The Holiday Café Series by Evelyn Aster
This is the second book in the Holiday Café Series. Each novel is a standalone and can be read in any order. I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)
Quick & Dirty summary: Stacy and Hudson have a great game of Words with Friends going on, but neither thinks anything of it with Hudson being overseas in Afghanistan and Stacy living in Tucson. But when Hudson’s homecoming is less than warm from his girlfriend and brother he hops on his Triumph and travels from Austin to the Holiday Café hoping to run into his online friend. Emotions run hot as Stacy and Hudson explore their chemistry, but with Stacy’s family problems and Hudson’s undiagnosed PTSD, being there for each other is difficult.
Evelyn Aster has clearly spent some time researching and thinking about soldiers returning from home. In fact, her opening notes thank a veteran for reading the novel, which I think is awesome. This is not an easy romance. It bounces back and forth, much the way I imagine the thoughts and emotions of a veteran suffering from PTSD. While I didn’t always enjoy the irrational moments of the novel, both on Hudson’s part and his family, I don’t think it’s a negative. It’s just a part of the novel and I think it is purposeful on Aster’s part, an attempt at giving us a brief glimpse into what a person suffering from PTSD struggles with. Hudson and Stacy are great together as they try to navigate a new relationship with more stressors than most.
As usual, the sex scenes in this book are HOT. Isn’t it every girl’s fantasy to have sex on a motorcycle on a beautiful mountain path? Okay, maybe that’s just me. But the chemistry between the two of them is smoking throughout the novel.
And there is a lot going on besides Hudson’s mental health. There are lost and found family members and violent gangbangers to keep the reader on their toes. This means the novel moves FAST, which can give you whiplash, but it’s still entertaining. I do wish there had been a little more time spent on word choice, imagery and some of the finer points of writing, as I thought Aster rushed this a bit compared to the first book in the series, but it’s still a fun book to read.
Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)
Honestly, I’m not sure. To me, $3.99 is a lot for a 253 page book, but it is very entertaining. If you love the Holiday season, Veterans, and/or hot sex scenes, then you should get this book.
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