“She’d started to think of him as a cup of coffee: black, with a shot of gingerbread syrup curled up at the bottom. Someone just needed to stir him up and make him sweet all the way through.”
Spoiler Free Review
Title: Merry Inkmas
Author: Talia Hibbery
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
Publication Date: December 1st 2017
Publisher: Nixon House
Star Rating: ★★★★☆
Merry Inkmas is a short, feel good holiday romance story following Bailey and Cash. Bailey is a strong willed, adorably nerdy and plus sized goddess working in a coffee shop whilst studying psychology. Determined to learn from her mother’s mistakes, Bailey insists she won’t sacrifice self-respect for any relationship. When Cash enters her life, a bad boy with a heart of gold, she finds herself wondering if this beast might be her prince Charming.
Cash Evans is tattoo artist with a troubled childhood, and a very flirty customer of Bailey’s. He’s come a long way and amassed wealth from his skills as an artist, but this can’t fix the hole in his heart. Cash knows that the sweet barista who haunts his dreams is off-limits… But life doesn’t always go to plan.
I have been dying to read Talia Hibbert’s books since I stumbled across her author bio and saw her brand was “steamy, diverse romance.” Instantly I thought sign! me! up! To sum it up my experience, Talia Hibbert has quickly become one of the many authors I’m excited to read more from in 2019.
Despite my excitement, I honestly had very little expectations with this short story. With so little pages, I wasn’t convinced I would come to care for this book and it’s characters. Yet, I’m eating my words now as I’m writing this review. Within the pages of this book, Talia Hibbert was able to make me invested in this romance story and evoke all the feels that come whilst reading an amazingly cute (and slightly erotic) romance story.
“Boring guys finish last. Nice guys finish anywhere they want. Especially when they look like you.”
If you’re a seasonal kind of reader, Merry Inkmas is the perfect atmospheric read for the Christmas holidays. The joy of Christmas, giving, love and family is permeated throughout this entire novel, in ways that also really surprised me too. There’s a particular side character and storyline regarding homelessness, that I have never come across nor expected to in a new adult novel and I thought it perfectly accompanied the story.
Our heroine Bailey, is a geeky black girl, with a nerdy sense of humour. She is the embodiment of adorable and sweet, yet also sexy and alluring in her own way. I was readily about to lump Bailey towards the more “innocent” type of heroine I typically see in new adult. But this character is actually a bit of fresh air for the genre and I was surprised with her intricate personality and back story. Cash is probably the epitome of a well written bad boy for me. He has the typical qualities you’d expect – angsty, slightly dominant, super broody and is easily made jealous. Yet this felt well balanced with Cash’s well positioned back story and more softer personality traits, such as being family orientated.
There wasn’t a man on earth who didn’t develop an attitude when he thought he could get away with it—she was convinced. Give them a taste of sweetness and watch them come over all high and mighty.
Another wonderful aspect about this book is that the main character Bailey is a woman of colour and is also plus size/fat/curvy (whatever you want to call it.) The latter particularly resonated with me so much. I loved how her body was constantly romanticized. The fact that it’s refreshing pains me to say it, but I was savouring every moment of the curve positivity in this book:
“Her belly was soft and rounded, her waist thick. Her thighs were thicker, deliciously so.”
“…her lush, rounded hips—when the silhouette of her thighs jiggled as she bent over—he lost the ability to control himself. Jesus, fuck.”
“…he noticed the way her wide hips and full thighs bounced beneath those tights…”
For any readers concerned where bad boys are involved, this romance never crosses any gross lines. It’s definitely a credit to Talia Hibbert as a writer that this story is devoid of unnecessary toxic behaviour and drama. I’m honestly not always super conscious about lines being crossed in NA romances, but here it’s definitely noticeable that no lines are crossed.
Although we’re passed Christmas now, this adorably sweet and steamy new adult book is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit for the holidays. If you like your bad boys broody but not toxic, your romance angsty and sex positive… you should definitely considering picking up Merry Inkmas!
I hope everyone has had a safe Christmas, holidays and a happy New Year. 🎉🎄🎊 I was working at a Festival for the first time over the new year’s period and actually worked into the new year. Which I didn’t mind because I got to see/hear some pretty cool artists! (also $$$) I’d love to hear what you guys got up to over the holiday period.
I can’t wait to write more in 2019, but posts probably won’t come any quicker until mid February because I have uni exams that month. But afterwards I will be free! 😀🙌🏼
I definitely will be posting my reading wrap up of 2018 (favourites, surprises, disappointments etc.) in the coming months. Thank you for a great 2018, I’m so grateful for the readers who have interacted with Reading is My Kind of Thing, your likes and comments are always appreciated and encouraging.