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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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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

12 Comments

  1. Sarah
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 13:33:32

    Seems like a badly done version of Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay series.

    ReplyReply

  2. Sunita
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 14:29:37

    @Sarah: That’s what I thought of too, apart from the awful names.

    ReplyReply

  3. Sam
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 14:35:32

    “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. ”

    I think that’s because Red Hook, Brooklyn? I’m originally from Brooklyn (32 years) and I can tell you; there is nothing remotely romantic about Red Hook. The back drop is the Gowanus Expressway, graffiti’d buildings, bodegas, Home Depot, maybe an Ikea?, and not a “townfolk” to be found. While they have been revitalizing that area for years, I can understand why the hero doesn’t want to go home!

    ReplyReply

  4. cleo
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 18:10:05

    @Sarah: that was my first thought too.

    ReplyReply

  5. EmilyAnn
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 20:20:18

    I am so tired of authors who come up with these stupid names. I’m not being mean. Naming your characters Storm and Breezy is dumb. Much like twins named Nash and Cash, I don’t even want to try books with names like this. I actually don’t mind unusual individual names for characters, but this is taking it to campy levels.

    ReplyReply

  6. LJD
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 20:34:24

    @EmilyAnn:

    This list of popular twin names (US social security) is good for a laugh. And for making you lose faith in humanity. I think Heaven/Nevaeh and London/Paris are the worst. And what’s with giving twins similar names like Christian/Christopher and Mia/Mya? Uggh. These aren’t even from books!

    I would not be able to read a novel in which the main characters are named Storm and Breezy. Just wouldn’t be able to do it.

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 20:38:42

    I had a hard time writing the names for the review. I deleted some CAPLOCKS sentences.

    ReplyReply

  8. Kaetrin
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 20:45:26

    It gets better. The “villian” is Daniel Knickerbocker!

    ReplyReply

  9. Liz Mc2
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 23:02:20

    Although at least Knickerbocker is a name with classic New York associations.

    ReplyReply

  10. Lana
    Feb 21, 2013 @ 13:16:01

    @LJD thank you for the best reading of my day today! Those twin names have made me realize that people do not think things through when naming their children!

    ReplyReply

  11. Ginger
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 21:37:08

    I think this book was great. I am a huge Robin Kaye fan. I read about 5-6 romance/historical romance/romantic comedy books a week. I really don’t pick my books based on what the names of the characters are in them. I pick a book by the way an author writes. I love the way Kaye’s books make me laugh. These books are about everyday people. I don’t feel like she is trying to make them seem like perfect people. I happen to like Nora Roberts as well. As one of the previous comments referenced Nora’s Chesapeake Bay series, I wanted to say something about that. I do not see how a book about Red Hook (Brooklyn) in any way, shape or form is similar to Nora’s series.
    Not really sure how you can say that the sons do not love their Dad. Occasionally in life, things come up and you get busy. I love my family with all of my heart, but there are times that I can’t always be there when I would like to. Seems a little harsh to me.
    I respect that everyone has their opinion and think it is great that they can express them. I don’t think anyone should disregard this series because of the fact that they don’t like the names. You will be missing out on a really great story. Just my opinion. Thanks!

    ReplyReply

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    Jun 14, 2013 @ 20:36:30

    [...] could not get into Kaye’s most recent release. Maybe it was the names of the characters (Breezy Collins and [...]

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