Thursday, May 12, 2016
Mini reviews: Earth Bound & Summer At the Little Street Bakery
Houston, Texas, 1961
The race to the moon is on, and engineer Eugene Parsons has two enemies: danger and distraction. Nothing is more distracting than his attraction to the brilliant, beautiful computer scientist on his team, but he’s determined to overcome it since he needs her to help America win.
Charlie Eason is used to men underestimating her. It comes with being a woman in engineering, but it’s worth it to join the space race—even if she can’t figure out what’s behind the intense looks one tightly wound engineer keeps sending her. But life isn’t as unemotional or predictable as code, and things soon boil over with the intriguingly demanding Parsons.
With every launch, their secret affair grows thornier. The lines between work and play tangle even as Parsons and Charlie try to keep them separate. But when a mission goes wrong, they’ll have to put aside their pride for the greater good—and discover that matters of the heart have a logic all their own. ~ Goodreads
Source: e-arc provided in exchange for an honest review
My thoughts: I adore the Fly Me to the Moon series, and especially the 1960’s setting. Earth Bound was less swoony/romantic than the previous books and more of a workplace focused.
Eugene Parson, the Director of Engineering and Development at the ASD (American Space Department), and Charlie Eason, his Deputy Director, carry on a secret affair for several years, meeting up in a seedy motel. They agree to never talk shop while there – and never to talk about the relationship at work. They are both very career focused and the success of the astronauts mission to space takes precedent over everything. For the most part this arrangement works for the both of them.
Earth Bound does an excellent job of plunging you into the space race of that time – trying to beat the Russians and all the rampant sexism of that era. Charlie is the best and the brightest at ASD, she should be running the department, yet the men continually underestimate or outright ignore her (and the other female employees) at every turn. Her frustration is palpable – as is Parson’s – who is only concerned about getting to space and back safely. He doesn’t have time for sexist bullshit and I loved him for that.
The romance was so different than anything I’m used to. It felt very detached. While they meet for years at the motel, we – the reader – aren’t privy to most of it. So while I understood their connection and why they were so perfect for each other – it felt cold - or maybe sexy cool? - at times. It was one of those things that felt off while I was reading yet I really fell in love with them as couple when I closed the book. Weird but that’s how it worked for me.
While this wasn’t the super swoony romance of the previous books – I do recommend Earth Bound if you want to read about a snapshot in time – because these two authors get every 60’s era detail just right or if you are a fan of romances that are more career focused – especially if you loved the movie Apollo 13 because there was a lot of technical/space stuff for fans to geek out on.
A thriving bakery. A lighthouse to call home. A handsome beekeeper. A pet puffin. These are the things that Polly Waterford can call her own. This is the beautiful life she leads on a tiny island off the southern coast of England.
But clouds are gathering on the horizon. A stranger threatens to ruin Polly’s business. Her beloved boyfriend seems to be leading a secret life. And the arrival of a newcomer—a bereft widow desperately searching for a fresh start—forces Polly to reconsider the choices she’s made, even as she tries to help her new friend through grief.
Unpredictable and unforgettable, this delightful novel will make you laugh, cry, and long for a lighthouse of your own. Recipes included. ~ Goodreads
Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
My thoughts: I hadn’t read the first book in the Little Beach Street Bakery series – this is book #2 – but the author gave a comprehensive recap at the beginning so I was able to catch up very easily.
The adorable, quirk factor is what makes this book. Set in the tiny Cornish coastal town of Mount Polbearne, complete with cobbled streets, small shops, fisherman and oh yeah – a pet puffin named Neil – you can’t help but be enchanted.
While I enjoyed this book a lot and would highly recommend it for a fun beach read…there were a few things that kept me from loving it.
There were several abrupt pov changes (a few within the same paragraph) & Polly, the heroine, could be so passive at times that I almost quit reading once or twice.
But if you’re looking for a cute, fluffy read with an adorable quaint setting – give this one a try.