RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe

D+

Title: Crazy Thing Called Love
Author: Molly O'Keefe
Publication Info: Bantam January 2013
ISBN: 978-0345533692
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Crazy Thing Called Love. Way too much purple This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Turophile. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Contemporary Romance category.

The summary:

Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar in a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.

Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whiskey eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.

And here is Turophile's review:

Slog, slog, slog.

The plot of this book has so much potential, yet the book fell flat for me. A boy and a girl grow up as friends, fall in love, marry young, and then divorce young when she tires of living in his shadow and dealing with his misbehavior and violence.  She changes her name, earns her degree, and becomes a broadcast television star.  His hockey star rises based on his reputation as a violent enforcer, but he takes it a step too far by provoking yet another fight on the ice and suddenly finds that his career is at stake.  What better way to rehabilitate a broken career while driving up ratings for a morning show than a four-part makeover/rehabilitation series on the morning show of his ex-wife? Except no one knows it's his ex-wife. 

The story could have gone in many directions. Who doesn’t love a makeover story? The book cover and title suggest a romantic comedy or charming contemporary romance.  Instead, it was a sluggish story about an abused boy overcoming his demons. It was a struggle for me to make it through the first fifty pages, and the only reasons I didn’t “DNF” were that I paid for the book AND I promised to write a review.

The book opens with a flashback prologue, an overused literary device that didn’t add much value to this story.  And more flashbacks appeared throughout the book. Although the information conveyed may have been important, a sentence or two blended into the story would have been sufficient rather than pages and pages that pulled us out of an already sluggish story. 

The heroine’s character was not that believable or likeable.  When her producer tells her that they’ll be doing the four-part series on Billy Wilkins, Maddy tries to refuse but doesn’t explain why because she doesn’t want anyone to know that she and Billy were once married.  Seriously? You think the chance that your former marriage will become public is less if you go through with this crazy show, than if you quietly mention it to your producer, who sounds like she would have been sympathetic, to help you kill the story? {Bang forehead on table now.}

The way that Maddy is portrayed, it’s hard to imagine why Billy wants her back. In one breath, he’s remembering how she used to throw plates and insults at him. In the next, he’s calling the new Maddy an ice queen. Neither version of sounds appealing, yet a page later he’s telling us he wants to fight for her, to get her back.

Perhaps it was my own misplaced expectations that ultimately fueled my dislike for the book.  I can imagine there is an audience that may like this story even though it didn’t work for me.  Billy’s orphaned niece and nephew are introduced early on in the story and Billy’s relationship with them against the backdrop of his own horrible childhood fuel most of the story from there.  If you’re looking for angst and recovery, this book may work for you.  If, like me, you were hoping for a light hearted romance, look elsewhere.


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

There's an additional RITA Reader review for this title as well.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Julie Brannagh says:

    I thought CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE was one of the better contemporaries I’ve read for quite some time. I enjoyed every second of reading it. Of course, IMHO.

  2. 2
    K F says:

    ^^ I agree, I finished reading it today and quite liked it. It does get a bit angsty, but I still enjoyed it.

  3. 3
    TheoLibrarian says:

    I really loved this one especially for the flashbacks.  Thanks for articulating what it is you didn’t like.  It’s always interesting to read why someone else didn’t love a book when you did and vice versa. It’s great that we get to see different opinions about books during this challenge!

  4. 4
    Cheryl says:

    This book made me crazy for completely different reasons. The hero played hockey for the Dallas Mavericks, which is a great name for a fictional team if it weren’t for the fact the Dallas Mavericks is the very successful NBA team which Mark Cuban owns. So I found it extremely distracting where they’d be speaking about his team the Mavericks but referring to hockey.

    I also felt the keeping their divorce a secret conflict was fairly weak, but the hero made this book tolerable for me.

  5. 5
    DonnaMarie says:

    So interesting when the reviewers don’t agree and for the same reasons! Still, Rachel Gibson let me down this season, so I might still pick this up for a Stanley Cup read. Go Hawks!!

  6. 6
    Caty B says:

    Normally a book about hockey might have drawn me in, but Turophile, your review was so thorough that you probably saved me some head-meet-desking, because the angst and flashbacks would have driven me nuts. (And hurrah for people who love those things – definitely a review that lets you know what you’re getting into, whatever you like).

    Cheryl – thanks for that detail. Having to retrain myself to think NHL and not NBA whenever I read ‘the Mavericks’ would have been…pretty annoying.

  7. 7
    S. Barbara says:

    The reviewer has obviously spent some time on her analysis of CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE and for that I thank her.  However, in my opinion, when she criticizes the book for not being a lighthearted romance, she is criticizing it for the literary equivalent of apples not tasting like oranges.  Yes, the book is full of angst, but the hero, Billy Wilkins, and his niece and nephew are well drawn and believable.  For me, this book was anything but a slog.  My main criticism would be the saccharine epilogue which did tie up loose ends, which IMO didn’t need tying up—the book ended on a high note that for me didn’t need further explanation.

  8. 8

    Wait. The fictitious hockey team is the Dallas Mavericks?

    That in itself is enough to keep me from reading the book.

  9. 9
    Turophile says:

    Reading these reviews and the emphasis on the fact that it is the Dallas Mavericks – maybe you’ve uncovered a subconscious bias I had when reading it.  Not sure why everyone above is emphasizing the Dallas part, for this Minnesotan now I’m thinking perhaps it triggered the resentment we all felt (and continue to feel) when Norm Green took our beloved North Stars and moved them from the State of Hockey to Dallas. Even though we’ve got the Wild now, who are pretty darn good team, the underlying hurt remains.

    Or not.  But thanks to all for respecting that fact that, yes, some of the audience is going to like this book,  and some of us no matter how much we might like hockey (trust me we in Minnesota love hockey) might not like the book.  That’s what make’s this such an awesome website!

  10. 10
    Julie says:

    Oh my god, you hit on all the reasons I DNF’d this book (I think I made it about 50 pages in, maybe a little bit more), except I didn’t mind the angst as much. Still, if I hadn’t heard a little bit about the book before starting it, I would have thought I was getting a lighthearted romance based on the cover. This book has been recommended to me over and over again because I’m a huge hockey fan, but I found the hockey aspect wasn’t that strong. Mostly I DNF’d couldn’t stand the heroine—she seemed very cold. Also, the constant focus on her thinness and eating issues—at least early in the book—was triggering for me as someone who struggled with disordered eating for a long time.

  11. 11
    Phyllis says:

    I DNF this book. I was probably 100 pages in and the characters didn’t appeal to me at all and I was tired of the flashbacks (and was confused and disappointed when I read the prequel novella in the first place, which came with the prologue teaser chapter which was where she catches him with some other woman). It’s really rare for me to DNF, but life’s too short…

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