by Tracy Ewens
Series: Love Story #9
Also in this series: Smooth
Publisher: Tracy Ewens
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
If only life came with instructions.
Boyd McNaughton is working on balance. He is a father, a brewmaster, and the oldest brother of four. When he’s not running Foghorn Brewery with two of his brothers, his days are packed with carpools, teenage angst, and well-intentioned school moms determined to send him on the perfect blind date. After a simple argument ends with a visit to the emergency room, Boyd discovers the one thing he’s been neglecting—his life.
Ella Walters is working on connection. Having grown up in a less-than-affectionate family of overachievers, she moved to Petaluma for a slower pace and to escape her past. She has friends now instead of accolades, chooses chocolate croissants over super foods, and cherishes the peace that’s replaced the drama. Sure, she occasionally misses the buzz of the San Francisco General Hospital ER, but Ella is learning that navigating a fuller life can be just as exciting.
When Boyd’s son, Mason, seeks out Dr. Ella for “advice” and Boyd stumbles all over her newly healed heart, she finds herself longing for something she never knew existed. But families are messy, and they’ll both need to let go of the past if they want to find a future that’s more than by the book.
“There’s bad and good in everything. It’s like beer.”
“Of course, it is.”
“You have malt, which can be wheat or barley. I’ll always choose barley, but that’s not the point. The malt is the sweet. It’s usually a pretty color and it smells good when it’s milled. But no one makes a beer with only malt. If they do, they’re idiots because it’s so syrupy it has no right to be called beer. Any brew master will tell you the key to a good beer is balance, so you add hops. Hops are funky looking, sticky to touch when it’s wet, and bitter. It takes down the sweetness of anything. There’s all kinds of other crap that needs to be adjusted too, but you get the point.”
Sweet, cozy, and just the perfect read I didn’t know I needed! This is a lovely standalone about letting go of the past and letting in love. My favorite takeaway from the book was that settling on being “fine” in order to avoid being hurt by someone again just means you’re hurting yourself.
While I loved the themes, it was the characters that really made this book. I especially loved the interactions between Boyd, Ella and Mason. I also liked that both Boyd and Ella realized that they needed to change, and I liked that Ella realized that she needed Boyd to make a commitment to their relationship and refused to accept less. It felt like there was a lot of growth on both sides. I also loved Boyd’s brothers and am looking forward to reading more about Trick and Cade!
This is a clean romance (of the fade-to-black type) but the description of their attraction and kisses (especially that first one, wow!) was plenty spicy for me.
4 out of 5 chicken stars.