Except for a boyfriend.
Or a husband.
But who needs either one of those?
This is a new-to-me author, and overall, the book was a pleasant surprise.
The writing is solid. Pacing, dialogue, character development...all as it should be. I love that the whole story is nearly 100% character driven. This one doesn’t rely on fancy plotting and twists and turns to keep the reader’s attention. It’s all about character growth, of which the hero and heroine have plenty.
Diana is a great heroine. She’s put together in a way that no one under 30 has a right to be. She’s a character who stepped up in a difficult situation and became a mom to 2 kids who weren’t hers biologically. (She’s their aunt by biology, but she’s a mom at heart) Dallas is pretty much the perfect romance hero. He’s tall, dark, sexy and kinda brooding, but also coaches little kids’ baseball. Swoon.
I will say that fans looking for lots of sexy times need not apply for this one. This is a great slow burn romance.
For nitpicks, I only have 2:
But overall, my quibbles are minor. I liked the book, loved the author’s style. I’d read more from this author, and really, what better compliment can a blogger give than that?
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! This is a totally believable, slow-building romance that was well-written and not at all “fluffy”. (There’s even a scene where the hero helps the heroine get rid of head lice. How’s THAT for realism?)
Other reading suggestions
Considering the quality of this one, I’d check out the remainder of Mariana Zapata’s backlist.
But if you’re looking for a good, light and funny (and fairly clean) “hot guy next door” story (with a great dog character), try Kristan Higgins’ Too Good to be True. In new adult romance, I highly recommend Neighbor Dearest, by Penelope Ward, which is a great blend of angst, humor and sexy times (and there’s also 2 great dog characters). For more reads that incorporate dogs in a creative and well-done way, try pretty much anything by Jennifer Crusie and the Animal Magnetism series by Jill Shalvis.