Reviewed by Cupcake

3 stars

I think the cat’s out of the bag when it comes to my obsession with SB. A friend recently referred to her as my writer goddess so… yeah, we’ve got a thing happening one-sided though it may be. When I pick up one of her books I sort of go into this weird trance-y vacuum where I get completely subsumed by it and lose touch with reality.

That didn’t happen here.

Bountiful is good, don’t let me lie to you. It’s in keeping with the overall tone of the True North series, meaning it’s weighted heavier on the NA side of romance. That felt apropos for this couple since they both have somewhat difficult pasts that haunt them to varying degrees. The crossover aspects with the Brooklyn Bruisers was fun and I loved catching up with Griff, Audrey and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Shipley’s! They make this series for me with their Vermontyness and welcoming vibes. If I ever get to Vermont I’ll be sorely disappointed if there’s not some Shipleyness smacking me in the face.

Bountiful is Zara’s book. Zara is sort of this bad girl bartender that once had a fling with Griff but then had a child by some mysterious guy and ended up becoming besties with Audrey and opening a coffee shop with her. Along the way, she became less wild but she never divulged who the father was. We find out it was one of the Bruisers, Dave Berington, when he comes back to Vermont two years later.

What I love so much about SB’s writes is her ability to craft relatable characters. She creates female characters that I can usually identity with and male characters that are typically salt of the earth and have me adding them to my book boyfriend list with a quickness.

Dave and Zara are no different, though her pessimism was long and drawn out for my tastes. Their backgrounds help contextualize why they behave the way they do, plus we get the benefit of both of their perspectives. However, what rang as contrived was the push/pull that Zara keeps engaging in. Why incessantly question the veracity of Dave’s statements when his actions are in keeping with his statements? Wouldn’t you want to at least try for the brass ring if for no other reason than your daughter? Regardless, I liked both of these characters and all the baby stuff was cute which ordinarily isn’t my cuppa so kudos to SB for that.

Their relationship is realistically developed but I never felt it, that X-factor. There’s no spark, no razzle dazzle that I’ve come to associate with SB’s writes. They have sexual chemistry and I honestly don’t even have trouble believing in their longevity, but their romance didn’t move me.

I found myself more invested in the secondary characters which should come as a surprise to exactly no one. Because Griff.

Imagine my delight when it started to look like the original grump might have a Mini Me in Kieran. Why is Kieran so grumpy, though? And why did he get even grumpier when he found out Zara and Audrey hired Roderick at the coffee shop? I don’t want to put the wagon before the horse here but I’ve been thinking for awhile now that one of those cousins was going to take this series to MMRomancelandia…

I’m also now consumed by Zara’s brothers! What the hell did she do to destroy Benito’s one chance at love when they were 18? And what about that case???? And what’s the deal with Alec? BAH!

So, like I said initially, there was good stuff here and it goes without saying that I’ll read the next one, but this one didn’t turn my innards to melty goo.

Recommend to realistic romance fans who like their romance without frills and with babies.

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