Monday, August 25, 2014

Be My Hero, by Linda Kage - Release Day Review


Eva Mercer’s a mess. She’s single, nineteen, seven months pregnant, and living off the good graces of her cousin. In the midst of a complete attitude overhaul—or at least trying to change—the last thing she wants to think about is men. She’s done with them. For good. Or at least she was until Pick.

For ten years, Pick Ryan has dreamed about this girl. He knows how she smells, what it’s like to hold her in his arms, how she tastes when he kisses her. But he’s never actually met her. He doesn’t even know her name. He just knows she’s the one. It’s his brand of luck that she would walk into the bar where he works on the very day he gets married to someone else.

Pick and Eva come from completely different worlds, and yet the connection they share draws them together too tightly to matter. Nothing can keep them apart—except maybe a three-month-old boy whose life depends on just that. And so, their love becomes forbidden.

Fred's Notes

So, yeah, I always like to do some research when I'm doing a review, and I thought it would be fun to look up the word "hero," since it's become kind of generic for "the good guy," or sometimes even just the male MC, regardless of his nature.  Per Wikipedia (only willing to take this research thing so far, lol) "[a]ccording to Eric Partridge in Origins, the Greek word Hērōs "is akin to" the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. Partridge concludes, "The basic sense of ... hero would therefore be 'protector'."  Well, that suits Patrick Jason Ryan (aka "Pick,") right down to the ground.  From the get-go of this dramatic, sometimes dark, but always sweet story, he's out there in full on defender mode, extending his protective instincts on behalf of the small, the abused and the vulnerable.  It doesn't always work out that well for him, and he's got the scars, dents and demerits to prove it, but nothing is gonna deter that big ole heart of his.  The metal he's sporting might be piercings, rather than shining armor, but there's no mistaking his nature, once his hero sense is activated by the predicament of the defenseless in distress.

But hoo-boy, this here Pick fellow sure doesn't look like a hero, right?  Okay, he's handsome enough (it is a romance, c'mon), but in an unconventional way, with a face full of "hollow dips and lines," punctuated by the aforementioned piercings.  And his rap sheet doesn't add a lot of luster to his resume either.  But that's the beauty of this story (and this whole awesome series, really) - nothing is what it seems at first blush.   One of the things I love about Linda's imaginative stories is that they always have more twists than a bag of Twizzlers.  Eva's pregnant (this happens a lot in Lindaland, btw), but she's not with, or in love with, the baby-daddy.  And Pick's married, but he's not in love with, or even with, his "wife."  And those very basic premises of the plot are not the only surprises Linda has up her apparently capacious sleeves. It turns out there's a reason Eva is so distrustful of men, there's a reason Pick falls so hard for her at first sight, and there's a reason she needs a hero, just when he's around to "pick" up the pieces.  

I didn't especially like Eva back in The Price of A Kiss, the delightful first book in this series.  She was kind of a B, and a conniving one at that, not above sabotaging her cousin Reese's happiness just for ... well, for whatever.  But there's so much more to her story than that, it turns out, and her believable growth as a character and person is one of the real delights of this read.  Linda has a knack for keeping it fresh and real feeling - I think it comes from her seeming effortless ability to play with genre conventions in a way that's fun and still emotionally impactful.  And no doubt about it, this book is an emotional read at times, as these two fatefully and fitfully find their way into each other's wary and war-weary arms.  Some dark events undergird and permeate this read, but I think they're handled sensitively and with the gravitas and respect they deserve.   Reading Linda reminds me a bit of  Shakespeare's comedies, where misunderstandings, secrets, hidden identities, overheard conversations taken the wrong way, and a host of other events are nonetheless unable to keep two soul-mates apart.  There's a palpable sense of relief and cathartic closure as our two heroes (that's right, they both deserve that title) overcome every crazy obstacle fate (and Linda) throw at them (sorry if this is a spoiler, but if it is you're in the wrong genre my friend).    As Pick so eloquently says at one point, "My happily fucking ever after certainly wasn't going to come to me, so I guess I'd have to keep working my ass off to make up one of my own."  Well said, sir, and well done.  A hero's salute to you, and to the enjoyment of reading the latest installment of this clever, rich and rewarding series.

Who's That Girl?

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my
husband, daughter, and our nine cuckoo clocks. My life's been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing's always been a major part my world, and I'm so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers.  (That's Linda's officical bio - I happen to know that she's also a librarian, which makes her all the more awesome and admirable!) 

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Thanks so much to Tasty Books Tours for including me in this awesome celebration!

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