Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

WinterOranges_600x900Title: Winter Oranges

Author: Marie Sexton

Publisher: Riptide

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 11/30/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, M/M Romance, Winter Holiday

Blurb:

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

My View:

Marie Sexton is the author of two of my all-time favorite stories in the M/M genre — Promises and Strawberries for Dessert. Between that fact and the fact that I adore holiday stories, I simply had to give this one a shot. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, there are elements of this story that were fantastic. I loved the entire premise surrounding Ben. I found it unique and interesting. It was obvious that Sexton put a lot of effort into building Ben’s world. I enjoyed hearing about Ben’s journey from the 1800’s to the present time. I enjoyed seeing how Jason and Ben found ways around their limitations to interact and grow closer. I enjoyed watching Ben and Jason fall in love.

I appreciated seeing Jason find something with Ben he had only hoped to have with Dylan. Despite the fact that the friends with benefits aspect of the storyline could have been trite and overdone, it was just enough to know that Jason had something to lose.

If I enjoyed these aspects, why didn’t I rate the book higher? Well, those aspects got overshadowed by a few other features of the story. First of all, there was pretty much no holiday feel to this story. It is part of a “Love for the Holidays” bundle, but I got absolutely no holiday spirit from this story. That, however, isn’t enough to ruin the story itself. I just had to suspend my holiday mood for a few hundred pages.

Speaking of length, there were many times where the story dragged for me. There was obviously a lot of thought put into the world building, but sometimes too much of it actually made it onto the page. There were scenes that seemed pointless and/or repetitive.

For example, a lot is made of the distance of Ben from the globe, but that information was never satisfactorily used in the plot of the story. For as many words as were used to point out Ben’s limitations, the reason just faded into the ether.

I don’t want to give away the ending here in the review. However, I do want to say that with all the aspects of the book that left me wanting, the ending is at the top of the list. We had fantastic world building and just enough tension up until the final few chapters. Then the story became predictable and trite. The ending did not live up to the rest of the story.

Overall Winter Oranges is a sweet low angst read.

Links

Winter Oranges on Goodreads
Riptide
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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,

Brandilyn
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