AUTHOR: Abbi Glines
TYPE: Contemporary Romance (YA)
Purchase @ AMAZON
REVIEWED BY: Pistol Annie
RATING: 2 Stars
The only thing hotter than the weather South of the Mason Dixon line are the boys. Worn, faded blue jeans, slow Southern drawls, and those naughty moments in the back of pickup trucks a girl never forgets. Welcome to the world of the Sutton boys. Five brothers who fight, party, drink a little too much, but more importantly, they love their momma. Nothing can tear them apart… until the girl next door wins more than one of their hearts.
In the past, I have enjoyed many books by Abbi Glines. But somewhere along the line, something changed significantly with her last several releases, and she just hasn’t been up-to-par with what I expect when I pick up one of her books. I might add that those books remain some of the most high-priced in the romance category. Also, I was surprised and aggravated to find the manuscripts riddled with editing errors that are glaringly obvious. A good proofreader could easily spot them. I’m aware that some readers skip right over these problems and aren’t affected — but I’m not one of them. I especially expect better from a second release, a $3.99 price, and most importantly, from a NYT Bestselling author. My review makes clear exactly why my feelings have taken this turn. Some may feel I’m being highly critical, but this is my honest view and I’m sticking with it and making no apologies.
If this book feels familiar, there’s a reason. It’s a re-run of Asher (Boys South of the Mason Dixon – #1), a book Abbi Glines wrote originally in 2014, under the pen name Effy Vaughn. Now she’s dropped the pen name and is republishing the series under her own name. It could be that she feels the series will get a better following to boost sales using her name as the author. But it’s still old news folks – nothing new to get excited over in this second round. Frankly, I wasn’t impressed with either the two released “weekly” serials or now with this first “full length novel.” After waiting more than two years for the rest of the story, readers are once again back in a holding pattern awaiting the arrival of whatever new material might come next in the same storyline with no posted release date in sight. I think I’m done with the whole messy shebang. Hopefully, each of the Sutton brothers will eventually find their true loves and live happily-ever-after.
OMG! I simply can’t forget to mention those book covers either. Awful! I guess they fit the “hick” vibe that gives the storyline an almost comical feel. Come on — you can do so much better!
Down south along the Mason Dixon Line live the five Sutton brothers — five gorgeous bad boys. Only thing keeping them in line is one strong-willed momma who rules the roost. There’s a wide range of diversity in the personalities among the five that keeps things jumping. The story stays true to southern roots and is a mixture of emotional angst and drama. One thing stands strong throughout: they love one another without question and are all momma’s boys even in the roughest of times.
Two of the Sutton brothers, Asher and Steel – and one neighbor girl, Dixie Monroe, make up the triangle in this first installment. Of course, there’s a big secret held tightly that has stirred up a ruckus for three years. Asher has spent most of that time in Florida attending college, leaving Dixie without explanation. And in steps Steel to wipe her tears and win her heart. I’m not going to spoil the big wowzer hoopla that results with the return of Asher to the family farm. Add in the twins, Brent and Bray, along with the youngest brother, Dallas, who bring plenty of opinions and comedy into the mix. And I gotta give their momma a nod for being the pillar of the family. She’s a saint with a little devilish side to her. I’m assuming they’ll each get their story told at some point, since we were introduced to some possibilities that lead in that direction with another love triangle involved, too. Can we just say, “overplay?”
Overblown drama and an awkward attempt at the hick language and lifestyle. There was very little focus pointed directly on the main two characters, Asher Sutton and Dixie Monroe, because of all the interruptions for planting details on the secondary characters. The book was half over before the relationship between Dixie and Asher fully came to light casting a wham-bam insta-whatever cloud over the entire circus. For a romance to work you have to build the connection. There was hardly a foundation laid here.
And yes, I kept reading. Heck – at this point after more than two years of waiting to know more, I was almost desperate for new information on what is taking place in this soap opera family. None would ever be considered as a favorite book-boyfriend or girlfriend. I found virgin Dixie to be a weak and sniveling character, while her best friend, Scarlett was a trollop and tease. The romance wasn’t particularly stimulating. Too many misunderstandings and sibling fighting and rivalries kept the boys in the immature range. Near the end, right out of left field came changes with new points of view thrown in by secondary characters that add absolutely nothing towards the story. It was just pointless — once again taking the focus off the main characters.
The plot has some potential – that much I’ll admit. And the characters on a whole are entertaining to some extent and could be so much more so with some effort. Overall, the story is a bit over-the-top and stretches the imagination at times – especially that last surprise dump which felt like a last-minute Hail Mary pass. It was a fumble in my opinion. Definitely no points on the scoreboard.
The writing was less than stellar. The cheesy dialogue felt like a forced attempt at Hicksville-type framing. That said, the prose felt slightly underdeveloped and the plot lacked emotional depth and maturity, as well. A waste of money and time on this one. I guess I hoped that Abbi Glines was making a comeback. This is truly as perfect an example as can be found for driving readers away from ever starting another book series. At this point, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to that little voice in my ear when it screamed, “don’t one-click.” Fool me once – or even twice – but then I am done, finished, outta here!