Series: Big Girls Panties #1
Author: Carter Ashby
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 304
Published: November 18, 2014
For Zoey Odell, the definition of family is her two best friends, Maya and Addy. So when Maya makes the decision to leave her abusive husband, Zoey is only too happy to lavish her with support and a temporary home. Unfortunately, taking in her best friend also means seeing more of that no good do-gooder, Kellen Bradley.
For Kellen, the definition of family has just been shattered. After finding out that his brother is an abusive monster, he can’t help but question himself and his parents. The one thing he knows for certain is that he’ll do anything to take care of his sister-in-law and her children. For them, he would walk into gunfire, pass through the flames of hell…even go head-to-head with Zoey Odell.
Zoey has no intention of letting him in, but Kellen is done taking her crap. Life has just gotten real and he’s more than ready to shed his nice-guy image. When he finally stands up to her, Zoey starts seeing him in a new light. As the attraction turns mutual, she finds it more and more difficult to hide behind her carefully formed walls. And Kellen is finding himself more and more driven to tear those walls down.
Zoey and The Nice Guy is a story about a young woman named Zoey who has a job, a place of her own, two best friends since high school, and Kellen, aka The Nice Guy, who is a young man with his own freelance job, his own place, his own one friend and sister in law. When I read the synopsis of this book-and what can I say, when I looked at the cover- I had such high expectations. I expected a funny, bickering, enemies to lovers story but I’m very sad to say that I got none of that. This book had touched so many real life issues but completely failed to give them the necessary attention and care that they needed. A woman’s physical and sexual abuse was swept under the rug for the sake of Zoey and Kellen’s romance, a terrible mother and her daughter’s abandonment issues were laughed off, and as much as they were made out to be, I saw no real friendship between Zoey and her two best friends, at least not my idea of friendship.
Zoey was a difficult woman to like. She was selfish, she had serious anger issues and an attitude to try even the most patient person. She didn’t have a father, and her relationship with her mother was a complete and utter mess, and not just because her mother was no mother material at all and extremely selfish, but because the subplot about their relationship was all over the place. I know these things in real life take a lot more time than it takes me to read a few hundred pages to resolve, but if a book I’m reading is dealing with a delicate and important issue, one that has potential to give a lesson, I’d want that issue resolved. I’d want for the hero and the heroine-or whoever is going through this- to come to terms with their situation, to realize their mistakes if there are any, to want to change and get better, and finally to take the steps necessary to begin the healing process. None of this happened in this book. Every issue, every delicate issue that was thrown in the story was handled roughly and uncaringly that I was taken aback, to be honest. With every page I expected some improvement, be it about one of Zoey’s friends-and Kellen’s sister in law- being abused by the father of her two children, or Zoey’s dysfunctional relationship with her mother, but with every page my hopes for getting my happy and healthy ending dissipated. And in the end I was left very unsatisfied and very angry for these characters because they weren’t done. They couldn’t be.
As much as Zoey was difficult to like, Kellen was just as difficult to feel any sympathy for. He was a very nice guy, not just one who opens doors for you and actually listens when you talk, not just one who does little things to make you happy and is kind and caring, but he was also a bit of a pushover. I understand being careful around people who’re going through a tough time, but having to put up with Zoey’s childish temper tantrums and when he had enough of it, feeling guilty about finally standing up to her and letting her know how destructive and hurtful she can be, that was not the kind of hero I want to read about. I couldn’t believe that either of them had any respect for the other, and their romance didn’t convince me. It certainly didn’t feel like an ever after. So many things were left unresolved that I believe any relationship in this book can be crumpled at any minute after the book ends.
I may have sounded harsh and I don’t feel good writing these things, but I’m sad to say this book was a huge disappointment for me. I couldn’t bring myself to like the characters, the plot-and subplots- as promising as they were, were handled very poorly, so much so that I couldn’t even pay attention to the romance, and there was no character development at all by the end of the story. I sincerely hope, for the sake of the characters, that the next story will be the improvement this one needed and be much better, with more care, respect and strength.
I’m sadly adding only one spoonful of this story into my hodgepodge.
Big Girl Panties series by Carter Ashby:
- Zoey And The Nice Guy
- Maya And The Tough Guy
- Addy And The Smart Guy