Title: Mistletoe & Mishigas
Series: Teachers in Love: Book Two
Author: M.A. Wardell
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 304 Pages
Category: Holiday Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: Mistletoe and Mishigas gives big found family vibes wrapped in the warmth of the winter holidays. Theo and Sheldon are surrounded by the unconditional support of those who love them, and that warmed my heart more than a little.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Beauty and the Bear: Can these opposites fake their way into something real?
Sheldon Soleskin should be having a horrible day. Even though he’s been unexpectedly transferred to a new school right before the holidays, has only one day to set up his new classroom, and just discovered his twin sister’s been hiding an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s Christmas Eve wedding, he’s still ready to take on the world with a smile on his face and a skip in his step.
Theo Berenson just wants to be left alone to his custodial duties. But when the chipper new first-grade teacher needs help moving furniture the Sunday after Thanksgiving, he’s forced to do something he detests. Help. To make matters worse, Theo’s overbearing parents are coming for Hanukah in a few weeks, and he’s told them he has a boyfriend. Except he doesn’t. Because who would want to date an oaf like Theo?
Working together, these opposites discover they might be able to help each other out. Agreeing to be each other’s dates, they become friends as they practice for their upcoming events. But when all the rehearsing starts feeling a little too real, and both men’s pasts come roaring back to haunt them, will they be able to pull off the ultimate holiday masquerade?
Review: Based upon M.A. Wardell’s Teacher of the Year and now, his sophomore novel, Mistletoe and Mishigas, I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say his brand of romance is of the sweet and low-stakes variety. This bit of holiday fluff offers up a plethora of genre tropes to bask in too, including fake boyfriends, grumpy/sunshine, opposites attract, hurt/comfort, and forced proximity. What would a winter romance be without a well-timed snowstorm, after all?
First grade teacher, Sheldon Soleskin, is taking on the daunting task of starting at a new school between the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. That means a classroom full of six-year-olds who have a few weeks to get comfortable with him before they leave for another holiday break. That also means Sheldon getting comfortable with them as well as the other staff at Lear Elementary. Meeting Theo Berenson, the school custodian, first was not the most auspicious of kickoffs to the new job. Theo is big and he broods, while Sheldon annoys Theo with his constant chatter and an effusive personality squeezed into a small package. In fact, Sheldon came off as a bit much, as the opening narrator, and I wasn’t sure if I would warm up to him. But I did, and a lot of that had to do with him living his life proud and out loud and on his terms. Even if that meant losing his parents to do it.
Theo, as the utterly, absolutely reluctant love interest, comes with a backstory that gives Sheldon the opportunity to show he’s so much more than polished fingernails and purple shoes and word vomit. Their deal to be pretend boyfriends—Sheldon, so he can show up at his ex’s Christmas Eve wedding with a date who isn’t his twin sister; and Theo, so his loving mother will quit trying to matchmake—goes off without a single Romance genre hitch. Wardell ensures that with relative ease, which is what steeps this book in sweet and earnest feels.
Mistletoe and Mishigas gives big found family vibes wrapped in the warmth of the winter holidays. Theo and Sheldon are surrounded by the unconditional support of those who love them, and that warmed my heart more than a little.
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