Book Review | The Way Back Home by Carmen Jenner

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the way back homeAugust Cotton shouldn’t be here. When a tragic accident calls him home to Magnolia Springs, this returned Veteran adds his parents to the list of things he’s lost in recent years, right along with his IED detection dog and his left leg. As the sole guardian of his four-year-old sister, August must rely on his Marine training in raising a tiny hellion who’s as stubborn as he is. But the Corps could never prepare him for this. Nor could they prepare him for Olivia Anders, a woman who’ll stop at nothing to get her way.

As owner of Paws for Cause, Olivia is no stranger to the broken men and women who return home from war. She’s no stranger to broken dogs either. In fact, she’s made it her mission to pair the two and enrich both of their lives, but pairing ornery and aloof August Cotton will take some work. The last thing August wants is some pushy southern woman occupying his parents’ bed and breakfast and forcing him to open up about the hell he narrowly escaped, but that’s exactly what Olivia intends.

rating

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

review

I’ve been thinking about this book a lot since I finished reading it last night, and I have many, many thoughts about it.  While I thought the writing was very good, there was a LOT going on in this book.  Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Olivia Anders moves to Magnolia Springs to open a new rescue dog shelter to help Marines (I like this part)
  • She is supposed to stay a Tanglewood, and arrives only to discover the owners have died tragically, leaving behind a son who is almost 30 (I think; we never find out his age) and a 4 year old (yeah, I couldn’t figure that one out either; possible but not plausible)
  • She and August (the son) butt heads instantly (shocker)
  • The whole town hates her
  • Her shelter is vandalized by two boys, who become her workers over the summer (and have their own stories)
  • Olivia thinks she can save anyone and anything
  • She befriends the town vet whom August hates with a passion
  • The whole town is scared of August
  • Just to name a few.

That’s not even all of the small backstories going on in this book.  Often times I would forget who they were talking about.  Then the best friend comes to town (she was mentioned once at the beginning) and I’m like “who is this”.  Just way too much to pay attention to.

I did like Olivia, but her mentality that she could save anyone and anything quickly got old, and got her in a lot of trouble.  August was a little harder to like; for about 50% of the book, he’s just a plain old dick.  He clearly doesn’t want to or know how to take care of a 4 year old (whom it doesn’t sound like he’s had much of a relationship with).

The romance in this book was the slowest burn ever.  The first “love” scene, quite frankly, pissed me off.  It wasn’t sweet or loving, it was exactly the opposite.  I get that August lost his leg, his dog, his parents, but lots of people have drama in their life and move on just fine.

Olivia’s back story seemed a little more far fetched to me, and I didn’t really buy it.  Especially given how strong she was, and how she thought she could fix everything.  Was really just the opposite.

Anyway, I would recommend this book, especially if you like broken people.  My new book is much lighter!

Happy reading.

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