Oh, my, do I need to catch up. I'm 2 currently-read books behind in this blogging business, as well as that list I made one of my first posts on? Yeah, those all need to be reviewed. AND -- I said that in anticipation of Maya Banks' When Day Breaks being released, I was going to put up a review every day of the rest of the KGI books. Well, that book releases on Tuesday, and there are 9 books before it... so won't be doing a book a day. Maybe 3 books a day ;)
This post is for a NetGalley review! So, my last NetGalley review was a totally fantastic, can't believe I stumbled upon it, book. I randomly selected this book on the same day as Only With You, and sadly, I didn't have the same feelings for it.
As with the one other book I've so far stumbled into that I didn't much care for (My Hunger; review may or may not come for that one 'round these here parts), I will try to keep the review unbiased.... but if the opinion comes through, I apologize.
I have found (in my thousands upon thousands of books read adventures) that most series, you don't really need to read the earlier books to understand what's going on. In this case, I was left a bit confused.
The book opens one hundred years (give or take) earlier, with a family, some babies, and a measles epidemic. You're given names of the people, the town, whathaveyou, then right away in chapter one, present day you get...
......the same town. But that's it. For me as a reader who was picking up an Anna Sullivan book for the first time, I felt a terrible disconnect. I wasn't quite sure what the prologue and book had in common. Typically, there is some sort of connection immediately evident, more than just the town and it's history. Right there, I was confused and on my way to disliking the book.
'Disliking the book' may actually be a tad bit harsh. My dad used to joke (and quite honestly, still does) that the only reason why I read quickly is because I skim read. I thought about that long and hard for many years. Surely, this wasn't true. But occasionally, I would notice that yes, this was indeed happening. But why? Why, when I'm such a reader and such a I-want-into-their-heads-and-I-want-their-happily-ever-after, why was I skimming the books.
And then I figured it out.
The book wasn't holding my attention. There was either too much detail where it wasn't needed, or not enough where I really needed to see it.
It's like watching a terrible movie. You keep watching in hopes that it's going to get better, or you keep watching because even though the story line sucks, or the acting is terrible, you somehow feel a connection with the characters and you really just want to see it through to the end.
That's what happens with me and books I don't really like. I read over things I don't care about only to try and find the 'meat and potatoes', the moments of 'Ahh, there it is'.
So this measles epidemic... Maybe because I was skim reading, perhaps that's why I missed key points (I'm hopeful that they were there...). Apparently the baby girl that was introduced at the end of the prologue is a woman who's genealogy is important to this town. Dex (from the previous book in this series) and Hold are trying to uncover the mystery of her family and find her heirs. In Dex's book, Maggie was thought to be the heir and nearly lost her life (oh, fyi, Maggie is the pilot of the airport Jessi is at, and is Jessi's best friend). In this book, the search for the heir continues, and it puts Jessi's life in danger.
One of my very first notes on this book was that it read like an 'easy reader', such as a middle school aged book. I'm not sure how else to describe it. The first chapter was nearly all description, a backstory about the airport and Jessi and Benji and Jessi's role at the airport......
I like dialogue. I like interaction. I was bored.
My next note (well, the second note was about how Jessi loved that her son always considered them a unit) was [finally] dialogue -- and it was between the hero and heroine of the story, Jessi and Hold. Unfortunately, this little tift between the two of them (Hold is trying to convince Jessi to go out with him, but she refuses to because he has been a bit of a player in the flirt department for the few weeks he'd been on-island) came across to me as forced writing. I only recognize it as such because sometimes I find my own writing and dialogue between characters to seem forced.
When Jessi 'throws' Hold out of her life toward the end of the book, that conversation, too, seems too scripted and forced to be true emotion, which I'm sure was the intent (the emotion, not the scripted and forced part).
Altogether though (I know, I know, it almost seems like I couldn't have an 'on the bright side' to this opinionated review) ---
....I really did like Jessi and Hold (said in a whispered voice).
I know it doesn't come across as such, but I did like them. I liked them enough to not put the book down; I liked them enough to want to skim read to read their interactions and their interactions only....
I love Hold's relationship with Jessi's son. I love that Hold is upfront with what he wants from Jessi and her life. I love that Hold understands that Jessi and Benji are a package deal and he is 100% fine with that, sign him up.
I love that Jessi doesn't put people before her son. I love that Jessi wants to protect Benji from his father when he randomly shows up after 7 years. I love that Jessi, even when she wants to, doesn't speak ill of her ex to his mother, even when she's busy bashing Jessi all over town.
I truly did love Jessi and Hold (& Benji, too!). I just really wish I loved everything else about the book.