It is always a concern when a new writer takes on a known (and beloved) series. Although I didn’t read all of the Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone novels, I was a huge fan of the Spenser series. I was therefore happy that Michael Brandman’s take on Jesse Stone was quite a smooth transition. In some ways, it seemed too simplistic — I feel like I zipped through two entirely different story lines. And yet that was part of Parker’s gift, wasn’t it? So even though it wasn’t the weightiest of novels, it was more than enough to hold my attention. And I didn’t feel that I was shortchanged in any way. The characters were intriguing, there were complex emotions involved, and the dialogue was, I would say, trademark Parker, humor and all.
There was one false note for me — I couldn’t entirely see Jesse Stone turning a blind eye entirely to something that happened at the very end of the book, but it didn’t detract enough from my enjoyment of the book.
(Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot lately? Mostly due to the surgery recovery thing. Not something I’d usually have the time for! But I’ll take what I can get…)
Head Over Heals (Lucky Harbor #3)
The only bad thing about this book was that it had to end. Some may feel that the last little bit before the ending took a bit of a turn, but I’m not one of them. With each of the first two books in the series I thought that I wouldn’t want to leave that pairing for the next one — and that was especially so when moving on to Chloe and Sawyer. But it took all of two pages for me to change my mind and get on the C/S train. This also had the benefit of one of the best lines I’ve read in recent memory: “He grinned, and she sighed. One hundred thousand sperm and he’d been the fastest.” (Obviously not about Sawyer.)
I know there are more books in the Lucky Harbor series and I know that I’ll fall in love with each and every one of them. But for now I’m going to savor the stories of the three sisters — and put all three books on my Have To Buy The Hard Copy list.
I loved this book! It pretty much had everything I want in a story – strong female lead (quirky, but not annoyingly so), great male lead (flawed, of course, but believably so [even if he’s an otherwise perfect specimen of the male persuasion, right down to the trust fund]), enjoyable secondary characters, and a story that built up perfectly. The beginning took me by surprise, I have to admit, in a way that made me unsure of whether or not I liked the main characters, but that was fixed fairly quickly. Other than that, my only complaint was that right when the payoff hit, rather than stay focused on the two main characters, the story switched entirely to a secondary story. (Thus the 4, rather than 5-star rating.) I didn’t hate that other plotline (although, I have to admit, I didn’t like Brody as a character much at all), I just would have liked to have more time with the main characters. All in all, though, it’s a book I could see myself coming back to — it’s definitely an author I’ll be seeking out again.
First of all, I know I already said this, but I am tired of half naked men on the cover of books. I am tired of them showing up in my feed, and I am tired of carrying them around. I do not ever again want to get into a conversation with my dad about whether the half naked man on the cover on my latest book is the actor from Perception (Erik McCormack) because it really looks like that actor (It isn’t, Dad). [Are you sure that it isn’t that actor? (Yes, I am sure, Dad.) Hold on, let me get my glasses, because it really, *really* looks like that guy. (It ISN’T that guy, Dad.) Wait a minute — how many books do you have with that guy on the cover? Why are you reading so many biographies about Erik McCormack? (IT. ISN’T. ERIK. MCCORMACK. DAD!!!!!!!)]
But I digress…
So, yes, this is yet another of my binge-y romance books that fall into the hot-perfect-man-falls-for-quirky-cute-could-be-you-weren’t-ten-years-older-and-thirty-pounds-heavier-woman category. Except I am even more distracted by the half naked man on the cover because he doesn’t quite match the description of the guy in the book, and, for that matter, neither of them really fits my own description of what is attractive so that is even more distracting to me.
Which is all to say that I’ve already been way too distracted by all of this to fall in love with the story and that’s part of the problem in the first place. (And I may as well give you a spoiler alert right now as I am probably about to go into way too much detail. Sorry. I’m weaning myself off Percocet and am in a cranky mood right now in case you couldn’t tell.)
I spent the first few chapters of this book convinced that there had to have been more chapters before them as I felt like I’d started in the middle and not at the beginning. There was just a little bit too much familiarity going on with Hunter (the guy) just kind of walking into Toni’s (the girl) cabin as if they’d known each other forever.
They hadn’t, of course, and once I realized that, I was a little annoyed. I mean, Hunter was all nice and sensitive and Toni was all strong and vulnerable and I was more than happy to watch the two of them get together. But I wanted to watch it happen, not just have it kind of be a fait accompli (or however you say it) even though the whole reason I’m reading something like this is because it had darn well be going to happen or else why am I reading it, right?
The happening itself wasn’t bad (who am I kidding — it was more than o.k.), and then I hit the second hiccup. After a whole lot of build up about how understanding and respectful Hunter was about Toni’s full-out fear of being left alone in the woods (with a back story that I related to just a little bit too much), he goes and, yep, leaves her alone in the woods.
I mean, I know the whole thing about needing to create conflict, and I’m willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story to a point, but, really? Leaves her just standing there completely alone in the woods? I wanted to throw the book across the room, I was so irritated.
Luckily, he came back appropriately sorry and feeling stupid enough that both Toni and I were able to forgive him. And then his family got fully introduced in one of the best family-meal scenes ever and, well, the book got a whole additional half a star because of that family. I loved, loved, LOVED them. They made up for all kinds of sins. And after that I was completely taken by the whole rest of the book and couldn’t put it down again until I was done.
There was one final little bitty issue at the end… In reading all of these romances, I’ve really wanted to actually get to see the whole happily ever after part. And although I agree with the other reviewers that the engagement and wedding were a little bit too rushed, by that point I was o.k. with it. I had totally bought into the engagement and wedding. But I didn’t like the slapstick treatment of the wedding itself. I didn’t mind unusual, but I wanted it to be taken seriously. (Yes, that would be me off pouting with Hunter.) And I didn’t want to feel like I was just being rushed to the end so that we could get to the next book, which I assume will take place in L.A. and have something to do with one of the brothers and the lady lawyer. But don’t hold me to that.
Because of the various rating systems, I couldn’t give this the rating that I really wanted to, which is 3.75 stars. It’s not quite of a 4-star, thanks to all the annoyances, but in recognizing that those annoyances might be a bit surgery/Percocet-weaning-induced, the author shouldn’t pay for my crankiness with a 3 or even a 3.5, and I’m therefore rounding it up to 4 in the places where it needs to be. I’ll be looking forward to the next in the series, and I’ll also be seeking out the (cousin) Ben/Gina story, which had way too much involved to not be a book of its own.
I’ve been reading a ton of books lately, partly due to this whole stupid gall bladder surgery that I had to have. The reviews I’ve posted have been on LibraryThing and Goodreads, but I’m going to start posting them here, too. Just because.