When I’m Gone, by Abbi Glines

When I'm gone

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 95%

Catnip: Holding Out For A Hero; Insecure Heroine; Sexual Healing; Cowboys

Shame Scale: Medium. It’s a cloying, saccharine romance, but we love it anyways. We like what we like, ladies.

Fantasy Cast: Luke Eastwood; Megan Fox

Book Description:

I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…

Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…

Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different?

Abbi Glines has a formula and it’s so catnippy, I don’t see any reason for her to change it. Her heroines are dazzlingly beautiful, saccharine sweet, selfless, and always have some sort of trauma in their past they’re courageously overcoming (also – the majority of them are poor). Her heroes are always gorgeous man-whores who meet the heroine, instantly renounce their whoring ways, and turn into overprotective white knights (The majority of them are rich). Add in one slutty World’s Most Unsympathetic Evil Villain Woman, and a huge misunderstanding, and you pretty much have a book. This is book 11 in the Rosemary Beach series, and obviously since Cleone and I have read the other 10, we’re not complaining.

This book starts out a few years in the past, with Reese narrowly escaping being sexually assaulted by her stepfather, when her mother comes home and throws her out for her obviously whorish ways. Seriously. There are never any ambiguous characters in these books. The heroes are Heroes, and the villains are Villains, and no one writes an evil woman like Abbi does.

The story picks up a few years later, and Reese is working as a cleaning lady in Rosemary Beach. She’s cleaning at Nan’s house (one of Glines’ go-to villains), when she accidentally wakes up Mase, Nan’s cowboy half-brother, who is sleeping in the guest room while in town to visit his other sister, Harlow. He’s instantly smitten with the birthmark on Reese’s buthigh. She thinks he’s hot, but she’s pretty much scared of everything. Reese accidentally breaks a mirror, and Mase insists on taking her to the ER. While he spends the day with her, he starts to feel “feelings” and the over-the-top protectiveness we love so much from these books starts to kick in – like, making sure she always has a ride home from work, because it’s so DANGEROUS for Reese to be walking in this rich seaside country club community.

They cross paths a few more times before Mase has to head back to Texas, and he realizes that there’s something wrong – Reese can’t read or write. He calls in all sorts of favors, and pays people lots of money to get Reese seen by Dr. Astor, the best learning disorder specialist in the area. Reese is severely dyslexic – something that I was able to diagnose immediately, yet no school official ever caught – which is a huge relief to her because she was raised to believe she is just stupid with a broken brain. She starts seeing him weekly for reading lessons, and her self confidence improves.

Besides, it wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Astor had told me that several times. He’d even had me repeat after him, “I am not less than. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a smart, capable person.”

So yeah, Reese’s insecurity was a little annoying.

I ducked my head to hide my smile. He liked my butt. It was too fat, but he liked it. I couldn’t keep from grinning.

And the romance is a little cloying – we’re aware, but we like it anyways. It’s Abbi Glines and sometimes we just feel like cotton candy for our brains. We want a guaranteed happy ending and the kind of devotion that doesn’t exist in real life romance. Glines’ characters are exaggerated versions of the ones you might meet in your college dorm, they might be annoying in real life, but we like them safely contained in our ereaders.

Take Mase’s 100% turnaround after meeting Reese. He’s so done with other women, that he needs to get a new mattress. I mean, it’s ridiculous, but it’s a romance novel. We’re not reading it for realism, we’re reading for the fantasy.

I would need to get new sheets and a new mattress before I brought Reese here. Get rid of what I’d fucked Cordelia and a few other women on. Reese was too good to be where they’d been. She was special.

This wasn’t the best in the series, and there was not much action in this one, and they didn’t hit the grand slam till almost the end. For that reason we’re putting this one in C- territory, but since there was a cliffhanger ending, we’re eagerly awaiting the next in the series which is sure to get with the getting it that we love in these books.


