Suzanne Baltzar comes to the blog with her debut offering, a romantic comedy with a brewmaster heroine in
I’ll be honest, at this point in my life and reviewing career I should know better than to take the advice of publisher blurb-recommendations, but I live in hope and occasionally find a gem. But the comparisons in this blurb don’t connect on any level with the exception of food and drink. And that isn’t to say that this book was horrible, but using a story that contained both depth and emotion, and comparing it to a far lighter and less well developed romantic comedy is a failure- doing a disservice to the author and the story she brought forward.
In this book we meet Piper, a brew master who has just scored a coup – the local gastro-pub is going to stock four of her beers, and the owner, Blake, a guy she finds attractive and is giving her a shot at her dream. Now, moving onward, Blake has made a ‘deal’ with Piper – if she can convince two more pubs to stock her beer – she’ll go out with him. So – not so bad, but a far cry from the depth and solid heroine working for her dream that I hoped for.
And from nearly the first interactions through the last, the humor and Piper’s character were off – ‘carpet matching drapes’ comments are not only in poor taste, but when you first meet Blake’s friends and they talk like that? Seriously? And not only does she miss this infantile behavior as being a giant red flag – but she kisses Blake and then gets all “oh I shouldn’t have’ about it – a total backpedal where things just seemed to be thrown up to push them together or pull them apart, without regard for the actual reason we are there – her touted ‘dream’ of making her own craft brewery work.
I don’t know where the editor was on this one – and if the story was to be about her struggles in breaking into the industry as an anomaly – female brew masters are relatively rare – and then Blake being one of the stones on the path – that’s one thing. But this muddled mess of romance and dream-chasing, with a bit of family drama from Blake’s side being thrown in at random points without really going anywhere – the book was disappointing and lacked a solid plot or identity. Sadly, even as I hoped for something – development in characters, a seriously solid sense of place, the real struggle to move toward capturing a dream, and it never came. There’s a solid story when all of the chaff is blown away here – but it was far too muddled and required an identity, leaving me with no doubt that the blurb and comparing this title to one from Amy Reichert was a huge miss.
Title: Trouble Brewing
Author: Suzanne Baltsar
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Food / Recipes
Published by: Gallery Books
Published on: 25 September, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 11 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
This sweet, savory, and satisfying novel—perfect for fans of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert—follows a smart, ambitious woman making her way in the male-dominated world of beer brewing.Piper Williams is used to being the only woman in a room full of men, but she isn’t used to being instantly drawn to someone she’s in business with.
After working long hours brewing in her garage, Piper is determined to prove herself—and to ignore the chemistry she has with Blake Reed, owner of Minnesota’s newest gastropub who is going to stock four of her brews. She wants her craft beer to stand on its own merits and knows that the tight-knit male-dominated brewer community will assume the worst if she starts anything with one of her vendors. No way she’ll risk everything she’s invested in her budding business on a guy who might not stick—no matter how charmingly handsome and funny he is, right?
And Blake has a conflict of his own—his haughty family wants him to ditch the gastropub and support his father’s political campaign. Well, that, and the fact that he knows Piper’s snark and sass is the perfect blend of crisp and refreshing for him. So Blake and Piper make a pact: she’ll go out with him if, and only if, two additional pubs start carrying her beer. Sticking to the pact proves harder than either of them expected—especially since the attraction is off the charts between quirky, independent Piper and smart, charming Blake.
Then Piper gets a once-in-a-lifetime offer that could launch her company to the next level—and take her away from Blake. Are she and Blake just drunk in love, or do they have something real that’s worth risking her dreams for?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: