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Robin Kaye

REVIEW:  Back to You by Robin Kaye

REVIEW: Back to You by Robin Kaye

Dear Ms. Kaye:

I should have stopped reading when I realized that the two protagonists were named Storm and Breezy. Nothing good can come of this level of twee but instead of listening to my instincts, I read on.

Robin Kaye Back to YouBreanna aka Breezy Collins has loved Storm Decker forever. He’s been off sailing his yacht, winning sailing cups, and building boats while his adopted father, Pete has kept the home fires warm. Pete suffers a heart attack and is slow to recover. Storm is the only one of three adopted brothers who can return home and assist his father.  Despite the fact that Pete took in three angry and unhappy boys to give them a new life, the supposed deep love that Storm and his brothers isn’t very apparent as they essentially fight not to return home.

“What do you need explained exactly? Pop’s in the hospital, and one of us needs to help him until he’s back on his feet. I’m in the middle of a harvest, and Slater is doing an internship for school. You were elected.

These aren’t super devoted kids:

As much as I love the old man, I can’t stay in dry dock forever.”

“Okay, I guess we just have to hope Pop’s better. I’m in the middle of harvest, and it’s not something I can take care of from Red Hook.”

Storm has had the hots for Breezy but he felt she would unconsciously trap him into staying.  Storm went away and lothario’ed himself around the world and settled in New Zealand.  He’s not been back since Breezy got done with college.   To his surprise, Pop’s has adopted another girl, Nicki, and Breezy is taking care of the family bar.

Storm and Breezy’s reunion leads to physical arousal first.  Despite running out on her eleven years ago and avoiding her for over a decade, Storm goes from snarking with Breezy to attacking her on his second day back declaring that he “wants a hell of a lot from her.”  Breezy and I are both baffled by this change in Storm.  There was virtually no emotional build up to this nor any thoughtfulness.  If Storm wants to return back to his Auckland empire, why would he screw around with this girl he hurt so badly eleven years ago.  Storm hasn’t grown much. He thought of himself first eleven years ago and he was thinking of himself first again. Too bad learning lessons about selfishness wasn’t his character arc.

Bree isn’t much better though.  She declares at one point that “The only way I’d ever sleep with you now is if there is absolutely no way I’d be able to keep you. You’ll make sure of that, because if there is one thing I’ve learned about you, Storm, it’s that you’ll never settle down.” How about just NOT sleeping with Storm, Breezy?

The romance is underdeveloped to the point of being non existent. It relies primarily on the sexual desires of their bodies to show them that whatever feelings they had in the past are not dead.  Storm’s penis is like an emotional drowsing rod, I suppose.

There was a strange affectation for nicknames.  Storm, of course, enjoys calling the heroine Breezy.  He also refers to an old high school nemesis as “Frankie ‘the Bruiser’ DeBruscio” twice. Maybe the second reference was a copy editing error.  There were additional points of view from Pete and Breezy’s friend Rocki who was a musician (and clearly sequel bait) who saw Breezy and Storm as rife for potential lyrics.

An underlying mystery about Nicki’s parentage  is brought up from time to time and a number of secondary characters such as Pop, Nicki, Storm, the other brothers, and townspeople  are used to prop up the flagging storyline.  The one other thing that bothered me is that this book is set in  Red Hook, Brooklyn but the setting and characters were so bland, it could have been any place along the East Coast.  Even though Bree is working on a city revitalization project, the setting was still colored in faint pencil sketches rather than the bold strokes of such a vibrant community.  The underutilized setting only served to emphasis the overall dullness of the story.

This is standard fare.  Bad boy returns to hated hometown, finds life has moved on without him, rekindles romance with old flame. Cue HEA.  This story was more about other characters than it was about Storm and Breezy. What romance there was came off cliched and confusing.  I couldn’t generate much interest in hoping the two worked it out. C-

Best regards

Jane

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REVIEW:  Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye

REVIEW: Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye

Dear Ms. Kaye:

I had two recommendations to read this book and so, while at Barnes and Noble for our what seems like weekly visits (there is not a Borders as close to me as the BN which is like a quarter mile from my house), I bought Romeo, Romeo. When I began to read it, I was a little worried.

The book starts out introducing our main players, Rosalie Ronaldi, and Nick Romeo. Rosalie, at the tender age of 27 and without an MBA, is one of the best corporate turn around execs in the business. Nick Romeo, at the tender age of 32, is the owner of one of the biggest chain of car dealerships in New York. Nick finds Rosalie on the side of the road in Brooklyn, kicking the flat tire of her car. She’s cursing in Spanish, justifying her profanities with the excuse that God actually gives you points if you curse in another language. Nick just happens to be driver a wrecker and offers to help Rosalie out.

Rosalie does act like a smart New Yorker and refuses, initially, to get in the cab of a strange guy’s wrecker even if he does look like Jude Law. Eventually, Nick convinces her that he’s harmless. Nick doesn’t tell her that he is Nick Romeo, the Brooklyn Donald Trump, and instead continues to perpetuate her mistaken belief that he is a mere mechanic.

Rosalie figures out pretty quickly who the Nick of the no last name is but she allows him to continue to lie to her because she thinks he’ll come clean at some point. Nick would come clean, but he’s got another nasty secret that could ruin his potential for a good time and so he doesn’t bring it up.

The initial two to three chapter have a lot of clichés and hyperbolic similes that seemed to be inserted to gain laughs but that I found to be irritating. Fortunately, that kind of forced humor was left behind and the story fell into a smooth readable rhythm.

The character’s physical descriptions relied on movie star references. Nick was a Italian Jude Law. Rosalie was a Sophia Lauren. Rosalie’s mom was a hot June Cleaver. I found the characterization of Nick to be inconsistent. On the one hand he’s supposed to be a domestic god, loving to cook, clean and take care of his women. On the other hand, he’s a selfish lout. Even at the end of the book, Rosalie defines Nick as a beer and pizza guy.

What I found particularly odd was this inability to decide whether Nick was an asshole or a guy who simply had commitment issues. More than one character called him selfish. From the minute he met Rosalie, Nick was busy tearing down his previous girlfriends who were botoxed, made up, and silicone filled. Why date these women if those things bother you so much, I wondered. I did wonder if the attempt to color Nick as an asshole was an attempt to refrain from making his domestic habits emasculating.

I liked Rosalie and felt she was more consistently drawn as someone whose parental marriage arrangement had scarred her for life. She was devoted to her job and wanted to have just a sexual relationship with Nick, no strings attached. But her character, too, suffered some contrivances. She had a set of three rules which she said she followed while dating. She never abided by them with Nick and they never became a real issue in their relationship which made me wonder why they were brought up in the first place. Finally, there was a contradiction in Gina’s character at the very end of the book to bring about a climactic scene.

Now maybe it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this book. I did and I would read another book from you. But it wasn’t a perfect, oh my god, book for me. I think this largely rests on two things. My take on the humor thing is different and I felt the character inconsistencies kept interrupting my immersion in the story. The funniest parts of the story, for me, where toward the end when Nick gets a lecture on groveling from his cousin, Vinny.

The conflict Rosalie grappled with was convincing. She did not want to be like her mother, married and mistreated. She clung to her independence believing that she would prevent ever becoming that pitiful if her life partner was work. Nick’s motivations for not being able to see he was in love was less up front that Rosalie’s and sometimes, because it was more hidden, I felt frustrated with his maintaining that he was just having fun with Rosalie and that he would tire of her soon, even though his actions were the exact opposite. Some of these irritants will not bother people at all and those looking for a straight contemporary will likely find this enjoyable. I did believe that Nick and Rosalie belonged together at the end. C+

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.