REVIEW: Along for the Ride by Michelle M Pillow
Dear Ms Pillow,
I’d seen your name while browsing through ebook sites but since most of the books appeared to be paranormals I usually kept right on scrolling. Then Jane sent me a batch of arcs and review books and I saw one was yours. “Oh,” I thought, “I wonder why Jane sent me a paranormal?” Then I checked the back blurb and saw it was about a cop and a photographer. I kept looking for the clue about which one was going to turn into a werewolf or was a secret vampire. And didn’t find one. Well what the heck, why not, I decided. If I hate it, it’s only 236 pages long. Happy days. I didn’t hate it.
Instead I found an intriguing gender switch. The heroine is the strong, alpha, work driven one. Her identity is work. Her life is work. She’s good at what she does however she doesn’t know how to really function outside of it. But you still managed to give her some vulnerability and not make her a one note character. Nor is she a door busting-in, kick-ass type.
I like that you give her a real and understandable reason to dislike the hero. His photograph of her during the arrest of a serial killer got splashed over front pages of every NYC paper. Not something that an undercover cop can afford to have happen and still function in her job. This plus her natural reticence about relationships gives her ample cause to want to avoid Ryan at best and snarl at him at worst.
After her more than slightly interfering family forces a relationship, she does hurt Ryan with her comments and how she views their sexual interactions. The first time is extremely dirty and sordid. It’s a quick wham, bam thank you sir experience which is miles away from any hint of romance. Megan’s emotionally lowered by it as much as the hero is.
Ryan is the thoughtful, introspective one. He might not tote a gun for a living but he’s got the balls to go after Megan and keep trying even after she ignores him. Thank you for not making him go all fumbly and screw up professionally around Megan. I love that he gets nervous and tries to impress her with his brains (blabbing facts about Montana wildlife during the family vacation).
One thing did bother me slightly about him. Early in the book while you were staging his apartment, he focuses on the many pictures he has of Megan there. This came across as more than a little creepy to me. I guess I’ve seen too many movies and shows in which the psycho killer wallpapers his lair with photos of his victims. Major thanks for not dragging his past into the book at every moment when you want to heighten the emotion and tug at our heart strings. The revelation about him, when it came, was all the more powerful for being unexpected.
Megan and Ryan both have families who care for them. The short length of the story didn’t allow for much time to explore Ryan’s group and the denizens of his apartment house seem a little too much like “characters” instead of real people. Though I did like how much they care for him and try to help him in their own way, they came off as being as interfering as Meg’s family.
Megan’s family is so loud and large that I can see how they have to be a little larger than life in order to get attention. I haven’t read first book in this series so can only base my feelings for Kat on this book. At first, I really didn’t like her much. She encourages Ryan to invade Meg’s life which seemed to me to be taking a big risk with his feelings and life as much as it was with Meg’s. What right does she have to force this relationship? Only later does she show how much she wants it to work and that she acknowledges her meddling. I was also glad when Meg finally calls her on this. Kat does stick up for Ryan and tries to warn Meg off of hurting him any more. I think she, Kat, finally learned her lesson as did Meg.
I like that her feelings slowly dawn on Meg. Yes, there is the ultimate realization and admitting to herself once she gets home but we see little signs along the way. Like ice cracking and thawing, Meg comes to life but she doesn’t go all mushy and have a total character change. I found this more believable than the 180 degree turns seen in some books. Oh and I like that most of Meg’s family knows the engagement is phony. I would have thought them all fools if everyone had bought it. B-
This book can be purchased in trade paperback. No ebook format can be found.