Joint Review: Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl

Publisher of Book: HQN
Where did you get this book: e-ARC from Netgalley
Release date: Out now

Blurb taken from author’s official website:

Chloe Turner thought she was going to marry the perfect man—until her fiancé’s plane crashed. And then she got the really bad news: he’d tried to fake his own death to avoid marrying her. Now America’s most famous bridezilla (a tag she most definitely does not deserve), Chloe escapes to a remote island to avoid the paparazzi. And right next door is a man who just might be the cure for Chloe’s heartache….

A magnet for wild, complicated women, Max Sullivan is relieved to have finally found someone “normal.” Chloe is his girl-next-door fantasy come to life, and best of all, she gets him. With her, he can be himself, a treasure-hunting millionaire who desperately wants out of his sexy but reckless job. But when Chloe’s notoriety catches up with them, will their torrid romance make it to the mainland?

Has: At first, when I read the premise, I thought it would be chick lit in tone but since Victoria Dahl is the author, I thought it would have a good take, and I really enjoyed her previous contemporaries.  I was pretty open minded about the premise of Crazy for Love.

Lou: When I first read the blurb and saw the cover, it seemed muted compared to her other books. And Crazy for Love definitely has characters that are muted in personality, but I think it made for a nice change. Having said that, while I enjoyed the lead characters, I wasn’t keen on the bridezilla plot because it seemed too over the top for my liking. The romance between Chloe and Max was the driving force for me, and I adored Max and his very weird hero complex that was pretty unusual.

Has:  I loved the understated tone. I think the romance was a strong point and Chloe, and Max had chemistry in spades. I also loved the the fact that he was so neurotic but so charming at the same time. He was an unusual hero and I liked that. Chloe in contrast, although likable, I think was not as developed. But I liked that because it would have overpowered the romantic relationship, and I liked how she drew him out of his shell so to speak. The weakest aspect of the book for me was the Bridezilla/runaway fiance plotline. It had a good start but then halfway through, it sort of fizzled out with the twist, and I don’t believe the paparazzi would have left her alone at that point. It was just too tidy.

Lou: I thought Max was the best character in the book. His constant need to make sure everyone was safe was adorable at first, but then when you realised how he took on the responsibility of every person he meets, I was thinking, how on earth hasn’t he made himself crazy yet! And I think Chloe recognising this off the bat shocked Max and it was a changing point for him. When he tried to make out with her so they wouldn’t go swimming dark at night because it could have been dangerous was very funny, but also sad at the same time. I don’t think Chloe was as developed, but I agree that if she had any emotional hangs up like Max – alongside the bridezilla plot – it would have been overload. The bridezilla plot was the weakest, and I didn’t click with that particular storyline. And the secret her best friend Jen was hiding? I didn’t understand at all because with that sort of secret, you tell your best friend no matter how hurt they might be.

Has: That was another aspect of the plot that I thought didn’t really work, Jen and their other friend Anna. But I think the plot wasn’t as much of an obstacle really for Max and Chloe. I think his neurosis about safety held more promise and I loved the exchanges. Their snappy dialogue helped to make their love story more alive. I would also have liked to see a confrontation with Chloe’s ex fiance.But nothing really happened. And he created so much drama and chaos in her life.

Lou: I think Jen’s relationship with Elliot, Max’s brother, was also underrated, and I think more could have been done with them. It felt muted if that makes sense. I know secondary characters are meant to stay secondary, but there was no oomph between them. Compared to Chloe and Max, whose love scenes were absolutely smoking hot. I think there should be an official guarantee on each Dahl book: Guaranteed Smoking Hot Love Scenes. They were fantabulous and are one of the strongest points of the book. Dahl never fails to deliver on that level.

Has: Oh I totally agree. That love scene on the beach? T’was sizzling! And their sexual tension that led up to it was perfect! I agree that the sub-romance with Jen and Elliot could have been more developed but I think it was an interesting juxtaposition with their relationship to Chloe and Max. I think the subplot about Jen and the bridezilla storyline kind of overshadowed them.  But I think the romance was a huge strong point in the book and I enjoyed the book. The subplot didn’t really bother me even though it could have been fleshed out more, but Max and Chloe were a great couple.

Lou: Their relationship was a huge strong point. I did think the conflict towards of the book was weak. It makes no sense when someone tells a person to go away in no uncertain terms, but really means for them to stay, and they expect that person to know LOL. But overall, Crazy for Love is a good romance with likeable leads, but had weak external plots. The friendship between Jen and Chloe was great, but Jenn also had a lot of baggage, and I’d thought she came across as weak because she carried it for so long for all of the years.

Has: I think it was kind of forced with Jen – especially with her reasons about why she acted like she did (trying to avoid spoilers). I think there was more potential about Max’s hangups.

Lou: I think if Jen’s and Elliot’s relationship could have been explored more, I would have given this book 4 stars. But because of what I thought was a weak bridezilla storyline, and secondary characters that didn’t really make much of an impression, I give Crazy for Love 3.5 stars.

Has: I think Jen and Elliot’s romance needed more of an oomph too. But the humorous and snappy dialogue with the main protagonists -plus the great chemistry with Max and Chloe – really makes the book. I also give Crazy for Love 3.5 stars.

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