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Jeannie Watt

REVIEW: Always a Temp by Jeannie Watt

REVIEW: Always a Temp by Jeannie Watt

Dear Ms. Watt,

Since I liked the first book of yours that I read so much, I’ve been meaning to try some more. “Always a Temp” is one that has been loaded on my Sony for a while and which I just now got back to. But while I liked it there are some issues I have with it.

 Always a Temp by Jeannie WattCallie McCarran knows now that she should have come back home to check up on her foster mother Grace but maybe Callie just didn’t want to think that Grace’s time might be limited. The cold shoulder Callie got at Grace’s funeral certainly tells Callie that most of the town thinks she should have made the effort too. But since Callie doesn’t plan on putting down any kind of roots, she doesn’t let it bother her…too much. But the fact that her high school flame Nathan Marcenek wants nothing to do with her does sting. She had hoped they might be at least friendly during her short stay in Nevada.

Nathan is in no mood to give Callie a second chance to hurt him. After she abruptly left town following their graduation, he tried to leave town too only to come back to recuperate after a devastating injury on the job as a reporter. But could they have a shot at a second chance if Callie can and will face what drives her to always pick up and go when it looks like she might settle down?

I like the small town atmosphere you create in your novels. They aren’t rah rah “small towns are so much better than the evil big cities” places but rather a world where there can be good and bad. Some people are friendly and neighborly while others are creeps. Some people will stick their noses in your business and others frankly don’t give a damn. This place could be right for certain people while others can’t wait to shake the dust off their shoes.

You create vivid characters even if all that we know about them are thumbnail sketches. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed to know about people if they’re not the main event in a book. I kind of expected to get more of Callie and Nathan’s childhood but that’s not the case. Okay, I’ll accept that they dated from high school and that Nathan expected more before Callie bolted. And from that I think it totally believable that Nathan would give her a cold reception when she appears 13 years later. But I found it odd that Callie never seemed to understand how much she hurt Nathan by her actions and that she was hurt when Nathan didn’t want to be casual friends with privileges while she’s in town for her planned short stay.

There is a lot of time spent on events outside of the main romance. Callie and Nathan are both writers and Nathan has been a news reporter so I can understand their interest in potential stories and their curiosity about the people and events around them. Yet while I found all this interesting, and probably a means to set up the future stories of Nathan’s two brothers, when I realized I was at the 2/3 mark of the book and the romance hadn’t heated up much yet, I did wonder if too much time was being diverted away from Callie and Nathan working out their future. If I hadn’t known this is a romance and thus I’m pretty much guaranteed a HEA I would have worried a tad.

But I do like that the book ends in a sort of open ended kind of way. There’s no wedding planned, no baby on the way, the main couple looks like they’re going to blow this small town for a bigger city and there are issues to be resolved about investigations in town and with Nathan’s brothers. I did enjoy my time spent reading the book and would continue with the series if there is one. So…maybe a C+ for this one.

~Jayne

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REVIEW:  Once and For All by Jeannie Watt

REVIEW: Once and For All by Jeannie Watt

Dear Ms. Watt:

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this book to read, particularly given that the heroine was a lawyer. I almost never read books about lawyers because most authors take such liberties with the profession that I cannot suspend my disbelief. For the most part, though, the heroine’s career was portrayed accurately and it did not turn out to be a stumbling block to my enjoyment of the story.

Once and For All Jeannie WattJodie De Vanti, a lawyer from Las Vegas, is taking over the ranch for her father while he is vacationing with her mother. Jodie has always struggled for her father’s approval. The senior De Vanti was a superior businessman and he expected his daughter to achieve similar success in every endeavor. It was success or disappointment for Joe Barton. I thought this paragraph summed up their relationship nicely:

“High school. I played varsity for three years." Joe had been disappointed it hadn't been four. When she'd made the JV-’junior varsity-’team as a freshman, she'd been proud, since the competition was fierce, but immediately realized that her father had expected more. She'd worked like crazy that year and over the summer to make varsity, and had been rewarded with a proud father. And when she'd won MVP-terrifically proud father.

The problem is that Jodie’s father is an asshole (if you hadn’t guessed by that paragraph) and no one wants to work for him. While Joe is vacationing, their all around helper quits. Some of the cows are going into early spring labor made all the more difficult because Joe chose to breed his cows with a huge black bull making the calves bigger and calving far more difficult. Jodie needs a ranch hand and she needs a vet who can help her. The vet is just one more of Jodie’s little problems, thanks to Joe.

Joe sued the nearest Vet, Sam Hyatt, and no one near the ranch wanted to place themselves in Joe Barton’s crosshairs. Joe had gotten to the point of flying someone from Las Vegas into the ranch but even that vet was unavailable to Jodie. Unable to sit around while animals are suffering and in need of the money, Sam eventually gives in to Jodie’s pleas for help. And the more time that Sam spends with Jodie, the more he likes her. His attraction to Jodie, though, serves as a reminder of how his personal life has been very lonely.

Sam’s beloved brother and his brother’s wife were killed in a car accident with a drunk driver leaving Sam the guardian of twin teen boys. Sam doesn’t know how to parent, feels a tremendous obligation toward his brother to ensure that the boys turn out right; but at the same time feels a keen sense of longing to have a partner of his own.

The teen boys are well portrayed. They weren’t grief stricken but neither were they perfect. Together they tried to encourage Sam to have a social life so he would lighten up on them, at first trying to get Sam to go out with Jodie and then turning on him when some information about Jodie came out that they didn’t like. Jodie didn’t turn out to have any insta-parenting ability either which made the dynamic between the four seem more believable.

The love between Jodie and Sam grows slowly but naturally. Jodie has some good reasons to shy away from a relationship with Sam but Sam is persistent, once he thinks that he and Jodie would be good together. I liked that Jodie began to realize that her idolization of her father was unhealthy given his demands of her and that her father never really changed. Not everyone’s problems were solved by the close of the book. This helped to offset what I found to be an unnecessary epilogue and a kind of abrupt ending. While the sexual tension between the two was nice, I would have liked to been privy to the consummation scenes in more detail. That said, this is a good contemporary romance between two adults that didn’t rely on a higher concept other than falling in love to provide the conflict in the story. B

Best regards,

Jane

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