Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: Christmas under a Cranberry Sky

7,5/10 for Christmas under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts… 
Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.  
So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.  
But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.  
Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home? 
Source: Goodreads

I received a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Holly Martin, we meet again! <3
It's always a pleasure to host a Holly review in my blog during the book tour and today is no exception!

It's almost the most festive season again and it wouldn't be the same if that didn't include another Christmassy series. This time we're transported to the appropriately named village Christmas and I'm delighted to say that we're spending two glorious stories there.

Book 1: Christmas under a Cranberry Sky
Book 2: Christmas under a Starlit Sky

I was so excited to start another book by my lovely friend. They're always a joy to read. They sweep me off my feet and make me forget about everything else in my life.

This time we meet Pip, Piper, who spends her life reviewing hotels after staying there as a mystery guest. She's about to do one more assignment before she starts a 6 month sabbatical. Pip is on her way to Juniper Island and a town called Christmas.
The last thing she expected to find at Stardust Lake Hotel was her former best friend Gabe. The one man who has broken her heart in thousand pieces. The one person she ran away from and never looked back at. And now he was standing in front of her. More so, he has a daughter and turns out to be the owner of the hotel she's supposed to review.
Pip is flooded with memories and feelings she was never able to put behind her.

Gabe never expected to see Pip again, let alone find her visiting his hotel. He has no idea why she's there or how she ended up here after being absent from his life for over 10 years.
He's torn with feelings for Pip ranging from anger to love. If he can't rekindle his friendship with her then he at least needs the answers to put it all behind him. With a daughter to look after and the opening of the hotel to worry about, he's struggling to add Pip to the equation.

The two of them find themselves in a whirlwind of emotions. Struggling to not let their past determine their present. They must try to see past their history if they want to have a future together.

I struggled a little getting into the story. The start was easy and you immediately take a liking for Piper as she's a girl filled with wonder and amazement. You can't help but feel for her the moment you find out about her tragic background and you want good things to happen to her throughout the rest of the story.

But then she meets Gabe and that's where the next few following chapters were a bit of a struggle to go through. I absolutely understand that these two characters had a past and that it needed explaining, that we needed to get to the core of it and make sure we understood both sides. I just felt that within that segment there was a little bit too much repetition of the feelings and doubts they both had.
When it got repeated a few times too many I started to get impatient with the characters, especially as their behaviour didn't match their thoughts.
They were like that Katy Perry song Hot 'n Cold. And though I get that as characters this was due to their complicated relationship, for me as a reader it was too early to sympathise with as I hadn't related enough to them yet.

After their initial shock the intensity of all that slowed down and I could finally ease into the story and that's when I started to get comfortable.
Christmas is a town so idyllic that I have packed my bags and am ready to move there! It sounds absolutely charming as do the villagers. The Stardust Lake Hotel sounds like a place I really would want to go to and might never leave again.

It was around the same time that Piper realised Juniper Island might just be more than another place to review and slowly finds herself considering staying for longer than planned.

Gabe also manages to settle himself in a comfortable place with Pip and is more than willing to mend their bond and show Pip how much of a home Juniper Island could be for her. Together with his daughter Wren he managed to charm his way back into Piper's heart (and mine!).
Talking about Wren....she might just be the cutest kid character I've ever come across! Can I have one too?

I personally did find the ending a bit too abrupt and would've preferred a little bit more to the story. I was just getting comfy! Luckily there's the second book to look forward too. And though this one will be mainly focused on Gabe's sister's story, I'm sure I'll see some more of Gabe, Pip and Wren.

All in all, after the initial hiccup, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was like a warm blanket that wraps itself around your shoulders on a cold day; cozy and comforting. Personally, that's something I could never get enough of!