Author: Jon Keys
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Peter Stevens believes nothing tastes better than a vine-ripened tomato tended by a farmer’s hands. The craving for heirloom tomatoes leads him to his local farmers’ market and his favorite vendor, Ethan Hart. As Peter becomes a regular customer, the two find they have more in common than a love of good food. Just as Ethan begins to relax, Peter’s ex, Jay, appears and is all the things Ethan is not. A perfect storm of mistakes and poor choices, as well as Ethan’s haunted past, has him ready to admit defeat. With the guidance of friends and a goat far too smart for her own good, Ethan realizes he needs to have a tender hand and patience to grow a home for Peter.
Home Grown could be a sweet comfort read. There isn’t a lot of angst or conflict, just two seemingly different men trying to make things work. Unfortunately, there were several aspects of this story that left me questioning.
First, let us look at the relationship in general… There is a fair amount of self-reproach thanks to bad previous relationships. However, the reader is never fully briefed on what went on in the past for either Ethan or Peter. Throughout the story, I repeatedly felt the author knew something to which the reader isn’t privy. I am sure Ethan and Peter both had rich back stories that just weren’t expressed well enough for the connection between them to come across the page.
Next, let us talk about insta-love. After only one semi-date and one encounter, they were in love. Yeah, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that one. Then the baddy shows up, and everything explodes… for some reason… to which the reader is never fully aware. Then they get back together and are immediately in love and ready to live together, etc. Let’s just say that I never believed the relationship.
Finally, let us talk about a few technical issues. The most major one was point of view. I never knew whose point of view we were in. We would shift from Ethan’s to Peter’s and back repeatedly and without notice. We would also shift between third and first when the character has a sudden epiphany or needs an aside, jarring me out of the scene. I also felt that this story would benefit from a good beta reader that could point out ineffective phrases, which were rampant in the story. With the elimination of overused adverbs and idioms, I feel that Keys writing could be greatly improved. Phrases such as the following have no place in a published work:
Ethan slid his fingers at a snail’s pace down his crack to rub over Peter’s slick entry
I did, however, enjoy the tomato storyline. I thought the use of tomatoes to bring the main characters together was cute and somewhat unique. It also left me hungry for a good salad and maybe a BLT. Unfortunately, I felt the authors didactic approach to the descriptions of why the farm fresh food was so much better insulted the reader and slowed the story.
There is an audience out there for Home Grown; I am sure. I, unfortunately, am not that audience.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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