I purchased Mr. Fix-It randomly on the fly, because the blurb intrigued me. No reason I can think of why I didn’t read it right away other than I probably just got caught up with other books and life; thus, this one was lost in the shuffle as time passed. A Goodreads group book of the month gave me a good reason to finally read it. Also, Crystal Hubbard was a new author for me…
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but favorable reviews of other books of hers by reliable sources have passed by my social media news feeds, so I assumed I’d like it. Sadly, I was wrong.
At the 20% mark I was already having issues with the main characters…
Khela Halliday is an award-winning, successful romance author who needs a date for a writer’s conference weekend so she asks Mr. Carter her building’s repair man…or so she thinks. Actually, Mr. Carter is Mr. Carter Radcliffe the owner of Khela’s apartment building. Khela just assumes who and what Carter is when they met without ever asking him and he doesn’t correct her in the 3 years she’s lived in his building.
While at the conference, Khela and Cater are starting to learn a bit more about each other. She’s a jaded divorcee who feels like she’s living a lie writing about love and romance when she doesn’t believe it exists; I’d even go so far as to say that Khela was resentful of her own success. Carter has his own reasons to be jaded because people rarely take him seriously – including Khela – basing her assumptions about him and desire for him only on his handsome face and hard body.
These two are the epitome of this phrase…
Needless to say, I was having a very hard time connecting or empathizing with their plights…rather both of them just sounded like whiny brats!
By 40% I was bored and completely not feeling Khela or Carter, but I pressed on against my better judgement.
Then we meet Khela’s smarmy ex-husband. The ex is portrayed as an extreme parody of the worst gold-digging gigolo you can imagine. I hate when the heroine’s ex is painted as an epic bastard to make the hero look like the shining knight in comparison. Just a personal peeve of mine.
I’d been nitpicking on Khela’s antics and hoped that Carter would save this book for me. That didn’t happen…allow me to present Exhibit A:
Carter and his friend go to a bar to watch baseball where Carter gets gifted with some food and drinks by some adoring “fans” (i.e., women that find his attractive). Carter’s not having it and sends it all back and storms out of the bar…
I wasn’t the only one who thinks Carter’s reaction is a bit much…This isn’t normal behavior for Carter according to his buddy…
“Since when do you pass on free food?”
“You haven’t paid for a meal in years.”
And poor, pretty, put upon Carter responds with…
“I don’t want to be adored. At least not without earning it”
I must note that this is a direct quote from romance writer, Khela’s, book which Carter’s been reading…ahem, researching.
“Women look at me and decide who and what I am based on this,” he said, jabbing a finger at his face. “I want someone who looks in here.” He slapped a hand against his chest.”
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. No one wants to be objectified. We all want to be adored for more than our physical attributes. Sadly, the way Carter was written also made him another extreme caricature. Instead of a bastard like the aforementioned heroine’s ex, Carter is an extremely sensitive, insecure and emo hero.
From Khela’s gold-digger ex-husband, or her best friend standing in the shadows of her larger than life friend to the the stunningly, irresistibly, handsome Carter. It felt unnecessary to go so far to prove a point as to who the characters were. There has to be a better way without beating the reader over the head with extremes as Ms. Hubbard does here.
For those of you who might like to give this book a chance, I’ll spare you more of the gory details about Carter and Khela that nagged me to no end. I’ll just say that by the 75% point I started to skim just to get to the end and see how they end up at their HEA.
Besides the emo, insecure hero and the annoying, TSTL heroine, the writing was too long winded at points. Exhibit B:
“She lowered her head to bring her mouth closer to the tawny disk of sensitive flesh capping his left pectoral muscle.”
All those words just to say, “nipple”??
Additionally, there are so many superfluous details to describe the environment that didn’t add to the story…I have no desire to read 2-3 pages on all the fancy, gourmet delicacies in Khela’s favorite speciality market or the type of appliances in Khela’s kitchen. It just makes me think, “why am I reading this, again?!”
Overall, Khela’s and Carter’s issues were hard to empathize or connect with so they just came off as whiny brats who were too successful and too pretty for their own good. Furthermore, I barely felt any chemistry or sizzle between them to make me love this book beyond the issues I had with the story telling.
“Almost anyone can open their mouths and tell a story that holds your attention. Very few people can sit at a keyboard and create stories that do with words what Monet did with paint.”
Ironically, these are the author’s own words (in her character’s voice) and it completely sums up this book for me. I liked the story’s premise but the writing just wasn’t my cuppa.