June 2008, Contemporary Romance
Avon, $7.99, 377 pages, Amazon ASIN 0061178047 Part of a series
Iíve enjoyed Rachel Gibsonís series featuring four writer friends and the wrap up, Not Another Bad Date, is no exception.
Is fantasy writer Adele Harris cursed? Since all her dates seem to turn bad in the most bizarre of ways, Adele is starting to think so. Still, sheís got other things to think about when her pregnant sister calls from their Texas hometown with the news that her husband left her for a younger woman and sheís now on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. With her perfect sister's life now in perfect ruins, itís back to Texas Adele goes to hold down the fort and take care of her 13-year-old niece until her sister is back on her feet.
At the same time, Adele prepares to face her own demon: The bitch who tormented her in high school and succeeded in taking away the only man she ever loved, college football hero Zach Zematis. All those years later, Adele believes that Zach and said bitch are still living their own hellish version of an HEA.
What Adele doesnít know is that she really is cursed and that curse was placed upon her two years earlier by said bitch following her death in a car accident. It seems that in order to get into heaven, the bitch has to right the wrong she did Adele all those years ago by allowing her to find happiness with Zach. Since the bitchís chances of getting into heaven wonít be realized if Adele ends up with somebody else, all those inexplicably bad dates are the end result.
Of course, good guy Zach never got over Adele either and the former pro football player, now working as a high school coach and raising his own young daughter alone, is stunned when Adele shows up to pick up her niece from a sleepover at his home.
To be honest, the whole cursed thing was the weakest element of this book for me which works far better as a straightforward romance featuring two likable people with a sad history. Fortunately, Ms. Gibson gets in and out of the cursing details with a minimum of fuss and devotes most of her time to the romance.
Rachel Gibson's prose flows so smoothly that her storytelling seems effortless. Iíve been cursed in my own way lately with more than a few bad books and it takes a great deal of skill and talent to make a story flow this seamlessly. Adele and Zach always seem real, niece Kendra is a believable kid coping with some tough events in her young life, and the sister character never creeps into a caricature. The same canít be said for the dead bitch, but, as I said Ms. Gibson gets in and out of this plot angle so quickly that it didnít detract in any major way from my enjoyment of the book.
Iíve noticed that Rachel Gibson seems to have a wide range of readers of almost every age, something I think is pretty unique for an author these days. (My own niece is a big fan.) No Bad Dates is yet another winner for the author and, whether youíre 18 or 65, thereís a very good chance youíll find something to enjoy in this one. I certainly did.
-- Sandy Coleman
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