Thursday, May 29, 2014


DINNER AT HOME by Rick R. Reed

Pages: 214
Date: 29/05/2014
Grade: 3.5
Details: Received from Dreamspinner Press
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“It only takes a few days for Ollie D'Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off. 

Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of. 

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook... and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.”

My thoughts:

This was a sweet love story and that was both its selling point and its weakness. For me this book was a bit too sweet, Ollie a bit too nice and trusting, Hank a bit too comfortable despite his shitty past and solutions to problems a bit too easily achieved.

This is going to sound funny from somebody who up until recently claimed not to like angst, but I really feel this book could have done with more of it. Ollie seemed to suffer very little after the boyfriend he’d bought a ring for breaks up with him. Losing his job just a day later doesn’t seem to bother him either. By the same token, while we get the details of Hank’s horrible past, I never really felt his pain or the trouble he might still be having dealing with it. And when tragedy does strike it doesn’t come as a surprise and, once again, seems to be accepted by the characters almost before the reader realises what exactly has happened. For me the shifts from pain to happiness were too abrupt. A chapter filled with inner turmoil would be followed with a chapter filled with bliss. It was too black and white, the changes in feelings too extreme. Shouldn’t doubts linger, pain ease only slowly and solutions come gradually?

I constantly found myself wanting to like the story more than I actually did. The storyline felt like something that should work perfectly for me and yet it didn’t, which made this a somewhat frustrating reading experience.

I did like the obvious love of food and its preparation in this book. Every chapter starts with a recipe and every single one of them was enticing and at least one or two may have to be tried out at some point in the future. Having said that, I almost wish I had a paper copy of this book available. On my Kindle the recipes seemed to take up a lot of – dare I say it, too much - room. I’ve got a feeling though it wouldn’t feel that way if the pages had been bigger.

Even now, after I’ve finished the book and have written most of my review I still find myself wanting to say I liked the story more than I actually did. The characters managed to charm me, the story line had an almost fairytale-like quality and it was a smooth read.  If I had to describe this book in one sentence I’d say this was a feel good book that could and should have been a feel great book.

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