Book Review – Powder & Pavlova by Jay Hogan

Southern Lights #1
Publisher: Southern Lights Publishing
Pages: 265
Characters: Ethan/Tanner
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

ETHAN SHARPE is living every young Kiwi’s dream—seeing the world for a couple of years while deciding what to do with his life. Then he gets a call.

Two days later he’s back in New Zealand. Six months later his mother is dead, his fifteen-year-old brother is going off the rails and the café he’s inherited is failing. His life is a hot mess and the last thing he needs is another complication—like the man who just walked into his café,

a much older…

sinfully hot…

EPIC complication.

TANNER CARPENTER’s time in Queenstown has an expiration date. He has a new branch of his business to get up and running, exorcise a few personal demons while he’s at it, and then head back to Auckland to get on with his life. He isn’t looking for a relationship especially with someone fifteen years his junior, but Ethan is gorgeous, troubled and in need of a friend. Tanner could be that for Ethan, right? He could brighten Ethan’s day for a while, help him out, maybe even offer some… stress relief, no strings attached.

It was a good plan, until it wasn’t.

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This author is one of my favourites for contemporary romance, and I’m already hooked on this new series from her. An added bonus is the New Zealand setting, as I love reading stories set here. Queenstown is beautiful, and wonderfully described in this story.

I was invested in Ethan and Tanner’s story as soon as I started reading. I love Ethan who talks and talks to the point of embarrassment. He and Tanner complement each other well. I liked how they slowly built a friendship alongside their romance. I loved how Tanner looks after Ethan when he’s throwing up and cooks a week’s worth of meals for him—that’s definitely a sign of true love. Love the description especially of their first time together. The banter between them is fun, and feels very real, as does the emotional angst when their relationship takes a step forward, then back, and neither of them can see a way for it to continue long term.

The supporting cast is great. I’m very happy that Adrian is getting his own book. Lucy and Elle rock too, and I thought they both added to the storyline, and the extended family vibe. Elle is a wonderful voice of reason with the added bonus of having a foul mouth. Loved Sylvia, Tanner’s PA too. I’d love to see more of Tanner’s friend Stefan. Bryn also deserves a mention—he’s definitely a character in his own right.

I thought the sibling relationship between Ethan and Kurt was handled well. It felt very real as did their different ways of dealing, or rather not dealing, with their mother’s death.

The ending was very satisfying. Loved it.

Another fabulous read from this author, and looking forward to more in this series.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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