*I got this book through my Amazon Kindle App for free
**Usually I keep this blog PG-13 friendly with the occasional NSFW link thrown in. Today, I talk a little more grown up. If you don’t want to read that stuff or are too young to decide this on your own please check out some of my other posts. May I suggest searching for Doctor Who. That should keep you entertained for a while!
***Spoilers on the romantic aspects of this story*** (I almost didn’t put this. This is a romance book, if you are really upset by these spoilers I suggest not reading reviews.)
I’m a big fan of the romance genre. I like reading about people working on relationships, the good and the bad. I’m not even turned off by bad and cheesy hand holding book covers. However, even though this book was free, I felt it didn’t do the romance genre justice. Usually I try to avoid writing reviews about books I don’t like because, I figure, just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it, and I can’t write really funny bad reviews like this one, so I just refuse to rate them and spend my time reviewing them. But, a couple of things stuck in my claw about this book, and I wanted to say a few things. And this is my blog, and I can do that.
Here is the GoodReads synopsis of Love in Bloom:
Dr. Paige Conrad needs Clay Reynolds’ help. However, he can’t give it because she and the rest of the town of Langley, Maryland, might discover his secret. Clay has no memory of the first 25 years of his life. The past and his father’s rejection is behind him. Digging it up brings back nightmare he has fought for ten years to control. After spending three years in underdeveloped countries following her parents vision of healing, Paige has come to Langley to gain perspective on her life and help an old friend with his medical practice. Learning Clay was involved in a rock climbing accident and went through the rehabilitation process, she wants him to share his experience with a trouble teenager to give the boy hope.
Paige and Clay are inexorably drawn to each other. But can Clay trust Paige and share his secret? Can Paige dare to follow her own dreams.
Sounds interesting right? Someone with a medical problem, retrograde amnesia. A doctor trying to figure out who she is, and where she belongs in this world. A couple of subplots about old friends and a troubled teenager. The makings of a decent romance novel right there. Where the book fails is in its execution of its own characters. I felt like the author thought, what are some cute ways a couple could be forced to spend time together, wrote those moments, and then wrote filler paragraphs in between the moments she wanted to write about. Character development throughout was rather poor, but then she would have these really sweet moments. A book, life! (and art of any form is a reflection of life), is more than a few sweet moments. Plus, thunderstorms or overbearing mother are not conflict unless there is a reason for them other than, oh I guess there should be conflict in this moment. It would have been awesome if Paige and her mother had a really well drawn out back story, if there had been more than a few paragraphs about their relationship before the drama of it, if her mother hadn’t shown up out of the blue, left when it was convenient for the author and then showed back up again when, hey I guess there should be conflict here. Life and stories aren’t just about the big moments and waiting in between, life is actually what happens in the between moments, in the quiet and the stillness, and the reflection of who we are as people.
But, OK, I’ve read plenty of romance novels where the characters are not fully fleshed out, but still enjoyed the book, so why did this one not reach that level of such badness it was awesome? Well, perhaps because they were not fully *fleshed out*, hehehehe. (Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.) I’m going to spoil something here, Paige is a virgin. Oh LAWDY, clutch my pearls and gasp, this was soooo unexpected. While, I think it is fair to say American’s have a very puritanical view of sex (seeing as many of us came from puritans, I personally came from a religious sect called the Anabaptist, so same difference), she grew up a nomad surrounded by many different cultures. Even though she has not grown up in American she holds on to those puritanical views, even though she went to med school in Chicago and was away from parental supervision for years! Now, I’m not knocking those people who choose to wait until the time is right for them to express their own sexuality, but it is a weird phenomenon in the romance genre that virginity is held up to be this kind of holy grail. I personally don’t believe that is true or realistic. And I really felt it detracted from the story rather than added to the plot. Paige becomes even more aloof than she already is because she hasn’t been with a man yet. While virginity is a spectrum concept and everyone has their own version of what it means, it appears Paige hasn’t even done much kissing! (Which is just a shame.) As a result Paige she doesn’t know how to deal with men other than a lot of begging, getting upset, and then ignoring them. Blech.
Ok, so we have virginal sex, which doesn’t do much for me in the way of epic romances or doing the grown up in books. But then she has awesome sex on the first try. Which isn’t even described in any detail. I just. What? No one I have ever talked to has had an AWESOME first time experience. Having good sex takes practice and learning to understand the partner that you are with. It means discussing the grown up while having clothes on, expressing desires and wants, and being vulnerable. Paige does none of these things and has awesome sex that is less than a paragraph long.
So on top of underdeveloped characters, the virginity holy grail issue (that I admit, may be solely my own issue), the romance has unrealistic sexual encounters that aren’t even written with any detail. Furthermore, they do not add to the plot except to teach that virginity loss leads to marriage. ::Headdesk:: No decent plot line, little to no sexy times, I mean what *should* I be looking for in a romance book but these things?
Is this a horrible book? Not by any means. The writing isn’t too bad, and I think the characters have potential. However, the story has some holes and the characters are underdeveloped. In addition, Paige suffers from the virginity holy grail plot device and the sexy times are unrealistic and not very sexy. In the end, the best I can say is that this is not the greatest book I’ve ever read.