Unexpected Gifts - Elena Aitken

Summary:

When you're looking for a little escape to the rugged mountain landscape that's as beautiful as it is wild, unwind at Castle Mountain Lodge.


Christmas represents everything Andi Williams is supposed to have, and doesn't. Running away to a remote mountain lodge in the Canadian Rockies, sounds like the perfect way to escape, until a mix-up finds her sharing a villa with sexy, rough around the edges, Colin Hartford.

Colin's determination to enjoy the holiday he's missed for the last five years, sweeps Andi into a season of joy that she's not sure she's ready for. Can Andi open herself up to everything the holidays have to offer...including love?

~A sweet, contemporary romance~

 

Two Big Deals:

1) Note that although this book (and the entire series) is categorized by the author as sweet (this book doesn't have any sex scenes, just steamy kisses), it is not an inspirational or Christian fiction.

 

2) Trigger Warning: The main character (Andi) gave birth to a stillborn child approximately 8-10 months before the start of this book. It is mentioned often because she is still dealing with that loss, especially when she is around kids. Please proceed with caution.

 

Review:

I really liked this book and wished I could give it more stars. I read this on a car ride up to Waddesdon Manor and wanted to keep reading it long after my NOOK went into low battery status and we got to our destination.

 

Andi is the type of female character I want more of in contemporary romances - she is smart, strong, has a spine and heart, and is just someone I could see being friends with. Her recent past has soured her on the holidays, so she seeks solace in a mountain resort town to help her cope. She has talents and drive, but she is not a workaholic. No need for drama queen antics or forced hijinks to make her quirky.

 

Colin is my favorite kind of beta hero - no pushover, but not aggressive asshole. He senses her hurt goes further than her single status at the holidays, and just wants her to have a fun and happy holiday. He was very real to me despite being the perfect kind of beta. He took his time and really got to know her over the course of five days. Can you tell I love Colin?

 

Eva and Carmen as secondary characters actually added to the story, rather than just be sequel bait (their stories are further in the series).  As for sex scenes, I tend to skim or skip them, so it wasn't a loss not to have a sex scene in the book. It felt right, as the MCs only knew each other a total of five days before the "I think I am falling in love with you" came out of both their mouths.

 

So why only 3.5 stars? FORMATTING. Starting with the seventh chapter, each chapter started with pages of repeat (as in copy + paste) from the last section of the last chapter. This went on for five chapters, then it happened again later in one or two more chapters. The NOOK had a total page count of 314 pages, but I think it was closer to 250; so the story (minus the repeats) is about 215-225 (there is an excerpt for the next book).

 

It was frustrating to read the story and be so engrossed in it to then have to skip forward 5-10 pages into the new chapter to get back into the groove of the story. I hope the author fixes the issue before she tries to sell it for a dollar amount.

 

I would recommend this read and I plan on reading the rest of the series in 2015. Andi and Colin are the subjects of a novella that I read right after getting done with this book and it worked out really well for me - there were no spoilers from any other couple's books. 3.5 stars.