Title: With Love, From Cold World
Author: Alicia Thompson
Release Date: August 1st, 2023
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary – Romance
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
She has a to-do list a mile long and falling for her coworker isn’t on it–yet somehow he’s become her top priority in this romantic comedy from the national bestselling author of Love in the Time of Serial Killers.
Lauren Fox is the bookkeeper for Cold World, a tourist destination that’s always a winter wonderland despite being located in humid Orlando, Florida. Sure, it’s ranked way below any of the trademarked amusement parks and maybe foot traffic could be better. But it’s a fun place to work, even if “fun” isn’t exactly Lauren’s middle name.
Her coworker Asa Williamson, on the other hand, is all about finding ways to enliven his days at Cold World–whether that means organizing the Secret Santa or teasing Lauren. When the owner asks Lauren and Asa to propose something (anything, really) to raise more revenue, their rivalry heats up as they compete to come up with the best idea. But the situation is more dire than they thought, and it might take these polar opposites working together to save the day. If Asa thought Lauren didn’t know how to enjoy herself, he’s surprised by how much he enjoys spending time together. And if Lauren thought Asa wasn’t serious about anything, she’s surprised by how seriously he seems to take her.
As Lauren and Asa work to save their beloved wintery spot, they realize the real attraction might be the heat generating between them.
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
“I went to Cold World and all I got was this lousy T-shirt… and the love of my life.”
How awesome is it when you randomly come across a book you hadn’t heard of before but try it anyway because the cover is pretty and it sounds like fun… and then end up finishing the book in a day and finding a new all-time favorite? Pretty awesome if you ask me! That’s exactly what happened when I read With Love, From Cold World so now I need to write a rave review because I can’t contain my sincere love for this book. So how about a bullet point list of everything I loved?
A fun and quirky workplace setting. Cold World is a winter-themed tourist destination (complete with ice skating rink, fake snow and hot cocoas) that’s also set in summery Florida. I always love a good workplace romance but this has got to be one of the most unique workplaces I read about in contemporary romances so far! It’s kitschy and nostalgic and just feels like such a cozy, warm place. It’s all just so much fun getting to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes of this workplace through the eyes of someone working in administration (Lauren) and in the park itself (Asa). I kind of wish it was a real place I could visit myself.
An opposites attract romance with all the banter. I LOVED the romance in this story. Asa and Lauren definitely do not get along. She thinks he’s a clown who can’t take anything seriously. He thinks she’s a stuck-up robot who takes everything too seriously. They got off on the wrong foot and haven’t taken the time to actually get to know each other until they both get thrown into this competition to come up with ideas to revamp Cold World. I loved the slow progression of their relationship from rivals to romance because it felt very grounded and real. Both characters have a painful background that formed their personalities and insecurities and I appreciated that this was a big part of their journey, both separately and together. It’s not an easy romance, but definitely a satisfying one!
Asa Williamson, new favorite book boyfriend. Is Asa my fave book boyfriend of 2023? Why yes, he is! I just adore this blue-haired, tattooed hero that is loved by all (except Lauren). Just like the romance itself, Asa felt like one of those ‘real’ heroes. Not your typical tall, dark and handsome hero (though I do love those too). But a standout hero, because he’s kind and loyal and attentive and knows how to communicate about his feelings. He’s also bisexual, so shoutout for a m/f rom-com with a bi male hero, because I think it’s the first one I’ve ever come across.
Lauren Fox, relatable heroine. Lauren is a bit closed-off, nervous, shy and likes making lists and organising and feeling in control. She had a tough childhood and spent time in foster care and is now trying to give back in that area by being a mentor/guardian for foster kids herself. I loved her journey and how she learns to let people in and that she is worthy of love.
Quirky secondary characters and found family vibes. Ah, where do I start? First of all, there are Asa’s roommates, who are just such a fun bunch and I loved how open and loving they were, and how protective they were of each other. They brought all the found family vibes. And then there are all the other employees at Cold World, all of whom gave the quirky workplace a soul.
The Christmassy vibes. I mean, the story does take place in December and we celebrate both Christmas and New Year on the page, but also there are Secret Santa gifts, mistletoe, ice skating, snowball fights and hot cocoa drinks. Sure, there’s also a beach scene because Florida, but hey, still mostly Christmas vibes!
So overall, I loved this one! It’s a story I definitely see myself revisiting regularly because it made me feel all happy and warm and cozy. The only thing that would have made me enjoy it even more was if it was a bit longer and we had a bit more scenes of Asa and Lauren pining for each other, because I adored those so much.
I highly recommend With Love, From Cold World if you love: workplace romance – dual POV – opposites attract – reverse grumpy x sunshine – Christmas vibes – personal healing journeys – workplace competitions – getting locked in together – medium spice – mistletoe shenanigans – drunk karaoke – bisexual MMC rep – great friendships – banter – HEA.