Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Review: Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O'Keefe

Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O'Keefe
published by Random House Publishing (Bantam Books) in January 2013

Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar in a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.

Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whiskey eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.
Genre: Contemporary romance, Sports romance
Series: Crooked Creek Ranch, Book #3

The Story: Billy Wilkins and Madelyn Cornish grew up together in a bad part of Pittsburgh. They were neighbors, best friends, high school sweethearts and husband and wife. Unfortunately, they married too young, unprepared for Billy's stardom rise in the NHL. While Billy was realizing his dreams, Maddy felt like she was losing hers along with her identity... which is why, 14 years later, she is adamant not to have Billy on her TV morning show, especially since everyone is unaware of their shared past.

As fate would have it, the situation is now reverse. Maddy is the one on her way to realizing her dream: making on the national network, while Billy's career is hanging by a thread. After a bad fight, Billy is in need of good press and an on-air makeover seems the perfect solution. Billy does not care about his image, but he will jump at the opportunity to get close to Maddy once again. Finding themselves inadvertently in the same city, Billy realizes that his one regret was losing Maddy and what they had... And he'll do whatever to get it back, even if it means a make-over. But the last thing he expected when he signed up for the gig was for his niece and nephew - with whom he had now contact - to show up, in need of a parent. Can Billy step it up for family? And will Maddy be by his side?

My Opinion: In the past couple of years, I've heard a lot of good about Ms O'Keefe and I've been meaning to give her a try. When Can't Buy Me Love - the first installment of this series - came out, I thought that would be the perfect opportunity as I do prefer longer book. However, I'm not a huge fan of hockey (I know, I'm a bad Canadian LOL) and the blurb just wasn't pulling me in. Then, everyone said how they didn't like the sister which turned out to be the heroine of the second book, Can't Hurry Love, so I skipped that one too... which brings us to Crazy Thing Called Love. Seems like the stars finally aligned for me to pick this one up and oh boy, am I glad I did!!

I really enjoyed Crazy Thing Called Love. I thought everything about the book was well-done. I really liked Billy and Maddy as a couple, but also as individuals - well at least Billy. I had difficulty connecting with Maddy because she was the main conflict of romance. She was the one who kept pulling back because she was afraid she'd lose herself again, be in Billy's shadow. The thing is, Maddy had worked so hard to change, to become a sophisticated woman and it worked. She wasn't the newly married, young adult that she was 14 years ago and therefore, I feel the risk of losing herself wouldn't have happened. But it seemed like she forgot that she wasn't the same person. I could understand at first, but after a while, it just became tiring. Just like the fact she wanted to keep their broken marriage a secret... But the thing is, it's so easy to uncover! If anyone really wanted to find out, it wouldn't have been very difficult. Nonetheless, I thought Maddy was an interesting heroine with some depth. Billy was also a good hero. He appeared to be the typical jock, but seriously, I think he was the one with the best insight on things. Maddy was too worried with superficial stuff whereas Billy really cared about what should matter in life: family and love. The changes that Billy has undergone through his life weren't as obvious as Maddy, but they were there and it made him a subtle character which was interesting and a nice change :)

The romance also worked for me. I thought Billy and Maddy, with their shared background and experience, really worked as a sweetheart couple. They did go through a lot together - not all of it painful, a lot of first times :) - and as a result, I thought it was believable that 14 years later, Billy would go after Maddy again, that he'd tried to win her back. They had really good chemistry together. The one thing I found unfortunate is that Billy was a bit too quick to forgive Maddy. I wished she had groveled a bit more, although at the end of the book, she does do the grand gesture and that was a good one :)

Reading the blurb, I really didn't expect the book to have any children in it... but I enjoyed the inclusion of the kids. It was great to see Billy deal with them and he was really good :) Also, they served as a reminder of Billy and Maddy's past and I think they really had their place in the story.

Finally, I liked that the hockey aspect of the book didn't overtake the whole story. I think it was well handled... although there's a few things that did make my eyebrow raise LOL.

My Grade: B+. Overall, Crazy Thing Called Love was a very enjoyable story and I'm really glad I read it :)