Brigham’s Recommendations – Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North

Summary:

Love is coming into season.

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

Review:

Before I say anything else, let me say how much I love the cover of this book. Maybe because it brings back memories of picking blueberries with my family when I was a kid, but something about it evokes a warm, sweet feeling in me.

It fits with the story so well because overall it’s a gentle story. That’s not to say there wasn’t conflict in the story. Far from it. There’s conflict between Jed and Connor as they try  to figure out what will happen with the farm and how to make a relationship work when they live such drastically different lives. There’s conflict between the men and the town. There’s conflict between Jed and his family and his coming out. Conflict between Connor and his brother Scott. The conflict kept me turning the pages and wondering how on earth they would ever resolve it. But there’s a certain sweetness to Connor and Jed’s relationship that permeates the story.

There’s also steamy chemistry and some incredibly hot scenes between them. Connor is a photographer, and let me tell you, there is a phenomenally hot scene involving a camera that shouldn’t be missed. But throughout every steamy scene is a certain amount of tenderness and sweetness that I absolutely loved.

I think the author did an excellent job resolving all of the conflict in the story in a realistic way. Not everything was wrapped up in a neat little bow, but there was a hopeful feel that in time, relationships with family will be mended. And Connor and Jed carved out a perfect life that they can enjoy together.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

 

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Rain Shadow” by L.A. Witt

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Summary:

Jeremy Rose came to Bluewater Bay to work as Anna Maxwell’s bodyguard, not to escape his increasingly bitter relationship with his estranged kids. He just wants to focus on his job and be alone for a while. He’s done with love, especially now that three years after his long overdue divorce, he’s got a front-row seat to the rapid deterioration between Anna and her girlfriend. Cynical doesn’t even begin to describe him.

Then Anna and Leigh’s attempts to reconcile put him in the crosshairs of marriage counselor Scott Fletcher. Scott’s exactly what Jeremy needs right now: gorgeous, hot, horny, single, and 100% uninterested in a relationship. The problem is, too much no-strings-attached sex — and too much time in each other’s company — inevitably builds emotional connection.

Except Jeremy refuses to seek counseling for his broken family, and Scott refuses to get seriously involved with men who work dangerous jobs. They both need to realize they can only hide for so long from the pain they came here to escape. They must face their pasts before they lose their shot at a happy future.

Review:

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to review any of the books in the “Bluewater Bay” series. I enjoy them thoroughly and the fact that L.A. Witt wrote several of them is a definite selling point. So before I say anything else, let me say, GO READ THE SERIES.

I think one of the things I enjoyed most about this book is that the characters weren’t kids. Jeremy Rose and Scott Fletcher are men with pasts. They have chips on their shoulders and years of struggle they endured long before they ever met.

After a bitter divorce and working as a bodyguard for Anna Maxwell—a producer in a rocky relationship of her own—Jeremy has a dim view of relationships.  Scott is a marriage counselor who has spent years seeing patients in relationships that are falling apart and has a history with men who work dangerous jobs. In fact, they both hate each other’s jobs, which creates tension between them.

Initially, they’re convinced that a no-strings-attached hook up is the answer to their problems. Neither man is looking for a relationship, but the more time they spend together the closer they become. The book was entirely from Jeremy’s POV, but it was amusing to watch them both deny the growing connection.

The characters were stubborn and interestingly flawed. In particular, Jeremy’s struggle to see what was right in front of him stood out to me. Although at first it seemed impossible that anyone had that big of a lack of self-awareness—in particular about their own sexuality and feelings—a pattern began to develop. It was an interesting character flaw and it was his acknowledgement of that and willingness to admit when he was wrong that made him an appealing character.  I like characters with an interesting emotional development and I feel like that’s something L.A. Witt excels at. Every book of hers that I’ve read contains a very clear emotional arc throughout the story.

I liked the way Scott’s history and current job impacted their relationship, and that Jeremy had a lot of work to do fixing things with his relationship with his kids. The solution at the end was plausible and well-thought out and gave a nice feeling of hope for all of their futures.

My only complaint about the story was that the climax felt a little rushed. Scott becomes upset at Jeremy and it seems rather out of the blue. I am not sure that would have been the case if we’d seen the story from both POVs, but I would have liked a smidge more build up since we were limited to Jeremy’s POV.

Overall though, I enjoyed the story and the relationship the characters had.  As always, L.A. Witt’s smutty scenes were hot as hell and the characters had fantastic chemistry. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story in a series I can’t stop buying and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Buy Links:

Amazon

Riptide Publishing