In a Holidaze - Christina Lauren


Groundhog's Day meets Love, Actually

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

An image of 5 hearts that vaguely look like 2-D glass hearts from an older video game. Three of the hearts are filled with red. The latter two are gray and empty looking.
Verdict: It's a cute book that is exactly what it says it is. 
If you like holiday romances with a bit of a twist, you'll enjoy this.
I like it for what it is, but not completely to my taste - and that's okay. It's good to go outside the comfort zone sometimes.
Format: Library Audiobook

Challenge: COYER'S Love & Libraries (or is it "Libraries & Love").
-Qualifiers: Romance & Library book.
The Draw: This book came highly recommended by pretty much everyone over in the COYER facebook group. I like time loops and Christmas so this seemed like an overall worthwhile venture.

(Warning: Mild spoilers)
  • Not enough timelooping.
YMMV, but the fun with time loops is that it's a puzzle that needs to be solved. Often times the protagonist will end up spending time with people they normally wouldn't and approaching situations from a different angle. It gives different perspectives and more insight into the same situation. In a Holidaze doesn't take advantage of this. Over half the book doesn't involve time traveling and just focuses on the romance and trying to figure out why a retired couple doesn't want to keep an expensive piece of seasonal property that is need of necessary upgrades. She lands in the correct timeline fairly quickly and it's kind of obvious it's the right one. There are so many characters and Mae is really only close to one of them. It would have been nice for her to spend time with each of the different characters to come to her realizations rather than just discussing with a few. (And also, one completely chaotic timeline where everything goes wrong would have been fun.)
  •  Can we stop with the fake love triangles?
This wouldn't even be worth a mention, but it becomes a thing a little over halfway in. Someone gets jealous when he discovers Mae's new relationship. It's handled as nicely as it could be, but I never really felt the friendship was there to justify such an extreme response. Later on, a big fight occurs and it's over Mae confessing about a different timeline. The anger feels forced and it's one of those things that doesn't really make sense in context. There has to be a big fight so Mae can do her big gesture and they can make up.

(Warning: Mild spoilers)
  • The overall message of the book.
Tradition is all well and good, but as people (and families) grow and change, then the traditions may need to grow and change as well. The specific realization that they need to take a more active role in the Christmas coziness rather than just showing up was really nice. That one probably hit closer to home than I would have liked, but I am appreciative of it. Normally I do most of the Christmas magic myself and it's been kind of draining trying to think up new ideas. I need to involve other people and not take it all on myself. Kind of silly, I guess, but that's the magic of books --- figuring something out, even unintentionally. 
  • No one is really the bad guy
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy there being a villain and/or unlikable characters, but sometimes it's nice to not have one. Mae isn't competing with some random (and completely awful) woman for attention. There is a bit of a set up for this situation, but it's subverted later on. This book really wanted to go full cozy Christmas Hallmark movie and it definitely hit that mark.

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