because bibliophiles require refreshment

Ever After by Rachel Lacey

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Alright, petals, this one was a slow start for me. Ever After opens on our heroine, Olivia, committing an act of vandalism on a chicken processing plant. Accompanied by two “friends”, she is in the middle of spray-painting the words “chicken assassins” when the sheriff’s deputy pulls up to arrest her. The “friends” split and she ends up spending the night in jail.

Deputy Pete is a tall drink of water dreaming of becoming detective someday and has no real time to get caught up and entangled with a trouble maker. However, caught up and entangled he gets. As Olivia crusades for the chickens, they find out that the money trail in their small town of Dogwood runs through that plant to the sheriff’s office. This, of course, causes drama. Not angst, per se, but drama.

As a matter of point, I am not someone particularly sympathetic to animal rights activists. I am super sympathetic to animal rights, but PETA, etc.’s behavior rubs me the wrong way. As does spray painting on the side of a building. It all appears to me to be counter-productive public hissy fits. I agree that chickens should not be abused before they are slaughtered and there are proper ways to handle the butchering of animals, but to try to shut down a plant – one of the main job providers of the town – instead of calling their corporate headquarters and making sure they knew what was happening… again, hissy fit territory.

So Olivia wasn’t my favorite for a little while. But the longer the story went on, the more she realized that her crusade was just and necessary but her methods were a little crass. Also, that animal rights was bigger than just factory farming and that people needed advocates too. The more nuanced she got as a character, the more I liked her.

Pete’s life is complicated and – like I said before – he is not super into having a complication. Olivia really gives him no choice. This is a sexual-chemistry-before-emotional-vulnerability story, so if that ticks your boxes then rock on. I kept wanting them to just be honest with each other while they were busy stripping clothes off, but I know some readers love sex with no strings stories.

After the slow start, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a good, fluffy romance with a slow burn and a happily ever after. This one gets a good glass of iced (sweet) tea to go along with it.

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Further Reading:

  • If you’ve never heard of factory farming before, start with this link to learn more. Olivia is correct that it’s a serious issue within American food production.
  • Michael Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dillema is the best book I’ve read that explains America’s relationship with food. Highly recommended. HIGHLY.
  • There’s a lot of research evidence that therapy animals can provide the key for trauma recovery. Like the families at the shelter, other families in trauma could use therapy pets.

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I received this book from the publicist through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. A version of this review also appeared at Rakes of Romance.

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