Monday, January 1, 2007

Not Another New Year's, Christie Ridgway - DUAL REVIEW

Well, Happy New Year to you too!

I'm so glad you made it over here from the old site. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can come back often and find out what books we've been reading. Of course, we also want you to WIN FREE BOOKS, so you need to keep checking back for your chance to WIN as well.

The start of a brand new year deserves a review of a brand new book, don't you think? Hence, this review of the brand new Christie Ridgway book, Not Another New Year's, is being brought to you today, by both Dee and dee (yeah, that's ME). This was my introduction to Christie Ridgway, and man, was it something! Chari-Dee's comments are in this color, so you can easily tell what each of us thought. Let us know how you like the Dual Review thing. If it works for you, you'll be seeing more of it in the year to come.

Not Another New Year's is about Hannah Davis, an elementary schoolteacher from Northern California. Hannah has been done wrong by her almost husband, and this is the story of how she learns why he dumped her (not really), who he dumped her for (maybe not who she thought), and the man that helps her see herself for who she really (which is all new to her).

It's also the story of Tanner Hart. Tanner is an ex-Secret Service agent who has had one heck of a rough year. The year from hell started with a kiss seen round the world, quite literally. When an heiress kisses Tanner in front of a photographer at the same time an assassin is trying to kill her Prince of a father, Tanner's career goes up in flames. Feeling disgraced, he resigns from his job and spends his days hanging his head in shame in his Southern California hometown of Coronado.

When Hannah shows up in Coronado on a supposed relaxing vacation from her real life, she ends up in Tanner's lap. Their kiss may not be seen round the world, but they can both certainly feel those sparks. Explosive!

We also get to meet Desiree, the Hannah look-alike princess that started Tanner's slide into disgrace, and Tanner's older brother Troy. Dez is a spoiled little rich girl, as most princesses are, but she's also got depths hidden beneath a body that is driving Troy, an ex-Marine, to absolute distraction. Their story makes up a big part of this book, and it was very entertaining for me. Me, too. This should have been Dez and Troy's book. I really, truly felt more entertained and emotionally invested in these two.

OK, let me just get this out of the way up front, so I can say it and be done. This book was full of s-e-x. Yep, it was scorching. No, I'm not kidding. I've never read a Ridgway before, so I have no idea if all of her books are like this, but I really wasn't expecting it. The pink cover and rather tame BCC totally fooled me into thinking that this would be a tale of love gone wrong, then put back right. And yeah, I felt a bit misled. It wasn't the read I was expecting at all. But then again, that's not always a bad thing, is it? I don't know that, after the first chapter, you can actually make it through more than 5 pages without some sort of sexual reference. Again, no, I'm not kidding. Either Hannah and Tanner are getting hot and heavy, or Troy and Dez are scorching each other with longing looks and lustful thoughts. The book isn't billed as a hot read, or as erotica or anything, so it just ... surprised ... me.
Again, agree. I did actually read this BCC before buying the book (as I have never read Ridgway before, either) and it really missed its mark. On several points, but I won't get into that here. As for the sex? Yeah, there was a lot of it, but for the most part, I didn't feel it. There were many emotional threads that got dropped because the author let sex take over. And while I'm a fan (can you say "understatement") of a well written, steamy sex scene, I need to feel connected to it. But, since the majority of the sexual tension and actual act, takes place between Tanner and Hannah, it made their relationship very superficial and hard to believe. They spend very little time talking and getting to know one another (there-fore, leaving me the reader not knowing them) that the HEA is pretty hard to believe. I cannot believe I'm saying this, but this book needed less sex and more talking. Because as is stands, the information we have about the main characters is given in "thinking" a classic telling not showing. As for Troy and Dez? I'll get to that one below the next paragraph.

