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**The books featured on WICKED WINTER SATURDAYS are for adults. If you are under 18 years of age, or do not like smexy books, please stop here. **
Series: Stand alone
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tri Destiny Publishing
Publication Date: 10/15/12
Source: Received from publisher for review.
A brutal attack left Lori Brockton convinced she was damaged goods. By the time she emerges from hiding two years later, ready to run her family's famous brewery, she's determined to be independent--never rely on anyone ever again. Nearly a year of working in every corner of Brockton Brewing Company, from warehouse to pub, front office to kitchen, teaches her all she needs to know about the business. Then, she comes face-to-face with masculine perfection in a suit and her world is rocked in more ways than one. Garret Hunter is the new Brockton business manager who takes one look at the beautiful, sad young woman and his entire existence coalesces around winning her heart.
But standing between Garrett and what he believes is his true love, is a six-feet six-inch blond-haired bad boy brewer.
Eli Buchannan is a craft beer rock star, recently hired by Brockton to drag the company into the 21st century. He brings innovation and attitude plus a prima donna ladies’ man reputation. But he's sworn off anything resembling commitment, personal or professional, after getting burned at his last job on both fronts.
Garret Hunter is “The Perfect Man” -- handsome, successful, stable, eager to settle down. Eli Buchannan... is not. Compelling, smoking hot, creative and elusive, he represents everything Lori Brockton should avoid. But just as she makes a difficult choice, a drastic life-changing shift occurs, and nothing is ever the same again.
Fair warning: I'm going to be all over the place with this review. In fact, I've been sitting on this review for weeks, and keep looking over it to be sure that I wasn't being mean or unfair. In some ways Paradise Hops really worked for me, and in other ways I'm feeling less than enthused. Let me break this down into three categories: Characters, Story, and Steam.
It's never a good thing, in my experience, when the main character is the least favorite. Lori is a young woman struggling to work through a very brutal experience. She is an Everywoman, sort of nondescript. I couldn't even tell you what she looked like, except maybe she had brown hair? I actually like that. Lori was mostly okay, until it came to dealing with the two new men in her life, Eli and Garrett. Garrett is the man who's going to save the family brewery. He's precise, kind, intelligent, and not spontaneous in the least. I dare say life with Garrett could be a tad bit boring, yet safe, which is definitely something Lori is looking for. Then you have Eli. Eli is the god in the world of beer brewing. He's cocky, mysterious, and dangerously sexy. Garrett's opposite. Lori loves Garrett, and she wants Eli. What's a girl to do, huh? Apparently Lori is out to have her cake (or cock, as it were) and eat it, too. Me? I didn't really care which guy she ended up with. Wait! Actually I did. I gave Garrett the slight advantage the moment Eli refused to wear a condom, and when he told her to basically speak now or forever hold her vaginal peace, because once he gets started with the boning, there's no stopping Good Old Eli. So that's where I stand with the characters of Paradise Hops.
**Sorry #1: I admit, I've been hard on poor Lori in this review. I'm sure that it would be difficult to decide between two gorgeous, sexy men. I just get frustrated with the back-and-forth.**
**Sorry #2: I don't mean to get ranty. A guy telling a girl that he can't stop is a personal peeve of mine and a complete turnoff. This may not bother other readers, but it really grinds my gears. **
Hello. My name is Andrea, and I like beer. No, I love beer. In fact, I'm drinking a Sam Adams Alpine Spring right now and it is delish. I've literally had two sips so far, so don't think I'm drinking and reviewing, guys. So anyway, the fact Paradise Hops is set in a brewery is what initially drew me to the story. And I absolutely adored the cover. I actually enjoyed the basic premise of the story, but it took me a while to get there. The whole beginning felt disjointed. You have a prologue that ends with a big decision, then at chapter one, the story goes back in time. And that's fine, but it felt like taking a jump with no padding to cushion the landing. Lori meets Garrett, they are attracted to one another, then I felt like the story jumped ahead to them dating, and getting kind of serious. Then Eli comes in, and Lori is also attracted to him, of course. Then she and Eli are flirting hot and heavy, yet she loves Garrett, he wants to commit, but she can't commit because she has feelings for Eli, too. Are you following? I bet you are because I am seeing this happen in a lot of books lately. I'm actually okay with all of the back and forth, for the most part, but I'm not feeling the connection between Lori and either of the guys. At all.
Lori is eventually confronted with the choice: Eli or Garrett. BUT, and I have to give the girl props, she never makes a real decision, at least from what I can tell. The girl is working on having both cakes (cocks), guys. So anyway, big things happen. HUGE. And Lori is left to deal with the fallout, with the help of one of the two guys. I was shocked by the turn of events. And I actually really liked the ending, even if I never loved the characters. It was super emotional and wrapped the story up nicely.
The steam in Paradise Hops was pretty darn good. And it was plentiful, so, yay! The author did a great job of turning up the heat, and I got a little overheated a time or two. The only downfall was the instance with Eli that I mentioned above. Other than that, I really liked the steamy.
Okay, so overall, I liked Paradise Hops even though I didn't like everything about it. But I will say that at the heart of it, is a complicated love story. A nd like life itself, relationships like this are messy. I was compelled the entire time to keep reading, to find out who Lori would choose. Would they be happy? I wanted to know, so that says something about the story. The aspects that bothered me may attract other readers, so take that for what it's worth. Bottoms up.
She cupped his bearded jaw, grinning when he caught her finger in his teeth. His eyes blazed with intensity. He kept them trained on hers, held her gaze as he eased her knees apart slowly, then dropped his lips to her skin. ~50%
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