review: take me home

Take Me Home by J.H. Croix (2015)

J.H. Croix is a new-to-me author I found while browsing through my BookBub account. I decided to take a chance on Take Me Home, the first book in Croix’s contemporary romance series, Last Frontier Lodge. For readers on a budget, know that as of the date of this writing, this book is currently a free ebook but it’s not available in the Kindle Unlimited library and it also isn’t available from my local public library. If you’re looking for a steamy romance novel for your next read and want a new series to try, Take Me Home just might check all of your boxes, but don’t let your expectations get too high.

This is the story of Marley and Gage, and the story is told from their third person POVs. Marley is returning to her hometown of Diamond Creek, Alaska after ten years of living in Seattle and trying to build a career in the tech world. After walking in on a robbery, Marley left her life and her job behind and is somewhat the prodigal daughter coming back to a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Now that she’s home, she is somewhat at loose ends but has a vague idea of working as an app developer as well as doing some freelance programming. Gage is also returning to Diamond Creek after a long absence. His grandparents owned the Last Frontier Lodge and Gage and his family (including four siblings who each appear to be getting their own story later in this series) moved away from Diamond Creek when he was young. Gage’s grandmother recently passed away and left the lodge to him and his siblings with the stipulation that the lodge be reopened within one year of her death. Now Gage is back in Diamond Creek trying to reopen the lodge and turn it into a success. Like Marley, he is trying to heal from the ghost in his past—the death of his best friend and brother in arms. Both Marley and Gage are likable and as the story unfolds, it’s easy to get invested in them as lovers.

One problem I have with the novel is that it leans too heavily on telling versus showing. There were many times while reading the book that I kept thinking that the writing could be better if the author would have shown the action or scene through dialogue rather than long internal narrative from the character’s POV. Also, there is a thread of suspense in the novel, but it’s flimsy at best. The story itself isn’t reliant upon the suspense plot to keep moving forward, nor is it a source of conflict between the two lovers. That being said, at no point while reading the book did I consider abandoning it before reaching the end or want to throw it across the room (metaphorically speaking because, well, I cannot live without my kindle!).

Take Me Home is a light read that will satisfy your book craving but won’t leave you wholly satiated. For what it’s worth (and I know, it’s probably not worth a whole lot) I gave this book a three-star rating when prompted. Not great. Not horrible. Just fine. I would read another book by this author (and hope that practice resolves the problem of too much telling and not enough showing) and actually have another of her titles on my kindle as I write this. However, after my first sampling, I would not put her on my must-read list. It’s more like an ‘I want to read something but don’t want to keep endlessly scrolling for my next read and I already own this so let’s go with it’ kind of book.

Have you read Take Me Home or any of the other novels in the Last Frontier Lodge series? What did you think? Should I keep reading?

Endnote: It’s been a couple of weeks since I read Take Me Home and I decided to start another book by Croix—Christmas Nights. It’s book six in Croix’s contemporary romance series, Diamond Creek Alaska (same setting, different set of characters). I’m sad to report that I got about halfway through the book and have thus far abandoned it (Take Me Home is a better read). Same problem as Take Me Home—too much telling and internal narrative, not enough showing. I’m halfway through the book and not really sure I know who these characters are.

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