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Sandcastle Bay #1

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea

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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.

286 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 12, 2018

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About the author

Holly Martin

48 books1,239 followers
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 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance. She is the bestselling author of 26 books selling over a million books worldwide. Holly's books have been translated into French, German, Italian, Dutch, Bulgarian, Estonian, Turkish and Russian.

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 203 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,083 reviews30.1k followers
April 16, 2018
Four beachy stars to The Holiday Cottage by the Sea! 🏖 🏖 🏖 🏖

Sometimes you need an easy, fun read to escape the real world, and The Holiday Cottage by the Sea plopped onto my Kindle at just the right time.

It turns out Tori Graham needs a vacation from real life, too! With a broken heart, she heads off to picturesque Sandcastle Bay for the summer. Tori meets Aidan/girl meets boy, and the rest is an endearing tale of love.

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is an absorbing read full of heart, along with moments that will make you laugh and smile.

Thank you to Holly Martin, Bookouture, and Netgalley for the ARC. The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is now available!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,007 reviews15.7k followers
April 15, 2018
4.5 magical Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

I want to go to Blossom Cottage on Sandcastle Bay... I want to pick berries, build a boat, and eat cake.... everything about this book was so magical and sweet....

Tori was such a real and likable character.... I completely related to her struggle.... and so wanted her to find her happily ever after with Aiden.... but how does a relationship build off a conversation that you only want to keep things casual... nobody wants to get hurt... again.... in the land of the heart berry and with the approaching Love festival...perhaps love will find the way... and not only for these two.... Aidan has two brothers...Tori has two friends... there are 11 puppies... and an adorable dancing heart berry named Max.... oh and I cannot forget Aunt Agatha her predictions and the tattoo....

So many magical moments in this lovely town by the sea.... there also were some pretty laugh out loud moments as well.... I really can’t say anything bad about this book.... it was just a nice breath of fresh air.... that made me want to pack my bags and head to Sandcastle Bay....

Absolutely recommend to anyone in the mood for a fun romantic comedy with an amazing setting...

*** thank you so much too Bookouture and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews516 followers
April 16, 2018
If you’re in a funk and need a little sunshine in your life, or need to be reminded that love can be beautiful, pick up a Holly Martin book.

So super romantic, fun and cozy - it’s no secret here that I’m an Anglophile, and I am bound and determined to move to Seashell Cove where everything is idyllic. Really, though, at least a vacation there would be nice!

There are likable characters and a lot of laugh out loud moments, but with a healthy dose of serious situations thrown in so that it’s not too sweet. Just the right amount of sweetness to make for a satisfying read.

There are also some very steamy scenes, so heads up whether that’s your thing or not!

Thank you to Holly Martin and Bookcouture for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,512 reviews702 followers
April 20, 2018
Release Date: April 12, 2018
Genre: Chick Lit
Actual Rating: 4 stars

Holly Martin always manages to put a smile on my face through her books. Sure, some of them follow the same pattern and the only difference is characters, but the places she takes me to makes it so that these similarities don't matter. Her stories are uplifting, light, funny, heartfelt, and utterly charming. Her characters are delightful, a breath of fresh air, and downright adorable. And the sparkle of romance? Well, it may be fast, but is completely satisfying. If you are in the mood for a lighthearted chick lit novel, Holly Martin is a good "go to" author. Just like the other books I have read by her, this is a winner.

So, what is The Holiday Cottage by the Sea about? Well, it's about a woman named Tori who needs a little break from bustling London. Setting out to Sandcastle Bay to visit old friends is exactly what she needs. After all, how can one simply go this long without being with their best of friends? Tori's idea is that she will only be in Sandcastle Bay for two weeks. But when an eccentric woman tells Tori the love of her life- her soul mate- is here int this place, Tori decides that it may be cool to have a little fun. I mean, surely this woman is wrong anyway! But what if...

Enter Aidan Jackson. He's smart, ruggedly handsome, and as charming as they come. He's not looking for a relationship at all especially considering the heartbreak he felt when his fiance left him at the alter. But sometimes, when that one person walks into your life... Things change... Will Agitha's prediction of happily ever after come true? Or will Tori and Aiden simply have a little fun in the sun before she has to go back to London. You'll have to read to find out!

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is exactly what I wanted and needed in a novel. It's a sweet and fun read with lough out loud moments, as well as emotional ones. But what sets the book apart? Is the gorgeous setting that author incorporated into the story. I wish it were real because I would be on the first plane to Sandcastle Bay.
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,492 reviews198 followers
May 7, 2018
If there was ever a book which made me laugh uproariously, it is this book

If there was ever a book which made me want to hug it, it is this book

If there was such a book that I wanted to never let go, it is this book

If there was such a book which should go on and on, it is this book

If there was ever a book where the characters were so loving, it is this book

If there was ever a book where the town was such a loving busy-body, it is this book

If there was ever a book which had an outrageous Aunt Agatha, it is this book

If there was ever a book which had a heartberry festival, it is this book

If there was ever an author who wrote the most perfect lines, it is this book

If there was ever a book which made me feel alive, it is this book

If there was ever a book which made me feel all the emotions, it is this book

If there was ever a pick-me-up book, it is this book

If there was ever a book which I will always cherish, it is this book

If there are more books by Holly Martin (of course, there are), I will pick them all

What more can I say beyond this, I laughed, I cried, I flirted, I loved. I felt more than I have ever felt in a book. I knew Holly Martin wrote beautiful books, but I didn't know she wrote dialogs which were so alive, so exhilarating. Every part of this book made me feel alive, more alive that I have felt in this entire week

Do I need to say anything beyond this to know the journey which this book took me????

