All Colden Hayes wanted was to spend Christmas by herself in a cottage by the sea where the cheer of the holiday season couldn’t reach her. Everything was going according to plan until the cottage she rented turned out not to exist and she ends up snowed in at a charming inn that happens to be owned by the family of her most-hated coworker, Laura Sterling. Talk about bad luck.
Colden ends up saying yes to Laura’s mother when she insists on giving her a room. It’s only for a night, but she somehow finds herself agreeing to spend Christmas with the Sterlings as well. She blamed the festive atmosphere that she couldn’t seem to escape. Maybe there’s something in the mistletoe?
Against her will, Colden finds herself being sucked into the comfort and joy of the season, even though she can’t seem to escape Laura, who is literally everywhere Colden is, like she’s doing it on purpose. Things get even worse when they’re forced to share a bed when there’s a fire at a local farm and the inn offers all the available rooms to the family.
Colden finally realizes there’s a thin line between annoyance and attraction, and she and Laura definitely crossed it. She’s also pretty sure that Laura’s mother is shipping them hard and so is the rest of her family, right down to her great-grandmother whose main companion is a two-hundred-pound pig named Minnie.
Will the magic of the holiday season melt Colden’s heart? Or will she go back to Boston alone, with only the memories to keep her warm?
Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today/Internationally Best Selling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She's a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, former cheerleader, and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, eating brunch in bed, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.
‘Christmas Inn Maine’ was a good surprise for me. I went in with low expectations and was very pleasantly surprised.
It’s a rivals-to-lovers Christmas novella about Colden, who is a non-binary/demigirl. She is also a hilarious sarcastic grump. Colden is wanting to enjoy her two-week Christmas vacation when she finds out the cottage she rented doesn’t exist. She’s then forced to stop at an inn for an overnight stay and happens to run into her annoying co-worker, Laura.
Laura’s family owns the inn and they convince her to stay for a while and she does so reluctantly. Laura and Colden don’t like each other and their forced proximity doesn’t help with that very much. Laura’s family, the Sterlings, are really into Christmas and have different activities set up every night. Colden very reluctantly lets herself become involved with said activities and different family members she meets.
I really loved the change Colden goes through. She’s a loner and has always kept to herself so she takes a while to warm up to the holiday season and those around her. I’m not sure I would have done half as well around that much Christmas cheer and that much family myself. And I’m not as much of a grump or as much of a loner as Colden is.
The romance is really sweet between Laura and Colden. They seem to really have a dislike for each other. Over time they realize they made a lot of assumptions about each other and as they get to know each other, their annoyance turns into attraction. Just a warning – anyone who doesn’t want some sex with your Christmas story, this may not be for you.
This is a different kind of Christmas story, it isn’t over the top cheerful and happy, even with all of the Christmas shenanigans. It made for a good change of pace that still left me smiling at the end of the story.
Colden is a supergrump and I love her. She’s been alone for a long time, so it’s understandable why she’s so guarded. I loved seeing her warm up to all the Sterlings, especially how she figures out that she might be attracted to Laura. Colden has a big emotional journey and I found it thoroughly satisfying.
We don’t get to see as much into who Laura is as a person, since this is Colden’s book, and I was okay with that. Her main thing is that she’s forging a path for herself that’s different from what her family wants for her and I loved that Laura is firm about her boundaries with them while still showing tremendous care for her family. I also appreciated that even when she and Colden don’t get along, she does regular pronoun check-ins with Colden to make sure she’s using the right ones.
Colden is non-binary and identifies as a demigirl and uses both she/her and they/them pronouns depending on their feelings and moods. Colden is a sour, sarcastic, closed off grumpy-butt! But I kinda love their sarcastic witty dark humour and monologues in the story. But it's clear they are also kinda clueless and lonely in life. Colden makes a lot of unfair assumptions and is also missing out on a lot of life by being such a judgemental loner.
Laura is her dazzling co-worker. Colden is constantly talking about how 'perfect' Laura is, her hair, her work ethic etc. Laura just disgusts Colden. lol. So when Colden ends up stuck at Laura's family Inn for the holidays, they want nothing more than for the earth to just swallow them up! Because even her family and the family run inn, is perfect! How sickening!! lol!
But Colden soon gets into the holiday spirit, and finds a connection with Laura that goes beyond annoyance at her perfection, as they learn to move beyond bitterness and jealousy and resentment.... It's actually very cute, and also saucy at times!
