Monday, February 13, 2017

The Best Part of Me by Jamie Hollins

He’s content to stay in the shadows…

Ewan McKenna’s days and nights are filled with drink orders, beer kegs, and noisy bar customers. Now that he’s put his tumultuous past behind him, he’s more than happy to live a solitary existence running his family’s pub. After years of walking the line between good and bad, Ewan now needs control and order to rest peacefully at night. What he doesn’t need is the fiery, intriguing woman who’s found her way into his thoughts and his bed.

She’s ready to step back into the light…

Spending the summer getting her hands dirty in her aunt’s garden in a tiny town outside Boston is exactly what Quinn Adler needs. She’s ready to shake off the grief of losing the people who meant the most to her and to start feeling again. What she doesn’t expect is to find a man who sets all her senses on fire. When the pieces seem to be nearly in place for a bright future, everything falls apart.

Will Quinn’s love be bright enough to cut through the darkness of Ewan’s past?

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Ewan is kind of a jerk. He's self-involved, gruff, very rough around the edges, and he doesn't really take into consideration anyone's feelings but his own. He had a checkered past and he tries now to keep on the straight and narrow. However, that also means that he is on the radar of his once employer, whom he is trying to keep away from.

Quinn is naive, smart, witty, and doesn't really take crap from anyone. While their meeting was one of coincidence, she sees past his exterior – she sees beneath the facade that he tries so hard to hide behind. I like that she was taking time for herself. She has a tragic history, as of recent and is simply trying to heal.

When these two get together, they have major chemistry. However, with all love stories, there is angst and miscommunication, fear and love. Quinn and Ewan have to figure out if what they have is worth the fight they know they will have to wage.

I think that these characters come together well – it's not an insta-love relationship and they both work at it. I can't wait to see what book two has to offer.

Ewan McKenna is the bad boy in this story and he believes he doesn't deserve anything good in his life. So he runs his uncle’s pub, takes a lover when the need arises, but nothing serious in the relationship department.

Quinn Adler has been through a really bad year. After her parents were killed, she quit school and grieved. After help from a therapist, she is now spending the summer with her aunt in a small town south of Boston. Quinn was going to college for landscape design and she loved working in the dirt and with all types of flowers and trees. So while at her aunt's house she is going to redo the backyard, to give her aunt a beautiful oasis right out her back door.

When Quinn meets Ewan, there is a connection that neither wants to acknowledge or wants to pursue. But the pull between them is so strong that they can't stay away from each other.

Can Quinn break through Ewan's barrier and show him he is worth being loved? Will his past destroy a future they might have? Will Quinn go back to school and finish her degree?

I really enjoyed this story, it kept me wanting more until the end. This is a first for me from this author and I can't wait to read the next one with Sean and Darcy. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

The attraction between Ewan, a brooding bartender, and Quinn, a grieving garden designer, is hot. I enjoyed learning about Quinn’s profession and both characters have interesting back stories. I’m not sure either Quinn or Ewan fully came to life for me, but their romance is sweet.

There are a couple of steaming hot sex scenes in this story. Both Ewan and Quinn struggle with romantic relationships and both have very complicated histories. There might have been a little too much angst and a little too much brooding for my tastes.

The angst in this story is offset by Ewan and Quinn’s friends and family members. As a grad student, Quinn is almost young enough to pull off the cutesy, sorority-style friendships, but the girl talk did my head in by the end of the book. Ewan’s family is easier to like. I enjoyed his relationship with his cousin and I liked his aunt and uncle. All of the secondary characters help to reduce the intensity of the romance and I appreciated the lighter interludes.

Every now and then I run into books with Irish-American characters and settings that are more Irish than anything I’ve experienced in Ireland. I don’t quite get it and I’m pretty sure it would come across as racist if any other group of Americans was stereotyped so completely. Here, Ewan’s family runs an Irish bar, they’re entangled with the Irish mob, they drink Irish whiskey, and they speak with Irish accents. Ewan himself is an easy caricature of a brooding Irishman. To a UK reader, it’s all a little bit odd.

This is a sweet, simple romance. I enjoyed parts of it, but it never fully captured my imagination. I’m interested enough to see how this series progresses – Sean and Darcy’s story should be interesting.

This is the first in a series – and I loved it and was very happy that I had the second book in the series also lined up on my reading list.

We meet the McKenna family – from Ewan's point of view. He works for his uncle and considers his cousin, Sean, a younger brother. Ewan is a man who has chosen a simple life, running a pub for his uncle. He uses up aggression by fighting, usually with someone taking bets.

Quinn is recovering from the loss of her parents, in the most tragic of circumstances. Unable to take Pittsburgh anymore, so she goes to her aunt's for a while. Keeping herself busy landscaping the gardens, she gets a chance to heal. An unexpected encounter with Ewan in a dark alleyway starts an attraction that affects them far more than either of them expected.

As the dark in Ewan's past rears its ugly head, and Quinn finds herself falling for him, even when she knows it is hopeless, things get very complicated – but also very good! There was a real feeling of community developing, with Darcy and Sean being great side characters and adding some much needed humour when things got difficult. Darcy also turns into a good friend, something that Quinn had forgotten she once had.

A really good mix of romance, intense attraction, and steamy action. Throw in family and a dark past, and the reader is in for a treat. The story leaves us in the perfect place for book two.

Jamie Hollins was born and raised in rural Northeast Ohio. After graduate school, she embarked on a perilous career in Human Resources where she met plenty of real life characters. When she’s not writing or chasing after her toddler, she enjoys reading and golfing. Jamie lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and their dog, Winston.

Connect with Jamie

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Brought to you by

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Best Part of Me (McKenna #1) by Jamie Hollins to read and review.

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