Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4926-1622-1
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Made for Us is the first book in Samantha Grace’s series The Shaughnessy Brothers. There is a sister in the bunch, but nah, romance readers only want the D, so the bros are on the menu. Fortunately for all of us, there are going to be four more brothers after this one, enough to keep the author busy for the next two years.
The Shaughnessy brothers are the most talented and capable people you will ever meet. They are also the hottest, richest, and sexiest things ever. Each one has a distinct ability to distinguish one from the other, and Aidan is the oldest one who takes care of the family since his mother died of cancer when he was just a teenager. Actually, he’d like to think that he’s the boss, but it’s pretty clear as the story progresses that he’s actually clinging very hard to be role of the family head even as his siblings have grown up and are doing fine without him hovering over them. At any rate, this is the conflict of the story – he has such a chip on his shoulder about being the perfectionist boss of everyone that he ends up treating people, including the heroine, like an ass when he doesn’t feel like he’s getting his way. Still, that’s for later. Early on, he’s all Mr Sunshine Bouncing Off His Perfect Pecs,
Zoe Dalton, our heroine, is an interior designer who is ordered to take over when her colleague displeases Aidan and is fired as a result. She expects a most unreasonable person waiting to make her life miserable, but instead she finds a nice guy who seems to be too good to be true. When a storm leaves her homeless, it looks like there’s no escaping the amorous destiny that awaits the two of them.
Oh boy, this one. Reading this one can be a chore, because the author really loves to repeat the details of her story so many times that I wonder whether she believes that her readers have the memory span of goldfish. Her characters can go through one thing over and over until I feel dizzy just keeping up with them. Also, the story is so heavy on emphasizing the main characters’ perfect looks, talents, everything that it is hard not to yawn. These people already have everything, and there is only some token minor conflict to overcome, so this one is not exactly riveting reading for me. It reminds me a lot of Nora Roberts’s more recent by-the-numbers stories of beautiful and perfect people going through the motions in some too-picturesque-perfect small town setting – it’s the kind of book to read when one wants to shut down the brain and go into autopilot mode.
In addition to the overly glossy sheen of perfection coating the story, the author also lays on the Hallmark sugar thick. The Shaughnessy siblings and daddy all finish off one another’s sentences like creepy hive mind creatures, with the father uttering salt-of-the-earth wisdom about love and what not as if he’s angling for a marriage proposal from one of Debbie Macomber’s heroines. Conflicts are easily swept aside after some heart-to-heart talk and hugs, and at the end of the day, nothing really disturbs the perfect, perfect life of these people.
Well, except perhaps when it comes to science. Or chemistry, to be precise, because there is nothing more hilarious that having one character lecture about chemistry only to have the chemical names printed with the numbers in superscript instead of subscript. That’s basic chemistry failure. Still, it’s almost reassuring to see that failure in action here, as I’m starting to suspect that these characters are all Stepford robots. At least now they are only 99.9% Stepford robots.