Review: “A Wonderful Lie” by Carrie Aarons

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: December 1st, 2022

Add to Goodreads | (Available on KU)

CW: parental death and abandonment

Everyone lies around the holidays. We lie about the money we’re spending. We lie that we’re following our diets.

What am I lying about this year? The fact that my workplace nemesis has become my friend-with-benefits.

Collin Machlan and I have been each other’s competition since we joined our college’s radio station freshman year. Six years later, we’re both hosting shows for the country’s most popular podcast network.

Just as everything starts turning red and green, our boss announces a promotion, and whoever gets the most listens during this merry season will be crowned the winner.

There is just one catch; the only way to draw an audience in December is to theme every episode around Christmas. For a woman who typically celebrates alone with takeout and slasher flicks, I’m at a big disadvantage.

Going toe-to-toe with the guy I’ve never been able to intimidate is only made harder by the fact that Collin doesn’t seem to want to play our usual games. Add in some mistletoe and a Secret Santa swap, and I finally give in to his shameless flirting.

Maybe it’s the delusion of cuffing season, but suddenly I’m spending every night with him. No one at work knows. Neither does his family, or my friends. I lie that it’s just physical. That me, a self-proclaimed bachelorette, couldn’t possibly be on the brink of a relationship. I lie that we’re still competing for a job he doesn’t even want.

Until one too many lies threatens to topple my life like a crooked tree with poorly-distributed ornaments. And I’m left to decide between my lonely and blue traditions, or a love that lasts all year round.


Carrie Aarons pens some of my favourite holiday stories and this one, the clashing and smashing of Lark and Collin, was no exception. Everything from the concept to the storytelling, I was hooked. I loved the easy flow of the story, the characters that were introduced. And as someone who gets grumpy about the holidays, I totally related to Lark. I’m also a fan of books where the heroine is the grump, because it’s easier to connect to those women a lot of the time.

In A Wonderful Lie, you’ll find:

✨ rivals to lovers

✨ one night stand

✨ friends with benefits

✨ grump x sunshine (she’s the grump!)

✨ holiday shenanigans

✨ banter, tension and delicious chemistry

✨ wiiiide open door scenes

✨ amazing family dynamics

“For two people who have podcasts about how shit we are with the opposite sex, we were actually damn good at being together.”

I need more rivals to lovers in my life, because this was so entertaining. Lark and Collin work for the same podcast company and while their shows have similarities, it’s still quite different. Except when one of the podcasters leaves and his slot opens up, it becomes a race to see who has the highest rating so they can get that slot. Lark and Collin want it. Both deserve it, but only one can get it. And in the process of fighting for that slot, the two of them fall into bed together. And in love. And it’s all kinds of glorious.

Banter and sexual chemistry are two things that I know I can always find in Carrie’s books and with Lark and Collin it was overflowing. I loved their constant bickering and the way they needle each other. I loved how they found ways to tease and taunt, but also really just not hurt the other person too much. Lark is such an incredible character. Yes, we are similar in the sense that we both don’t care for Christmas and we don’t care about what people say about us. I loved how Lark just lived her life the way she wanted, without having to explain herself to anyone. She was her own boss and she stuck to it hardcore. Also, her level of grump matches mine and that alone made me love her so much. Collin had golden retriever energy and with his confidence and charm, it was easy to love him. 

While these two maintain a friends with benefits situation, I loved how much talking and communicating and bonding there was. They really dove deep, getting to know each other and really settling in to make this thing work. Collin’s all in, almost instantly, and Lark is the one holding back and I absolutely loved that too. I liked the adventures they went on, the things they did together and how Collin worked to show Lark the other side of the holidays, just to see if she might change her mind. And of course, let’s not even forget the magic they work in the bedroom. So delicious.

Definitely add this to your holiday TBR, because it’ll be a good time. Also check out If Only In My Dreams, another awesome holiday romance from Carrie!

Thanks to Carrie Aarons for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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