Tuesday, March 3

Review: Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins

Whew... All right, so I read this book back when it was just released... which means last November ^_^; Then, I waited for Lori to read it so we could buddy review it... which we did, back in November, and once we were done discussing it, I put the review together as I usually do... in January ^_^; and well, it's been sitting in my mailbox ever since ^_^; Sad no? I'm usually much better when it comes to buddy review, but for some reason, this one just kept slipping past me.

However, I'm glad I kept it, because I can post it now!

Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins
published by Simon & Schuster in November 2008
Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Newly divorced Roxie Treymayne is dying to find out. After years of being the perfect Southern lady, all she ended up with was a cheating husband. So she goes bombshell blond, gets a provocatively placed tattoo, and prepares to live it up as a Bad Girl. But then her mother falls ill...and Roxie is forced to return to Glory, North Carolina.

He'd Love to Know

Once the town bad boy, Nick Sheppard is now Glory's highly respected sheriff. When the hot blonde he stops for speeding turns out to be formerly prim Homecoming Queen Roxanne Treymayne, Nick doesn't quite know where to look -- though he'd like a much closer one at the tattoo peeking from her shorts.

But It Takes Two to Tango

Roxie and Nick had a steamy fling in high school, but a love affair between a Southern princess and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks was doomed from the start. Now they have a second chance. Can they get it right? Or will they just end up...the talk of the town?

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none so far

The Story: Roxie Tremayne has just divorced her husband after finding him cheating... with another man. She has come to the realization that she's wasted all those years being the perfect wife instead of living and is determined to do so now. Which explains the new hairdo, clothes, tattoo and ticket to Paris. However, her plans are disrupted when her brother Mark tells her that their mother has suffered a heart attack. Now, both have to show up at the familial house in Glory.

Nick Sheppard has left the big city to become sheriff in Glory. He's not expecting any trouble till Roxie comes back to town. The others know Roxie as the Ice Queen, but Nick knows better. However, the new Roxie is trouble and all Nick wants is quiet... his body just won't listen to him.

Nath: What did you think of Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins, Lori? Personally, I liked the storyline and the characters very much. Unfortunately, the ending was not as good and was very rushed.

Lori: I loved the first half, loved the humor, loved the secondary characters. I loved her relationship with her brother. The 2nd half fell kind of flat for me. I thought the romance fell short in the 2nd half, then she had to rush it at the end.

Nath: Let’s talk about the H/H first, since this is after all, a romance :)

I liked Roxie and I thought she was an interesting heroine. I was afraid that she’d be the helpless kind of woman after a divorce, but she wasn’t. She was independent, could think for herself and wasn’t disillusioned. You know how some of the divorcees don’t know anything about reality? That definitively wasn’t the case with Roxie and I liked that she wasn’t a Stepford wife, all nice and proper.

Nick was an interesting hero. I liked his background story... and it made it believable why he'd want to come back to such a small town to work. However, I don’t know, he was overshadowed by Roxie I think. Ms Hawkins spent too much time writing about how he lusted after Roxie and why he shouldn’t instead of developing his character.

Lori: I loved Nick in the first half, then I thought he was a totally different guy in the 2nd half. The worry about having a relationship with Roxie was just too much, even given his background, considering their past together. I felt like... enough already! Didn't you?

Anyway... as I said, I loved the 1st half, but thought the 2nd half fell quite flat for me. I thought the humor took a leave of absence in the 2nd half of the book, the love story fell flat after they slept together - once you've done someone on your desk, you don't get to have the "I don't think we should be together" conversation, IMO.

Even the old folks murder mystery fell kind of flat, although I thought it was really funny that they were smoking pot unknowingly. That cracked me up! Those Dorito munchies? Been there, done that. I loved how Nick and Roxie were so thoughtful with them. Most people wouldn't give a bunch of elderly people the time of day.

Nath: I have to say, the whole idea of a third-age group looking for adventures and trying to solve a murder was entertaining. Though I can't see Roxie and Mark's mother fitting in that group :P

Also, I do agree with you. Nick’s hesitation at having a relationship with Roxie did go on for too long. See, I think the second half would have been better if Ms Hawkins focused on the romance between Roxie and Nick. I actually didn’t like the way Roxie and Nick came together and didn’t deal with their past.

It seems to me Ms Hawkins spent too much time in the first half building up everything: the sexual tension between Roxie and Nick, the old folks group and their mischief, the whole blackmail scheme. Then, she ran out of time and pages to keep up the humor and the storyline and had to rush to give Roxie and Nick an HEA ending. Don’t you think there are many loose ends? For example, what happened to the mayor and Robin? Did they get what they deserve?

Lori: I agree that there were lots of loose ends as well. I wasn't sure if they ever solved the murder till you told me.

Nath: LOL :) I actually thought the mystery was quite clever and it was a nice twist at the end. I do think there could have been more foreshadowing about the baddie. Oh well.


Lori: All in all, I thought Ms Hawkins wrote a really funny book. I wasn't surprised that it was humorous, because her historicals have a great sense of humor and the absurd sometimes, but I was surprised at how slapstick funny it was while still maintaining a great sense of family, community, and romance.

A+ for the first half, C+ for the second half. How about you?

Nath: As you said, first half was excellent, the second half meh... I do have to say that I’m surprised my favorite part was the sibling relationship between Roxie and Mark.

Overall, this was a good first attempt at contemporary romance. Ms Hawkins handled the transition from historical to contemporary really well and has me wishing for more – particularly a sequel. That’s why I am giving Talk of the Town a B.


~ames~ said...

I've never read this author before. But that C+ for the second half of the book puts me off.

M. said...

This was my first try with with author and I was very hopeful. It ended up DNF - not because I disliked it so much, but it was due back at the library and I didn't feel engaged enough to renew it. Especially once I got to the drinking beverages out of a bedpan in an assisted living facility scene.

But so many people seem to love this author that I'd still read one of her historicals.

nath said...

Ames - I can lend you my copy if you want :) It's just unfortunate that the second half didn't live up to the first. Otherwise, this would have been a definite winner.

M. - Awww, sorry to hear this was a DNF. I am hopeful for the sequel if there is one though :)

Kristie (J) said...

Hhhhmmmm - I have this one. I started it but didn't get very far into it at all. Maybe I need to try it again.

Anonymous said...

You mean it got worse towards the end? I quit at about page 120. It was a silly story with little depth to the characters. My TBR is bursting with potentially good books, so no need finishing what doesn't start well.

nath said...

Kristie - Maybe :) I hope you'll like it :)

KarLynP - Unfortunately, yes. I thought the beginning was great though :)

ChariDee said...

I've had this book since release, but it's sat in my TBR pile. I bought it because of the cover, but can't seem to read it! Thanks for the review!

Chantal said...

I've never read anything contemporary by her, but I greatly enjoy her historicals.

Am I the only one seeing Your browser may not support display of this image in Lori's first comment?
Is there an image there for someone else?

nath said...

ChariDee - I thought the cover was very cute :D Hope you get to it soon :)

Seneca - Well it's her first contemporary LOL :) So if you haven't read this one, you haven't read any :P

Oh, I don't know why it was there. I deleted the comment, didn't have anything to do with the review ^_^;

Chantal said...

Ah, and her first attempt at a contempt doesn't seem to be going over to well.
It's like when Christina Dodd made the jump to contemporary... it didn't work. At least not for me. She writes historical so much better.