Wednesday, November 25, 2020

P. Dangelico - Bulldozer

Amanda Shaw has pulled it together. It’s taken a couple of years, a boatload of hard work, and a ton of self-discipline, but she finally has her problems in a headlock. Her yoga studio in the city has become so successful she’s opening one near the beach, and her relationship with her ten year old son is improving every day. The last thing she needs is a monkey wrench thrown into her smoothly running life.
Grant Hendricks is one big monkey wrench. The four time Defensive Player of the Year, three time NFL sack leader, and all around football god has officially hit rock bottom. A devastating back injury means he may have to retire and that scares him more than doctors telling him the next hit could leave him paralyzed. All he needs is a quiet place to think and his teammate’s beach house sounds like just the place. Problem is, the woman already living there.

Comment: This is the third book in the Hard to Love trilogy by P. Dangelico. I liked the previous books enough to want to conclude the trilogy but I wouldn't go as far as to say they were amazing books. they were all entertaining and included interesting scenes but now I've read them all, I have to say they won't e stories I'll want to re-read all the time.

In this last story we have the focus on Amanda, she's the sister of the hero from book #1. Amanda needs to stay with her son for a few weeks in her brothers' house near the beach, where she will be opening a yoga studio with a friend, to keep up the success of their first. She also needs to deal with her ex and his desire to bond with their son by having him with him as well. What she wasn't counting with was that a fellow teammate of her brother would be staying at his house while recovering from an injury. They seem to butt heads at first and that is another thing to worry Amanda but as they get to know one another, won't it be fun to realize they can be each other's best support?

For those who have read the other installments, this one is pretty much along the same lines and, so sadly for me, it's also narrated in the first person by the heroine. I don't think her thoughts/words are always that amazing that I feel this is the author's best option... anyway, this is clearly a story with opposites attract but the fun is in how they go from one behavior (antagonists) to another (friends of sorts). I still think the overall plot could have been done much better or could have been focused on different ideas.

Amanda is a recovering alcoholic. I liked how she kept thinking she had flaws but she worked on them to become a better role model for her son. It's difficult not to appreciate such a character but when she is the one describing these things it's also hard not to see her as weird by sharing these things the way she does... well, she has to, she's the narrator - and that's why I tend to dislike 1st person - so she comes across as sometimes vain, sometimes oversharing, sometimes too focused on unimportant detailing every thing she notices about Grant or about the chores she performs... it just doesn't seem natural or important for the type of worries she apparently has (like with her ex being in her son's life, work, etc.).

Grant is obviously more difficult to understand for we only have his side of the dialogues and his attitudes screened by the heroine's POV. He is made to be the perfect counterpart to her, the perfect gentleman when she needs help but also an alpha male she can't help but be attracted to. Basically, he has no personality besides the necessary and even his troubles, more heavily addressed towards the end of the book, are like a prop to make him make certain decisions. I understand the tactic but having his POV or having a narrator showing us his personality would have been much better.

I didn't dislike reading this story, despite my critics. I think that in the right mood, this can work very well for those who like the style and I was definitely entertained but I don't think it quite reaches memorable status. I actually think some moments in the book were boring. It was also a bit repetitive if one has read the other books too. I suppose the author might have wanted something cohesive but the narrators' voices in all books aren't always addictive to be with, to want to be in their heads. At least, it wasn't so for me.

Grade: 7/10

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