A Taste of Love by Andrew Grey
With my previous exposure to Andrew Grey (Love Means ... Freedom), I was looking forward to A Taste of Love, especially since it involved a chef, and I have a thing for chef stories. (Food is the way to the heart, after all.) My first read through left me wanting. The story itself is good and surprising, but the writing felt awkward and stiff at times and my initial reaction was to give the story 2 stars.
However, I know that mood can affect how I read something, so I gave it some time and re-read it. I did enjoy it more the second time, perhaps because I knew what to expect. The writing isn't terrible, but it does have some weak points, and if this makes or breaks a story, you may want to avoid this one. It wasn't bad enough that I wanted to rewrite the story (overall plot and character development was okay), but I did want to edit it. Just be forewarned if you're a picky reader!
Resolution. I think the way he ended the story, while perhaps a little on the fairy tale side, was good. He found a happy ending without having to be ridiculous about it.
Children. The children felt realistically portrayed. They were cute and heart warming, a nice addition (though it could be argued they are really the center of the story!).
Emotion. The emotion, especially in the first climactic point, was very powerful and moving. Even though I knew there had to be a happy result to what was happening, I still got a little choked because of the desperation and defeat that Billy felt.
Writing. As I mentioned above, I think Grey's writing suffered in this novel. While I recall moments of him telling instead of describing in his previous novel that I've read, he seemed to fall harder onto this crutch.
Sadly, I think the writing did the most damage to the novel. It made the interaction between Darryl and Billy stiffer than it should have been once they hooked up, told the reader what to feel and think instead of welcoming the reader into the emotion, and didn't really engage me into the story as much as I think would have been appropriate.