Title: No Breaking My Heart
Author: Kate Angell
Series: Barefoot William #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 26th July
Relationship Status: Complicated
Professional baseball player Halo Todd doesn’t like failure, but he can never turn down a challenge. Especially when there’s a pretty woman involved. How else would he end up dressed as a rooster, helping a complete stranger compete on a wacky game show? Even when they’re eliminated after the first round, Halo isn’t about to lose the girl…
Alyn is stunned when gorgeous, generous Halo whisks her off for a dream vacation to the beach–she’s been let down by friends and even family so many times, she’s lost count. Later, he offers to lend a hand getting her vintage shop up and running. But his constant–and ridiculous–purchases are the last thing she needs. How can she convince the stubborn man that she doesn’t need his help–not when all she wants is his heart…
Source: ARC from Kensington Books via NetGalley
I am so torn by this book. On the one hand I loved so much about it – the first chapter alone is a five-star moment of genius, I adored the characters, and loved seeing Barefoot William again and getting to see more of the Rogues – but on the other, the pacing is awful and there’s a potentially lovely secondary romance thrown in that goes completely to waste. So I’m torn and disappointed, at the same time as being totally in love with Halo and that amazing Quigley.
Halo is competitive and impulsive and selfish and a complete man-whore at the beginning, until he gets roped into dressing up as a rooster and has his world turned upside down by a woman, her cute little brother and a disabled dog. The problem was that although I knew Halo was restless and flighty from things said in this book and in the previous one, in this one he never shows any of that. From the moment he meets Alyn, he changes, and he doesn’t have any conflict about it. There’s no panic, no inner worried thoughts, no dithering, he just changes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s just one of the many ways this book cuts corners and leaves gaps that never get filled in. I also expected more about Halo’s background that might explain why he is the way he is. We get details about his parents, but not much, and it’s just left there as a maybe reason for his behaviour, but at the same time might have nothing to do with it.
As for Alyn, I liked her a lot too. She’s responsible and kind and nice and doesn’t put up with any of Halo’s nonsense. Yet at the same time I found her background sadly lacking too. I wanted more of her, more of her and Halo, and just more.
Part of the reason I don’t get that more is because of the secondary romance of Halo’s best friend Landon. Don’t get me wrong, the romance is adorable and sweet, but it’s super fast and crammed in at odd moments. I wanted to care, but I was mostly annoyed that it took away from Halo/Alyn time and wanted them to just get out of the way. I would have loved to have read Landon’s story elsewhere, in a novella or something, where it could have been given the time and focus it deserved, instead of being shoehorned into a book that didn’t have space for it.
Time is also a big issue in this book. Everything happens so fast. Not just Halo’s complete personality shift, but Alyn’s feelings swinging from one extreme to another, Landon’s romance and even the connection between a couple of dogs – which then get instantly adopted. In the individual scenes things are fun and calm, but everything else just zooms by, happening so quickly it made the whole thing feel shallow. As for the ending, that was so rushed that I was half convinced the romance wasn’t actually going to wrap up in this book and would need a second to carry it all forward. Which I might have actually preferred, since this is all too fast and not the least bit convincing.
Which is a huge shame, because I wanted to love this book so much, and there are bits of it that I really fell for. I adored Quigley, the disabled pug, loved young Danny and how Halo became part of the family. The town is great, the characters are wonderful, and everything is there to make this a five-star book. But the pacing let it down, leaving me feeling disappointed, and there were times when the writing style was just short, fast, choppy sentences that almost read like notes rather than an actual finished product. So I’m torn over the whole thing, but that certainly won’t stop me from wanting to read the next one.
No Breaking My Heart is out July 26th.
Visit Kate Angell for more details.