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After my sister and I lost our parents, life has been up in the air. The only thing we’ve been able to hold onto is our pact to spend every Christmas together, avoiding it like the plague.
That’s exactly what I’m doing when a deliciously dimpled man introduces himself the first day I arrive in Cringle Cove.
There’s nothing wrong with making a friend, right?
Until our easy friendship turns into a hellacious crush and a favor bred from nightmares.
For the first time ever, I’d kill for a Christmas miracle.


For someone who loves everything about the holidays, mine are sure getting off to a terrible start.
The worst part? I promised my ex I wouldn’t tell a soul we’d ended things until we’re far away from Cringle Cove.
At least I’m in the most festive town in the country.
If everything else goes to hell this week, I’ve got that.
I’m hiding out in a coffee shop when I see Abby.
She’s awkward, sarcastic, and obviously miserable here.
I’ve never wanted anyone more.
Keep a promise to your ex in exchange for a happy holiday?
What the elf was I thinking?

What the Elf? is a multi-POV standalone with content intended for mature readers.

First published November 29, 2018

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About the author

Kate Benson

37 books612 followers
Kate Benson was raised in Texas and currently resides in central Florida with her husband and their furboy, Boomer. She learned to read at the age of four and has been hooked ever since.
She credits her passion for literature to her mother, her love of story-telling to her father and her unwavering faith in happily-ever-after’s to her husband, Sean.
Some of her favorite things include rainy days, loud music, superhero movies, hot tea and of course, lazy afternoons with a great book.
To find out more about Kate, her work or to just say hello, she loves hearing from her readers and can be found on social media.
Facebook: facebook.com/katebensonauthor/
Twitter: twitter.com/Katebensonauthr
Instagram: instagram.com/katebensonauthor/

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5 stars
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34 (39%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 38 reviews
Profile Image for Heather Heck.
72 reviews18 followers
November 26, 2018
What the Elf is sure to warm any Grinch’s heart, and make you laugh your jingle bells off!
Just the dose of Christmas I needed to get into the spirit 😍
Profile Image for Mary Lou Hoffman.
1,942 reviews31 followers
January 24, 2020
WHAT THE ELF? is the fifth book in the multi-author The Cringle Cove Christmas Chronicles series. Each is a stand-alone holiday romance and they can be read in any order.

Absolutely adorable. This is fun, funny, a little bit steamy, definitely not for all ears, and perfectly delightful for a grown up Grinch fan.

I have always loved the Grinch and his green little heart. Abby’s heart grew and grew and grew, but she still isn’t going to wear that elf costume again! LOL

I wish I had more of this series and more of this author!

Narration: Jillian Yetter does a wonderful job of providing a mental theater to this fun book. She uses glottal fry to provide the male voice, which I thought was a unique tool! Her mastery of pause and elongating words proves her acting ability. Seeing her name on a book would be a reason to pick it up.

Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy via Audio BookCrave, my opinions are my own and are given freely.

Series: The Cringle Cove Christmas Chronicles #5
Category /Genre: Contemporary Romance
Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content
Listenability: NSFW
Received from: Kate Benson (as an Audible gifted copy)
Profile Image for Stephenee.
1,532 reviews43 followers
December 28, 2020
This was a fast fun read! I loved the setting, the characters and the plot! The author did an amazing job of grabbing the readers attention and never letting it go!! I will be reading more by this author in the future! She writes a story that leaves the reader with a book hangover that rivals all hangovers! Be prepared to not want to do anything else once you start reading this one!

Profile Image for Nicki.
3,611 reviews151 followers
December 3, 2018
From putting the hate on Christmas to finding exactly what you were looking for. This was a wonderful holiday read. Made me laugh as well as sigh reading how Dex and Abby work through their holiday and find true love.
Profile Image for Gloria Gaisser-stramiello.
29 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2018
Love a good Christmas story

I think there's a little of Abby in all of us and Christmas may not be our favorite but we just need someone like Dex to help bring it out.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 3 books11 followers
December 3, 2018
A fabulous Christmas story of two people who need each other but don't realise it
Profile Image for Felicia.
1,507 reviews71 followers
December 23, 2019
What the Elf? By Kate Benson is a Holiday Romance that I listened to on audio narrated by Jillian Yetter. This is the first book of Kate's that I have listened to and it definitely won’t be my last. Jillian did a great job on the narration. I loved that she used different voices/tones for the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Holiday Romances or a Sweet Romance.

