Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review: A Basic Renovation by Sandra Antonelli

Title: A Basic Renovation
Author: Sandra Antonelli

Read copy: eBook
Published: February 1, 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing
ISBN: 0857990209
ISBN-13: 9780857990204

When it comes down to it, rats in the oven trumps Lesley’s desire to never set eyes on another Brennan family member. So Lesley, a pro at property redevelopment, scrambles to Dominic Brennan’s hardware store for supplies. Dominic knows poison — rat and otherwise — and he sees it in Lesley. The woman ruined his brother’s life. Now that she’s back in town, Dominic’s afraid she’ll drag up the past, the secrets, and the pain. They clash immediately, but mix in a teenage boy, a puppy, some white paint, and some loud music, and what starts as cold fury transforms into a nuclear attraction. This basic renovation becomes a major life refurbishment for them both.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Sixteen years ago she'd been the frumpy nondescript woman who's apparently ruined his younger brother's life and convinced Dominic's live-in girlfriend to abandon him and their nine-month-old son. His family has been blaming her for everything from that point forward...Oh, and she's a lesbian (though his mother expresses herself more harshly in that regard).

And she's back in town, renovating a house, and stirring all kinds of feelings (and other stuff) in Dominic. As if he doesn't have other problems on his mind. Like keeping his sixteen-year old from earning enough money to buy a car...

It doesn't happen often that I stumble upon a decent read in the "ReadNow" section on NetGalley. But this one was a great respite from other not-so-stellar attempts. It had humor (as Kyle observed, bickering adults resemble teenagers), a feisty heroine, a drool-worthy hero (that often came through as a jackass, very realistic, I believe), a wonderful 92-year old grandpa in search for love (he had more luck in that department than his granddaughter), a very believable romance, a small town, two crazy families, a resilient house and loads of rats.

If that doesn't make any sense, I guess you'll just have to read it.

What I appreciated the most was the age of the two protagonists. They weren't teenagers or a foxy lady and a hunk in their twenties or thirties. He was going on fifty and she was pretty much close behind. I love it when authors decide to make their leading couple more mature. It shows us that love and romance truly is possible at any age. Which doesn't happen a lot in Romancelandia (unless you're reading a paranormal romance with vampires or long-lived werewolves).

The pacing was good, the story never got boring, the supporting cast was just right (with that 92-year-old GP the greatest of them all, and the fact he swore in Italian made him even more endearing)...The only hiccup that prevented me from giving it 5 stars was the final hurdle the two mature lovebirds had to go through. It seemed a bit too much in the end, a bit over the top, and seemed like it didn't really belong there and was added just so there could be more drama.

Otherwise everything fit just right.


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