Sunday, May 31, 2015

{ arc } review || LOVE ON A SPRING MORNING

Love on a Spring Morning by Zoe York

Publisher: ZoYo Press (6/2/2015)
Series: Pine Harbour, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Author
Purchase links || amazon || add to goodreads

Rating: ★1/2

Single father and widower Ryan Howard has zero interest in the movie being filmed in Pine Harbour or the high maintenance stars staying in the cottages at the end of his lane. He's just barely holding on to the raw remains of his life and the fantasy world being concocted around him is, as far as he's concerned, a complete waste of time and energy. The one bright light in his life is an intern on the set, Holly Cresinski, and their quiet conversations at the end of the day on his back porch.

Holly hates her life, too, which is entirely unfair because she’s blessed beyond measure. She’s at the top of her career--as film actress, Hope Creswell--and surrounded by people that mean well. But Ryan makes her laugh, and cry, and before she can find the words to explain her deception, he kisses her.

{ review } .

Have you ever been on a book binge and realized that every book you've read dealt with around the same topic? That was me this past weekend. I had THE MAJOR'S FAUX FIANCEE and REACHING ROSE with amputees, and then this book and Sawyer Bennett's ZACK with newly widowed dads. No worries, though: they were all different.

This little town of Pine Harbour is shaping up to be one of my favorite little communities to read about (Lucky Harbor? Fool's Gold..?). I've yet to read book one, LOVE IN A SMALL TOWN, but I really enjoyed and loved LOVE IN A SNOW STORM (which oh, look at that; I never formally reviewed....... Grr).

Ok, well SNOW STORM's review reads like this on Amazon:

I absolutely loved the story. I loved how normal the relationship was, it wasn't a far-fetched style romance. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. Full review on blog soon.

And while, yes, that's all true, I should go back and write that full review I promised... Bottom line on that one? I loved Dani and Jake. Just loved them. From beginning to end, one-hundred percent loved those two friends-to-lovers.

Dani and Ryan worked in paramedics together, but after the death of his wife, Ryan stopped. His friendship with Dani, however, did not. At the end of SNOW STORM, Dani goes to babysit Ryan's kiddos and comes home to tell Jake that while Ryan didn't call it a date, he didn't ask his in-laws to watch the kids, and he came home relaxed and happy, so surely it had to be a date. And Dani, being Dani, was curious about who that lucky lady was.

I was so thrilled to see that these books overlapped, let me tell you. That date scene, though, doesn't come for quite a bit into the book, but that was ok.

Holly, who goes by Hope in Hollywood, needs a break from the limelight and 'razzi scene, so she heads out to Pine Harbour earlier than the rest of the filming crew. She is filming what is to be her biggest role yet in this little town, and she wants the peace and relaxation of it before even her assistant comes out. When she gets there, though, she finds that her hot water isn't working. The town 'spokesperson' who put most of this together, who ends up being a good friend (Olivia!), tells her that Ryan Howard is the one to go to for handyman issues, and that he lives up the lane.

And thus begins a friendship between the widower and movie star...

Except he thinks she's the assistant -- because what Hollywood types come to sleep in luxury cabins days before the shoot?

Ryan has a fairly negative opinion about "those Hollywood types" and he lets the slip to Holly. On multiple occasions, Holly wants to correct him but fears this easy friendship will go away so she keeps that little bit to herself. When he sees her face on a flying banner, though, Ryan does exactly what she'd been afraid of -- withdraws from her.

Ryan has his reasons for wanting to stay away from the Hollywood scene -- a, he likes his simple life, but b, his kids don't need to have any part in all of that. In all of his grief and feelings of failure where his late wife was concerned, the last thing he wants is to expose his children to anything other than the small town they live in.

I found Ryan's character to be very real and human.
"I'm just getting through the fucking day..." --Ryan
He was a very good father, but he was also very much a man. When given the opportunity to speak to someone about his feelings on his new single fatherhood, it took him a while to take that step and open up. Sure, he'd talk some with Holly, but his wife and truly person aspects of life were very much off-limits. I loved that he cared so deeply for his children and feared he'd steer them wrong.
His four-year-old daughter, clinging to him for dear life while unconscious. Jesus Christ.
I loved that he wanted to keep them together, even if it meant very little room in bed at night. I loved that his eyes burned but the tears refused to fall, and I loved that he had his vice of alcohol but rarely drank it, just stared at it. These all made him very real.
He couldn't even get a decent dinner together. Fuck it all.
My heart couldn't help but hurt for the man. He was trying and struggling, but still pushing through because while he felt he failed as a husband, he was not going to fail as a father. My heart hurt for him more when he'd talk to Lynn in his head -- asking her why she left, asking her if she recognized the changes in their eldest... All of these things he wanted to know, that he couldn't get answers to.

Equally, I enjoyed Holly's character. She needed a break, so she took it. She liked that Ryan talked to her and was terrified she'd lose that fragile new friendship if he found out she was Hope.
But if she--no, when she told him, it would be over. She knew that without a doubt. She was going to hurt him, badly, because she'd kept this secret from him.
But she couldn't tell him, because she wasn't ready to let him go yet. It was awful and selfish... 
Besides -- not many people knew the real her, and she was giving him that opportunity.

Gosh, how I loved the kids, too. I loved their interactions with one another, and their interactions with Ryan and Holly. I really loved the kids...

All in all, I enjoyed the easy friendship that these two fell in to... even if it was built on a seemingly white lie. I understood Ryan's need to keep life separate from the public side of things, and I may have been a bit annoyed at points with Holly's need to keep trying to pull the man closer when he so clearly had the brakes on.

...that's not saying he didn't need any pushing, but at times I felt maybe she was a hair shy of desperate.

When these two finally figure it out, they have a solid foundation to build a life on. I feel like I say this with many of my series' reviews but I'm excited to see this cute little family in any the future books.

...and mmm, Zander's cover is reeeaaalll pretty ;)


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