Full disclosure: I received a free copy of Hard to Handle from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Hard to Handle is a short, sweet romance in which nothing really happens and everything is wrong.
You know, I initially wrote out this review with detailed descriptions of every single problem I had with this book, but I wasn’t even half done and the review was practically a full-length novel, so I decided maybe bullet points are better. I will be happy to provide more examples (and more things I didn’t like) if necessary.
• THE TIMELINE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. First and foremost, I cannot for the life of me figure out when things are supposed to be happening. Everything seemed horribly rushed and contrived, but maybe that’s because I didn’t read book one. (Of course, I didn’t know there was a book one until this little guy showed up at my door saying it was book two!) According to my fellow reviewers, not reading book one should have little impact on the understanding of book two, but I still wonder if having that background information would have made the story flow better.
• THE WHOLE DIVORCE/HIDING SADIE THING MADE NO SENSE AT ALL. From what I understand, Aiden and Sadie dated briefly and then broke up because his mom got sick and he had to take care of her, and also he didn’t want his mom to know he was divorced and dating a new woman? I don’t know, that part didn’t make sense to me. Did his mom really like his ex-wife? Would she really have been devastated to find out they’d split? She’d rather live her last days believing a lie than know that her son was happy with a new woman? I mean, it sounds like Aiden and Harmony had a pretty toxic relationship, and it sounds like his mom was a reasonable woman… so from the beginning, the whole relationship drama didn’t make much sense to me.
• BE TOGETHER OR DON’T. STOP WITH THE NONSENSE. I’m not sure whether or not I can call this instalove, seeing how Aiden and Sadie dated for some indeterminate amount of time some indeterminate number of months/years ago. Aiden never stopped loving Sadie, and Sadieabsolutely despises Aiden. Except when she doesn’t. But then she does again. But then she loves him. And then she wants to break up, even though she won’t admit they’re dating. She can’t get enough of him. She wants him to just LEAVE HER ALONE. This is one of my pet peeves in romance novels. If your relationship goes through that many ups and downs and you can’t decide whether you love or hate your partner, you probably shouldn’t be dating. It’s as simple as that.
• SADIE WAS ACTUALLY AWFUL. Yes, Aiden dumped her. It was probably awful, most breakups are. But Aiden had a good reason, and as her best friend actually points out, she needs to stop using it as an excuse to be terrible to him. She feels that she can justify every snide remark or rude action because he left her to take care of his mom. As if it was the worst possible thing he could’ve done. I think she hates Aiden more for moving away than she hates her ex-fiance for sleeping with her sister.
• AIDEN WAS ACTUALLY AWFUL TOO. Aiden is the worst kind of awful, because he hides in such a sweet persona. I wonder if the author even realizes that she created such an awful character. You see, Aiden wants what he wants. And what he wants is [spoilers removed].
• WHY IS EVERYTHING ABOUT MARRIAGE? Why does marriage dominate the lives of these men and women? Everything is about a proposal, a dead wife, a ring, did she say yes yet?,wow they’re engaged, a fiance… I think that every woman who is mentioned in more than one scene actually has a marriage plot in this book. It is absolutely ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with marriage, or with wanting to have a family, but it almost comes across like the author of this ROMANCE NOVEL is uncomfortable with the idea of unmarried people being together!
I actually enjoyed this book at the beginning. I knew that it wouldn’t be one of my favorites, but it was a good way to pass the time. A quick, easy read. But then Aiden got all weird and clingy, and Sadie did a complete 180. I would have liked it better if they’d ended up apart because I just felt like Sadie was shoved into a life she didn’t want, a life that she had been insisting that she wasn’t interested in.
Final rating: (a generous) ★★☆☆☆
See my original review, complete with spoilers (if you’re into that kind of thing) here.