Opening Hearts, by Iona Findley

opening hearts

Grade: D

Doing it at: 55%

Catnip: First Comes Baby; Firemen; Mature Adult Decisions; Bad Writing; Free!

Shame Scale: This book wasn’t even scandalous but I feel shame anyway, the writing is not great.

Book Description:

Pregnant and alone at 35!

Jessalyn O’Donnell returns from her best friend’s wedding with a surprise of her own. She knows how it happened — three sex-filled nights with a smokin’ hot guy, known only as Sam — but she has no way to get in touch with him.

When smokejumper Sam Ricci returns to his hometown after the annual firefighting season ends, he has no plans for fatherhood. His lifestyle is too risky, and he loves his job — almost as much as he loves women. Everything changes when he runs into Jessalyn again and discovers her plans for single parenthood.

Sam doesn’t want to be tied down. Jessalyn would rather go it alone than deal with an absent husband. So why, when a twist of fate brings them together again, does it feel so right?


If you’re a long-time (aka four months) reader of My Book Shame you might know of my quest to find the perfect bar baby book. A book that incorporates all the elements of my favorite Heart song with lots of doing it and a happy ending. I was already let down once this year, but still got my hopes real high for Opening Hearts.

let love in 1

Hope is always the first mistake, like John Cusack says in the seminal teen film Say Anything: “If you start out depressed everything is a pleasant surprise.”

Opening Hearts was not good.

Our story starts with Jessalyn having a shitty day, running late for everything, and then finding herself waiting two hours late for a gyne check up and discovering she’s late for something else all together. Jess is pregnant after a three-day cruise ship fling with Sam, who works as a fire jumper. Good start story, the writing was already a little weak but points for her baby daddy being an actual stranger.

let love in 2Side note: we are assholes.

Jessalyn didn’t even get Sam’s last name and has no way to contact him, she’s been thinking about him anyway because he was her first penis in five years and it was great and magical. But now she’s REALLY thinking about him, cause she’s going to have his baby. Even though she’s thirty-five and knocked up by a complete stranger and this baby was a complete accident she never considers abortion. This is a pet peeve of mine and Mary’s. We’re not all ABORT ALL THE BABIES, but I think most ladies at least think about it.

My rant aside, Jess is keeping her baby and she starts making preparations for baby in her life. She hires a contractor via the webs, and when the guy shows up it’s Sam’s brother, and Sam because it’s not ‘fire season’ and this is his off-season job. Jess is shocked to see Sam. Sam is shocked to see Jess, especially pregnant Jess (she’s about three months along but very visibly pregnant – OK). The two very awkwardly pretend they don’t know each other in front of Sam’s brother but then he comes back to be all “Is that MY baby?” It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that the writing was not going to get better. The dialog was wooden and repetitious, and the character’s actions were not believable.

let love in 3

Sam doesn’t want to be involved, then he does, they both tell their families and friends that a baby is coming. It’s all very not thrilling. I’m sorry I’m being mean, this was just not the book I wanted and I think in this instance it wasn’t the book I deserved either:

let love in 4

No one really thinks that about their mother’s smile, right? RIGHT? My second husband is going to be an orphan.

Even if that is how guys think about their mother’s smile it doesn’t excuse the writing in this one:

He turned to face her. Damn she’s gorgeous, even pregnant. He had to remind himself to breathe, and thought of his grandma’s wrinkled knees to tamp down his growing desire for her.

I watched a gay porn from the 80’s once where the guy thought about dead puppies to not get hard, I guess people have to go with what works?

…he liked thinking about Jessalyn, about her long legs, her sexy butt, and those ever ripening breasts. Being with Jessalyn was also fun. He liked watching her focus intently as she worked for her clients, and loved how she laughed and smiled when she was happy.

Have you ever heard of someone laughing and smiling when they’re happy? Pretty rare, amiright?

“Mom and I thought a classic Pooh design might be best.”

And at Winnie the Pooh nursery themes I bid you farewell, any enjoyment of this book.

Opening Hearts has some third act drama, and gives us a saccharine HEA. Which is fine, I obviously wanted a HEA. But this was not my perfect bar baby book and it almost went in the do not finish pile.

let love in 5

The participation trophy should preferably be bearded and tattooed and make a mean peach pie.

Check it out on Amazon, its free currently, and even though it isn’t MY thing it might be yours!

3 thoughts on “Opening Hearts, by Iona Findley

  1. Cleone, I am having a hard time understanding how your favorite Heart song is not “Magic Man.” That’s totally what I thought it was gonna be!!!

    Like

  2. I would also read a book based on Magic Man! Maybe I should just write a short erotica anthology based on Heart songs. Do we think Ann and Nancy would be into this? I kind of do,

    Like

  3. Pingback: Beautiful Entourage, by C.L. Todd | mybookshame

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