The only niggle I had was that a problem at the farm had a simple solution, but they waited till the storm was upon them, to use it. That diluted the plot for me, and the ending was a bit rushed.
Profile Image for Katie.
28 reviews3 followers
December 26, 2022
I really loved this book, from the first page I really connected to the characters and story of the book. I can't wait to read more of her books :) x
Profile Image for Book Addict Shaun.
937 reviews278 followers
March 26, 2018
‪It has been far too long since I have read a Holly Martin book and The Holiday Cottage by the Sea was just the book I needed to read right now. The thing I love most about Holly’s books is how magical they are and how easily swept up I get in them. She is probably one of the most inventive writers in this genre because her stories are always so unique whether it be in the characters she creates, the jobs they do, or the places they live. Just looking at her previously published books astounds me at how different they all are, her imagination is just incredible and she was born to write these wonderful tales. ‬

‪The Holiday Cottage by the Sea takes place in the wonderful setting of Sandcastle Bay. Straight away I had visions of where I used to holiday in Wales when I was younger and this setting was so well-imagined and allowed for some beautiful storytelling to take place. Our main character Tori returns to Sandcastle Bay apprehensively as it was where the man she loved died and is where her best friend now lives raising his child. She takes a job picking heartberries and her arrival into the village is the typical Holly Martin hilarity filled scene that readers have come to expect from this very funny author. I love how she comes up with some of the most random and amusing situations for her characters to find themselves in. Tori is an instantly likeable character and I enjoyed every minute of watching her rediscover herself and move forward with her life in this story. There’s so many messages to be taken here about taking chances in love, following your heart and ensuring you do all that you can to make sure you live the happiest life that you can live. ‬

‪Holly always writes the most mesmerising and amazing love stories (and my favourite will always and forever be One Hundred Proposals) but each and every book of hers that I have read has contained two characters who are so clearly meant for each other that I read her books desperate for them to finally get together. Tori arrives at her new home for the next fortnight to find it is owned by a handsome and mysterious stranger, Aidan Jackson, who yes, you will fall head over heels in love with too. He was a fantastic character again who was so well-drawn, believable and the story that unfolds between these two characters just made me feel all happy and gooey inside. And yes okay a little bit jealous also. Can I have an Aidan in my life please? There’s so many heartwarming scenes in this story, which is just what I have come to expect from Holly. ‬

‪Holly Martin has long been one of my favourite authors and if I could only read one author’s books from this genre for the rest of my life then it would probably be Holly’s because of how magical they are, because of how unique they are, because of how amazing the love stories are and because she is just an inventive author who has this talent to make each and every book different and also memorable. If you showed me the cover of one of her books I could instantly tell you about the love story inside because I can remember them all. She’s a truly talented author and her many fans will not be disappointed with this story. If you are yet to read one of Holly Martin’s books (and if you are then where have you been?) I highly recommend that you read The Holiday Cottage by the Sea. This is a great place to start before devouring Holly’s back catalogue (especially the epic and unforgettable One Hundred Proposals). I can’t wait for the next book that she writes. ‬
Profile Image for Kim.
1,998 reviews50 followers
May 2, 2018
I love books that create such a wonderfully vivid setting that you want to move to Sandcastle Bay to meet your new friends. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to everyone and I hope that we return at some stage to catch up with everyone .
Tori has taken a holiday helping Aidan to harvest the heartberry crop which has wonderful local traditions surrounding it. It has to be harvested at night and they get together after realising there is a huge spark of attraction between them The pages sizzle as the romance develops. Aidan is such a wonderful character surprising her with origami flowers. They know their romance is destined to be a short term fling but they get to know each other and the things in their past that made them wary

There is a great cast of characters that have a range of fascinating jobs and families and. a delightful busybody matchmaker who bets on characters getting married. She is such a joy- although that is maybe just from a distance,
Profile Image for Rachel Gilbey.
2,719 reviews496 followers
March 25, 2018
Utterly enchanted by this incredibly romantic story, set in a picturesque location, full of characters with really interesting jobs..... it can only have been written by one of the queens of rom coms - Holly Martin!

I devoured this book and despite not being that keen on fruit, even I wanted to taste the heartberries that were being harvested by the end of the book.

The banter between Aidan and Tori is hilarious and although you sort of know what the ending will be, I never mind when I am taken on such an enjoyable journey to reach that stage. Although what you wouldn't predict is the level of meddling Aidan's aunt Agatha enjoys!

Agatha is utterly hilarious, and she gives Tori all manner of supplies for her first date with Aidan, that you wouldn't expect anyone to just happen to have in their handbag, let alone hand over in a pub to a relative stranger. I was laughing my head off at that scene, and then it got even better!

