Thursday, September 21, 2017

Grace Draven - Radiance

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.


Comment: Having read books by the author before and having liked them, I was quite eager to read this one, something often described as one of the author's best work and quite the story when it comes to opposites attract.

In this fantasy story we meet Ildiko, a human woman who is promised in marriage to a Kai prince. The Kai is a different species in all counts but still bearing a humanoid figure. Ildiko and Brashen are going to marry without knowing each other as a means to ensure their two countries will keep the peace and the economical treaties they share.
When they marry, Ildiko leaves to live in Kai's country and the first course of action is to meet his parents and Ildiko finds things are not easy on that department and the life she will have will be completely different from what it has been...

This book has interesting scenes and situations but of course what makes it unique and interesting is the relationship between Ildiko and Brashen and how they can become a united front against everything else.
I really liked this aspect of the story and the slow pace used which means we do have time to see the two of them become friends before lovers. The physical aspect does play a role since they are so different but more than just being opposites in their appearance, they are different in many other things and their relationship makes them closer and attraction doesn't have to be only the way one looks. I liked reading about the details about the other each main character found interesting and unique enough to become appealing. I guess it was fun to see on the page how they fell in love.

Knowing this, however, means I expected a stronger romance from a certain point on, especially as soon as they saw one another with sexual interest. But the romance was too...polite in this regard. I expected a bit more sexual tension and fear of going over the top before they admitted this but they were as friendly and fair in their decision to become lovers as they thought and discussed other things. It was nice to know they cared for each other but I guess I wanted to see more passion and romance before they got intimate.

There's a dark component in the plot. Brashen's immediate family - except his cousin who will be a protagonist in a future book - isn't a good one, not even welcoming. And the way the book ends makes it realistic to think more bad things will come. I was not very pleased with the dark tone the plot got as we got closer to the end, to be honest. I wouldn't mind a book on politics and species relationships and dealings but we also got dark powers and magic and evil and I could easily put that aside. I'm afraid of the bad things that might come which, to me, are unnecessary for this story in an overall scope but... it's the author's prerogative after all.

The little details about each species and how different they are truly won me over, in particular when it comes to gastronomy...let's say some people (aka the author) have a lot of imagination on what could be icky for us to imagine eating...
I liked the secondary characters; two are going to be protagonists and by their interactions here (clever author giving us tiny little hints) the romance will be incredible, hopefully.
The book ends not with a full HEA since there is a sequel but I hope there are happier things to wish for and to live through for the main couple.
I'd have really added a few seduction scenes before they told one another they were in love...I think it would have felt more romantic and inevitable, instead of just being good.
Grade: 8/10

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TBR Challenge: Jeannie Lin - Butterfly Swords

During China's infamous Tang Dynasty, a time awash with luxury yet littered with deadly intrigues and fallen royalty, betrayed Princess Ai Li flees before her wedding.
Miles from home, with only her delicate butterfly swords for defense, she enlists the reluctant protection of a blue-eyed warrior.
Battle-scarred, embittered Ryam has always held his own life at cheap value. Ai Li's innocent trust in him and honorable, stubborn nature make him desperate to protect herwhich means not seducing the first woman he has ever truly wanted.


Comment: September is the month dedicated to the Historical theme as part of the already usual TBR Challenge. I picked this book not only because it has been in the pile for some time but because I liked the previous books I've read by the author so I had confidence this would be appealing as well.

In this book we meet Ai Li, a young woman running from an undesired marriage to a man she suspects is a traitor to the emperor who happens to be her father. 
Ai Li decides to escape by staging her abduction and when things go slightly wrong with her plan, there is Ryam, a foreigner warrior, and he helps her hide and run. They bargain Ryam will help her get to the imperial city but she will then be on her own. The problem is that they start falling in love with each other and Ryam might not be quite welcome int he city...

This book is set in China, something still a novelty for what I usually read about and that made the book interesting for that alone. I think one of the elements I liked the most was the mentioning of Chinese traditions and details which can be very different from a western society, something even more obvious in historical settings. I think that this wasn't as explored as I would have liked, even more considering the difference in status of the main characters.

