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3 Stars / Contemporary / Review

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father…not to mention tall and sexy. He’s everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise’s romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can’t help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true…

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she’s inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he’s not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it’s going to be to walk away…

Title:The Good Ones
Author:Jenn McKinlay
Series:Happily Ever After Series (Book 1)
Pages:336
Category / Genre(s):Contemporary
Trope(s):Cowboy Romance
Small Town Romance
Point of View:
Location:US
HEA:✔️
Release Date:5th February, 2019
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Mixed feelings about this book

This is the first book of Jenn McKinlay’s that I have read and I can definitely see myself picking up others from her in the future – especially the next book in this series. Despite this, I had very mixed feelings about this particular book.

Firstly, the book is a standalone novel and the first in the Happily Ever After series. I’m hoping that the next book, The Christmas Keeper, features Savy and Quino who popped up – and shot major sparks off each other – in this book.

The writing is snappy and engaging and it was absolutely no trouble to keep those pages turning. And – oh boy – the banter was top notch. It really was applause-worthy and I felt myself laughing, nodding and appreciating the genius of Ms McKinlay’s gift of the dialogue.

The premise, too, had me rubbing my hands together with glee. Dreams of opening a bookshop (with a turret, no less) made my heart go pitty pat.

So what was it that stopped this book from getting higher than a 3 star rating? Sadly – it was the relationship between Ryder and Maisy. To be honest, I wasn’t sure – in the beginning at least – that they were right for each other.

Ryder meets Maisy and, due to her appearance and small stature, thinks her a college student and barely older than his teenage daughter. He actually thinks this and doesn’t amend his perception for quite some time (two or three meetings and much interaction, I think it was). He then is a wee bit rude about her age so she corrects him – and suddenly he’s all over the lust he feels for her. Yet not 5 minutes beforehand he thought she was a kid. And I’m supposed to cheer for this relationship? It made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, if I’m honest.

“Dreams of opening a bookshop (with a turret, no less) made my heart go pitty pat.”

At the same time, Maisy flirts with Ryder, lusts after Ryder and etc – all the while thinking he’s married. Girl – when you find out a man is off limits – you shut it down. Not feeling the love for Maisy with this kind of activity, even if nothing happened between them at this point. But to give Maisy her due, Ryder was still wearing his wedding ring. We get some story about him not wanting the attention of other women and he doesn’t want a relationship so wears his ring. I didn’t buy it and I felt like there was some sort of emotional cheating going on until everything was explained. But by then, it was stuck in my head.

With that start it took me a looooong time to get into this book and to actually cheer for the characters. It didn’t help that it’s definitely more of a meandering type of read rather than action packed. But I started to get over my initial impressions of the characters and I can say I liked them at the half-way point. Loved them at about 75%.

Ryder was a good hero even if he hadn’t ever heard of Jane Austen. (No, really). He redeemed himself by the end of the book though. And while I’m not one to go gaga over a man with a kid – the relationship between Ryder and Perry was cute as a button and did make me like him just a little bit more.

And the way that Maisy was written was just wonderful. Authors often have a hard time writing quirky characters and have them come across as a normal person. In this case Maisy had quirks and she owned them – and she felt as real as you and me. I liked her a lot.

Ryder and Maisy together was also a great combo. They balanced each other out and I was happy for them to reach their happily ever after together. Despite a rocky start for all of us.

As I said, I had mixed feelings about this book. There were lots of good points but the first meeting(s) of Ryder and Maisy really dampened things for me for a while. I am keen to read more about the other characters we’re introduced to so I will be keeping my eyes on the Happily Ever After series if nothing more than to get some tips on how to open a romance bookstore! 3 stars.

Jenn is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of several mystery and romance series and will be debuting a stand alone romantic comedy in July 2020 entitled PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband’s guitars.

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