Thursday, June 1, 2017

Breaking Bonds by Ari McKay

From the frying pan into the fire.

After a critic’s review attacks both Chef Liam Walker’s culinary skills and his personal life, Liam can no longer take the heat of the cutthroat New York City restaurant scene. He needs to get out of the kitchen—at least long enough to cool down and regroup.

At the Overlook Resort in North Carolina, Liam meets owner Carter Galloway. Carter has a passion for the hospitality business to rival Liam’s own, and it’s not hard to see where their shared interests—and attraction—could lead. But Carter has no interest in a fling, and Liam has no intention of walking away from the career he fought so hard for. If they want a taste of happiness together, they’ll have to find the courage to break the bonds threatening to pull them apart.

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Book 2
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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This is a very sweet, very simple, low heat romance. As a Dreamspun Desires story, the format and tropes are borrowed from traditional Harlequin style romance.

Liam is a big city celebrity chef taking a break in the mountains when he runs into resort owner Carter and offers to help him sort out his resort’s restaurant. While sparks fly between Carter and Liam, Liam is ambitious and tied to New York, while equally ambitious Carter is tied to his mountain resort. Both characters are charming and attractive but they are simply drawn – at times, they are almost types rather than individual leading men. The romance simmered slowly in the background of this story but with the nearly sex-free, low angst format, I found it difficult to fully believe in the connection between Liam and Carter.

The food in this story made me hungry but it also felt quite dated. Today’s Michelin star restaurants usually serve a combination of obscure and locally foraged ingredients, elaborate food chemistry experimentation, and exquisite presentation. The comparatively mundane steaks, tartlets, risottos, and Caesar salads in this book belonged at a 1990s wedding reception, not at a contemporary high-end restaurant.

This definitely isn’t a story that needs too much scrutiny. It is fluffy, sweet, and entertaining. It’s a quick easy read. Where some of the other Dreamspun Desires books have played with the Harlequin tropes and some have gently poked fun at the genre, this story takes itself seriously and it follows the genre conventions carefully. And the result is two attractive men kept apart by circumstance, some very appetising food, and a beautiful mountain resort.

ARI MCKAY is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full-time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Breaking Bonds (The Walker Boys #2) by Ari McKay to read and review.

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