Review: Zip, Zero, Zilch by Tammy Falkner

zip zero zilchReviewed by Joanna

This is the sixth in the Reed Brothers series and the last I’m reading. It’s Sam’s turn to get tossed in love. He’s the last of the five brothers to fall and he’s probably the one I felt least connection with from the previous books. Sam’s a pro-football player earning a fortune for a NY team, though he’d actually much rather be baking. Cos that happens.

As all his brothers are settled and have, like, a million kids between them, Sam realizes he wants the same thing. He wants someone to snuggle with and to take home to his big empty apartment. He wants marriage and children of his own, and he knows just the girl for the role.

Peck (Woodpecker) is a drummer in the band Fallen From Zero, and she doesn’t think she’s Sam’s type. They shared a kiss once and nearly had sex, but it all went to pot when they rowed about whether to keep the lights on or not. Peck’s body-conscious being 5’11” and not skinny, but Pete loves curves and has to convince her she’s the right woman for him (I think he might be a feeder, ya know). Peck’s got other issues, too, including a bad stutter, and she drums on surfaces to keep it at bay as well as using sign language to communicate. I think she’s the most rounded heroine in this series since Emily.

For story reasons, Sam and Peck end up sharing his apartment and things quickly progress. Except Sam won’t give it up until Peck’s fallen in love with him. What a tease. Still, they are sweet together and share some sexy time despite Sam’s veto. See this quote from when Peck sees the band after staying over at Sam’s. They are very interested in what she got up to:

“Fin points rather obscenely to her crotch. “He took it downtown? Ate at the Y? Had a box lunch?”

The beginning of the book was a little disjointed and I think it might overlap one of the novellas that goes with this series, but overall I liked most of it and more than some of the previous books. There’s lots of banter, lots of Reed family, lots of tattoo time and lots of love. Sam and his twin Pete are hilarious together:

“My phone rings and I see Pete’s number pop up. “Joe’s Ho House,” I say. “You got the dough, we got the ho. What would you like to plow?” Silence. I bite back a laugh. “Dude,” Pete says, “that was so fucked up.”

It’s a nice read, but there were issues with the plot meandering and sometimes action was suggested but never delivered. E.g. Sam’s coach tells him to be seen out and about with a girlfriend to deflect from another issue. You’d expect there to be a dating/press scene coming up but it never happened. And the issue they were trying to deflect vanished entirely so was a big waste of time.

Then there’s this really dumb misunderstanding which kinda killed the end of the book for me.

Spoiler in case you’re interested – so Peck goes on tour and the support band’s drummer kisses her which gets photographed by the press. In the meantime, Sam is missing her so much he can’t stand it so he goes and gets on a plane and joins her in Vegas. They of course get married and the morning after, Sam goes to get coffee and sees a magazine with the picture of the kiss and thinks Peck cheated on him. (He doesn’t know this girl at all.) So he challenges her without being specific and she thinks he’s talking about a secret she kept on behalf on Logan. It’s so dumb. Sam storms off and though he texts Logan and is told it’s a misunderstanding, he goes AWOL and doesn’t speak to anyone. For two weeks. Peck’s still on tour and it turns out he’s back with his football team but seriously? Two weeks of not reading texts or listening to voicemails? From anyone? It is inconceivable that the guy who is so in love he gets an unplanned flight with no luggage to marry the girl he loves at four AM in the morning, doesn’t rush to apologize when he realizes his mistake. In fact she has to go to him and do this big dumb gesture on the football field. Gah.

The relationship and the bond between Sam and Peck felt weak anyway but this did them in for me and though it’s HEA, I’d almost peg it as HFN as Sam is an idiot.

The book ends with an emotional scene involving Logan which was lovely and nicely handled. It was the saving grace for the series I’ve now read six books of. There are more – the other members of Fallen From Zero are next in the frame I think, but I didn’t find them interesting enough to warrant further reading.

Rating: B- for the first half, C- for the end barring Logan’s bit

Click to purchase: Amazon

Zip, Zero, Zilch
by Tammy Falkner
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Night Shift Publishing

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