By: Sandy James
Can’t Fight the Feeling at a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★
- Heroine: Miss Independent
- Dude: Umm did we just read about Johnny Manziel?
- Steaminess: Well they sure sweat a lot
- Emotional: I cried actual tears
Pairs Well With
Jack and Coke
- 1 oz Jack Daniels
- 4 oz Coca Cola
This book hit me hard at the beginning. I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s earlier this year, so I was a little nervous about reading this. I had to put it down after a few scenes and read something else for a while. I did appreciate the way that the disease was treated throughout the book and felt as though it was an accurate depiction for a lot of us dealing with this horrible disease.
Moving on to the romance part, which is really what drew us in… I have to admit that I have not read the previous two books in the series. This is a standalone so I don’t think that impacted my feelings toward the book. I liked the book for what it is, which is an easy-to-read romance with some real life struggles. In this book you aren’t going to get the overly dramatic superstar or the Tom Brady quarterback. It isn’t about celebrity or fantasy. You get real people with real problems.
I think the hardest part of this book for me was how much time I spent in Russ and Joslyn’s heads. The stream of consciousness from them was overwhelming at times, while also giving great insight. It’s easier to see that Joslyn is fighting demons when you walk through them with her, but I would have liked more detail about her childhood, rather than her clamming up to even herself.
I struggled with Joslyn. I’m all for being an independent woman, but opening doors is a courtesy, not a sign of weakness. I don’t think any person who opens a door for another does it because the door is too heavy. She took the independence thing too far at times which annoyed me. However, I loved that she was an open and upfront person about what she wanted in life and relationships. I did question her life choices when she invited her new boyfriend to a yoga class her ex attends…
Russ felt like two different people. At first he was this angry jock and then he turned into a teddy bear just from Joslyn’s proximity. I wasn’t sure that he was believable. I didn’t see enough emotional build between the two to understand how he was so in love with her. I liked teddy bear Russ because he was adorable, and I wanted more from him.
I agree with Jess that I liked this book for what it was — an easy to read romance. While I haven’t read the previous two books in the series I was able to fully immerse myself in this novel and still get a good understanding of all the characters and their relationships. I enjoyed the friendships amongst the characters and strong family ties Russ had with his parents.
That being said this book was a struggle for me because I felt like I was getting whiplash with how fast the author swapped between Russ and Jos’ perspectives. Just as I was getting use to Jos’ stream of consciousness it would suddenly change to Russ and then back to Jos again. I didn’t feel like I got to really delve as deep into the characters as I normally would because I had to acclimate to so much switching.
The strongest part of this book for me was how real it was – it doesn’t dance around problems and isn’t afraid to make things emotionally brutal. So many books touch the surface of tough situations but are afraid to really delve deeper but not James. It was enjoyable to see the characters deal with real life problems in real life ways.
I really struggled with Russ. Jos was always upfront about who she was and asked for him to respect her boundaries but I felt Russ just zoomed right past respect and into a demanding caveman who must have things his way or no way. Yeah, Jos took the whole independent woman thing a little too far sometimes but I felt like Russ was selfish and it really made it hard for me to love him.
Overall, I really think this book is worth a try and I’d definitely be willing to give James’ other books a shot!
Let us know what you thought of Can’t Fight the Feeling in the comments!