Title: Book, Line, and Sinker
Author: L.J. LaBarthe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
After seventeen years serving in the Australian Army, Ash returns to his childhood home in the outback town of Quorn. Filled with the desire to live a happy life in peace and with loved ones, Ash is grimly determined to beat his PTSD and tackle his flashbacks.
What Ash isn’t prepared for is Jaxon, the new librarian in Quorn. Jaxon is calm, gentle, kind, and a rock for Ash’s battered psyche. Ash finds himself falling for the handsome newcomer, even as his mind and memories of the past torment him.
When he has the idea for a mobile library to bring books and entertainment to remote communities in the far north, Ash is delighted that Jaxon is with him every step of the way. But though the library, called Book, Line, and Sinker, takes off, Ash’s past continues to plague him. Can Jaxon’s love be enough to keep them together until Ash is strong enough to stand on his own?
I found Book, Line, and Sinker to be a very vanilla romance. No strawberry topping with sprinkles. It’s sweet, light, and not much of anything happens – there is no Big Misunderstanding, no overwhelming angst, no deep dark secrets coming to the light, really no significant conflict or struggle of any kind.
Ash’s family are incredibly supportive. Evie is the sister who is so happy and supportive of her brother she finds him a boyfriend. Ash’s parents are paternal/maternal and supportive to the point of disbelief. Ash’s brother provided some tension early on, but once he moved to pursue a degree, everyone was back to happy and supportive.
Jaxon and Ash are immediately attracted to each other and mutually agree to take it slow. Jaxon encourages Ash to do something about his flashbacks. Unfortunately, even the flashbacks felt downplayed – Ash had a few, talked to a specialist, got a prescription, and felt better. They weren’t so debilitating that he was locked in his room, refusing to come out. A couple of blank out moments, a night terror, a moment of panic driving in a big city, all of which made Ash acknowledge he had a problem and sought professional care. Okay, that’s…good.
Everyone is completely encouraging with Ash’s book mobile idea. Nobody tries to sabotage the idea, nobody tries to vandalize the truck or books…everything goes just super. Ash’s family all pitches in to obtain materials. Strangers add to the load. Everyone likes the idea. It goes splendidly. The truck doesn’t break down, isn’t swept off the road in a flash flood, no big rescue. Ash and Jaxon go out, distribute books and reading materials, people are happy.
And that’s just it: everyone is happy. Except me who felt like there was something missing in the way of conflict.
What I did really enjoy about this book was the descriptions of the Australian landscape. So much so I pulled it up on Google Maps. Amazing scenery. I loved that I could follow the characters as they moved from town to town and the see what those areas were like. Very cool a kinda geeky way.