Pinot & Pineapple Lumps (Southern Lights #4) ~ Jay Hogan
I was so excited for this book, not only do I adore Jay Hogan and have read most of her books, I also adore this series and have been waiting for Kurt’s book ever since we met him in book one. And this turned out to be everything I wanted it to be and much much more. I pretty much knew I would enjoy this book but I never expected it to be this good or to affect me this much. It far exceeded my expectations that were damn high to begin with.
This book kind of took over my life for a bit. I’m in university and don’t really have free time and finding the time to read a book that is over 300 pages is kind of a project in itself and I had to sacrifice a couple of hours of sleep to read this book. But I don’t regret any of it. I didn’t expect this book to hit me this hard, it absolutely shattered me. I finished it really late last night and I was a wreck all day because of it and my eyes hurt because I cried too much while reading.
‘’You’re the best thing in my life’’
Kurt is 20 years old and is trying to take back his life after being in a fire two years ago and he has PTSD because of what happened to him. Penn is 30 years old, he came back to Queenstown to take care of his dad who’s dying of cancer and to take care of the family’s vineyard. They met a year before that, where they shared one kiss and then parted ways. They meet again and they fall in love and have to brave a lot of things to get their happy ever after.
First, I really really loved that first scene where they met for the first time, it felt so magical. It’s one of the best meet cute I have ever read, I adored it very much.
Second, I’m a sucker for a book that has a good vibe and the vibe in this one was immaculate. There is a lot of very hard subjects that are talked about, and there is a lot of angst, but the book still had a really calm atmosphere to it. Everything felt really peaceful. I really loved the vibe of the vineyard, it also was really nicely described and I felt like I was there too. Also I loved how the peaceful vibe of the book balanced the harder topics, it was really well done. I feel like it was a much needed balance, it made the book easier to read and much more enjoyable for me. Also, as always, how Jay Hogan describes things is just perfect. All of her descriptions are so vivid, I just feel like I’m there with them. Also special mention to the southern lights, that always helps a book’s vibe!
Third, I absolutely adored how their relationship evolved. I loved how it was awkward between them at first and they didn’t really know how to act. I loved how they always took the time to get to know each other. I loved how they would talk about everything. I loved how you could see them form a connection. All of their dates were so cute, I loved them too. The relationship progression just felt so real to me. I adored it. I loved how it was awkward at first and then they got to know each other and then they started to fall for the other. I loved seeing them get more and more comfortable with the other as the days went by. It was paced perfectly.
Fourth, I absolutely adored both Penn and Kurt. God did I love Kurt. I loved how he was a little lost but he was doing everything in his power to find his way. I loved how he was a little lost and he sometimes did things he didn’t know why he did them, it made him feel so real. Kurt is such a strong character. I loved how he saw life and how he went through his day. I loved how he knew what he wants and wasn’t afraid to go for it. Also, he was so genuine, so sweet and so eager about everything and it was the sweetest thing to witness. I just loved him so much.
And Penn, god did I love Penn. I loved how his issues were clear and well explained and it made him feel like an actual human being, he felt so real. I loved how he was such a rock for Kurt but he was lost too. I loved how he had to figure out what he wants to do with his life and seeing him deal with his father that was dying just shattered me. I felt for Penn, but he was such a strong character. And these two together? God they were perfect. They were such a good foil for the other. And they were so so good to the other. I loved how they pushed the other to do things they wouldn’t normally do. I loved how always did everything they could to make the other happy and feel better. They always supported each other. I loved how Penn was always there for Kurt when Kurt needed him and how Kurt was always there for Penn when Penn needed him. Massive bonus points to how they talked about anything and they didn’t hide anything from each other. I fucking loved their talks and how they talked about everything, there was no subject they wouldn’t talk about. I loved their communication.
One scene that comes to mind and that I fucking adored is when they were talking about Kurt’s PTSD and Penn asked him what he needs when he’s having a bad day. I loved how thoughtful Penn was and how he wanted to take care of Kurt but he made sure to do it on Kurt’s terms. I also loved how Penn was so good to Kurt and never judged him, he supported Kurt through everything. I loved how he never made Kurt feel ashamed of his fear and his PTSD. I loved how he made sure that Kurt would always be comfortable around him. Also, I loved how they talked about everything and how they gave the other their opinion without fear, even if it wasn’t something the other wanted to hear, it was very refreshing to read about. Also, Penn was a saint and he was patient with Kurt and I adored him for it. I just really adored these two together and loved how you could feel how much they love each other, it was so clear in all of their actions.
“I wish I could snap my fingers and give you what you want, but as much as you want that other Kurt back, this Kurt is the only one I’ve ever known, and he is more than enough for me. In fact, he’s every fucking thing, and I can’t imagine that other version of you being better than this one. It’s not possible, because this one knows a whole lot more about himself, and I wouldn’t change those parts of you for anything”
Fifth, in these kinds of books, you almost always get the phase where one pushes the other away or where they refuse to commit or open up or communicate. But none of that happened here and I absolutely loved it. I loved how they didn’t push the other away and didn’t try to keep away. Penn was likely to move out of town because he didn’t live there and they still never did any pulling away or hiding feelings. I also loved how they made plans together and didn’t assume their relationship would randomly end. Also the communication in this was perfect. I loved how they talked about their problems and worked on fixing them together. Also, special mention to this book for not having a break up at 80%, thank you very much for that, I really appreciated it. It’s magical how we can avoid a break up when people talk to each other, who knew?
Sixth, I spent the last 15% of this book crying my eyes out, the entire time. The way the entire build up of the book was done and how it all wrapped up in the end was so well done. It hit me really hard. I loved everything about how this book wrapped up. The story progression was so good and everything was wrapped up in a way that was satisfying and made sense and fit the story really well. Also I absolutely adored the epilogue and it made me really happy. It was the perfect way to wrap up the book.
Seventh, I absolutely adored how Kurt’s PTSD was shown. Everything about it felt so real. From how Kurt was kind of in denial about it and how he didn’t want to accept it sometimes and how he wished he didn’t have it and how he still struggled. Also the flashbacks, damn did they feel real. Also I loved how he had his breathing techniques to calm him down. I really adored how all the different ways his PTSD affects him were shown. I also loved how it didn’t just magically go away because he fell in love, that happens way too often for my liking. I loved how he Kurt keep working on feeling better and how Penn and Kurt talked about what they have to do when Kurt has a bad day. The way Kurt’s PTSD was shown in this book felt so real and I really really loved being in his head and reading about his reactions and how he dealt with them.
Honorable mention to a couple more things: I absolutely adored the humour in this, their banter was absolutely brilliant. And I loved how much Kurt teased Penn about his age, it was so good. Also the sex scenes were really hot and they complimented the rest of the story very well.
Also, I would like to mention that I didn’t really like Ethan (Kurt’s brother) in his book, Powder & Pavlova, and I also didn’t like him here. We were meant to see him as being protective, but he just seemed controlling and not that helpful. He just wasn’t my favourite side character ever.
This book was such a trip, and I absolutely adored every second of it.