BOOK REVIEW⎜A Little Too Late by Staci Hart

MY RATING

And another single dad for me this week!

So this is the part where I confess having a slight obsession with the romance single dad’s trope.
And this is the moment where I realize my addiction got the best of me.

It didn’t quite hit the spot this time, I expected something sweet but had many issues with the contrived connection both characters seemed to have… A little too…easy.

I’ve seen rave reviews about it, so be sure to check them out, it could be that I’m just becoming jaded and *too* damn cynical! You know whats with my reading moods…!

Book Infos

For nine long months, I’ve been fighting to figure out how to be a single dad, how to be alone.

For nine long months, I’ve been failing.

When Hannah walked through the door, I took my first breath since I’d found myself on my own. She slipped into our lives effortlessly, showing me what I’ve been missing all these years. Because Hannah made me smile when I thought I’d packed the notion of happiness away with my wedding album.

She was only supposed to be the nanny, but she’s so much more.
The day my wife left should have been the worst day of my life, but it wasn’t. It was when Hannah walked away, taking my heart with her.

*This contemporary romance features Charlie from A Thousand Letters*

Author : Staci Hart
Title : A Little Too Late
Series : 

Number of pages : 250
Publisher : Self Pub
Release Date :  October 24th, 2017
Genre : Contemporary.

My Review

So this is the part where I confess having a slight obsession with the romance single dad’s trope.
And this is the moment where I realize my addiction got the best of me.

I was so excited about this book when the author started sharing teasers and snippets about it, I was convinced it would put put me in bookish book heaven.

I mean, Single dad falling for the nanny, two adorable kids… I kind of expected a sweet romance here.

If you’re going into this wishing for a hot dad falling for the sweet nanny, need your angst levels revved up and a quick read, this book is for you.

One one hand, A Little Too Late delivered exactly what it promised on paper, an attractive dad falling for the au pair nanny.

What I didn’t expect on the other hand was the lack of build between the main characters for me to even get a chance to connect with any of them and the amount of drama infused in a story that I hoped was a sweet little ride through romancelandia.

Lord the drama.
But let’s keep the drama for a little… later.

I’m going to address what failed to make me connect with either main characters in this book. If you’re not into reading anything negative about books. The short version is : This book wasn’t for me.

If you want to know what buggered me, here you go :

Honestly I started A Little Too Late feeling… giddy with excitement! Seriously excited over it.

It didn’t last long though, after reading what  had lead Hannahour twenty-two years old au pair—leaving her previous lace of employment, I’m going to be honest here. I judged. Hard.

I judged her for choosing to flee and keep her incident silent. (spoiler: <The dad of the family she au-paired for sexually harassed and assaulted her. She just decided to leave the morning after. He didn’t rape her but STILL.) I know many victims do  so. It’s not a choice really, but a real psychological defense issue, I get it. But here and then, I judged my fictional character hard and thought it didn’t mean any sense to just try to keep the incident quiet>. Anyway, moving on.

She luckily finds another job a few days later, and meets Charlie’s family. He’s a single dad, two kids, the mom left them for various reasons—which I felt were very much contrived and oh so possibly cliché— a little less than a year ago.

Hannah’s characterization was… flawless. Really. Staci Hart did a brilliant job at portraying a quintessential young angel. As a romance reader, I felt envious of Hannah. As a woman, I felt downright jealous.  And as a mom I felt like a total failure. As a whole, I felt extremely begrudging of every quality she had. And she had them all. It’s simple really, in a dictionary, look up for the word perfect, you’ll see a picture of Hannah the nanny next to the definition.

So there is that. I felt threatened as a woman by a fictional character. Instead of looking up to her as a woman, Hannah perfectness made me feel insecure. How is that for not connecting with a main character?

From afar, Charlie, our older (not sure how much older than Hannah he was, she was twenty two) hero and single dad of two cute kids had everything to make me melt. But somehow… The more I learned about the guy, the more I felt some kind of unease. He was… a complete contradiction.

We learn early in the book why his wife left him to care for their two young kids (one is five-years old, the other two-years old maybe?) and as she is pointed at for being the only one at fault, we’re left with no choice but to side up with Charlie. Let’s comfort the hot single dad.

Except… A few things didn’t add up for me. During almost a whole year left with both his kids we’re told he still doesn’t know about something as simple as… their nightly routine. He’s portrayed as a caring and loving dad but can’t make time to give ONE single bath in a year of time. I mean really? Yes, he works A LOT. But in a year of time surely you had a few days with your children? What about the years prior their mom left them? Where was Charlie then? As a reader, a woman and a mom, I felt… dumbfounded. But again, moving on.

Hannah is there now and Charlie feels inspired by her to be a better dad. Yes you heard me, basically he was an absent dad because his wife didn’t inspire him to be a better one. That’s just how I read what I was presented with and for me Charlie was maybe just a little… too late realizing he had children to take care of. But here comes waltzing this modern dutch Mary Poppins baking pastries and singing tunes and Charlie finally open his eyes.

Welcome to my jaded and cynical mind.

So about the drama… 

Then there was the issue of the many—too many—strained and forced dramatic situations.
The ex employer turned stalker.
The ex evil wife comes back with a vengeance.
The total lack of communication between both MCs.
The mistrust between the MCs.
The fighting in front of the kids.
The recurring fleeing pattern Hannah seemed to be fond about. (But she’s young so it may excuse her immature reaction, not so perfect after all!)
The constant and only excuse about working too much whenever Charlie wouldn’t fill his fatherly obligations. (But he could get off work early for a quickie :/ Men! )

The whole plot was very simplistic but soaking into so much unnecessary angst and drama… It ruined the book for me I’m afraid. We’re far from the sweet and romantic read I had in mind. But I know what we say about expectations. Always lower them. Damn.

