The Wish List by Riley LaShea is the first in her Meddling Friends trilogy and is a weird and whimsical holiday romance. During a drunken Thanksgiving celebration, Kelsie’s friends stage an intervention, having decided that she needs to be happily coupled up like them. They do the only (alcohol-induced) logical thing: write a letter to Santa.
When she’s out shopping the next day she meets Randa, a beautiful woman who is not only interested in going on a date with her, but who fulfills all of the descriptors in the letter. Did Santa really send her this stunning, rich Danish woman? Kelsie isn’t sure, but a tumble down a ski hill on an overnight date with Randa leads her to meet someone who makes her think that maybe her friends weren’t quite on the mark when they were writing to Saint Nick.
I like Kelsie, which is convenient, because the whole book follows her perspective. She’s lonely and carries a few scars from being bullied in school due to being a “lab baby,” but she’s surrounded herself with friends who love her, has meaningful relationships with her family and has built a great little business of her own.
Laken, Kelsie’s saviour at the ski slope, is my favourite character. She’s smart, funny and sensitive, guarding herself appropriately while cautiously being open to whatever friendship or relationship might unfold between her and Kelsie.
All I’ll say about Randa is that I didn’t love her but I understood by the end.
As for side characters, Kelsie’s mom is a firecracker. Larger than life and wickedly funny. And the series title doesn’t lie when it calls her friends meddling. I like some of them better than others, but they all mean well even when their behaviour is too much.
The Writing Style
This was the second book I’d read by Riley LaShea, and I was shocked. It’s so lighthearted and fun and there are no sex scenes, so I couldn’t believe it was by the same author as Behind the Green Curtain, a dark erotic romance that left me exhausted in the best possible way.
It’s a sweet, fun story. The characters are well drawn, and the magical elements work in a way that they might not if this weren’t a holiday story.
I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil the story, but there’s a question around how much agency Laken has. This didn’t bother me, but it might bother some.
I liked it and would recommend it, especially if you have a Kindle Unlimited account.
Excerpt from The Wish List by Riley Lashea
“All right.” She knew she had to put an end to their match-making notion before they overruled her on her own life. “I love you guys, and you have, I admit, shown a true knack for finding quality partners. However, if you would take a moment from your self-congratulating to remember, you have all set me up in the past. With most of the crazy people. Remember, that woman Jay set me up with a year ago stabbed me in the hand with a pocket knife when I tried to pick up the bill at dinner.”
“She thought she was being romantic,” Melissa tried to reason away crazy. “She didn’t want you to pay.”
“I thought it wasn’t the knife.” Brian thought the details made a different. “It was only the little scissors.”
“I had to get four stitches!”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Jay, at least, had the decency to feel some remorse. “She didn’t seem insane at work.”
“Well, there you go,” Kelsie raised her mug to him. “It’s really kind of hard to know until you have an inch of steel embedded in the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger. So, as much as I appreciate you all caring, and I do,” she stated directly to Melissa, hoping she could prevent the next stage in her best friend’s intoxication, the flood of baseless tears, “if I’m going to ask someone to just drop a woman on my doorstep, I think I would rather ask Santa.”
It was meant to be a firm testament as to how much she did not want them pushing some stranger upon her. It was not meant to be a suggestion.
Get The Wish List On Amazon
Bits and Bobs
ASIN number: B00H43KOU2
Riley LaShea Online