Author: Jordan S. Brock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 312 Pages
At a Glance: Change of Address started out strong for me, and, honestly, stayed strong until nearly the end of the book.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Air Force sergeant Michael Baldwin wanted nothing more than to escape his family’s political ambitions, but his dream of freedom was shattered by an enemy bullet to the head. Two years later, he and his service dog, Kaylee, resist his father’s demand to join him on the campaign trail—where a photogenic “wounded warrior” is always an asset—and instead return to the family’s summer home on Hartsbridge Island.
There Michael and his beautiful German shepherd capture the attention of Josh Goldberg, co-owner of the local bagel shop. Josh has a knack for business and a killer repertoire of his bubbe’s recipes. But lack of education undermines his confidence, and Josh’s father doesn’t share his ambition for the restaurant’s future.
Chicken soup and bacon might be the way to Michael’s heart, but he and Josh need time to learn about everything that comes after—lessons that Governor Baldwin and his relentless ambition will do anything to thwart. Letting someone in is a tall order for two men who can’t trust themselves, but if they have any hope of a future together, that’s exactly what they’ll need to do.
Review: I’ve got to lead with Kaylee here, you guys. Michael, our ex-Air Force sergeant and wounded vet, has a service dog named Kaylee, a lovely, smart, amazing German shepherd who basically steals every scene she’s in. I completely loved her and all of the fantastic ways the author showcased the different ways in which service dogs can help people. I’ve read things about service dogs and therapy dogs before, of course, but never in this manner, or where I felt so connected to the relationship between dog and owner. Jordan S. Brock did a wonderful job cementing how invaluable Kaylee was to Michael, and really just highlighting the beauty of their bond.
My second favorite thing about the book would definitely be everything about Josh. His character was honestly just very real. Josh is a great guy who runs the family business with his dad—their relationship was another highlight of the book—and who has very normal life goals, and even more normal insecurities. I have to appreciate a story where both MCs aren’t chiseled gym bunnies, because let’s be honest, that is not the norm. In romance novels, yes… but in everyday life? Yeah, no.
Luckily, though, Michael sees all that Josh has to offer, and though he definitely does find Josh attractive, he’s looking for more than just a hookup. I liked Michael a lot, too. We get to see just a bit of his family dynamic at a fundraiser that his father has requested his presence at; and, for the most part, it ain’t pretty, folks. His parents are self-serving assholes who have no compunction about using him to further his father’s campaign—and can barely be bothered to try to hide the fact that they are doing just that. His sister is the only one who is worth Michael’s time.
Speaking of the sister…she is actually a perfect lead in to the ‘things-that-didn’t-quite-work’ section. Amanda was a very strong and interesting character for the brief time she was in the book. She had a strong spirit and seemed like a very good ally for Michael. A pretty big deal was made about Amanda’s background in gender studies, and her charity work, and the fact that she was going to be out of the country for a year. Obviously the author was alluding to something important, right? But then, Poof! She was out of the story, and she was barely mentioned again. Also, the political/family drama with Michael’s family never did really amount to much. There is a big to-do at the very end of the book between Michael and his father—and Josh—but it felt sadly forced and like it was only there to set up the series (which I assume this book is the start of, as it’s listed on Goodreads as Hartsbridge Island #1). The series angle could also explain the abrupt departure of the Amanda part of the storyline…more to come, as they say.
And, finally, as far as things-that-made-me-go-hmmmmm… Whyyyyyy are so many authors compelled to shove I-love-yous into a book when they aren’t needed or don’t make any sense? In my opinion, Josh and Michael were barely together long enough to use the word ‘boyfriend’, let alone be saying ‘I love you’. They were doing great, though! Things were just fine! Forcing the ILYs into the book made the very real and very nice thing they were trying to build together seem silly. It didn’t work for them at this point.
So, Change of Address started out strong for me, and, honestly, stayed strong until nearly the end of the book. I enjoyed both main characters very much—or, should I say all three MCs? I can’t forget Kaylee! As I’ve said, Josh was an absolute sweetheart, and Michael tugged on my heart throughout the entire story, but somewhere around eighty percent, things started feeling sort of rushed and contrived. Though, I really did enjoy the story, I think the blurb promised some drama and intensity that the book didn’t quite deliver.
You can buy Change of Address here: