Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ARC Review: Love Me Again by Jaci Burton

Series:     Hope #7
Pub. Date:May 2, 2017
Length:320 pages

Man, Jaci Burton has some of the absolute best covers on her books. This cover sucked me right in and I decided to jump into the series at this point, as I have not read the earlier books. While there is some character crossover, I think you are fine reading these books as standalones.

The setting for this series is the small town of Hope, Oklahoma where everyone knows everyone, and some adults haven't left behind the drama of high school. Following a disastrous marriage that failed spectacularly, our heroine has returned home to Hope with her inquisitive nine year-old daughter in tow. By all outward appearances, Loretta Simmons has her stuff together. She opened a book store which is doing well, she is a great mom with a great kid, and they have moved onto their own farm with plans for lots of animals. Her politician ex-husband is too busy for their daughter, Hazel, and is a huge disappointment for them both. I admired Loretta for wanting to be independent, and for doing what was best for herself and her daughter, even though things may have been uncomfortable for her in Hope. I did have a hard time connecting with her, because we just really didn't have much in common. This story features heavily on the "mom" aspect, and that's not my thing, but others will probably love this characteristic.

Deacon Fox was a swoonworthy hero. He ticked the boxes of nice guy AND hunky hero, and I don't have a bad thing to say about him. I love a man that can work with his hands and keep up a good conversation, and Deacon could do that and more. He is building and renovating all over Hope, but also made time to fix fences and plumbing for a single mom and her cute kid. I liked that he jumped right in with Hazel where many men would shy away from the lonely little girl of an ex-girlfriend. I think a lot of moms will be drooling over Deacon and his whole good guy persona.

There was a flipped power dynamic with this second chance romance, as Loretta was the heartbreaker of the relationship the first time around. Now that she is back in Hope, things are awkward between her and Deacon, and they have to find a way to work past that. (It didn't take them very long.) The relationship felt realistic and was probably a good view of dating when you have a kid. I liked that we had mature characters and weren't dealing with an overload of angst given the relationship history between Deacon and Loretta.

There was something that made me ranty... and that involved a softball game in the June heat where our characters were dressed all wrong (jeans, capris and silk lingerie!) and our heroine did a head first dive into home plate (that silk bra would have been toast!).  Anyway, after this very sweaty activity... there was sex with lots of tongue before any showers were had. Ew. There had to be some sweat and smells and DIRT (hello - head first slide!). This is a big ol' NOPE from me. Move that mess into the shower please.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley. I recommend Love Me Again to fans of uncomplicated writing with straightforward romance and/or romance with a family feel.