A very different holiday read, but one I thoroughly enjoyed! Highly Recommend!
I was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did! Maybe because I identify with Colden’s bah humbug attitude. Figured I’d slip in a Christmas in July read since this was on sale recently and I’m so glad I did. :)
Co-workers to lovers. Family overload. Strong chemistry. Laughter. Pet pig. Oozing Christmas spirit and festivities. Chelsea Cameron did a great job bringing out the Christmas spirit and romance in this book. I will be revisiting this book yearly.
I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. I loved Colden, I loved the Sterling’s, and I adored Laura. The only holiday stuff I do is read Holiday romances, I’m not much for the over the top holiday spirit and extravaganza BUT the Sterling’s got me hooked. I would like to read more about them, in Boston, or Maine, or wherever, I just want more.
What happens when your holiday plans go south and you end up with a co-worker you hate? There is a fine line between love and hate and the question is, will they cross this line? I loved how the main characters grow to be more themselves and it was great watching them discover new characteristics of each other. Another thing that I really appreciated in this story, was reading about other gender identities than the ones you usually read in romance, namely a non-binary character. Christmas Inn Maine was a pleasant surprise. It has a very enjoyable storyline and with a supporting cast as intriguing as Colden and Laura. I highly recommend it.
Gender feels, a pig, and plenty of snacks. What's not to love?
I actually really enjoyed this, but at the same time, I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would. I just feel like the plot could have done with a little more direction. I also found a few inconsistencies in the text that took me out of the story a little.
Rep: non-binary/demigirl MC, lesbian love interest, queer side character, trans side character, autistic side character
Going in with no expectations - this was a very cute little holiday book! F/X christmas romance between two coworkers, a demi girl and woman who both end up at an inn together.
There's a lot of cute elements in this: snowed in, only one bed, some unrequited love, meddling but not overbearing family members, a pet pig, and reading together in comfortable silence.
There's also so many orgasms, including a strap on and vibrator, and I loved that for them.
I really enjoyed including the trans lead, and how the heroine would check in with them each day to check what pronouns to use. I also appreciated that there was a little bit of trans discussion, while also not feeling preachy or like the lead's only personality aspect was being a demi girl. It was a good balance.
However, this plot of them stuck together is held on by a thread, and there's a bit of suspension of disbelief to just go along with it. We like seeing them spend time together at the inn. The "rivals" to lovers aspect was also luke-warm, which I appreciated. There wasn't much angst in this, and also no end of book conflict!
The narration on this audiobook was a 2 star at most - I'm adding Katherine Schooler to my DNL list.
Really enjoyed this - and didn't follow Colden's advise: don't start a new book within an hour of going to bed - it did indeed bite me on the ass! Quite short, very much in the now & I would have loved to hear more about their lives - but, hey, thank you. A class act.
Holy moly this was soooooooo Christmassy. Like overwhelmingly so. Utterly incomprehensible amounts of cookies were consumed. There was sledding, wreath-making, present-buying, Christmas carols played on the piano, Christmas charades, a Christmas pajama fashion show, decorating the afore-mentioned cookies... thank god for the occasional charcuterie plate the main characters shared between bouts of sex.
All this with a main character who had intended to spend two weeks of holiday alone in an inn reading, drinking hot chocolate, and gazing out at snow. To be honest, a big part of me wished I was reading THAT instead. Especially because I read Colden as neurodivergent and related to them strongly, and the sheer amount of peopling they had to do at the Sterling Inn was incredibly uncomfortable to me. It made sense that it wasn't actually good for Colden to be so withdrawn and holding back from loving relationships, but this felt like waaaay in the opposite extreme.
The banter between the characters was great though. And I did keep reading while grumping about it endlessly to my roommate, so I think something about it did work for me in the end XD
Sweet and adorable!! Loved the work enemies to lovers dynamic and the setting of the family Inn. The MC is non-binary, and it was a lovely representation of someone who uses she/they pronouns. I’m SO glad there wasn’t an unnecessary third-act misunderstanding, and instead they were just, happy? Also I actually enjoyed the lead up to them getting together more than when they were together haha!! Too much liberal use of the word ‘baby’ haha! A great queer Christmas romance!!!
