Monday, October 3, 2016

Dinner at Jack's by Rick R. Reed

Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, returns to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother, Maisie, in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?

Slowly the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.

But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Dinner at Jack's is the first book I've read by Rick R. Reed, and I found the writing style to be fluid and organic, easily hooking me after the prologue.

Note for more serious readers: To be honest, during the prologue, I was very close to making a decision on whether or not the book was to my tastes, as it was a very sugar-coated, in-your-face romance. But I continued to read on to be sure, and I'm so thrilled I did. While I understood why the prologue was so 'sweet,' it didn't set the pace for the novel itself. As it evolves into more everyday events, hurt-comfort darkness, less romancy sweetness.

The majority of the narration belongs to Beau, a chef who suffers heartbreak at the beginning of the story, causing him to move back home. Living in small-town Ohio, right where it interconnects with Pennsylvania and West Virginia, I personally loved the imagery of the locale, the businesses, and the economic state (cost of living) of the area.

I don't wish to spoil the plot, so I'll try to be vague from this point forth. Dinner at Jack's is definitely romance, with a major thread of fate interweaving the storyline. However, the side cast had a more romantic bent, which I loved. Beau and Jack had issues to overcome before they could reach romance. The best way to describe the entire novel is to say Beau was like a person holding out their hand, trying to feed a wounded animal. Beau was patient and kind to our wounded Jack.

I appreciated the view of Jack's PTSD, depression, and fear – I felt it realistic and written with compassion and understanding of the subject matter. I was glad the author allowed Jack to have a slow progression.

My only issue, since Jack's progression was so slow, it felt abrupt near the end of the book, like a light switch flipped, as if the author was unsure how to transition from one state of life to another. However, the fact that love didn't erase Jack's issues should be applauded.

Bonus content: being a chef, the author listed the recipes for the food Beau was making on the pages.

Recommended to fans of hurt-comfort, MM romance.

The blurb of this book had me so excited to read it, as soon as the book hit my Kindle I was off to read. I had so much hope for this book but I was let down. This book was slow, very slow and I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing much did. There was more action between Maisie and Beau’s dad than the two main characters, Beau and Jack. I found myself putting the book down and going back later hoping it would get better. It was just okay for me, too slow, and honestly, a little boring.

Characters: Well written
Sex: No
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: Not sure
Genre: M/M
Would I read more by this author: Yes

This is a well written book, which has some wonderful humour, some very poignant moments, and a great twist. Oh, and some fun recipes too!

With a strong emphasis on feelings, emotions, and loss, we are transported very effectively to a small town with some big characters. As we fall into their reality, we discover just how life can change in an instant – both for Beau with a cut & paste, and Jack with a decision to walk home. I found this book slowed me down, and made me really mellow into the story – in a frenetic week that was a welcome change of pace.

I have not read anything by Mr. Reed before, but he is definitely an author I will be adding to my list and reading more of his work in the future.

RICK R. REED is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation, and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Connect with Rick

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Dinner at Jack's by Rick R. Reed to read and review.

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