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on Dec. 06, 2011 :
DISTRACTED - Book 1
In the first book of this trilogy, we meet Spence, an artist/painter, and Erin, an editor working for a publishing company.
Erin is portrayed as a nice, intelligent young woman, an image that should be questioned when we find out that her ex-husband Aidan still lives with her after their divorce while he looks for a place to live. We are given the impression that Erin is just too nice for her own good because anyone else would have tossed his cheating behind out on the street.
Spence, a reported womanizer, has been given a large advance to write a book about his painting, his methods and such, but has so far not produced a single chapter. Erin, known for motivating authors to meet deadlines, is assigned to track him down and get him writing.
She locates him at his NC home, lying in a hammock on the beach, giving her the impression of a laid-back, lazy bum, an image he apparently projects to the world to be left alone. She is immediately irritated by his behavior, protests whenever he calls her 'babe' or sweetheart'. The lady doth protest too much.
The attraction and subsequent UST are nearly instantaneous and when Spence persuades Erin to go sailing with him, they set off on a trip down the coast to the Keys during which they fall into a physical relationship that soon, at least on Erin's part, transcends to infatuation and then love.
Book? What book? While she makes a few half-hearted attempts to get him writing, even writing some of the chapters for him, they distract each other most of the time with how they lust. And in close quarters on Spence's catamaran, they soon get to know each other better and better. Life is pretty good, Erin decides, while they are floating on the open waters and enjoying each other's company.
And then the angst and drama really start.
Spence overhears part of a phone conversation, draws some wrong conclusions, his questions prompting a lie from Erin about Aidan needing her help and Spence goes off in a huff, leaving the cabin to return to his home in NC.
Erin returns to D.C., heartbroken and crying, having to fend off advances from Aidan (who apparently figured out that he had a good thing and lost it) and moping for a few months over losing Spence.
The book ends with Spence and Erin meeting again at a gallery opening where his latest paintings are shown, the same paintings he drew of her while they were in NC and frolicking on the boat. Cue romantic music and awwws. Erin confesses her feelings as does Spence and they lived happily ever after. There's even allusion to a pregnancy and a marriage before we leave these two to their happy ending.
The writing style is mostly engaging and very descriptive though sometimes the descriptive narration becomes a little bit too much. The entire story is told through the eyes of Erin in the 3rd person though on occasion this is expanded to include the POV of Erin's sister while Erin and Spence are on the farm and at the cabin. While Mariah (the sister) provides some insights these could have been delivered in a different way than a POV change.
Distracted is a typical contemporary romance, with a lot of the cliches of that genre present. Handsome, single, well-off, artistic man with a reputation, possibly undeserved. Single woman who's been hurt before and doesn't think she holds a candle to all the beautiful women that handsome, single man has supposedly cavorted with. Meddling secondary characters. Secrets, miscommunications, jealousy, 'oh, no he can't possibly love me', 'I have to leave before he leaves me instead', denials of emotions, sex too soon... It's all present.
As for continuity, the character of Patricia was a bit off to me. First, we hear her tell Erin to leave Spence before he breaks her heart, but then she seems to be the one meddling to organize their reunion at the gallery opening and encouraging Erin to go after him. The latter didn't mesh with the former, unless one assumes that Patricia a) had a change of heart, b) was contacted by Spence and told to set this up or c) the author messed up with the characterization.
Erin's behavior had me rolling my eyes. A lot. She supposed to be this really intelligent, methodical editor but when she is in Spence's presence she becomes this swoony little woman with Bella-Swan syndrome. And while that is a well-known cliche of the romance genre, it had me wonder on occasion why this young woman, who seems so capable in her professional life, is making such stupid decisions.
Spence is deeper than you think, though we don't really get any of his internal musings, but there are glimpses of how he feels during the narration and the dialogue. He proves himself to be a man worth loving and a man who knows what he wants. Possibly also a man whose womanizer reputation is undeserved because not once do we see him flirting or going beyond what's proper while he is romancing Erin. He seems to be a good guy who's finally found the woman he's been looking for, and does what he can to ensure that he gets to keep her.
The dialogue is good, humorous on occasion and full of banter which had me giggling and smiling.
It's a good read for a quiet afternoon with a hot cuppa tea or coffee. As thus, it delivers. I found myself engaged enough to roll my eyes at Erin's stupidity, swoon a bit over Spence and smile happily when they got back together though you can see it coming from the time Erin gets the invitation to the gallery opening.
3 solid stars. I liked it.
East Of Eaton - Book 2
From the blurb: Single mother Erica Moore worries that her 16-year-old daughter Daisy’s summer romance could end in heartache, or worse. Then her own summer begins to sizzle when Clayton Knight shows up at her newly opened bookstore, East of Eaton. Erica finds herself attracted to the dreamy, blue-eyed college instructor despite her own warnings to Daisy about men.
Erica has sworn off men ever since becoming pregnant by her high school boyfriend who split soon after, leaving her to raise her baby on her own, with the help of her father whom she still lives with. She has recently invested a good amount of money in taking over the town's bookstore. While still in the process of getting ready to open, she meets Clay(ton), a professor at the local college and feels an instant attraction. It's mutual, of course, but Erica keeps fighting it, going so far as to hide her new relationship from her father and daughter and not really letting Clay into her life.
He in turn is equally smitten but also wary that Erica is too closed-off to let him in. When he tells her about a possible job up north, at his Alma Mater, she's reluctant to discuss it and when Daisy is in an accident with her boyfriend, who just happens to be Clay's nephew, the ensuing explosion ends the budding love story. Weeks go by during which Erica closes herself off even more, missing Clay but unwilling to make a move towards him, telling herself that it's for the best. Until she finds out the truth about what happened during the accident which propels her to find him and they all lived happily ever after.
Again, this is a typical romance novel and nothing more. In this particular case, I also felt that it suffered from either too tight editing or the author not infusing enough emotions, as well as not taking time to work up to the resolution. It felt rushed. There seemed to be no thought process to Erica finding out the truth and her running into Clay's arms which made the whole thing unrealistic and contrived.
I would have liked to see more emotions all throughout. Giving this two stars. It was okay.
West Wind - Book 3
From the blurb: When Sabrina Windham, heiress to her mysterious grandmother’s millions and her even-more mysterious grandfather’s sailboat legacy, finds his first boat design rotting in a pasture, she looks for a builder to help restore the once-famous Zephyr.
Instead, she finds Jay West, the grandson of her grandfather’s partner. It is Karma, she thinks. Jay, who grew up an orphan because of the Windhams, thinks it’s more misfortune.
But Jay can’t resist Sabrina’s exotic beauty and spirit and their destinies entwine despite a regrettable past.
This was my favorite of all three books because not only was it emotionally written but also included a dark secret, a mystery that was just waiting to be unraveled. Sabrina and Jay fall hard for each other, despite their families' mutual history and despite the cruel and vicious talk he's heard all his life. It ends with a fiery bang that you don't see coming - at least, I didn't.
3.5 stars. The writing is much better than in the 2nd book and I was emotionally invested in this story almost from the beginning.
Overall, I'm giving this trilogy 3 solid stars. I would like to see more from this author.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Oct. 16, 2011 :
Very enjoyable and having the 3 books together meant I could keep reading and not have to wait.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)