This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Jove
Released on March 31, 2015
This series has been enjoyable as a nice change up from fast and furious and lots of drama. It’s so laid back and easy going with its small town setting, group of friends, the dog characters, and their personal barriers to romance.
In this book, Bash and Chelsea get their story. Both characters are very familiar secondary characters from the beginning of the series. While I liked this story, I wasn’t nearly as taken with it as others in the series.
As to being part of a series that is based on a core group of friends and their extended relations and acquaintances, I would suggest getting it in order. There are secondary story lines continuing from the other books (which I love the follow up on the other characters) and characters’ situations that are laced through the story a great deal. The reader would definitely get the idea that they were missing out.
The story opens with Chelsea determined to do something about her difficulty finding the right guy and getting on with having her own lasting relationship and family. People have told her that she’s too picky, but she will not settle just for the sake of settling and be miserable like her mom. Nope, her solution is to put together a list that will lead her to the perfect man. Unfortunately, Bash Palmer, bartender and so way far from being her ideal of the perfect guy, is the one who catches her eye. As hard as she tries to ignore chemistry and stick to going out with guys who meet the list requirements, it is Bash who is on her mind and makes her heart race.
Bash decided never again after his ex divorced him and left because he couldn’t be the guy she wanted him to be. He focused on his business goals and kept it casual where women are concerned. He’s happy for his friends finding love, but doesn’t think it’s for him. While he has a crazy ex-girlfriend who dumps a little dog on him and the fiery Chelsea Gardner letting him know that he doesn’t even hit one item on her list of the perfect guy. It’s a good thing he doesn’t think much of her silly list and decides not to fight the attraction they share.
As I said, this is an easy going story and I felt I already knew the characters well. This one didn’t quite have the impact of others in the series. It was cozy and sleepy with only a few blips on the scanner. I confess that I wanted to love it more, but ended up with just like. The device of the List wasn’t interesting enough a conflict for me and actually was the reason I didn’t like this one as much. I know the author cunningly made sure that Bash missed every single point on that list, but was still as delicious a guy as they come. However, I wonder if the author also made it so that while Chelsea was on the hunt for Mr. Perfect that the list also served to accentuate her own flaws at the same time.
The characters rated somewhat higher with me particularly Bash. He truly did have a reason to be reserved about getting into anything serious. His dad and he didn’t have a relationship so he was alone other than friends and his ex made it clear that he wasn’t good enough as he was. He’s not super ambitious or flashy so he knows he can’t compete. Bash, his bar, his cute little dog and his enjoyment of simple pleasures and being with his friends is a great guy. I was rooting for him as his good qualities made Chelsea’s perfect men seem stale by comparison because he was her match and he could create some sizzling heat between them with just a direct look or a sensual kiss. It didn’t hurt that he protected her, showed her how to let her hair down and have fun, and loved on a little orphaned dog that he never wanted.
[quote]”You know, Chelsea, sometimes you have to go with your gut. And sometimes what’s between a man and woman has nothing to do with a list, or what’s in your head.” He picked up her hand and laid it on his chest. “It’s what’s right here. It’s that feeling of chemistry, that sensation of ‘Wow, if I don’t kiss this person right now, I Might. Just. Explode.”
- 23-26 Bash from Love After All[/quote]
Chelsea is on the high-strung side. She’s a girly girl with decided opinions and she can’t see a good thing even when he plants a perfect kiss right on her ready lips. Her Perfect Man list was amusing to her friends in the ‘oh isn’t the silly girl so cute with her little unrealistic list’ sort of way. Honestly, that list drove me a bit nuts because it really was silly. I get her motives for writing it- she’s frustrated, scared of getting with the wrong guy and she wants something good. And personally, I think it’s a very good idea to have standards like sharing the same values, having a strong moral compass, loyal, etc. but that wasn’t what this was.
I wasn’t enamored with Chelsea and I wanted to like her. She’s a high school math teacher, with good taste in food and clothes, she’s a good friend, and she’s goal-oriented, but since this story was focused not so much on those things as a list that pretty much set up every guy’s faults based on exterior packaging, she lost respect points. She earned them back as she set her list aside to give something real a chance.
I enjoyed catching up with all the other couples including the long scenes that were Logan and Des’ wedding and the South Padre Island trip with Molly and Carter. With each book, I was never quite ready to let go of the couple in the story so its great that I don’t have to as they are prominently show-cased in each new book. I look forward to Reid and Samantha’s story.
All in all, it was pleasant and good for a lazy afternoon cozy read. The setting, the cute animals, the circle of friends, and the low amount of drama are a hit Contemporary Romance fans who enjoy gently paced stories with some spicy romance scenes should give this small town romance series a try.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve never given it much thought before and I’ve read other books that use a list as a device (usually for other purposes like bucket list or naughty list), but for some reason- and maybe it’s because of the stuff she put on it- I was actually angry at the presumption and immediate exclusivity of such a list. It was painful to read how someone who is genuinely interested, like Bash, would feel if they were rejected because of something like ‘doesn’t wear suits’, ‘hasn’t always been single’, ‘doesn’t have a 9-5 job’, ‘doesn’t eat at fancy restaurants or like wine’, and so on. So what do you think about lists for Perfection based on whether someone likes sports or fine wine or wears a suit? Don’t care? Don’t like it? Don’t mind?
Romance Roundabout #175 CR
Cliché Klatch #96 ‘there was no chemistry’
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