Rebekah Reads: Bookers on the Rocks Book Review February 13, 2021
Listen along with my Independence Island Playlist
Book: Bookers on the Rocks
Author: Chautona Havig
If it ain’t broke, why’s she so intent on fixing it?
Tessa Booker hates romance.
For twenty-five years, Tessa Booker has insisted that romance is something Hollywood cooked up to sell books and movies. Yes, she knows the word existed before movies. She doesn’t care. That’s her story, and she’s sticking to it.
So when Ross gets a gentle nudge from Mallory Barrows to look into what Tessa’s doing every day while he’s at work, he discovers a romance in the works–one that sounds a little too “ripped from the pages” of his life!
Who is this woman, and what has she done with his wife?
Armed with advice from 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife and a copy of the manuscript he printed while she was napping, he’s determined to figure out what’s up with his wife… and if maybe a little romance wouldn’t be a good thing after all.
In a twist of the “on the rocks trope,” this book introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.
Have you ever read a book and wished you hadn’t? What do you
do when the earliest tacky scenes and stilted dialogue practically guarantee
the reading will not be worth the time? How long do you get into a book before
you give up on it? You know you cannot get the time back, but you’re no
quitter. That’s exactly where Tessa finds herself in romance books and where I found
myself in this book. I opened this book expecting to enjoy it. I was looking forward to a great book review to share for Valentine's Day, you know that holiday created for and dependent on the false narrative that roses, romance, and chocolate go hand-in-hand. The cringe-factor was strong with this one. I re-read, telling myself to have an open mind and give an honest review. This is my honest review; but, I warn you, I am holding back.
The books opens with one female character implying she is in the middle of her period and needs to go to the store for menstrual supplies. The female character never actually tells the male character she has to go by pads or tampons, they simply talk around her period in vague terms like a failed attempt at recreating the snappy dialogue of "Gilmore Girls".
One of the myriad examples of the cringe-factor is a statement about Joseph having to take cold showers before Mary gave birth to Jesus. I don't know if that was supposed to be funny; but, it falls flat.
In another example, Ross and Tessa imply they have sex when they talk about their night or moving their dinner conversation to subtext but never actually mention sex. I don't know if it is a new trend for Christian fiction to imply the married couple has sex without actually using the word sex. I wonder why bother discussing a topic in vague, nebulous terms and stilted dialogue? Is it intended to make the story edgy? One scene references the relationship between Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly in "You've Got Mail." Is the stilted foreplay supposed to channel the movie? I don't know; but, again, it falls flat.
Update: In discussing with my own husband of decades, after we read it together this week, we identify another frustration, in that if mentions of Bible study or Bible reading were taken out, the story would remain unchanged.
Frankly, Ross & Tessa with their stilted foreplay will never be Joe & Kathleen or Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy. Even when he was pride and she was prejudice, or is she pride and he prejudice; Joe & Kathleen and Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy were still more likeable than Ross & Tessa, who take each other for granted and are distant. Neither character seems to be able to articulate why they are struggling in their marriage and are distant. Ross hears from an elder at church that unrepentant sin or neglect are the factors that negatively impact a marriage, so Ross sets out to fix his marriage. Oddly, his attempts include flirting with the woman who runs the bookstore. Spoiler alert: Their marriage is on the rocks because they take each other for granted. Their life is the epitome of privilege and their abundant material well-being blinds them from seeing what is truly valuable in their marriage. Granted, through circumstances they seem to find restoration in their relationship, continuing the theme of trust that wends its way through the Independence Island series.
Added to the cringe-factor is an odd crime scene and the multiple characters operating as a first-person narrator without developing multiple points-of-view.
Bottom line: There will be fans who like this book and that is fine. There will be people who don't like my review and that is fine. Could someone complain about a poor review, pointing to the number of books the reviewer has written? Sure, but that's not the point of a review and I'm not willing to fawn over a book simply because I've liked other titles by an author. The cringe-worthy scenes left a chalky feeling over my mind: existing, soft, but annoying. I expected to like it, I didn't. You can't like them all. There's a pro: it has a happy ending. Go, read it, form your own opinion, and enjoy wiping the chalk off your brain.
Disclaimer: I requested a copy this book and this is my honest, though shortened, opinion.
Click here to get your copy!
Who Needs Romance? My Marriage Is Great as It Is!
Writing a book about a couple who are in love, devoted to each other, and don’t have marriage problems is… challenging. Let’s face it. Most books about married couples, especially ones “on the rocks,” are going to have fights, an affair (at least of the emotional variety), or some big thing threatening to send them straight to divorce court.
In fact, Bookers on the Rocks shows what happens when couples become too comfortable in their routines—so comfortable, in fact, that they become blind to each other’s needs. If you asked Tessa Booker if anything is wrong in her marriage, she’d say no. If you asked her if she wanted anything different, she’d say no. The age old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
Still, if you look at stories in Scripture, you see deep love and even romance in some places. Elkanah, who loved his wife enough to say, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Jacob who worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Solomon and his love for the Shulamite woman. While the first two do not make me squirm, Solomon does. That book… oh, that book.
What I think Song of Solomon does is remind us of the Lord’s wooing of His people and how invested the Shulamite woman was in being delighted in her beloved—in all of him. If that isn’t a picture of how we should devote ourselves to our Lord, I don’t know what is.
In Bookers on the Rocks, I explore the possibility that those of us who aren’t naturally romantic might just be missing a vital ingredient in our marriages. A body can look and feel perfectly healthy for years—even decades. But if some essential nutrient is missing in a person’s diet, eventually that body will show it in some way. A lack of calcium can create brittle bones. No one sees the problem until a slight stumble turns into a nasty break.
Did it change how I view my marriage? No… not yet. Then again, yes it did, too. I’m more… aware of what is going on in my marriage these days. I doubt candlelight and roses will ever become a thing in our relationship, but translating what romance might mean and look like to my husband has become something I do think about from time to time. That probably means more Wienerschnitzel and less broccoli, but hey. He did a lot of dishes, dinner, and diapers (my perfect three Ds of romance) when our kids were small. I can endure a hot dog or three thousand, right?
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 10
Livin’ Lit, February 10
lakesidelivingsite, February 11
Sara Jane Jacobs, February 11
She Lives to Read, February 12
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Book of Ruth Ann, February 12
Rebekah Reads, February 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14
Batya’s Bits , February 14
Inklings and notions, February 15
Simple Harvest Reads, February 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 16
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 16
Robin’s Nest, February 16
Lots of Helpers, February 17
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 17
Splashes of Joy, February 18
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 18
Artistic Nobody, February 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 19
For Him and My Family, February 20
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20
CarpeDiem, February 20
deb’s Book Review, February 21
Connect in Fiction, February 21
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22
Blogging With Carol, February 22
Blossoms and Blessings, February 23
Godly Book Reviews, February 23
Pause for Tales, February 23
To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.