Agatha also a hand in the henna that Tori has on her back, but even I couldn't believe what the design was. Again revealed in a classic scene that is incredibly amusing.

I loved the names of the places in this book, Sandcastle Bay, Blossom Cottage, The Cherry on Top cafe, all which evoke a certain feel to them just from their names alone. So incredibly creative. I also loved Tori's two best friends and I am predicting each of their stories may get told in future books this year from Holly Martin.

Oh and I haven't even mentioned the animals in this book, Beauty, Beast and Dobby which are nothing like their namesakes. Dobby is the first we are introduced to, and let's just say he is not typical of his species and is a great little character in his own right. Beast and his girlfriend Beauty make a lovely couple, and produce a mixture of funny moments and awww moments.

From the first page this book captured my heart, and I read it in one sitting, completely absorbed by Holly Martin's excellent writing style and story telling. Once again I am astounded by all the small touches that make you really believe in the couple at the heart of the story. I would without a doubt highly recommend The Holiday Cottage by the Sea.

Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Profile Image for Elaine.
3,270 reviews100 followers
April 12, 2018
This is the first book in a new romcom series by this talented author and, as usual for her books, I loved it. It is definitely one of those stories where I respectfully suggest you grab yourself a copy and read it yourself rather than reading my review of it! It is an emotive page turner story of loss, secrets, community, traditions, romance and new opportunities and I didn’t want to stop reading it till I had reached the end.

The setting and community are brilliantly portrayed and developed, brought to life throughout the story. I really felt as though this is a place I could easily visit and go to meet the superb characters. Mind you, I’m not sure I’d like to meet the meddling matchmaker extraordinaire and future predictor Agatha, who is the aunt of the hero, Aidan, though it could prove to be a laugh!  Not all the characters are human. One of the funniest animal characters is Dobby, though Beast also has his moments… Even the place names are evocative - who could resist popping into The Cherry On Top Café or visiting Sandcastle Bay?

There is plenty of drama throughout the story which takes readers through the whole gamut of emotions. The community events, the harvesting, ‘boat’ race and everything in the story made me feel like I was there, witnessing it all. The dilemmas faced by Tori and Aidan as their attraction pulls them together are brilliantly described, making it easy to relate to them both. I also particularly enjoyed five year old Elliot with his honesty accidentally revealing secrets! I really hope future stories in this series will involve Aidan’s brothers, Leo and James as well as Tori’s friends Isla and Melody. One thing is certain - I can’t wait to read them!

I requested and was lucky enough to be given a copy of this novel, via NetGalley, with no obligation. This is my honest review of the book after choosing to read it.
Profile Image for Frenchorchidea.
363 reviews33 followers
May 22, 2018
I have been reading every single new release from Holly Martin these past 4 years and lately I have been a bit disappointed by her stories and unfortunately I have been disappointed once again. To be fair, I really enjoyed the first half of the book, but then, I started to find the story a bit too long. Nothing really new happens in the book. The same thing goes over and over during the entire book and it's a bit boring in my opinion. I would have preferred to have more events going on. Also I found this book a little too childish in my opinion. But I liked the setting, the characters and the cover is really lovely!
Profile Image for Justkeepreading.
1,777 reviews70 followers
March 29, 2018
I do a little happy dance every time Holly has a new book out. Why because her books always make me smile and leave me feeling happy.

This book is simply no exception and I do not know how you keep churning out such warm and feel good reads.

Tori’s life isn’t quite going to plan. She has lost the love of her life, and her life has taken an unexpected turn. Wanting to get her life back on track. Tori decides to take a holiday at Blossom cottage. Tori is excepting a lovely quite getaway by the sea with her best friend who lives just down the road.

But as what always happens in romantic books. Things don’t go quite to plan. All thanks to gorgeous Aidan Jackson. Who looks after Blossom cottage. But Aidan had been hurt before and the last thing he is looking for is a love interest. But could Aiden and Tori be the medicine they both need?

Tori can’t help but be swept away be the coastal community and the fabulous characters who live there. Tori is starting to think that she could make her great escape to Sandcastle bay and set down some roots there.

Will Tori stay in Sandcastle Bay? And will Tori and Aidan get together? Well you will have to read it and find out.

As always this is a massive hug in book form. I absolutely adored this book and Holly has weaved her magic once again. If you haven’t read anything by Holly before. I seriously suggest that you do and I cannot recommend this book as a starting point enough. You will simply fall in love with this book exactly as I have and you will not be able to put it down once you start reading it. I absolutely loved it. Fabulous work Holly. I envy everyone who is yet to discover how amazing this book is.
Profile Image for Laura.
508 reviews31 followers
May 14, 2018
Holly Martin’s ‘The Holiday Cottage by the Sea’ is about Tori Graham, who moves from the hustle and bustle of London to a sleepy little village by the sea called Sandcastle Bay. As you would often expect from a book of the chick lit genre, Tori has a lot of hang-ups about finding love, and is simply heading away for a holiday, with no intention of finding love. Alas, she meets Aidan and feelings develop, and love blossoms. It’s a lovely easy read with a feel good plot and happy ending, so is great as a stand-alone book. However, if you’ve read any of Holly Martin’s previous books then I would sincerely suggest not to bother. Each of Holly’s books have interchangeable names and places, but otherwise the plots are pretty much identical, in such a way that if you’ve read one of her books then you’ve read them all.
Profile Image for Kaisha (The Writing Garnet).
651 reviews163 followers
April 14, 2018
All reviews can be found on my blog at https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com

What a smile inducing book this is!! Even some of the characters and houses have such pretty names - just take a look at 'Blossom Cottage' and 'Melody Rosewood'!

