Funny story, I had a Kindle “boxed set” of the Scallop Shores series, that I later found out were actually books TWO through five. Who makes a boxed set without the first book?! However, these weren’t really stories that built on each other in any real way, so it all worked out just fine in the end.
- Drawn to Jonah (the first book, which I didn’t read)
- Five of Hearts
- Wynter’s Journey
- Trapped in a Tourist Town
- Always My Hero
So basically all of these stories followed the same pattern. They had a perfectly pleasant, chick lit premise. They had likable characters. They were super enjoyable for the first 3/4 or so of the book. And then, in the last quarter of the book, they would go off the rails as one or both main characters would suddenly act completely stupid just to provide a final bit of drama. It was SUPER ANNOYING.
For instance, in Five of Hearts the premise is that Dean was in a boy band in his late teens, and has moved to this little coastal town in Maine to get away from the craziness of life. His neighbor is a single mother of triplets, Shannon, whose ex-husband ditched her when he found out she was expecting not one but three babies. (Which honestly also made basically no sense – he was really excited about having a baby, but then so NOT excited about three babies that he literally abandoned the wife he had been in a perfectly happy marriage with and their unborn children and was never seen nor heard from again?! What?!) Blah blah blah Dean and Shannon have good chemistry, Dean and Shannon hang out, Dean is awesome with the kids, Dean and Shannon like each other etc etc etc.
Meanwhile, part of the reason Dean is giving up on society is because throughout the course of his life he is battling, as do many a famous person, a false paternity suit. He knows it’s false because he’s never even had sex with the woman who is accusing him of fathering her child in an attempt to get a big chunk of change. In the past, Dean has paid off similar women in order to avoid a fuss, but now he’s just over it so he’s duking it out. So basically Shannon is way into Dean because he is, of course, literally perfect in every way. He’s awesome with her children, he’s kind and thoughtful, he’s funny and sweet, yadda yadda yadda. So when she comes across some of the paperwork for the paternity suit, does she give Dean a chance to explain himself since this would be completely out of his character? Does she listen to more of a sentence of his explanation? No, of course not. She runs out of the house like a spoiled child and then spends DAYS being mad at him while at the same time being mad that he hasn’t explained himself despite the fact that she won’t, I don’t know, ANSWER HIS CALLS OR TALK TO HIM IN ANY WAY?! I’m not exactly sure how he is supposed to explain his situation if she freaking WILL NOT LISTEN TO HIM. And THEN she finally gives him a “chance” to explain – and literally lets him say one sentence and then tells him he’s a liar runs away again and keeps being mad, with sentences like “Maybe it was time to stop running away and give him a chance to explain himself. If he finally would.” IF HE FINALLY WOULD?! Are you kidding me??
This was mostly frustrating because the rest of the book was completely enjoyable, and all of this is not at all in line with the reasonable, thoughtful character Shannon has been up until this point. Just. If you find out that there is the possibility that someone is doing something that is 100% against everything else you know about them as a person, maybe you should give them the benefit of the doubt and let them at least tell THEIR ENTIRE STORY and THEN decide if you should bail on them.
And yeah, basically something like that happened at the end of every single one of these books. In Wynter’s Journey the main dude had a traumatic experience in Scallop Shores and never wants to go back, but that’s where Wynter is desperate to live. In the end she legit is like, “Well, I’m out” and goes back?! The day I abandon a perfect man just so I can live in the town I grow up is the day you can smack me in the head HELLO. And then a few months later it’s this big deal that he’s going into Scallop Shores for the first time since THE INCIDENT… except he picks up Wynter and takes her to their new house which I guess he must have bought like online or something??!
Cady has always dreamed of going to New York City, and she really wants to start her own coffee shop/bakery. She falls in love with a new guy in town, and eventually decides she wants to stay to be with him… but then “can’t” because she lost her job?? Apparently there are literally NO OTHER JOBS in the ENTIRE TOWN OF SCALLOP SHORES?! Her ONLY option is moving to NYC?! She doesn’t even consider seeing if she can set something up in the EMPTY STOREFRONT THAT WOULD BE PERFECT FOR A COFFEE SHOP!? OH MY GOSH.
But the BEST was in the last book. So these people own a hardware store. Someone makes them an offer to buy the hardware store. An exwife STEALS THE DEED to the hardware store and SELLS IT TO THE DUDE. And THEN the dude is like, “Well, if I get my money back you can have your store back, but if not, y’all have to get out of here.” Like… SHE DID NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO SELL THE STORE?!? If someone steals my car and sells it and then I find it, it’s still MY CAR because the thief didn’t have the right to sell it – right?? Am I missing something?? Everyone was just like Oh wow this is really sad that our store has been sold don’t know what to do guess we will just be really sad. WHAT. EVEN.
The problem was that the BEGINNING of all of these stories was so perfectly enjoyable and relaxing that I let myself get suckered in EVERY SINGLE TIME. Apparently I have a slow learning curve.