Review: Mess With Me

cover-mess with meTitle: Mess With Me
Author: Nicole Helm
Series: Mile High Romance #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel
Available: 29th August


In Gracely, Colorado, it s all about the climb into the rugged Rocky Mountains, and over the obstacles that life has thrown in your way. With the right partner, the view from the top is grand . . . 

Sam Goodall knows how to hide. And in the years since his sister s death, he s done just that, burying himself in his work at the Evans brothers Mile High Adventures as a backpacking guide. Clients don t mind his strong, silent demeanor, and he s happy to leave the rest of the world behind when he s hiking, or holed up in the off-grid cabin he calls home. But he owes his life what there is of it to the Evans boys, and when they ask for a favor, he can t refuse.

Hayley Winthrop is looking for something she s never had a true sense of family, and a purpose. Finding her half brothers was the first step discovering where she belongs in the world is the next. Could it be in the fresh air of small-town Gracely? With hunky Sam agreeing to train her as an outdoors guide, she s torn between exploring her newfound skills and getting closer to him. But chipping away at the walls around Sam could take a lifetime . . . 

Sam is stuck in the past, and Hayley is looking toward her future they re a mismatched pair from the start. But the connection between them right now is too good to let go . . .

Source: ARC from Zebra (Kensington) via NetGalley

It seems impossible for this series to give me a decent, grown up heroine. The big theme of these books does seem to be that everyone has issues, but as with the first story (Need You Now) the romance spends most of its time focusing on the hero’s brooding pain, while the heroine ignores her own issues and then runs away and ignores everyone when they attempt to tackle hers. Which I find particularly irritating.

In other words: grow up, Hayley!

Yeah, yeah, I know she has problems with her family and she’s never really fit in and her mother used to pretend she wasn’t her daughter and she’s only just discovered she has two half brothers… but any sympathy I might have had for her was obliterated by her inability to actually face any of these problems, not just head on, but in any meaningful way unless forced into it. She moves to Gracely to find out about her past, lying to her (loving and caring, btw) family the whole time she’s there, she throws her parentage in her new brothers’ faces, then runs away and hides. Her brothers offer her a job, so she goes to work with Sam, who she continues to hide behind until he pretty much forces her to actually talk with her brothers.

Which is so annoying, because I liked her relationship with Sam. They’re pretty cute together and she definitely helps him to open up about his problems and face up to the guilt in his past. But the moment the attention focuses back on her, whelp! Gotta hide again! I know this is how some people deal with problems, but she also whines about how no one understands her and she’s never fit in and is always the outsider, boo hoo, poor me, I’m so alone with my loving family and these brothers that really want to get to know me, oh, and this hot mountain man who wants to talk to me about feelings and stuff, but look how alone I am! Did I mention I’M SO ALONE!

Nope. Grow up and deal.

Thankfully Sam was a lot better. Sure, he’s grumpy and broody and a rugged mountain man, but at least he has the capacity to change and grow, and can eventually see enough outside his misery-bubble to help others. I also liked seeing more of Lily and Brandon as their relationship progressed. It gave a nice sense of closure to the annoying open-endedness of the last book.

We also met Tori. Who I didn’t like one little bit, because once again we have a female character dealing immaturely with her problems. I’m a little curious about how things between her and Will will turn out, but my feelings towards the heroines in this series are so poor that I’m not sure I’ll ever read it.

So in all I found this book more annoying than enjoyable. Sam is great, it was nice to see more of the old characters, but Hayley disappointed me and, again, I was left with a sense of incompleteness when it came to the romance. It will probably be addressed in the final book, but I’m not sure I care enough to want to know.

Mess With Me is out August 29th.
Visit Nicole Helm for more details.


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