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Sunday, January 19, 2014

ARC Review: One To Keep by Tia Louise

One To Keep is the second book in Tia Louise's Contemporary One To Hold series. In this follow up we get the story of Derek and Melissa's friends Patrick and Elaine. I was a little bit hesitant to read this one after I had a lukewarm opinion of One To Hold. I had some problems with that story, but I love a good series and once I have started one it has to be really awful for me not to continue. So I went ahead and gave this one a shot, hoping that it would go better this time around. Unfortunately I had a lot of problems with this story as well. These books have so much potential and there are some things that I really like about them, but so far they just seem to fall short for me.

Patrick is determined to leave his past and his cheating ex-fiance behind. He moves to Princeton to work with his brother's business partner Derek. When he needs help covering up a tattoo, Derek steers him to a local tattoo shop where he meets Kenny. Kenny (a girl) and Derek instantly have a connection and end up spending a night together. Despite their connection and understanding of each other, Kenny is returning home and they decide to stay in touch as friends. Derek looking to move on ends up sleeping with the company's temp secretary Star. She goes fatal attraction on him, and he ends up leaving town to avoid her. While he is away on business, he ends up meeting Elaine. They have instant attraction and embark on a vacation fling. Only when it is time to return home, both are finding it difficult to leave the other behind. After a week, Elaine is calling Patrick and they begin seeing each other for real. Soon they are looking to have a future together and Patrick is thinking of relocating to live closer to Elaine. But suddenly Patrick's past catches up to him and he gets a surprise he never expected. Can Patrick and Elaine get past the latest obstacle standing in their way? Or will this be too much for them to overcome?

I both liked and didn't like Patrick. Since this book was in his POV, we were really able to see everything that was going on with him. I will admit for the first third of the book, for the most part I thought that he was pretty disgusting. All he seemed to think about was hooking up with random women and having sex constantly. It didn't matter with who, and he definitely didn't care about anything other than having somewhere to stick it. Even though I thought he ended up being a decent guy, it was hard to truly warm up to him after that. I thought that his connection with Kenny was great. I loved the two of them and how they related to each other. I honestly felt like his connection to Kenny seemed to be stronger than his connection to Elaine. Which really bothered me considering it was not the story of Kenny and Patrick. I liked Elaine for the most part. She was independent and I loved that she went against what was expected of her. I really liked her character in One To Hold, but I felt like she sort of gave in to Patrick a little too easily at times. For a character so strong, it felt like she had become a little weakened and watered down. Even though Elaine and Patrick had a lot of chemistry, I didn't ever really feel their connection.

I felt like Elaine and Patrick had a really bad case of Insta-Love and it just didn't work. Their relationship goes from first meeting (where Patrick somehow knows Elaine's name without it ever being introduced!) to a week together where they are wanting to say I love you. Then a few weeks later they are ready to relocate. I think that this book might be the worst case of such a rushed relationship and connection that I can remember reading. It just never worked for me, and I didn't get how they could immediately be in love. If I hadn't already read One To Hold, I would have thought that this story would end up with Kenny and Patrick together. Especially since we don't even meet Elaine until 30% into this book! I kept waiting for it to get to the point where they meet, and next thing I know we are about a third of the way done with the story. I also really didn't understand the reasoning behind the whole Star/Secretary part of the story. It just didn't really seem to be needed, and I think it honestly just hurt the way the reader thinks of Patrick. I also felt like the surprise twist was not a total surprise. I saw it coming and honestly I thought the way it was handled by all parties was just downright odd. I can't really go into specifics without spoiling the story, but I can honestly say that if that happened to me I would have reacted completely differently. It just didn't feel as how most people would react or handle the same situation, and I really had trouble with how everything played out.

I think that Tia Louise has a great writing style, and her books are well written. I just seem to have a problem with the plots and storylines. The one thing that is perfect every time are the sex scenes. Tia Louise always manages to make her books so hot and steamy that it literally leaves you panting for a glass of water. By far the highlight of these books is the sexiness. I think that each of these books has a ton of promise, and I really think that these characters all have the ability to be likable and worth rooting for. It just seems like they end up not quite working the way that they should. I really felt like Elaine and Patrick were great together, but it just seemed too fast. I think if it would have been over a longer period of time without Patrick sleeping around so much at the start of the story, that I would have really been able to get behind their relationship. (Well...maybe that and had Kenny not been a factor.) I did enjoy that this book takes place for the most part at the same time as One To Hold, so we get a bit more to that story from a completely different angle. It was interesting to see everything in a whole new light. I also loved that this story was told from the guy's point of view rather than a dual perspective or the heroine's. I think that if you are looking for a story with a ton of steamy sex and an HEA that you might like these books and should consider giving Tia Louise a shot. Especially One To Keep, because quite frankly Patrick has a ton of chemistry with everyone and there is a lot of sex. But if you are looking for a story about a deep and emotional love connection, I think that you will find that this book is missing that. There will be a novella about Derek and Melissa as well as Kenny's story coming out in the future, and I am sure that I will want to read them because I have already gone this far with the series. But I just hope that with Kenny's story we don't have another rushed relationship. I am interested to see what Derek and Melissa's novella is all about, and I think it has a lot of potential considering they are already together and have been through so much to get to that point.

**ARC provided by Inkslinger PR**

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