Bookclub By Author Fiction New Adult Romance

“The Sweet Gum Tree” by Katherine Allred

Do you ever find that when you really love something (or even like it a whole lot) you tend to gorge yourself on it until even the mere thought of that beloved item makes you numb? Or even worse sick and annoyed? For example, when I was young, I loved bananas…I mean I LOVED them! I used to eat them constantly (yes, I know, with all of my erotic book recommendations you aren’t surprised at all to find my favorite fruit was the banana). My parents used to tell me that if I kept eating bananas as often as I did, I would turn into a banana. Heehee, haven’t we all heard that line before?! I find myself using those same words with my own kids. Anyway, no, I never turned into a banana, but I did learn to hate bananas for a long time. There were years when just the thought of eating a banana would turn my stomach. As an adult, I do enjoy the occasional banana but I cannot over-eat them or…I will puke. Sorry for the graphics, but the point needed to be made. I find as a society, that we tend to find something that “works” for us – be it special foods, anti-aging products, electronics, clothes, whatever and we latch onto it and gorge until we make ourselves numb or sick (sometimes only in the proverbial sense but sick none-the-less). For me, sometimes, I find a genre of books that rock my world and I gorge myself until I am ready to explode (think Violet, in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). After reading the Twilight Saga, I read every single book that included hot men with fangs…in fact, there was a short time where I think my husband was worried I was going to demand he bite me until I bled! Hahaha…crazy…kind of… The vampire phase smoothly led into the paranormal phase, which still concerned hubby quite a bit. Because when I’m reading, I like to discuss what’s going on with my “friends” in the books, so poor hubby is forced to listen. Well, he pretends to listen… but he still has to take in a few words here and there just in case there is a pop quiz! Lol. Then, I started reading erotica novels and wow, that phase…phew, well, I’m still going through that one! I can honestly say, hubby is a lot less worried during this phase (wink). While I absolutely love these stories, and they entertain me (and hubby) to no end, too much of anything bad or GOOD can end up being, well….too much. After a while, I have started to connect the dots in a lot of these stories and there a lot of books out there that sound very similar to one another. When you are reading a book or two a month, there is no problem, but I’m reading 4-5 books a week. That is a lot of “baby” “babe” “I wanna f*ck you” “I wanna s*ck you” “I’m gonna come” etc. Do you know what I mean? Is it all mind melting hot? Hell, YES!!! But at some points, I become numb to it all and I find that I need a break from it. NOT from the passion and the love, but from the in your face sexual intensity. And that is when I find myself reaching into my bag of recommendations from you (my readers) who send in book titles for me to read.

So, this post is dedicated to my loyal reader and friend, Jen. Thanks for giving me this title – It was exactly what I needed!

Katherine Allred’s, “The Sweet Gum Tree” is a beautiful, story that tugs at your heart-strings and digs deep into your soul. It is a story that is filled with passion, lust and love without ever crossing over the threshold that would make the story erotic. While the images of eroticism or NOT painted out for the reader to see, the emotional connections couldn’t be clearer if there were real pictures printed on the pages.

The story spans over twenty-six years, starting when our heroine, Alix, is just eight years old. She comes from a respected southern family where your surname is your currency and the sins of your family branded on the skin of your children for generations to come. Alix knows Nick Anderson, the son of the town drunk, from school but has never really spoken with him. One day, Alix sees signs that Nick has been beaten by his father, and she decides that she is going to save Nick from his painful existence. In this coming of age story, we see how children become friends and friends try to avoid become more. But when situations arise cause Nick to make a choice, the choice he makes leaves Alix heartbroken, sick, and alone. Now she has to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and figure out how she is going to move on in a world that only seemed real when Nick was in it.

We watch as Alix struggles to live, but is it living when you stop feeling anything and you just go through the motions? Eventually, Nick returns, but with him comes secrets that may not only destroy the beautiful memories of their past but also any hope of a possible future.

Ms. Allred held my heart in her hands as she took me on this journey. I found myself holding my breath and wiping away tears as I watched the struggling of both Alix and Nick. While the story is told ONLY from Alix’s POV, I felt that I could easily connect with Nick and feel every ounce of his pain, distress, and fear. That being said, this is one of those stories that I would love to have re-told from Nick POV.

When you’re feeling a little over indulged by the 10,000 shades of sexiness, and your waiting for you significant other to find the key to the handcuffs so he can unhook you from the bed, you MUST pick up this book and lose yourself in the beauty of, “The Sweet Gum Tree.” You won’t be sorry.

I look forward to hearing from you.

xo,

Lisa

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