Series: Foolproof Love

A Fool for You by Katee Robert

two-stars

Daniel Rodriguez’s and Hope Moore’s story has been a long time in the making, alluded to so strongly in Katee Robert’s previous books in this series that I couldn’t help but wonder if it was going to gut me when it finally came.

The biggest problem I have now, after reading it, is that it didn’t, which leaves me at a loss at how to write this review. On the contrary, when Daniel’s and Hope’s unhappy history finally came to light, it wasn’t in a way that I envisioned their second chance coming around. Instead, I felt blindsided by the lack of emotional depth for most of the book, flummoxed by the sudden sex up the wall when apparently two people couldn’t control themselves after years apart with no contact, and perplexed by the clichéd pregnancy that happened after.

Where is the simmering sexual tension that makes it all so delicious when it breaks? Where is that awkwardness that flits between this very special groups of friends? Where are the gut-wrenching moments of reparation and grovelling—or at least the struggle to put things right—that the oblivious male lead should have had in the past decade I should be reading about?

For these reasons, I found that the story frustrated me on so many levels: that Daniel and Hope were so willing to use sex to gloss over the issues that they couldn’t seem to address, that Daniel inexplicably, suddenly decided he wanted Hope for keeps only after she returned (why now, when he hadn’t tried a whit in the past 13 years?), that Hope became this hysterical, unreasoning woman who looked so different from the solemn and somewhat lovelorn woman I came across in ‘Fool Me Once’. The lack of emotional depth I think, and the angst that should have been present didn’t seem present right up until the end where Daniel was finally caught out by Hope’s mother about being more obsessed with his guilt than his love for her. But because Robert only addressed this issue so late in the book made their relationship too farcical to buy into for most of the story; Daniel’s subsequent quick turnaround and Hope’s easy acceptance made me wish that this quick read had more unfiltered edge and a rawer process of characters realising—and overcoming—their own shortcomings without needing to write in Hope’s pregnancy as an overused plot device.

I wish I could have liked this more—liked the characters and the story more. Robert’s exploration of grief and guilt comes in spurts throughout the book, but for me, it was way too late when it finally overflowed at the end, when it should have happened from the very start.

two-stars

Fool Me Once by Katee Robert

Fool Me Once by Katee RobertFool Me Once by Katee Robert
Series: Foolproof Love #2
Published by Entangled Publishing on August 1st 2016
Pages: 154
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three-stars

They say opposites attract, but this is just ridiculous.
Aubry Kaiser doesn’t like people—actually, that’s not right. She loathes people. With her crippling anxiety, there’s no way she can demo her favorite video game at a convention with five thousand other people. Maybe if she brings someone to act as a shield…
But the only person available is the sexy cowboy she can’t stand.
Quinn Baldwyn is in a mess of his own. He’s been dodging his wealthy family’s matchmaking attempts—and life advice—for years, but with his sister’s wedding on the horizon, he needs of a shield of his own.
He and Aubry can barely hold down a civil conversation, but in bed…fireworks. And the closer they get to Quinn’s sister’s wedding, the more he realizes that he might actually like Aubry.
Now it’s up to him to convince her she might actually like him, too.

Quinn’s and Aubry’s story is a classic enemies-to-lovers one but I was still surprised to learn that their mutual dislike for each other wasn’t a front for attraction or love in the guise of hate. And it’d taken very special circumstances for these two to get together to resolve their own deeply entrenched personal biases and issues.

As polar opposites, there’s very little to go on between them apart from lust and it’s refreshing that both the lead characters readily admit this much, to the extent where they convince themselves that what’s between them is merely surface deep. But therein lies the conflict as well and perhaps the cliché as well will be the ultimate deciding factor of their compatibility and the conscious decision to find common ground together towards the end.

But if Katee Robert explored a fair bit of Aubry’s rather insane social phobias and her anxieties, I felt as though I’d been left hanging with Quinn’s own unresolved burdens: we’re told about his beef with personal relationships but not given the exact circumstances why, to start with. I also felt that his personal struggles with his sister and his best friend’s death could have been expanded on, the details of which could have shaped him out to be a more multifaceted and sympathetic leading character to match an already complicated female lead.

The devil in the details aside, ‘Fool me Once’ is a very easy read and it’s mostly an enjoyable ride (throw in all the cowboy sex jokes here, because there’s nothing there that the story doesn’t already use) without too much angst or unnecessary drama for a story this short. Quinn and Aubry acted the way I fully expected them to, and as extreme as the latter can get at times, I mostly thought this unusual couple was memorable because of how different they were without pretending to be anything else other than what they could be.

three-stars

Foolproof Love by Katee Robert

Foolproof Love by Katee RobertFoolproof Love by Katee Robert
Series: Foolproof Love, #1
Published by Entangled: Brazen on June 6th 2016
Pages: 164
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

Bull rider Adam Meyer put Devil’s Falls in his rearview mirror years ago and hasn’t stopped running since. Now he’s back—temporarily, if he has any say about it. Restless, he finds himself kissing the sexiest girl in town…and agreeing to be the fake boyfriend in her little revenge scheme.
Jules Rodrigez isn’t interested in the role of town spinster. Being seen with a hell raiser like Adam is the perfect way to scandalize the residents, make her ex jealous, and prove she’s a sexy, desirable woman. And if their plan includes ridiculously hot sex—in public, of course—all the better.
But this thing between them has an expiration date. Putting down roots isn’t in Adam’s blood, and Jules’s roots in Devil’s Falls are bedrock deep. He’ll leave, even if it rips out his heart. But this time, he’s not sure he’ll survive it…

Katee Roberts had me hooked the moment I saw the words ‘cat cafe’ – it’s an unfair advantage over me if anyone cares to know, especially when cats come into the equation.

There and then, I was convinced that the woman who owns it can do no wrong even before really starting the book. On a side-note, the man didn’t seem too bad either, once the fake relationship started getting on. Jules Rodriguez proved a standout character for me: her sunny optimism, the unfailing love for her small town and friends rendering her a very likeable character along with her anti-social best friend whose combative set up with Quinn already promises an intriguing sequel. Adam Meyer, on the other hand, isn’t too much of a slouch either, even if his restless wanderlust can’t seem to be conquered by anything else other than a large, bucking creature as wild as him.

For all its quirky characters and small-town antics, ‘Foolproof Love’ isn’t an unpredictable read. It begins with an impulsive act, a fake relationship with the town’s tumbleweed to toss off the tosser of an ex, heads towards the disaster you know it will become and how it will eventually end. I did take issue with the really quick turnaround after Jules’s and Adam’s falling out, but it’s a story that still managed to work beyond the frame of their relationship. A distinct highlight of the book is its well-crafted supporting characters that step in and out as mouthpieces and flashes of the past and ‘Foolproof Love’ does it well enough to make me want the next few books in the series immediately.

three-stars