Apr 17, 2015

*Blog Tour* Better With Sugar (A Cranefly Romance) by Katrina Kirkpatrick

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Title: Better With Sugar (Cranefly Romance #1)
Author: Katrina Kirkpatrick
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 10, 2015
War veteran Ethan Quill's horse doesn't like people. And that's okay because neither does he. Broken by their pasts and shunned by the community, they keep to themselves on Ethan's rundown farm. And then along comes a brown-eyed baker who turns their world upside down. Heiress by birth, optimist by heart, Elly Baptiste has left Manhattan behind and picked up her spatula in Cranefly, a quaint Adirondack town. She's looking for love and finds the promise of something unexpectedly delicious with the local recluse. But how does a woman who’s running from life find happily ever with a man who’s hiding from it? Elly knows sugar. Ethan knows war. She knows sweet. He knows defeat. When put to the test, can they prove that love and life really are better with sugar?  

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The evocative creak of bedsprings jerked him into motion. He barely saw the floor
in front of him as he moved through the apartment, his mind too busy imagining
every curve on her body. The shape her mouth would take in pleasure.
He stopped in the doorway to the bedroom, her scent curled out like tiny fingers
begging him into the space. But for a moment, he just stood.
The moon had already set, chased from the sky by a sunrise that wasn't even yet
discernible. It left the room a part of the night, only as well-lit as the stars were
pale, but the white of her bedspread glowed like snow on a winter landscape. She
had already disappeared under it, now just the vague outline of a body.
Her naked body.
Every cell in his body clenched tight.
Two dark pieces of cloth draped off the edge of the bed.
Her apron, his suit jacket.
There wouldn't be any turning back after this.
Fear touched the back of his neck, driving a shiver down his spine. He'd none
nothing the past few years but give everything up. Because if he hadn't given it
up—it would've been ripped from him anyway. And tonight was going to give him
so much to lose.
Not just Elly, but himself.
Maybe she sensed his hesitation because she moved under the blanket, pulling it
down just enough to reveal a ridiculous mass of hair and two round eyes that
didn't so much reflect the light as they did absorb it, feeding it into her creamy
white skin until it seemed to glow. He meant to only go as close as the edge of the
bed, but found himself pressing one knee on the mattress and leaning over her.
Her eyes widened ever so slightly and the moment hung between them. This
would be the end or the beginning.
About The Author
A love of language led Katrina Kirkpatrick to a degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Illinois, a love of her babies led her to the illustrious title of Stay-At-Home-Mommy, and a never-ending, lifelong delight of storytelling led her to pursue publication. She infuses love with laughter because love might make the world go round, but laughter lights up the scenery.
She has two daughters who call her Mommy Queen, two dogs, two cats, lots of chickens and a husband happy to call this chaos home. They reside in central Illinois.
I received a copy of this story for an honest review.
When I read the initial blurb for Better With Sugar (A Cranefly Romance) I was intrigued by what I expected to be a cute romance with a little bit of romantic redemption for its leads. I was thrilled to find instead a beautiful story about finding the strength to rebuild your life when life throws you a curveball or comes at you with a full on wrecking ball. This story left me smiling.

Ethan Quill came back from the war broken and a shell of his former self. His spends his nights soaked in booze and his days with a horse just as crazy as he is.

Elly Baptiste was raised to be a New York Princess but always felt like she fell far short of the role. When her finance dumps her and her family scoffs at her plans to reinvent herself she runs for the hills... and straight into Ethan's crazy horse.

Can a man lost in darkness and a woman trying to light her own path be the answer to each others problems? Can two strangers find an unexpected forever together?
What I Loved: Better With Sugar felt amazingly authentic and real. Ethan and Elly struggle with their problems and there is no magic wand that wraps everything up with a neat bow. Author Katrina Kirkpatrick does a wonderful job of balancing a sweet friendship that blossoms to romance with Ethan's hard struggles with PTSD. There is a great message that though love helps Ethan it doesn't cure him. Loves gets Ethan to the place where he can accept help to get the tools he needs to be stronger and try to rebuild his life.

What I Didn't Love: Elly's relationship with her family was a weaker point in the story for me. I understood her feeling like an outsider and the lesser child but I wasn't fully satisfied with the resolution. No spoilers - but there is a scene where Elly and her sister Corie face off and I felt Elly walked away still shouldering the responsibility of not belonging. Ethan found his individual strength but I didn't fully get that for Elly.
Favorite Quotes:
"A woman who reinvents herself - must first love herself. Trust herself. Have confidence in herself. You have none of those things."
"The man who couldn't give her what she needed and yet she seemed to need him all the same."
"Everything was there, standing in front of him. A woman who wouldn't just be his brown eyed girl, but his brown eyed world. A woman who, if he found the strength to let her, would stand next to him and fight for him. Fight against him. And hold him together when everything inside him spun apart."
Better With Sugar is a touching and moving read that I easily recommend. The story was told with a grace that was impressive and guarantees I will be back to check out whatever else author Kirkpatrick may have in story for her future Cranefly Romances.
Happy reading.

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