Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: TAKE ME HOME by Inez Kelley

Review for TAKE ME HOME by Inez Kelley

I had a tough reading round-up last week. A couple of books that were highly recommended to me which basically had heroes who were complete and utter jerks.

I'm not on board with that. Male characters can be flawed, real, domineering, and have integrity at the same time. You can't just call any old guy a "hero." A real hero has to earn that term. Earn it.

Okay, enough about that. Let's move on to this sweet book!

I have been looking forward to this one for a LONG time. Why? IT'S ABOUT A LUMBERJACK! Even though Matt corrects the heroine every time she uses that term. He's a modern man--ergo, a lumber man/logging manager. Lumberjack is an old-fashioned term.

What I liked...I LOVED all the fascinating research about the lumber industry, the maple syrup industry, the setting. Kelley really did her homework and it shows. This book is X-tremely lumberjacky...lots of chopping and sawing. Yee haw! (No beard, but there was scruff!)

I also really liked the cast of supporting characters--the camaraderie with the male friends had fun, realistic dialogue.

The hero is a REAL hero. He is tortured by a difficult past, but has integrity, honor, loyalty to friends and family. When the heroine needs him, he is there in a flash, even after they have a huge falling-out.

The heroine is sweet and looking for a place to put down roots. But she is also determined to make her own business successful, and she's a hard-worker. I liked that a lot, too.

The first half of the book was bogged down by too much sex, and it took a while to get into a groove. But by the second half of the book, it became an emotional, romantic journey--reminded me a bit of Robyn Carr's Virgin River Series, with the same small town feel, group of friends-like-family, gorgeous setting.

The ending was satisfying and romantic. And sexy (maple syrup was involved).

What I didn't like...

There was a typo in the first paragraph, on the first page of the book. Come on Carina Press, you can do better than that. I find it amusing that so many people are constantly giving self-pubbed authors crap about their lack of editing, but most of the time, I'm finding typos in traditionally published books.

My main problem with this book was...the sex. The hero and heroine come off as complete horn-dogs at the beginning of the story. There are times I don't mind that, but in this case it was jarring and felt forced.

The premise for this story was fantastic--woman buys property that hero lost to foreclosure, not realizing her new dream home is part of some extremely painful memories for the man she is falling in love with. The main storyline is solid, and their relationship (minus the sex) was believable. But the initial sex scenes felt gratuitous to me. Unless it's an erotica, casual and graphic sex scenes are not adding anything to the story. And this book really felt like romance.

The only love scene that made a lot of sense to the story was the final one in the maple syrup shack. It was sexy, emotional, fit the story perfectly.

I'm not sure if publishers are pushing their authors to add extra sex scenes that don't make a lot of organic sense to the story, or if authors think they need them "to sell." Whatever the reason, I've read a good half dozen books within the last couple of months that had sex scenes that did not complement the story going on.


In conclusion, I thought TAKE ME HOME was a romantic and satisfying story. It had a bit too much sex for Vanilla Penny, but the lush setting, fascinating details about the logging industry and maple syrup process, and solid main characters and secondary characters, made this a strong beginning for the series. I'm looking forward to reading more by Inez Kelley.

Grade: B

Happy Chopping,