Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Basic Renovation by Sandra Antonelli

The Basics:
A Basic Renovation by Sandra Antonelli
Escape Publishing
Published February 1, 2013  Kobo

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Why I picked up this book:

I'm usually a fan of Harlequin books (Harlequin in Australia is behind Escape Publishing), and this one looked promising what with the cute cover (cute dress, cute boots!), and the potential for comedic crossed wires.

My Thoughts:

Sometimes you pick up a book to read at the exact right time: the book is exactly what you needed in those moments. This was one of those books. I don't know if it was actually as good as I thought it was because I read it at the height of a particularly bad cold, BUT, I loved this book. It kept me happy while I was laid up sick, and that's really the most I wanted from it.

Dominic and Lesley have complicated past and when she comes back to her hometown to flip a house, it all gets splayed out all over town. I loved the tension between these two - both so certain that nothing could ever come of their attraction -, and I appreciated the fact that as each lie from the past was unveiled, their relationship hit increasingly rocky grounds.

There was some business with Lesley's grandfather courting a woman which made me think of the grandmother in the Stephanie Plum books - a supporting character whom I tolerate marginally better than many others as that series grinds on and on (curse you Ranger for bringing me back over and over again!). GP, as Lesley calls him, isn't as irritating, and there's something kind of sweet about his scheming. I kept picturing my grandfather-in-law and my great grandfather who were both active into their early 90s and it made me grin to think of them getting up to these antics. Also, it made me picture a lot of that side of the story happening in slow motion, even while I was zipping through the book.

The relationship between Dominic and his son, Kyle, is so down to earth and... guy-like? Is that a thing? The man-to-man conversations they shared were amusing, awkward, I'd like to think insightful. I liked the way they spoke to each other, and I could completely understand Dominic's worry for his sixteen-year-old as he lobbied for car ownership. I tend to steer away from romance novels where kids are involved (out of habit at this point rather than a preference), but I'm so glad I picked this one up. This relationship was as rewarding as the one between Dominic and Lesley.

Bottom line:

I recommend this one, definitely. There's some heartbreak in it, there's lots of humour as things go from bad to worse in spectacular fashion, there's love at all ages!

5 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, love-hate relationships, renovations, the Stephanie Plum series

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