The plot was believable enough, I suppose, but I admit I struggled to pay attention due to two reasons: first, I'm not overly fond of on-the-road tropes and the romances don't always feel realistic when portrayed like that and second, the relationship between Ai Li and Ryam didn't feel as it was meant to be. As always, this is a matter of personal impressions, I'm sure many others read it differently but putting these two details together made the book feel slightly weaker for me.

Romances on the road always seem like an adventure and I guess they are but in this case Ai Li and Ryam just seem too different to make it a stronger relationship. I understand both their goals when traveling, even if Ryam thinks he won't be welcomed but while they share this and that, I never had the idea they wouldn't be happy with anyone but one another. This is what often I imagine when reading a romance, as if that couple is a good complement but in this case I wasn't convinced. Maybe it was the way this was written, maybe it was the notion there were expectations related to Ai Li and while in a western setting the difference in class feels like a simple detail to be overcome, her it felt like too much, since they come from different backgrounds and countries.
Their interactions weren't convincing for me either. The evolution of their relationship didn't feel natural, just a means to make them closer. I can't tell if a longer book would have allowed for a stronger romance but I just didn't feel the pacing was adequate.

The different situations in the book didn't make me overly fond of the story and I did force myself to read and focus instead of looking at other things. I would say I wasn't lost in this world. I thought each new situation Ryam and Ai Li faced before they got to their destination mattered much, it was just a means to make them act or react.
Then we got to the end and everything took a very unbelievable turn for me. I just didn't buy the way things were solved and the HEA felt like a detail to include rather than a natural conclusion.

All in all, a great attempt in terms of setting, I did like the ideas but the writing wasn't always addictive and some details were sub par. I suppose it's a matter of time and technique, since her later work reads better to me. This is the first full length story in the Tang Dynasty series and the next title does seem more interesting but...I'm having doubts now. Maybe I'll get it one day later.
Grade: 6/10

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Read once and read often

Two books to briefly talk about this time around.
The first is a book I've read for the first time days ago and the other is one of those so called comfort reads I often re-read, or I try to re-read my favorite parts.

The Spanish House is known to locals as an architectural folly, and it is now nearly derelict to boot. When its reclusive owner dies intestate the Spanish House is left to his city-dwelling niece. For the recently-widowed Isabel, the house is a potential lifeline. For her neighbour Matt McCarthy, the house is revenge.

Comment: I liked this book but that's it. I can't say I'll remember it very fondly in the future because, to be honest, the characters didn't win me over. I think I can consider myself a fan of the author, I've liked all her books to some extend but I've come to realize the more contemporary work of Jojo Moyes appeal the most to me, unlike her older titles which seem (the three I've tried) more cynical and whose characters feel less interesting.
In this book we have Isabel as a key character and although I enjoyed seeing she goes from an almost self centered person to a more attentive and responsible one, the plot about an old house and the sleazy male character that wants it at any cost just didn't win me over. I disliked some of the character's behavior as well so it was difficult for me to empathize or to want to see them succeed. I was glad when the last page was turned.
Grade: 5/10

-//-

It wasn't the best time for Karen to visit her elderly friend. With a burning fever and a broken down
car, she shuddered to think what could have happened if Brice hadn't pulled her from the drifts. As a doctor, his healing instincts took over. But being snowbound with the man who once tried to have her jailed was dangerous territory. Sometimes fate offers the chance to heal, forgive, and understand that things happen for a reason.

Comment: I can't remember anymore when was the first time I've read this book. Somewhere along 2006 or 2007, meaning after I've learned to do online shopping and after my binging on Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown. Then I got to Barbara Delinsky but I can say her more recent work isn't as appealing to me.
This book is the definition of perfection to my romance reader's eyes. Yes, many others don't agree but it's amazing for me because the plot makes sense and the romance too. I can see the flaws too but they are almost pointless to me.
I loved this story of a young woman trying to make ends' meet and a man who helps her without second intentions but while he takes care of her health, they discuss their previous antagonism and they fall in love. Yes, I'd change one detail here, another there but overall this is the perfect comfort read and I read this often just because.  Love it!
Grade: 10/10

Friday, September 15, 2017

Michelle Diener - Dark Horse

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she's made a powerful ally--a fellow prisoner with whom she's formed a strong bond. Sazo's an artificial intelligence. He's saved her from captivity and torture, but he's also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.
Captain Dav Jallan doesn't know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he's not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.
She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5's owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn't the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.


