Monday, October 25, 2021

Catherine Bybee - Everything Changes

As the only female civil engineer in her department, Grace Hudson needs space from men. Her last love interest traumatized her in ways she never saw coming; with that behind her, she is determined to focus on her career. Even so, a little flirting with a handsome stranger over coffee can’t hurt, right?
In their short interaction, Grace dazzles Dameon Locke. But he’s focused on his newest development project and keeping his company afloat after his biggest investor pulled out. So during the planning huddle with the city board, he’s stunned to find the petite spitfire he met at the coffee shop running the show.
Grace can’t ignore Dameon’s charm, but when a disgruntled developer accuses Grace of taking bribes, her world is upended. Worse still, something much more important than her job may be in peril.
With her career in shambles and her life in danger, Grace turns to Dameon…but will she risk putting him in danger too?

Comment: This is the third installment in the Creek Canyon trilogy.  have liked the other two books and although the heroine of this one wasn't as seemingly compelling as the ones in the other stories, I still wanted to see the trilogy completed.

In this final installment it's the turn for Grace's story, the youngest sister of the protagonists from the previous book. Grace works in a field more often populated by men but she wants to prove she is as able as them even if she has to adapt herself to what is expected of an engineer. She has been doing the work for years now but she still finds issues here and there, something she tries not to be bothered about when a new job comes along and with it, Dameon Locke, a fascinating and alluring CEO. As the two work together, Grace also must deal with another projects and sometimes things don't go as easily. As the problems mount, Grace can count on her family's support as well as Dameon, who turns out to be someone she can trust. But what will it mean for her when things get harder at work?

Once again, I was enthralled by the cast of characters in this book. I think the author really got it right when she decided to create this family and the characters that surround them. It's not something over the top nor are the elements crazy or larger than life types but I found myself glad I was able to spend all these pages with them.

The story is deceptively complex. At first sight, it seems to be a simple romance with the fact the heroine faces some complications on her job but to me the interesting part is precisely how all details are mixed well and we cannot stay away from any issue being dealt with, especially as the plot advances and things seem to become more complicated. For me, the best part of the novel is still the family interactions but I also liked how invested I was made to feel about Grace's worries and problems. It's all quite realistic.

I mean, I don't think the author wanted to pass any kind of message but it felt like it was so in some parts, how women still face a lot more obstacles in fields usually fulfilled mostly by men. It does seem society can't seem to evolve quick enough as generations go by and things change anyway, but some of those things are slower than watching paint dry. I think Grace was a very likable character and see her face some issues which shouldn't happen made me mad as a woman and anxious as a reader to see if it would be solved somehow.

Grace is a good enough heroine but to be fair, I liked the female protagonists of the other books more. I can't really explain why, it's nothing related to her position or storyline, perhaps her personality... she is likable yes, but I didn't find her as challenging, emotionally speaking, as the others. Still, she had a path to go and of course I liked she felt supported by her family and that she found a way to have her voice heard. It was also good to see that we are allowed to change our minds when the paths in front of us don't seem to be right. Would it be possible to always follow an instinct ahead of time...

The hero, Dameon, was a bit more generic, I would say. He is the type of guy that is contemporary, values women and such but he still has that alpha type of personality and his actions often seem to come out of a sense of traditionalism mixed with a 21st century mentality, which can be appealing but there were scenes where it felt a little too good to be true. Still, he was a good hero when it came to be helpful, supportive and allowing Grace to have her moments.

The romance wasn't amazing, in my opinion. It was a bit bland because of their personalities and positions in live, which were pretty much in sync. Nothing wrong with it and in real life it would mean they would get along well but in a fiction story I wanted something extra to bond them, something special to make me feel they were the best for one another. I guess I can say it was good but not really exciting to see them together.

Like I said, what I liked best were the scenes with other characters, especially the family connections... It's always wonderful to see how everyone is getting along and to see interactions with characters we've come to like, after all their lives carry on even after their story is told. In this regard, I think the author did a good job and it will probably be the element I'll remember the most from these books, even if I forget names and plots.

All things considered, this was a good enough story, yes, I had a good time reading it even if it was slightly weaker in general, comparing to the others. I might read other things from the author if her style keeps on going the direction of these books, in terms of atmosphere and style.
Grade: 7/10

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