Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak

Synopsis: Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of A-list clients, including the biggest box office hit of all — sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. But Simon, who's just been through a turbulent divorce, is so busy self-destructing he won't listen to anything she says. She drops him from her list — and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him.

Desperate to save her company, Gail has to humble herself by making a deal with Simon. The one thing he wants is custody of his son, but that's going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl who'll drag him off to some small, obscure place like Whiskey Creek. . .
Gail's the only one he can trust. She agrees to become his wife — reluctantly. But she isn't reluctant because he's too hard to like. It's because he's too hard not to love!

My Thoughts: Although I was initially afraid that I wouldn't be able to connect to Gail or Simon because of their Hollywood lifestyles I was pleasantly surprised that I not only connected but became emotionally invested in their HEA.

What Worked: The cast of characters are well developed and interesting. Despite Gail's small town roots she is a smart and savvy business woman. In a business full of phony people getting to know her and her caring personality was a treat. I admired Gail almost from the start and when she thought her business was crumbling around her, her first thoughts were for her employees and how much they needed their jobs. She couldn't walk away from any of them any more than she could walk away from Simon.

Simon's struggles were not evident from the beginning. Who he appears to be is not who he actually is. When an author can take a man who appears to have very few morals, an alcohol problem and one who is an adulterer and make me care about him and root for him, she has mad writing skills.

Novak's writing flows very well throughout the book even though the plot was a fairly simple one. I was completely involved in the story, never even noticing that I was staying up way too late to finish it.

What Didn't Work: Not much, to tell the truth. Just a few minor points.
1)Novak's writes her 'villains' so that there is no mistaking that she wants the reader to hate them. No redeeming qualities and from early on we are aware that they are not going to be likable. Also one of Gail's 'friends' is written in a way that the readers are to feel sorry for her. I prefer to draw my own conclusions regarding my feelings for the characters and I don't necessarily like this high-handed approach.
2)One of Gail's friends was quite nasty about Gail's marriage to Simon yet we are to believe that she is kind-hearted and very giving. She has her own book (#3 When Summer Comes) where she will get a HEA but at this point I'm not sure I like her much.
3)Simon's way of wrapping up who posted a doctored video of him and his ex-wife was way too convenient. I would have liked to see the authorities involved especially since there was a big custody battle going on.
4)Simon's realization of love was nice and gradual but I wanted more of an epiphany (maybe with fireworks LOL).

In a Nutshell: Despite the minor issues this truly was a great book. Novak's Whiskey Creek series is my new go-to Mac n' Cheese comfort reads. If you like contemporary romance series like Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold or Robyn Carr's Virgin River you will be delighted with Whiskey Creek. Make sure you read them in order so you can get the full impact of all the gang and their personalities. It's well worth it!

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