Comment: Another book I got after reading very positive reviews and opinions in different places. Since I like the genre as well, it was no task to simply add it, especially when the blurb seemed intriguing as well.

In this book we have Rose's story, she was kidnapped from Earth along with a sample of different animals to be studied in an alien ship. As one would expect, the alien technology is far more advanced than the human one, so Rosie is taken to a completely different galaxy and wouldn't, probably, ever return home. While in the alien ship, Rosie becomes friends with a sort of AI being, the apparent controller of the ship. Together they can overcome the crew and eventually they release the animals while waiting for another ship to rescue Rose.
The rescuers are lead by captain Dav Jallan of the race Grih, someone pretty much alike with a Tolkien Elf, which makes Rosie feel more at ease. Almost everyone in the new ship seems friendly despite the weird obsession with her silly singing but Rosie realizes there are secrets she must keep if she wants to ensure her survival...

I had a great time reading this book. The world building and the imagination of the author were quite amazing and I could see a scenario in my head. I think the alien planets and identities, however, were not explored well and part of the plot did feel "confined" but hopefully the next books might mention that and develop more ideas.

At first, the story was a bit weird but as every page was turned, I felt more and more confident knowing those characters and imagining a human dealing with them and different expectations. Unlike some sci-fi or fantasy stories, this is not a world where humans have evolved, this is not a story set in the distant future. Rosie is kidnapped but thankfully, this is not one of those badly done erotica stories either. I think the author managed to imply seriousness and structure so for a first attempt, I liked her "voice".

The plot revolves mostly around a simple conflict that, closer to the end of the book, seems to escalate to a potentially big problem. To be honest, i found this plot decision to be unnecessary, the world was already quite rich, I thought there so many things to be explored that it was pointless, even in terms of plot moves, but I suppose it was to get the next book ready.

There is also a romance thread between Rosie and captain Dav. I'm glad this was something slowly developing but at the same time, I kind of wanted a bit more certainty in their feelings. It was not the decision itself, just the way they discussed it was mostly subtle but considering the time frame (if I read right, around one week?), it's not to admire they weren't passionately in love by the end of the book but were interested and devoted to one another enough to try it.

Thinking about the whole book, I definitely liked it a lot but some sections of the story didn't feel as fluid and they felt a bit out of place and the end wasn't as romantic or well done as I hoped for. Still, this very innovative, I liked Rose and Dav and I'm now going to get the others to see exactly how everything is linked between the different stories even more so when we know each book has a different main couple. I confess I have good hopes to be wowed until the end.
Grade: 8/10

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Irvin D. Yalom - Love's Executioner

The collection of ten absorbing tales by master psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom uncovers the mysteries, frustrations, pathos, and humor at the heart of the therapeutic encounter. In recounting his patients’ dilemmas, Yalom not only gives us a rare and enthralling glimpse into their personal desires and motivations but also tells us his own story as he struggles to reconcile his all-too human responses with his sensibility as a psychiatrist. Not since Freud has an author done so much to clarify what goes on between a psychotherapist and a patient.

Comment: I knew about this book at a book fair I try to attend every year in the capital of my country. I look at it as older people, for instance, look at bus trips everywhere, it's a day for fun. Last year I was talking to some people about books and I heard someone mentioning this book, that is was quite amazing and it portrayed an interesting vision of therapy situations. I decided to investigate and added it to my reading list. This month I finally picked up my Portuguese edition.