I loved Troy and Dez. Troy was Semper Fi, through and through. I could picture him in my head so clearly. Being an ex-Navy person, I've encountered his type more often than you can imagine. My best friend is married to a person much like him, wrapped up in his idea of right and wrong, patriotism and honor and trust, with red, white and blue flowing through his veins. And Dez? OMG, I just adored her. Yes, she was a spoiled brat in many ways. Yes, her thoughtless actions put a big hurt on Tanner's life. But really, she was a sweet misfit, who belonged neither in the world of her high-fashion mama nor her Middle Eastern royal papa. She claimed Coronado as her place to be, and set about making it into her own little kingdom. Her attraction to Troy, and his to her, really made this book rock for me.
I'll say it again, because it cannot be said enough, this book should have been Dez and Troy's. Their chemistry was felt, not just shown. Her uncertainty, his uncertainty, her attraction and his attraction. They were people I could cheer for. I wanted to know more about these characters, I wanted to spend time with them, and I felt so very cheated that I didn't get it. There is a part in the book, where Dez knocks hard on Troy's office door and he hits the floor, all I could think of were the possibilities this scenario created, and how the author really dropped the ball with these wonderful people.

Hannah and Tanner, hmmmm. It wasn't bad, it really wasn't. And no, that's not my very nice, not cruel, way of saying I didn't like this book. It's just that while the sexual tension was incredible, I thought that the romance was a little weak. What really bothered me was that it seemed that the author was leading me along the path to romance by the hand, explaining all of the reasons why they shouldn't be together, and then all of the reasons why they should. I'd really rather enjoy my books without a tour guide. I'm a fairly intelligent reader, and I enjoy searching out the depths, the twists, the turns, and the nuances in stories. I didn't feel like the author really trusted me to see why Tanner and Hannah should get together, or to see the arc that each of the characters made. Each turn was choreographed. Each twist was explained. When either Tanner or Hannah had an epiphany, one of those amazing "A-ha!" moments, the author seemed to want to walk me through exactly what it meant.
I have to agree again. Although, I didn't feel much of an arc for either character. It was more like they took a straight path, and that probably has to do with your analogy of the author leading you by the hand. Everything in the book leads up to the last two chapters. I love a good climactic ending, but really didn't get it with this one. Hannah and Tanner are forced to admit their feeling because Hannah is in danger and I just thought, WTF? If she wanted to place Hannah in danger that was fine, but it should have played a more important part through-out the book instead of just being hinted at.

All in all, the plot was decent, the secondary characters were fresh and entertaining, and the heat was way up there. The resolution was fitting, if slightly less than fully satisfying for me. I enjoyed it, overall, and will recommend it. But with all of the extra explanations, all of the stuff that was filled in for me, I really don't know that there's a need to re-read this one. It's spelled out pretty well, so it's not like I'm going to find something new on the next read. Basically, the author took the fun out of the second (and yeah, third and fourth) reads for me, and that's a bummer. I read books so fast on the first go-through, that I count on my re-reads to be able to discover all of that layered stuff, all of those glorious little tid-bits you can only discover after your rush to the end is over. I won't get that with this book, as it's all laid out there for me by the author.
It definitely will not be a re-read for me. I'm not sorry I read it. I did enjoy Troy and Dez and a couple of the more intimate moments were quite satisfying, so while I won't go out of my way to recommend it, I will say, read it if your mind needs a break. Like dee said, the author walks you through everything step by step, so you don't have to think while you read, and sometimes, that's just what the doctor ordered, know what I mean?

Pick it up and read it yourself. It's not a bad book at all. But if you're looking for something deep and layered, something that will have you thinking and wondering for a few days, look somewhere else. So, while I enjoyed my time in usually sunny Coronado, I don't think I'll have to plan a trip back there any time soon.
Well said.

Keep turning those pages!


Take Care


Kay T said...

Okay, dee I made it over here and hope you get to see this comment. I am a Christie Ridgway fan and this was not one of her better books. Funny, the prequel - Must Love Mistletoe - was much better. So don't give up on her, some are much better than others. Oh, and they are all pretty hot, but I thought the sex in this one was a bit forced.

dee said...

Ok, Kay T, on YOUR advice, I'm going to read "Must Love Misteltoe". I have it now, and it is up next. I'll be reviewing it as soon as I finish it. Thanks for the suggestion!
Anyone else have any books to suggest? We always love hearing from you!!