Review: Stern

sternReviewed by Shelly

This is one of the longest series over the longest time span I can think of.  I read the first one when it initially came out in paperback. In the entire Westmoreland Series, this is the 26th since 2002. I’ve not read the majority of them, but then again, you don’t have to in order to understand this story line. This is a rendition of the friends to lovers theme which Jackson has done before. And maybe my enjoyment of this story lies specifically in the fact that I’ve not read at least the last 15 books in this series.

Stern Westmoreland and Jovonnie ‘JoJo’ Jones are best friends and have been since their teens. Almost 30, JoJo realizes that she has feelings for Stern but knows that Stern is a bit of a serial dater with no plans to get into a relationship, much less marry. Knowing that Stern will do anything for his best friend, JoJo asks for help on how to catch the man that she’s got her eyes on. She didn’t lie there, she really had a backup plan all rearing and ready to go. Stern, being the good friend that he is, can’t say no.

What I did like about JoJo was that she’s independent because she was taught to be, not because had to be. Her parents are gone and her father gave her one of the best things a parent could: he prepared his child on how to live out in the world. He made sure she knew how to protect herself and gave her a way to earn a living that she can be proud of – she’s a mechanic, by the way.

Her relationship with Stern and his family was enjoyable to read. I had a problem with the concept of her being a virgin at her age. Here’s why. At that age, she had to be waiting for love and marriage. If not what are you waiting for? Explain it to me and I’ll listen, but as I didn’t get that I’ll make my own assumption. JoJo’s character didn’t lend itself to jumping into bed with just anyone and I had some difficulty with her sudden romantic relationship with Stern.

Crap on Stern for not romancing JoJo. Why not make it special for her considering he’s her best friend and he claimed to know what she likes and wants? This is typical of Jackson’s heroes, though. They’re rich, single and smooth with the ladies but they tend to be jerks in the way they treat their heroines.

The friendship between these two worked much better than their romance, but even that wasn’t without its challenges. Part of my ongoing issue with Jackson’s stories is the stilted dialogue and this one is no different. As best friends, I wouldn’t expect gutter language, but I would expect more relaxed conversations. The one person you should be able to let it all hang out with is your best friend and I didn’t feel that with these two. The interactions between Stern and his family was heartwarming and funny at moments which made it a better read for me.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C+/B-

*Book provided by Harlequin Desire for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Brenda Jackson
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin

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