Review of ‘On the fly’ by PJ Trebelhorn.

Lana Caruso is a concert violinist with a Chicago orchestra who’s granted a 6 month leave of absence to take care of her father’s pizzeria in Kingsville, Pennsylvania. When she meets ice hockey player and gold-medal-winning Olympian Courtney Abbott they both feel an undeniable chemistry, but they both know that Lana’s stay is only temporary and nothing serious will come from it. or will it?

This is a slow-burn romance with some scenes of ice hockey on the side.
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Review of ‘McCall’ by Patricia Evans Jordan.

This is a debut novel by Patricia Evans Jordan, book one of her ‘Passport to love’ series. Sara Brighton is a chef based in Savannah, Georgia. After her restaurant is destroyed by a fire, she decides to start again in the small town of McCall, Idaho. There she meets Captain Sam Draper, the Lake Patrol chief. Their attraction is undeniable but Sara is planning to build a modern restaurant in Sam’s late father’s traditional diner which brings her up sad memories and unresolved issues. Will they be able to go past their conflict and build a strong relationship?

This is a slow-burn romance set in a small town with a stunning landscape which the author describes beautifully. ‘McCall’ follows a stereotypical butch-femme dynamic, knight in shining armour and damsel in distress couple; a dark, tall and handsome masculine woman with a blonde feminine southern-belle. This sharp distinction in the characters contrasts with the choice of their names. A rule of naming characters in fiction says that the names should be dissimilar. Unfortunately, in this case, I often found myself backtracking trying to tell apart the too similar names of Sara and Sam which was distracting.

The main characters’ relationship revolves a great deal around food. This romance is a culinary journey in which Sam and Sara build their identities through food and find each other in the process. There is a tension between modern and traditional cuisine that Ms. Jordan describes well. In my opinion, this is where the characters’ chemistry is strong and the book thrives. Having said that, I found that some scenes were a bit unrealistic and parts of the subplot – specially the planning of Sara’s restaurant – seemed delivered in a rush and as an afterthought near the end. Additionally, the main conflict didn’t have enough strength to build proper tension. However, the romance itself, the leads’ chemistry and the intimate scenes were convincing.

Overall, a good debut novel for those who enjoy a butch-femme romance and lots of food references. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Take your time’ by V.K. Powell.

This book is part of the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series by three different authors: ‘Take my hand’ by Missouri Vaun, ‘Take a chance’ by D. Jackson Leigh and ‘Take your time’ by V.K. Powell. This series follows the lives of three friends: Clay, Trip and Grace in the small town of Pine Cone, Georgia.

There are series written by an author that usually need to be read in chronological order, series of standalone novels by different authors under a common theme, and the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series which is a bit peculiar. In this series the three different authors decided to create three romances (one in each book) but with the three stories overlapping. For example, if the three friends share a scene, it will appear in all three books but with a different point of view. D. Jackson Leigh says in her acknowledgements that it was arduous to write. Well, sometimes it’s also arduous to read. I personally found some issues, one is that after reading the first book (whichever the order) the reader has sometimes a sense of deja vu, a feeling of having read that before because… they read it in the previous book. It works fine in some scenes as it gives other characters’ perspectives but in other cases it is tedious. Also, some events that overlap in the books give information that act as spoilers for the other books’ stories which is a bit annoying. Finally, I found that there are a number of unresolved secondary plots which are main plots in the other books, so in order to grasp the full story, you need to read all the series. So I guess readers can rate each book separately but also the series as a whole. Due to these problems appear throughout the series, you’ll see some of my comments repeated in the other reviews.

‘Take your time’ is the story of Grace Booker, a police officer in Pine Cone who is left with a parrot who hates her. When she takes the bird to Dani Wingate, a local vet, there is an undeniable mutual attraction. But Dani is a city girl staying in Pine Cone temporarily and she’s not looking for anything serious. Will their initial chemistry have any future?

This is a slow burn romance with very little action on the side. The author is a retired police officer and she normally writes crime novels so I was expecting more action. However, I understand the restrictions of writing a story with other two authors. The characters are well portrayed in their rights and wrongs but I personally couldn’t feel much chemistry. The final chapters seemed a bit rushed and one of the crimes is left unsolved. All in all, the funny moments, specially with a very peculiar parrot, worked better than the serious ones.

Now that I’ve read the whole series, my overall rating is 3.5 stars. It’s an interesting writing experiment that, in my opinion, didn’t work that well in the execution.

Overall, an ok read though I recommend to read the rest of the series in order to fill in the gaps in the story. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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