Review: The Messy Life of Jane Tanner

Review: The Messy Life of Jane TannerThe Messy Life of Jane Tanner (Coyote Canyon, #3) by Brenda Novak
Series: Coyote Canyon #3
on February 20, 2024
Genres: Contemporary

FINAL DECISION: Disappointing in both the relationship and in engagement in the story.

THE STORY: Jane Tanner, a small-town vintage gift shop owner, longs for adventure and motherhood while caring for her ailing grandfather. She drunkenly propositions Kurt Elway, her younger sister’s ex-boyfriend and the man secretly pining for her, to father her baby. As they navigate their complicated relationship, Jane and Kurt must determine what they really want from life and one another.

OPINION: THE MESSY LIFE OF JANE TANNER, the final installment in the Coyote Canyon trilogy, fails to be charming or even particularly romantic. Jane Tanner’s character is frustratingly inconsistent, with her desire to move to San Francisco and have a baby seeming poorly thought out and illogical. The romance between Jane and Kurt lacks the spark and depth needed to make their relationship believable, as their entire relationship feels immature. While the book attempts to tackle themes of friendship, family, and embracing life’s messiness, it ultimately falls flat in its execution. Fans of Brenda Novak may find this book disappointing compared to her usual standard.

WORTH MENTIONING: I was disappointed that the book really didn’t wrap up the series as much as I would have liked. If it is a series, I think there should be some resolution of the secondary stories brought up in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE MESSY LIFE OF JANE TANNER is the third book in the Coyote Canyon series. It can be read as a standalone, although there are characters from the prior books in the series and some secondary stories that continue during the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.


Review: Preferential Treatment

Review: Preferential TreatmentPreferential Treatment (Indecent Proposals #2) by Heather Guerre
Series: Indecent Proposals #2
on August 21, 2022
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 254

FINAL DECISION: I would have DNF’d this book if it wasn’t so short.

THE STORY: Mikhail Volkov, once an orphan in poverty, is now a wealthy tech CEO who yearns for a strong woman to conquer him. Kate Pasternak, struggling to make ends meet, encounters Mikhail, who offers to help her financially in exchange for companionship. This is a femdom story.

OPINION: The entire story is described in one sentence. A submissive male whom the heroine gets to be “socially responsible” and give away all his money. It was a dumb story, and the characters had no connection. She was using him the whole time and never seemed to care about him. She also has the nerve to complain about him being a billionaire, and yet she constantly demands that he buy her things. Bleh.

Not for me, but I’m sure that for the right person this book would be perfect.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a shorter book at about 250 pages.

CONNECTED BOOKS: This is the second book in the Indecent Proposals series. I haven’t read the first book and didn’t even realize there was a prior book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 1.5 star.


Review: A Dish Best Served Hot

Review: A Dish Best Served HotA Dish Best Served Hot (Vega Family Love Stories #2) by Natalie Caña
Series: Vega Family Love Stories #2
on June 27, 2023
Genres: Contemporary

FINAL DECISION: Liked Saint but really didn’t end up liking Lola. That’s a problem with a romance in my opinion.

THE STORY: High school sweethearts Santiago “Saint” Vega and Lola León separated years ago. Saint joined the military. Years later, the two meet up in their old neighborhood. Lola is a substitute teacher, caring for a family member, and working at a local community center. She discovers that Saint’s family construction business now threatens the future of this community center. Although on opposite sides, Saint and Lola still have feelings for each other. They must work together to find a way to save the community center, bring their arguing families together, and deal with their unresolved emotions from the past.

OPINION: This book promises a second-chance romance but does not deliver. There are too many characters and side stories that bury the love story between Saint and Lola. Their high school romance is lost among all the other drama.

The author tells more than shows when it comes to Saint and Lola getting back together. It feels like big moments happen suddenly between chapters instead of on the pages. There is not much dialogue between them either. Because of this, their relationship does not feel emotional or real.

It is also hard to understand why Saint and Lola broke up in high school because their reasons are not clear. The intellectual reasons are given, but there is nothing heartfelt about this book. There is just too much going on and the characters suffer as a result even as I wanted to like them. I did like Saint as he tries hard to be a good, single father. Lola is not as easy to sympathize with in her aggressively stubborn activism and for someone who claims to accept herself she is pretty shrill and insists her view is the only one that matters.

The other characters like Saint’s daughter seem only created to move the messy plot along. They have no real personalities. This book reads more like a story about community issues than a believable second chance at love.

I only give this book 2 stars because there are parts of this book that I enjoyed, including Saint’s as a character, and Lola and Saint’s romance as teenagers, but it feels like an amateurish effort in many aspects.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book seems directed towards a 20s audience.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A DISH BEST SERVED HOT is the second book in the Vega Family Love Stories series. There are a lot of characters that I suspect are introduced in the first book in the series, and this book doesn’t really explain who they are. I haven’t read the first book in the series and this book made me feel like I should have started there.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.