Series: Pine Mountain #3
Format Read: eGalley
Source: from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | Barnes & Noble|
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Blurb from goodreads:
Looking for inspiration...
Sloane Russo's turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane's flat broke now—and she can't channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed.
Gavin isn't the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane's novels. He's raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he's pretty sure he's supposed to act like he's never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well...
**This review first appeared at Romance at Random**
I have a couple of Kincaid’s books sitting unread on my Kindle and several of my favorite bloggers are fans of her writing; so when STIRRING UP TROUBLE became available for review, I was eager to try it. Although it is the third in the PineMountain series, it worked fine as a stand-alone.
Sloane is the black sheep in her family. She’s never done what they wanted or expected but lived life her way. She’s impulsive, outspoken, in no rush to get married and have kids (to her mother’s disappointment), and she worked at a variety of jobs before becoming a published romance author. She’s also traveled extensively, never settling down until she came to PineMountain. She’s been there for a year but now needs to get to Greece to write a story that her editor wants. Sloane submitted a story that she was proud of but it was shot down and now she’s obligated to write a romance set in Greece. Sloane needs to live in the setting she’s writing about but she doesn’t have the money to get there. She reluctantly agrees to be the nanny for the sister of her best friend Carly’s employee, Gavin.
Gavin, thirty-two, is the guardian of his thirteen-yea-old half-sister. Their mother died of cancer and both are fatherless so Gavin took in Bree, which meant she left the home and hometown she’d known all her life. She’s having a rough time, with her mother’s death and the new school while Gavin is having trouble learning how to be a parent. We are given little background information about Gavin and Bree other than their mother died of cancer and Gavin didn’t get home much before his mother’s illness. We know that Bree has been acting out, understandably, and that Gavin is overprotective, hence the need for a baby-sitter.
We also don’t see much of Sloane’s family although the book opens with a scene between her and her mother. We are told repeatedly that Sloane’s family considers her a disappointment and a failure but there’s little to back that up in the story apart from a couple clichéd scenes with her mother. I felt as if Kincaid failed to adequately lay the groundwork for Sloane feeling the way she does. Since her feelings of inadequacy contribute to her and Gavin having a misunderstanding, I would have liked for that to be better fleshed out. Gavin’s over-protectiveness and cluelessness where Bree was concerned were both aggravating and realistic. Sloane’s success with Bree was a little harder to buy at times but it helped that she was more relaxed than Gavin and willing to trust Bree.
Gavin and Bree made a cute couple and there was some serious heat between them. Neither one tried to change the other even though Sloane was a free spirit and Gavin more serious and rigid, they accepted each other. I loved that Gavin didn’t buy into Sloane’s insecurities but insisted that she was a good person and not a failure. At one point he tells her:
“You’re not unworthy just because you do things your own way. In fact, it’s the most beautiful thing about you. I just wish you knew it.”…”You’re good enough, just as you are, Sloane,” he whispered.
Now come on, that’s hawt. To have someone, the man you love no less, tell you that you are good enough, that you don’t need to change, well, I fell in love with Gavin right there. Also, Martina McBride’s “My Baby Loves Me” was playing in my head as I read these scenes.
There were few things that bothered me. Both Gavin and Sloane’s looks were frequently described in food terms – chocolate eyes, caramel skin, and so on. It’s overdone; I wish authors would find new comparisons. Also, we are in the 21st century; why, oh why, did Kincaid and her editors think it was okay to describe Sloane’s skin this way:
…exotically bronze Mediterranean skin…
Really? Why is it exotic? What makes it exotic? Why not just describe her skin as bronze and leave out the racial aspect? It’s not relevant so why describe it that way?
STIRRING UP TROUBLE had lots of clichés and stereotypes, but it was enjoyable: cute and sweet with likable characters and a nice look at what being a writer is like.