May 9, 2020
Super sweet Christmas read that can be read/listened to at any time of the year!!!!

Yes, I know it’s May, but this was the perfect, uplifting read/listen during this strange time we are in now! Abby and her sister are twins and have been even more inseparable since losing their parents years ago. They go to Cringle Cove (LOVE the name of the little town) every year, even though Abby hates Christmas. Every year is the same, binge-watching slasher movies instead of Christmas ones. This year will be different for her even if she doesn’t know it when a handsome stranger introduces himself in a cafe.

Dex is the complete opposite of Abby. He loves the holidays, but this year it is hard for him to muster his usual jolly self. He has just promised his ex he will not reveal to her parents that the two are not in fact together. Every second he spends with her and them, it gets harder. He finds refuge in a cafe where a beautiful but strange girl captures his attention. He finds that the two share a similar taste in writers. Thus, begins a morning ritual that turns to friendship to a pretty serious crush!!!

The story itself is sweet with some sexy moments hidden in there. I ADORED both Abby and Dex. They really complemented each other. She would come to see Christmas through Dex’s eyes, although it might not completely make her fall in love with the holiday. The relationship between Abby and her sister was so special. Despite the story being short, Kate Benson left nothing out.

I loved the narrator, Jillian Yetter. She is a new narrator to me, and I thought she did an excellent job. When a book is told in dual POVs, with male and female characters, I usually prefer both a male and female narrator. However, Yetter was perfect. She did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the book and the characters.

Like I said, this is a book listened to at any time of the year. It is short and sweet, with great characters, and is an excellent pick-me-up!!!!
Profile Image for Rachel Barnard.
Author 17 books55 followers
March 5, 2021
Abby and her twin always spend Christmas together in Cringle Cove and this year is no different. Abby despises the Holiday and can’t wait to spend her vacation reading horror novels. Dex hasn’t been back to Cringle Cove in years but he promised his now-ex he’d go along and meet her family, pretending they’re still together. And then Dex meets Abby. It’s so easy with Abby, unlike his ex. For Abby, the handsome stranger is nice to talk to, but it seems he has a girlfriend.

This novel was an adorable and sweet Christmas romance – a fast and fun holiday read. I enjoyed this quick read. It reminded me of when I was bingeing sweet Holiday romances/romantic comedies last holiday season. They’re fun to watch/read while you’re watching and after you’ve finished you’re ready to move on to the next one.

The location, Cringle Cove, reminded me of Leavenworth in WA state. I do wish there had been more unique descriptions of the location that would make it more interesting, though this is the fifth book in the series so perhaps those little fun nuggets of description happened in the previous books in the series. The coffeeshop felt like any other coffee shop and the place the twins stayed didn’t feel that special. I wish there had been more details, in general, to make this book more unique. The sisters in the book were twins, but I thought this relationship could have been developed beyond the “besties” aspect. There was just enough backstory for each of the main characters Dex and Abby, but not much on Drew’s ex or Abby’s sister.

I really liked the way that the Holiday was truly integrated into the plot and characters’ backstories.

I really like dual POVs like this book and enjoyed both Dex and Abby as narrators.
Profile Image for Shayay.
2,360 reviews41 followers
March 1, 2020
Listened to the audio on Audible. Narrator did a good job with the performance. There are chapters from both Abby and Dex, so the narrator did a great job of doing both sections. I liked her normal narration voice the best. Recommend listening!