An own voices demi-girl romance that is on the low angst side. It was such a perfect pre-holiday book to get me in Christmas mood. The main was incredibly relatable with their mild cynicism and obliviousness. There were lots of open and healthy conversations about sex and feelings. In addition, the romance had great chemisty with a gentle rivals to lovers vibe that fit perfectly with the length of the novel.
trigger warnings: financial stress, cancer, death of parent, sexual content, alcohol
Chelsea M Cameron books are always a hit of serotonin. They're short and sweet and smutty. The emotional progress was a little haphazard but I've come to love that as a Chelsea M Cameron quirk so I kinda anticipate and appreciate it now. Really cute Christmas read.
I usually can't stand any kind of cliché in books, but this one was so amazingly cliché it was like the author had a contest with every single Disney/Christmas movie I've ever watched. And it worked. I loved the main characters, especially the way they acknowledge the fact that their story is extremely cliché and ridiculous. The story is told from Colden's point of view, and reading about her feelings towards her gender was interesting and relatable. Colden might actually be my new favourite character ever. Who doesn't like a grumpy, bookworm demigirl?
There were parts of this book that were totally adorable. But so many parts made absolutely no sense. The main character identified as non-binary and used both she and they pronouns. Great! But literally halfway through the book they tell someone they identify as trans. And then it’s never mentioned again. It made no sense. There were other parts that also felt totally out of left field that really took away from the story (I won’t mention specifics to avoid spoilers)
Additionally I struggled with the authors writing style. It was very chopped with abrupt sentence structures. Not my favorite.
The idea was cute but go in with low expectations on writing style and random things that happen that make absolutely zero sense in the story.
I actually read this when it first came out, it's a habit of buying anything gay that Chelsea releases. (Anything gay). I reread it again in the last week because it really is such a quick and easy read. As much as there was friction between the main pair, (a friction that I honestly don't know why existed in the first place because it didn't really delve into that too much) it wasn't really an angsty book.
I liked the whole family vibe of the book. It really captured what it was like to be in such a big family unit. The pressures of the family business, Laura paving her own path outside of the business, the love, the bickering. The Christmas traditions! MINNIE THE PIG. It was all wholesome. I'd read a version of the book from her point of view just to see more of that family dynamic. That being said, I liked the POV of Coldon. It was important for us to see their point of view, from a person who wanted nothing more than to be by themself and read. Which sounded like a pretty nice Christmas plan to me but how it turned out was better.
Another thing that I loved was the casual pronoun sticker Coldon wore and the fact that the other characters respected it. It was very casual and normal.
The only issue I noticed was, as much as I liked the main pairing . . . I didn't like them together? I liked them as individuals. Their own character arcs were interesting. I was invested. But their relationship arc didn't quite hit the spot for me for some reason. Their conversations were repeated or it seemed that way at least. And the conversations they did have weren't as rememberable as conversations between the other vibrant characters.
I'd reread a third time but not necessarily for the romance and would recommend this for other people to read if you want a quick and easy read with cute Christmas vibes.
I wanted to rate this book higher, but there were a few things that prevented me from doing so. First with the good points of the book. I loved the story itself, how much at the Christmas holiday it was, how much family love was shown. The story built well and I enjoyed the characters and the overall storyline. So those are all things that make the story worth reading.
The negatives I saw had more to do with some of the language used in the story and the narration of the audiobook. If you are thinking of getting this on audiobook, just don't. The narration is really bad and it takes the listener away from the story...because...of...how...staccato...the...author...reads...things. OMG, it is bad. I plan on getting a copy of the book and reading it instead of listening to it to see if it gives me a better feeling of it. I believe it will.
The author also uses some language in the sex scenes that I typically don't see with a lesbian author. There is nothing wrong with the language, it was just unusual. Instead of "breasts", the author uses "boobs", which is more what I have read from a male author in MF romances. She also uses the phrase "my junk" a few times. I'm not sure I've ever heard a woman call their sexual organs "junk" before. Just a bit jarring when you are used to reading WLW romances that are much more sensual and descriptive.
I will give the print book another chance just to see if it sits better with me than the audio did.
This was a great Christmas read! Colden was the equivalent of the Grinch, wanting to spend her Christmas alone in a cabin in Maine. But when the cabin she was promised is nowhere to be found she stumbles upon an inn. She decides to stay there for the night while she thinks over what to do about her no cabin situation. But suddenly she discovers the inn is run by her work nemesis’ family. Laura and Colden don’t really get along but as Colden becomes stuck at the inn for the duration of Christmas she/they decide to make the most of it. A sudden friendship blooms between she and Laura. Soon enough sparks fly, love follows and a HEA. The story was really sweet with steamy love scenes. The Sterlings were a great family to want to spend Christmas with. I enjoyed these characters so much I hope Chelsea creates another book with one of these cool characters (maybe Michelle) finding their own HEA.
