Sunday, April 12, 2015

2.5 out of 5 : The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter

The Closer You Come

By: Gena Showalter

Published: March, 31st 2015


Book Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter introduces the Original Heartbreakers—three not-quite-reformed bad boys about to meet the women who will bring them to their knees 

Just released from prison, Jase Hollister has one goal: stay out of trouble. Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, sounds like the perfect place for him and his two brothers-by-circumstance to settle down and live a nice, simple life. But model citizen isn't exactly this rugged bachelor's default setting—especially when it comes to a certain hot-blooded Southern beauty…

Brook Lynn Dillon has always been responsible. Not that it's done her much good. The down-on-her-luck waitress is broke, single and fun-deprived. Until Jase comes along. He is dangerous, sexy and tempting as sin, and the sizzling passion between them is undeniable. But can it melt her resistance? After all, the right kind of trouble might be just what they both need.

Reviewed by Phoenix Andrews, 2.5 out of 5
Let me start by saying I love Gena Showalter. I had never found a GS book I didn't devour then remember fondly...until The Closer You Come.

As I was slogging my way through this book, numbly flipping pages on my kindle with my thumb, I felt as though I was reading an author's first attempt at writing. I'm wondering now if this trilogy of books wasn't exactly that. Perhaps these were Showalter's first attempt, written long ago then shoved into a desk drawer to while away the years. Was The Closer You Come gathering dust in the dark, waiting while she cultivated her writing skills and grew her brand into a substantial base that would support and elevate these particular books? Sheesh, I sincerely hope so. This explanation is the only acceptable reason for the quality of style and plotting in this book.

Despite the hero's tragic background I never felt fully engaged with his character like the heroes in Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series. I knew I'd immediately forget this hero upon finishing the book, and that's never a good thing.

The heroine...I wanted to like the heroine. She was a bit damaged but still strong in the beginning. Then she ruined it by overreacting to everything with the shallowness like that of a teenager. 

Next, what is with this new trend in romance novels focusing on baking and/or cooking skills? The heroine had sorceress level abilities in the kitchen and of course it was sooo simple for her to turn this into a moneymaking venture. Too much of the book was spent describing her siren sandwiches and strange casseroles ensnaring unsuspecting males. 

The plot was juvenile to the point I think if the sex scenes were removed the book would be perfectly at home in a middle school library. Of course the hero and his buddies are so handsome it hurts to look at them. And of course the boys are rich beyond belief, literally, despite being in their 20's and having grownup destitute. The identity of the villain was obvious from his first appearance and I found it frustrating none of the characters figured this out until the end. 

There's a point in the book where the heroine is allowed to spontaneously take charge of the young child belonging to the heroine's rival. I have a hard time believing the kid's mother would be fine with her romantic rival absconding with her child without any plans laid out in advance. The heroine keeps the child out for something stupid like ten hours without ever contacting the child's parents. The heroine and the child traipse in at nearly midnight, carting two dogs the heroine saw fit to add to an already weird situation. Her only explanation for not contacting the parents was she had turned off her cell phone. Umm...NO. 

It doesn't take ten hours to visit the town dog shelter. 
Taking a stranger's child out for an extended adventure lasting way past the child's bedtime? No. 
Turning off your phone while caring for someone's child? No. 
I was stunned not a single character had anything negative to say about this extreme lack of common sense. 

I'm giving this book 2.5 out of 5, mostly because it was well edited for grammar and spelling. I appreciate a professionally edited book in a marketplace that's flooded with unedited first drafts riddled with errors.  

Will this book turn me off of Gena Showalter's future books? Hell, no. I love her other series. My feelings toward The Closer You Come can best be described as...befuddled.

Reviewer, Phoenix Andrews

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