Tuesday, February 4, 2014

#7 [2014/CBR6] "Hotshot" by Julie Garwood

I've been a little disappointed in the last couple of books I've read by Julie Garwood, but she's still one of my go-to authors. I just can't give her up quite yet, so I picked up her latest book, Hotshot (2013) as soon as I was able to get my hands on it.

I'm such a sucker for the strong, protective type and this tends to be Garwood's favorite heroes, which works out for both of us. In Hotshot, we have Finn MacBain, an Olympic swimmer turned lawyer and FBI agent, someone who is both ridiculously good looking, single, honorable, and everything else that's important. Peyton Lockhart [these names have gone so far beyond subtle, they make me squirm--a swimmer named Finn? Lockhart?] has known Finn since she was a little girl when he saved her from drowning in her swimming pool.* She is also ridiculously good looking and single. She runs into him again at his brother's wedding, and Finn ends up helping her when her ex-boss continues to harass/threaten her after she quits. In addition, Peyton's uncle offers Peyton and her two sisters a resort he owns in Florida: if they can make a 20% profit after one year, he will give them the resort. The sisters are eager to accept their uncle's offer.

I'd like to start with the positive, since I, for the most part, enjoyed reading this book. Give me a little danger, and a strong, sexy man to help our heroine and there's not too much you can do to make me dislike the book. In that sense, Garwood succeeded. I liked the two characters together and I'm glad they got their happily ever after. This made me overlook some of the other aspects of this book that could have been problematic.

Now, if you don't swoon as soon as a dreamy FBI agent appears on scene, you might have some more significant issues with the rest of the book. The characters were one dimensional--either perfect, or perfectly evil--most of them were pretty unrealistic. The same thing goes with the plot. The beginnings of the sexual harassment story were disturbing, and then it jumped right into attempted murder. I also wish I had a rich uncle as generous and creative in his presents as Peyton's, but it did give the story a nice setting.

I was surprised by how old fashioned this story felt. Peyton is in her mid-twenties, but she is a virgin. She apparently had some mysterious connection with Finn ever since he saved her as a child--something that was uncomfortably reminiscent of the imprinting between Jacob and Bella's weirdly named child. As far as Peyton, she is likable and resourceful, but she doesn't do too much besides cook. And even when her uncle gave the running of the resort to Peyton and her two sisters, he left in charge a [male] manager who would keep them from doing anything too stupid. I realize that the sisters had limited experience in managing a resort, but this felt patronizing at best, especially with the way the uncle had set it up.

Finally, Finn's ridiculous non-reasoning for staying away from Peyton was an unbelievable plot point to try to drag out their happily ever after a little longer. It was formulaic and unconvincing and may have been the worst part of the book.

* The public safety person inside of me feels the need to mention that paramedics would never--unless they wanted to get fired--simply leave a child who had just drowned and been resuscitated, without taking her to the hospital for further evaluation.

**This cover is the Australian version, which I preferred to the U.S. version.

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