Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Book Review: Dearest Clementine, by Lex Martin #NewAdult

About the Book:
Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn't mind being called bitchy and closed off. It's safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone novel with two companion novels. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.
My Take:

From the title, I somehow thought there would be cowboys. There aren't. The author never even references the song I thought she might. You know, "My Darling Clementine." Never went there.

I enjoyed this well-written NA/college romance, liked the characters, hated the bad guys, all the things you're supposed to feel when reading New Adult romance. It kept me entertained and reading through to the HEA, which thankfully was there and satisfying, as I've read a bunch of NA books lately that end with cliffhangers. I hate cliffhangers. I don't mind if there are unresolved issues that tempt me to read the next book in the series, but for goodness sake, at least finish the current book with some sort of satisfaction for the reader. Seriously. So despite being the first of a series, this book does make you smile at the end and not cringe with a "to be continued."

And yet.

As an author, I took issue with several of the plot points. Okay, I know romance is a cliche-ridden field. We all use them. Readers almost expect them. But I felt like this book used a few too many tropes as red herrings. And the whole she wrote and published a best selling book so easily while still in college and has an agent and uber rich parents but is still struggling to pay her tuition bills? She spends all her free time working in the college bookstore but still has plenty of time when she needs it to further the plot? She finds out her stalker is back on campus but still feels it's okay to run all alone along the Charles River at night? Mmmm, we're into the realm of unbelievable. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.
I'm willing to suspend disbelief - most readers are happy to do that, it's why we read, to escape - but sometimes you want your heroine to make sense - especially a first person narrative which makes you feel like you know this person and you expect them to make good choices - or at least choices that make sense for their character. My own characters frequently make bad choices - bad choices make for fun reading. But then there should be consequences and learning from mistakes.

I'll say again, I enjoyed the book. Fun, fast read that kept my attention even as I was berating bad choices.

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