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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Blue Skies by Catherine Anderson

***I'm in a blogging mood today, so watch out, because I'm behind by about 7 book reviews***

Carly Adams feels as if she's been given a new lease on life. Born with a rare eye disease, she was blind until a recent operation restored her sight. Now, she's eager to experience everything the world has to offer—including the sweet talk of a handsome cowboy who rouses her with desire. But she isn't prepared for the consequences, especially when a night of searing passion results in a pregnancy that threatens her eyesight—and all her dreams for the future . . . .

Hank Coulter has no plans to settle down—until he discovers that Carly Adams is carrying his child. Obsessed with making things right, he bullies the blue-eyed beauty into marrying him. With her radiant smile and remarkable goodness, Carly is exactly the kind of wife he's always imagined by his side. But if Hank wants their practical arrangement to become permanent, he's going to have to convince Carly that one moment of risk can bring about a lifetime of joy . . .

I'm noticing a trend here with Catherine Anderson: Write about imperfect heroines but only produce a truly great one every other book. I loved Summer Breeze, my first by her. I didn't care much for Phantom Waltz, my second. I loved Bright Eyes (which I'll be blogging about later today), but didn't really care for this one.

My first problem with this book was the hero.

Hank Coulter is a 32-year-old playboy without a care in the world. Because he was forced to work extra hard during college, he didn't have a chance to play like most guys do, so he's making up for it now. Drinking, dancing and bringing home a different woman each night are his only goals. And he's meeting them like you wouldn't believe.

Enter Carly Adams. She was born with a rare eye disease that left her blind, but at the ripe old age of 28 she's had surgery and can see for the first time in her life. She's making the most of it, too. CA did an amazing job of helping us understand the tremendous experience Carly was dealing with. She didn't know what beautiful was. How could she when she had nothing to compare it to? She couldn't read or write. She didn't know colors or shapes. I really felt that CA did an excellent job of allowing us to see the physical and emotional strain Carly felt at finally being able to see. Though she was amazed at the world around her, she was on total sensory overload.

Anyway, Hank is out at a bar, playing drinking games with his buddies and looking for a woman to take home for the night when he spots Carly. Now, having been blind all of her life, Carly's pretty naive..plus, she's a virgin. Yes, a 28-year-old virgin. Normally this is something I'd scoff about, but with her extenuating circumstances, I can see why she was still a virgin. Alright, so Hank decides he has to have her and he's mostly drunk at that point, so he's not really paying attention to her hesitation (not to mention that he kept getting her name wrong, calling her Charlie instead of Carly, even though she corrected him a bunch of times) and he wants her to loosen up, so he buys her this UBER strong drink. Now, Carly hasn't ever been a drinker, plus she's on pain killers because she'd just had her surgery like a month before, so she got pretty tipsy, pretty fast.

One thing led to another and before you know it..they were in the back of his pickup. Yep, the back of his pickup. And that's where he proceeds to drunkenly deflower her. With no protection. About the time he realizes he just busted through her barrier, he says a really dirty word and then...passes out.

Carly freaks out, because it totally hurt and then he made her feel WAY worse by cussing at her, and she hightails it out of there. When Hank wakes up the next morning, though he's fuzzy on the details, he remembers enough to be totally ashamed and totally freaked out that he took her virginity and possibly got her pregnant.

Sure enough, he did. After much prodding from her best friend (I had some major issues with her, too, but more about that later), Carly finally agrees to call Hank to let him know about the baby. When she finally tracks him down and he answers the phone she says, "Hank, this is Carly Adams" and he says, "Who?". Yeah, not the best response, dipwad!

After much browbeating and some MAJOR interference from her best friend, Hank finally convinces Carly to marry him, at least temporarily so he can provide for her and the baby. I'll get to that in a minute, first let me tell you about the best friend.

She KNEW what the experience had been like for Carly (the one with Hank when she lost her virginity) and she still went behind Carly's back and told Hank ERRRTHING about her. Her past medical history, all about her childhood, the complications the pregnacy were going to cause with her newly gained eye sight...every damn thing. Now, I don't generally have problem with tinterferinging friend (well, ok, I do, but I can ususally see where they're coming from, at least), but I think this one took it way too far! She even went so far as to tell Hank that he was going to have to play dirty to get Carly to say yes...and then told him exactly what to say and do. I found this to be totally wrong. Like I was telling Dylan, had it been her that was preggers, after she explained the entire situation to me, I would have done everything I could to help her raise the baby on her own, not thrown her to the wolves so-to-speak. That made me so angry!

So, Hank finally convinces (I use that word lightly)her to marry him and they move in together, though Hank had to promise no sex first. He does, they do and they start settling in to live life together, though Carly is constantly on edge around him, afraid he'll break his word.

I won't spoil the book for you, but basically Hank does everything he can to prove he's not the beast he acted like in the first chapter and Carly struggles with her failing eyesight and her insecurities where Hank is concerned.

I have no idea how I felt about this book, even now. I think Hank did a pretty credible job of making up for his actions in the beginning, but I still had a hard time liking him because of them. Plus, Carly started to really grate on me after awhile. Most of the book I empathized with her and felt totally connected to her, but towards the end, it was like she just turned dumb by turning away from a good man because of her insecurities and her disability. Which I hate.

I never did end up liking the best friend. Though she had a fairly decent explaination for why she went behind Carly's back, I still thought she took it too far.

I may end up having to re-read this one at a later date to say for sure if I liked it or not. I can't say I hated it, but I can't really say I enjoyed it all that much, either.

I'm giving it a 2.5 out of 5.

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