Personally, I found the theme of the storyline to be a little bit predictable in terms of the various situations which several characters found themselves in, which meant that I wasn't overly surprised by the turn of events later on in the book. That said, Holly Martin has a unique way of telling a story and making her characters stand out and, thankfully, she didn't disappoint at all. Predictable maybe, but the laughs and the vibe of the novel were in a league of their own which for me, made 'The Holiday Cottage by the Sea', stand out above the rest.

Isla's situation was incredibly heartwarming and I couldn't help but be touched at what she chose to do. It takes a bigger person to do what Isla did, but it was very clear that she made the right decision, even though it was probably one of the most emotional decisions she had ever made.

Tori's entrance in Sandcastle Bay had me in hysterics! My first impression of her wasn't a great one, but boy oh boy did she manage to change my mind! I went from thinking she was a jumped up, highly guarded character, to a character who has such a large heart and would do anything for anyone else. Her personality wowed me as the storyline went on, making her one of my most favourite Holly Martin characters. Well......Dobby too, but I'm sure that goes without saying!!

As for the dog names - I snorted!! Brilliant!!

What I love most about the way that Holly Martin writes, is how she manages to create romantic and sexual vibes for her characters without coming across seedy and embarrassing. There are no 'panties' where this author is concerned! Not that I'm saying she goes commando, just to clarify! She just doesn't use the cringy word! I am not a romantic person by any means, but as I read the way in which this author described Tori's relationship, I found myself believing in the romantic elements of this novel one hundred percent. I shan't lie, several scenes got me a little bit hot under the collar, but it worked exceptionally well with the rest of the storyline.

Even though I knew which route the storyline was going to take, it didn't put me off the book at all. I loved reading about such fun characters who made me laugh out loud more than once. Characters who made me feel as though I was catching up with a group of old friends after several years. Holly Martin captured the true essence of love and friendship with her story, thus making me extremely gutted when the book had to end.

What do you do when you click with someone despite knowing that your time together is limited? You do what Holly Martin taught me in 'The Holiday Cottage by the Sea' - you follow your heart and you do not give up, even when the going gets tough!

A truly hilarious read that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, as well as giving you the urge to go berry picking in the middle of the night. Such a heart-warming read - I would be surprised if Elsa's frozen exterior didn't find itself melted after reading this! Simply delightful, the beast got his beauty - I loved this book!
Profile Image for Best Crime Books & More.
1,071 reviews166 followers
March 5, 2019
Holly Martin has never failed to leave me anything sort of ecstatic after reading her books. Having recently taken a bit of a step back from reading and reviewing I have found myself choosing what to read at leisure and in some cases going back over older books. I came across this on my Kindle and assumed I had read it, until I checked and to my horror realised there were in fact two books by Holly Martin I hadn’t read. Now I do recall reading Coming Home to Maple Cottage which is set in the same place (maybe the cause for my confusion). However, as soon as I realised I hadn’t read this I got stick straight in….and I’m so glad I did.

February is traditionally a rubbish month as the weather is normally gloomy so to immerse myself in a fictional world such as this was just what the Doctor ordered. Sandcastle Bay is a great place (I now this as I read the other book) and I actually knew who Tori was which was a bonus. However for the newcomer that makes no difference as we see Tori visit her friends who are sisters Melody and Isla. Tori’s plan is just to spend a couple of weeks there and as part of the package she gets to stay at Blossom Cottage in return from some Berry picking. Sounds simple!

Tori’s journey into the village sets the tone and had me laughing at the way she is chased into a cafe by a turkey. The second best thing about this book was Agatha who had me laughing from the very beginning. So we meet Tori and her friends Isla and Melody both of whom already live in Sandcastle Bay. We also meet other villagers (some of whom readers of the other two books may recognise). Aidan is the person who Tori is renting the cottage from and when she sees how attractive he is, she wonders whether she has bitten off more than she can chew.

Come may say stories like these are predictable, and maybe in some respects they are right. BUT….I would loathe a book like this to throw me a curve ball. I read these sorts of books as a pick me up and to cheer my day. Holly Martin NEVER fails to do that and this book is a prime example of that. Romance, humour, a real feel-good book and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I now intend to scour through my books and ensure I am not missing any more of these hidden gems.
Profile Image for Carla.
5,792 reviews122 followers
March 15, 2019
I really enjoy Holly Martin's trilogy and after reading the first book in this one, I am looking forward to reading more about the friends living in Sandcastle Bay. I actually listened to this book and once I got used to the British accents, I loved the narration. It made me feel part of the story, listening to this group of friends as they moved through their lives and relationships.

