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Burning Love by Trish Morey

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 12th June 2017
Burning Love by Trish MoreyBurning Love by Trish Morey
Series: Hot Aussie Knights #4
Published by Tule Publishing on June 12th 2017
Pages: 96
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two-stars

Caleb Knight’s ex accused him of being married to his firefighter job, and maybe she was right. He’s given up looking for happy ever after and finds what he needs between Ava’s scorching sheets. But lately, he’s wondering whether this thing with Ava might become more permanent…

Artist Ava Mattiske's ability to trust was shattered long ago. Her steamy fling with Caleb is perfect until he starts talking long-term. She puts on the brakes, but when a bushfire threatens her studio and Caleb is on the scene, Ava realizes that there is one man she can count on... But will it be too late?

Caleb Knight turned up in his twin brother’s book and it got me curious about how evasive he’d been with Dylan. But when Caleb finally burst onto the page, I found myself somewhat underwhelmed and maybe that was because I just couldn’t feel any particular investment in a couple that was simply making the difficult transition from temporary to permanent with several speed bumps along the way.

‘Burning Love’ is unusual in that it takes place a year into Caleb’s and Ava’s casual arrangement with the story picking up from there, alternating between their hookup sessions, Ava’s art and Caleb’s job, though it’s a cycle that rinses and repeats until something gives. As a whore to her parents’ business to the time she has reinvented herself, Ava nonetheless lets her past dictate her future because of the scars that has left on her, convinced that she wants nothing to do with anything remotely resembling affection or love. Somehow Caleb gets beneath her skin and their agreement to just burn up the sheets in bed for the past year on a casual basis is something she uses against him when he finally wants more.

Apart from some parts that had the camaraderie of the guys on show, it was personally hard for me to get into a relationship that felt lopsided and unequal, made up of pull-push dynamic from start to end as Caleb finally grows past the casual hookup stage with Ava and pushes for more, just as Ava pushes him away in denial that gets rote after a while. The later part of their relationship is one made up of more of the same, except that Caleb spends most of his time trying to reaffirm Ava and rebuilding the shattered confidence that she’d lost in her youth. He’s a top bloke undoubtedly, but for most of the story, it felt like he was the one doing all the work while waiting for Ava to come to her senses—which she did only frustratingly, after a life-threatening event. His hard work pays off, though that much made me think of him playing the role of caretaker/therapist/lover all in one for a needy woman who hides a brittle interior.

I’d hoped that the wrap-up to this interesting series could have been better for me; sadly I never could quite get into this pairing as much as I could the rest.

two-stars

Stone Castles by Trish Morey

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Reviews 30th November 2015
Stone Castles by Trish MoreyStone Castles by Trish Morey
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on November 25th 2014
Pages: 336
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three-stars

After ten years pursuing a prestigious career in New York, Pip Martin has returned to the Yorke Peninsula to farewell her dying grandmother. She doesn't intend to linger - there are too many memories in the small country town and not all of them will stay in the past.

Like Luke Trenorden, her childhood sweetheart. A man Pip had promised her heart to, until tragedy stole Pip's family away, and a terrible lie tore both their lives apart.

Pip cannot deny there is still a spark between them, even amidst the heartache of losing her Gran and the demands of her new life. But it may not be enough to rekindle a love that has been neglected for so long.

When a long-kept secret is revealed, Pip is free to go back to the life she thought she wanted... unless Luke can break down the stone castle Pip has built around her heart.

Pip Martin hasn’t been back to the rural town in which she grew up for a long time and meeting Luke Trenorden wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan after rushing back to make her granny’s final moments. But her return brings back to the surface all of the issues between them that have never been resolved and Pip is finding, to her horror, that it is increasingly difficult to leave Luke…once again.

Evocatively written, Stone Castles is a second-chance story of 2 teenagers torn apart reuniting once more…fifteen years later. As with stories that deal with an long time gap between meetings, I’ve always been interested to read how an author bridges that gap between 2 characters who have clearly grown in different directions in the intervening time. It’s a delicate balance as always: a romanticised but ultimately unbelievable version would typically have both characters who still pine badly for each other while two people finding each other again as near-complete strangers would make me question the feasibility of this pairing. Trish Morey straddles the middle line fairly well as Pip and Luke struggle with forgiveness, heaps of memories and a chemistry that time can’t really erase.

Character-wise, there’s so much of an ‘outsider’ perspective and that disconnect written into Pip that I could definitely relate to, but Pip’s self-righteous posturing and extended sense of entitlement clearly made me feel a lot more for Luke than her. I liked how her friends grounded her and set her straight in the blame game that she’d been determined to foist on Luke’s shoulders and for me, the real growth of character was on Pip’s side, whose HEA was at least well- and hard-earned. But Morey thankfully never makes this too much of an ‘countrysider vs. citydweller’ issue, and the decent folks she writes about in the rural town play a big part in contributing to my enjoyment of the story.

three-stars
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