Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TBR Challenge 2014: Sea Glass Winter by JoAnn Ross

Yay, I made it!! Okay, this was close one! LOL. With everything that happened in the past month, I didn't Sea Glass Winter by Ms Ross. I read Castaway Cove not long ago and it reminded me Sea Glass Winter has been on my radar, so I decided this was it. So read on to find out what I thought of it :)
think I would make it. Especially since I had so much difficulty choosing what to read :( It's crazy to have such a big TBR pile and not know what to read. The worst is that this month's theme was easy! I'm a huge fan of contemporary romance, have tons of them and yet... Curious to know what I picked in the end?

Sea Glass Winter by JoAnn Ross
published by New American Library (Signet) in December 2012
He was used to getting what he wanted. And what he wanted was her.

As an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist, Dillon Slater had one of the most dangerous jobs in the military. Now, he’s enjoying the pace of life in Shelter Bay, where he teaches high school physics. He still gets to blow things up, but as the school basketball coach he also gets to impart leadership skills. His latest minefield: fifteen-year-old Matt Templeton—and Matt’s irresistible mother…

Claire Templeton moved her troubled teenage son to the small town of Shelter Bay to escape the bad influences at his school in L.A. But when his attitude earns her a visit from the handsome basketball coach, she wonders if this role model might be too much of a temptation—for her. Because though she isn’t looking for a relationship, she can’t seem to resist Dillon’s playful charm. But what she doesn’t realize is that Dillon isn’t playing games—he’s playing for keeps…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series; Shelter Bay, Book #5

The Story: Basically, the blurb has it right. Claire Templeton is a jewelry designer and single mother who's had a difficult year during which she lost her mother and her teenage son started hanging with the wrong crowd. She hoped moving from L.A. to Shelter Bay would give her son Matt a better environment for a fresh start. A basketball star, Matt is not thrilled at the move to this quiet little town, especially given the basketball team's losing record... and not everyone in the team is happy to get a savior.

Dillon Slater used to be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist. Now, he's a physics high school teacher as well as the new basketball coach at Shelter Bay. He's a bit wary at Matt's arrival because he doesn't want a savior. He never expected to change the tide in one year, what he had planned was to teach his players leadership skills as well as teamwork spirit which a star as talented as Matt still lacks. He also didn't expect to find Matt's mother so attractive...

In Sea Glass Winter, we also catch up with past couples; in particular Ethan and Paige and Sax and Kara who are expecting babies.

My Opinion: I've read this series on and off, mainly because all the heroes used to be military men and I'm just way past military men turned civilians whether it's in contemporary romance or romantic suspense ^_^; I don't know, they just don't do it for me anymore :( I'm tired of the same issues being brought up and approached the same way, the alpha-ness and the fact they are "more" because they used to be military men. I understand that all this is a reality, but to read it books after books, heroes after heroes... It just takes away something :( Anyway, all this to say I haven't read all the books in the Shelter Bay series; however, I was interested in Sea Glass Winter because of the positive reviews and the storyline. I liked that the hero was the basketball coach and was hoping for some good mentor-trainee moments.

All in all, Sea Glass Winter wasn't a bad book... However, it didn't have anything to really make it stand out. The writing was good as usual- it made for a nice read, and I liked the small town that Ms Ross has created, mainly because it wasn't too stereotypical. I also thought the story had potential... but it felt to me it lacked focus. I would have been really happy if Sea Glass Winter had only been about Claire/Dillon and Matt/Aimee. Given that the heroine had a teenage son, I expected him to have a storyline, even wanted  it... and it looked promising. I liked the insights he had about his new life, his friendship with Aimee. I actually would have loved to read more about Aimee, she sounded like a cool girl :) It would also have been interesting to see more of his growth, the basketball team coming together, etc. Unfortunately, everything was cut short to give more time to the secondary characters and their storylines. Perhaps it's because I didn't read Ethan and Paige's book, so I didn't particularly care about the new development in their relationship. Honestly though, I thought it was superfluous, especially given the way it was solved. Seriously, it's no use to introduce a problem if it's going to become a non-problem!! That seems to be the new trend lately in books... but I digress. There was also a big part of the book towards the end that was about Paige and Kara both giving birth during a storm and really, I could have done without it. I wished that part instead would have been dedicated to Claire and Dillon's romance which was developed a bit too fast to my taste. I mean, Claire and Dillon were attracted to each other at first sight and they are thrown together a few times because of Matt. Then, the first chance they get to be alone, they jump on it and on each other and the next thing you know, they are a couple and Dillon is asking Matt's permission to marry his mother. It's not that I wanted more conflicts, but I wished I was shown more interactions between all the main characters.

From this review, it sounds like I didn't enjoy Sea Glass Winter and that's not true . I'm just frustrated because the whole story got side-tracked by the secondary characters. As a result, it feels unfinished. It seems there were a lot of issues brought up only to be forgotten with two romances that didn't get enough developments :(

My Grade: C-. Sea Glass Winter did have its moments, but not enough to make up for the lack of focus on the H/H and their romance, turning this into an okay read only.


  1. That's too bad, Nath. I have a problem with books in a series which have to revisit all the other people in past books. It's just too bad when it takes away from the people the book is actually about. This book sounds like it had a lot of potential--interesting possibilities with the basketball, the teenagers, etc.

    BTW, is the sea glass in the book's name what Claire uses in her jewelry? I love to collect sea glass when I visit a beach. I keep thinking I might make jewelry someday...but so far, not so much!

  2. Nath, I can't believe this series is already on the 5th book! I read the first book and have the second one in my TBR. I almost picked it up as my read this month, but didn't feel like reading a small town romance at this time. :( This one doesn't sound like the best in the series, though. It's probably one of those transitional books that builds up anticipation for the next one.

  3. Holly recommended JoAnn Ross to me but I haven't gotten around to checking her out yet. I'll have to give this series a go. I'm sorry you didn't like this one as much but an okay read is better than a I HATE THIS BOOK read, right? :)

  4. That's actually my biggest gripe about small town contemporaries - when the authors spend too much time on the cutesy-wootsy town "stuff" + all the past couples and fail to give me what I really want - the primary romance! I mean, that's why I'm reading the book - the romance between the two people who are supposed to be the main couple.

    Ross has a huge backlist and I know she's in my own TBR - but I suspect it's a couple of her romantic suspense titles. Seriously, I really need to reorganize my collection......

  5. Jan - It surprised me a bit because I've read other books in this series and Ms Ross usually gets the balance right. In this one though, she miscalculated ^_^;

    Yes, Claire uses sea glass for her jewelry :)

    Hilcia - I actually think it's on its 6th book. I've read the 6th one I think... Perhaps even further. I'm not sure how much it built up for the next one though as it didn't introduce any new characters really :(

    Rowena - LOL, true. But it's rare for me to hate a book :P I know Holly enjoys this series, that's part of the reason why I keep picking it up.

    Wendy - As I told Jan, I was surprised that Ms Ross did, because it hasn't happened in the other books of hers that I've read.

    Nod nod. She did contemporary romance than switched to RS and went back to contemporary romance. Following trends?