Tori Graham, needs a break from her bustling life in London. After the end to a relationship, she sets off to Sandcastle Bay to visit her best friend Melody and her sister. She plans to stay for a few weeks, helping with a fruit harvest in exchange for living in a small cottage. On her first day there, she is told by an eccentric lady that she will find her soulmate in Aiden, a local man, and get married. Tori thinks she is a little crazy, but decides that it may be cool to have a little fun. What she doesn't expect is to meet the mysterious Aidan and find him to be smart, handsome and charming. She also finds out that the crazy woman is his aunt. He is also not looking for a relationship as he has not yet gotten over his fiancee leaving him at the alter. We never know what might happen when that one person walks into your life. Will Aunt Agatha's prediction of happily ever after come true or will Tori and Aiden simply have a little fun before she has to go back to London?

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is exactly what I expect when I read a Holly Martin book. It's sweet, fun, laugh out loud at times, yet emotional. I love the gorgeous setting, wonderful characters, witty banter and great relationships. If you enjoy a great "chick-lit" novel with some dramatic moments such as trying to finish the harvest before the storm, fun moments such as a homemade boat race, laughable moments such as being chased by a turkey who thinks he's a dog, and sweet moments such as those when we meet young Elliot, then you will want to pick up this book and go on a Holiday by the Sea.
Profile Image for Jessica.
254 reviews13 followers
May 15, 2021
After reading a heavier book last week, I wanted something a little lighter & knew I could count on Holly Martin to deliver.

Tori’s looking to fix her broken heart after losing the love of her of her life. She decides to visit her friend Melody in Sandcastle Bay and stays at Blossom Cottage as a fruit picker. She plans on catching up with her friend and embracing everything Sandcastle Bay has to offer. What she didn’t plan on was handsome fruit farmer Aidan - whose also healing from the past- to be so charming. Tori and Aidan begin to fall for each other, but Tori is only here for two weeks. Will a short vacation romance be enough?

It’s happened again, I’ve fallen in love with another book by Holly Martin. I adored this small town romance between Aidan and Tori. I also loved the glimpses of the secondary characters- especially matchmaker Agatha! I’m excited to read the next book in this series!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,067 reviews27 followers
June 13, 2018
I found this book to be an easy read, perfect for the beach or, in my case, the backyard deck! I laughed, cried and felt all the emotions of the characters in the book. My favorite character is Beast. What a great dog! The humans were great a well. Tori's story is both sad and heartwarming. I kept hoping she would make good decisions (no spoiler here!).

This is a wonderful novel for summer. It's one of those that are light yet have real emotions in it. I completely enjoyed reading it.

Thank you to NetGalley Bookouture for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review.
Profile Image for Nessa.
1,510 reviews49 followers
April 3, 2018
Well Holly has done it yet again, she has provided us with another outstanding story which was wonderful, funny and so very heartfelt in places.  My heart has well and truly melted with this delightful story.

Holly just has such a wonderful way with words that just makes her stories truly magical and come alive within your imagination. She also never fails to create such wonderful and entertaining characters within her stories.

I love how the story was told from the perspective of two of the main characters Tori and Aidan, as it just gives so much more to the story and it means that you really do get to know them inside out.

I fell in love with the whole story and even developed a soft spot for Beast, if you want to know who or what Beast is, then you will just have to read the book. I also found Elliot to be completely adorable, and couldn't believe he was only 5 years old given the things that he came out with.

I loved the characters of Leo, James, Isla and Melody and I truly hope that Holly's next books will revolve around them as I'd love to read their individual stories and get to know each of them a lot more.
Profile Image for Jeanie.
714 reviews13 followers
July 15, 2018

Outstanding once again read in one sitting could not put this new book down just love Tori and what an amazing character she is Asian so not to bad himself can't wait for a follow up
Profile Image for Emma Crowley.
833 reviews120 followers
April 13, 2018
Not since I read Holly Martin's Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky, a book I would call one of my all time favourite Christmas reads, have I been this excited about a book from this author. The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is the first in a planned trilogy, The Sandcastle Bay series, and from the moment I started to read just so many good vibes and feelings oozed from the page that I couldn't bare to leave it out of my hands. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the Hope Island series which came between the aforementioned series but it didn't have me as hooked as I was in the story of Tori Graham as she arrives in Sandcastle Bay for a two week working holiday picking heart berries at Orchard Cove. There wasn't one fault I could find with this book and I just got this overwhelming sense that the author loved writing this book and wanted her readers to too. Everything was just perfect, from the cover, to the various characters, the locations and all the little minor details that sometimes I find unnecessary but here they all enhanced the story. Sandcastle Bay seemed like such an idyllic place where you could seek refuge even if every body would know your business considering how small it was. I wished it was a real place as I have done many times with some of Holly's previous settings.

