The Love Solution – a story of unrequited love and a chemical potion to fix it all.

Arc provided by Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Buy it here: AMAZON KOBO B&N

☆ ☆ ☆ THREE STARS

The Love Solution is the story of two sisters fighting the memory of unimaginable loss with the present day’s complexities of unrequited love. The first third of this story really captured my attention. It’s not often women in science are primarily featured in a book and I felt a kinship with Molly. Her career in biochemistry and pheromones brought back fond memories of my own time at uni studying biochemistry and neuroscience. The enthusiasm she had for her ‘Love Bug’ science project, the reason for the aptly chosen title, was endearing. I couldn’t help but support her attempts to gain the attention and affection of the man she secretly loved!

Despite my love of Molly, this book was hard for me to rate. There were a lot of things I liked and equally disliked about this that left my overall rating somewhere in the middle. I adored the science representation in the book, as well as the premise of two nerdy characters (Molly and Ewan) slowly falling in love. What brought this book down though, was Molly’s sister Sarah. Her story-line, which was half of the book, was very annoying to read. Her constant indecisiveness became frustrating half-way through the book. If this book had been solely about Molly and Ewan I would have rated it much higher. Regardless of this, it was still a sweet book that I think many readers would enjoy.

CHARACTERS

Molly – Easily my favourite character. She was kind, independent and career-driven. Her unrequited love for Ewan pulled at my heart-strings. While unrequited love is never easy, the constant mixed signals form Ewan really toyed with her emotions. She deserved someone willing to be proud of her on their arm, not neglecting their emotions due to the opinions of others. The unrequited affection in their personal lives played an interesting parallel to the nature of their research in to a chemical compound that would effectively create the illusion of love. The temptation of using it would be hard for some people to ignore, when in a similar predicament. In addition to this, Molly put a lot of effort in to being a good sister and helping Sarah out of her latest dramas. She definitely deserved a good HEA after all of that emotional turmoil.

Ewan – was a character I never fully understood. His actions were so hot and cold toward Molly and were quite confusing throughout the book. That poor woman! She didn’t know which way was up in their relationship (or lack thereof). Despite this, he was a genuinely nice and unexpectedly hilarious guy when he finally started opening up.

Sarah –  The most indecisive woman on earth. Her inability to make any decision for the entire second half of the book really took away my patience. I really felt for her in the beginning. She had been dealt an awful hand in life and had really gone above and beyond to look after her sister. Her compromising nature to put others before herself was moving to read about. I couldn’t help but want her to finally have everything she had missed out on. When presented with these opportunities though… she refused them. And then complained about it. It just… frustrated me. To say the least. In spite of this, I still have respect for all that she sacrificed in her life. Perhaps a life of constantly compromising would lend itself to a future of indecision and guilt at the idea of finally putting herself first.

Liam – The most patient man in the world. He really had to put up with a lot of hot and cold action from Sarah. In spite of Sarah’s hormonal tendencies, he was such a sweetheart. Maybe this was the reason I disliked Sarah so much. She had an absolute gem of a guy waiting around for her and she kept being obsessed with her cheating ex! He really deserved better, in my opinion.

Overall, this book had some highly enjoyable moments mixed in with a few lacklustre ones. The writing was done well and I particularly enjoyed the colloquial English terms used in this. It really painted a vivid image of the characters and their backgrounds. If you’re a reader that is sympathetic for indecisive, introspective characters then I think you’d really enjoy this book.

// what’s a character trait that instantly puts you off despite how good a book is? //

Jen

The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge: A charming story of love, good food and the pursuit of making others love good food.

Arc provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

★ ★ ★ THREE STARS

A failing bistro, an unorganised chef…this has all the hallmarks of a Ramsay’s Hotel Hell. It’s up to savvy businesswoman, Olivia to secure the safety of the bistro and catch a chef’s heart along the way.  

This was one of those sweet reads that you envision in animated multi colour with cute little hearts fluttering from each character’s eyes whenever they lock eyes with one another. While this is not my usual romance, I couldn’t resist the read once gazing at the cover. If you don’t already know…I’m a mega cover whore. If it’s cute, colourful and captures my attention? I’m buying it – with fingers crossed that it’ll actually turn out to be a good read! This one did not disappoint. I enjoyed the slow-burn sweet romance as well as the heart-warming backstory of a bistro that’s come to mean more than just good food to a small town.

CHARACTERS

OLIVIA – As a savvy, strong-willed businesswoman, Olivia was easily likeable and an all-round gem of a character. Olivia’s caring and considerate nature compelled me to like her from the very beginning. I loved how despite her considerate nature, she still had a strong confidence in herself and abilities and wasn’t afraid to stand up to others’ disapproval. While I enjoy reading about characters gaining confidence, I prefer to read about those who know their capabilities and don’t limit themselves based on others’ doubts. Olivia was definitely this. As the daughter of the man in charge, her insistence upon making a name for herself without nepotism made me respect the hell out of her. Here was a woman willing to work her way up from the bottom and find unexpected love along the way.

FINN – I had a bit of a hard time liking Finn as much as Olivia and quite frankly I think this is what brought the book down for me. Don’t get me wrong – he wasn’t a bad or totally unlikeable character. Quite the opposite. He felt like he had almost no character or strength. While Olivia was a force to be reckoned with, Finn felt like a bystander in this story. I would have loved to see more of his convictions. A few fights and sizzling banter would have gone a long way to improve my opinion of him. I struggled to believe that after running the bistro on his own for so long, he would just willingly and happily hand over the reins. Despite this, I still enjoyed the way Finn gained confidence as the story went on, especially with encouragement from Olivia.

While this book was a charming and sweet treat read, I would have liked to have seen more conflict and drama to balance the sweetness out. For those looking for a summer beach read that’s full of happy moments, optimism and a slow-burn romance – this is the book for you! I’m inclined to continue reading Julie Stock books (this was my first), especially since they have such cute covers. I’m hoping that some of the rest may have more conflict in them though.

Book Blurb:

When Olivia goes to manage Finn’s failing bistro, will they end up sharing a table for two, or will it be a recipe for disaster? Olivia Fuller longs to manage one of the restaurants in her father’s chain and to break free to live the independent life she’s wanted for so long. When her father finally puts his trust in her and sends her to a failing restaurant in Devon, she’s confident she can prove herself capable of doing the job. Finn Anderson is about to lose his beloved seaside bistro, unless the bank can find a buyer to dig him out. When George Fuller offers Finn a deal, he has no choice but to accept if he wants any chance of getting his bistro back one day. And then the new manager arrives…Even after meeting the prickly chef and discovering his complete lack of business skills, Olivia is confident she can turn the struggling business round. But as Olivia and Finn start working together, a mutual attraction develops between them, and soon, nothing is going according to Olivia’s plan. When there’s a real chance that the bistro might be sold off, Olivia and Finn determine to fight for it, united by their hard work and their growing feelings for each other. But can they save the bistro and be together, or does destiny have a different path in mind? A feel-good contemporary romance set in a bistro beside the sea in Devon.

// what is your perfect summer read book? do you ever buy books just because of their covers? //

Jen