A while ago I signed up to read and review this particular book, and join in on a promotional tour for its’ release.
As I started reading this, it soon became apparent this was not a great read, and the more I read on the more I had to push myself to continue to finish this book.
After tragedy strikes, Diana Mathison finds herself back in her home town of Magnolia Falls, sharing custody of her baby sister with her step sister. Reeling from the death of their parents, the three sisters have to learn how to lean on each other and live life without their two pillars of strength. Diana is full of doubts in her ability to raise a little girl and run her father’s law firm. The last thing she needs is to have Zack Connelly back in her life. The last time she let him in she ended up hurt and broken hearted.
Zack has given up on true love. It’s not for him and it’s certainly not with Diana Mathison. He came back to Magnolia Falls to heal after losing his sweet wife and their unborn child at the hands of a drunk driver. Hannah never had a chance at the love and happiness she deserved, therefore neither should he. His life plan is to take care of his sister and niece for as long as they need him, and to be the best veterinarian the town has ever had. That’s enough for him…or is it?
This book is probably exactly what people who hate romance novels think romantic reads are all about. I won’t bore you with a full relay of the plot, the book description divulges enough to give you a general idea. But throughout the whole read of this I kept thinking this could not be for real.
My main issues with this book were (and not necessarily in this order, but these are the things that truly, absolutely, rubbed me up the wrong way, had me rolling my eyes, and shouting REALLY out loud numerous times throughout this painful read):
- Diana is supposed to be this strong, independent lawyer, that has go her life together. Yet at every turn, she is crying, has little to no backbone, and is willing to not even hash out any real problems, just sweeps them nicely under the carpet. She had some mayor problems growing up with her stepsister Liz. Being confronted with her after all these years, you would think the author would take some time out to put some real time and effort into a proper conversation to delve into those problems and move forward. A mere sorry, a few tears, a hug, and all is well in the world of Liz and Diana. So how was this an issue for more than a decade if it needed only 5 minutes and a tap on the back?
- Zack kept calling Diana KITTEN. I think I might slap a man that ever tried to call me that. Again, Diana is supposed to be this hot shot lawyer, confident, put together, and she has a man calling her KITTEN?
- There was little to no character development. We got a glimpse of who these people were (and it wasn’t great!), but no extra pages were devoted to giving us more into who they were, what made them tick, everything revolved around them as teenagers, and their lost love, and rekindling it again now. That is all good and well, but there is so much more to a good story then just the romance. That was sorely lacking here.
- The dialogue was ridiculous. Just read the excerpt. It will give you a clue to what I mean.
- Liz has a mayor problem, and needs mayor help. Off course her help comes in the form of a delicious therapist and dietician. This was a bit farfetched and also took away from the story. All at once there was more romantic drama going, that got very little attention. I’m assuming this is an intro to the next book, but a lot was already revealed.
- Zack proposed to a girlfriend, who he didn’t really love, and who he had been sleeping with without sleeping with her, all because he saw Diana on a date in the city with another man. That is just so preposterous. First of all, to believe he was having such a platonic relationship for such a lengthy time (his attraction to Diana would suggest him to be more physically attracted to women), and secondly to propose solely because you see the woman you love with another man. If that pushes you to marry someone, and actually go through with it, you are an idiot.
This book give such a bad idea of what I consider to be a good contemporary romance. It lacks a good strong heroine, a strong plot that keeps you turning the pages. There is a lack of a male hero that has the ability to make the reader fall in love with him regardless of his possible flawed personality and possible broken past. A good contemporary romance has the ability to make even the sceptic believe in true love, redeem even the unredeemable, and doing such with a captivating style full of wit, humor and emotion. A true romantic read can take you from the deepest despair (yes, even shedding a few bitter tears), to the highest of highs, and leave you feeling moved forever. Obviously not all books have that ability, but books like this, they give the genre a terrible reputation. And as much as I abhor writing a bad review, I feel it is my duty to share why I stand so strongly behind this genre, and what that means to me.
The girls ran off. Zack and Diana were left looking at each other. Neither spoke.
“I think I’ll move to a safer area before I get singed by the fireworks,” Jen said.
They turned to look at her. Both had forgotten she was there. “There aren’t any fireworks, Jen,” Diana said, confused.
“Sure there are, hon. You just haven’t seen them yet.” She patted Diana’s arm and walked away.
Diana felt her face get hot as understanding dawned. “She didn’t mean us, did she?”
“Afraid so.” Zack’s lips twitched with barely contained amusement. “If you wanted to ask me out you didn’t have to set the girls up to do it,” he teased.
“I seem to remember you asking me to dinner,” Diana said. Did the man eat testosterone for breakfast? He looked delicious. His khaki shorts made his tan legs look lean and muscular, and with a red, button-down shirt and brown leather sandals, he looked like he was ready for a walk on the beach.
“So how did I end up at your house with you making me dinner?” He winked at her.
“Touché,” Diana said.
“However, you do have the set up part right. But it wasn’t me. It was Jillian who got the girls to set us up on a date.”
“Oh.” She suddenly felt deflated. “You don’t have to go. I can take them. I’m sure you have better things to do with your Saturday night.”
“Better than taking the three prettiest girls in town to a movie? Not a chance. Cassidy and I will pick you both up at six.”
“You do realize it will be me going, not Liz?”
“Of course,” he said, confusion marring his brow.
“You said prettiest, I thought you meant Liz,” Diana said. He stopped walking and looked over at her. She found it hard to hold his gaze. She hated feeling vulnerable, being compared to Liz had always made her feel that way. Slowly he cupped her cheek. “I was talking about you. It’s always been you, never Liz. Got it?”
Had she ever seen that intense look in his eyes? She nodded. Message received all the way down to her toes. Jen had been right. There were fireworks, and she’d just gotten singed.