I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
I’m sort of into figure skating-big time. So, if any book YA, NA, or just plain adult has figure skating involved. So I couldn’t help but devour this series-even though it has a lot and I mean a lot of flaws.
To be fair to the series though, after the first book I sort of knew what I was dealing with so I sort of just dealt with the flaws. And while I wouldn’t say that it was a perfect read it was an entertaining binge read.
Where We Meet the World’s Dullest Figure Skater:
Yeah, Emily is a bit of a dull one. Though to be fair, she did have a couple of moments.
To be honest, I just wanted to shake her a lot of the time and say grow up. Especially on the parent front. But I did enjoy her relationship with Sergei. They did have chemistry. And I like that their relationship wasn’t all instantly hot and heavy. In a weird way, I like the fact that they waited. Comeaux didn’t make it seem overly preachy and religious. It was just a simple choice and after Sergei agreed that was that.
Though, I kept waiting them to eventually relent and bone each other.
Because obviously I watch too much daytime television and have not attended mass enough.
The figure skating scenes were done quite well too. In fact, I’d say this was the strong suit of this series. All the sequences, the competitions, the coaching, it seemed fairly realistic. A bit vanilla maybe. But realistic enough.
What I did have problems with though were the characters.
Emily is a bit of a Mary Sue. Her mother….God her mother was insufferable. The sad thing is this installment is the mother character at her best. She just goes downhill. I didn’t help that Emily completely let her boss her around when she’s a grown woman. Have a little backbone, darling. Mommy shouldn’t have a say in who her twenty-year-old dates. And for that matter, barge in on her apartment with not even checking with her.
It’s called boundaries.
The side characters also seem remarkably under developed. I wish that Comeaux would’ve taken more time with Em and Chris’s relationship they are figure skating partners after all. But you really don’t see Chris, unless there’s a skating competition.
Sergei was relatively interesting. He had a backstory and I did like that he didn’t pressure Em and in fact pushed her away. Honestly, he was probably the best character in the book.
In the end, I didn’t love this one or hate it. I pretty much gave it a middle of the road rating (C+). While it didn’t thrill me it didn’t have me raging. If you want a cute skating romance you might give it a try.
The sequels though….
Where I Want Emily to Pick Me Up a Bottle of Vodka from Duty Free so I Can Tolerate her Mother:
Besides, expanding on the Sergei backstory this one was really a letdown thanks to Emily and that painted old biddy of a mother of hers.
Oh, and Elena who was borderline slut slammed-thank God, she did not do an actual play on Sergei (I was so betting on it).
You know, this could’ve been an interesting plot to explore, but it was really boring for the most part. Honestly, I can describe the book like this: Emily and Sergei have some cornball cheese scenes, figure skating (which is actually written pretty decently), past secret threatens cornball romance, Emily freaks out, figure skating mishaps, montage time (but without the music), leaves to climactic figure skating scene and romance.
Not at all realistic.
But again, you don’t really read these things for realism.
I think I could’ve handled a lot of this if it hadn’t been for the mother character and for Elena.
At least with Elena, I could sort of understand her emotions. Though I had a difficult time buying the whole immigration issues for both her and Liza. But then again, most people aren’t going to have a vein popping after reading this sense they didn’t take immigration law.
They just might have it popping for Elena acting like she stepped out of the cast of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Once again, the worst character goes to the mother.
God, Emily, tell her off. Bitch slap her. Cut her out of your life so she won’t waste page count. You know what, I’ll fix this for you, I’ll write an erotic fan fic scene between you and Sergei and send it to her. I’m sure she’ll have a coronary if I say you did it Turkish style or something that sounds borderline provocative since I doubt the prude knows what Turkish style is (probably thinks Downton Abbey is corrupting the youth). And then she can asks you questions about what Turkish style or whatever I say you and Sergei did.
Yeah…she’s that annoying and asks questions that are that inappropriate.
I feel like the entire plot though was just a waste. As I said before, completely unrealistic and for Emily to be so willing to be a doormat it just has me wanting to shake her.
Grow up girl.
The skating scenes are probably the only thing that kept this book from getting a big fat F. D.
Why Does This Even Exist
This one was fuck-tapcular. Once again, the best part was the figure skating. However, unlike the rest of the books where the figure skating seemed fairly realistic there was a plot point that just had me shaking my head.
Like the rest of the book.
First, let’s talk about the structure of this one. The first two were purely first person. Throwing a third person POV in addition to the first at this point of the series seems a little odd and made the story feel disjointed.
I honestly wanted to connect to Aubrey, but I really couldn’t. Her dark past, well, I get how it could affect her, but it’s none of her damn business. To hate your mother for the choices she made in her own marriage.
So judgmental these characters, I swear.
Oh, and let’s not forget the queen of judgmental herself…Em’s fucking bitch of a mother. Yeah, I’m cursing when it comes to this character now.
Seriously, you don’t lecture your twenty-four year old married daughter about the appropriate use of birth control and go through her stuff. This character needs boundaries and fast.
She’s not merely a helicopter mom, she goes way beyond that.
Then there’s the whole plot. Comeaux just had to go with the whole baby plot.
No, I can’t believe that a women rapidly approaching her second trimester would be able to skate in the Olympics with twins. If you Google pregnancy you’ll find that the symptoms are double with twins. So, the mere fact she’s not throwing up on the ice is rather amazing.
I also have to say I just love how its automatic that they’re keeping the babies. The babies were conceived at a bad time. At least there could be some talk about termination, and yes I know they’re married but let’s get real here there are terminations in marriages. It just seemed realistic that this should’ve been discussed.
But of course we’re not even going to go there and we’re just going to skate in the Olympics while three months pregnant with twins.
I couldn’t even enjoy the gold medal scene because I just kept thinking how stupid this is. And to be honest, Em never talked about having kids and is totally okay with the idea.
Why is it so hard to believe a woman might not want babies? Why do babies automatically equal happy endings?
And I didn’t even enjoy the third person romance like I was hoping.
So yeah, compared to the others this one fail on its face.
While the series technically ends there, Comeaux started a spinoff series which I’m going to review in this binge review as well (because I was ill advised to hit the buy button on my Kindle)
Courtney Stronger Than Emily Till She Gets Her Inner Titty Baby On
The good news: the main character is more developed in this spinoff for the first 3/4s of the book. I have to say it’s refreshing to read a character who’s not exactly perfect (unlike Emily).
The sad thing: Josh holds nothing to Sergei and has the personality of a dead noodle.
So it’s essentially the inverse of the Sergei and Emily narrative.
I do think that Comeaux has developed as a writer. The prose was much easier to read in this one. And as always her figure skating scenes were well written. And I was a little stunned by them.
Character development is still a major weakness of hers though. As well as melodrama…
Man, did it make me hate Courtney who I actually had liked up until that point.
Why did you do that Comeaux? It made Courtney seem just so childish and then there’s some moments of stupidity I just wanted to hit my head on the desk.
I also wonder how old Courtney is. Her best friend is a fifteen-year-old and that seems a bit awkward for a twenty something.
The chemistry between Josh and Courtney was luke warm at best. I didn’t really feel connected to either of them when they were together, and though Courtney’s actual partner might have better chemistry-alas, that was not meant to be.
I think with this one you might want to check it out if you had any old interest in the original (parent) series or are a huge fan of figure skating.
Overall Rating: C+
These books are quick reads. Like with Vampire Academy they’re not great literature. They’re not even on the same caliber as Vampire Academy, but they were still interesting enough for me to pickup.