Monday, October 12, 2015

Christmas in October: The Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase

Happy Christmas in October!

Each day this week, I will be reviewing a Christmas-themed book, reviewing how well the book embraces the holiday as well as giving my two cents on the book as a whole. Please join me in celebrating the holiday a wee bit early and post your holiday book reviews and recommendations in the comments of any of this week's reviews!

As a bonus this year, I've got some fantastic guest posts! So check back for those as well!

The Book:


The Christmas Cottage / Ever After by Samantha Chase
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Contemporary Romance
REPublished October 6, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads


An exciting reissue of both books in the beloved Christmas Cottage series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase, just in time for the holidays .
Legend has it that any couple who spends the night in the Christmas Cottage shall have love everlasting...
Lacey Quinn does not believe in happily-ever-after or the legend of the Christmas Cottage. But her best friend Ava does, and she's the one getting married. It's Lacey's job to make sure everything at the cottage is perfect for the newlyweds. Instead, she finds herself snowed in with the bride-to-be's brother, Ean Callahan, and begins to wonder if fairy tales really can come true.
Ava Callahan wants desperately to believe in love everlasting. But when Brian McCabe walks back into her life and upsets her carefully organized world, her commitment to perfection makes it hard for her to accept the love that's right in front of her. Will it take a night in the Christmas Cottage for Ava and Brian to find their happy ending?
Christmas Component:

Both of The Christmas Cottage and Ever After revolve around the idea of a cottage rumoured for its ability to guarantee a couple with everlasting love, especially around the holidays. The first book, however, is far more Christmas-oriented than the second. In the first book, the couple has to decorate the cottage for a Christmas-time wedding night, and so they tangle not only with wintry weather, but also Christmas wreaths, trees, lights, and assorted decorations.

I'm going to give this set a three gifts out of five only because Ever After doesn't share the same holiday spirit. Definitely a five if you only read the first book in the series!

My thoughts:

Again, my preference goes to The Christmas Cottage, although I didn't entirely get on board with this romance. It does feature one of my favourite tropes--best friend's brother to lover--but this romance fizzled before it began when the heroine was fourteen, and after a dozen or so years of never seeing each other, it comes roaring back to the forefront for both characters? I just couldn't get on board, it was too much like insta-love. 

Still, it gets points for having a sort-of-geeky hero, and for being pretty sweet overall, even if it was rushed on several fronts. I also really did enjoy the cottage component, and the idea of the cottage made me smile. This is the stuff of modern fairy tales, I think. I also liked that the cottage was a starting point instead of the end of the story--it would have been easy to let the magic of the place work its wonders on the couple rather than have Ean and Lacey have to figure out how to make their mutual interest work in the real world.

Ever After was more challenging for me because the main character was such a bridezilla in the first book. I really wanted to tell Ava to take a deep breath and relax, to let things happen naturally instead of trying to orchestrate every moment. For his part, Brian was sweet at moments, but I also wanted to shake him! I felt that for all that he was able to remember the little details, he wasn't so good at unravelling how support Ava in the bigger things. 

I think I wanted this relationship to be a bit more fairy tale-esque, but on the positive side, I think there's some really significant character development (particularly on Ava's side), and that was sorely needed. I did not love her after the first book, so she had a long way to go before I could be satisfied with a sweet, romantic HEA.

Bottom line:

The Christmas Cottage and Ever After are sweet romances, with only the former having a real Christmas flair. This is a great duo to pick-up if you like contemporary romance series because, well, two for one!  I also really liked that Ava doesn't suddenly morph into a lovable character from book one to two, but rather experiences some real growth!

4 stars
For fans of Christmas books, contemporary romance, men who know what they want.

Remember, come back every day this week for more Christmas-themed books!
Check in later today for a guest post from the fantastic Toni Allen!

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