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In a Holidaze
by Christina Lauren
Category: Contemporary Romance
Tags: Time Travel, Holiday
Who wouldn’t want to go back in time for a do-over when you realize you’ve kissed the wrong brother?
I loved this story set up from writing duo Christina Lauren in their latest romance release, In a Holidaze. Maelyn Jones is spending the holidays at a cabin in Utah where she has always spent the Christmas holiday with her family and two additional families she’s known since she was born. Only she wakes up the morning after Christmas having kissed her long-time friend, NOT his brother whom she’s had a massive crush on since she was a teen.
Not only is she devastated by this oops moment, but she soon learns that this holiday is to be their last one together at the cabin so full of memories. Desperate to change the past and the future she throws out a wish to the universe asking it to show her what will make her happy. Little did she know that wish would cast her into a time loop where she gets to relive her Christmas holiday giving her the opportunity to kiss the RIGHT brother and maybe even save the cabin and their Christmas tradition in the process.
The time loop plot line was overall an interesting twist and something new from Christina Lauren. It was very reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day if you’re familiar with it, although there wasn’t an excessive amount of looping where you’d have to reread the same piece of story line over and over. What I liked best about using this idea was that it gave Mae the ability and confidence to just go for it – to finally live authentically and to share her feelings with Andrew, come what may. She was living in the moment without fear and it was totally freeing. If only we could all live that way!
And yet, I also felt like you’re left hanging with the whole “why is this happening to me” question she asks herself about the time loop. It’s a good question but it’s never answered and there’s no real resolution to the time loop. Was there more to it? Why was she picked to rewrite her past? At times I felt led that there was going to be a deeper meaning exposed regarding the time loop but then nothing ever came of it.
Despite that, I loved Andrew and Mae together – once they were together. It took a bit to get to this point however where in the beginning I was questioning whether this was even going to be a romance book at all. If there was one thing I would change, it would be to add Andrew’s point of view. It was hard for me to truly buy into their connection because you don’t know what’s going on in Andrew’s head half the time.
If anything, Andrew’s reaction the morning after the first day of Christmas to her kissing his brother made it hard to believe his turnaround later in the book. Other than him knowing Mae since childhood you have no idea what he sees in her. It’s never discussed. You’re just supposed to assume that they both love each other because they’ve grown up together but I got hung up on that for some reason. There could have been more relationship development in my mind but that could just be me. There were however some really great moments with them that I loved and yet I also felt like there could have been more. Maybe a flash back or two so you knew how much Adam liked her even if just as a friend?? One of their last scenes in the boathouse though had me in tears and the epilogue was truly fantastic.
There were also A LOT of additional characters in this story. At times I thought there were way too many, but there were some great heart to heart moments that Mae had with a few that were so endearing. I loved Benny most of all- the pot smoking, 50 something who was Mae’s confident. He was such a good friend when she confided in him and I loved their scenes together. I also thought that Mae’s conversation with Andrew’s father was really poignant and a good moment in the story.
As far as a holiday romance, other than the title, a moment of Christmas tree decorating and opening presents, there wasn’t too much “holiday” to this novel so it really could be read any time of the year or whenever you’re in the mood for a bit of holiday cheer. Don’t let that part steer you away from reading it even if it’s not December 😊.
Overall, I liked this book because it was unique and something different from what Christina Lauren has given to us before. Is it my favorite of theirs, no, but I’d recommend reading it all the same.
*Thank you to Net Galley for the advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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