Tori needs the tension heaped upon her shoulders to ease away especially considering she has spent more or less a year and a half locked away in a stop motion animating studio working on a film. She has a deep passion for her job but now needs a rest and to reconnect with her friends. So when best friend Melody Rosewood suggests she come and visit Sandcastle Bay for a holiday how can Tori refuse? Melody had been her flatmate in London and ran a successful jewellery business but the needs of family called her back to her home town and since then the two friends haven't seen much of each other. I could already tell that Melody and her sister Isla would be the focus of the next two books in the series. Whilst I was loving Tori's story I was also reading into the subtle hints and teasers dropped in with regard to the two sisters and I am eager to see how their story lines will develop in the future.

We do get to know both Melody and Isla and I think they are two very selfless people who when tragedy struck and they lost their beloved brother Matthew they stepped up to the plate. Isla is now the guardian of Elliott, Matthew's son, a tough task to take on but she would do anything in a heartbeat for her family. Melody is now Isla's support system but there are two men they have their eye on that could fulfil that role each sister has for each other at the moment. Elliott was such an innocent and provided so many laugh out loud moments in the story with his guilt free observations and quips. I felt for him having lost his dad at such a young age but he was in very good hands who wanted the best for him and his future.

The humour and wit as mentioned above is what makes this book so special apart from the wonderful way the romance element of the story was written. From the moment Tori glimpses the dusky pink thatched cottages with the views of the sea the laughter kicks in as a flock of sheep block the road and she is then chased by Dobby the turkey all the way to the Cherry on Top Café overlooking Sunshine Beach. Here she meets the owner Emily Breakwater, whose family own the fruit farm where she will be working in exchange for accommodation at Blossom Cottage. I loved Beast the dog that 'came' with the cottage, such a lovely inclusion with his own little story line too that in fact helped unite others. Emily's brother Aidan Jackson runs the farm as his brothers Parker and Leo have other occupations within the town.

Admittedly, there were a lot of introductions made in the first few chapters and normally I would find this too much too soon and would become confused making connections and keeping things straight in my head. In this case the opposite turned out to be true as I really just couldn't get enough of everything, I quickly built up a clear picture of Sandcastle Bay in my head and of the various residents and their little quirks. One thing Holly Martin sure has a knack for is having brilliant names for places in her books and also the occupations her characters have. Here she excelled herself especially when it came to the legend of the heart berry and the heart berry love festival. It was so ingenious and incredibly romantic. So what if some people thought it was a load of old rubbish where as others set so much store by it. Tori herself would have been forgiven for some slight optimism in relation to the legend that the man who first reached the island in the middle of the River Star on race day in his home made boat and received the first slice of heart berry cake would then profess his underlying love for a woman by giving her said cake. It brings luck to anyone who eats eat. It's all a bit of fun really but so romantic behind it all.

Tori was a person who was exhausted both physically and emotionally when she reaches Sandcastle Bay and initially I thought it was down to having worked so hard in recent months. But as the story progresses and Tori settles in and reconnects with Melody and Isla and makes new friends too especially Aidan it's clear she has been deeply affected by the loss of Matthew. Guilt is eating her up and she declares to herself that love is no longer an option for her. I could understand where she was coming from as connections and reasons became apparent but I thought the situation was out of her hands and that she shouldn't be forever weighed down by things left unsaid.

Fate had a different road in sight for Tori and I fervently hoped she could throw off the shackles she had surrounded herself with. Agatha, the aunt of Emily, Adrian, Leo and Parker was a stand out character and she thinks fate and her predictions are always correct. I thinks she even engineers things just to make her assumptions come true. She was such a brilliant character who came across as a bit batty but beneath it all she was very very clever. She had me in stitches countless times for her interference but it is all done with good intentions at the centre of her plotting. Her idea of the tattoo was inspiring but oh so mischievous.

The overall outcome was clear to see right from the beginning but that doesn't matter at all. You know that the chemistry and banter shared between Tori and Aidan when they first meet is going to lead to something more and you want this to be the case. It doesn't matter in the slightest that this is the case because really it's more about the journey as to how they reach that point. How can they push things in their pasts aside and reform opinions they may have made with regard to love and relationships? Tori was beginning to suffocate in grief and guilt and sh e wouldn't give into this new feelings because she felt it was all wrong to do so. But this didn't sit well with me and I thought she should have felt able to go with what her heart was saying and not be lead by things in the past.

Both Aidan and Tori had so much to give each other and I wanted to see happiness for them but god I loved seeing how they went about this. Aidan was just drop dead gorgeous but had a personality to match. Normally the male lead in books can be stand offish and never want to express opinions or feelings or just generally they beat around the bush too much and don't expressly say what they think directly to the girl. Here Aidan wanted to take a risk on love and was doing his best to work his magic and charm on Tori. I loved how they bonded at night time whilst picking the berries and when they did give into temptation it showed how Holly Martin can certainly write a steamy scene but it never ventures down the seedy route. Instead it felt real and genuine and had you rooting and saying at last. I thought the pair were so in tune with each other and were meant to be but still fear and doubt always nags away at Tori. Things aren't all smooth sailing though and as disaster needs to be averted in relation to the heart berry harvest it shows how a community can pull together and how people will always help the one they love in times of need.