In this novel, we read from dr Yalom's own voice how he approached the therapy of ten of his patients and why they looked for his help and how they improved. Often it was a matter of listening to the right people at the right moment for the right reasons. Every tale, however, proves that what is in our heads and our hearts can be much stronger than conventions and reality, especially if people isolate themselves from those notions.

I don't usually look for non-fiction for my leisure reading but there's something about real tales/situations presented to us as a story that make us interested and curious. Often, the formality of academic or more"considered" serious texts is that there's nothing the reader can empathize with so that there's is a connection. Reading non fiction and impersonal notes can be truly boring, something any student can certainly attest to. This book is the opposite, it has true stories about real people who live or lived in the same world we do but apart from their names and specific traits, they could be anyone out there. I guess one could almost say there is a little side in all of us who is a bit of a voyeur, who likes to know about others but...I suppose gossiping can be quite similar.

All the stories focus on a specific theme although the perception of who we really are is always something to question about. I thought some stories were more interesting than others, some stronger in terms of the impact they cause.
I think the first and the last are the more complete and focus, probably, on the most difficult issues to be worked out. Interestingly, the first doesn't end up easily and the last one can be considered a successful therapeutic process.

What I found here that make me take notice was the identity of the therapeutic as a vibrant part of the equation. This is not a book only about the patients and their tribulations. This is not just a story to make us think about that issue in particular. The psychologist is a key element not only because he is the tool that helps the patients but he has a vibrant voice in all this. In fact, I was surprised to have the personal approach and not just the thoughts as a professional. At the same time, this is probably why I didn't like the stories more, I guess I'd have preferred the attention to be in the patients, in their problem, their thinking, and not as much the very personal impressions the psychologist offered, like why treating the obese Betty was difficult or how frustrated he was about the out-of-reality Thelma. This can all be very interesting but it distracted me and I didn't appreciate that much. I suppose I imagined this more in the lines of having the story, the therapy and a final note about the general outcome instead of (it seemed) the slight mocking voice of the therapeutist, both about himself and about the patients.

All in all, this was a fascinating collection of psychological cases, it does make you think but I totally imagined something more complex and detached from reality when it came to the cases. Our minds can certainly be tricky to control when out attention changes and we can no longer function properly but it's quite fascinating to see and read about.
Grade: 7/10

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sally Thorne - The Hating Game


Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


Comment: This is probably one of the most well liked contemporary romance books of last year, since it was in so many people's lists and has a great average on GR. I follow some sites where this book was also very much defended as being addictive and a winner. I was obviously curious to see if I'd think the same so I added it to my own list but only this month did I finally pick it. I wasn't very worried because I like the genre but it ended up not being so amazing for em after all, even recognizing the details all worked out pretty well.

In this book we have the story of Joshua Templeman and Lucy Hutton, two co workers sharing an office space at a publishing house. These two hate each other, they are constantly playing games with one another at the office and even colleagues from other departments have realized they are not friends.
One day, however, things change and Joshua is the only person who can help Lucy so she feels like paying the debt by agreeing with something he needs to do as well. The problem is that they both are caught are a bad time because there's a promotion at their office and both would be good candidates for it. Can they battle it out while weirdly becoming closer too?

I can totally see the appeal of this novel but two things sort of made me feel less than impressive with this book: first, this is first person narrator and we see everything through Lucy's eyes. While not such a bad detail I felt it was for me personally because if this is about a conflict between two people we only have one of their POV's? And second, I didn't find this to be fun nor as fresh and groundbreaking as several opinions made it out to be. I accepted this possibility by glimpsing some opinions here and there but it wasn't so for me.

I struggled to grade this, actually. I felt the Goodreads grading system wasn't as detailed as would have liked it to be when it comes to my opinion of this book. The 3 stars don't feel enough and 4 seems too much. Since I use different grades here, it wasn't such a problem but the question is that it's not easy to summarize an opinion when I liked the book but it didn't make me feel as happy about it as I wished.