A word about the author’s writing, throughout all my struggles to get into this story, I really enjoyed the flowing writing and beautiful words Staci Hart infused into A Little Too Late. I do enjoy her prose and I did in previous books so I’m bummed about my complete lack of attention for this one. 

I’m going to end this review—which I guess reads very much like a rant at this point— by saying that I truly enjoyed a couple of Staci Hart’s books in the past. Really loved them even. So while I can’t heartily recommend this “single dad falls for the nanny” story, what about a best friends to lovers trope? Nerds and Geeks? Wasted Words and Chaser were both 5 stars for me and I heard great things about A Thousand Letters which is on my TBR pile already. 

EXCERPT
“A Little Too Late” by Staci Hart. ©

Excerpt “A Little Too Late” by Staci Hart. ©

CHARLIE

The next morning, I was up and in my office before anyone was awake, attacking my work with newfound enthusiasm and a plan in mind. Because I wanted to feel like I’d felt the night before in the kitchen again, and there was only one way to get that back.

Today, I would take a few breaks and be present. Today, I would change, work be damned. Today would mark the first real attempt. Because change wouldn’t happen on its own. I had to make it happen. And to make it happen, I would have to put boundaries in place, starting with my weekends.

I checked the clock around eleven that morning and closed my laptop, pushing away from my desk and heading up the stairs in search of my children.

When I rounded the corner into the kitchen, I found them sitting at the table with their lunches. And when they saw me, their smiles validated my grand plans with unwavering certainty.

“Hey, guys,” I said, smiling back as I walked over to them, ruffling Sammy’s hair when I passed him.

“Hi, Daddy,” he said.

Maven’s mouth was full, so she just waved, and Hannah smiled at me from the island where she was setting up a spread for sandwiches.

I snagged a grape off Maven’s plate and popped it into my mouth. She handed me another, which I accepted.

“Thanks, pumpkin.”

“Are you done working?” Sammy asked hopefully.

“’Fraid not, bud. But I thought I’d come have lunch with you. Is that okay?”

“Yeah! Want a Nilla Wafer?”

“Psh, obviously. And I thought we could play for a little bit before I have to get back to work. What do you say?”

He nodded, grinning. “We can play trucks! You be the bulldozer and I’ll be the tractor and Maven can be the monster truck and Hannah can be the ambulance because she helps people.”

“Perfect,” I said on a chuckle.

A burst of color caught my eye. A vase on the windowsill behind the table held a spray of red and orange tulips.

“Those are beautiful,” I said, gesturing to them. “Where did they come from?”

“Oh, I picked them up this morning,” Hannah said with that ever-present smile.

“Feeling homesick?”

“Always a little. But I love having fresh flowers in the house, something bright and delicate and alive. Well, maybe not alive anymore, but it feels alive, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” I said as I moved to her side.

“Can I make you a sandwich?” Hannah asked.

“Nah, I think I can manage, thanks. How’s it going this morning?”

“It’s good. We went to the park this morning.”

“I rode my bike!” Sammy crowed.

“Did you? No bumps or scrapes?”

“Nope!”

“I’m impressed. Maybe next time I can come too,” I said, hoping it was something I could deliver as I reached into the bread bag for a stack.

Hannah turned to the cupboard, returning with a plate for me.

“Thank you.”

She was still smiling, standing at my side, assembling her sandwich. It was so mundane, something completely and utterly boring, but like the weirdo that I was, I found myself watching her hands as she folded cold cuts. We worked around each other—not that it was complicated, but there was a sort of rhythm between us, a natural pace wherein I used what she wasn’t and finished just as she needed what I had. I wasn’t sure why I noticed it, but I did, and I appreciated the simple synchronicity of the moment, a breath where things were easy.

I passed her the mustard as she handed me the ham. “So, I was thinking …” I paused.

“Oh, were you?” She glanced over at me with a hint of mirth at the corners of her lips.

“I know. I almost sprained something.”

Hannah laughed gently.

“If it’s okay, I think I’d like to try to handle bedtime tonight.”

“Of course it’s okay; they’re your children.” That time, her laughter was sweet.

“Do you … would you … do you think you could maybe …”

She shifted to face me, her eyes full of encouragement.

“Would you mind … helping me?”

Hannah nodded, her smile opening up. “That’s what I’m here for. Just let me know what you’d like me to do.”

I smiled back. “I’m sorry. I know it sounds stupid. I just … I haven’t done this much on my own, but I’d like to start.”

Her eyes softened, caught by slanting light, lighting up with sunshine. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” she said simply.

I didn’t speak.

“There’s no right or wrong, and they don’t care about anything other than you being there. It’s simple enough; you only have to try.”

“Is it really that easy?”

“It really is. You’ll see.” She reached for my arm and gave it a squeeze that wasn’t meant to be anything but friendly but held something more, something in the pressure in her fingertips and the depths of her eyes.

It was something I did my very best to ignore. But I felt the heat of those fingertips long after they were gone, even as we sat across the table from each other eating lunch, the tulips in the vase behind her bowing their long heads as the sunlight illuminated them, exposing what was hidden within their petals.

Author Bio & Links

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey. 

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

cover-ebook-ATL-sm-1284x2048

FREE (for a limited time)

Grab on AMZ
Tags from the story

Your turn, say your piece :