Series: Shore Secrets #1
Format Read: PDF converted for Kindle
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 23, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | ARe* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
Ella Mayhew's always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family's hotel.But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds—shirtless. He's the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn't even know his name.
Graydon Locke's on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine's always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He's always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes—falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he's on the verge of axing. And letting the town's residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.
Ella's the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he's lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn't save her parents, but it's up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.
I hadn't read Barth before but I liked the sound of the blurb and I had the chance to meet her recently at a con and she seemed nice so I said yes when she requested a review.
"Up To Me" has a lot of humor and I laughed quite a bit. The dialog is sharp and witty and there are some humorous moments, but they're never forced. It isn't all humor though. Both Gray and Ella have past emotional traumas they are still dealing with and Barth deftly weaves in both the serious and the humorous. The book's title comes from the fact that both Ella and Gray, though especially Ella, need to ease up on relying on the advice of others and start taking responsibility and make their own decisions. Ella is starting to do just that when she and Gray meet. Ella has been on a dating hiatus due to the death of her parents. When she meets Gray, her hormones perk up and say 'yes!'
Funny. Sexy and funny and charming. This guy was celibacy Kryptonite.
Ella's small town drives Gray crazy; he's not a fan of small towns anyway and he has trouble with how close the town is and how in your business people are. I had trouble believing just how supportive and close-knit the townspeople were, it didn't seem real to me, but it was sweet and cozy.The supporting characters were wonderful; they were clearly drawn individuals with lots of personality but they didn't take over the story.
Although I understood why Gray lied to Ella, I didn't like it. I did like that it wasn't easy for him and he wrestled with it. He knew that it would come out eventually and when it does, he doesn't whine (much) and he accepts the consequences. Ella of course is shocked and hurt but once the initial shock is past, she can look at Gray's behavior in a calm, reasonable manner and decide, for herself, using her head and her heart, what she's going to do next. The ending, especially the business with the town's financial troubles and the solution, was a bit too convenient but it was mostly believable.
"Up To Me" was fun, sweet, and an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. If you're not a fan of small town romances, this probably isn't the book for you, but for everyone else, go read it!
And I want a castle of my own, complete with gourmet chef. :D