Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby

*This is not YA

I thought the premise for Come Away With Me sounded cool and it was only a few dollars. With that in mind, it isn't surprising that 'onto the Kindle it went'. I needed something to read while at my grandma's chemo sesson, I needed to download it quick, and I had liked the sample. In a matter of seconds the deed was done.

Then grandma's appointment got rescheduled and I forgot I had this--until I was transferring things to my new Kindle Paperwhite. (Thanks, grandma!) I figured it had sat there long enough and that it would have the 'honour' of being the first book I read on the device. Read on to find out whether Come Away With Me lived up to that pressure, or whether it was just too much for this book to handle.
(Summary from GoodReads)
Being confronted on the beach by a sexy stranger wasn't part of Natalie Conner's plans for a peaceful morning taking photos. And why on earth would he think she's taking pictures of him, anyway? Who is he? One thing’s for sure, he’s hot, and incredibly romantic, feeding Natalie’s wounded soul.

Luke Williams just wants the world to give him a break, so seeing yet another camera aimed at his face has him ready to pounce on the beauty behind the lens. When he finds out she has no idea who he is, he's intrigued and more than a little tempted by her. Natalie has a body made for sex, a sassy mouth and Luke can’t get enough of her, but he’s not ready to tell her who he really his.

Natalie is a no nonsense girl who doesn’t do well with lies and secrets. What will happen to this new relationship when she discovers what Luke’s hiding?
I will start by giving credit where credit is due. There were three things I really liked about Come Away With Me

(1) Luke is my kinda hero. In other words, he's blond with blue eyes. I'm a sucker for blond male leads. Shallow, sure, but I won't lie and I'm really clutching at straws for positives. 

(2) The opening was strong enough that I felt compelled to buy the book. I read a LOT of samples and I'm finicky as hell. After reading all of this I'm surprised the first part worked for me, but the truth remains: it did. I bought the book. Despite anything I say below, Kristen Proby does have potential. 

(3) I really loved some of the gestures that Kristen had Luke do for Natalie. The roses, the dinner, the pearls and the coffee were all great. I'm always a fan for a swoony, romantic moment and this book did deliver in that regard. 

Alas, the very structure of this review has to tell you guys something, somewhere, went horribly wrong. I gave three reasons to hope this writer improves, right? Well, here are six reasons I think there's room for growth. 

(1) Where's the plot, man? This book just kinda wandered. I realize that, this being contemporary romance, that's okay to an extent. But this wasn't a case of someone trying to imitate real life. This was a mess. Plotlines were started and either resolved within one chapter or forgotten about. There was no real arc holding everything together outside of Natalie and Luke's romance. Which leads me to my next problem...

(2) Natalie and Luke's romance was boring because it did not contain real, important, plot driving conflict. These characters had no real goals within the story, and in no way lead me to believe that they had a life before it started. Anything that could have created conflict (i.e. plot!) was squandered. 

(3) Way too much *pointless* sex. It got to a point where I felt that anything outside of the sex was merely there to hold the sex together. I'm sorry, but within the context of a book there are only so many ways two people can sleep with each other before I start checking every 2% to see how close I am to having the book be over. That was very much the case here. (For what it's worth: a lack of plot in a novel of this type generally stems from a lack of connection between me and the characters. Since I'm being so blunt, though, I don't just wanna flat out say they sucked...I just wish we knew them, rather than just watching them get it on for 50% of the book...And that probably just came out all wrong. Crap.) 

(4) Insta-love even I didn't buy into. These characters got together way too easy, felt things way too fast, and didn't do anything to convince me that I should give a crap that this was happening to them. Put that together and it's a more potent sleep aid then Z-quil. 

(5) Luke was extremely moody and unconvincing. I can understand a man having issues and having his mood shift throughout a story. The problem is that Luke shifted moods about as easy as my new Furby Boom. (All you need to do is yank its tail about twelve times, or pet its head for five minutes. You get the idea.) If I met a guy who shifted gears like that in real life there's only one thing I'd be doing: running the heck away. 

(6) Lazy, repetitious writing / word choice. I usually don't ride people too hard about that because I understand that how people write their stories is a very personal choice. But really, if I had to hear the words baby or beautiful, or listen to one more description of Luke's eyes (psst: they don't cast magic or anything, okay...?) I think I might have gauged my own eyes out. 
I think it's pretty safe to say that Come Away With Me was not my book. But I know a lot of people have enjoyed this one, so your mileage may vary. As always, I'd suggest you pay attention to my particular gripes here and consider how they might effect you as a reader. We all have unique things that push our buttons. This book happened to be rather fond of pushing mine. 


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