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REVIEW: “The Burnt Toast B&B” by Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz



After breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.

Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.

Not outright, at least.

The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than how to put out kitchen fires.


** This review might be spoiler-y in nature due to the sexuality of one of the characters **

First, for those of you who know the Belleau/Haimowitz partnership from their dark Flesh Cartel series and think it is not for you; rest assured that The Burnt Toast B&B is NOTHING like those books. In fact, this book is lovely and heartfelt while touching a quite important element of a transgender character without being pretentious or preachy. The result is an engaging romance that made me read it all through the night.

The winning element for me is how the authors handled the transgender topic. Ginsberg is a transgender character; he had his operation and all. But when it came to the core of the romance, this was never a big deal. There might have been one or two moments where Derrick wonders about the issue – like during their sex scene, in which he remembers that Ginsberg doesn’t have a prostate and he worries if he is “fucking the right hole”, but Ginsberg in his wonderful way reminds him …

“And my anatomy may be different, but there’s plenty of parts in there for a nice big cock to rub up against and get me excited, you feel me?”

Then everything is good and tender and sweet (besides Ginsberg says that he has an advantage of being able to have ‘multiple orgasms’ *laugh*). It is like the authors are saying, yes, Ginsberg is trans*, so what? It’s just one part of the romance but it is not the big picture. It is never overwhelming and for me as a reader, that is something to be admired and applaused.

The core of this romance is more about opposite attracting while challenging the perception of gender stereotyping including in the work-field. See in terms of physique, Derrick might be bigger, more masculine, a lumberjack. Derrick works in the B&B owned by his late parents and this has become an issue for him for almost all his life because his childhood friends used to mock him (Playing maid with mommy again, Dickie?). Because of that, Derrick doesn’t want to run the B&B.

Then, Ginsberg comes to the B&B, looking for a cheap place to live after having an accident on the Wolf Landing’s set. Here’s a man, less masculine in physique, enjoys cooking and happily wearing a pink frilly apron, but at the same time Ginsberg is a stuntman – an occupation that demands a lot of physical work. Ginsberg is GOOD at it and there is nothing ‘feminine’ about being punched or hit by car as a job description.

I loved how this contradiction was played out in the book. We even had another wonderful secondary character, Derrick’s ex, Jim, who crunches numbers by day and bakes pastries at night. All of this combined makes a very charming romance. I loved how the relationship unfolds – I loved how Derrick and Ginsberg connected, bantered, slowly becoming friends, then lovers. In the whole while, Ginsberg tries to help Derrick with the B&B as well.

To top it all off, we have the grand gesture of romance – you know, the kind of thing you find in romantic comedy movies, the one that requires Hugh Grant to tell Andie McDowell how he feels under the rain in “Four Weddings & A Funeral” or Billy Crystal running to apologize to Meg Ryan on New Year’s Eve in “When Harry Met Sally”. Derrick – in one of his stupid moves – ends up hurting Ginsberg and they have a huge fight. But then Derrick admits his mistakes and does his grand gesture to win his man. And how I loved every single second of reading that part …

And of course Derrick has to say this line near the end…

“Please stay with me,” Derrick said, because he wanted to make it official. “Here. For as long as you can. And when you have to leave, come home to me too?”

Heart. Melted. Sigh.

I seriously cannot think of any single thing to complain about. It is definitely my favorite from the Bluewater Bay universe. This book is PERFECT for me, the kind of romance that I enjoy to read; the kind of romance that I appreciate. For that, I can only give it my highest rating.



22881309Title: The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay, #5)
Author: Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 241
Release Date: January 12th, 2015
Purchase Links: Riptide Publishing

About Ami

My name is Ami and I'm an Indonesian girl in my mid 30's, living in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. I used to do a lot of journal writing in a different website but over the years, I started to lose interest. I am, instead, pretty active in reading and writing opinion in Goodreads. Then I start thinking that maybe I can have a blog in which I write mostly about books or joy of reading or anything related to reading activity, really. So this is what this blog is for ... although, I may be inspired to write off-books topic as well :)

10 comments on “REVIEW: “The Burnt Toast B&B” by Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz

  1. llesarlorraine
    January 12, 2015

    Sold! Great review and can’t wait to start reading it.


  2. TracyTG
    January 12, 2015

    Wow! You’re a tough critic, Ami, so 5 stars from you is pretty huge! I might have to break my aversion for contemporaries for this one. It sounds rad!


    • Ami
      January 12, 2015

      I really need to highlight how they handle trans* character here, Tracy. I think they did really well, and of course, for that I just had to give my hats off :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carolyn
    January 12, 2015

    When I’m done with my self-imposed (my self is dumb and mean!) moratorium on book buying, I will DEFINITELY be picking this one up. This hadn’t really been on my radar yet (besides its name & series recognition), so I’m glad you’ve given it the appropriate nudge into view. Thanks, Ami!


    • Ami
      January 12, 2015

      I am totally waiting on your thoughts if you decide to get out of your self-imposed (I mean dumb) moratorium on book buying *LOL*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carolyn
        January 12, 2015

        I keep trying to remind myself that the books will still be there when I want to buy them. But it hurts especially when there’s a really good sale, and I have to say no. I tried to tell my self that it’s actually saving money, but my self wasn’t going for it considering all the other books I bought when I was saving money but haven’t yet read. Stupid self! I will happily share thoughts with you in whatever time in a galaxy far, far away that I get to buy it. ;)


        • Ami
          January 12, 2015

          Do you know, I think there’s expiration date for ebooks when it comes to copyright. I was visiting DSP website awhile ago for an ebook that was released in 2009. And it said, OUT OF STOCK. Yep, out of stock for EBOOK. So there’s a new fact for you to know :D

          Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in Contemporary, Genre, Reviewer: Ami and tagged , , , , , .

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