Series: Maple Leaf #1
Format Read: Kindle book
Release Date: June 1, 2014
Challenges: What An Animal (Poe, a pet coyote)
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Blurb from goodreads:
Lily Hinsdale spends her California days designing extravagant hotels for Utopia Resorts. Her nights are filled with the glitz and glamour of upscale parties. Until her grandmother dies and leaves Lily property in wretched Vermont. The woods mean only one thing to Lily—nightmares. When Utopia wants the land for development, Lily is forced to travel to a place she’d rather forget.
Rick Stannard makes maple syrup and builds barns in the peace and quiet of picturesque Vermont. Noisy New York City nearly killed him a few years back, and now he lives a calm, simple life with his coyote, Poe, and his beloved book collection. It’s the only way he’s guaranteed to wake up each morning.
When Lily marches her expensive boots onto Rick’s land and proposes turning it into a mega resort, the serenity of the woods is shattered. Lily always closes a deal. Rick never intends to sell. They’ll need to compromise, or someone else will do it for them. Someone who is not afraid of the woods or the city.
Or spilling a little blood.
1. Pancakes! Pancakes! Nom nom nom I admit, the title suckered me in; it almost didn't matter what the blurb was. I love pancakes, and they're one of the few foods I actually make from scratch. Rick and Lily both love pancakes:
"I may have enjoyed you more than pancakes," he whispered into her hair.
Also, pancake recipes would have been awesome! I'm always on the lookout for more.
2. Maple syrup! Real maple syrup, not the imitation stuff but the good stuff. I got a little hungry reading this book.:D It was neat learning a little about the maple syrup business but I would have liked even more detail, not a lot, but more would have been nice.
2. There were some good sparks between Lily and Rick. They made a good combination and worked well together. At first, they couldn't understand each other and thought the other was from another planet but they got to know each other and they began to click. Each of them does sweet things for the other which made me smile.
4. Sage and Hope, Rick's cousins. They were sassy, smart-mouthed, funny, and occasionally sweet. They made me laugh at the hard time they gave Rick. They were a nuisance but their actions derived from their love of Rick. Their mother, Rick's aunt Joy was a sweetie too.
1. The main conflict was that Lily needed to buy Rick's land for the company she worked for. That was okay but some of other conflicts seemed contrived and artificial: Rick country boy, Lily city girl, never can the twain meet. There are legitimate lifestyle differences but in the story it's all artificial.
2. Lily was amazingly naive for someone in her late 20s, early 30s and with her work experience. She's never encountered environmentalists before or had people present environmental concerns while designing hotels for her employer, a resort company? Seriously? I find that highly unlikely and unbelievable. It was also an artificial wedge between Lily and Rick, one that could have been handled in a much more realistic manner.
She'd always thought everyone was for progress and innovation, but maybe that wasn't the case. Maybe there were more tree-huggers than she'd realized. Maybe there were more people like Rick.
California was full of actors, pretenders playing parts, but Lily hadn't realized it was also full of liars.
3. We're also meant to believe that Lily likes wielding power and is capable of being ruthless; we're told this several times, but we don't see it. She makes a half-assed attempt at best at securing the land she needs which Rick refuses to sell. At no time do we see her being ruthless or even trying to wield her power. In fact, she caves quite quickly at Rick's refusal and is easily talked into considering other options.
4. Rick's sprained ankle. Rick sprains his ankle early on and it's an ongoing part of the story. It's allegedly severe and yet he's not undergoing any physical therapy, there's not even a mention of it. I've known several people with severe ankle sprains and they all needed PT, one for almost a year. Rick also gets around surprisingly well though the author does have Rick in pain and walking with some difficulty.
There were some big believability issues with the story and it lacked depth but it was cute and sweet. I enjoyed it and I will probably read the next one which focuses on Rick's cousin Sage.