The Husband Habit

6214556Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Genre: Fiction, Romance
After falling for 3 married men in a row, chef Vanessa Duran makes a vow to her to take a break from men for 6 months. But a beautiful but blockheaded Iraq vet moves in next door to her mother and things start to sizzle.

Oh man. I don’t really read romance novels. It’s a huge market that oversaturated with very popular but often very bad books. Whether they have bad plots or bad characters they’re just too many bad ones to plow through. I picked this up at random and the plot on the book jacket sounded pretty hilarious. However, it was too good to be true.

It always is, isn’t it?

Vanessa’s POV wasn’t fun to read through. At the start of the book, I was firmly on her side because no one deserved to be stuck with down dirty men one after the other. But damn, reading through Vanessa’ s bitch worldview had me aching for her to fail.

Because everything I read was through Vanessa’s lens I couldn’t like or enjoy anything. Even when she talked about things she liked, it always had bitter, petty tone. I especially couldn’t like Paul.  I still don’t like Paul. From the get-go, she was as critical and mean about him.  Everything he did was offensive and sneaky and wrong. I assume this was done so I could follow the evolution of her realizing that she was wrong about him, but there was no evolution of Vanessa viewing him any differently as they “fell in love”.  In fact, Vanessa described him so negatively so frequently that when she mentioned any sort of affection for him, it left me confused. Besides his looks, she never had anything positive to say about Paul ever.

My eyes were rolling out of my head when at one point, after knowing Paul for 2 days Vanessa said “Well, Paul said…” at least 3 or 4 times in 1 conversation. This was a woman in her mid-30’s not a 12 year old.

Speaking of Paul, he was kind of a terrible love interest? He was so aggressive romantically that it made me borderline uncomfortable sometimes.  Perhaps I was supposed to read him as friendly and tactile but I found him overbearing and boundary stepping. The way he spoke of Vanessa’s sister and mother so early on was rude to me. The way he spoke to Vanessa’s sister was unbelievable to me. It was a cop-out to me to brush this off with “oh he was an interrogator in the war”, like so? He lost his manners in the war too?

And to be honest, while I’m as left-wing as they come (ugh, politics), but boy was this book preachy! I don’t think a shitty little romance novel is the place to scrawl out over 200 pages of your political agenda. Hearing about Paul’s strife with the war didn’t make me any more sympathetic towards him, it was just an annoying way to try to flesh out his personality.  The whole almost twist with him having a wife from Iraq was not good? There were 30 pages left and I guess the book needed some idea of tension so the author threw that in, but I didn’t like it.

I think I hated everyone in this book except for Vanessa’s dog. It was a combo of the rude and mean point of view of Vanessa and that they all sucked in their own special way. I would not recommend this book to anyone. The writing wasn’t bad, but literally, everything else was.


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