Two Times As Hot
This book was so predictable that I could have begun my review before I even finished it, gambling that nothing in the last third would surprise me. Although yes, I did finish it eventually, I was right.
Emma Hart’s sister is getting married in Oklahoma. Emma, a New Yorker, is attracted to two of the groom’s friends. The title would lead you to expect that this is either threesome erotica or a love triangle. Nope. She rules one of the men out by page 100, leaving the reader to endure two hundred more pages of bland and cliched accidental pregnancy worries before the characters mercifully come clean with each other, allowing the book to end.
I tend to use this part of my review to describe the characters. Unfortunately, for this book, it will be a short paragraph. They have jobs (Emma’s a graphic designer, Logan’s in the military). They have lustful feelings. Emma feels like a lite version of a Sex and the City character. Logan at least has the conflict of trying to help with his family store during his father’s illness, but that’s about it.
Oh, and they like alcohol. A lot. I am not a teetotaler, and I certainly understand having some drinks. But the frequency and nature of this book’s alcohol references made me think characters need an intervention. Here’s a sample:
“‘Is there wine?’ [asked Emma. Her sister Becca replied] ’Relax, there’s plenty. I went to the liquor store myself. There’s champagne, white wine, and soda chilling…’ ‘Then lead the way to the bar.’… ‘Gladly. As soon as we can slip past Mom and Dad.” Becca tilted her head toward the two sets of parents… blocking their path to the wine.”
Friend Ty asked Logan, “‘What’s going on in here? And why aren’t you drinking beer?’” Logan replies, “We’re cleaning. And it’s not even noon.” “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” says Logan’s brother Layne “hopefully.” ‘Beer is an excellent idea.’”
“Time to get the official [maid-of-honor] stuff over and done with. Then, with her duties behind her, Emma would be free to hit the bar. She’d feel better after a big glass of wine, although maybe wine wasn’t going to do it tonight. Maybe a vodka cranberry, light on the cranberry. A nice, strong one. Stupidity as great as hers required the hard stuff.”
Do you see what I mean? And these are just a very small selection. This isn’t “Hey, let’s open champagne and toast the bride and groom.” It reads more like “I can’t get through the day without drinking.” I think the author wanted to use alcohol to illustrate the manly ruggedness of the male characters (“You ready to trade in these sissy [champagne] bubbles for something with hops and barley in it?”) and the Sex and the City-style modern cool of the female characters, but it just made me worried.
The writing also isn’t good. There were multiple comma errors and excessive visual narration – people opening doors, handing glasses, etc. The author was jarringly in love with the verb “cringed,” which is too strong to use in situations like apologizing unless you think the other person is going to hit you. Emma’s graphic design background apparently qualifies her to redo the layout of the hero’s family store. (Make a logo for the web site, yes. Figuring out how to organize and shelve products seems out of her area.)
I’m really tired of the part in so many books in which the heroine has had unprotected sex then, weeks later, describes pregnancy symptoms like nausea and fatigue to the reader (who knows exactly what’s up) while somehow never considering that she might be pregnant. Has there ever been a woman like that? I know women who have had unprotected oral sex and are in the bathroom peeing on a stick. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW.
I did like one scene where the heroine had to awkwardly escape to the bathroom to remove the Spanx she was wearing under her bridesmaid’s dress, and the aggressive young neighbor who kept hitting on the hero was more interesting than a generic local villainess (probably because she’s starring in the next book). But overall this is a bland read, with the only really memorable stuff things I didn’t like.
I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.