Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky (A Town Called Christmas #1) by Holly Martin

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blurb

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?

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky out soon.

myreview

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Piper Chesterfield is a Professional Mystery guest. She’s been writing reviews for TREE OF LIFE magazine going on 10 years now. One more Hotel stay and she is ready to take a much needed break. STARDUST LAKE HOTEL on Juniper Island looks to be the perfect way to spend the Christmas holidays. That is until Piper learns that the man behind the Hotel is none other than Gabe Whitaker. Her best friend and the man who broke her heart twelve years ago.

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Gabe isn’t all that happy to see Piper again. After all she left without a word twelve years earlier, taking his heart with her. Gabe has moved on though and now has a 4 year old daughter Wren. He’ll demand some answers so he can have some closure, but getting involved with Piper again is out of the question.

Will the magic of Christmas and Juniper Island help these two find forgiveness and the strength to let go of the past and start again??

description“He pulled back to stare into those beautiful golden, vulnerable eyes and knew he was falling in love with her all over again”
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Where to begin? There were things I LOVED about this one, and things that unfortunately brought my rating down….

I LOVED the setting and the festive atmosphere. The island and the cabins. The evil little shetland ponies. Everything was just so beautifully described. I had no problem picturing it in my head. I was transported right into the holiday spirit. The writing flowed nicely and I wasn’t bored. That said, the middle did drag a little for me, but not enough for me to contemplate skimming.

I ADORED Piper. She had a crappy upbringing and had a lot of baggage because of that. I felt really bad for her and even though the misunderstanding that caused the rift between Gabe and Piper was one of those “miscommunication” deals that drive me crazy, the circumstances were such that I completely understood her actions. Despite that I felt she was a strong and very sweet heroine and I HATED the way everyone treated her through two thirds of this book.

description“So you’re not seeing anyone at the moment?’ ‘No.’ For a brief moment he thought he saw hope flare in her eyes and that annoyed him a bit. After what had happened, after what she had done, she couldn’t possibly think they could just pick up where they left off.”
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Unfortunately the same can’t be said about Gabe (or his sister or his brother) I LOATHED Gabe through two thirds of this book. This hero was a whiny, self centered douche. His whiplash back and forth with Piper was SO annoying. One minute he is telling his sister Piper shouldn’t be held responsible for a mistake she made 12 years ago, then in the next breath he is acting like this OTT injured party. Being rude, and acting like he can’t trust Piper. Back and forth and back again. I wanted to throw my tablet at something. Even after finding out what happened, he acts like Piper is this awful untrustworthy person. Almost the whole book he acts like an injured party. HE could have went to London to confront Piper and find out why she left without a word. Instead he just acted like a whiny bitch about it, and went on to manwhore around and have a kid (of course Piper never has sex again after Gabe *rolleyes*). EVERYONE kept taking potshots at Piper about how she had “broke Gabe” I seriously wanted her to give them all the finger and get the hell out of there

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That said, the last one third of the book everyone seemed to be letting the past go and the romance between Piper and Gabe was sweet, with some mild heat. Of course we have the inevitable “misunderstanding” that I knew was coming from the beginning of the book, and of course Gabe acts like a whiny douche again. Thankfully we have the awesome Piper who doesn’t let him get away with it, and all’s well that ends well.

description“Then lighten up and stop staring at me like I’m breaking your heart all over again. This is difficult for me too.”
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Overall the good outweighed the bad. We get a quick peek at the next book in the series which will be Gabe’s sister. I’m intrigued, but it is an older woman/younger man book. Plus he is an actor, so I’m on the fence about wanting to read it. Luke’s book is the one I am REALLY waiting for…

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