Rating: 2.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
When Eric Allen loses his grandmother, Jewell, he feels like his world has ended. He sinks into a spiral, drinking much more than he should, but he is not alone. His best friend since middle school, Nathan, is there for him, and pulls Eric back by taking him to see a rundown camp on the Oregon coast. With Eric’s inheritance and a bit of Nathan’s money, they buy they place together with the vow to open it as a LGBTQ friendly retreat. What they quickly name Buchanan House needs a lot of work, and that’s where handyman Timothy Tate comes in.
Tim was the one to answer Eric’s call, and he sets about helping the men repair the camp. Eric thinks that Tim is pretty, but he doesn’t make a move. He thinks that Tim isn’t interested. But when Eric nearly drowns and Tim saves his life, things change. Both men finally give into their attraction for one another and begin a relationship. But Eric has some hang ups he’s afraid will ruin things between them. Eric and Tim were meant for each other, and if they can just get through the stressors in their life, they’ll make it.
Charley Descoteaux is a new to me author but I went into this book with high hopes and expecting a fun, nice read. I fully anticipated adoring this book from the blurb alone. I hate to say it, but this book did not live up to expectations at all. And, in fact, it missed the mark entirely for me.
I admittedly had trouble with this author’s style. There was a lot of telling going on, and not nearly enough showing. A lot of opportunities for dialogue or action were missed. Characters began an action in one sentence, only to have it be completed in the next. Like they sat down to eat and then next sentence began with them being finished with their meal, for example. It made the story fell choppy, and add to that the time jumps, and I felt like I was being given a laundry list of the characters’ actions without much description to engage me in my surroundings.
But the problems didn’t stop there. The characters felt like caricatures instead of real, relatable people. I never felt like I truly understood their motivations or thoughts or reactions. I just didn’t feel the connection. I felt removed from them. Again, it could be the writing style that kept them at arm’s length. Eric is the kind of guy that can get lost in his own head. I know that because he told us. But despite all the thinking he did on page, I still never felt like I understood exactly why he thought and felt the things he did. On top of that, it was implied for more than half the book that Eric was gay, only for him to blurt out that he wasn’t, and that he was in fact, bisexual. Honestly, this felt like it came out of left field to me. Especially because of the way that his family has treated him, as they made derogatory comments that didn’t seem to reconcile with bisexuality, only if he were gay. This may be a personal issue, and other readers might not have as big a problem with it as I did.
But that leads us to the romance portion of the story and I have to say that this is where the book really fell flat for me. We barely see Tim at all for the first quarter of the book, and then when he saves Eric’s life, they are suddenly proclaiming their mutual lust. I don’t have a problem with sudden declarations, if it’s in keeping with the story. What I do have a problem with is not even seeing a character, only having a few mentions of him, and then being told after the fact that they’ve been building a rapport that is supposed to make their sudden declarations okay. I want to know why I couldn’t have seen even a little of that, why I wasn’t privy to their budding relationship. As interesting as getting Buchanan House ready was, I’d have rather seen interactions between Eric and Tim. Maybe if I had, I would have felt some chemistry between these guys But as it was, I didn’t and that made the romance feel flat and unemotional.
Which is how I can sum up this book, really. It was flat, without much depth, and didn’t get me emotionally invested at all. That being sad, the surface plot points were cute, I liked the idea of two best friends finally realizing their dreams, and there were a couple of moments that made me smile. And I would probably try another book by this author if the story within sounded particularly interesting, but I would have to be incredibly intrigued.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for New-to-Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win this week’s fabulous prize sponsored by Samhain Publishing, as well as our amazing grand prize sponsored by Riptide Publishing. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on New-to-Me Author week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.
I’m sorry this fell short of your expectations! I do like the Descoteaux stories I’ve read, and parts of the premise sound good. I actually got it in a giveaway, but haven’t had the chance to start it yet. I guess there’ll be no harm done if I look through it, but I’ll keep the review in mind…
As this was the first I’d read by Descoteaux, I’m not sure if it’s indicative of her style. There were some definite good points in the book, it just wasn’t enough to save it for me.
