Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TBR Challenge: Reunited....and it feels so obnoxious

The Book: A Convenient Proposition by Cindy Gerard

The Particulars: Silhouette Desire #1734, 2006, Out of Print

Why Was It In The Bat Cave TBR?: I stumbled across this one at a used bookstore, the back cover copy tickled my fancy, and I bought it.

The Review: Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Shallie Malone left tiny Sundown, Montana after high school and hasn't looked back since. Well, until now. Alone, and pregnant, she gets the itch to go back home. Once there, she literally runs into Brett "Mac" McDonald. They were best friends growing up, and Mac has always nursed a bit of a crush on her. He's very happy to see her back home, and before you can say reunion, these two are shacking up together. But what will happen when Mac learns the truth about Shallie and her unborn baby?

This book gets off on the wrong foot right away thanks to our heroine. Shallie is coming home to Montana because she was forced to resign from her kindergarten teaching job in Small Town, Georgia after they found out she was unmarried and knocked up. At which point I flipped to the copyright page to make sure the date read 2006, as opposed to 1956. Can people in small towns be assholes? OK, yeah. But this one strained, especially since the author kept telling me that Shallie's belly was still "flat." And then like all the annoying brain-dead romance heroines that have come before her, Shallie does nothing about being fired. Why? Because as she tells Mac:
"I know I could fight it. And I'd probably win. The truth is, I don't want to fight. I don't want to go back there."
Of course not! It makes so much more sense to run back to your home town (where you have no family whatsoever) and wait for a white knight to swoop in and fix all your problems for you. Because, you know, you wouldn't want to be proactive about not only your future, but your unborn child's future as well. Seriously, it's stupid like this that gives category romance a bad name.

As if this weren't enough to make my eyes bleed, the author then clues the reader in on the Baby Daddy. Her boyfriend started smacking her around, so Shallie leaves him. Smart girl, right? Well, actually no. Feeling unloved and unattractive, she goes out one night with some girlfriends and hops into bed with the first attractive man who pays her a compliment. Except, oopsie he's a married man! A married man who apparently has read Tiger Woods' Guide On How To Cheat On Your Wife because he didn't use a condom (I'm assuming here since birth control, failed or successful, is never mentioned). He has sex with Shallie once and she gets pregnant. How many women are in this guy's past? I spent the rest of the novel wondering how many venereal diseases could be swimming around in the heroine's blood stream. Not to mention his poor, unsuspecting wife. I sure hope that woman has good health insurance...

The hero seems like a nice enough guy - but he's very much too good to be true. He's handsome, he's charming, he can cook, he has a big fancy house and a vacation cabin in the woods, he keeps feeding the heroine decadent chocolate desserts etc. etc. etc. Frankly, the only thing I could find wrong with him is that he kept calling Shallie by the annoying pet name of "short stack." Certainly I'm all about the Beta hero, but after a while this guy got to be too much, even for me. Is there such a thing as Mary Sue heroes?

Of course the fact that Shallie doesn't come right out and tell Mac that her unborn baby is the product of an adulterous affair (even if she didn't know the sperm donor was married) blows up in her face when inexplicably the Asshole Ex Who Used To Smack Her Around decides to show up and informs Mac that he ain't the Baby Daddy - some other mystery man is.

::headdesk, headdesk, headdesk::

Not even two of my favorite tropes (friends-to-lovers and marriage of convenience) were enough to save this book for me. At which point you're probably wondering why I kept reading and didn't DNF it. I honestly have no idea. I blame it on the fact that it's a Silhouette Desire and therefore only clocks in at 185 pages. On the bright side though, it's now out of my TBR Mountain Range.

Final Grade = D-

15 comments:

SarahT said...

Ooh...this sounds like one to miss. Well done for reading it until the bitter end!

Aislinn said...

Is there such a thing as Mary Sue heroes?

Yeah, they're called Gary Stu.

Kristie (J) said...

You read it so you could write a scathing,yet hilarious review - that's what I think ;-)

Big Sis said...

I love you.

Wendy said...

Sarah: While I do have autobuys, most of my category romance reads are chosen based on plot description. Sometimes it works out well (and I discover a new autobuy author - yippee!) and sometimes books like this one happen to me. Ugh!

Aislinn: Ha! I had no idea! Muchos gracias!

