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Saturday, September 29, 2012

That Thing Called Love - Susan Andersen



Released August 2012

Susan Andersen
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I'd love to say I adored That Thing Called Love, but the truth is I tossed it aside far too many times. It was a story with a plot that would usually grab me and hold me entranced, but something was lacking. I never really connected with Jenny, Jake, or even Austin. In fact, there were times I thought all three of them needed a smack upside the head. It's been a long time since I struggled to finish a book, but sadly That Thing Called Love took me a while to complete.

Jenny Salazar has been a big sister to Austin since toddlerhood. When Austin's grandparents took her in and gave her a chance, she became a dedicated employee and virtual family member. After they die and leave Jenny as temporary guardian to their grandson, her goals are to file for custody. She never expects Austin's long-absent father to suddenly reappear, but that's exactly what Jake Bradshaw does.

What's worse is that Jake plans to take Austin across the country with him. The boy Jenny loves like a brother may be leaving her life forever, and she's not happy about it. She can't fight Jake though because he is Austin's blood relative. With that in mind, Jenny decides to help Austin adjust to this dramatic change.

I'm a sucker for single-parent story lines and really that's what is found in That Thing Called Love. I never connected with any of the characters. Austin is rude, which teens can be sure, but his grandparents spoiled him and that makes him a billion times worse. Jenny's not much better. I'm a parent, and if my kids were lucky enough to own their own expensive power boat, there's not a chance they'd be going out on the bay alone, not even with all the training and safety equipment in the world. They'd never be allowed to talk to another adult like Austin does, and he certainly wouldn't be manipulating me on a regular basis.

Jake ran away from his son and hasn't matured much over the years from what I could see. How a man who hadn't seen his son in over 10 years figured his son would happily go along with a cross-country move, away from friends and really the only family he knows, is beyond me. How he could be so blind to the hurt he was causing Jenny was equally baffling. Bottom line, Jake is an idiot.

In the end, I just didn't like the characters and that led to the big issue. I honestly didn't care if they ever got together or not. By the end of the book, I was simply glad to be done. If anything, I was more intrigued with Jake's half-brother, Max. Max is the only character I really liked in this book. Max really is the only reason I'll eagerly read other books in this series.

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