Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: "Reserved" by Tracy Ewens (Romantic Comedy, New Adult)

Reserved (Love Story #4)
by Tracy Ewens

Publisher: Tracy Ewens
Series: Love Story
Books in Series: Premiere (#1), Candidate (#2), Taste (#3) (affil.)
My Other Reviews: Taste (#3)
Genre: Romantic Comedy, New Adult
My Content Rating: PG-13

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

(Affiliate links)
Description from Publisher: Makenna Rye Conroy was living the dream—amazing husband, beautiful new baby daughter—when one night changed everything.

Almost six years after Adam’s death, Makenna and her daughter Paige have built a solid, happy life together. Makenna manages her brother’s trendy restaurant, The Yard, and helps out at Ryeland Farms, the family business, all while trying to navigate the world of private school parenting. Sure, being a single mom has its challenges, but she hardly has time to pack her daughter’s lunch in the morning, let alone think about dating.

Travis McNulty, the middle child and the biggest disappointment of the McNulty clan, is a chef at his best friend’s new restaurant. He gave up apologizing for not being the football hero his family wanted a long time ago. In fact, Travis apologizes for very little these days. He loves creating great food, it’s more of a passion than any job, and he lives life on his own terms with as little complication as possible.

For the past couple years, Makenna and Travis have worked alongside each other at The Yard, bickering, teasing, and never taking each other very seriously. Until Makenna has her usual reoccurring dream, but this time instead of her late husband as the featured man, Travis stands in his place. Travis may be attracted to his best friend’s sister, but she’s a widow and a mother, which tops the charts for complicated in his book.

As the game changes, Makenna and Travis, with a little help from Paige, have to figure out what they are willing to risk to reserve a table for three.

My Rating:
Sexiness Rating:
Tracy Ewens knocks another one out of the park! I haven't yet read the first two books in the Love Story series, but I received an ARC for her 3rd book, Taste, a few months ago and loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that I hesitated a bit to read "Reserved" (Makenna's story). I sort of felt that the story of Makenna and Travis couldn't match Logan and Kara's.

And, let me tell you, I was so very wrong. I actually liked "Reserved" even more than "Taste"! There is just so much heart in Ewens' writing and it all feels so real that you fall in love with her characters, which are that much more endearing this time around. Perhaps I loved this one more because Makenna is a mother and Travis is a bit of a underdog.

The romance in this story is almost secondary to the solid friendship that is built between Makenna & Travis and Paige & Travis. There is definitely sexual tension there, but it really feels more like an emotional connection rather than just lust.

Makenna's daughter, Paige, is also so stinkin' cute. She's written well and is a very believable 5-almost-6-year-old little girl, though a bit precocious. This story alternated views, Travis and Kenna, but Paige almost felt like a third view at times. So often stories of mothers only use the kid as a convenient plot device, with the kid almost disappearing otherwise, but not here. Nope. Here, you get awesomeness like this:
"She was explaining that the stork was going to bring her family a baby sister. The class was overjoyed and clapping, until little Paige told her that wasn't true, that the baby would need to travel through the birth canal and come out of her mother's vagina."
"No, he's My Travis. Sierra at schools says, 'My daddy makes my lunch every morning.' So I told her that My Travis makes my lunch. See, Mamma? He's My Travis."

I felt that Kenna's grief and Travis's insecurities were both well fleshed-out and the way they handled everything (eventually) was refreshing. The humor, and there is a lot of it, is laugh-out-loud funny at times. The sadness or frustration is palpable. The wrench tossed into their relationship isn't melodramatic; It's very REAL.

Overall, I highly recommend this and, at this point, anything Tracy Ewens writes to anyone who is a fan of Romantic Comedies with heart.

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