Doubling Back To Love, Rebecca Warner
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’ve mixed feelings about this novel, its well written, its a fun and sexy read but…Lexi – I found it really hard to like her, though at times I understood what she was doing and why. I like a HEA at the end too, and this is a kind of HFN – possibly, maybe, depending on which way Lexi goes next. More than a romance its a kind of journey of Lexi’s mid life, with her returning to some teen flames and meeting them as adults.
Lexi has been brought up by parents that clearly adored and indulged her, and it seems to have made her a little selfish, in that she wants her own happiness, but doesn’t really look at the effect her decisions have on others. When she’s describing how she laughed at the first man who proposed it made me feel she was callous, and yet I felt she didn’t intend to be, it just didn’t occur to her that she had the power to hurt others by her words or actions. She’s just not been brought up to think of how others feel. Then Nick Cross drops back into her life, teen flame and prom date – though that ended badly. She discusses her fantasies with her lovely husband Brad. They’ve been married eight years and adore each other, and still when Nick beckons she comes. Its not spur of the moment either – she’s been thinking of what she’d do and decided if the opportunity arose she’d take it. I find that hard – that she didn’t give a thought to Brad, except to think as they’d discussed it in abstract he’d be ok with it. The timing too was terrible – she left her adored baby ballerinas, the group she spent so much time with, the one thing in her life that she was selfless about and that shocked me. Poor Brad was in the worst place too, at a very elite evening, waiting for Lexi to return only to find out from gossip she’d gone…
She’s not happy with Nick though – even though he adores her she’s jealous of his co-stars…and takes it out on him. The guy’s done nothing, reassures her constantly that he loves her, wants to marry her, and yet she takes her fears and spoils what they could have. Still, more of her ex’s crop up and she seems to be on a merry go round of love by now. None of it makes her happy though – she says she’s in love each time, and still loves the others. From an early age she seems to see each relationship as being “in love” when it seems to me she’s more in love with the idea of love than the reality. It feels like she’s on a train wreck, she’s a muddled person, looking for something and just hasn’t found it, maybe if she stopped looking at what she wants and valued what she has she’d find it? On the surface she’s bright and self confident, and yet somehow through all these men I get the feeling she just hasn’t found – or maybe won’t let herself find – what she needs. She’s not a horrible person, just someone who seems to have been brought up to think of herself first and last, and really not think about how others will feel about her actions. Even after she leaves Brad for Nick she still harbours thoughts that coming back to Brad is an escape route, that when her time with Nick is up he’ll be waiting, and she’s shocked that he isn’t. She won’t give Nick a proper chance either – seeing their time as having a set shelf life, as if she’s not willing to take a chance, but wants to leave before it ends. That way she’s still in charge and can’t be let down. She’s left a trail of devastated lives behind, and yet though you’d think she’s a horrible person, she’s not, she doesn’t intend harm but doesn’t seem ever to have been taught to think of others, to look before she leaps, explore all angles etc. Really even though I don’t like her, I feel so very sad for her, she’s not (IMO) going to ever find happiness her way, she’ll just self sabotage it as she has done in the past.
Stars: Four, its a thought provoking read for me. I do need the HEA and this just doesn’t have it Sad smile but it did make me think very hard about what she was doing and the effects on her and the others.
ARC provided by author
When Dreams Come True, The Star Series Book 1, M. Stratton
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I love those romances involving famous people, film stars, rock bands, people like that. They provide opportunities for such angst and relationship problems, jealous exes, mad stalker fans, media spins that take stories about one or the others actions or background, that then get “spun” into something they’re not.
So with all that in mind I was eager to read this. It start’s well, Lissa meets Will and they fall in love. I can go with that when I feel the magic of a connection, and there was something here. Whether it was strong enough for the insta love though is debateable….? Somehow they seemed to be in a full fledged relationship very quickly, although they’d only gone out on that first lunch and the movie premier, after that it was all Skype. Could it work like that? It didn’t really feel enough for me. Will’s a huge star, wouldn’t he be expected to be out and about by his publicists? Would he really stay in and Skype each night? Surely the media would have commented on that, the fact he’s never out any more.
Lissa was a sweet lady, very loyal to her friends and they to her. I enjoyed the descriptions of her writing process, but found it hard to believe she wrote quite so much, so quickly. twelve books ahead? Really? As an avid reader I follow lots of series, and sometimes authors are a couple of books nearly finished when latest due out, due to publishing process, but twelve! Doesn’t seem feasible given its been done in about six months…
The big problem here for me though was that I was waiting for the drama, the moments when it all goes wrong, when what looks like the perfect love is flawed and they part ways, and then I wonder if they can find their way back. That’s usually between 70-80% of the novel but I got to 80, nothing, 85 nothing….90, 95 and then realised there wasn’t a low spot. The worst that happened was a short interlude where Lissa is involved in a robbery drama in a cafe. Its all sweet and light, full of nice people, fluffy stories and gentle romance. Even the sex scenes were gentle and mostly alluded to, rather than in depth, descriptive sensuality. I need more. If you want a sweet Barbara Cartland style read this is perfect, but if like me you need drama and angst this isn’t going to deliver it.
Stars: Two, sorry a miss for me, its one for lovers of sweet, gentle romance and not for those who want fire and sparks.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers