Review- Idlewild

Idlewild by Jude Sierra

51siHUGjx-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Genre: Romance
Format: Paperback
Publication date: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Interlude Press
Page count: 234
Star rating: 4.5/5

 

“It’s been more than long enough for Asher to move past the debilitating stages of grief, past the longing and loneliness, past knowing he’d never be able to love someone else that way and past the moment he realized that though he’d never have that again, he could have something.
Somehow, that realization required it’s own grief.”

I haven’t read a romance in so long. But, man, did I love this. It’s full of EVERYTHING—passion, fluffiness, parts that make you smile so wide your face hurts, and parts that make you put down the book and cry for a quick second. I’m so happy I picked up Idlewild at the Interlude Press booth at BookCon. This is my first ever review of a romance, and I’m so, so excited to write this!

Asher is starting anew. He’s firing his entire staff at his restaurant, Idlewild, and clearing the slate. He and his partner, John, started Idlewild back when they both dreamed of owning a restaurant in Detroit. Now, years after John’s death, Asher wants a crew that never knew his old life. Tyler, a young man with passion-filled eyes, joins his team as a rookie server. From the beginning, Asher is drawn to Tyler in ways that he cannot explain, and the feeling is mutual. Tyler, in an unsteady relationship, yearns to find a place at Idlewild and Asher searches for someone to connect with after John’s death. Perhaps, these two men can find what they’re looking for in each other.

Let’s start with the quotation I highlighted above—

Idlewild brings up the parts of grief that aren’t usually talked about in romance novels that involve love after loss. Asher has long accepted that he’ll never again have what he and John had, but he’s at the point where he can see himself having some sort of relationship with someone new. This realization brings up its own kind of mourning. Asher is torn because finding solace in Tyler can feel like pushing John out of his mind and life. Tyler does an amazing job showing Asher that talking about John instead of bottling his grief up can be very healing and release so much guilt about starting a new relationship. This is something beautiful.

I loved the contrast between Tyler and Asher. Tyler is young, he is not quite sure who he wants to be, and he’s full of light and charisma. Asher has more life experience under his belt, he keeps to himself, and he doesn’t show emotions easily. The two men are very different, but they complete each other in ways that make their relationship function well. It was such a journey to see Asher help Tyler find his place in the world, as well as Tyler help Asher confront his grief. Many scenes with the two of them together were so moving that I actually cried. Yes, this is the first book to make me cry real, physical tears in 2017. Idlewild certainly put me through it.

Well, now I really want to read more romance. But seriously, it was such a pleasure getting to witness Asher and Tyler’s budding relationship. I can’t believe I actually cried, but I’m also not too surprised because there were many emotion-filled scenes. This novel left me feeling very pleased, which I’m grateful for. I’m not one for books that make me uncomfortable, so Idlewild was right up my alley. I’m excited to read the other Interlude Press books that I got at BookCon!

Review- One Year Left

One Year Left by J.C. Robinson

34743713._UY1000_SS1000_Rating: 3/5 stars

Will has one year left to live. His last wish is to move to a new city, Portland, and spend his time working on a food truck with his close friend. Will doesn’t put much research into his new house, neighborhood, or, most importantly, roommate. She introduces herself as Kristen and captures his attention from the moment he meets her. At the time, Kristen is in a failing relationship with a guy who doesn’t listen to her and heavily buys into the gender stereotype of women being the people who cook dinner. Will knows that he cannot pursue Kristen when she’s taken, but the possibility of her becoming single appears, and he might have a shot at making things work after all.

I want to thank the author of One Year Left, J.C. Robinson, for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m honored that you chose me to read your work!

I have a lot of mixed thoughts on this book. I want to start by saying that the story kept me glued to the pages. The plot was very smooth and the conversations flowed easily. There wasn’t too much dialogue or too little plot development. J.C. Robinson did an excellent job balancing all the dynamics of the book and making it easy to follow and fun to read. In addition, there was a clear beginning, climax, and resolution track. A lot of romances don’t have an actual plot, so that was refreshing to read.

I am not very fond of the way Will and Kristen were written. They feel very shallow to me, almost like they rely on a lot of tropes from romance movies. Will is the good, semi-awkward guy who never got the girls in high school and Kristen is the girl who always ends up with the wrong guys who treat her badly. This makes them absolutely perfect for each other, but also creates a boring and predictable storyline. I understand that romances are supposed to be predictable, because the main character and their love interest usually end up together, but this was too stereotypical for me.

In addition, I wish the ending wrapped up more plot and showed the reader how it affected the ‘big picture’. I felt pretty empty handed during the last few pages of One Year Left and wanted to see more final character development within Will. He doesn’t evolve much from the person he is in the first chapter of the book. I love getting a sense of clarity about the takeaways of a book when I finish it, and I didn’t get that from this. I am sad because Will and Kristen were written with such great chemistry and I was rooting for them! I wish the last 10 pages had as much thought put into them as the rest of the book.

Overall, I both liked and disliked a lot of things about One Year Left. The way the book read, as a whole, was perfect. I couldn’t put it down and wanted to get to the ending as quickly as possible. On the other hand, Will and Kirsten were not very dimensional; you can see other characters just like them in many popular romantic comedies. Unfortunately, this led to little character development and a sub-par conclusion that left me wanting more. This book is a very quick read, because of its length and fast-paced plot, so I’d recommend it to someone looking for an easy romance. It’s very feel-good, so it’s a great read to put you in a good mood. Again, a big thank you to J.C. Robinson for giving me a copy of his work. I really enjoyed reviewing it!

Review- A Little Something Different

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A_Little_Something_Different_for_sitejpg

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Pages: 243

“This is going to be another one of those stories about how she gazed at him adoringly while he stared out the window or something. That’s how a lot of the Gabe stories go these days.”

Lea and Gabe are both incoming freshmen at the same college. They’re sort of “lost souls”, living their own separate lives that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, until they start “flirting” in creative writing class. Lea and Gabe are completely oblivious to the fact that they’re perfect for each other, but that doesn’t their separate friend groups from constantly trying to set them up together.

**spoiler ahead**
This book was cute. It was definitely very cute and very-perfect-couple-heavily-flirting type of deal. It was fun at first, but things got a little too predictable towards the end. I felt like a lot of the same ideas and conversations were happening over and over again. Lea and Gabe ALMOST got together so many times. It was frustratingly adorable at first, but then it got old.

A Little Something Different was a very quick and light read. It was a good book, but a good book for the right time. I read this in the midst of a reading slump, and its cheer definitely brought me out of that slump. So, if you’re looking for a fast read that’ll leave you feeling happy, this is it.