2.75 stars rounded up
I enjoyed previous trilogies by Sarah Morgan before, so I was happy when Netgalley/HQN approved my request for an ARC. I was curious about this new trilogy, as it 'moved' from small-town in Puffin Island to the big city. Unfortunately, this one didn't exactly hit the mark for me.
Let me go with what I liked about it first. I did like Paige. I liked that she was determined to be independent and proved to everybody that she could do things on her own. I liked that she didn't want to be protected all the time -- even if she said it quite repetitively -- and that she was the one who made the first move. Who says that women can't do it, right? Sure, she became too pigheaded to ask for help, but maybe because she was too protected before and she couldn't deal with people seeing her as incompetent. I could definitely accept that.
I also LOVED the friendship among the girls -- plus the idea of starting up a new company was exciting. Although it made the book felt a chick-lit vibe more than contemporary romance.
... and now what I disliked:
I disliked the male hero -- he was so stereotypical/cliché as an Alpha Male with women issues who owned motorbike, rich beyond belief, had different females every month (including a woman named Bambi -- and ON THAT NOTE, can we STOP using name Bambi to portray stupid pretty woman?!? Because seriously, it's getting OLD. I like Bambi okay -- nothing wrong with the name
Bambi damn it!), but not wanting to make a move on his best friend little sister because he made a promise to the brother.
YAWN. Nothing exciting about Jake, AT ALL. Everything he thought about Paige, and his unwillingness to make his move was outdated and repetitively boring.
(Oh repetitiveness, that was definitely a HUGE issue here, by the way)
Then Paige's friends ... well, at the moment, I couldn't find anything good to say about them too.
Eva was written as too romantic, too positive, with heads in the cloud kind of characters, that I couldn't believe for one second she could exist in real life. She felt two dimensional and caricaturish, something out of a fairy tale book. I couldn't relate to her at all.
And Frankie? She was too sharp around the edges, too distrustful, that made her distant to me as well. Yes, I understand that she has problem with her mother, but I prefer my heroines to be a little more nuanced. Not blatantly black and white.
However, Frankie's story will be the second book and she will be coupled with more seemingly laid-back Matt, Paige's older brother, so maybe it can be a recipe for a better book. Besides, Frankie and Matt will have one of my favorite romance themes: friends-to-lovers ...
Conclusion: I wasn't too impressed so far with the novella and the first book of this trilogy. Fingers crossed that the next one is better.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.