Review: Needs A Little TLC

cover-needs a little tlcTitle: Needs a Little TLC
Author: Inés Saint
Series: Spinning Hills #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel
Available: Sept 15th


In Spinning Hills, Ohio, “quirky” is a good thing—especially the charming houses that line the streets. One by one, the Amador brothers are restoring them, committed to a new beginning for the old-fashioned town. But they’re learning that every house needs a heart to be a home…

Real estate agent Cassidy Morgan specializes in historic homes, but her own history is something she likes to avoid. Back in Spinning Hills for the first time in ten years, she has a chance to put her small agency on the map as the premier realtor of restored houses. But it means a partnership with the one man she’s never forgotten—and can’t quite resist…

Sam Amador doesn’t quit—and he doesn’t run away from his problems, like a certain stubborn, extremely attractive real estate agent did all those years ago. Working with Cassie is a risk, but Sam knows his heart is more likely to suffer than his renovation business. How can he convince her that this time, Spinning Hills is where she belongs—and that his love has always been hers?

Source: ARC from Lyrical Shine (Kensington Books) via NetGalley

I’m a little torn about this book, because on the one hand I love Spinning Hills, I love Sam, I love the three old women at the café, I love Sam’s brothers, I adore his little boy, I loved the old houses and the way the town comes together to promote them, not to mention the tensions running through everything between the new people and the old. And then there’s Cassie. I tried to like her, I really did, but somehow… I just didn’t.

She seems nice enough. She’s hardworking and passionate about what she does, despite her parents’ lack of understanding. She’s friendly too and knows how to have fun. And yet – I hated the way she treats Sam. Yes, he made a mistake as a twenty-year-old, but I couldn’t help feeling that she took all the rage and disappointment and hurt she felt at her parents’ behaviour and heaped it all on Sam. And has never gotten over it, nor has any intention of doing so. Even right up to the end I don’t feel like she addressed any of these issues, so if they’d been real I would expect it to continually crop back up to haunt them throughout the rest of their relationship.

A lot of this is due to Cassie’s impulsiveness. Because she doesn’t think things through before she does them, it also seems she doesn’t really think about them afterwards either. She just runs away and refuses to talk about things. Because her hurt is so much bigger than other peoples, which is why she must hide all her emotions away. Everything she’s going through is so much bigger and more important, therefore she deserves to blow back into town and hook up with her old friends, while telling Sam they can never be friends again and essentially driving him away.

I might have liked her more if I’d liked Sam less. Sadly for Cassie, I loved Sam. He’s smart and hardworking, loyal and a little shy. He’s always been the strong, responsible peace-maker in his family, so he doesn’t know how to lean of people, even when he desperately needs to. Which is what Cassie continually takes advantage of. He is a good man. Yes, he made a mistake, but only after Cassie seriously let him down, and while he owns up to his mistake and forgives her for hers, it seems like Cassie never really moved on – or even realised she played her own part in their breakup. Uff. Long story short: she doesn’t deserve him.

Yet, oddly, even though I couldn’t get on board with the romance, I still really liked this book. Probably because Spinning Hills is such a great setting, full of so many fun characters. The relationship Sam has with his brothers could so easily be annoying, yet underneath all their childish teasing and interference is love and affection and genuine support for each other. Likewise with the café ladies and the other women around town. It’s all so charming and fun that I loved reading about them.

Add in the power struggles between old town and new, and the awful behaviour of Sam’s mother towards big brother Dan (she could be the poster model for wicked stepmothers everywhere) and there’s plenty of contentious issues going on to contrast the more fun side.

So there is plenty to enjoy here, but I don’t feel like the romantic side of things was really given the time and attention it needed to let Cassie fully work her issues out. Strangely I had a similar reaction to the first book, Flipped! – loved the setting, loved the heroine, didn’t like the hero. It seems to me that Spinning Hills definitely has all the right ingredients to make for some really special stories – here’s hoping the next one will combine the best of both previous books and have a hero and a heroine I can really enjoy.

Needs a Little TLC is out September 15th!
Visit Inés Saint for more details.


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