Welcome to a #review stop of The Pick Up’s blog tour, presented by Allison Temple and Riptide Publishing!
The Pick Up is Book 1 in the Up Red Creek series. This cozy small-town romance tells the story of single dad Kyle, who moves back to his hometown with his princess-obsessed six-year-old daughter Caroline. He doesn’t expect them to stay long, until he meets Adam, Caroline’s too-hot and too-serious teacher.
About The Pick Up
Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.
Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.
Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.
There is nothing I love more than discovering a new author that I adore. The Pick Up is Allison Temple’s debut novel and it was everything I hoped it would be. It’s funny and sweet, with awesome characterizations and one of the absolute best kid portrayals I’ve read in a novel.
Kyle and Adam both come to Red Creek looking for a place that will let them get back on their feet after life beats them down. Kyle brings his daughter back to his hometown after the death of his partner and Caroline’s mom, Olivia. He needs his dad’s support while he tries to figure out where they’re going next. Adam comes to Red Creek after a relationship ends and he loses his job, looking for support from his sister as he starts a new life. Romance aside, this book is about family, support systems, small towns, finding your way again after life treats you like dirt and coming to realize that where you are might just be exactly where you need to be.
The familial relationships, and the exploration of them, were some of my absolute favorite parts of this story, especially Kyle’s with his dad and daughter. Kyle’s back in the house he grew up in, he and Caroline living with his father. Kyle’s struggling, feeling inadequate and like so much of his life has been a failure, including coming back to his small hometown after escaping to the big city. On top of that, he’s, well, not exactly unhappy, but unfulfilled in his job. Nothing has gone to plan for him, and he feels like everything’s falling in on him. I loved Kyle from the first time we see him, through Adam’s eyes, and he tugged at my heartstrings throughout the book.
Poor communication is something I generally detest in books. Like, it grinds all my gears in all the wrong ways. So color me super surprised when all the communication woes Kyle and Adam have (and boy, are they bad at communicating) made me fall more in love with these characters. Kyle talks a mile a minute about everything under the sun except for what he’s feeling. He thinks he needs to be the strong one for his daughter and needs to handle the tough stuff himself. Adam’s quiet; he just doesn’t have much to say. He struggles with all the words, not just the ones that matter the most. The fact that they don’t communicate well wasn’t tropey. It wasn’t there just to create angst. It was true to their characters, and the evolution of their communication built with the growth of their relationship in an honest and realistic way.
I really could go on and on about the things I loved about this story, so I’ll digress. To sum it up, this book made me laugh and cry and smile and I didn’t want to put it down a single time (even though I had to – stupid work and sleep). I can NOT wait for more books from Allison Temple, and more books about Red Creek. I hope we get some cameos of Kyle, Adam and Caroline because I can’t wait to see them again.
An advance copy of this book was received from the publisher through NetGalley for review on OMGReads.
About Allison Temple
Allison Temple is a romance writer from Toronto, Ontario. She lives with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. Her debut, The Pick Up, will be published by Riptide Publishing in 2018.
Allison has been writing since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison’s fascination with the way characters speak and communicate with each other in novels has not diminished in the ensuing thirtyish years.
Despite living in Canada’s largest city for more than a decade, Allison’s fiction writing draws inspiration from her small-town roots. Originally from Brockville, Ontario, she knows what it’s like to live in a place where nothing is more than a ten-minute drive away, and you’ll see everyone you know on Saturday morning at the farmers’ market. Her first job was selling coffee and making sandwiches at a bakery that has been family owned for over a hundred years. She was once given an award for “most improved tomato slicer.”
Since that early professional start, Allison has been, at various times, an odor lab technician, environmental consultant, corporate proposal writer, and marketing manager. She fills her free time with writing, community theater stage management, and traveling to destinations with good wine.
Allison came late to reading and writing romance novels. She didn’t read her first one until she was twenty-six years old, but it has been a landslide since then. She loves LGBT romance for the stories it tells and the characters it brings to life. She is very excited to be joining the circle of passionate and talented authors in the genre, and credits Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton for introducing her to it.
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To celebrate the release of The Pick Up, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 10, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!