Title: Daring the Pilot
Author: Jeannie Moon
Series: Men of Marietta #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 4th April
Keely Andersen hasn’t visited her hometown more than a handful of times in the last ten years, but when her doctoral research sends her back to Marietta for the immediate future, she can’t wait to reconnect with the community and the mountains she missed so much. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and Keely’s truck breaks down a few miles outside of town. When help arrives, she finds herself face to face with her brother’s best friend – the guy she used to call big, bad and gorgeous – Jonah Clark.
Still settling back into Marietta after a harrowing stint as an army helicopter pilot, Jonah Clark plans to spend a few days hiking the local mountains to prepare for his job as a pilot for Crawford County’s Search and Rescue team. When he stops to help a stranded driver, Jonah is shocked to find his best friend’s younger sister is the one behind the wheel. Only now, instead of the geeky teen he remembered, Keely is all grown up with curves he can’t resist.
Though the sparks of attraction ignite immediately, they’re hesitant to act because of their shared past. But when a project dear to their hearts is threatened, and a boy is lost on Copper Mountain, Keely and Jonah drop everything to fight for what matters, including each other.
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
I struggled with this one, it seemed to take forever for me to get through it, and I’m not entirely sure why. I love Marietta, I like the set up of this series and I loved Keely’s passion for rocks – and yet, somehow, it completely failed to grab me.
Keely seems to be a nice person, as is Jonah, and at times their chemistry was sizzling. I enjoyed most of the first half, actually, as they slowly circled in towards one another. Yes, there was an element of best-friend’s-sister trope, but it wasn’t really important past the first few meetings. Keely is young and attractive, Jonah is brooding and handsome, they’re both free and mostly unencumbered and seem like a good match.
And yet… There were a few things that got to me. Two of which happened around the halfway mark, when Keely and Jonah trek off into the woods and she starts to give him a hard time about not wanting to strip for the calendar, as well as prying briefly into his past. Since I’m pretty sure there are more than twelve first responders in Marietta, I can’t understand why everyone was forcing Jonah to do something he clearly wasn’t comfortable with. Express disappointment and move onto someone else. If the guy doesn’t want to strip, he shouldn’t be forced to. I certainly didn’t hear Keely offering to join him or anything.
As for her prying, he tells her in stark terms exactly why he came home, and she huffily tells him that if he doesn’t want to tell her why, then fine, and proceeds to give him the silent treatment like a petulant child. He told her. What he didn’t tell her was all the horrible details or how bad it made him feel. Which is definitely his prerogative. But she still sulks – and then never mentions it again.
My main problem with all of this was it seemed really out of character for Keely, was exceedingly childish and then proceeded to have absolutely no affect on what followed. Foolish drama for the sake of drama. However, she does something incredibly similar towards the end, so maybe it wasn’t so out of character after all. For someone so smart, she is irritatingly brainless at certain emotional moments.
Then there was the big continuity issue. In the first book, Charlie the photographer has to chase Jonah all over the place before he finally packs her into his helicopter and flies them somewhere remote so he can get the photo shoot done in private. In the second book, her sister Emily arrives and helps her with the layout of the calendar after all the photos have been taken. In this book Jonah’s shoot happens in front of a bunch of people – including Emily, who helps with the shoot. I know all of these books are written by different people, but surely someone should be keeping an eye on the internal continuity, especially concerning characters who aren’t anywhere near Montana at certain important moments. Not everyone will care about this, I know, but continuity errors distract me and throw me out of the story, so I’d rather they weren’t there.
Throw in the sudden weird and baffling behaviour of Keely’s family, her own complete overreaction to a medical moment and the almost creepy way Jonah seems to revere Keely’s innocent outlook on the world, put her on a pedestal, keep quiet on things he has no reason not to share and ignore her over something that his entire personality indicates he would care about, and it’s safe to say this book didn’t work too well for me.
Most of the story is typical, enjoyable Marietta fare, but the main dramatic moments seemed to get blown entirely out of proportion and usually relied on someone acting completely out of character in order to ramp up the drama and angst. Which didn’t endear any of them to me in the slightest.
All in all, this is probably more about me than the book, but I found it sadly disappointing. I’m still looking forward to reading the next in the series, though.
Daring the Pilot is out April 4th.
Visit Jeannie Moon for more details.