Before getting started with the discussion, I’d love to thank Angie Elle from Books & Beauty are my Bag for coming over to Birdie Bookworm to review this with me. I always love our discussions, and I was so glad she had time to fit us into her schedule!
Thank you Angie!
*As this is a book discussion, please beware of spoilers.
Birdie: I was really nervous, going into this read. I was nervous about Good Boy, but at least that book had the familiarity of Blake and Jess, from US. I wasn’t sure Matt would carry the story the way I’d hoped, but I wound up being decently satisfied.
Angie Elle: I was nervous too, and sadly it didn’t work out as well for me. I didn’t care for either protagonist for various reasons, and it wasn’t that way straight from the beginning.
Birdie: That’s what I thought would happen to me too, but surprisingly enough I actually liked Hailey. I thought she was really sweet, and I loved her style. I enjoyed reading about her almost more than I did Matt, who ended up growing on me. He’s no Blake, but he was still enjoyable.
Angie Elle: I liked Hailey right up until she compromised privileged information for Fetch. And what really frustrates me about this situation is that I can understand how she’d be torn; I really can. But I hate the fact that this was included in the book at all. I felt like it was unnecessary, and a complete miss on the author’s parts. As for Matt, I didn’t like how passive he was with his ex-wife. I just wanted him to grow a pair and fight harder to spend time with his kids. Also, one of my least favorite things in a story is the over exuberant friend that offsets the protagonist, and that’s how Hailey’s friend felt to me. She was very cookie cutter and typical of a CR heroine’s bff.
Birdie: The privileged information thing didn’t really bother me. Maybe because of the moral responsibility vs the business responsibility. Plus, I don’t think his wife had the confidentiality clause on her account. I don’t know, that one was more ambiguous to me. I do agree with you, completely, about Hailey’s friend. I’m kind of nervous that she’ll be a future love interest for someone, which will suck.
Angie Elle: I think the business responsibility could have fallen into illegal behavior. I thought that all jobs for the clients were confidential, and that if the client so chose, their identity was, as well.
Birdie: You could be right about that. I can still see why she would have chosen to say something and risk it, but there could have at least been some internal dialogue about it.
I was frustrated with Matt about the kids too, but then I also thought it was a pretty good representation of a lot of fathers who don’t have custody of their kids. They do wind up on the mother’s whim. Plus, I don’t think it mentioned that they ever went to court and had the law split their custody. I also wanted him to grow a pair, but I also liked that she stuck with that story until there was a catalyst that forced him.
Angie Elle: Yes, that’s what I meant. I wish he’d gone to court and fought for something definite instead of always having to work around what was convenient for Kara. I wanted him to grab his parental responsibilities by the horns! LOL
Birdie: Absolutely! I agree with that 100%. It definitely would have made him feel like a stronger character. He was so emotionally battered by his ex, it made him feel soft. But, I did think Hailey and Matt had a cute relationship, and I loved how he wanted to be a family man first. You could tell that he’s almost ready for retirement so he can settle down and just be a husband and father.
Angie Elle: I agree. I think there were a lot of cute elements to their relationship. And I also think that Matt was a family man first. I just wish he wouldn’t have cowed so much in the face of his ex-.
Birdie: I have to say, I’m getting a little tired of the crazy ex-girlfriend/wife trope anyway. I think it would be nice to read a romance where they have a good relationship with their ex. I feel like that’s been so overdone.
Angie Elle: I agree. So overdone. As if grown adults have no other issues besides crazy exes. I really would have liked to see Matt’s struggle be centered on the fact that there was a new man in his children’s lives. I didn’t like the way he blindly trusted Kara with bringing people into the mix. He adored his girls so much it just didn’t feel realistic to me.
Birdie: Oh man, I agree with that completely. I think the story would have been so much better if he’d had a decent relationship with his ex, and the problem was in her new man spending so much time with his girls.
On a more positive note, I love the WAGs. That group of ladies is pretty spectacular. And I loved seeing Jess completely submerged in the lifestyle. Jamie too, actually. You know, I have to throw in the Wesmie love. (And Blake. That guy is awesome.)
Angie Elle: YES! The WAGs were the highlight of this book for me! I am going to just say, though, the Wesmie thing was cute the first time it was mentioned, but when everyone started referring to them as Wesmie, I found it a bit childish and unbelievable.
Birdie: Haha! I can see that, though it didn’t bother me. I thought it fit in with those girls and how they interacted. It would have bothered me more if it had been the guys. (If they ever did, I don’t remember and I seriously don’t want to!)
I guess, when I finished, I thought this was a decent installment but it lacked the fireworks of the previous books. I enjoyed it even while I recognized that it won’t go down as one of my favorites. I kind of think that the best will always be the Jamie, Wes, and Blake books.
Angie Elle: I do think this book is forgettable, and problematic for me in many ways. For one, I feel like the authors tried to carry the tone from Blake’s book to this one, and because the characters were un-Blake like, it fell short. There were many times throughout this book where I felt like the integrity of the story was compromised for humor.
Birdie: Man, forgettable is a good word. I also think that I won’t think about it much a few weeks from now. And I agree with you about the humor. That was my biggest issue with Hailey’s friend; she was supposed to be the Blakeish character to Hailey and Matt, The way Blake was to Jamie and Wes. It was obnoxious.
Angie Elle: Also, Hailey is referred to a ‘badass’ by Matt in this story, and I didn’t see that anywhere. But I would have liked to. When Matt sees her for the first time, he takes note of her piercings and tattoos. To me, that indicates Hailey has an adventurous side, but we never saw it. I feel like the opportunity there for character development was lost. Maybe she’s not a badass. Maybe she spent months contemplating her tattoos and they’re incredibly meaningful to her. Either way, I would like to know where they came from and what they meant. The ending was also a letdown for me – where was the drama here? And why was Matt so quick to let Hailey go? I had a huge problem with how passive his character was, and I have a hard time believing he’ll go the distance with anyone because he’s so quick to give up.
Birdie: I actually thought that makes sense. The way that a character who’s been massively hurt will try to prevent being hurt a second time. Though, I do far prefer the stories that don’t take this big giant (typical) ending. I would have liked something more mature from each character, personally.
Angie Elle: Yes, I agree more maturity would’ve been preferable.
And lastly, the set up for the next story was so smack you in the face. Totally unneeded, and I hate it when authors feel the need to reel you in with something that feels abrupt within the current story. Give me subtle hints instead, and then trust me to pick on them.
Birdie: Agreed, I prefer subtle hints. I like the question of who will be next, rather than the obvious. Either way, I don’t think it sounds interesting at all. It sounds like the same outline and set-up that we’ve gotten in most of their books. I was hoping for something fresh.
Alright, Angie, final rating?
Angie Elle: Ugh. This was two stars for me, and I agonized over that. I may not have cared for this one, but it still kills me to rate an Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen book two stars.
Birdie: I’ll go with three stars. Let’s split the difference and go with 2.5.
Thanks so much for reviewing this with me. I love having you on Birdie Bookworm. 🙂
Angie Elle: You know I love visiting! Thanks for having me. 🙂
Thank you to the authors for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.