Super cute! Sweet Christmas romance between Abby and Dex. They have great chemistry! Abby and her twin lost their parents, so they only have each other. They go to college in different places, so they made a pack to get together during the holidays. So, that’s how they find themselves in Christmas town, Cringle Cove, but Abby isn’t exactly feeling the Christmas spirit, so she’s a bit of a grinch. When she meets good looking Dex at the coffee house, things are looking up! Unfortunately, she thinks Dex is taken, so they begin a friendship. Dex promised his ex that he would act like they are still together during a Christmas visit at her family’s place and not tell anyone that they aren’t together, but Dex is finding it difficult to deal with it. I wish this was a bit longer because I would’ve loved more scenes around Cringle Cove, but this short story was a fun and sweet read. I’d say this is mostly YA, but does lean a bit into the NA category. I enjoyed the whole thing!
1,460 reviews2 followers
February 19, 2020
This is a cute holiday story. In fact, I giggled at the first line and throughout so if you're looking for a holiday story with really funny and sweet characters, this is a good book for you. I also love the hate-to-love Christmas type of stories. Dex is way too sweet- he agrees to continue to pretend to be still with his ex because it's so close to Christmas and she asked him to help her deal with her family. Abby hates Christmas and from their meeting, their playful banter shined. It is a short story and I thought that the end prior to the HEA was a little unrealistic but still, it was adorable and fun.

I listened to the audiobook. The narrator, Jillian Yetter, is new to me but she was good. I liked her vocal modulation which is perfect for a playful fun book like this. However, as this is a dual POV, it would be best to also have a male narrator; her male voice was a little off but I liked that she tried.

🎧AudiobookObsessionReviewer, AudiobookObsessionReviewer
Profile Image for Patty.
3,886 reviews25 followers
February 21, 2020
What the Elf?
By: Kate Benson
Narrated by: Jillian Yetter

I believe in Christmas all year long, so when I saw this, I got excited! A novella just long enough to keep the spirit alive and that is exactly what it does. Abby and her sister spend Christmas in Cringle Cove do hide from all the festivities since their parents died. When Abby stops in for coffee, she does not expect a present of sorts of her own. Dex loves Christmas, but this year it's a little agitated. His ex won't let him off the hook for family activities, so he is hiding out in the coffee shop. And that is when he spots his present! Abby and Dex are so much fun. Abby is sarcastic,just like me, so I absolutely loved her. Dex is just too nice, trying to please everyone and finding out that it's not that way life works. Their blossoming relationship from friendly to lovers is fun and festive. I love the multi POV's and enjoyed this seasonal tale. Narration by Jillian Yetter is spot on and entertaining!
748 reviews4 followers
March 2, 2020
This is the only book I've read by Kate Benson, as well as the only book I've read in the Cringle Cove series. It can be read as a stand alone.

I was about to call What the Elf a short, sweet story when I realized that while there are some sweet moments, there was also a lot of arguing, so sweet didn't feel like the right word. There were also some things that didn't entirely make sense or seemed to contradict each other (are two characters staying friends or never seeing each other again?), but setting that aside, I liked the story and the implied emphasis on integrity.

I listened to the Audible version. Jillian Yetter had a very unique and interesting performance and I liked her voice. The animated voice, especially with the arguments, gave it more of a young adult feel.

Profile Image for Mary Dean.
Author 13 books637 followers
December 24, 2019
This was a cute Christmas romance. I loved it! It was a quick listen/read. I was instantly engrossed in Dex and Abby meeting, their friendship, and their interactions turning into more. I have to totally hand it to Dex. He is a better person than me. If I was him I would have told my selfish ex to deal with things on her own. He was too good for her. I am glad that he found Abby. She definitely was the perfect woman for him. I love a good holiday story where one person is not in the spirit and the other shows them the magic. That was totally this story. I guarantee readers will fall in love with this couple right away. This story has every ounce of Christmas magic that we all love so much. A must read. And this narrator did a great job bringing it to life.

Profile Image for Christi Fowler.
1,406 reviews11 followers
July 3, 2020
Title: What the Elf?
Author: Kate Benson
Format: Audio
Narrator: Jillian Yetter
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Holiday, Novella
Standalone: Yes
Part of a Series: No
Steam Level: Not very - just innuendo

What do you get when you cross and grinch with a santa? Comedic sparks that that keep you smiling and giggling throughout What the Elf? This book brings holiday cheer and humor and makes me want peppermint.

