Friday, May 20, 2022

TA Moore - Every Other Weekend

Divorce lawyer Clayton Reynolds is a happy cynic who believes in hard work and one-night stands. He also believes that being an excellent lawyer means he never has to go home to the miserable trailer park where he grew up and that volunteering at a women’s shelter will buy off the conscience that occasionally plagues him. So when Nadine Graham comes in with a broken arm and a son she desperately wants to protect, Clayton can’t turn down their plea for help.
Taking the case means appealing to investigator “Just Call Me Kelly” for help. That wouldn’t be so bad if Kelly weren’t a hopeless romantic… and the hottest man Clayton’s ever met.
Kelly has always had a crush on the unobtainable Clayton Reynolds. He agrees to help, even though he has enough on his plate with the motherless baby his widowed brother left him to care for.
As Nadine’s case turns dangerous and the two seemingly opposite men are forced to work together, they discover they have a great deal in common—but solving the case and saving Nadine’s life might cost Kelly everything.

Comment: This is another title I added after some positive reviews and I assume because the protagonists would have a sort of "opposites attract" kind of vibe, but  in the end I wasn't too fond of the book after all.

In this story we meet lawyer Clayton Reynolds, whose work in divorce law only served to prove love doesn't last and often children pay the price. His own childhood was a messy one, not because of divorce but because of his mothers' choices, and now he volunteers at a shelter for abused women as a way to feel good with himself. That is how this story begins, he feels he has to help Nadine and her son Harry, although she isn't, as often happens in these situations, certain of what she wants to do next, and one step he can take is ask PI Kelly his help to learn more about Nadine's husband background. Clayton has always felt attracted to Kelly but he knows Kelly believes in love and doesn't do casual relationships...
However, this case turns out to be more complicated than he anticipated and spending more time with Kelly as well serves to prove perhaps their visions on what a relationship is can be adjusted...

I think this story has a very good setup and ideas: the lawyer and the PI, who have a professional relationship but like one another from afar, join forces to help a woman and her son escaping her husband. As they organize things and take the steps to help her, the case becomes trickier than anticipated, they now also must deal with mutual feelings and the stress of Kelly's family in the mix. I thought this would go more along the lines of romantic comedy, despite the subject of Nadine's case, but it turned out that this wasn't as griping as I imagined it would be.

For me, the element that worked the least was the writing itself, and that pretty much sums up the overall experience. I just didn't feel the writing grabbed me or made it easier for me to be interested in reading about these characters. I felt it was often confusing and the slightly sarcastic replies some characters had, so many times, even if the subject was more serious, kind of put me off.

Another element I didn't like much about the writing style was how the narrative was presented, the characters often would be doing something, we would have some inner thoughts along with them but suddenly, they would be acting on a way I don't find very believable. For instance, the moment the protagonist first kissed, they were simply discussing other things, related to Nadine's case, and suddenly one of them goes and kisses the other. I guess this can sound rather romantic because it was so spontaneous and unpredictable, but to me it felt jarring, I mean, why right then? And similar situations would follow the same pattern.

The romantic relationship between Clayton and Kelly felt cute at times. I can see how the author tried to put them into some type of opposed sides when it comes to their personalities, probably so that it would be even cuter when they got together, but despite some interesting scenes between them, I actually found the romance to be very difficult to appreciate, likely due to how things were written. Kelly is the romantic one but every detail we were given about his life at home, his relationships with his parents and siblings and with his exes made me think Kelly had no feature where I'd say he is a romantic at heart..well, he does want to raise his no-good brother's baby...

As for Clayton, he is described as cynical and not interested in long term relationships but pretty much everything in his behavior and options focuses on the exact opposite. I suppose a different blurb or intention might have helped, because I was not impressed with his supposed change of mind, especially the longer time he would spend with Kelly. We have some sort of explanation because he was a foster kid but the reality is that not Clayton nor Kelly's backgrounds were developed enough for their personalities to make sense now. Meaning; why add/include certain information about them, their past and such, if it doesn't really matter now since they say they are in love?

The complexity of the novel seemed to go to the ways the author tried to create a web of mystery and links between Nadine's case and other situations that happen while everything else is ongoing as well. Kelly's family life and so on also has quite a role and I felt confused at times, I felt exasperated in others and altogether it just felt like there were a bunch of ideas which didn't have sequences done well enough for this to make sense. I was also disappointed at how the secondary characters were not properly developed.

Overall, this had a good premise, some interesting elements but sadly, for me, most of this story was convoluted and the main characters not solid enough to save the reading experience. 
Grade: 4/10

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