I love SEP, but this book is definitely among one of my least favorites. As other reviewers have mentioned, the narrator is ALL WRONG for Lucy. Since I have all her books, I will still purchase it when the next one comes out.
The story line has too many secondary characters which really distracts the reader/listener from the main story. Don't get me wrong, I usually love all the side characters in the other SEP books because I feel they embellish the story, but this is not one of those books.
While listening to the story, I just feel "that simply cannot be Lucy's voice!" It was way too nasal and old for Lucy. If anything, it makes one hard to find her charming or relate to her.
I've loved or at least liked all of SEP's titles so far and had high hopes for Lucy's story. Unfortunately, it fell really short - Lucy acted like a spoiled, rebellious teenager throughout the book, in addition to dress like one. "ick" factor aside for the sex scenes, her and Panda's romance was not believable to me. They were nasty to each other for most of the book and barely exchanged any meaningful conversations.
I also thought that the way PTSD is "resolved" in this book was pretty simplistic and way too easy. As someone who's had to deal with a similar situation with my husband, I can tell you that you are never "cured" of PTSD, you learn to manage it, to live with it and to get help from trained professionals. The "darkness" never really goes away. I wish the author had done more research on the subject, as it is an issue more and more families are facing in the US - you can't just gloss over it anymore.
Lastly, I thought SEP tried to cram too much in one book - 3 story lines is way too much and of course she wasn't able to do any of them justice!
Please bring back the quality of "It Had to Be You", "Match Me if You Can" and "Ain't She Sweet"!
Note that the narrator was fine (and was fine for the last few books of SEP) but the voice she gave Lucy added to the childish attitude of the character.
If I knew that I would be a writer, and I'm obviously not. I just know that some of SEP's greatest books, like Glitter Baby or First Lady, had characterizations, story and humor that somehow missed the boat in this one. I liked Temple tremendously but I think Lucy sometimes went off the deep end in terms of believeable behavior. "Viper"? Please. At times I actually cringed. I miss the multi-faceted Lucy we saw in First Lady. Also, it is never really touched upon that, if Lucy's mother was President, she very likely sent Panda (another wierdo name that doesn't really fit) into war. At the very least, she made decisions that altered his life irrevocably. This could be a very, very interesting character development that was completely glossed over. I think the President could have cast a much bigger shadow without another word of dialogue, and probably would have done so in a real life situation.As usual, I think the side plots really made the book. These were done well. The book had a theme about being true to oneself and the stories stayed true to it, for the most part. I like the fact that SEP builds characters I can like.
Another reviewer remarked that Lucy's behavior at the ending was shockingly manipulative. I agree, it made me like her less. Lucy seems to have a major deficit when it comes to acting like an adult, and this makes it very difficult to like her the way you want and need to like a principal character. I understand this is meant to be a plot point, but I got over reading teenage romance when I was, well, a teenager. This ending led me to believe that Lucy didn't grow up as much as I would have liked and I was disappointed in her.
Probably Temple. Nice and smooth and imperious - perfect!! I don't think Shannon Cochran spends a lot of time around 12-year-old boys - most of them don't have high, squeaky voices that make them sound like seven year olds.
Yes, absolutely. SEP is always worth a listen! While this book isn't the vintage SEP we have all compulsively read and re-read, I have major faith in this author. If she were to stop writing tomorrow (which I sincerely hope she doesn't) I would still re-read my favorites and treasure the time I spent doing so. That being said, I value and respect SEP too much to sugar coat reviews!
In summary, it's not the best we've come to expect from SEP but it's still a fun read within the genre and I will continue to purchase titles from SEP as long as she puts them out. Thank you!!
Should have been edited down to half the length Published
Shannon Cochran is a new reader for Susan Elizabeth Phillips and she takes a bit getting used to but just doesn't seem a good fit.
The performance lacks any luster and does not add anything to the story. I found myself getting bored and disinterested.
I really liked Meg's and Ted's story and have enjoyed most of Susan Elizabeth Phillips past books but this one seem like a she took parts of several of her past books and and re-tooled them into this one. Even the main characters nick names of "Panda and Viper" just were not appealing. Definitly not on my favorites list.
If you are in the mood for a nice light romance SEF does a great job. I always listen to her when I don't want anything really heavy. Fun book.
I liked the characters, especially the secondary ones, but the story was seriously lacking in what I would have expected from SEP. It almost seems as if she can't really relate to this generation anymore and was more interested in political and social nano-points rather than a convincing story. Just the name of the main male lead, "Panda", indicates how far this story misses the mark. Having said that, it does follow the traditional SEP format which many of us enjoy. In regards to what I liked least, I would say the narration assignment was so way, way off that it was unsettling; which isn't to say the narrator wasn't good, she is very talented but she seemed far more mature than the voice of the generation depicted in the story.
I would listen to a story associated with the Chicago group of stories, but not any associated with the Texas group or this First Family group.
She is a very talented narrator and did an excellent job with the craft of narration but she is far too mature for this story; it was unsettling and awkward.
Just giving the male lead a real name would of made a HUGE difference! What was SEP thinking? Who thinks "Panda" is sexy, swarthy and yet still respectable at the end of the day?
SEP writes a great story, she needs to develop stories and characters a bit older than these she is holding on to, she can't relate anymore.
If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips you will really like this book it is just a really fun listen
I'm always happy reading an SEP book. She sucks me into the pages every time.
While it's tough for anyone to step into Anna Fields/Kate Flemings's shoes, Shannon Cochran does an admirable job of it. She's easy to listen to.
While I truly enjoyed Ms Phillips's humor, I found the book's format predictable and I winced at the angst ("a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity" per Merriam Webster Free Dictionary) and upset that begins this book mildly distressing.
Also, as much as Ms Cochran is an able and talented narrator, for me she is miscast.(If I were to recast the narration, it would most likely be Xe Sands; she has that same wink-and-a-nudge intonation that Anna Fields used to such wondrous effect.)
I do not mean to disparage either Phillips as a remarkably talented author nor Cochran as an able narrator; it is just that I could have spent the time with a different book and not felt a loss. I have read some of her other books, I knew what to expect. And I'd hoped for more. Judging from other reviews, obviously YMMV.
I am a huge SEP fan and I found this book to be very disappointing. The characters were boring and I could barely get through it. I kept thinking it would get better, but sadly it did not. There was little chemistry between any of the characters and the side bar story was distracting and added little to the overall plot. The humor, so much a part of SEP stories was lacking. Don't waste your time/money on this one.