By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general.
Rosalind James' Escape to New Zealand series was recommended by a friend, and I'd seen some rave reviews here and on Goodreads. I was really excited to check out a new-to-me author to break out of the Shalvis-Higgins-Dahl-Wash-Rinse-Repeat rut I've gotten into with contemporary romance, and the fact that these are set in New Zealand just seemed like a bonus. Unfortunately, Just This Once was much more exciting in theory than in execution. I made it through 118 (of 277) pages before calling it quits, and I just can't keep going. I'm just so bored.
It's sad, really. Everything about this book is better in theory than in execution. The heroine is smart and independent and athletic... and totally milquetoast. The hero is a famous rugby hero with a darling accent, a gorgeous body... and the personality of a toaster. They're tramping (Kiwi for "hiking") through some of the most gorgeous scenery on earth, and I just want something to HAPPEN already! The sex scenes are vague, bland, and uninspired, and somehow there just isn't any emotional conflict.
I think my biggest problem is with James' narrative style: it's very straightforward, with a lot of "telling" rather than "showing". This happened, then this happened, and the next day this other thing happened. And then this happened again. And on, and on, and on.
If after 100+ pages, I can't figure out the conflict in a story, and I can't be bothered to care about the characters, I'm done. If I wanted to sleep, I'd take a nap.