Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Ethan had no idea what to do with his life and went off to see the world. He thought he would be gone for a year or two, but it has been four years since he has been home. Ethan was planning on returning someday, but when he got the call that his mother had terminal cancer, he went back home immediately. It’s been six months, and Ethan’s mother has died and his teenage brother is spiraling down fast. Ethan also inherited his mother’s café and he’s trying to keep it going, but it was her dream, not his. He has more than enough to handle right now and the gorgeous older man that stops in for coffee would be just another complication.

Tanner is in town for five months working on a business project. He also has the thought to settle some long-held memories while he is in town and then it’s back home for him. A relationship doesn’t fit into his plans at the moment, especially with someone 15 years younger than he is. But while Ethan is beautiful, he also simply calls to Tanner and Tanner wants nothing more than to spend time with Ethan, even if it’s only for coffee and conversation. But the attraction is high and while both men may need a friend, no strings was never going to work for them from the start.

Powder and Pavlova starts the new Southern Lights series from author Jay Hogan. I was so excited to hear that the author not only has a new book, but a new series. I have enjoyed all of her books, with one making my best of list this past year. From the start with this book though, the overall set-up didn’t grab me.

Ethan is completely stressed out, his brother is not doing well, and he’s not looking for a hookup. Since Tanner is leaving town soon, they decide to become friends, but it was already more than that. Tanner is busy and focused on getting his project going. His business is a distant second choice from where he wanted to be and he may be finally ready to come to terms with that. The setting in New Zealand is great as there aren’t a lot of books set there, and the writing is still great, but it didn’t engage me as much as I was expecting.

We get POV from both Ethan and Tanner, but Ethan gets much more detail and the book is more focused on his struggles. In comparison, we learn only briefly of Tanner’s family and one of his friends and it had more of the feeling of being added on. The feelings between Ethan and Tanner are genuine and they could fit perfectly into each other’s lives if it wasn’t for the fact that they live nowhere near each other. The author does do a good job of showing that although Tanner is older, he doesn’t have it all the answers and although Ethan has struggles, he is also capable.

The location and atmosphere worked great and I enjoyed the glimpses into life in a small town in New Zealand, as well as the group that Ethan surrounded himself with. The ending hits all the romantic marks and you know that Ethan and Tanner are better together. I am looking forward checking out the rest of the series as more characters get their happy ending in New Zealand.