Series: Fishing For Trouble

Catch and Release by Laura Drewry

Catch and Release by Laura DrewryCatch and Release by Laura Drewry
Series: Fishing for Trouble #3
Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 28th 2017
Pages: 198
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three-stars

Hope Seaver is an up-and-coming TV producer tackling the hardest gig of her career: a reality show set at the Buoys, a scenic fishing destination owned by three handsome, stubborn brothers. Liam and Finn O’Donnell are willing to tolerate her crew for the sake of the business, but Ronan would rather chew off a limb than open up on camera. Somehow Hope has to convince him of her good intentions—and stop herself from swooning every time Ronan walks into the frame.

Ronan knows that he’s the reason his brothers gave up their old lives to run the Buoys, and he needs to make it worth their while. So if this out-of-towner with the kind eyes and dazzling smile wants to give them the free publicity they desperately need, Ronan can’t say no. He just won’t let himself get burned again by a double-dealing woman. But what if Hope’s good-girl routine isn’t an act? When Ronan lets his guard down long enough to catch a glimpse of the real Hope, he likes what he sees—enough to give love another shot.

‘Catch and Release’ is Ronan O’Donnell’s motto when it comes to women as much as it is the title of what is the last of Laura Drewry’s ‘Fishing for Trouble’ series; that much is the oldest of the brothers still struggling with mummy/women-abandonment issues to the point where it has made him gun-shy with everything of the opposite gender.

Hope Seaver is as much of a klutz as she seems to be a babbler of trivia and somehow acts in a way that makes it a little hard to believe she’s a 30-ish year old producer in command of her faculties. But meet she and Ronan do—as an unlikely pair—when the O’Donnells move into reality TV as family drama abounds in this very, very slow-burn romance that bumps along huge potholes when it becomes evident that the boys (especially Ro) haven’t quite yet faced their abandonment crisis head on. The appearance of their achilles’s heel at the end does make for a surprising climax but not an unexpected one, particularly if it’s the only loose end that needs tying up for the series’s resolution.

Drewry’s writing is charming as always and her books are always easy to read; I didn’t find myself as engrossed as I was in the previous 2 books, but this is nonetheless a solid offering and a pretty good closure for an unusual series.

three-stars

Lured In by Laura Drewry

Lured In by Laura DrewryLured In by Laura Drewry
Series: Fishing for Trouble, #2
Published by Loveswept on September 27th 2016
Pages: 240
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four-stars

Seasick. That’s how Jessie Todd feels when her best friend and boss, Finn O’Donnell, tells her that the Buoys will be featured on a popular fishing program—which just so happens to be hosted by a guy she used to date. She’s still friendly with her ex, but her new feelings for Finn are making things . . . complicated. His life is out on the sea, and though Jessie works at the resort, her paralyzing phobia of water keeps her on land, where she’s safe. To take a shot with Finn, she’ll need to face her fears—and her innermost desires—head-on.
Finn has been nursing a crush on Jess for a long time, so when she suddenly asks for swimming lessons, he dives right in. Holding her shaking hand as she steps into the ocean makes his heart swell—despite the sinking feeling that she’s just doing it to impress that smarmy TV host. Finn doesn’t trust anyone with his bruised and battered heart, but he’ll be forced to lay it all on the line to keep Jess from being the one that got away.

The exact details of ‘Off the Hook’ have long blurred in my memory because it has been a while, but getting straight back Laura Drewry’s fishing series is no hardship at all in this friends-to-lovers romance amidst cabins and seas in a remote part of British Columbia. If Drewry’s first book in the series had managed to remain one of those books that I liked very much, the second isn’t any different, as ‘Lured In’ lured me into this seductive, sultry trap of a slow-burn story between two people who’d practically known each other for a huge portion of their lives.

‘Lured In’ is Finn’s and Jess’s story, set up such that their heart-breaking personal histories prove to be the largest stumbling block causing the familial sheen of their friendship to morph into something else they don’t quite want to give voice to. Throw in some interested third parties, terrible ghosts to exorcise and what’s simmering below the surface simply needs to boil over…and boil over it does, in sizzling fashion.

My long-standing issue with the friends to lovers trope as I’ve mentioned numerous times in my reviews, is the number of reasons given the cause for that particular switch flipping. Many of these authorial explanations range from entirely ludicrous to sort-of believable, consequently affecting my personal ability to buy into the story. Here at least, I’m gratified to learn that Drewry managed this transition rather well; Finn and Jess’s own painful back-stories provide the impetus for this shift, their awkward but inevitable opening up to each other happening only when Jess approaches Finn for lessons on swimming and inadvertently sets the latent attraction alight in the cool waters of a lake – but not without some big time denial and constant commentary from secondary characters that actually helped alleviate the emotional, grief-filled moments between them.

Individually and together, Finn/Jess are entirely relatable main characters: flawed, struggling in some form or another and never quite having it all together. Through both of them, Drewry beautifully underscores the point that trust takes several forms, but none more convincing than the one who has your back when the waters cover your head.

four-stars

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

Off the Hook by Laura DrewryOff the Hook by Laura Drewry
Series: Fishing for Trouble #1
Published by Loveswept on April 12th 2016
Pages: 257
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four-stars

Major league pitcher Liam O'Donnell knows his best days are probably behind him, but that doesn't mean he's ready to retire and become a fishing guide. Still, after all the time he's spent chasing his dreams, he owes it to his brothers to pull his weight around the lodge. The Buoys is their father's legacy, and they can't let some developer take it from them. The one snag Liam isn't counting on is a blast from the past: his ex-wife.
The moment Kate Hadley steps out of the seaplane, she knows this assignment is going to be trickier than she thought. She has to persuade the owners to sell—and one of them is Liam O'Donnell. Ten years ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life when she married Liam during a fling in Vegas. Now he's her only lifeline in the middle of nowhere. Kate's trying to keep things cool, but Liam just reminds her of the scorching few nights they spent together—and tempts her to make new memories that are just as steamy as the old.

With a failed, one-day old wedding firmly put in the past where it ought to be, Kate Hadley makes her way to a small fishing port, determined to work her way up to property manager of the very development that her boss has fixed his eye on eventually purchasing. But the biggest surprise awaiting Kate is that fickle and rather shallow ex-husband of hers, who had once thoughtlessly put his career above everything else, including her. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she has no choice but to hunker down and work with him and his brothers – and risk losing her heart a second time when all the stakes are once again against her.

Even as the outsider, Kate’s admirable resilience and iron-clad determination kept me firmly on her side from the very start of the book. I only wished I could say the same of Liam O’Donnell’s own cowardly ways when it came to her, or that that he’d fought way harder than he did for this woman who was worth so much. Yet ‘Off the Hook’ seems like a promising start to a series that I could get into, with sharply-drawn characters who struggle to get their barely-floating family business off the ground while grappling with their own broken pasts. It isn’t anything less that what I’ve come to expect of Laura Drewry’s writing, after all.

four-stars