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.