Rusty Nailed (Cocktail #2)
Simon & Schuster
Purchased personal copy
What happens after you get the Happily Ever After?
Caroline and Simon are now a fully loved-up couple and for the first little bit, nothing changes that much. Simon still goes on his trips abroad, Caroline is busy working and when they reunite it’s fantastic but she also appreciates the time apart where she gets to sleep alone in the bed and slop around her apartment.
Then Caroline’s boss Jillian takes an extended honeymoon and asks Caroline (and by extension, Simon) to housesit her beautiful home. Caroline is also running the business in Jillian’s absence and her days are crazy long and busy. All of a sudden Simon is turning down overseas assignments and he’s around. A lot. And Caroline is beginning to go a bit stir crazy with him constantly wondering where she is and wanting to do things when she’s busy and needs to be at work. She’s wondering if living together is all it’s cracked up to be when really, she’d just like five minutes to herself.
Caroline still loves Simon like crazy – but everything is moving very fast, especially when Simon seems to want to make their living arrangements permanent. She’s just not sure she’s ready for everything that comes with living together, the whole growing up thing. Is there a way for their relationship to continue to move forward that doesn’t make her grind her teeth?
I’m a sucker for a sequel. I love know what comes next and although I know some people love to imagine the future of couples in romance novels themselves, or just assume that everything is perfect after they get together, I’m the sort that loves a little sneaky epilogue or even better, a sequel. So I was always going to be keen to read this. Wallbanger was a great book, I found it really enjoyable and I loved the way that Simon and Caroline developed a friendship before they developed a relationship.
Some of the things in this book, I really loved. Simon and Caroline are both great characters and they’re great together as well. Simon has never really been in a relationship before falling in love with Caroline and he’s still feeling his way through some things (such as not understanding that kissing an ex is bad, kissing the ex is much worse!) but basically Simon becomes like, a dream boyfriend from Make Believe Land and so for the most part, they’re both very happy. But for Caroline, the stresses of living together and having Simon around all of the time, combined with the extra pressures being put on her at her job, lead to her basically bottling everything up until she virtually explodes, spewing every issue she has all over Simon. Instead of just, you know, talking to him about each one as it arose.
Look, it can be hard to talk about the “serious” issues. I get that. I’ve been married for three years and sometimes I’m still like meh, nothing is wrong when something is clearly wrong and my husband is annoying the ever-loving you-know-what out of me. I know sometimes it’s just easier to shut your mouth and not drag it all out and hold it up to the light to deal with it. But basically, Caroline does that is about everything, everywhere all of the time. And that would be fine, if it didn’t turn her into such a basketcase who is a tightly wound string ready to snap at any moment. Which she finally does towards the end of the book. It was such a relief when she finally spoke up about her issues because I felt like each one was annoying me as much it was her and I could’ve snapped myself.
But the biggest problem for me, in this book, doesn’t revolve around Simon and Caroline. It revolves around Neil (Simon’s friend) and Sophia (Caroline’s friend) who hooked up eventually after both dating the wrong people in Wallbanger. There’s an issue that I don’t want to spoil but it basically drags out throughout this book and becomes a major plot point and involves a bunch of grown adults behaving like immature children in ridiculous scenarios that culminate in perhaps the mos ridiculous of all and the reader never actually gets to see how it was resolved. Because it was quite a serious issue, despite the fact that the male friends of Neil didn’t really believe it to be. And so much of the book was devoted to it – pages and pages and pages of this and then bam, it’s over and what? It really just didn’t work. If Alice Clayton wanted to give Neil and Sophia a story, she should’ve made their separation a basis for their own book instead of introducing some random, who is going to be the basis for the next book, Screwdrivered. Then we could’ve had their thoughts and opinions, instead of having it all play out basically through Caroline and on occasion, her conversations about it with Simon. Instead we get all of the ridiculousness and actually none of what it would take as mature, responsible adults that actually care about one another to resolve such an issue/separation.
I guess with sequels, you usually judge them based on whether or not they were really necessary and did they contribute much to the story. I liked this book but I didn’t love it and overall…I don’t think it really added much, which is a bit unfortunate. But parts of it were still quite a fun read and if the conflict between Simon and Caroline had just been a little bigger and Simon wasn’t so darn perfect all the time, I might’ve enjoyed it a lot more.
Book #147 of 2014