"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Friday, September 16, 2016

Review #45: All Shook Up, by Susan Andersen

I downloaded this from the library, read it in about three hours, and pretty much promptly forgot about it. It was fine. Kind of like three buck Chuck. Not great, maybe you need an ice cube or two, and relatively forgettable. Kind of bland, like cream of chicken soup. (There's a mash up that I don't think I'd like, though: cream of chicken soup and three buck Chuck? Ew.)

J.D. Carver is "a man with a past" who has come to Star Lake Lodge to claim his inheritance - a half share of the Lodge left to him by a woman who took him in as a troubled teen. The inheritance comes at just the right time, since J.D. just turned in his now-former boss for using sub-par construction materials, and cost all of his friends their jobs. The former boss went to prison, of course, but not before he blacklisted J.D. in the town, so the share of the Lodge fell in to his lap at just the right time. Druscilla ("Dru") is "a woman with a reputation" (which, by the way, the "reputation" is the fact that she got pregnant with her long-term boyfriend who skipped town shortly afterwards and from what I could tell, never had sex again, so let's not slut shame, okay?), niece of the Lodge's owners, and single mom to a pretty cute ten year old son.

Sparks fly, of course, when J.D. and Dru meet, and it's the old "hate-each-other-on-sight" trope. I never really understood that storyline. I don't get how you can go from wanting to strangle each other to passionately kissing in the space of thirty seconds, when you just met two hours ago. That doesn't feel like a recipe for a healthy, stable relationship. Anyway, J.D and Dru connect, have some naughty adult time, and are slowly making their way towards one another. But then a man from J.D.'s past comes back with revenge on his mind, putting J.D.'s new-found family at risk, and J.D. decides to bail to protect everyone. Before he can get out of Dodge, though, he finds himself at the business end of a gun, and Dru comes in to save the day, letting everyone live happily ever after.

I will say that I enjoyed that Dru saved J.D.; that was a nice change of pace from the damsel in distress thing. Dru's actually a pretty strong woman in this book, now that I'm thinking about it. I was going to downgrade to two stars based solely on the ridiculous "woman with a reputation" slut shaming business, but now I'm remembering that I really liked Dru's solid and stable presence, so back up to three stars I go.

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