{Review & Giveaway} California Thyme by Casey Dawes


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{Review & Giveaway} California Thyme by Casey DawesCalifornia Thyme by Casey Dawes
Publisher: Crimson Romance on April 7, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Pages: 274

Our Rating

3.5 Stars

Mandy Parker doesn’t want to turn out like her mother, an aging actress desperate for the love of the crowd. Avoiding anything Hollywood related is vital for Mandy’s sanity; however, a bad economy forces her to take a job catering to a movie crew.

Since the woman he’d loved married his best friend, James Lubbock has put women far behind his career in the movie business. The assistant caterer is attractive, but he’s more focused on figuring out who’s sabotaging his set.

Sparks fly between Mandy and James, but can they overcome their painful pasts to risk a chance on love?

ReasonsToReadMandy’s life in Costanoa is simple, if a little hectic.  She waitresses at the local grill, cooks at the local inn, and dreams of getting her catering business off the ground.  But when a Hollywood locations manager shows up and needs an extra caterer on set, it’s not exactly the break she’s looking for.  With a bipolar actress for a mother and a Hollywood father she barely remembers, she prefers to pretend that Tinsel Town doesn’t even exist.  Of course, that would be a whole lot easier to do if that locations manager wasn’t so damned irresistable.

James Lubbock has a plan — and it doesn’t include romance.  With Hollywood success just over the horizon, he knows better than to let a woman get in the way now.  Later, once is career is rolling along smoothly and he’s solidified his place in Hollywood, maybe, but right now he’s more about harmless flings than white picket fences.  If only he could get the new caterer off his mind.


TheVerdictThe general plot seems pretty standard — down-on-her-luck waitress meets handsome Hollywood man, and despite her resistance, romance blooms. But that’s where the romance story standard ends.

Mandy’s childhood has really messed her up, but not in that overdone, angsty way that so many romance heroines fall victim to.  Instead, she’s making her own way in life, working toward making her career dreams a reality and developing strong friendships with people who support her through it all.  She’s worried about the hereditary aspect of bipolar disorder, though, concerned that her bouts of sadness might be a precursor to turning out just like her mother.

James has his own painful past to contend with, but like with Mandy, it’s not overdone.  I expected him to be more of a jerk, maybe more of a womanizer, but from the get-go, he turned out to be a good guy.  Sure, he wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship, but he was honest and not the least bit manipulative.

Normally I would have stayed far, far away from a book that touches on bipolar disorder.  After all, 99% of them give the characters all the classic symptoms of borderline personality disorder and then slap the bipolar label on it — because apparently there’s only one mental illness that affects mood?  But this one got it right, all the way down to the list of questions in the shrink’s office, the blood tests, and the wide variety of behaviors it can cause.  Anyway…

While certainly a romance story, California Thyme is filled with introspection from both characters, each of whom starts falling in love before they’re willing to admit it and have personal obstacles to overcome before they can move forward.  It’s a light-hearted read, despite what the characters have been through, and once they let go of their hang-ups, it turns into a sweet romance.

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About Casey Dawes

Casey Dawes has lived a varied life--some by choice, some by circumstance. Her master’s degree in theater didn’t prepare her for anything practical, so she’s been a teacher, stage hand, secretary, database guru, manager in Corporate America, business coach, and writer.

With a few marriages, two sons, and three step-children, her personal life was a challenge when she met and married her current husband who has proved to be the love of her life. They reside in Montana where she quilts, writes, and coaches on the banks of the Clark Fork River. The couple has been adopted by two gently used cats.


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Author: ysar

ysar is a book, blog, and design junkie who would be lost without a mile-long to-do list. Find more of her random crap at ysar.info

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