another within a matter of days, but the forced proximity combined with the realistic heavy conversations they have while actually getting to know each other means this felt much more natural and less insta-love. That was my only real criticism though, the book managed to tackle really difficult topics in a true-to-life way, while also absolutely giving us the magic of the holidays and adorable dogs! Not only did this pack a punch in the topics and themes explored, the characters have such personality and depth, I couldn't believe how well fleshed out they were within such a brief book. For me it was wonderful that this showed us sometimes getting our happily ever after involves hard choices, instead of your typical too tidy romance ending. Loved it, the author immediately went to my to-watch list.
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Trigger warnings for PTSD and child abuse/ neglect with a very well written but painful relationship between Verity and her mum. The great chemistry between Nikau and Verity as well as the lovely festive elements doesn’t quite save this for me but if looking for a festive read with an edge, this could be right up someone’s street.
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I really enjoyed this short holiday read! Set during Christmas, it was a good book to kick off the season with. While there are some darker themes of abuse and mistreatment mentioned in the book, overall I felt it brought the holiday spirit. I was wishing for a little bit more detail or maybe a few more pages, as it felt a little rushed between Verity and Nikau. However, if you just want a fast and fun holiday read this is for you!
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This was a  cute book and I'm a sucker for anything set in my hometown (even though there were a few references that as a Vancouverite made me go hmmm the meme but still). It wasn't exactly what I was expecting and I do feel this book should come with a trigger warning as it does contain some potentially upsetting topics that seem to come out of nowhere, especially if you're going into this just expecting a cute romance with a lot of dogs (and really I could have used a lot more of the dogs because was it really a Christmas with Hamish? Idk).

I do understand that this is a romance book but I do wish we got some more nuance about Verity's relationship with her family. At points, before we understand what really happened with them, they seemed so cartoonishly evil that it was almost distracting. It made me wonder why Verity had even gone back for the wedding at all. I also wish we got a better understanding of why her sister was the way she was, we see it to an extent but I would have liked more. It was hard at times to focus on the romance when there were such heavy topics in the book that really deserved more attention.

There were still some very cute moments and Nikau is pretty much a perfect wish-fulfillment guy. And the dogs were cute but I'm a dog person so anything with dogs is cute to me.
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Christmas, snow, a wedding, what a perfect setting for a Christmas themed romance.

When Verity Robinson attends her younger sister’s wedding in Vancouver she knows the day won’t be smooth sailing given the strangled, if not toxic relationship she has with her sister, but given she is about to embark on a skiing week away with her besties she feels she can suffer through.

Unfortunately for Verity, disaster strikes at the wedding when younger sister’s beloved dog, Hamish McDuff’s dog-sitter falls through and Verity is left to cancel her holiday plans and instead play babysitter to the pampered pooch.

The only bright spark for Verity seems to be Nikau who not only did she have some healthy flirting with at the wedding, but also happens to be her sister’s neighbour.  Oh well, on the bright side, Verity gets to hang out with the sexy neighbour for a week, surely that’s worth cancelling her skiing trip with her besties.

Okay, so, I tried.  I really tried, but even as I write this the whole premise of this just seems stupid, and I haven’t even told you the underlying back story here which ultimately makes the whole thing ludicrous.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m an animal lover, I have 2 adored pups myself and 3 kitty kats and going away anywhere always sends me into a spin about who is going to look after them, so that is not the issue I have.  The issue I have is that Verity hates her sister, like actually hates her.  And why wouldn’t she?  Her family are completely toxic, what her own mother has subjected her to throughout her life is nothing short of child abuse, so why would you drop everything, ruin your plans that you have been looking forward to for months, to babysit a dog for a sister who has been nothing but cruel to you?  I don’t get it!

On the surface, this is supposed to be a light-hearted fun read, and I suppose it is, but the premise of the storyline is just too annoying.

If you ignore the toxic family back-story (which is kinda hard to do) and just focus on the present, then you’ll probably enjoy for the sweet, sexy read that it is.
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I'm so glad I requested this book! It's got the perfect mixture of a cute, funny, witty, romance, a cozy Christmas and the best part, dogs, nothing can go wrong with dogs added to the mixture. I really enjoyed reading Christmas With Hamish, a fun, easy read that's granted to make you laugh out loud. I'll definitely be returning to this book whenever I need a good laugh.

This was my first book by the author and it certainly won't be the last! 

Thank you @netgalley and @booksgosocialgroup for this ARC in exchange for an honest review💕
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A genuinely sweet, romantic Christmas novel with some excellent characterisation. Will be reading more by this author.
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