The plot itself is interesting, it has some great moments, being my favorite aspect how step by step they were getting to know each other better and fall in love. But I feel just her POV to be very restrictive. Many people commented on the office games they played, especially in the beginning, as being comic and fun but maybe because english is not my mother language I missed something but it didn't seem fun to me, just childish.
Then, the plot evolved, they got together more often and realized they felt attracted and it was mutual. Of course I can see they didn't really hate each other, their games were more in the lines of foreplay really, but in this case, why bother giving us the notion they went from hate to love?

I had high expectations about the romance but even that was so...I mean, the reasons for their apparent dislike before the serious conversations stage was based on silly things... I suppose this was meant to be a comedy but I didn't find it fun, no.
The sex part was ok I guess, it would have to end up like that. Joshua has some issues, family related, but when they are revealed I can see the why of his behavior (especially from a real life POV since it's not easy to deal with what he went through) and the best scene is probably when Lucy defends Josh with all her power of speech. But this didn't make up for all the rest.

This is an easy book to read, it has great things included but overall it wasn't as impressive for me as it seems it was for most people. I expected the characters' connection to be different, maybe more obvious, maybe more romantic than silly...I can't pinpoint but I did feel rather disappointed.
Therefore, a very, very weak 7 for me...which isn't less just because the structure and writing are good and several elements were interesting, for instance Lucy's relationship with her parents and her wish to improve her work abilities...
Grade: 7/10

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nicole Luiken - Gate to Kandrith

Sarathena Remillus, daughter of the newly elected Primus of the Republic of Temboria, has been given a mission: discover the secret of slave magic. Anxious to escape the corruption and treachery of the capital, Sara welcomes the chance to finally prove herself far away in Kandrith, the tiny nation of former slaves.
Accompanying her on the journey is Lance, a Kandrithan to whom Sara owes her life. Lance despises the nobility, and is determined to resist his desire for Sara, despite her attempts to entice him into divulging the secret of his magic.
Soon their travels become fraught with peril, and Sara discovers she's fallen victim to the ultimate betrayal. To end a war between two nations, she will have to make the ultimate sacrifice...


Comment: I added this book to my list because it seemed a promising title about a fantasy romance and I'm always looking out for this genre in hopes of finding the next best world ever. Sadly, this story wasn't explored the way I imagined...

In this novel, we follow the adventures of Sarathena Remillus, a young woman who travels to the so called Slaveland in order to learn the secret of magic for her father, the ruler of the country. Along with Sara are going her maid and an advisor and also Lance, a guide who can take them to Kandrith, the name slaves call their land. On the way, the convoy faces several situations and problems and things start to go wrong until they reach the Gate of Kandrith, the only path one can use to enter the country. 
Sara will try her best to avoid a war and helping her father seems to be the only choice but weird things are happening and can Sara deal with a secret that almost cost her life?

There are several great ideas in this book and I can see why this would be a great story if only one could go past some of the more awful details which weren't always necessary I think.
I would say this is an easy fantasy romance story but the tone is much darker than one infers from the blurb. The question is that this could have worked as easily if things were better presented and without so much pain and issues. I can totally see a secondary road for every plot move if only the purpose would be on the world building and the romance and not the drama.

The plot itself isn't tricky to maneuver and the situations presented not bad at all. But the path the author takes this story too could still be poignant and incredible without so much focus on the shocking effect and there several of those, in particular towards the end. I guess I understand that. 
But I was more interested in seeing how things could work out instead of imagining os supposing it might happen. One example: Kandrith, the so called land where Slaves live (when they are no longer slaves of course) is a complicated society, it works but it's no El Dorado where people try to live the lives denied to them in the rest of the world. I think this would be a great opportunity for the author not only stress out the difference but to improve the society and the hierarchies and even the interactions between the different types of former slaves, for instance. But still providing a better, happier, safer and better social structure than the one we find when the character get there. This truly disappointed me! 
The notion of slave magic is quite interesting, but the part of me that appreciates balance and symmetry still considers the downside of magic to have been too harsh. Shouldn't love give more than taking? A reader of the story might understand what I mean but I don't want to use spoilers.

