a surprising and entirely unexpected email popped up in my inbox granting me early (and i like to think of it as VIP) access to jessica lemmon’s newest book HARD TO HANDLE, in exchange for posting a review. i almost deleted the email because (a) i enjoyed the first book so much and second books often don’t live up to the expectations the first one set and (b) i’m still on a self-imposed blogging hiatus.
however, the lure of the VIP book and the request for words written by me was too much to resist…apparently i’m not hard to handle (ooh, see what i did there?) and i decided to dive into lemmony’s pages and put my blogging pants back on for this occasion.
what it’s about from Porter Square Books:
ONCE BURNED Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love . . . TWICE AS TEMPTING Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?
this companion novel contained some of the same characters we met in TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE, but the tone of this story was quite different than its predecessor. this story was one of loss, hardship, second chances, and redemption. even though this wasn’t as lighthearted as i expected, it was a refreshing read because these are real people making real mistakes and figuring out how to overcome their own boneheadedness. usually i read to escape reality, but the honesty and raw emotion of this story were wrapped up in truth and i wanted to squeeze out all the advice i could. it felt like a bit of free therapy (thanks, lemmony!).
my only gripe was the pacing. the beginning was a bit slow with its hashing and rehasing of the initial meetings between aiden and sadie. having read the prequel CAN’T LET GO, i already knew the savory details of that time and didn’t need to hear about it again and again. basically, i think HTH stands on its own without the prequel. sure it was nice to spend more time with these two firecracker characters in CLG, but it wasn’t necessary towards furthering my understanding of HTH.
while reading this story, i came across a line that stood out to me because i remember lemmony on twitter asking about the slang term. i didn’t know this particular bit of slang, but i was the only one in that conversation who did, and so lemmony included it in the dialogue (as she should have). i got a real kick out of reading it in the final version because i felt like i was part of a secret society — one who knows exactly how much thought and care and time goes into each line of text even though it reads as effortless.
jessica lemmon has turned the romance genre on its head once again which i guess means she’s turned it right side up (since she flipped the genre with her last book), but if this is the new normal, you can count me as a permanent audience member.
HTH releases on october 1, so you barely have to wait until you can get your own copy!! huzzah!
FTC Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.