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REVIEW: Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson

Dear Ms. Gibson,

book review After Jennie did a review of “Not Another Bad Date,” I saw her grade and mentally wilted a little. In fact, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to read it at that point. But after starting, and stopping, a horrible historical – asshole hero plus virgin martyr widow! – I thought, “why not?” It can’t be any worse, right? Ouch, I think I’ll stop that line of thinking at this point. Anyway, I picked it up ::shrugged:: and dove in.

I’m just going to recap what I liked and, unfortunately, what I didn’t like. I love Zach’s interactions with Tiff. Bra shopping, make-up, boys! oh noes. He’s trying – and floundering – but trying. I found it totally understandable that Tiff doesn’t want another woman in Zach’s life. She didn’t have him in hers for years and now he’s her only parent. Any other woman would be The Other Woman to her.

As well, Adele’s interactions with Kendra make sense. They’ve not spent a great deal of time together so they’re not immediately best buds or totally in synch about what Kendra wants for breakfast. Kendra and Tiff are typical 13 year olds. They want to grow up far faster than their parents would like. Boys, makeup, periods, still having slightly immature fallings out and falling apart if you don’t make whatever team you’re trying out for. They like things one day and hate them the next.

In fact I liked most of the interactions between the characters. Adele loves her sister and would do anything for her but those endless ‘to do’ lists might just drive her crazy. Zach gets along great with his coaching staff but Joe needs to calm the locker room tirades to get the best effort from the players. Zach issues orders to the dance team at the cookout like they’re football players at drill time. I can see all of this.

Then there’s Football (intentionally capitalized) and Texas. Oh Lord, yes. Here’s your Amen! Everything I’ve ever heard or seen or been told about the combination of the two seems accurate here. The game is next to religion and any coach who can deliver a winning season – high school, college or pro – is elevated to a higher plane than most mortals.

Zach and Devon – okay it’s not great that he had affairs but she knew, didn’t care and I could hardly expect him to go for years with no sex. I don’t disagree with Jennie’s assessment here. I’m tired of the fact that this seems to occur often in contemporaries. However, it’s not a deal breaker for me. Having seen first hand the effect that a bad marriage can have on children, I think these two made the best choice to live apart. I guess you could say I’m lukewarm about this aspect of the story.

I LOVE that Adele doesn’t initially give into lust for Zach. She knows it’s bad to start a relationship and she actually manages to walk away. To turn and talk to someone else. To keep from standing like and idiot with drool running down her chin while she thinks how hawt he is. Praise Jesus and thank you Ms. Gibson. But…while Zach restrains himself initially, once he started going for Adele, he intensely pushed past her definite ‘noes’ maybe a little too much for my comfort. Bonus points for the crotchless gift that Zach gives Adele. Every woman should have one.

So, we’ve got some pluses and minuses but things were balancing out on the positive side until you had to do it. You had to have Adele get preggers despite two forms of birth control. And twins! Well, why not go all the way? < /sarcasm > One broken condom, one time and Zach’s super swimmers defeat an IUD that might or might not have suddenly dislocated. When Zach goes ballistic I can understand it. When he does a quick turn around in thoughts from ‘hell-no, no way do I want to become involved with babies and marriage’ to ‘can’t live without her’ after Adele is gone for two days I don’t believe it. That quick a change? Nope, not buying it.

As for the paranormal aspect? Well, it could have been worse. Like Jennie I ended up not hating it and actually chuckling a few times. But thanks for not dragging us back to scenes at Walmart too often.

One thing I think you do well overall and well here is dialogue. I love the funny exchanges between Zach and Adele.

Instead, he moved toward her, grabbed her hand, and pressed the glass into her palm.

“What’s this?” she asked, and glanced up from the wine and into his face.

“Wine,” he answered. “I thought you could use it.”

“I don’t supposed telling you I don’t want wine will make a difference.”

“Sure it will.” He shrugged one big shoulder. “Are you an alcoholic?”

“No.”

“Allergic?”

“No,” she answered, as the girls began to drag themselves out of the water and move toward the far end of the pool, where Tiffany handed out thick white towels.

“Cheap drunk?”

“No.”

“Mormon?”

“No.”

“One of those girls who gets drunk and wants to get naked?”

“No.”

“You sure?”

“Yes.”

“That’s a shame.”

She smiled despite herself.

