I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.
I am going to try to briefly review this but I am not sure I can without throwing things or drinking heavily or both. It is not badly written. Ms. Mallery puts words together well. Thus the 2.5 stars. It is simply enraging, at least to me. Perhaps the cat on my lap will help keep the violence to a minimum.
There are spoilers and strong language behind the pagebreak. And some capslocks of rage. But before I go there I must warn all prospective readers: 1. Secret baby, and 2. Deadbeat dad.
There are few things that annoy me more than bad law in books but make it bad family law and add in a secret baby and I get very grouchy. But in this case the secret baby is the least awful thing.
Note: I am in Texas. They may do things differently in California but I don't believe they are more backwards than us so I think I'm fairly safe using Texas as a guide.
Here are the problems I have with this book.
1. Deadbeat dad. This asshole owes ELEVEN YEARS of back child support. He may not owe it legally but he owes it morally and ethically.
2. He doesn't owe it legally because legally he is NEVER the kid's father. He somehow gets an injunction to keep her from leaving this town (and I'll get to that in a minute) but not a suit to establish paternity. He's not on the birth certificate. You can't just waltz into court and say hi! I'm the daddy! It does not work that way. He has to get her to agree or do DNA testing. Then the court will enter a decree. THEN he is dad and has parental rights.
3. You don't get an injunction without showing cause and you sure as fuck don't meet informally with the judge and get threatened with jail if you don't work things out in 30 days. You file a suit. You establish paternity. You enter temporary orders regarding child support and visitation. You attend court ordered classes that tell you to quit being a fucking asshole to your child's mother/father and to figure out how to be united in your co-parenting. You agree on permanent arrangements or you get ordered to mediation (but not to jail). You work things out, present the court with an agreed decree and get on with raising your child. Hopefully amicably. And the parents' desires and rights are substantially less important than what is best for the kid. Also, in Texas at least, the courts of the county in which the kid resides have jurisdiction over the child and you have to live someplace more than a few weeks to "reside" there, especially if there's a primary residence and the kid's enrolled in school. This case should have been transferred to San Francisco and there is no fucking way they would have enjoined the mom from returning home with her child. Especially when the person requesting that wasn't even established as the child's parent. This made me so angry I was stomping, screaming and throwing pillows.
4. The fucking asshole keeps asking the heroine why she gets to throw the past in his face but he can't do the same. She doesn't give him a satisfactory answer. She just caves. Well, I have an answer for him: BECAUSE YOU KEEP REPEATING YOUR PAST MISTAKES YOU STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLE. And she doesn't. Seriously this guy keeps on denying her to his friends and family ... yet he also keeps trying to get in her pants. And demanding things from her. And trashing her to everyone, including their child. He has a moment of self awareness towards the end. He has to so there can be an HEA but I never bought it.
5.This town is toxic. The people of Fool's Gold unjustly called the heroine a slut and a whore when she was a teenager so she fled. Now she is back, trying to do the right thing and they are still doing it. The town's former bitch is nice to her and admits to being a bitch but never apologizes. She is certain to be the heroine of a future book. I hate her. I hate this town. I own these books and I have train wreck syndrome so I'll read them but I'll feel sick while I'm reading.
6. Back to the deadbeat dad. He NEVER offers to help. Sure, they get married as part of the HEA because this is romancelandia but before they marry he Never Ever offers to help. He ends up taking the kid for about a week because, sick asshole that he is he has turned the kid against his mother but he never offers child support or even to put money aside for the kid. Not one cent! I did enjoy that the fucking asshole's mom and sisters refused to help him, even with advice, during the one week he had the kid but that was the only fun part for me. I don't care that the heroine is financially successful. The fucking asshole needs to help support his kid, especially if he's going to audaciously make demands.
7. The grovel sucked. I felt it mostly served to further humiliate the heroine.
To be fair, she did not try hard enough to tell the fucking asshole about the baby at first. And she should probably not have trusted the fucking asshole' s now dead wife to pass the information on to him when she did try again. But she did tell the wife and she did see him in bed with the awful town bitch the first time she tried to tell him. I still dislike the secret baby aspect but the fucking g asshole and the toxic people of Fool's Gold are so much worse!
It takes a lot to enrage me this much. Obviously the story is emotionally engaging as are the characters. I liked the nieces. I liked the heroine and the kid though they are both a little too good to be true. I loathe most of the people of this town now. And of course I loathe the fucking asshole. But I must give the author some credit for getting me this worked up.
OMG I am all angry again. Time for some of the good Scotch.