3.75 stars rounded up
This is my fourth Lauren Layne's book and I really enjoyed it despite issues that I had. In the beginning, I definitely felt the sparks between Luc and Ava. Their arguments felt lively and delicious to follow. But yes, the further I went, the more I discovered things that didn't sit well with me, and I ended up writing notes about it. Let me try to get away with them first, so I could close this review with a more positive sentence, considering that yes, I did rounded my rating up to 4*
I admit that stories about reporter and his/her object in romance usually makes me a little bit anxious. Probably because there's that line that usually becomes an obstacle -- would the reporter tells it as it is to gain audience? In this book, one of my issues was that even when Luc and Ava were connecting outside the job setting (meaning when Ava was no following Luc's on the job basis), they still talked / discussed / referred to the job. Luc sees Ava as the journalist wanting to uncover his DARK secret, and Ava sees Luc as her story, a stepstone for her to get the anchor position. I wish that they do things not related to their job, so they can see each other not as reporter and police officer.
I also wasn't so sure about Luc's dark secret. Why must this hero have a dark secret anyway? Maybe Luc's secret was there to give 'baggage' since he came from very loving and tight knit family (unlike Ava's family who was pretty much dysfunctional and competitive ones). But I felt that it was something a bit too common. Like, of course the hero must have a 'dark' past. Why can't he just be, well, annoyed with being called an American Hero? Although, after I chewed on it, it did make for a good conflict. That emotional struggle between 'should I report this' or 'should I keep it secret because I love him' in Ava.
Talk about Ava, I was a little bit disappointed that the mighty, snappy, Ava in the beginning turned into someone who seems to be weary and insecure as the book progressed because of her parents expectations. Although again I realized at the same time, it did make her a more rounded character. I guess people can look tough but still feel insecure inside.
Despite all that, for the most part, I thought it was really good. The ending deserved a thumbs up for me. It was emotional, and it made me choked up a little bit. Not exactly a GRAND gesture but felt totally right. And I LOVED Luc's outspoken family members -- each and everyone of them, although Luc's nonna probably deserved the MVP status. I couldn't wait to read the story about the oldest brother next.