Jessica James returns home after college to take a teaching job as a Calculus teacher at the local high school. She is the Sheriff’s daughter, and her brother is the deputy. It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and weekend nights are spent at the community center listening to locals making music. She’s grown up with the Winston family (there are six boys and one girl). Jess has always had a thing for Beau Winston, but she’s tongue-tied and awkward in his presence, never able to tell him how she feels. She doesn’t suffer the same affliction with his identical twin brother, Duane. She and Duane have spent their entire lives battling. They are like oil and water. One night at the community center Jess gets up the nerve to talk to Beau, and she is stunned when he leads her to a private spot and kisses her. The chemistry between them is immediate. She’s even more stunned when she discovers Beau is not Beau. He’s Duane.
Parts of this romance were sweet, and parts of it were frustrating. I liked Duane. He’s moody, quiet and not always able to express himself as well as his more outgoing twin. I liked him a lot better than Beau. Duane has always loved Jess; he was just never able to tell her. Jess is a bit of a dimwit at times. That was frustrating. She was supposed to be super smart, and at times she came off as seriously stupid. I do like that once she figured out how she felt about Duane, she was all-in and wouldn’t let him walk away. Her lifelong dream has always been to leave the small town and travel the world, living other places and experiencing life elsewhere. She can’t see past that and at first refuses to commit to a relationship with Duane because that would stifle her dreams. He loves her enough that he can let her go and he won’t hold her back. Her siren call has always been to travel; I loved it when he told her that she was his siren call.
I did find the Winston brothers themselves to be a bit goofy, and it got more pronounced as the book went on. The heroine even called them a bunch of hillbillies. They all have beards, most of them live together in the family homestead, and they drink moonshine. The hillbilly vibe and even the way the characters spoke became more rural as the novel progressed. That was a little bizarre. Otherwise, this was a decent read.
I kept waiting for something more to happen, more angst or something more unsettling. All the ends are tied up so nicely by the book’s end. I love a happy ending, but there was no struggle to get there in this one. The heroine spent too much time flashing back on scenes from her life with her ex-husband (once would have been enough). The ex does come back into the story, and it’s built up as something terrible about to happen, and then all of a sudden in a matter of paragraphs, everything’s okay, he’s been defeated and it’s over with. At one point a neighborhood punk confronts Hadley after he’d already threatened Trick. I thought something bad was going to happen there, too, and it didn’t. All the stress and all the adversity were so easily overcome.
I liked the little girl’s character the most. She was cute, and I would have liked more of her. Trick was just okay for me. He had issues, and he’d done time in prison, but when he actually told her what he had been in for, it didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal to me. The heroine disappointed me the most. She started out as a hard-working, overprotective mother, which I admired and liked. Then all of a sudden, she became this tough-talker spouting four-letter words, and that didn’t fit with her initial description. She swore more than the tattooed, motorcycle riding, ex-con of a hero.
Maybe I couldn’t get into the characters because the author didn’t use a lot of description. She didn’t paint enough of a picture so that I could “see” these characters in my mind. I needed more of a visual and more descriptive passages. For some reason as I read, I kept getting the mother and daughter’s names mixed up. I read fast so I had to keep going back and re-reading to see who was who. That was annoying. The characters weren’t real to me, and I like the characters to jump off of the page and stay with me long after I’ve read the book. They won’t with this one.
I cannot for the life of me fathom why any person, famous or otherwise, would think that I care about their political beliefs. I say this, even though I am married to a political blogger, and I will probably catch flack for doing so. I’m entitled to my opinion. I will also freely admit that I don’t read his blog because I don’t understand it. I also don’t care for the hate and the vitriol. I’ve never quite “gotten” it. I don’t understand why anyone cares that much. Whether I get all hot and bothered about politics doesn’t change the world one iota.
Politics and elections are what they are. In elections, someone wins and someone loses. It’s been that way as far back as I can remember. There were candidates and elected officials that my father hated. He had a particular dislike for Ronald Reagan. My Dad remembered clearly the movies from Reagan’s younger days where he acted with a trained chimpanzee, and he was always mentioning that fact. I wasn’t sure why it bothered him so much. All political candidates seem to have things in their pasts, some less savory than others. I never got the adulation that people always had for the Kennedy family. They seemed like a hot mess to me, every last one of them.
Despite who wins and who loses, the world goes on. Yes, there have been candidates that I didn’t like that have won. Did my world end? Did my world change? No. I have more important things to do and more important things to worry about beyond who sits in the White House at that particular moment in time. My life pretty much goes on as it always has despite which political party is in control.
Am I qualified to discuss politics? No. That’s why I don’t usually do it. I have a huge sense of apathy about the whole process. It is my belief and my opinion that actors should act, musicians should sing or play their instruments, and friends should keep their political opinions to themselves. I use social media to keep up with old friends, their lives and their families. I’d rather see pictures of friends’ pets or hear about what they had for breakfast than who they are rooting for (or not rooting for) politically. Nothing turns me off faster (especially on Facebook) than hearing a person spout political opinions. I just don’t care about it. Seeing too much of it is usually why I retreat from social media. I disappear sometimes for days or weeks at a time because what I’m reading isn’t all that interesting to me.
Hearing an actor or a singer tell me their political opinions only makes me laugh. Who honestly gives a flying flip what they think? They’re not experts, and thus, they are not qualified to discuss politics either. Most of them would be better served if they remembered what they were famous for and stuck to that only. Hearing their bleating about politics doesn’t make me want to run out and see all their movies or buy all their records. Quite the opposite, in fact. It makes me run in the opposite direction.
So this is my opinion on your political opinions (insert your favorite rude gesture here). And stuff a sock in it.