Top critical review
Apparently I'm super picky...
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2017
3 stars -- Hmmm...this is going to be a hard review to write, b/c I just wasn't that sucked into this book, but I'm not entirely sure what didn't work for me. I'll try, but it might have been that my mood exacerbated things, kwim? Also, I think I *wanted* to like this one more than I actually did. Now, I haven't read all the previous books in this series, only Willa's and the two Christmas novellas. So perhaps that might have bumped it up a bit, but it also might have disappointed me even more...who's to say.
OK, I'm going to warn right at the beginning that this is going to sound like a negative review, but it really was a cute romance...solid, easy, with some fun interactions and a great cast of secondary characters. And I did give this 3 stars, so it's a solid book. It just didn't wow me, and that's probably what's going to come across most strongly in the rest of this review. I just wanted to caveat that so people take my thoughts with a grain of salt.
So, hmmm... Well, I was pretty excited about Spence, even if I've only seen him in brief in Willa's book. I'm a sucker for a geek, as I married my own hot geek. And Spence was a cutie, though I could have used a bit more awkwardness. I will admit I read another review that talked about how he was perfectly carved, just like all the other heroes, even though we never see him exercise in this book, and I will admit that bugged me too. Not every hero has to have the perfect body to be swoonworthy, I think I was kind of hoping he would be more normal... Kind of a weird thing to be disappointed in, but there you go. Maybe I just want a bit more variety in my heroes, and I was disappointed because I thought Spence would give me that. I also really expected to learn more about his upbringing that led him to buy the Pacific Pier Building and populate it with his own little small town. And it's not that we didn't get any of his past, it just was kind of underwhelming I guess. He was poor. Huh. But he had loving parents...I expected him to be neglected or something with the way he shied away from love and built his own little family. So that was...disappointing. And yeah, we get bits with his Grandpa and all, and then a bit about his attempted love life, but I guess it just felt like bare bones, and not enough to really suck me in and empathize with him. He was so mysterious in Willa's book, keeping a lot about who he was hidden (owner of the building, rich, etc). So I was expecting a lot more. But maybe that was me. And I was initially excited about Eddie, but then that kind of fizzled, and we never got any closure with that. *sigh*
Then we get Colbie. Some of her story bugged me because the author employed the "keep secrets from the reader" thing that I really dislike...in this case about what happened with Jackson. I expected something really huge because it was kept secret for so much of the book, and then it was like oh. That's it? Which just flared my pet peeve again. I guess I want a big payoff if I'm going to put up with the reader secret stuff. I did love seeing all the little writer quirks about her, and she had such a good nature in general...she seemed really sweet and eager for affection. But as with Spence, her background disappointed me. Her family sounded atrocious, just a big bunch of users who didn't respect and appreciate her at all. But then we get to the ending, and it was like an about face in a teeny amount of time, and it was NOT believable at all. Though at least I still hated her Mom, even though apparently she didn't. The ending to Colbie's family story was MEGA disappointing basically.
And then we get to the two of them together. They could be really cute, and had some really great moments (I loved his failed picnic on the boat, and when he took her flying drones). But in reality, I didn't really get enough of them together that wasn't about the sex. Which is fine, I like steamy scenes. But I didn't really understand their emotional connection I guess. It was infatuation at first sight for both of them, but without much explanation for why, for example, Colbie was different from other women. There was a bit, but not enough for me. It all just felt very basic to me...I wasn't captured. And for the short amount of time they had together, they didn't actually spend a whole lot of time together...they both worked quite a bit. Which was good for their personal stories I guess, but then I kind of wanted to know more there...like why didn't Spence ponder why Colbie was different from other women, and he was suddenly able to balance. *sigh* I'm so freaking picky you guys...it's annoying sometimes. I wasn't even that excited with the epilogue, it felt fast too.
I did love the moments with our secondary cast...they were delightful as usual. In some ways, those were the highlights of the book. I'm going to go back and catch up on the books I missed (Finn/Pru and Archer/Elle), and depending on how I like those, I can see wanting to read about Joe and Kylie as well.
So see what I mean? That was a totally negative sounding review. *sigh* I'm not good at balance I don't think. Oh well.