Sam's Reading: A Work in Progress

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Love Over Lattes (Desert Monsoon #1) - Diana A. Hicks

Well...what seemed promising led me to...
checks notes...

eyes blur, sighs.

This book was engaging. Valentina is a down-on-her-luck 24 year old mother trying to finish school and get her and her son into a home with stability. Woman in tech? Check. She works her ass off, starting everyday at a little coffee shop where she sees Derek (or Cole) daily. They don't acknowledge each other until Valentina clearly receives bad news, which Cole tries not to interfere. He sees her crying, melts, knowing he's - as a recent divorcee and currently unemployed day drinker - needs to stay away, but he can't help himself. The tears are just too much to ignore. 

Guess what, Cole is like a gazillionaire. While I kind of loved the premise of this book, down-on-his-luck gazillionaire meets self-made almost graduate, its execution failed spectacularly for me. 
Below spoiler tags, I will list the reasons for this:

 


Valentina, upon needing a place to stay, agrees to see Cole's cottage. Cole, however, doesn't reveal it is on his property. Creepy. Valentina, it is later revealed, suffered through domestic abuse when revealing her pregnancy to her ex. So when she rolls up to Cole's home, quickly realizing it's his, she agrees to look at the cottage because she just has this great feeling about him. The cottage is destroyed. Cole admits it was him, when he found his soon to be ex-wife in here with her boyfriend. He punched a hole in the wall, tore the place apart, ripped off the shower head. Valentina cries for him, reaches for him, but you know what I'm thinking? GET THE FUCK OUT. You are on the property of a man who didn't tell you the rental was within his property, who destroyed said property, and you have a son. Just.no.

Their sexual chemistry is off the charts and I honestly kept reading because I wondered how they'd address his rage (I've seen books do it so well!) - they didn't, even when it turned on her. I wondered how they'd address his manipulation of looking up an employee on the system to learn about her. Never done. It's all so flattering when someone's hot and rich, you know. When she tried to leave cause it looked like he was cheating, lots of arm grabbing dramatics but she was forced to listen to him. What about his day drinking? A big FAT NOPE.

 

 

 

(show spoiler)

 

Look, this book had issues that were intolerable for me. I wouldn't root for this couple. I was rooting for the characters in a sense, and I thought that could be really interesting. But all the major issues and minor ones were glossed over with orgasms and lust turned love. I thought Cole was impossibly interesting as a character, but this was just a book that moved a plot along and the character magically resolved the major conflict and somehow, though we'll never know how, got over all the big issues he was facing. There was real potential here, and it was squandered by relying on the plot marching on and not having the characters face their own demons. And I don't buy the Love Conquers All. (Nor did I particularly buy their relationship development, horror of all horrors)

 

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me the review copy of this book. 

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