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea was a joy to read from start to finish. Tori and Aidan's story captured my heart and gave me all those warm, good feelings I want from a book featuring romance. The boy meets girl story has been told countless times before but Holly Martin provides such a refreshing, innovative, exciting voice to the time old theme and makes you believe and hope that true love is out there for everybody to find. This was a brilliant, dynamic story where I felt instantly at home and Sandcastle Bay provided a perfect package of a story in which you could readily loose yourself in its embrace for several hours. The Cottage on Sunshine Beach arrives in June and will follow Melody's story as she searches for the one thing missing in her life and I will certainly be there to journey with her as she seeks it.
Profile Image for Jezabell Girl.
1,074 reviews69 followers
October 30, 2020
Aidan has stolen my heart ❤️

Holly’s books are endearing, sentimental, witty, heartwarming and nostalgic, just what every romance reader is looking for!

This story, as with all of Holly’s books, meanders around seaside village life on the south coast of England and goes about capturing the many colourful residents that reside there. These colourful locals include a local elderly self-proclaimed psychic, Agatha, whose her loveably quirky and beguiling ways will leave you in hoots; Dobby, a turkey who thinks like a dog; and Beauty and Beast, two wild dogs living in the village and friends of Dobby’s and the locals. Add to the mix the obligatory helping of romance between two characters needing to learn to trust their hearts and you have the perfect combination for a summer romance.

I knew from the outset that I would once again fall in love with the characters and Aidan stole my heart right from the very beginning. Aidan is one of three brothers, all of whom are single and unknowingly looking for love. Add in two sisters, and one best friend and you’ve got a series crying out to be read.

Set in Sandcastle Bay, readers are once again treated to a story about a village with a predilection for romance. Tori is holidaying with her friend Melody and whilst she is in Sandcastle Bay she has agreed to work for her lodgings by picking the village’s Heartberry crop. Little does she know, is the man that Agatha predicts she will marry is none other than her landlord and boss, Aidan Jackson. Despite their less than conventional introduction, it is clear that the duo has instant chemistry and a shared sense of humour. The only problem is that both Aidan and Tori are not looking for love or a relationship, or are they?

This was a highly entertaining story. My only minor niggle was that I felt that the usual helping of village sights and sounds was missing and this left me feeling slightly estranged from the storyline setting, something that doesn’t usually happen with Holly’s books. That said, I did get more character engagement and this has set the scene nicely for the next book in the series.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author/publisher via Netgalley prior to release in return for an honest and unbiased review.


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Profile Image for Lauren Clark.
125 reviews
March 15, 2021
Wow.. just wow!!
I didn't want it to end. I laughed, smiled and cried with that book and I have never given THAT much emotion to a story before.
Please please please do another Tori and Aiden book, I could read about them forever.
The connection, the love, i felt everything, I was so drawn in and I really felt like I was there watching them not cheering from my Sofa

Tori leaves London for a 2 week holiday in Sandcastle Bay to see her best friends Melody and Isla Rosewood.
The minute you step into Sandcastle Bay your already in love. The way its described, the laughs, the characters, you just want to move there!

The Jackson Family are by far a crazy yet loveable family. I particularly loved Aunt Agatha and her crazy ways.. Emily is such a kind but fearless woman and the Jackson brothers... well who couldn't fall for their charm.
Add in Melody, Isla and Elliott and you have an amazing mix of characters. By far my favourite of all time.

Tori and Aiden have both been hurt before and never want to experience that again. They are sworn of love and relationships but can't deny the connection between them. Deciding to have some fun while Tori is there, they realise that the connection is deeper than casual fun. But with them both too stubborn to admit that to the other one, there are a lot of crossed wires along the way to getting their happy ever after..

A huge praise to Holly Martin for the best book I have ever read and for taking my emotions to places I didn't think a book could.. I'm sad there isn't another book continuing their story as main characters but I hope they come up again in the next 2 stories.

I'm now moving into Melody and Jamie's story and I hope it moves me as much as this did..
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steph Lawrence.
384 reviews
July 2, 2020
Such a lovely, heartwarming book.
The publisher’s description of ‘An utterly gorgeous feel good romantic comedy’ is spot on….truly gorgeous.
This story has all you want and need in a modern romantic novel. A picture-perfect setting, a man and a woman. A dog and a turkey who thinks it’s a dog.
I imagined I was there in the small English seaside town of Sandcastle Bay, and the views were fantastic in my head.
Tori and Aidan are really drawn to each other. The feelings are there instantly but they try to play it down to themselves and everyone else. I loved the ‘elbow’ conversations, they had me really chuckling.
The legend of the heartberry fruit was lovely, and picking fruit by moonlight was a delight. Some of the locals believed the legend, and it was such fun making boats to race across the river to the island to claim the heartberry. The story isn’t just about Tori and Aidan, but also his brothers and her old friends and some of the villagers.
I thoroughly recommend this book, a perfect light-hearted getaway.
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the review copy in which I give my honest opinion.
Find my reviews at https://steflozbookblog.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Donna Maguire.
4,331 reviews102 followers
May 30, 2018

I am a massive fan of this author's works, I haven't been disappointed yet and eagerly await the next release so I was delighted when I saw that this book was out now!!

This is such a gorgeous book to read - I loved the cover, the story, the characters and the end - in fact there was nothing or about the book I did not enjoy!!