This is a Hallmark Christmas movie of a book. Colden's cottage rental plans fall through leaving them stranded in Maine at their much loathed co-worker's family inn.
There's a whole lot of accepting family (including a trans uncle and definitely some other lesbian/bi characters) all on site working at the family business. As time goes by, Colden finds theirself more and more intertwined with the family and her maaaaybe not so loathsome coworker Laura.
There's a comic relief pig, car trouble, one-bed, plenty of snow, mistletoe. There is little tension and almost none of it is related to gender identity or sexual orientation (Colden uses her/them and sometimes has feelings about how they fit).
But don't let all that adorable sweetness get you thinking this will end with a chaste smooch or some fade to black. Oh no. There is plenty of on page scorching stuff, so have at it.
A thoroughly pleasant Christmas book when all you want is nice happy cozy holiday things.
Colden (she/they: ask or see the pronoun pin) loves spending the holidays alone and hates Christmas after losing her family. When the cottage she rented turned out not to be real she finds like magic an inn where she gets stuck for the night because of the weather. Turns out that it's owned by the family of her work enemy Laura. Laura's family is eccentric and too good to be true, paying everything for Colden so she can have a good Christmas.
Laura and Colden is one of misunderstanding the other's initial feelings (as the reader obviously guesses given how Laura's family act) but quickly turns into sex and then romance (why do they say I love you do fast omg you know that's my pet peeve).
The Sterling are the perfect rich family with like one flaw of not wanting to let their daughter leave. Other than that they're absolutely perfect all the time and this feels unrealistic but I guess true to the Christmas romcom genre.
If you want to read a book that showcases the magic of Christmas, look no further. I really enjoyed this nonbinary/female romance between Colden and Laura. Colden is a loner (due to tragic familial circumstances) and prefers to spend the holidays alone. A mix-up with her holiday rental property and an impending snow storm force her to spend the night at a quaint inn in rural Maine. Unbeknownst to her the Inn is owned by her co-worker's family. (The co-worker who is also her arch-nemesis) What follows is a sweet story about how love and family can help even the most broken of hearts heal a bit and make them open to receiving friendship, love, and acceptance.
I really liked Laura's extended family. What a cast of characters. I'd love to see more of them in future books!
My small complaint that drops my rating is that I think the book could have had better proofreading.
Another fun fluff-fest from Chelsea M. Cameron! I planned to read a bunch of fluffy Christmas romances this year and sadly didn't have enough time, but I did manage to squeeze this one in and I'm so happy it is. I feel like Chelsea is the perfect holiday writer since their books are always fluffy, low-conflict and fun, and this one had the cosiest vibes. It's also the first (?) fiction book I've read with a non-binary MC (unless something is slipping my mind) and I enjoyed it immensely. Would definitely recommend if you're up for a little last-minute holiday joy to tide you over till next year.
FULL of Christmas tropes sounds like it would be my catnip! Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the plot (yay Christmas! Yay tropes!) and setting, the writing style is not for me and detracted from my enjoyment. It's very "this happened, and then that happened" and it felt...unpolished? IDK. It didn't work for me.
There are also a number of plot incongruities that are all individually minor, but collectively (along with ) they were enough of a drag on my attention that I had to force myself to finish it before the library due date, even though it's quite short.
Is there such a thing as too much Christmas vibe? The Grinch in me would like to agree - but after reading this book he is buried under several Christmas trees, mistletoes and tons of cookies.
One of the leads, Colden, is a demigirl alternating how she or they want(s) to be perceived on a daily bases. I would have liked to learn more about what this means for her/them, but unfortunately the book is lacking in this aspect.
Still, this is a feel good romance which is so adorable sweet, that I probably gained 2kg while reading it. I will definitely put it on the shelf with books to read on one of those days, when I need something to lift my mood.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable sapphic romance. I really appreciated how there was little to no tension involved, as this added to the cosy and Christmassy vibes the book already had. The relationship between Colden and Laura evolved very organically which made the whole thing believable. I liked that Colden was a demigirl, and also a massive bookworm. Also, including Minnie the pig was a stroke of genius. The reason that this book is 4 and not 5 stars is because the writing style was a little sloppy, like poorly-written fanfiction at times. I could mostly see beyond this but the book could have benefitted from a proper edit.