Book Reviews

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – Book Review

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren - Book Cover

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – Book Details

TITLE – In a Holidaze

AUTHOR – Christina Lauren

CATEGORY/GENREromance, contemporary, Christmas, science fiction

YEAR PUBLISHED – 2020

PAGE COUNT – 307

MY RATING – 4 of 5

RATED ON GOODREADS – 3.76 of 5

What It Is About

The cabin is my oasis not only because Andrew Hollis is here, but also because it’s the perfect winter cabin, the perfect amount of snow, the perfect people, and the perfect level of comfort. The perfect Christmas, and I don’t want to change a thing.

As all good time loop stories, this one also started with a mistake.

Maelyn Jones is spending Christmas with her family and close friends at a perfect-for-Christmas cabin which is her favorite place in the world. This is the last Christmas they’ll all be spending there together.

When a drunken messing around on the Christmas Eve puts an end to years of hoping she somehow, someday might end up with the guy of her dreams, Mae would give anything for a chance to redo the day. But we all know that’s not how things work.

Or do we?

Because going back home after the Christmas, Maelyn gets into a car crash and wakes up on December 20th, on her way to the Christmas cabin. And the same holiday starts all over again.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren is a magical wintery story that explores what erasing mistakes even means and why second chances are not so out of reach as it sometimes seems. Through Mae’s adventures and mishaps, we get to discover the answer to her most important question – what can make us truly happy in life.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – My Review

This is the one place in the world where I’ve never questioned what I’m doing or who I am, but last night Theo and I went off-script, and now everything is weird.

In a Holidaze came out in October last year and as soon as I saw that cover and heard about the premise, I got very excited about reading it. But then all the mixed reviews started coming in and I kept delaying picking it up.

But with the Christmas approaching again, I kept eying this book on my shelf. And I’m glad I’ve finally read it. Because, while I think I understand why a lot of people had mixed feelings about it, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

First, I’ve never read a Christina Lauren’s book before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of narration. Right off the start, I was impressed by the writing style – how much it matched my taste and how naturally everything sounded.

Honestly, the writing was better than any Christmas book and even most romance books I can think of right now. Guess who’ll be picking up more of their books as soon as possible.

But the thing is, it doesn’t feel like a dream. Dreams are fuzzy and oblong, and the faces aren’t quite right, or the details don’t track in any linear way. This feels like six days of actual memories, crammed with complete clarity into my head.

The story we were following – a girl who ends up in a time loop and has to figure out why and how so that she can move on… I am a complete sucker for this trope. I just couldn’t put it down, finished it in a record amount of time.

And I loved how well the pacing was done. Since everything happens in a loop, I was worried the story was going to be terribly repetitive, but nope. Not even a little bit.

To be fair, there weren’t too many time jumps included. Which I know a lot of people didn’t like, but it was fine by me. It was there, it was a thing, it put things into motion, but then we were left to get to know the characters better and to enjoy the holiday spirit and sweet romance.

“So you saw your dad crack a tooth,” he says slowly. “Three times?”
“Yeah.”
“And you didn’t think to warn him?”

Another thing I loved about In a Holidaze was the Christmassy aspect of it. The semi remote cabin, cozy setting, family traditions, lots of snow, picking up and decorating the tree, mistletoe kisses, lots of cooking and fun time and just spending time together…

The authors found just the right balance between the decorations and winter activities, and the importance of family and friendships. It created a perfect backdrop for the story and parts of it were even nicely entwined into the main plot.

As for the romance – overall I thought it was very sweet and charming. But it took me a long time to realize it was safe to just go for it and start rooting for the couple with all I got in me.

I’ve essentially handed my heart over to the person who’s had it on reserve for half my life, and I’m terrified that he doesn’t realize what he’s holding.

It was a friends to lovers type of plot. Mae had a crush on this guy since they were teenagers. Bit of angst, bit of lure of the forbidden, bit of playful banter, and after a while – they were really cute together.

My problem was, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but honestly – for the longest time I thought that part of the story is going to go in a completely different direction. That created a gap between my expectations and what really was going on. I kept waiting for the story to take turn.

I guess in my mind the question of Mr. Right was quite a bit uncertain, and when things started happening, it was very unclear to me if I should root for them to be together or to not be together. Which can get mentally draining after a while and it kept me from getting 100% invested.

That’s why I’m sure this book would be better on a reread, once you know what to expect.

I’ve spent years not trusting my ability to make decisions and quietly letting life just happen to me. It can’t be a coincidence that the moment I stopped being passive and followed my instincts, everything seemed to fall into place.

There was one other thing I was meh about. Though I liked the big reasons Mae ended up in a time loop and though the lessons she had to learn were pretty important ones, I didn’t fully understand or care for the triggers that were initiating each time jump.

But what I by far liked the most was the main point of the story, at least the way I see it. Which is – you don’t need time travel to mend your mistakes. As long as you have people around who love you, you will get the second chance, no matter what you did. And that’s the real holiday magic.

“Listen up, because I’m going to tell you a secret not everyone knows: Everything is going to be okay. I mean it. I realize everyone around you being messy might make you feel like you can’t ever be, but that isn’t true. It’s okay to be messy sometimes, honey.”

All in all, though it wasn’t perfect, I enjoyed this read so much. I gave it 4 starts, and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author duo as soon as the get a chance.

Have you read In a Holidaze? What did you think about it? Let me know down in the comments…

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