Review: Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle


Release date: October 4, 2023

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Contemporary Romance


Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?

From the author of Twice Shy comes a sprightly Christmas novel, a rollicking romp through the absurdity of family holidays and the hope of new love.


This one will not be for everyone and I have already seen mixed reviews but it did work for me. I think there’s a few things you should know before you decide on adding this to your TBR or not though because it’s very different. It may be one of the most zany stories I’ve ever read and the energy throughout the whole thing can only be described as chaotic and out of control. Besides the fact that the entire premise is wacky it still has an extra level of craziness that I wasn’t expecting. Bettie already has a frenetic air about her and with the addition of Hall things just get taken to a whole new level of insanity. Think Will Ferrell’s character in Elf and add some hyperness and that’s him. It that doesn’t scare you off though this one was actually pretty fun. There is so much Christmas cheer and lots of magic with a side of fake dating which is always a favorite for me. I had no idea how this one would end or if there even would be a HEA and I never would have predicted the route the author took to get there but overall it worked for me. I listened to most of this and thought Tavia Gilbert did a fantastic job at bringing Bettie and Hall to life and she really captured the energy of the story. If you’re looking for a unique and quirky holiday read try this!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s