Come Away With Me, by Kristen Proby

Come Away With Me

Grade: D-

Doing it at: 19%

Catnip: All the Cliches; Bland Characters; Free!; Hate Read; Insecure Heroine; Actors; I Can’t Believe This Famous Guy Likes Me!

Shame Scale: I mean, I’m not terribly proud of the fact that I read this the whole way through.

Fantasy Casting: Robert Pattinson; Mae Whitman as Bland (Ann) in Arrested Development

Book Description:

“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?”

This book kept popping up on Goodreads lists next to other books I liked, and I’m pretty sure at least one of the authors I follow on FB has made some sort of a shout-out to Kristen Proby. Her name sounded familiar to me, and this book was on a list of romance books featuring pregnancies I was looking through while searching for something to read in anticipation of the new royal baby. I basically wanted Will + Kate fan fiction, and I ended up with Robert Pattinson fan fiction. I checked my kindle library and saw that I had downloaded it at some point (because Hi, my name is Mary and I’m a Free Book Hoarder), and thought hey, this could be ok. As I mentioned in our review of Deep, accidental pregnancy books are one of my fave types of catnip. Well. This book was terrible. I only finished it because I hated it so much.

Basically, our heroine is out photographing nature scenes one morning and is accosted by our hero, Luke, a famous actor that everyone else in the entire books recognizes from his starring role in a series of teen vampire movies, Robert Pattinson, who assumes she is taking his picture and wants her camera. When he realizes that Natalie doesn’t recognize him, he’s so intrigued and refreshed that he falls into deep, deep insta-love with her. Luke Robert decides not to tell her that he’s famous, and she’s a moron so she doesn’t pick up his big secret even though it’s completely obvious with all the anvils dropping all over the place. As you can see from the book description, this deception is the big conflict, and it’s over pretty quickly, with minimal drama. One blow up scene, then a delivery of “at least 50 dozen roses” with the most incredible “aroma” (lol), then forgiveness. I kept waiting for something to happen, for there to be anything exciting, but the rest of the book is mostly predictable mild relationship drama between a Stage 3 Clinger (Luke Robert), and an insecure twat (Natalie). And poorly written sex scenes that feature words like “waxed pubis,” and things like this:

“He’s braced himself on his fists on either side of me and is pushing into me over and over, hitting that sweet spot on the front side of my vagina, sending little glittery sparks of yumminess all through me.”

“He runs one finger down my cleft, from my clitoris to my anus, and I cry out. “Argh!” Ohmygod! “Honey, you are so wet.”

Also, nitpick here:

“I push and pull him in and out of my mouth, my teeth sheathed behind my lips.”

When writing a beej scene, aren’t sheathed teeth implied? I’m pretty sure you’re only supposed to mention teeth if you’re using them.

The whole book reads like a list of bad romance cliches like, “We didn’t fuck, we made love,” and “I need to know if there is any competition, because I don’t share.” And omg, he just loves to see a girl who eats! Can you even imagine? Also, one of Natalie’s big quirks is that she has a bunch of tattoos that sound like inspirational memes, except written in languages she doesn’t even speak, in all the college girl places. Because she’s really deep, you guys. Natalie was a total basic girl. In fact, this whole book was pretty much basic.

The writing made me cringe over and over (and over and over) again. It was a frequent abuser of one of my biggest pet peeves: describing hot clothes that sound ugly (he wears DOUBLE-BREASTED SUITS), and describing amazing meals that sound like Applebee’s dishes. For example, when Robert takes her on some glorious date to a chateau he’s rented out for the night and they sit down for a five-course dinner with wine pairings, they eat: Chili garlic calamari; Hawaiian-style chicken skewers; Mojito-marinated halibut with mango, avocado and black bean salsa; Pork tenderloin and New York steak with Yukon gold potatoes.

Mmmmm Yukon gold potatoes. How gourmet!

If you’re trying to impress me, those potatoes should be fingerling at the very least.

And here is a picture of a jerk in a double-breasted suit so we can all agree how ugly and un-sexy they are:

Double breasted suit