Author: Sadia Ash
Review: 4 Stars
Synopsis: Juniper Mills is a 20 something curator for history museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When she meets Kyle Paxton the brilliant, gorgeous, self made millionaire and new museum board president, neither of them can deny the instant chemistry and sizzling attraction they feel toward one another. If life were simple that would be the end of this story, they would have hooked up, fallen in love, lived happily ever after, but life and love are never simple and the relationship between Juniper and Kyle is no exception.
Juniper had a rough life growing up, her chronically depressed mother pretty much checked out on her and her special needs twin when they were little forcing Juniper to become the main caretaker of her immediate family from a very young age. In fact the only part of her upbringing she can truly credit dear old mom for is an intense hatred and distrust of men that steams directly from her mother's own experiences and hard taught lessons.
Kyle may have been more privileged growing up but it didn't make life too much easier. Like Juniper his parents taught him from a young age that personal relationships were not a dependable thing, not so much by telling him so but by showing him. His parents divorced when he was young and pretty much abandoned him immediately. His only caretakers being the staff they employed to keep him in line. When he got older and gained access to his hefty trust fund he immediately sank it all into his true passion, his tech business. The business boomed and so did Kyles once non existent social life. As he garnered more and more attention as a public figure he realized that he had need of feminine companionship if for nothing more than physical connection and public arm candy, so he developed a system for casual relationships, and it worked...until Juniper.
Review: There were a lot of things I really liked about this book...and a few that I didn't.
Let's start with the good. This book was surprisingly funny and easy to read. It was smart, thought provoking, and lighthearted all at the same time. I loved the little history tidbits and the witty intelligent dialogue. I loved the raw emotions and the realistically colorful view of the world. There was a wonderful and rare diversity in the characters. Both physically and mentally this book seemed to have well developed characters from every walk of life. I enjoyed the whirl wind romance moments and the high tension family drama. I was intrigued by everyone of the characters and I wanted nothing more than delve deeply into their stories and personal histories.
That said it wasn't all roses and laughs for me in this book. There were plenty of times when I was frustrated with the story and the characters and a few moments where I was down right bored with the lack of substantial plot. Some of the dramatic moments made me cringe, some of the romantic moments made me gag. I didn't hate any of it but I didn't really love it all either. I found myself wishing that some of the plot points had come out sooner and that some had not dragged on for so long.
I loved the writers style and the way she told the story, but I also felt there were things that could have been handled quite differently. At about 70% I found myself so bored that I had to force myself to keep reading, I thought for sure this thing should just wrap it up because we already know how it is going to end....I was wrong...by about 95% I realized something was about to happen and at 100% I could almost not believe the cliffhanger. That said I don't know how I feel about that particular cliffhanger, honestly I kind of think Juniper ended up showing a much sillier, less intelligent version of herself in the end of the book, that I can only hope will be redeemed in the next installment.
All in all this was an enjoyable read and I am intrigued enough to continue the series, but I can’t say I will be holding my breath in anticipation.
Juniper Smoke by Sadia Ash