Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#Review: Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel - 2 Wine Glasses

20885100Title: Love Him or Leave Him
Series: Small Town, Big Feels #2
Author: Sara Daniels
Format: eBook, 185 pages
Published: July 18th 2013 Entangled: Bliss
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Reviewer: Kimberly
Source: Publisher
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them

Connor O’Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor's back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.

Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he’s sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he’s always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.

Kimberly’s Thoughts:
All Becca has ever wanted to do was leave her small hometown in the dust but when her mother dies and her father skips out, she is the only one left to take care of her younger brother.  After a couple years of pushing her dreams aside, her younger brother is about to graduate high school and freedom is at her fingertips.  However, when circumstances conspire to push her and Conner, the police chief and her old high school boyfriend together, she may be leaving behind more than she ever realized.  

Love Him or Leave Him is an Entangled Bliss print, which means its foundation is sweetly hometown feels.  This story definitely fits the bill with a great small town feel with oodles of secondary townspeople characters; they helpfully strengthen, enliven, and round-out the setting.  Also, instead of steamier scenes, the bedroom door remains firmly shut.  The story and characters were gently and innocently dramatic; it felt as if the author was trying to create a hybrid of Mayberry and an episode of CSI.  An overflowing toilet prank snowballs into a murder conspiracy, not everything meshed perfectly.

Becca was an agreeable character, if a little vague.  She had blinders on when it came to wanting to escape and wanting a certain kind of life for her brother.  The relationship with her brother was touching as it followed their struggles, Becca wanted what she deemed "more" for her brother while he felt like she resented what she had to give up for him.  Connor had some tantalizing tidbits about his past, war veteran and big city cop, but other than the tagged on PTSD these aspects never seemed to help flush out his character.  His PTSD plays a part in the story and while there's only a little bit of "slept with heroine cure all" it still felt like, went to war now has PTSD rote.  I also had a hard time connecting with Conner and taking him seriously, a lot of the time he was the start of making mountains out of mole hills.

Conner and Becca spend a lot of time together in the story, they have chemistry but it's a very mellow flame.  The reasoning for them to be together was weak, Becca is supposedly doing police ride-along's with Conner to bolster the police presence in the town and then they are thrown together for a hot chocolate creating competition that I'm still not sure I fully understand.  Their shyness, lingering hurt, and wistfulness, from how their high school relationship ended, was when they were at their most pleasant to read.  Due to the tameness of the heat factor, just kissing here, and a general stiffness to the characters, I never truly felt their spark.

Largely, I felt this to be a more simplistic romance, romance with training wheels if you will. However, this is a quick enough read that if you felt like a cozy small town romance with tamer leanings and didn't mind an overly dramatic hero, you could whittle away a couple hours.

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