Holly writes books set in the most delightful locations and I would love to visit them - another five star read - I loved it and it is very highly recommended!!
138 reviews2 followers
April 22, 2018
A nice book, but I do not feel it’s one of Holly’s best, I really liked the characters but I did not feel there was much of a storyline. It won’t put me off buying her next one though.
Profile Image for Agi.
1,539 reviews86 followers
April 12, 2018

It's been too long since I've read Holly Martin's book and this is why I was that excited to start reading "The Holiday Cottage at the Sea", and really guys, I haven't realised how much I've missed Holly's gorgeous, warm writing and her hilarious characters. So whatever you do, you just have to find time for this brilliant novel - it made me smile so much and it made me feel better. Yes, with Holly's book you know where you're heading to and yes, I'd love Holly to surprise us with one huge unpredictable twist, but her books have so many other merits that even the mandatory happy ever after is not something that'll put me off reading her novels.

This book captured me immediately and Holly Martin's storytelling is vivid, evocative and absorbing. I am always admiring the fact how easily she adds a word or two that immediately change the mood, this timing is perfect, and the dialogues were full of brilliant one - liners. She has a great hand for all kind of small touches that just make the story complete. It is also full of perfectly hilarious moments, so don't be surprised when you suddenly start laughing out loud or spilling whatever you have to drink in your hand all over the table - be warned, and it starts already at the beginning with Dobby the turkey. Ha - I have you intrigued there, right?

The banter between the characters, especially Aidan and Tori, was brilliant - so effortless and so hilarious! The one thing that bothered me though was the length of their dialogues, they were all, the other characters as well, incredibly chatty, and often their statements took one page or even more, so eloquent they were, and sometimes I just wanted to tell them to finally get to the point. Sure, it's nice when you can so beautifully pass your thoughts and feelings, however it doesn't happen so often when you're speaking, right? Nevertheless, I immediately warmed to Tori, she was instantly likeable and believable, and I loved her passion to her job. I loved to accompany her on her journey to rediscover herself. Also Aidan, oh my *sigh* *going gooey*, so brilliantly drawn and believable, and he was so utterly perfect, yet not too wishy - washy or too meh.
Agatha was very unforgettable character, guys, and often such characters annoy me awfully but she was just spot on, with her ideas and predictions. Also, Leo, James, Isla and Melody - they were all immediately likeable and realistic.

Holly Martin can, no matter what, always brilliantly capture the chemistry between the main characters. It's always sparking, sizzling and vivid and I love this, because reading so many books you get all kinds of chemistry, and it doesn't always happen that it's so perfectly captured and visible. Yes, there came a moment that I wanted to bang Tori and Aiden's head together but still, it didn't mean that the chemistry was lost, oh no, it was there all the time and it was simply marvellous.

So altogether, "The Holiday Cottage at the Sea" was sexy and incredibly romantic and of course, as usual, Holly Martin has set her story in the most beautiful place ever. This tale was full of sunshine, gorgeous places, characters to die for. It was a story about grief, sense of guilt, friendship, close community, romance, love and heartberries - yes, heartberries. A really wonderful book with many hidden messages about second chances and trust - highly recommended!

Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
256 reviews6 followers
April 2, 2018
Romance at its best...
I did a little dance when i realised Holly had another book out and i couldnt be happier reading it.
It so full of romance one could burst. The quirky characters are one not to be messed with....
Tori needs a rest and heads over to sandcastle bay to help be a fruit picker for the season. The quirky Aunt thinks shell be the next girl to fall in love with Aidan jackson, her nephew. But noone believes the crazy lady especially Aidan (the fruit farmer) and Tori, the animator. Upon getting settled in, Agatha gives tori a helping hand at what she believs maybe needed for a first date.... I laughed so hard at it i couldnt stop reading, this woman is crazy.... but in a fun way. Its not a proper date, its Aidian offering her a nice meal in thanks for helping out. Shes not a complete stranger because her best friend and everyone is related somehow so they arent completly strangers.

There are quirky animals to boost the setting on sandcastle bay alone with Beauty and Beast, the stray dogs and they bring some drama along with some cute moments to make us all go weak at the knees. Theres also Dobby, if anyone can bring a mad Turkey into a story its Holly Martin, we also have a crazy fruit bat so its not without animals.

Aidan is one s exy fruit farmer, Tori has certainly noticed him but shes not wanting a relationship and neither is Aidan as theyve both been hurt previously and dont want this.... but what you want and what you get are not the same. The sexual tension is eye watering and there one liners or flirting is funny..... "i want to lick him from his neck to his knees" "I'll give you 6.5 for your your elbows" oh it was sexual chemistry all right. They both relaised someone will get hurt as its only temporary.

Theres a festival, a boat race all in need to win the slice of cake. Not any cake though, its a special slice of heartberrie cake that if eaten and given to the love of your life, you will be in love forever.... its existed and carries on as a tradition in the village.

Tori has some fun but not withour her wondering what ifs, she cant make a relstionship without someone getting hurt..... its really is Holly Martin at her best. I loved it and i couldnt put it down.
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