Kisses Sweeter Than Wine By Heather Heyford Release Date: August 29, 2017 Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp. Book #3 in the Oregon Wine Country series Number of pages: 226 Kindle Edition Source: ARC from Net Galley Contemporary Romance M/F Rating: PG-13 Read 8/23/17 to 8/24/17
When I requested this book from Net Galley, I didn’t realize it was book 3 of a series. I prefer reading a series from the beginning, even when the author and/or publisher says the story can be read a standalone. To be fair, I didn’t see anything stating this particular book could be a standalone, I’m just explaining my reading habits. Because I had requested the book and received the ARC, I didn’t feel right not reviewing the book. I figured that if my only beef ended up being that some story points were lost due to not reading the two previous books I would write a review but not rate it on Goodreads or Amazon with a star value. (One of my pet peeves is when people rate a book 1 star and say “I don’t like romance.” Well, they why did you decide to read the book? Ugh!)
There were a couple of things that could have been more fleshed out with the characters of Sam and Red if I had read the previous stories, but I don’t think it really affected the story too much for me. Most people who read regularly will catch on pretty quickly without having to be told exactly how things are working. Unfortunately, there were so many other issues with this book that have nothing to do with any pieces I may be missing. Therefore, I decided to rate the story by those merits alone.
Before I get into the problems I had with the story, let me tell you that I love Sam. He has some issues and at first seems like he won’t be a very likable guy. Once we get to see the inner workings of his mind a bit more and get to know the depth of his feelings for Red (even though she has no idea really) he really endeared himself to me. And although, as you’ll learn soon, I wasn’t a huge fan of Red, I know she really cares about Sam and isn’t a bad person. Plus, I really loved the character of Manny. From what I gather his story was told in the first book of this series.
Now the not-so-good stuff. I’m not going to go through the book and pick apart every little detail that was driving me crazy. Just know that if this author actually has close family in the military I would be surprised. There are quite a few things that are inaccurate, some drastically. I understand changing things up a bit to serve the story. Yet some of the areas where things were incorrect could have had true to reality information without changing the story in any way. This is something I feel strongly about with all the military in my family.
Then we have Red. Although later in the story she acknowledges, at least to herself, that she had gone about things in an inappropriate manner, her pushing and pushing at Sam drove me crazy! (No pun intended.) She came across as judgmental and snobbish with the way she treated him. That, along with her blindness to anything other than “her house”, was enough to turn me against her. It’s quite dangerous to a story when the reader is not rooting for the heroine through a good portion of the book.
Last, the way the nursing home situation was handled was so outlandish I couldn’t even believe the author thought it was okay to include it in the story. I’m sure there are plenty of cases that a resident of a nursing home or assisted living center is not a good fit for particular person. But in this story the facility was absolutely at fault for the events that were occurring. The residents are their responsibility. If this is how a nursing home was allowed to act there would be a lot of people with no place to live. I know I’m being vague but I hate spoilers. I already feel I gave too much away with this paragraph. I can only say that the part of the book I’m talking about here put the nail in the coffin on this story for me.
As much as I liked Manny in this story, I don’t believe I will be going back to read this series from the beginning. I can see where many people would enjoy this story. But I have too much background knowledge on military matters and healthcare matters to be able to ignore the blunders I came across while reading this one.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**