By Your Side had all the elements to be a great read. Alpha male, feisty heroine, neighbors to lovers… Or so the blurb promised. This debut novel by Karla Sorensen unfortunately didn’t hold my attention. 🙁
He needs to open up.
Jake Miller likes his life. It’s simple and quiet. Solitary. He’s taking the last thing his mother truly cared about before she died, the properties she owned, and making them his purpose. His time in the Army hadn’t allowed him to be there for her before, but this is something he can do now. Just him and his dog. Exactly how he wants it. Until her, his first tenant. With her innate openness and blinding smiles, the opposite of everything he thought he could possibly want.
She needs to grow up.
Casey Steadman has less to show for her twenty-nine years than she’d hoped. No white picket fence. No 2.5 kids. And definitely no loving husband. Just a few lukewarm relationships, an exceedingly crappy apartment, and a fabulous shoe collection (and the credit card debt to prove it). Moving into her new place is one big, high heeled step towards a new life. The stable, make-boring-mature-decisions kind of life that she needs to be able to prove to her family that she can live. What she wasn’t planning on was her hotter-than-Hades new landlord.
Sparks are a-flying, and they’re the kind that can only come from a stiletto-loving, dog-hating, budget-repelling, relentlessly optimistic, youngest of five becoming the tenant and next door neighbor to a stoically silent, slightly pessimistic, ‘my only friend is my dog’, only child and former Army Ranger. Casey and Jake are total opposites. But when they come together, it just might be true love.
Ok I’m going to be honest (as ever) and give this one a 2 stars encouragement.
I picked this one at an attractive price ($0.99) after the author contacted me for a review, and quite frankly this should have been a perfect read for me. Well, based on the synopsis, anyway.
Unfortunately, what the blurb promised never happened, Neighbors to Lovers trope, mixing in Enemies to Lovers, Army Hero, Sassy Heroine, a supporting and loving family with 4 protective brothers. ALL the aforementioned are favorite tropes of mine. ALL of them.
There was lot of ideas, and maybe too much of them while the story never really “started”. It seems all too forced, the characters sharing no chemistry at all in my opinion. I don’t mind the absence of steam in my Contemporary Romances, but for 2 characters living next to each other, I never felt any sparks between them, I was told that there was some kind of attraction but it never showed. Even when the author introduced an incentive for the heroine to get jealous, it fell flat.
The author referred to Jake, the military hero, as an “alpha male”. In my book, an alpha male, even struggling with his feelings and commitments issues, will SHOW possessiveness toward the woman he covets.
But Jake seemed unfazed most of the time, and I don’t mean only by the cold shoulder and facade he was wearing on purpose, I’m talking about his general attitude, even in his Pov, I never get from him an Alpha Hero vibe.
The pace was very slow and despite the profusion of drama and new developments the author tried to throw in, the story never hold my attention.
I keep in mind that this is a debut novel, but as a romance reader, I read every drama and their lamas out there, so reading them all packed in this book was really overwhelming, and I had to (finally) close the book at 87% after rolling my eyes one time too many.
To conclude, while this started with a good idea, By Your Side lost me at the excess of manufactured drama, lack of chemistry and dynamic. The ingredients were there, but the execution failed to satisfy this romance reader. Leaving a positive note about all the their relationship with Remy. Yes, I loved “him”!
(And yes I was totally picturing myself cuddling with the dog. :/ )