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Laurelin Paige

REVIEW:  Take Two by Laurelin Paige

REVIEW: Take Two by Laurelin Paige

Take Two Laurelin Paige

Dear Ms. Paige:

Thank you for sending me a copy of this book for review. My first book of yours was the self published title “Fixed on You.”  This current read was a much more traditional romance featuring a movie star and a camera assistant. Star Micah Preston and Maddie Bauers make out at a party and when Maddie is called away to help a friend, Micah gets her phone number and they plan to meet again. Except Micah gets signed to a new agent the next day who tells him no distractions. Micah deletes Maddie’s number and never calls her.

Fast forward seven years and the two are together again working on a movie. Maddie had dreamed of being behind the camera but due to not living up to her mentor’s exacting demands, he essentially blackballed her and so Maddie hasn’t advanced at all. She has been editing her own movie in her spare time but has no connections to any funding.

The best part of the book was the in depth behind the scenes look at how a movie gets shot. The little details of who does what was fascinating as well as some little insidery tidbits.  Maddie focuses the camera which sounds like a really detailed and time consuming process, something I as a movie goer hadn’t ever thought of but every scene is planned out with marks set and focuses arranged for those marks. At one point, Micah misses his mark repeatedly causing every shot to be slightly blurry.

In another scene, we are told about hot mics. It was common knowledge that the sound crew was always in the know, constantly overhearing conversations between actors when the cameras weren’t rolling and they’d forgotten their microphones were on. It was unethical for the crew to share their inside scoop, and Chloe had never done it as far as Maddie knew.”

So all of this was great. Micah’s insistence that he could only have one night stands versus Maddie’s reluctance to have a fling was the major conflict for the first half of the book and even when it resolved slightly at the midway point, there was a lingering tension that I felt was a tad contrived.  I didn’t fully understand Micah’s insistence that he not have a long term relationship because of how it always led to the partner wanting something that he couldn’t deliver. It spoke of distrust of Maddie, for one, but also I wondered what Micah thought his future would be? Just one night stand after one night stand? That sounded dismal.

Plus Micah acted like a real selfish jerk sometimes. There was a point in the book where he gets Maddie in trouble with the director and it was almost an unforgivable event. Maybe I just liked Maddie too much but I wondered, at times, what she really saw in Micah.

Maddie worked better for me. Her reluctance to accept Micah’s short term proposal made sense but it also was understandable when she succumbed to his somewhat relentless pursuit particularly when she’d held a minor flame for him for seven years. In the end, I liked how she stood up for herself even in times that were very challenging. I wasn’t convinced that Micah was good enough for her because he hung on to his “no serious relationship” rule for far far far too long.  C+

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige

REVIEW: Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige

Fixed on You Laurelin Paige

Dear Ms. Paige:

This book intrigued me because the heroine is a stalker and not in a cute or funny or sexy way. She has obsessive tendencies toward the men in her life to the extent she’s damaged them emotionally and she’s had restraining orders issued against her. When the book opens, Alayna Wither’s is coping with her past negative behaviors that have ruined most of the relationships.

She has a flirtation with the manager of the bar where she works because he’s safe. He doesn’t excite her so she allows herself to dream of a future with him.  We all see where this is going right? Enter, Hudson Pierce.  Hudson Pierce is need of a fiance to thwart his mother’s plans to marry him off to her best friend’s daughter. Hudson has the reverse problem.  He can’t become attached.

As far as impossible conflicts go, this is a pretty good setup.  Is Alayna’s obsessive behavior going to return? Will it turn off Hudson? Can Hudson overcome his own belief that he cannot attach? If not, how will that affect Alayna.

I wish I had seen Alayna in action.  We really only get allusions to her past bad behavior so her hurtful stalking tendencies  don’t really seem real in the story. I did appreciate that her psychological issues were treated with some seriousness. She wasn’t coping by herself; she attended meetings; had a sort of sponsor to help her with her issues.  And she did lapse into some into some negative behaviors with Hudson. Unfortunately, rather than seeing Alayna recover from her past obsessiveness, Hudson’s acceptance of it makes Alayna’s illness seem one of serendipity.  In other words, matched with the right person,  obsessive love isn’t destructive but beautiful.  There’s no question that a lot of those books appear on the market today, but this book was seemed to raise the spector that that kind of behavior isn’t really healthy.

As for Hudson, he plays a shallow role of rich playboy who wasn’t loved by his mother so he can’t love others.  Again, we don’t see any of his destructive behaviors; we are only given small snippets of explanations of his past interaction with women.  This distances us from his issues and the seemingly impossible conflict kind of dissolves after a few chapters of them getting together.

The arrangement itself came off as weak too. Hudson has real issues with his mother so his need to come up with a fake fiance to deter her and the determined pursuit of the daughter didn’t hold up.  What drives this book isn’t the emotional issues of the two characters or the arrangement but the chemistry between the characters.  It’s hot but repetitive.

The story ends with some resolution but there are more books to come. I’ve seen others compare this to the Sylvia Day series and I have to agree with the assessment. It’s not as strongly written but it relies on the same tropes – jealousy, obsession, psychological damage.  I wished I could have just seen more of this much talked about behavior in order to more fully buy into Alayna and Hudson as fully realized characters rather than ones who are mostly driven by the parts between their legs. Interesting concept that was successful on executing the erotic part of the story but less successful at hooking a reader on the emotional parts.  C-

Best regards,

Jane

 

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