I received this audiobook for free from Audiobook Obsession. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for Adrienne Bird.
469 reviews8 followers
December 11, 2021
What the elf?! Really, woman, c’mon. A romance with no seggsy times?! I can’t even remember the last time I read a romance like that. Overall, it is a cute story where we get to see Dex and Abby falling in love at a coffee shop (thank you Landon Pigg for your song). They quickly realize their common interests and enjoy the time they spend together. The banter between not only Abby and Dex but Abby and her sister is so fun and witty. I’m glad they get a HEA at the end with an epilogue to wrap up this cozy little present.
Profile Image for Sandra Loves Reading.
721 reviews10 followers
January 1, 2022
Highly enjoyable reading! Just the thing to put you in the mood for all things Christmas!
After having lost her parents, Abby and her sister get together for the holidays to celebrate and remember.
But this year will bring great changes for the girls. Not least of which is when Abby meets Dex...who already has a girlfriend...oops, ex-girlfriend in tow. Yep. It's complicated. But it isn't really.
I found myself smiling through most of this story. Happy reading to you!
Profile Image for Amy Mccann.
891 reviews6 followers
December 27, 2018
A lovely Christmas time read it's wonderfully cute, from a girl who's very anti-christmas to meeting a guy and doing things she never ever dreamed she would do it also helps that Dex is hot!

I was gripped with their story I can't wit for more Cringle Cove residents.

Well done Kate Benson on such a fascinating read! I wanted a Christmas read and I got a great story from it!
2,161 reviews31 followers
December 23, 2018
In a Christmas slump? Wanting to say "Bah Humbug" all day long? If this is you then you need to read What the Elf!!!! If Dex can save Christmas for Abby then he can help you as well.

If you find yourself in a holiday funk; pick up one if the books in this series and get you Ho Ho on.
Profile Image for Johanna.
669 reviews20 followers
December 31, 2019
This is a new to me author and narrator.

The story was adorable, the narration was pretty much flawless despite one female doing both male and female perspectives.

Jillian Yetter’s Voice is cute and just a tad nasally but not in a bad way—just makes her stand out.

I quite enjoyed this story
Profile Image for Sophie Koufes.
1,936 reviews24 followers
September 26, 2020
Audio Review:
What the Elf? (The Cringle Cove Christmas Chronicles Series #5) is a Christmas Holiday Romance novella with holiday cheer. Tokd in dual pov, a sweet and fun listen.

Narrator Jillian Yetter's performance was smooth and easy to listen to. I loved her inflection.

.🎧 Audiobook Obsession 🎧
Profile Image for Crystal.
814 reviews7 followers
October 15, 2020
This was such a great book! I LOVED the narration too. I was so into the story. Dex and Abby were great for one another. such a mix match couple with one loving the Christmas holiday and the other absolutely hating it. I cant wait to hear more from this author.
1,002 reviews4 followers
November 29, 2020
A cute story for the holidays. Flirty, fun, Christmas vacation romance. It brought a smile to my face.
Jillian Yetter narration was fun and delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story.
764 reviews11 followers
January 22, 2021

This was a perfect, anytime of year Christmas magic read! I love reading Christmas stories all year 'round and this one didn't disappoint, I absoultley fell in love with the characters and the storyline was amazing.
2,015 reviews
March 3, 2021

This was a brilliantly written sassy, sweet sexy read. This make me laugh so much. I totally loved it.
Great characters and a lovely story, totally brings out the Christmas spirit!
Highly recommended.
164 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2021
Simply irresistible!

Exceptional reading at its best. This 5 star book recreates Christmas for the young at heart! Cringle Cove is a Christmas getaway for family's everywhere! I believe in Santa!
Profile Image for Carol ann hughes.
213 reviews
December 30, 2022
What rhe elf!!!

What an absolutely feel good Christmas book!!! The chemistry between Abby and Dex is awesome even with obstacles in their way they totally make it work!!!

Definitely worth a read xx

Profile Image for Crystal Gray.
1,083 reviews30 followers
December 21, 2018
I love Cringle Cove and the coffee shop setting, I just had a hard time connecting to the Characters in this one, not sure why. It is still worth the read though!
827 reviews
December 5, 2019
Great story for the holidays. R. A

Great holiday read. It's a must MUST read. It's so cute and a fast read. Perfect for a lazy day book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 38 reviews

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