REVIEW: Circle of Friends: Steve’s Story by Jess DeeTuesday, November 17, 2009 13:00
I waited for what felt like a long time and was very excited for Circle of Friends: Steve’s Story… but am very sorry to say I was disappointed. I absolutely adored Tyler’s story, and was eager to see the circle of friendship be completed. I expected an emotionally loaded story, one with humor and fun, but, for some reason, it just didn’t come together for me.
In the interest of honesty and full disclosure… I have to say after getting through about three-sevenths of this book, I reverted to giving it the “grad school read.” There is a *lot* of sex and heat in this book, and that’s hot, but… it doesn’t really make up for the rest of the book. (Also, that’s not why I read romances or erotic romances, so it wouldn’t have worked for me anyway.)
I hate to say it, but the heroine, Pen (Penelope), is something of a bitch, and an idiot. I think it’s because she annoyed me so much that Steve’s nickname of “Sunshine” for her didn’t really work – and actually started reminding me of what she wasn’t. Pen is not bright light and happiness. She’s a mess of tears and seems to bring everyone around her down.
Yes, I felt horrible that she had the gene for Huntington’s Disease. Maybe it’s because I don’t know enough about it that I didn’t feel bad enough for her. Because after reading through nearly half the book, I was fed up, and had to put this book down for a number of months. [Yes, I did feel badly for her. But I'd been feeling badly for her since Tyler's story. Everyone around her was willing to accept her and love her as she is- but she just had to make everyone miserable for hundreds of pages.]
Steve Sommers is a great guy, and incredibly determined. So determined that it almost passes admirable, and reading the book is rather like watching him beat his head against a brick wall. You’d admire it, if you didn’t wonder why he didn’t just *stop.* Apparently I’m not that much of a romantic, because the happy ending didn’t excuse it. Or maybe I expected more of Pen.
Steve is great though – he’s willing to do anything and everything to get Pen, and he withholds his personal gratification in hopes that it’ll force Pen to acknowledge they have something good and the should be in a relationship.
I can understand Pen’s perspective – that she doesn’t want to put anyone though having to care for her once she begins deteriorating. And even more the pride aspect – where she doesn’t want those she loves and admires to see her in that way. I get that. But I didn’t need to be beaten over the head with it for however many pages this book was. The emotional problems, issues, and hang ups were made clear in the previous book – after the first few chapters of Steve’s story, this was just too much.
Also, their “catch phrase” of “fire it up” began to creep me out. It didn’t seem that Steve and Pen really ever had any emotional connection. It was all sex- and whenever Steve tried for something more, Pen would make it all about sex. I felt that Steve and Kate had a better emotional break through and connection than Steve and Pen, almost. And not because Steve and Kate had previously been engaged. More because they realize they still can be and are friends – and love each other as friends.
I might re-read this in the future, to see if I feel differently… but it won’t be something on the top of my to do list.
When love is threatened by truth, every moment counts…
Steve Sommers is having a gut-wrenching week. His fiancée has left him, the woman who broke his heart is back in town—and they’re all gathered at the bedside of his best friend, who’s in a coma. The emotional ties between them are strained to the breaking point. Like it or not, it’s up to Steve to find the strength and compassion to support the four of them through the toughest ordeal of their lives.
In the midst of the turmoil and trauma, passion unexpectedly flares anew between Steve and the woman he loves. Suddenly the future he’d believed lost lies within his reach. But she still carries the secret that once tore them apart, and determined to protect Steve from the truth, she fights their rekindled relationship every step of the way.
Now the fragile bond they’ve developed hangs in the balance, threatened by a reality that love may not be strong enough to overcome…
Read an excerpt here.