Friday, January 1, 2016

Freebie Friday Review: Where You Least Expect by Lydia Rowan


Where You Least Expect 
by Lydia Rowan
Series:  Thornehill Springs #1
Pub. Date:  Jan. 20, 2015
Free Date:  Dec. 8, 2015
Publisher:  Self-Pub
Pages:  200
Format:  eBook
Source:  Amazon


My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Navy SEAL Joe MacDermid came to Thornehill Springs, North Carolina seeking peace and quiet and maybe a break from his hectic life. But his next-door neighbor Verna Love seems intent on making sure he doesn’t get any of either. 

Verna takes pride in being a nice person, but when it comes to Joe, she just can’t help herself. Getting under his skin gives her an unexplainable satisfaction, and it doesn’t hurt that Joe is the picture of masculine perfection, especially when he’s angry. She’s smart enough to know that he’d never be interested in her, not with all her flaws, but she can’t pretend that goading him isn’t one of the highlights of her day. 

But when circumstances force the two of them together, they might find love where they least expect.

This book is not quite what I expected. That is mostly my fault as I just skimmed the synopsis... and when I saw our hero was a military guy, my mind went in the direction of romantic suspense (as I had just finished another romantic suspense book). So I was thinking I would get a little more action than the standard neighbor-turned-romance type activity.

This book is all about low self-esteem. Both of our main characters suffer from it in different ways. The hero, Joe MacDermid, is a former Navy SEAL who has decided to retire. Now that he is living the civilian life, he is at odds with what to do with himself and his life and future. He really doesn't think he is good enough or capable to do anything else outside his life as a SEAL. This didn't make a lot of sense to me because - HELLO - NAVY FREAKING SEAL! Supreme badass! The idea that he wasn't going to be good at anything else just didn't fit with his character type for me. It also meant he was not an alpha male in my eyes - and a beta SEAL just didn't compute in my brain.

The heroine, Verna Love, is a 30 year old virgin who has never even been kissed. She slouches. She wears baggy jeans and t-shirts. Her career consists of waitressing (any every other menial job) at her family diner, though she does like to sew and create outfits in her spare time. She is outwardly happy and perky, but inwardly has horrible self-valuation and esteem issues. A large part of these issues can be attributed to her family, and the rest seem to have grown out from there. Her father essentially treats her as a doormat. I didn't really connect with her character on any level, but I was able to empathize with her at certain times. I think the problem was the doormat aspect - I couldn't put myself in her shoes b/c I would not allow anyone to treat me in such a way. Then, when Joe does something super horrible that would have shattered her already low self-worth. It was SO BAD. I think I teared up. I really felt sorry for the girl. But that was as close as I got to connecting.

So when Joe does this horrible thing - there would have been no coming back for him if it was me. The story fell apart for me after that. I could not get behind him as a hero after his very un-hero-like behavior. He could not be redeemed. Overall this was a quick "okay" read for a straight romance without any action or suspense. There was plenty of angst for those who like angsty reads. I actually liked our couple together until that one d-bag move. There may have been too much focus on Verna's body issues for me to really get into the story though. As much as it surprises me to say it, I think I would have liked more drama in the story... more plot conflicts to get me invested would have helped out I think.

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Thornehill Springs