I’m back! I read some more books and now I am going to tell you about them.
Down Too Deep by J. Daniels– This one has things I love, single parents, one of whom is a widower. But this book did not work well for me. The heroine, Jenna, meets the hero when his daughter is roaming around the restaurant he owns and she offers to babysit the child. They don’t know each other but sort of know of each other through other people. It was weird.
CW: Widower spouse who’s wife died by suicide
Jenna has a career as a work from home legal assistant but she spends her days caring for not only Nate’s daughter, but her own kids. If I was her boss, I would have fired her. I could not let go of this during the whole book. Jenna would spend days at the park with the kids and not once was she worried about the lack of work she was doing. Her job takes a back seat to raising someone else’s child and it felt like a throw away detail. A few weeks back there was a Twitter discussion about jobs in books and how much we as readers might want to see, I am officially going on the record to state that if a hero or heroine has a job/career and I don’t get to see them do this job, worry about this job, think about their job in some way shape or form, it will probably consume me as something that is missing from the story. Authors who may be reading this, send me your books brimming with competence porn. Or even characters that have a job and are feeling uncertain about their path. But please don’t give me a character with a career that can be described and then take a complete back burner that I become considered about the characters.
Anyway, back to the book. It was pretty sexy with some swoony moments. It was engaging enough for me to finish it (even though I was worried about her long term financial stability due to this job I was certain she was going to lose at any moment). Jenna’s children were borderline plot moppets. They were 8 but were super smart and the daughter kept a running list of all the things her mom needed in a man. There is a thing that happens at the end with one of the kind that was kind of dumb. (DM me for spoilers)
This book definitely had a Kristen Ashley vibe to it. I don’t really know how to describe it other than to say that if you like KA, you will probably enjoy this book. But if you really enjoy detailed descriptions of a character’s work/career, this book probably is not for you.
Hard Chrome by Vanessa North– North is a new to me author. I like blue collar characters. I like the premise of a character having to go back home as an adult because life has happened and now they have to find their place in the world. Again. But this book didn’t work for me. At all. The heroine and hero were mean to each other. For me to enjoy enemies to lovers, I need to understand why they dislike each other. Their dislike was based on first glance superficialities.
There wasn’t much build up to them wanting to sex each other up. I didn’t understand why they didn’t like each other and I didn’t understand when they started to like each other.
Side note: there are several characters with T names. They are all siblings of the heroine, Tanner. But none of them are really introduced, they are just there. I didn’t know who was who so I added an extra level of annoyance and helped with my decision to DNF this book.
Puppy Christmas by Lucy Gilmore– Gilmore is a pen name for Tamara Morgan. Morgan has a series called Getting Physical that I remember really enjoying, including one called The Derby Girl. The heroine in that book is UNLIKEABLE. Amazon tells me I bought that in 2013, so that is quite some time ago.
Anyway, back on track to the present. Puppy Christmas is the first holiday book I’ve read this year. I don’t read a ton of Christmas typically but I thought I would give this a try. Mostly I found this book boring. As of this writing I have the book in limbo and I probably won’t pick it back up. Lila, our heroine, trains service dogs. She is currently training a dog for a little girl, Emily, who’s father is single and VERY attractive. They hit it off. Some silliness ensues.
The hero Ford Ford, I’m at the 80% mark and I don’t know why he has two first names. If you’ve read this and know the answer, please comment below or DM me. Anyway, Ford is super flirty and Lila never knows if what he is saying is true. It is possible I know someone like this in my real life and trying to parse out the truth is exhausting.
Lila’s previous boyfriend described her as “cold” and I really, really hate this theme. So throughout the book she’s wrongly concerned that she is uncaring and why would Ford want to be with her. This bores me.
I have to mention that Lila might be coded as Latinx. Her last name is Vasquez. She is described as having brown hair and brown eyes. At one point she mentions she speaks two languages, but never says which ones. Perhaps that is just her last name and I read it for something she isn’t. Who knows.
Lastly, the word princess is used 99 times in this book. Lila dresses like a princess in the first scene and that theme never goes away.
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren– Last night I drove to a book store that is 40 miles from my home to see them speak. I might have fallen a little in love with the Lo half of this writing duo I have enjoyed many of their books. I regularly recommend their books. They are never perfect books but typically I get drawn in and get lost in the story and don’t see the flaws.
This book was an exception. I didn’t like it. At all. The best part of the romance is relegated to the first 30% of the book. And they are 18 & 21. I don’t read YA but that part had a very YA feel to it. The rest of it was not enjoyable. At one point I considered DNF’ing it. The hero does a terrible awful thing, is barely remorseful, for reasons, and the heroine forgives him very easily. I wasn’t buying it. The grovel was almost non-existent. This angered me.
There is a story within the story as the heroine is an actress and the hero is a screenwriter. The movie bits were weird and felt like they dragged on. There is also part of the sub-plot that felt a little icky and left me with a lot of complicated feelings. My friend Suzanne, from Love in Panels did an in-depth review and that talks about this book and the things happening in it. You should definitely check it out.
This book does have a HEA but I didn’t like the hero enough to care. I’m sure loyal CLo readers will probably really enjoy this book. Not enjoying this book won’t stop me from reading the next one. And if they do another book tour that is an hour +/- from my house, you’ll probably see me in the crowd.
What can I say, I’m complicated.