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Monday, October 5, 2015

The Christmas Tree Guy by Railyn Stone

Published: November 2014
Pages: 351
Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing
Diversity: Yes - BW/WM
Rating: 2 out of 5
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review*

I wish that I could say that I enjoyed this book. The premise was a good one. The writing acceptable. The main character's twin boys - adorable. Unfortunately, there was a repetition problem that put the brakes on any real enjoyment that I could have found in the story. Let me share my opinion (that's what a review is after all) with you.

What It's About
Sydnee Garrett is the 34 year old mother of twin 5 year old boys. It's been two years since her husband walked out on them and she's trying to make the most out of the season for her sons. When she takes them to a Christmas tree lot she meets Quinn Masters, a good looking 26 year old guy who's helping out his uncle. Both are attracted to each other and Quinn delivers her tree. When they meet again Quinn asks Sydnee out, but she isn't interested in such a young man. When they do agree to go out on a date our Sydnee worries what friends will think of her with such a young, white guy. A close friend isn't happy and neither is her mother. Will Sydnee lose her chance at happiness with the Christmas tree guy, or will she ignore the negative opinions of others?

What I Liked
As I said earlier, her twin boys are really adorably written. I find children in most books to be annoying or behave in a way that doesn't match up with their age. Not so here. I also really liked Sydnee's in-laws and her friend Sara. These were strong characters that added to the story. Sara always had Sydnee's back and was encouraging. The in-laws were good people who continued to love and help her when their son strayed. I was particularly fond of her father-in-law. Black men aren't always portrayed in a good light when it comes to some IR romances. Although Sydnee's ex was a jerk, his father was a good man and balanced out the negativity.

What I Didn't Like
This book was stuck on repeat. First, I didn't think the age gap was that big for Sydnee to behave the way that she did. What 34 year old refers to a 26 year old man as a "young man?" Really, I would understand her concern if she were in her 40s (still not old enough to be calling this guy a "young man") and he in his 20s, but 8 years? C'mon! The second problem was his race. She threw it in his face so often as a reason not to stay together it was ridiculous. It's not like interracial couples are something new and unusual! I understand where her mother came from considering her history with Caucasian people, but I found it a bit much that she would side with Sydnee's ex, consider him a good man, and even blame her daughter for him abandoning his family for another woman. That just made her an interfering shrew who hated her daughter on some level. I realize that there are some people that still have a problem with interracial couples, but the character dwelled on the problem and went back and forth so much! For crying out loud! If she were so advanced in years she should have been woman enough to either claim her man or walk away from him! The book couldn't progress because it focused so hard on her going back and forth about his age and his race. Honestly I don't even know why poor Quinn stuck around. I didn't see when or why he fell in love with her or her with him.

My Final Thoughts
Unfortunately, The Christmas Tree Guy wasn't quite the gift of good reading that I'd hoped. It bored me terribly with a story that repeated itself for far too long. This reader needs a little more than concerns about race and a minimal age gap to find a book captivating. I'm giving this book 2 out 5 stars for not being the worst book, but for being far from the best book that I've read in recent times.

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