Kristie: It's been a while since I've written a review like this. I had forgotten how cathartic it could be ;-)

Big Sis: You write letters to the editor - I write reviews for books that drive me bat-sh*t and post them on my wee lil' nothing blog. And I love you too.

Kaetrin said...

I don't think I could have finished it. Heroines who don't stick up for themselves drive me nuts.

Joy said...

I've figured it out! You're a sucker for any book with a guy in a cowboy hat on the cover. Your obsession with western romances is leading you astray.

Actually I kind of like that cover. The snowflakes falling are a nice touch.

nath said...

Hmmm, I don't get why the hero would care whose baby she's carrying since in any case, it's not his...

But yeah, talk about bad thinking...

Well at least, you finished it! Good job, Wendy!

Senetra said...

The TBR book that I was going to review and lost (I think it went to the UBS) had friends-to-lovers, MOC, heroine pregnant with someone else's child, Indian casinos, Italian Vegas mobsters,meddling small townies that had a cute name for their meddling group, AND it was part of a series! Plus the heroine was the mayor of this town that she found when she ran away from her friend who became her husband after she got pregnant after being date raped.

Like I said, it's been a bad week for SuperRomance.

JamiSings said...

Nath - Very simple. A woman who's carrying the baby of another man she was in a long term relationship with but left because he's abusive is "a good girl." A woman who was in a long term relationship, left the guy because he's abusive, had a one night stand with a married man, and got pregnant is a "dirty little whore."

Renee said...

What always drives me crazy about books where the heroine doesn't come clean, then (surprise!) it blows up in her face.

Well, 1 less on your tbr, in any case!

Rebecca @ DSB said...

Hi Wendy - I loved your review, even though you obviously loathed this book. I confess that I hate storylines that start with the heroine prego. I guess it's being a mother and all, but I can't even picture romancing someone new while carrying a baby by another man. Ick. There's a whole bunch of these types of stories though, so I've got to assume that many readers don't mind at all. Maybe it's because even during the period where my stomach was still flat, I was worshiping at the porcelain throne all the time.

Wendy said...

Kaetrin: Yeah, this was a major problem for me. I mean, talk about a slam-dunk lawsuit! And what does she do? Runs back to her hometown pretty much flat broke. ::headdesk::

Joy: You got me! Actually, it really was the back cover blurb. A bit of a misleading BCB, IMHO - but I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience stories. And the cover is quite lovely.

Nath & Jami: I've read like 4 books since this one, and I'm honestly trying to block most of this book out of my brain - but I seem to recall the sticking point being not that she got knocked up from a one-night stand, but that she got knocked-up by a married man. There was baggage in the hero's past? Mommy cheated on Daddy and divorced him? I think?

Senetra: LOL! Everything AND the kitchen sink!

Renee: And the scenario really strained here - since the Asshole Ex came all the way from Georgia to Montana to drop the bombshell, then was like, "You can have her buddy" and turned around and left. Huh?!

Rebecca: I don't mind the prego heroine trope probably because I've never been pregnant! LOL But it's also not a trope I actively seek out :) It was the friends-to-lovers/marriage of convenience angle that hooked me here.

Hilcia said...

Okay, so I'm late posting... but this is the reason WHY I avoid categories with "babies included" like the plague. I cannot for the life of me understand the amount of books dedicated to "pregnancy by accident." What the heck happened to safe sex? OR to birth control? 1950's anyone? Irresponsibility anyone? These are adults and I just don't get it. One or two books once in a while, okay... but sometimes it feels as if every other category has a "surprise" baby on the cover, it drives me wild! \rant :D

Wendy said...

Hilcia: I tend to actively avoid One Night Of Passion And Now Heroine Is Knocked Up storylines because, like you said, I question the characters' intelligence.

But, I can and do enjoy the occasional book featuring a pregnant heroine who got that way because of a previous, long-term, relationship. In fact, some of my favorite westerns have that particular trope. Heroine gets knocked up by a guy she was in lurve with, and turns out he's a lying, cheating, ne'er-do-well, and she ends up hooking up with the Good Guy hero to save her and her baby's reputation.

I'm a sucker for that one. But admittedly, it's a storyline that tends to only work for me in historical settings. Because in a contemporary, a condom is a mere trip to the corner drugstore away....