It is too bad this book was disappointing. I also like the blurb (and the cover), but I think I would have the same problems you did with it so appreciate your thoughts and thorough review.
Cover is just gorgeous, isn’t it? That and the blurb drew me in. They definitely did their job and that’s always nice to see.
Interesting to read a review more on the negative/disappointed side. At times I think all I ever see are the reviews 3.5 and up, or maybe that’s my own selective browsing/reading. If it had been me reading something that fell flat like this story did for you, I would have put it down and filed it under DNF. With years I have become more and more ready to let a less engaging book lay. I understand you can’t do that if it’s your job (or as in school an assignment) to review, but for someone who reads for fun, I’ve decided life is too short and there’s too many better (for me) stories than to spend time on books I don’t care much for.
I have read some books in the not too distant past that I did in fact put down and not finish, Sara. This had enough going for it that it wasn’t quite that bad, but it didn’t do enough for me to give it a better rating/review.
I’m so sorry to read the book did not fulfil your expectations, Kris. Charlie is in my TBR list, I’ve already downloaded The Pinch of the Game, and was looking forward eagerly to read it. I hope it is better than Buchanan House, which I see it was a bit disappointing for you. I was going to read it for next week TBR Pile Challenge. I’ll let you know what I think about it in my recap review.
I look forward to your opinion, Susana. 😀
Despite the flaws, I’m still looking forward to this one. It has such an interesting premise.
It really was an interesting premise, and what drew me to the book in the first place.
Thank you for the honest review. I admire reviewers who have the courage to put their true feelings on a book out for everyone to see; and, on the other hand, authors who have the courage to write a book for everyone to critique. I sure don’t ! I may not read this book by Charley but I will check out the next one.
Thanks for saying that Melissa. I know very well it’s not easy, from either side of the coin, and I never like giving negative reviews. But I am tasked with giving my honest opinion, and that’s all this is. Just my opinion.
Oh no! I always feel bad for everyone when there’s a book that doesn’t work. I know that’s going to happen for everyone, but I know readers go into them wanting to read amazing stories and authors set out trying to give them to readers. I have only read one of Charley’s books, almost two years ago. That book didn’t work for me, and sad to say, but when I have a first experience with an author and it’s disappointing, I get super gun-shy. I do keep my eyes out on her new releases and hope for something that will draw me in again. This probably won’t be that book, but I’m still not writing her off by any means. I have seen others say they’ve enjoyed this one, so I really think there’s talent there.
I think that’s incredibly well said Carolyn!
I dislike “telling” more than almost anything. I can live with the inst-love, especially since a lot of these books are fairly short and there isn’t really time for long romances, but telling tips me over the edge. Thanks for the thorough review.
I haven’t read anything by Charley Descoteaux either. Sounds like this might not be one I’ll pick up. But like Carolyn, I’m going to keep an eye out for future releases. Thanks for the review.
Thanks for your review. I’ve never read anything by this author but the blurb for this one did sound interesting.
I’m kind of on the fence about this one. The blurb sounded good but you pointed out a few things that can vex me in a story, also the lack of romance kind of is off putting for me. I like a good build up.
Really pretty cover! I’m sad to hear the story doesn’t live up to it.
I haven’t read anything by this author, but I’ve definitely been enticed by the cover and blurb for Buchanan House. I’m more hesitant given this review, but I may still give it a try anyways. Thanks for the review.
It’s a pity the book didn’t do it for you, I hate when that happens. I have to admit that, apart from the cover, the blurb doesn’t sound appealing for me. I don’t even remember this book was released this past month, probably because the story didn’t catch my eye.
Thanks for the review. I like a story where the plot flows also, and it sounds like it is lacking here.
I really wanted to like this book based on the blurb but in the end I think my main problem was the character hopping. I think if the whole book focused more on the two main characters and them getting together it would have been better. The side love stories in the book just threw me off, there was never enough information to become invested in the other people, maybe if there was going to be a follow up book but this was never indicated.
While I enjoy a good slow burn, I can’t say that enjoy it when the romance happens entirely off page & then I’m told it happened. I want to feel it happen along with the MCs. Thanks for the review.