Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review: Christmas Camp - Karen Schaler

Christmas Camp
(Christmas Camp #1)
by Karen Schaler
Published October 16th 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks

From the screenwriter of the Netflix Original viral hit, A Christmas Prince, comes another heartwarming holiday story about a beautiful Grinch who’s determined to get her dream job even if it means spending a week at a Christmas Camp where she discovers an unexpected love.

Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first, her boss, Larry, thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment, so he ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.

Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark, but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.

At first Haley struggles with all the traditional Christmas Camp activities. It’s not until she finally allows herself to slow down, live in the moment, and let Christmas back into her heart, that she begins to grow closer to Jeff. But when he finds out Haley’s come up with a plan to help his dad save the struggling inn while he’s been trying to convince his dad to sell it, their relationship takes a serious holiday hit.  Now it will take the magic of the season to bring these two hearts together.

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5 Stars

Where does one start with Christmas Camp? Do I start by telling you it's the perfect Hallmark movie in book form? Do I tell you the girl is relatable and Christmas really does bring magic and love into her overworked life? Or do I tell you it's all thanks to the smart dog? Oh, I tell you all of that? Okay, it's all true! Christmas Camp is the story of Haley Hanson and her desire to make partner at her advertising and marketing firm. Only the challenge has to do with Christmas and Haley's idea of Christmas is being poolside with her family...while still working. Meanwhile Jeff is all about the season, even if he wants his dad to give up the camp and move a little closer. He still believes and he's out to prove to Haley she knows nothing about the true spirit of Christmas. She struggles with the activities, referring to it all as boot camp, but as she learns to slow down she also learns how to open up allowing the unexpected to happen. But is Christmas just for a season or is it a forever feeling?

Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler arrived right on time for me. I love the holidays, nothing is better than brisk air, peppermint flavored coffee, and decorations everywhere, but work's had me exhausted lately and my spirit was more Scrooge than even Haley's. This book has everything you could possibly like about Christmas in it. From the decorations to the activities to the sweet, more personal moments, it's exactly like that first, untouched sparkly snowfall. I really connected with Haley's goal to reach the top and her desperate desire to give her parents everything after they had given so much to her. She's lost sight, for sure, but she's got the spirit in her. Jeff is a bit of a tough guy, all handsome and closed off. They bump heads the entire way, but it makes for a funny and cute story that was easy to follow and even easier to fall in love with.

Christmas Camp is a feel good story, the kind you'll want to read again and again. It's more than a romance though and I think readers will fall in love with the secondary characters we get to know during Haley's time at camp. It's the perfect book for the season and while I'm excited to see the movie, I'm more excited to read this year after year as the holiday season draws near.

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