Mother Parker , a new contemporary suspense romance novel and first in a new series by Rhys Everly, gave me several aspects I liked about the story and several I thought about that made me think potentially this was not going to be a series for me.
The aspects I liked about it was the multiculturalism. Hwan and his Halmeoni, grandmother in Korean, are the the more interesting and layered characters here. Every part of their interactions and relationship is flavored with the depth of their culture by way of the wonderful Korean foods and teas. They meet for lunch and Halmeoni is drinking her cup of boricha.
And it will gently be explained that it contains a sweet nuttiness of roasted barley. Bibimbap, kimchi , and other dishes make scattered appearances. It’s a delight as is Hwan’s shop, Bubble Bubble: Bubble Tea and Beverage Shop.
Bubble tea is explained in detail too for those unfamiliar with the beverage. It’s Hwan’s passion as is making his business successful.
His other companions are the crows that adopted him and his grandmother that are named after the Golden Girls. A fun element.
It’s with the other main character that drags the story. Parker Hawkins, ex SEAL, restarting his life after a divorce. That and the whole island element.
His almost endless litany of “woe is me, what an unlovable idiot I am” of inflicted wounds is not only tiresome but off putting. Add to that a combative, non communicative nature and a inability initially to see anyone else’s perspective, and I can say the description Officer Grumpypants wouldn’t be the first things I’d think of calling him. Although it’s the nicest, least accurate.
As one of the two narrators, I found him almost impossible to connect with, especially as he yelled, stomped, insulted, argued his way into and across his way and people who got him a fresh start in life.
The author’s intent is that we’re supposed to find Parker Hawkins attractive and think fondly of “Officer Grumpypants”? Because, at least in my case, the answer is no.
Even his “redemption “ rests in the author’s placing a sort of blame on Parker’s ex’s who in the author’s storylines withstood the same appalling behavior, had a house sold out from under one, and no communication. Only to have Hwan say in a scene obviously they didn’t love Parker enough.
That’s very misogynistic. Especially as Parker’s figured out he’s gay. I always appreciate it when a author doesn’t blame the ex, but takes another route with respect towards new sexuality and self determination.
Wish that had happened here.
Then there’s a lack of background or history about the town’s criminal elements, the background the ex SEAL s have with cleaning up the small town, and potential corrupt police force. None of that is explained here. So zero background info on The Outpost owned by former SEAL CO Wyatt Goodman, staffed by Maddox Shepherd and Asher Ford, a new couple and ex SEALs, dog Biscuit and Parker’s sister, Autumn.
Apparently one of the new couple was straight but Shep “ turned” him gay. Or comments to that effect. Several borderline offensive issues here.
◦ Then there’s a instant love factor that negates, narratively speaking, a strong character trait of Hwan’s. He’s almost obsessed with his shop and it’s success. Yet when things like , idk, clearly criminal activity happens to his shop , he acts as though it’s nothing. Totally out of character for a man who then acts as he does later on.
◦ It’s called consistency and continuity. Missing here.
Once I finished the book, there was still areas I felt were left so lacking. And I didn’t feel any real need to go further into understanding them or requiring more from these characters.
I also looked around and found a prequel for the series. It may contain some universe building but I’m not going there.
If you’re a fan of this author, I’m listing both below for your use:
Mayberry Protectors :
◦ Forever Asher #0.5
✓ Mother Parker #1
Divorced. Beaten down. A failure. Until a ray of sunshine comes into my life…
People call me Officer Grumpypants, but wouldn’t you be if life kept knocking you down?
My life is an endless sh*t list that I can’t even begin to unravel.
It all started when my parents died.
It continued when I was forced to sell my house.
And it all came to an epic conclusion when my wife walked out on me.
What I need is to get my mind in order and my life back on track.
So when my old commander offers me a job in Mayberry Holm, I grab the opportunity by the balls.
I’m ready to put my head down and my hands to work.
What I wasn’t planning though was becoming pet food for crows by this infuriating little man who throws seeds at my face.
Or being hired to help said man with his new store.
Or having to protect him from a bunch of criminals that prey on his softness and sweetness.
Even though he drives me insane, I can’t stop thinking of him. And even though he’s annoyingly cheerful, I can’t help but smile around him.
Or fantasize about him doing… naughty things to me.
What the hell is happening to me? Am I falling for the young, bubbly, pink-haired man? And is it too late to stop it?
Welcome to Mayberry Holm, a small island in the Atlantic full of crime, secrets and happily-ever-afters, and the ex-Navy SEALs that come to deal with them all.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer