Sunday, June 26, 2016

Once and Always

The title: Once and Always
The author:  Julia Harper (aka Elizabeth Hoyt)
Publication: Hachette, 2015
Got it from: The library

Wait a minute?  This book, which is the third in Julia Harper/Elizabeth Hoyt's contemporary series, was just written in 2015?  The other two (1, 2) were written back in 2008!  My mind is blown!  So she's writing contemporaries again, maybe?  Not that I would complain if she just kept coming out with new Maiden Lane books (although, holy crap, I cannot keep up.  There are already 12!)  Well, that at least explains the recent re-release of the other two in the series.  

Although this is exciting news, I'm going to be honest and admit that Once and Always didn't blow me away.  I needed something to read while I was away on holiday, and I knew EH wouldn't let me down.  Most times I they're page-turners for me, but this one wasn't.  The first chapter is clever: Maisa Burnsey is driving through a snowstorm in Coot Lake, Minnesota.  She's pulled over by cop Sam West.  But uh-oh!  He's not just any cop, he's the man she had a hot one-night stand with the summer before.  And it's not the first time he's pulled her over.  In fact, he's done it a lot.  Maisa brushes him off, but the storm traps her in Coot Lake.  So far, so good.

Elizabeth Hoyt is great at writing cah-razy secondary characters and funny dialogue from said character's POV.  But oh my goodness, there were a LOT of secondary characters crammed into this book.  I had difficulty keeping track of who was who, as we were introduced to pretty much the whole damn town.  It was like an extra zany episode of Northern Exposure, with a "Russian mafiya chasing after some stolen diamonds B plot" thrown in.  The problem with spending so much time jumping from character to character is that I never ended up connecting with anyone.  Not even, unfortunately, the hero or heroine.  The whole book just felt okay, but never really clicked for me.  I'm hoping that the next contemporary she writes will be imbued with a little more EP magic and feel less formulaic.