Reviews, probably some ramblings. I'm, uh, new on this site. Bear with me.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Also, this review originally appeared on Hot Stuff for Cool People.
It’s hard to know what to say about this book. On one hand, it’s a relatively light romance, and it delivers everything promised within that plot line. But I did kind of have mixed feelings on this.
First, it’s a very sweet, cute, fun book. In complete honesty, I did really enjoy it, and I think it’s worth reading and buying, simply because it’s so enjoyable. I can imagine reading or re‐reading this during the holiday season, when things get a little stressful and I just need something to transport me for a while. This book’s going to be perfect for that.
Also, since this is from Riptide Publishing, I automatically expected a high level of quality, and I got that. Riptide is just really, really good at what they do. I think I can say that they’re at the top of their game, because I read a ton of books in this genre, and a lot of publishing companies that publish this stuff simply don’t take the care and time to publish the quality material that Riptide does. Riptide chooses authors who actually have a working knowledge of how to write technically sound books (which doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but it’s kind of amazing how many publishers don’t feel this is a necessary quality) and they have excellent editors. At least, it seems they do. So this was neat and clean and well‐written from a technical standpoint. Just very polished, and I appreciated that.
It was, overall, just a really enjoyable read. That said, however, I did have some problems with this. This is a romance‐ one of our main characters is Cole, who’s just been dumped by his boyfriend, right before Christmas. The other, our love interest, is Owen, a bar owner who’s going through some family troubles. The two kind of fall together and a romance starts, although they’re both sure that it’s more of a casual fling than anything serious. There are a lot of fun moments between the characters‐ some holiday adventures, and some interesting scenes‐ for example, the pair goes to a brewery together, and I thought that was a cool idea. And the pair really does take some time to think about what they want out of their budding relationship, and that was nicely done, too.
The problem I had was, I never really got a feel for the characters. And because of that, or maybe in conjunction with that, I never really got a feel for the romance. There seemed to be a lot of telling and not so much showing. Like, as the reader, we know that Cole’s depressed‐ he just got dumped, of course he’s depressed‐ but the author seemed to want to make him really, really depressed, to show why he was so afraid to start another relationship. Unfortunately, she does this by telling us that his job is hard and that he’s had several other failed relationships. But we never really see any of this happen, so it felt kind of separate, and it didn’t really do anything for my views on Cole.
In the same vein, whenever Cole and Owen have a romantic moment, the author describes how perfect the two are together. But it’s all telling‐ ’Look, they fit! They’re perfect for each other!’ And maybe they are, but as the reader, the only proof we have of that is what the author tells us. We never see very much reason for them being so excellent for each other. It seemed to me to be a lot of… proximity. They’re both lonely and stressed and they fall together and fall in love. Which can work, don’t get me wrong. It just didn’t work for me here because there’s nothing to back it up. There’s nothing to prove that they fall together and find they really do work well together. We’re simply told they do.
I also found the dialogue to be a bit stiff and formal in places. But that’s nitpicking.
Overall, I guess I just wanted a little something more to grab onto here. The author keeps insisting that this isn’t a rebound romance or a fling, but at the end of the book, I didn’t really buy that it wasn’t. And I wanted to buy into it. Because otherwise, this is fun and exciting and sweet and just really a lovely thing to read. And I really did enjoy it. I just wished there had been a little something more.