Exception by Mariah Dietz
Then I wanted the heroine to knee the jerk in the nuts. It didn’t go down that way. I guess because Joey’s hot. Whatever. If he’d been a fat, homely dude with a paunchy belly and a comb-over I think everyone’s reaction to him wouldn’t have been as forgiving as it’s been among most reviewers. (It’s a sad fact in romance land that hot guys can get away with stuff that ugly guys just can’t.)
I didn’t mind Kennedy as a heroine. She was OK for the most part. At the beginning of the story, she’s fallen on some hard times and is leaving the big city to head back home to her childhood small town to mooch off her parents for a while and get back on her feet. I expected there to be some big reason why Kennedy felt she needed to get out of her small town to begin with and go into teaching when all she really wanted to do was open a bakery. As it turned out, there wasn’t really much reason for leaving in the first place. The town is charming, the people all adore her, and her family is mostly supportive (her dad is kind of a jerk, but no family’s perfect, I suppose). The fact that there really wasn’t any drama involved with Kennedy coming home, and she acclimated super quickly took me by surprise. I guess I just wanted...more of a story in the story, you know?
This is also a slow, slow, slow (did I mention slow) burn type of romance, with very little in the way of sexy times. I normally really enjoy a good slow burn, but this one was a little too slow, even for me.
Now, on the flip side, I did think Kennedy’s sister was super interesting. You don’t see too many heroines with mental illnesses in romance land, so if there’s a story in the works for Grace, I’m all in. I’ll 1-click the crap out of that one.
I also think the cover is super cool. This author likes to take chances with her covers and not go the traditional happy-couple-holding-hands-and-smiling-at-each-other or half-naked-hot-dude cover route. I totally dig her sense of style and adventurous spirit. If I were one to judge by covers alone, this one would’ve been a 5-star read for sure.
But long-story-short, this is the story of how a jerk and the town sweetheart (who everyone loves unconditionally, even though she’s kind of grumpy about being there at all) falling in love SUPER slowly. And they go swimming a lot. If that’s your kind of jam, 1-click away. But if you’re looking for more than that in the way of angst or story, you might be disappointed by this one.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It wasn’t my cuppa, but it isn’t doing anything to contribute to the romance stigma. No rehab needed.
Other reading suggestions
Definitely read Curveball. And for another girl-heads-back-home-to-get-back-on-her-feet story, try Say You’ll Stay by Corinne Michaels. Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan is another great read that features the same trope. It’s pretty funny, too.
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