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Monday, June 16, 2008

Randy Jackson Says It All

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I avoid romance novels. I guess I'm a bit of a prude, but this genre just does not usually appeal to me. I mean, a love story is great, but I like some mystery or suspense mixed in. You probably also know that I don't like reading books in a series out of order. I prefer to start at the beginning and get to know the characters a little bit at a time. Considering those two pet peeves, I really should not have liked When A Man Loves A Woman by La Connie Taylor-Jones at all. Not only is the book a romance, but it's also the second novel in a series (although the first book focuses on different characters). The weird thing is, I actually liked it. I didn't love it, I didn't even really, really like it, but I didn't hate it either.

The story stars Victoria "Vic" Bennett, a nursing administrator living in Oakland, California. After the devastating end of her first marriage, she swears off men. Even after eight years, she simply will not open her heart to another man. Pediatrician A.J. Baptiste has other ideas, however, and he's not shy about letting his desires be known. His life plan involves making Vic his wife. Sure, Vic's attracted to him (after all, he's gorgeous, wealthy and loves children), but no one is going to boss her around. Besides, falling for him means exposing her very vulnerable heart, and that's something she's just not willing to do. She's so fed up with A.J. and his pursuit that she's leaving the Golden State for good.

When an emotional Vic hits A.J. with her car, everything changes. Although she was rearended, and not technically at fault, she feels responsible. While her brother, a police officer, works to track down the hit-and-run driver, Vic puts all her energy into helping AJ. recuperate. The more time she spends with him, the less control she has. Suddenly, she finds herself spilling all her secrets (and losing all her defenses). Her vulnerability scares her to death, and she can't decide whether to stay or run.

The appearance of a drug-addicted mother in A.J.'s clinic changes things once again. Both Vic and A.J. go out of their way to help her. Working together only strengthens their connection. What they don't know is that the young woman holds the key to finding out what really happened on the day of A.J.'s accident. For that and two other important reasons, she will become a vital part of Vic and A.J.'s lives.

With all this happening, it's no wonder Vic is losing control. Can she keep resisting A.J.'s advances? Does she even want to? Will she finally be able to put the past behind her and open her heart to the man who can't live without her? Or will she run away again?

It's a pretty simple, predictable plot, but there's enough action to keep things moving along. The fiery relationship between Vic and A.J. provides much of the entertainment (and some steamy sex scenes, which I skipped over like a good Mormon girl), although the mystery of the accident also makes up a lot of the novel. It's a quick read - not too complicated, and kind of sweet. I have my issues with When A Man Loves A Woman (huge, confusing cast; flat characters; graphic sex, etc.), but overall, it's not too bad. Still, my opinion can be summed up in the immortal words of Randy Jackson: "I don't know. I don't know, dawg. This one was just okay for me."

Grade: C


  1. Greetings Katherine,

    I've been traveling the Information Highway with LaConnie Taylor Jones and I stopped by to check out your take on her new release. Despite your pet peeves with romances in general and all the problems you had with her novel, I appreciate you giving her novel a try and sharing your thoughts (good and bad) about it. Your review gives validity to Ranganathan Law #3 and #2 which says - every book its reader; every reader his (or her) book.

    Your blog is wonderful. Take care and continued happy reading!

  2. Hi Katherine:

    Many thanks for the review!!!


  3. Hi thegrits - My name is actually Susan - LOL! I've never heard of Ranganathan law, but I agree with it - every reader likes something different. That's why it's so great that there are so many different kinds of books out there.

    BTW: I enjoyed checking out Looks like a great business.

    Hi LaConnie - You're welcome. Like I said, I was shocked that I actually enjoyed your book, considering my opinion of romance novels! Good luck with the rest of your tour.


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