Book Review: The Holiday Cottage by the Sea

*note: this post is a scheduled post as I am currently living the good life in Disneyland Paris

6/10 for The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin
(ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

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Escape to Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover a charming little seaside village brimming with heart-warming friendships, quirky characters and plenty of sunshine.

The perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Tori Graham is in need of a holiday. Trying to piece her heart back together after losing the love of her life, she escapes to Blossom Cottage, with its picturesque views of the sea. And plans to spend the summer in gorgeous Sandcastle Bay, where her best friend Melody Rosewood lives.

Tori’s not expecting her summer by the beach to be eventful, until she meets handsome and mysterious Aidan Jackson…

Aidan looks after the holiday cottage Tori is staying in. Healing from past hurts, he wants to avoid any further chance of heartache. But could this newcomer be the breath of fresh air he needs?

Finding herself embracing life in the coastal community, Tori starts to fall in love with Sandcastle Bay and its welcoming cast of residents. But that’s not all she begins to fall for, as Tori is swept away by Aidan’s genuine heart and mischievous sense of humour. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will a simple holiday romance be enough?

As Tori’s stay in Sandcastle Bay comes to an end she has a tough decision to make…. Has her heart found a new place to call home?

A joyously romantic summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

Yay! Another little blog tour. Holly's becoming one of my most covered authors around and I am not regretting it at all. I adore her as a person and her books oftern are a bit sunshine on a rainy day!

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is as expected another one of those beautiful stories with a man you wish was real and a village you can only dream of!
There's definitely a lot to love in this tale of love and friendship.

But, I have to admit that I had a few issues with this one. So, I'll start on those first.
We start by meeting our main character Tori who is exactly the type of woman I love to read about. Managing to make me laugh with the weird situations she gets herself in from the first chapter on. It's always a promising start when your main makes a fool of herself within less than a minute. It makes her incredibly likeable!
But when she meets up with her best friend and her friend's sister things pick up. This is where I felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of information dump about the three of them. Most of it was focused on Tori and yet at the same time I got to know a lot about the other two already and I hadn't even gotten to know Tori properly yet. There were definitely some other parts in the story where the information could have been put too. That way we'd had a more gradually way to get to know them. Usually it builds up at the same time as the story does. But from the way Isla and Melody's stories were told and especially the promise of both of them being in love with someone on the island, made me feel like Holly was already preparing us for what's to come.
Is there a Sandcastle Bay trilogy on its way?
I was torn with how I felt about this.
Happy that there's more to come but a little taken aback too. Maybe I'm completely off with this assumption though. This story could be the only one setting place in Sandcastle Bay but I still had the feeling that we were already being presented with our next two characters. A feeling that continued throughout the rest of the story.

My second issue was that we had another two tormented main characters who have high walls up around their heart and not willing to let anyone close. I wasn't too keen on that emotional trait much, having read quite a few across the entire genre (I know it's sort of part of it but sometimes change is nice). Most of all, it was clear that, from the instant Tori and Aidan laid eyes upon each other, their actions didn't add up to their background. They immediately embraced each other's presence, felt that instant connection and were more than ready to throw themselves into the deep. 
By all means, Aidan is one hell of a swoon worthy guy and I can't blame Tori for jumping into some sort of relationship but I have issues with it when part of her character building is that she normally doesn't.
And the same counts for Aidan.

Lastly, I felt this story went a little too fast. Maybe that's partly due to the characters too. They rushed into a relationship and there wasn't much build-up? But I was sad to find that once I had really gotten into the different vibes etc. it finished quite abrupt. I wanted mooooooooooooooooooore! 

Even with the few bumps in the road I have fallen in love. I want more of Sandcastle Bay. I feel like i'm not ready with this story yet. Not with this village and its people either. I've barely had time to get to know them all and I can't wait to find out more (again, assuming that there is going to be more)!!

I know I said that Tori and Aidan rushed into things BUT how I adored their chemistry. They were SO fantastic together. If I'd gotten an entire book just about them sharing some banter, talking and being all lovey-dovey I would have been the happiest girl in the world. And as it so happens, this story focuses a lot on that 😀💓🎉

Even with the few issues I had, I have completely fallen in love with Tori and Aidan *swoon*. And that's where Holly's superpower comes in. She has the ability to make you fall in love with everything she throws at you. And I have! From the single heartberry shaped fruit all the way to that big chunk of a man that is known as Aidan Jackson. 

About the author:
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor