Cover comment: Boring, and not related to text, but easy to buy without embarrassment
Setting: Contemporary Seattle, switching between a working class hood, a middle class suburb, and the well do to Buchanan clan (although class is never an issue for the leads)
Main characters: Elissa Towers, waitress, single mom in her mid twenties to 5 year old Zoe, with checkered past, and Walker Buchanan, early thirties, retired Marine with some PTSD and an incident in his past. His family owns 4 well known restaurants in Seattle.
Plot: Straightforward romance plot (no spies, blackmail, or paranormal elements, although there is one violent scene involving harm to the heroine and her child).
Distinctive features: None, actually.
My take in brief: This is an adequate contemporary. It reads very much like the kind of solid series romance for which the author is well known. Well written, with likable characters and believable, if less than compelling, internal conflicts for both.
Word on the Web: Positive, and author is on speedy upward trajectory. Stay tuned for more reviews.
Jane, Dear Author, B+
The Romance Reader, 3 hearts
Amazon, 4 stars after 16 reviews
I listened to Irresistable on audio, which can be an author’s best friend or worst enemy. The female narrator’s voices were indistinguishable, and she occasionally lapsed into what sounded to my ears like a very thick Long Island accent (think My Cousin Vinny), especially with flat “a” sounds like “past”, which came out “pay-ust”.
Elissa is a down on her luck single mom, estranged from her family, with an abusive druggie ex. Elissa’s sole focus in life is putting food on the table and creating a good home environment for her 5 year old daughter, Zoe. She is strong, hardworking, and honest. In addition to shame about her past, which continues to haunt her in the form of her ex, Neil, who comes around looking for cash periodically, her internal conflict is that because of poor choices in the past, she thinks any man she is attracted to must be scum.
Walker is a 15 year veteran of the USMC, who has fought in Afghanistan, seen a lot of terrible things, and is not sure what to do with his life now. His experience in the Marines has hardened him to the point where he believes he is not fit for normal life, or normal relationships. An additional internal conflict stems from an episode in his teens when he behaved badly, which haunts him, and makes him think he cannot be trusted by those who depend on him. (As an aside, I don’t know many real life service men and women who think their time in the military — even at war — has made them unfit to be spouses or parents, and I was never really sure why Walker thought this.)
Irresistable is the mostly believable story of these two meeting (Walker moves in upstairs) and working through their conflicts together and apart. These two people begin as loners, and find each other partly through repairing relationships with other people in their lives. I am not sure why it is called Irresistable, since the only character who uses the term is Walker’s sister Dani, in reference to herself! The novel avoids a lot of pitfalls, like the TSTL heroine, the too-alpha male, the deus ex machina to solve their problems, etc., although every last drop was wrung out of pretty minor conflicts
I found myself a bit bored, actually, with Elissa and Walker. They didn’t really have any “dates”, so there was very little “normal” conversation — instead they were always dealing with some problem, or explaining their troubling pasts to each other. Neither of them had much in the way of personality. Certainly, Walker had no sense of humor. I’m not totally sure what attracted them to each other. They were both good looking (although I can’t tell you what they looked like — I am not sure they were ever really described) and had qualities one would seek in a mate (dependable, honest, etc.) but overall, they were very generic. There were a few sex scenes which were fine, and moved the story along in important ways.
One thing I don’t care for in Mallery’s writing is that it seems very flat. The author’s descriptions, and the way the characters talk and think, all sounded exactly the same to my ears. Sometimes Elissa would be talking and I would think “Nobody talks like that! It’s like she’s reading a newspaper!” And Elissa, Walker, and everybody else pretty much talked the same way. Of course, the Audible narrator could have helped with this.
Also, there was very little description of places, etc. I have no idea, really, what their apartments were like, or what the Buchanan restaurants were like inside. In this sense, it did not overcome some problems endemic to series romance.
However, the characters’ actions and emotions, and the way they solved problems, were mostly quite adult. The child was also really well written (I have a child close in age to Zoe), as was Elissa’s tender and protective relationship with her. There were some interesting side characters, including a feisty older neighbor, and a secondary romance that seems predictable at first but gets very interesting. It is overall a very nice story.
I purchased the third book in the series, also from Audible, and those are 16 bucks a pop, so that’s an indication of how much I liked it.