By: Renee Swann
You know the emoji of the “hear no evil” monkey? It’s one of my favorites.
And it is the perfect emoji for this book.
What even is Ground Rules?
It’s a romance novel, written for women, I suppose. It’s a cliche-packed novella about Bec Rosenbaum and her convoluted love life: Martin, her psycho ex, and Rob, her perfect new boyfriend. Definitely supposed to be one of those slightly soft porn books, but it doesn’t even really go there.
Important caveat: This is decidedly NOT the sort of novel I would ordinarily pick up. I was given this as an ebook and read a few chapters on my mother’s e-reader each time I visited her.
This story line here is so thin. Martin is stalking Bec because of course he is. The book is a cycle of one chapter in which Bec is falling in love with Rob and having great wonderful dates and the next chapter in which Martin shows up and wrecks it all. For like thirty chapters.
There is a nugget of a pretty good romance novel here. Some family drama and a surprise twist ending and a fairly developed work/life balance. So if you really don’t care and are just looking for a quick read, it’s that. But otherwise it’s painfully thin.
Bec is one of those characters who is an absolute mess but everything just kind of falls into place. P.S. Red Flag Alarm Bells: This is exactly the type of character I hate to read about. Bec lands the perfect hotshot lawyer boyfriend, a good job when she loses hers, and not to mention the dream bookstore someone just hands to her.
Bec herself feels cheap. As though author Renee Swann knew she needed two or three defining characteristics and painted a character with only these characteristics. Like food. Bec is obsessed with food and chocolate and coffee and if she honestly eats the way Swann describes, then she must be a ridiculously unhealthy woman. Because she certainly does not exercise. And this is fine – I’m totally fine with developing a character who is obsessed with chocolate. But Swann brings it up every other paragraph. It’s not a quirk when it’s literally every meal.
Okay I know this isn’t supposed to be first class literature. I just really really don’t like cheap writing. If you’re going to publish, please put some effort into it.
I had a hard time finishing this one. If you’ve kept up with Tend a Rose, then you’d know I’ve listed Ground Rules as “Coming up” for the past ~5,438 reviews. I could hardly convince myself to finish it, because I really didn’t feel like I was going to miss anything important.
And I certainly won’t be reading the next two in the series, if and when they’re published.
If you’re a Renee Swann fan, here are my suggestions for your next read:
(for more by Swann)
Tease by Renee Swann
The Hunted by C.J. Hart
My Never by Renee Swann
(for relatively dumb quick chick lit)
Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck
Dirty Laundry by Rachel Naples
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz