Tuesday, June 12, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Knocked Up (Crazy Love #2) by Stacey Lynn

2.75/3 Stars

Cara Thompson, 24, and Braxton Henley, 28, shared a one night stand at mutual friends’ wedding. The night left them still lusting after each other and with a unique wedding favor.

Told via their dual first person POV, the story started out engaging, and I felt their chemistry. I could also see both sides of their conflicts. Brax was kinda hot and had a lot of potential. I liked his determination to accept the situation, his interest in the baby, his desire for Cara, and to commit.
“Sure, it happened well before I was ready, and absolutely unprepared, but life wouldn’t be life if it didn’t throw you a curveball every once in a while.”
For the most part, I liked Brax. (at that stage)

With the exception of one not so tiny character flaw—he’d been a manwhore right up until the point Cara seeks him out about the pregnancy. That of course means he also wasn’t celibate during the six weeks they didn’t see each other. I don’t know why tidbits like this are thrown into romances. And then brought up again to the reader as the romantic duo are about to get it on.

Really it just sours the romantic vibe. Is it so much to ask for a romantic hero to keep it in his pants for 6 weeks??? (Total rhetorical question for the record.)
“‘I was honestly just trying to fuck the memory of you out of my head.’”
The trite excuse of trying to get the heroine out of his mind is just clichéd writing.

Kudos though to the heroine who echoes my sentiment:
“‘That’s disgusting.’ My brows furrow. If he thinks I’ll be flattered by his admission, I’m not.”
Ah but sadly Cara’s bravado doesn’t last long and she settles back into her MO of self-doubt. Actually both Brax and Cara seem to suffer some self esteem issues. And then after a certain point in the story, Brax seems to undergo a bit of a character overhaul and not for the better.

This story definitely could have earned a higher rating if it would have abandoned some of the tropes and stereotypes that have been around the block in the romance world a million times.

Though be it a fairly popular romance scenario, I don’t think unplanned pregnancy between strangers is always the easiest to pull off, namely because the stakes are so much higher—a child’s stability hangs in the balance. The narrative has the burden of convincing the reader that these two will be compatible partners and parents. Show (through depictions) is always better than tell. But this tale contains a lot of inner monologuing—often focused on figuring each other out, which is realistic at this stage of their relationship. But back to the challenge when you introduce a bigger responsibility in the relationship, I needed to see more examples of these two prospering for the long haul, not just in the immediate insta-love/lust stage.

On the pregnancy issue, one topic of conversation kinda bugged me. And it’s not all her puking although that got old too. It was emphasis on the baby’s gender. For one, it kept reinforcing this “modern” notion that the sex must be revealed before the birth. I mean, it’s portrayed as such an agony that they don’t know how to refer to the little bundle of joy. Having had two children whose genders remained a mystery till they popped out of my body, I can affirm that it was hardly a hardship to simply refer to them as “the baby.” That nice little gender neutral noun worked just fine. And then the gender conversation for these two turned a little…sexist perhaps, definitely hypocritical, when Brax asserted that he wanted a son because basically he didn’t want to deal with the future teenage boys a daughter would eventually attract. (Which also assumes this kid’s sexuality before it’s even born).

Let’s stop and think about this message a moment. This guy has been escorting one night stands to the Uber right up until the day he found out he’s going to be a father, and yet the idea of a daughter eventually becoming a sexual being makes him…not want to deal. Sure no parent wants to think about their kids having sex anymore than a kid wants to envision their parents doing the horizontal tango; but my point is there’s no moment of revelation for this guy. No epiphany. No awakening. No point where he sees the big picture and realizes that his behavior is the very thing he’s appalled about.

Moving along, the steamy times arrive a little late in the game for the readers, problematic only because they clearly haven’t for the couple. I do wish the prologue would have been their ONS since it’s only mentioned as being quite hot but never shown. It would have also been helpful to see this pair during their initial connection, before pregnancy complicated things.

Bottom line, the having-a-baby-together plot line mixed with misunderstanding felt immature. The romantic development faltered under the weight of drama.

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