Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ava Miles - Country Heaven

A down-on-her luck cook uses food’s magical properties to tame a beastly country singer after he hires her under false pretenses to restore his image.
When famous—and infamous—country singer Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she’s got him pegged. He’s a bad boy who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn’t care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can’t refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs.
Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who’d ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he’s ever eaten, both comforting and seductive. But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her—one that’s as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he’s never risked: he lets a woman into his heart…
Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he’s found in Tory’s arms survive in the real world?

Comment: Another book scheduled to be buddy read with my friend H. And yes, you can guess I've again finished first but I must say I also started a lot sooner than our average. Since the last one was my last read of the month, I decided to read this one earlier in the month so it wouldn't get behind in case work once more delays my reading pace (work is busier at this time of the month, less time to read between working hours).
This is a contemporary story featuring a country singer who has issues with his family and the woman who helps in in different ways to reach for his best potential, both professionally and personally.

In this story we meet Rye Crenshaw, a country singer whose family disowned when he didn't follow the steps of the men in the family by going to Law and choosing a singing carer instead. Rye is famous but a part of him still feels sad about his family, especially because his communications are only his youngest sister and hidden from his parents.
At the same time, his reputation is not good over a situation after he got the news he wouldn't contact his sister anymore. He also needed a new cook for his tours, and after a good dinner, he employs Tory, who happens to be a good girl, struggling to make ends meet.
The PR team with Rye decide Tory would be a good addition and that would help him recuperate his reputation but he didn't count on his father having a heart attack and wanting to mend fences...

This was a nice surprise. I mean, I already expected to enjoy the book somehow, that's why I added it to y reading list. I especially wanted to see how the portrayal of a heroine in need would play out since I tend to like this sort of trope: heroines down on their lucks but with work and decency and good behavior will be kind of "rewarded" with positive things too. I don't mean to say I like doormats or mousy characters waiting for good things to come their way but it's nice to read about people who deserve good things.

The story is not complicated and I liked the pace of it although I guess I could divide it into two main plot areas: Rye and Tory and the tour and then the time spent on Rye's family house and the family reconnection.
I was quite satisfied with the way Tory and Rye were getting close to one another without it being just an excuse for them to have sex thoughts about one another and their romance was slow going. Then, the family drama happened and surprisingly they even got closer and I found myself enjoying that part as well. I actually think the way the author presented the family's reunion was interesting and it's not a perfect scenario, there are still issues unsolved...I assume some of it will be addressed in future books, as they feature Rye's sisters.

However, the switch from singer's career to family guy and back to singing felt a little too obvious and a different strategy could have made things smoother.
The writing felt well done for the most part and I liked how characters were described in sensible ways and weren't portrayed in exaggerated ways (except perhaps one or two which were clearly one dimensional).

The HEA is sweet but, again, takes a little time to happen and it didn't really felt to match the rest of the plot and the character's usual behavior. I would have liked different issues to be stressed out (like Tory's life, after all the story wasn't only about Rye) but generally speaking, this was a good story to be entertained by and I managed to go through it quite quickly.
After some hints here and there I feel very curious about the next one and will certainly read it at some point.
Grade: 8/10

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