Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review: "Should've Been You" by Nicole McLaughlin

Should've Been You (Man Enough #3) Nicole McLaughlin
Date Finished: December 23, 2017
Date Published: January 30, 2018
ISBN: 9781250120090
Genre: Romance (Contemporary)
Source: Netgalley
Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Series romance, love triangles

Summary:
National Guardsman Jase Beckford wants to live a quiet life raising cattle and taking care of his mother. His childhood friend and neighbor Hannah is still his best friend, but when he walks into the Walters house one morning and sees her twin sister Becca for the first time in five years, he wonders if he missed out on something special.

Becca Walters has nursed a secret crush on Jase since childhood, but he always preferred Hannah, so she buried her feelings assuming her sister and Jase would one day turn their flirtation into a real relationship. And this Christmas, she is anticipating a proposal of her own, so Jase’s reappearance in her life doesn’t mean anything. Much. Okay, maybe more than Becca would like to admit.


However, when Becca’s sister gets engaged to someone who’s not Jase, Becca and Jase find themselves spending more together. And when secrets are revealed, suddenly those dormant feelings come back to life; but is the possibility of something between them worth risking the happiness of everyone they love?

My Thoughts:
Let's talk about romance catnip, shall we?  Here we have a book that is a cross between a second-chance romance and an "un-unrequited" love story and, honestly, this is the most catnip-y idea I've come across.

And this book does deliver, on some levels.  The basis of Jase having a secret crush on Becca, but also telling himself he's in love with Hannah, while Becca has a secret crush on him and Hannah feels possessive towards him is tantalizing, and McLaughlin sets it up well.  I also felt that both Becca and Jase were realistically conflicted about this situation, which is necessary for this to work.

I enjoyed the world that McLaughlin creates.  This is the third book in a series that I had not read, which made me apprehensive. I'm "that" reader who needs to starts series at the beginning, but this book did a fairly good job of standing alone.  There was only one scene, including Jase's friends (whom, I assuming, were subjects of earlier books) that I felt I was missing something--and even that was minor.

There were, however, things that bothered me.  I found Jase's and Becca's feelings, which were hidden from each other for almost two decades, a little hard to believe.  On Jase's side, it worked a little better as it seemed that he had directed his feelings about Becca to Hannah, but Becca came off a bit desperate to me.  I also felt that the characters were unrealistically self-aware.  By that, they seemed to have an usual awareness of what their feelings were and why they had them.  Yes, there are people like that--but those people would never find themselves in Jase and Becca's situation.  I also felt that, because these characters were that way, McLaughlin lost out on some interesting story opportunities when she opted to tell instead of show.

All in all, though, this was a pleasant book to read.  Nicole McLaughlin is a new author to me and I'd welcome the chance to read more of her books.

I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.



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