Friday, June 11, 2010

Recent Read

Sugar Creek by Toni Blake

Why this one: I've really enjoyed the last few books by Toni Blake and have been looking forward to this one. When I saw it available cheaper at Chapters as an ebook, and I could buy it at 6:30 in the morning - while not even dressed yet, well I was sold!!

Steam Level: Yowzers!!! Watch out - this one can burn you

Blurb: Rachel Farris returned to her childhood home with one mission in mind: get Mike Romo out of her family’s apple orchard business and out of their lives. But hard-nosed and totally hot Mike, who happens to be the law in Destiny, is convinced the Farris clan stole the land from his family fifty years ago and he’s not backing down. Even when shapely trouble shows up in a pair of designer blue jeans. However, neither the hunky cop nor the sexy prodigal hometown girl can anticipate the electricity that heats things up whenever they’re together—adding new sizzle to an ongoing feud that’s raged for generations, and soon putting both their hearts at risk.

My Thoughts: I've read on message boards that a lot of readers are turned off by the trope of the big city girl returning to her small town and ending up giving her big city life up for love. But I've never minded that theme. But for those who don't like it, this may not be the book for you. The heroine Rachel, returns to her small town home of Destiny to help out her grandmother with her apple orchard, though she's a bit resentful that she has to take a leave from her high powered job as an add exec at a critical time. But family is family and Rachel is nothing if not an enabler to her less than successful relatives, although Edna, her grandmother mostly just wants her grand daughter home for a spell.

Rachel Farris breezes into town, but along the way she is clocked speeding by hunky, yet surly cop Mike Romo. The Romo's and the Farris's have a history of feuding and she is less than impressed by this Romo, whom she likes to call Romeo to annoy him. But despite the animosity the two feel for each other, there are some major sparks going on between them and when they end up locked in a concession booth, the sparks turn into a major bonfire and what a hawt bonfire that turns out to be.

Rachel starts out a bit brittle, disliking the fact that she's back in the small town she was so anxious to get out of years ago. But little by little, we get to see her more tender side. As she slowly reconnects with old friends and reestablishes a relationship with her really kewl grandmother, she slowly begins to see that a small town isn't as bad as she thought it would be. And of course there is the steamy relationship that is slowly building with Mike.

Mike is a rough, tough, guys kind of guy. But underneath, he is still suffering from a tragedy in his past that changed his life and destroyed his family. Because of that, he has to be in control at all times and is flummoxed by his growing feelings for Rachel. He's always been a love 'em and leave 'em kind of girl, but he can't seem to leave Rachel. When he finally starts letting his vulnerabilities show, he's just delicious.

I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that I found a bit tedious - Rachel's continuing insistence that it was 'just sex' between her and Mike and her denial until close to the end that she had any warmer feelings for him. But that was a small issue. And one of the real strengths of this book was the developing relationship between Rachel and Edna. Edna is a real hoot. She's who I want to be when I get old. Slowly, piece by piece, she tells Rachel the origin of the feud between the two families and her relationship with Mike's grandfather.

This may sound odd, but I really loved the apple picking scenes too. When the boys were small we used to take them apple picking every year and reading these scenes brought back those memories - I could almost taste the apples fresh off the trees. The apples you get in stores can't even begin to compare. And I also enjoyed how the author captured the warmth of small towns with all their quirky little festivals and close knit atmosphere.

I found this to be another excellent book and for those who love a good contemporary, this is one I think you will enjoy.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5


Mary G said...

Hi Kristie
Good call on this one.I loved it too. I loved the Farris/Romeo trash talk between the Rachel & Mike. I loved Edna & her "trouser snake" line. That was LOL funny. I agree about the apple-picking time & Edna & Rachel's chats. BTW I met Toni at Lori's on the weekend. She is so nice & friendly.

The Book Pimp Blogs said...

I have this one in the TBR (it's like next in line) and can't wait to start it. Glad to hear it was good. Love Toni Blake's books

Lover of Romance said...

Great REview!!! Sounds like a really fun book!!! I also love the theme of city girls finding a place back home in a small town, especially since I love small towns and wish I still lived in one!!!

Kristie (J) said...

Mary - wasn't Edna a hoot!!! I hope to shock my grand kids like she did someday - if I ever get any that is *g*
And I've met her a few times too - though I don't know if she remembers me. The last time was at RT where I sat in on a workshop she was one of the presenters of.

The Book Pimp Blogs: other than that one quibble I had, this one was the awesome. And man, can she write some smokin' hot love scenes!!

Lover of Romance: As I said, I've always enjoyed this theme myself too. And at the end I didn't see it so much a giving up of her old life as a reprioritizing her life. That how I always see this theme. I'm not sure I'd want to live in a small town - but I sure do love reading about them *g*.

Mary G said...

BTW Kristie
On the big city girl going home premise. It isn't necessarily just that premise all the time. I've also read stories where the guy does the moving whether it's from a big city to a small town or just from one place to another. This suited this book because of the farm, her grandmother & Mike. It made more sense than if Mike followed her to the city. Besides, this is the age of the internet & many jobs can be done from wherever.

Leslie said...

Wonderful review. I haven't read a Toni Blake book - would this be a good one to start with? Or should I read One Reckless Summer first? Her site says they are part of a series but written as stand-alones.

Oh, funny about the apple picking. I used to go when I was a kid, and loved it! We could eat as many apples as we wanted while we picking and then got cinnamon donuts and apple cider when we were done.

Mary G said...

Do yourself a favor & read One Reckless Summer first. She does mention some of the characters from this book in Sugar Creek. The main reason though is you will fall in love with Mick. That's all anyone talked about in the reviews & comments for ORS.

Kristie (J) said...

Leslie I agree with Mary. This one reads quite well without having read One Reckless Summer, but whereas I gave this one a 4.5, I gave One Reckless Summer a 5 out of 5

Erotic Horizon said...

Thanks for your thoughts no this ocane ...

I just picked it up as well..


nath said...

Hmmm, I've bought a couple Toni Blake throughout the years, but they've all been sitting in my TBR pile... so that's why I've been hesitant to buy this one... but you did enjoy it so much... Perhaps when I have less books in my TBR pile... LOl.

orannia said...

Oh, I quite like the sound of this... Thank you Kristie!

Kristie (J) said...

Erotic Horizon: I hope you like it as much as I did. I really enjoy her books. I still have a few of her older ones in the TBR pile that I really must get to!!

Well Nath - you shall just have to get one out of your ole TBR pile *g*. I recommend either Letters to a Secret Lover or One Reckless Summer. Both were excellent!

Orannia: You're welcome *g*. It's all about sharing the love.

Leslie said...

Thanks Mary and Kristie! I've requested One Reckless Summer from the library. :)

Kristie (J) said...

You will have to let us know what you think of it. I bet you really love it :-) And then if you do, you still have Sugar Creek to read - it's a win/win.