Rainshadow Road  - Lisa Kleypas Kleypas seems to have an issue with pacing. It's not a dealbreaker or anything, but it does seem like she looked at how many pages she was at, freaked out, and rushed to resolve everything within twenty pages. And what is with the, "Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but I love you, marry me maybe?" Nora Roberts also does the whirlwind romance that ends with an engagement. I know romance novels are essentially wish fulfillment, but yeesh. And of course, Mark & Maggie from Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor are expecting a baby, resulting in rushing the wedding. Because no established couple in a romance series can be together/married for more than a few months before getting knocked up.

The Alice/Kevin subplot ended predictably. Kevin balks at marrying Alice, tries to get back with Lucy (because of course a girl will forgive the asshole who fucks her sister and then leaves her for said sister while putting the blame on her. That's super romantic, yo), and then takes the honeymoon tickets and goes solo. Well, this is what the parents get for eventually caving and paying for Alice & Kevin's wedding after their posturing of what Alice did as a Very Bad Thing. Of course, Alice runs away and hides and Lucy goes to find her. Alice asks Lucy if she (Lucy) thinks that she (Alice) deserves this and Lucy says no. I'm like YES YES YES YES YES. Alice gives some Freudian excuse about how since everybody did everything for her, she got the idea that she was useless and got used to having things finished for her. And again, this scene suffers from rushing because the entire exchange happens on just one page. After all the shit Alice said to Lucy, I would have like to have seen Lucy go, "Look, you're a cunt, it's going to be a long time before I ever trust you again, and honestly, if it weren't for the fact that we're family, I would be all, bye bitch." Lucy said all that to Kevin before siccing some glass bats onto him, so I don't know why Alice doesn't get the same treatment, especially her part in the betrayal is far worse. Authors who have these sort of plot points have to realize that the reader needs the catharsis more than the character in the book because real life isn't a novel or a family TGIF sitcom with the saccharine hug-and-learn portion at the end. The reader wants Alice to get a fist in the face or a long This Is Why You Suck speech, not, "Awww, sisters!" I have an older sister and I can guarantee I'd get knocked out (by both her and our mother) and get the You Suck speech if I pulled this shit, and vice versa. While the things Alice previously said to Lucy isn't necessarily unforgivable (merely pathetic, as Lucy notes, because Alice needs to know that she was the trade-up, not the trade-down as she suspects), it still deserves a scene where she's left weeping into her veil and gives the reader the idea that she's going to learn something from this. Like knowing she has to work her ass off to get back into Lucy's good graces because she finally realized she's gone too far and this won't just be swept under the rug like everything else.

It's refreshing where when the male antagonist makes a deal with the male romantic protagonist to seduce the female protagonist, the MRP immediately tells the female instead of keeping it secret where it's then found out later in the worst way by the female. So during the scene where Kevin tries to get Lucy back (which involves insulting Sam, good move jackass), he thinks he has the upper-hand and tells her about the deal, thinking that Lucy is going to get all upset and fall into his arms because she has no pride. Lucy is all, "No shit, asshole, Sam told me in the very beginning. Nice try, though. Here are some glass bats, GTFO."

Speaking of the flying glass bats, the paranormal elements were very ham-fisted here. Considering it's so little mentioned in the book, you'd forget until the next time it was mentioned, meaning the book could have easily worked without it. It's first shown that Lucy can shapeshift glass at the beginning when she's a little girl, then she accidentally does it in front of Holly (Lucy can't control it) where then she reveals her ability to Sam, who OF COURSE has some magic in him as well (his talent towards gardening and viticulture is from magic) and it's a little bonding moment for them. Then, glass bats. That's the problem I have with paranormal romances if the entire setting isn't paranormal, but a contemporary with paranormal elements. The books can easily work without it because no author can seamlessly meld the real world with a few paranormal elements together and it ends up acting as a deus ex machina.

Sam, like Mark in previous book, is a bit of a flat character. We already know about his shitty family; we got that in the previous book. All the brothers ended up with commitment issues (until they meet their super-special someone and they make a complete 180). And we also already know about his predilection for gardening and wines. He could really be fleshed out a bit more.

For all my criticisms, I did enjoy the book. It's not like I regret reading it or anything. At least this book gives more catharsis with a badly-behaving character than Bed of Roses. I mean, I still want to cunt-punch Emma far more than Alice.