This is my first official book review on my blog. I've been a member of Goodreads for about 6 years now, and I've posted enough reviews there that I'm in like, the top 1% of reviewers. I do it for two reasons: so that I can remember what I've read and why I like an author or don't; and so other people can either discover great writers or steer clear of bad ones. I've very seldom read books I hated. There have been a few but not numerous. Fortunately, this particular book is one I can say I was glad to have been given a chance to read and review. I'm giving my reviews on my blog a rating out of 10 points because I can and because, well, I wish you could be more specific at Goodreads.
So, up front, this book was given to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Delectable by Adrianne Lee
Delectable is the story of Quint McCoy and his estranged wife, Callee. After the unexpected death of Quint's father, their marriage implodes and they're in the process of getting a divorce that neither of them, deep down, really wants. But Quint has hurt Callee terribly and she isn't convinced he'll ever change. Quint, meanwhile, ran off to fish in Alaska for a month to bury his pain, and when he comes home, life as he knew it has been turned upside down. It knocks some sense into him and he realizes that if he loves his wife as much as he says, he better get his butt in gear and win her back before the ink is dry on the divorce papers. Callee has one foot out the door already and an unexpected turn of events forces her to stay in town for a bit. It's the chance that Quint needs to prove himself.
This is the first book in a series and it does a decent job of introducing what are sure to be future main characters. None of the secondary characters or storylines dominate the book, but they do enrich it, which is always a bonus (and usually what you'd expect when you're reading a series). There's an excerpt from book #2 in the back and though I mostly skimmed that because I was finishing the book right before I had to go somewhere, I'm excited to read the next part of the series. That in itself should tell you that I liked the book.
Now, the specifics: I loved that it's set in Montana. There are a handful of places in the world I'd love to live and aside from a few locations in Europe, most of them are in the U.S. One of those places is Montana. Now I really want to set a story there. SIL lives near Bozeman. Might have to make a visit. Though our hero, Quint, was a fisherman (and ran away to fish when his dad died), that didn't overwhelm the story. I might actually have enjoyed it if Quint went fishing and we got a little bit of the lingo in there, but that's okay; the people who don't want to read stuff like that will be happy to hear that the book isn't about fishing. And if you want to read a book on fishing in Montana, read A River Runs Through It. Though I'm biased, I also liked that it made me want to go to Montana without feeling like a brochure. Plus, I still felt like I was there. Setting gets a 9/10.
I thought there was some good chemistry between Callee and Quint, but I was a little disappointed that we didn't see as much character growth from Callee as from Quint. She admits, at one point, that it wasn't just Quint's fault that their marriage fell apart, and while I liked the direction the story was going there, I wish we'd seen more of her growth after the fact. I guess it wasn't so much that she didn't grow as it was that it happened off the canvas to some degree and was summarized in the last page or so. Quint, on the other hand, was filleted like a fish and left himself open for all the people who he'd wronged. As anyone who has read my past book reviews knows, I'm a big fan of character driven stories and on that note, this story maybe gets a 7/10. Had we seen more from Callee rather than heard about it, I'd bump it up to at least an 8, maybe 8.5.
Love scenes were a mixed bag. The build up and the sexual tension were good, but these two are married! They're not even divorced! I'd have liked to see more...well, action. The bits we saw were hot - scorching. But then, again, it happened off-camera. Maybe I'm a little too graphic when I write sex scenes sometimes (I like that sort of thing and you often write what you like, I think), but I'd rather see it all or have it implied, I guess. To go from hot, hot, hot to 'well, then they, you know,' was disconcerting. Choose a direction and go with it: either you're bringing the heat or you're glossing over it. The one place you should always be able to get away with descriptive sex scenes is between two people who are married. And I think the worst part was that Callee and Quint both talked about how intense the passion had been between them, from the very beginning, but we didn't see enough of it. Sex scenes get a 6/10.
Those are the three big items for me: setting, character and the interaction between said characters (romance if it's a romance, etc). I can live with cheesy plots as long as they're believable, but I generally prefer a good plot. This one, my only gripe was that the whole 21-day divorce thing sounds far-fetched. Maybe if she'd delved into the details, I could have bought it more, but according to dissolution of marriage details from the Montana State Bar, well, it seems a seriously big stretch. But I'll suspend my disbelief because it's minor. The subplot with Quint's mother, thankfully, did not go any of the myriad of directions it could have, which was a relief. And there were a few little surprises from the subplots that I think worked really well and did a good job setting up the hero/heroine for book #2. Plot, then, gets a 7.5/10 - nothing earth shattering, but pretty decent except for the timeline of the divorce. I'd maybe have stretched things a little longer - had Quint fish for two months, made Callee leave for a longer period of time later. Something.
Overall score is 7.4. Since I can't leave 10-star reviews at Goodreads and Amazon, when I leave those reviews, they will reflect my opinion based on their scales.
I am excited to read book #2 - it will feature Nick, Quint's photographer friend, and Jane, the pastry chef girl at Big Sky Pie. Did I mention that their parents used to be married to each other? Or that they share a super steamy kiss before they realize they used to be stepbrother/sister? Ha! I can't wait. It should be good.