Reviewed: June 25, 2010
Genre: Light/Comedic Romantic Suspense
Series: Divorced Trilogy, Book 2
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Length: 353 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
Sue Finley kills people all the time, and yes, a tampon is a perfectly fine substitute for a gun. She plots out her life with all the attention to detail of a military siege, but plotting is something she excels in, so who can blame her? She's got a cat and an odd propensity to seek therapeutic resolve via deep discourse with her failing ficus, and her mother shows too much cleavage and is dating a produce-selling Elvis wannabe. Her ex-husband is a lesbian trapped in a man's body and he looks better in her skirts than she does. Most important, four months ago she kissed a man and he never called her like he said he would. And it was a hell of a kiss. Added all together, Sue's life is anything but normal, and really, the fact that she kills people for a living is the least bizarre aspect of her whole existence. She is a suspense novelist, after all. But what's really got Sue in a tizzy at the moment is the dead rat that showed up in a Godiva box...talk about disappointing - and terrifying...with the words 'Die, Sue, Die' written in red on the rodent's corpse. Just like she'd written in her latest book. Publicity stunt by an agent who knows no bounds? Sue doesn't think so.
Someone is stalking her. Someone is intent on terrorizing her. Someone is going to kill her.
Jason Dodd, a narcotics cop with the Houston PD and partners with Sue's best friend's husband...not to mention the one who gave Sue that devastating kiss four months ago...has no intention of letting that happen. Sure, he didn't call after saying he would, but he'd never kissed anyone that made him want as much as Sue did, and as a foster kid with huge abandonment issues that got tossed around a lot, he's well schooled in how wanting something just leads to pain. But when Sue needs him, Jason drops everything and forces his way into her life to keep her safe, regardless of the foot doctor boyfriend (Jason can pound on him awhile, anyway), the critique group writer with the hots for her (Jason's pretty sure no one would miss him, either), and the other cop who lives a few minutes away and has offered to be there whenever Sue needs him (but he's a major dog with the ladies *cough*jackass*cough* and won't be touching Sue without losing a few precious body parts). Besides, Sue won't need to call him when Jason's sleeping insi...er...beside her.
Now, if he can just convince Sue to let him in.
Divorced, Desperate, and Dating is my second Christie Craig book and it's even better than the one I previously read (the more recently published Shut Up and Kiss Me). I can't get enough of Craig's blend of humor, suspense, simmering sexuality, and tug-at-your-heartstrings romance. I loved the depth of the characters, and admired the way Craig portrayed these two flawed and damaged people while focusing on the fun instead of the angst even as she maintained the importance of the past wounds on their hearts and lives - because she certainly could have gone the way of pathos and angst, given the lives Sue and Jason have lived.
I also enjoyed the mystery even more than the one in Shut Up and Kiss Me, as in this book it felt a bit more personal and threatening to Sue. It seemed to focus the danger a bit more than it was in the other book and kept the storyline tighter. Actually, I just flat out enjoyed Divorced, Desperate, and Dating more on every level, but that's no criticism of Shut Up and Kiss Me, because that was a great book, too. I think I just enjoyed Sue's and Jason's journey a bit more, and think that the baggage they'd been carting around was more clearly defined and given a bit more room to be explored and that was very appealing to me for the romance aspects of the novel. It made the conclusion feel that much more hopeful and resolved.
There were a couple of issues that I had with this book, though. I have to admit, I love a romance that slow builds to incendiary as much as the next gal, but even I had more than one moment of wanting to pitch Sue through a window if she denied Jason one more time. Poor guy. I know he's clueless about things, but sheesh, cut a guy some slack. It's not like she was all emotionally healthy and mature, either. In fact, that's another issue I had - too much of the book portrayed Jason as the guy with issues that he needed to get over and not enough focused on Sue's own very large issues. They were addressed, but not as comprehensively as Jason's were. And I know this is gonna sound a bit picky...but Sue's a bit of a girly girl, crying not only at the drop of a hat, but at the drop of every hat, and too scatterbrained to remember she bought a gun to protect herself when the chips really start going down. Strictly personal preference here, but I like my female leads to have a bit more confidence under pressure and a bit more spine.
Also, I think reading Shut Up and Kiss Me a couple of days ago was rather a detriment to me when it came to this book, because there were a lot of similarities between Jason Dodd and Sky Gomez from that one. Both were foster kids. Both are cops. Both had traumatic childhoods that left them both with love-'em-and-leave-'em issues. Of course, there were differences, too, but because so much definition of the characters of both of those men revolved around those points, it was a little odd reading about them almost back-to-back.
One other complaint that has nothing to do with how the story was told and everything to do with the formatting of the book on Kindle: it sucks. I don't have a hard copy of the book handy, but on Kindle, I got very fed up with seeing 'to night,' 'in de pen dent,' and 'plea sure,' just to name a few. I don't normally comment on formatting issues...heck, most of the time they're not significant enough to jar me out of the story because I get very absorbed when I'm reading. Unfortunately, in this book they not only jarred me out of the story in several places, but they made me have to stop and concentrate on what was being written because some of the words that were split like that (i.e. 'plea sure') form two complete words on their own ('plea' & 'sure') - not that they made sense as such in the narrative, but that's sort of the point. I don't consider that a flaw in the story and it hasn't affected my rating, but it was very annoying and I'm all about the warnings.
Still, Divorced, Desperate and Dating gave me the most satisfying non-paranormal type romance read I've had in a really long time, and when combined with the humor and the suspense, it has really catapulted Christie Craig onto my "download everything she writes as soon as it's available" list. And yes, I really have a "download everything she writes as soon as it's available" list - slightly better titled in reality, but that's the gist of it.
Take a chance on Christie Craig if you're fond of romantic suspense, don't mind that suspense being quite a bit lighter than others in the genre, like humor mixed in with your romance, and enjoy having a good time with characters and a plot that aren't the most complex in the universe, but make you feel good darn good anyway. Divorced, Desperate, and Dating is pure fun.
Oh! I almost forgot!! Check out Christie Craig's website for a non-published epilogue to Divorced, Desperate, and Dating that will warm your heart and strengthen your admiration of the romance between Jason and Sue.
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