Title: Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5)
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, Humour, Romance
Page Count: 240 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Even with a string of earthquakes jarring the tenants of the Belladonna Arms, rattling nerves and smashing dishes, life still manages to plod along as usual. Love pollen continues to fall, romances continue to flourish, and Arthur, the grand Pooh-bah in residence, continues to plan his upcoming wedding extravaganza.
In the midst of all this drama fall Gideon Chase and Reed Kelly, two redheaded losers at love who find themselves regrouping under the auspices of the most incorrigible matchmaker in heels.
Arthur sees hope for the two right away. He leases them adjoining apartments, then continually tweaks their budding friendship in the hope it will slip into love. Just as Arthur’s plans are coming along nicely, Reed’s past shows up to toss a monkey wrench into his and Gideon’s blossoming romance.
With Arthur’s wedding ceremony nigh and Reed and Gideon on the verge of heartache yet again, Arthur faces one inescapable conclusion.
It will take more than love pollen to sort this mess out.
This story, like the others in the series, follows a well-worn but familiar pattern. There is a credibility to what happens that sits alongside the exceptional characters in this growing ‘family’ of friends and lovers. Humour and the aww factor are present throughout and in a balance that makes the plot just an additional bonus. Characterisation remains strong with many familiar characters supporting the new faces and establishing them within the group. What, I believe, is new in this story is that the author mentions the presence of other residents, unnamed and undeveloped, who also live in the building. This seems peculiar and doesn’t quite fit with the cohesive little group of residents that have evolved through the series. These are quite formulaic stories and the reader is very familiar with how the relationships are set up and how the story will end. What was quite pleasant in this tale is the introduction of tension and the very real chance that here they will not be a happily ever after. Of course, it is sorted out and everyone is happy, but perhaps the legerdemain for solving the problem was a little too simple and off-page.
All of the couples, including the current heroes, are sweet and deserve each other. Their love and passion are idealistic and comfortable. It is the characters around the two that provide the necessary humour and variation to take the edge off the saccharine.
The pace of the story is easy going, even though the tense moments. Nevertheless, the plot is driven towards a clear resolution point and each element is presented with care, making the read light and very easy.
At its conclusion, all of the loose ends are neatly tied up and we have our happy ending. There is a clear opening for another book in the series. For those who need a dose of sweet humour that is effortlessly timed then this is the book for you. Of course, given its place in the series, that goes without saying.