“When I looked up into the bleachers and saw you, I couldn’t believe you were there.” He pressed his thumbs into her arch and massaged little circles. “I’m glad I didn’t see you until the second half.”

“Why?”

“Seeing you added about ten times more pressure to the game.” He lifted her foot and kissed her instep. “I didn’t want to screw it up and lose in front of you.”

Soap bubbles slid down the side of her foot and ankle. She looked at him, sitting across from her and kissing her foot, and something warm and bubbly slid next to her heart. “You mean, you didn’t want to lose in front of the whole town.”

“That too, but mostly I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of you.” His thumbs moved over her heel and he pressed his lips to her arch. He turned his head to one side, and said, “When I used to play football, I didn’t have to worry about impressing women. Hell, I think you’re the only woman I’ve ever tried to impress,” He softly bit her instep. “First at UT, and now here.”

Her eye lids suddenly felt heavy. “Are you trying to impress me right now?”

“Why else do you think I’m sitting here, smelling like a rose garden and surrounded by girly bubbles.”

Stuff like this went a long way to bringing my final grade back up. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

11 Comments

  1. SarahT
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 05:05:50

    I’ve loved some of Gibson’s books & been less enamoured of others. Still, she is compulsively readable and is on my autobuy list, even though I don’t always give her books the best of grades.

    Not Another Bad Date was a B- for me. I enjoyed the story overall, particularly Zach’s interaction with Tiff. Unfortunately, the rushed HEA at the end was less than convincing.

    All in all, NAB is a light and fun read, as long as you don’t mind a few clichés and a touch of paranormal.

  2. Dana
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 08:49:38

    I also liked this book overall, but felt that the ending was too rushed and pat to really feel like a good payoff. Tiffany hates Adele dating her father, but once she is pregnant *BAM* “it’s different now.” Although this may be realistic (Tiffany wants baby siblings so much, she’ll accept the other woman to get this goal), it felt like it cheated us from a real HEA with the new step-daughter. And yeah, Zach’s sudden turn around also seemed rushed. And seeing them later only through Devon’s eyes didn’t seem like enough to let us know how it’s really working out.

    I didn’t have the problem with the pregnancy that you had. Sure, it facilitated the rushed ending, but the pregnancy itself was believable (as long as you buy the paranormal element). Devon made Adele get pregnant, since she figured that would make Zach hate Adele forever. Since that was her god given gift, I don’t think any birth control on earth, or time of month, or anything else, could get in the way of pregnancy.

    Overall, an entertaining light read, but not all that memorable and with a slightly unconvincing HEA.

  3. sallahdog
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 09:26:43

    I enjoyed this one better than the Claire or Maddies story (the books before this one in the series)… Its not perfect, and its no ” See Jane Score” but it was a fun read and I was able to stay with it the whole way (which has been a problem for me of late with books in general, I have too much going on to totally lose myself in them)..

  4. Keishon
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 09:50:07

    I had planned to read this regardless – for me I tend to like the books that most Rachel Gibson fans don’t like. [shrug]

  5. Jayne
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 13:48:34

    Oh, I’m still waiting for another “See Jane Score.” That’s one of my favorite Gibson novels. I still laugh remembering the speech she has to deliver before every game

  6. Willa
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 14:12:05

    I wish Gibson could find herself another way to end a book.

  7. Ann Bruce
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 20:31:38

    Jayne, do you mean See Jane Score?

    FANS OF THE BOOK PLEASE DON’T READ THE FOLLOWING
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    That book was a wallbanger for me because it was insulting on so many levels.
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  8. Jayne
    Jun 19, 2008 @ 21:21:44

    Oh sweet Jesus, that’ll learn me to post when my brain’s not firing on all cylinders.

  9. Christnina
    Jun 20, 2008 @ 11:05:28

    I agree See jane score is her best book. I just wish the charcters had more dialog. but she is always an autobuy for me.

  10. che
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 21:40:32

    Bonus points for the crotchless gift that Zach gives Adele. Every woman should have one.

    Minor thing, but I finished this other night and I’m pretty sure he didn’t give her the crotchless panties as a gift. It was more of Adele upon seeing the present, saying they’d better not be crotchless panties. The gift was a tool belt with tools.

  11. Jayne
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 05:12:46

    I don’t think he gave her crotchless panties either. I was specifically refering to the toolbelt which is crotchless and which I believe every woman should have. Or at least a basic set of tools for use around the house. Those are some of the first things I bought when I was setting up house after graduation.

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