Jamie Morin technically lives in the dorms on campus, but between having to go back home to help at the family farm every time his father calls and his roommate having a sock on the door every time Jamie wants to get in, it hardly seems like it. Jamie doesn’t want to be a farmer; he wants to get his schoolwork done, work in the library, share his love of romance books, and maybe sleep every now and then too. But ever since going into the local bookstore, Jamie now wants to spend time with the newest employee, Briar, and talk books at the new book club.
Briar Nord knows that a happy ever after can only be found in his favorite romance books. He’s new to Vermont and when he was in the foster care system, he never felt like he fit in and he certainly doesn’t know how to fit in now, as if he gets close to people, they might learn about his past.
Jamie and Briar bond over books, baked goods, and all things maple syrup. They also bond over the attraction they share and, while they want to spend time together, they both think they can’t possibly be what the other one needs right now and they decide to be friends with benefits. The men both want more, but are afraid to ask for it and with Jamie’s responsibilities to his family and Briar’s past showing up at his door threatening to derail them, they finally have to speak up to write their own happily ever after.
Booklover is part of the Vino and Veritas collection, a set of multi-author stories set in the larger World of True North universe. The books are designed to be standalone stories that can be read in any order and featuring the Vino and Veritas wine bar and bookstore.
I was constantly up and down with how I felt about this book and that makes for an unbalanced way to read. The guys are both in their early 20s and at first they came off as younger than I am interested in reading about. However, they both have a lot of responsibility and they both have a maturity to them. After a family fallout involving Jamie’s older brother, Jamie is running himself into the ground doing farm chores while still trying to handle all of the things he really wants to do. He has no interest in being a farmer and his father knows this, but his father also needs the help. It then takes the entire book and Jamie reaching his breaking point for his parents to even notice his overwhelming schedule. Jamie really wants to find time to read and attend the new book club and then he wants to spend time with Briar.
Briar is grateful to have a job and a place to live, but he’s afraid of anyone finding out about his past. His worst fears come true when his past lands on his door and he desperately wants to put it all behind him and find a home with Jamie. Briar has been let down by everyone and he becomes hopeful that Jamie will be there for him. The relationship between the two of them progresses at a good pace, but it was the larger story that was difficult.
The bookstore Briar works in is the local shop in a small town. It is mentioned he is often spending time “reshelving” books and while some customers may take books off the shelves, it sounded more like a library. Also, we are told that Briar is “knee deep” in boxes of shipments for new books and I wondered how many books this store, which was described as quiet, was actually selling. When Briar starts the book club, the owner of the bookstore comments on what a great idea it is, like it was the next best thing and it’s a book club in a bookstore, something that has been done so many times. His boss also comments on the increased amount of business during book club nights, yet there are about 8 people in the book club. There is a comment made about them possibly telling their friends, but there were too many things that didn’t add up. Also, Jamie and Briar share the same favorite author and the name of the author is referenced over 30 times and there was no reason for so many times. There is a lot of talk about the world of romance books and it started to come off as “preachy.” And, for a romance book about romance books, Jane Austen was spelled wrong…twice. I also had issues with the lack of wrap up for Briar’s storyline, as well as for parts of Jamie’s story, and page time is given to Jamie’s mysterious roommate, Jeremy, and then nothing came from that but a dangling plotline. The epilogue also only glimpses the future of the guys and the story felt cheated out of being fully wrapped up.
I had issues with this book continuously throughout reading it. The sweet dates between Briar and Jamie could be considered cute and if that alone holds appeal, this might then be one to consider.