I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller
Published by HQ Digital on October 13th 2017
Genres: Adult, Christmas, Holiday
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Welcome in the festive season with love, laughter and the perfect G&T in Christmas at the Gin Shack – the most uplifting holiday read of 2017!
Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…
Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!
But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.
Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?
I wasn’t aware at the time of requesting this book, but it’s a sequel to The Gin Shack on the Beach, which I have not read. And I think my experience suffered because of this.
After reading a couple of chapters I figured out something must have come before, so ended up googling and getting a brief rundown of the first book. Because we dived right into Olive’s life, without any recap at all, I had no idea who was who, who I was meant to like or who was relevant to the plot. There were so many side-plots and so many characters I really strugged to connect with anyone, and therefore didn’t really care about the distracting drama.
This would have been a cute, Christmassy read; but there was apparently evil forces at work, trying to take down the Gin Shack. A health scare for another character. A blossoming romance between another pair. A family drama. And uncertainty about a couple of characters motives.
It was just too much! The first 40% of the book I was mostly bored as it was all plodding along, then the next 20% was pretty good, and then everything just became so dramatic and a bit silly.
There were some humerous moments scattered throughout, Olive’s idea of a mobility scooter really made me laugh. But it just wasn’t enough to keep me interested for the whole novel.
If this had just focused on Christmas at the Gin Shack, with the Christmassy cocktail competition (which sounded fun!) and the sub-plot of someone trying to undo all their hard work with their bar; this would have been great. Alas, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown in, so it came across as rushed and it didn’t really feel like things were resolved properly at all.
The writing was okay, but the pacing was all over the place (due to everything that was going on), and it did get a little repetitive at times; though I assume that is just the nature of it being an ARC.
I’m afraid it’s just a 2.5/5 read for me, it had so much potential, but there was simply too much going on and not enough actual plot to sink your teeth into.