The main characters have their moments but I liked they are not perfect examples of their countries or that they represent lots of traits. Their relationship isn't easy nor sugary but I kind of hoped for a bit more romance, that's for sure.
While I liked that they were mostly focused on their mission and what surrounded them, I still would have liked for a lighter tone in the plot that would allow for more romantic scenes or a more obvious relationship...I can say it felt balanced but not powerful enough when compared to the end, when they sort of declare themselves.

The book ends up in a sort of cliffhanger. Besides the fact I hate how authors use this to create suspense unnecessarily, I'm not overly interested in reading and just because of that. The plot seems interesting, some things were appealing but the path taken by the author doesn't feel happy nor addictive enough to make me read the second story. I keep looking at some details and imagining a whole new scenario so this tells me I wouldn't find much joy in reading more of the same ideas.
Grade: 5/10

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A place to read in

Today I just want to wish you all a great weekend!
I hope you find the time to read and to let you be inspired, I leave this image I saw online, from here, which seems quite cozy and perfect to read in...especially if one feels like taking a nap as well!
Happy reading!


Friday, September 8, 2017

Graeme Simsion - The Rosie Effect

Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.
Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex.
But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life - at the same time as dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.
Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?


Comment: This is the sequel to the well received first book of the author, a story I really liked as well. In this new book, we follow the events which took place in the previous installment but after a few months have gone by.
Those who haven't read the first book would lose a lot, though, since everything is related and this is not a book one can fully understand on its own, even if the structure allows for new readers to get the plot. My comments are based on the idea the first book has been read already.

In this new book, Don is living with Rosie in New York so they both can work on their careers, Rosie in particular. When the book begins, Don is feeling conflicted because his friend Gene's family situation is now at a critical stage and he split up with his wife after she finds out he cheated on her. Don tries to help his friend by making things happen so that Gene can work in New York for a while but of course Rosie isn't fond of this idea, especially because something unexpected is going to happen: Don and Rosie are going to become parents.
While Don accepts and deals with this fact, his life still goes through many weird situations only his brain can provide enough explanations for and we, as a reader, surely follow his often complicated steps...

Overall, I think this second story wasn't as good as the first one. The innovative type of character is already known but his way of seeing and describing things is still the same and this is what obviously makes this story special, how Don acts and reacts to things so differently. 
I think what wasn't as well done was the portrayal of Don and Rosie's relationship in some specific situations. Of course Don would struggle a bit with the idea of being a father, even people considered "average" would, but there were certain details I wasn't such a fan of.

Basically, the relationship deteriorates as the plot moves forward because Don doesn't seem to act as if he truly cares about being a father but Rosie already knew he was different so... while valid she could now think differently when a child is on her mind, why did she decide on her own he would be "put aside?"
Another thing I was bothered with about Rosie in this book is why she got to decide to become pregnant in the first place! Unless I misread, she was the one who thought it would be a good idea to have a baby but she didn't talk to Don about it, she just let it happen and announced it later. Wouldn't it be better for someone like Don to deal with it had he known? I can see the plot purposes in this, but then why her reaction...
I really think Rosie, as a character, was placed in a position we would only be able to see her as a sort of opponent when compared to Don and I can't say this felt right or well done, even more so when the end tried to convince us it was all just a (expected) misunderstanding.

My personal preferences and dislikes aside, the story is still engaging and filled with funny and amazing situations only because we see them through Don's eyes. What would be easy or embarrassing for us is usually the opposite for Don and it's particularly interesting when he, not being aware of social interactions and subtleties, can create quite the scene without knowing it. At the same time, for me, this is what makes Don such a great character, his ability to process things differently and how he responds to it.

All things considered, this book should be much weaker for me but I still gave it four stars on GR because the element I liked the best is still here: Don's personality and his attempt to be social, to be the person others respect and even look up to but he didn't become a perfect man, husband or person just to suit the novel.
Some readers say this book suffers of being released too quickly after the successful first one and it's not as fun as the other one was. I kind of agree with the fact this book feels more serious too but at the end of the day, it still worked out, in general, for me. Just not as wonderful.
Grade: 7/10