ARC Review: Love in Due Time by LB Dunbar

Posted October 30, 2019 by Kate

ARC Review: Love in Due Time by LB DunbarCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Green Valley Library #1
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Source: Social Butterfly PR

Naomi Winters will be forty--soon-ish--and she's only been with one man. One night. One time. Long ago. She believes everything happens for a reason, and the universe spoke about Nathan Ryder.
Nathan Ryder isn't the same man who hightailed his bike out of Green Valley eighteen years ago. As a rule breaker, women are one area he acts a fool. Case in point...the local librarian. He can't get a read on her, but she's one risk he's willing to take. Again.
What do an eccentric librarian and a sexy silver biker have in common? More than you think.
The due date on their love might not be expired after all.
'Love in Due Time' is a full-length, contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#1 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

DisclaimerI received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it does not influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way. (As you’ll see)

Let me start by saying Penny Reid is one of my favorite authors. Now after reading that statement, you may be asking me, “Why the heck are you talking about the lovely and wonderful Ms. Reid when this is not her book?” To that I would say, you are correct! But you are also wrong. Ms. Reid an author and the founder of SmartyPants Romance, which is a kind of small publishing venture that she’s started up. Basically, other authors write extensions to her stories! No, that’s not right. Other authors write their own stories, just set in the Pennyverse, in the world she’s created and with the character’s she’s written about as side characters. That makes more sense, right? 

In the other SmartyPants Romance books, Ms. Reid’s characters were a great touch of nostalgic window dressing. They weren’t main characters or even ultra-important side characters. For instance, in Love in Due Time, our main character is interacts with several side characters who were also side characters in the Winston Brother’s books. This one, however, I didn’t like the portrayal of familiar characters, like Jackson and Catfish. 

I have to admit, Love in Due Time was the most disappointing of the Smartypants Romance reads I’ve read so far. A lot about this one really bothered me and I finished it, but I didn’t really enjoy it. The basic premise of this one was wholesome and adorable. Naomi, the Wiccan librarian, and Nathan, motorcycle man, construction worker and single dad of two daughters. They met when Naomi was 21 years old, had a fantastic one-night stand, and never saw each other again when Nathan was forced to leave town. Eighteen years later, he rolls back into town and runs right into Naomi, the girl he was forced to leave all those years ago. 

For what it was… the story was wayyyy too long. The elements of biker-esque escapades made things semi-interesting, and don’t get me wrong, I love hella good biker romances, and “badass biker” just so happens to be one of my favorite kinds of fictional male. But overall, it was just severely under-whelming and … came off as really kind of pathetic, because Nathan clearly had no idea what he was doing and honestly just pissed a circle around Naomi in an un-romantic and un-admirable way. The whole thing made me cringe, to be honest.  

I’m a Wiccan. I celebrate nature, purity, and most importantly, the spirit of women. Mother Nature is my guide. She’s the goddess Supreme, or rather the Triple Goddess is my ruler. Local rumor is I’m a witch, but my story is nothing fantastical. I’m a librarian at the Green Valley Public Library.

One of my least favorite things in a book is when it’s all Hero&Heroine with little-to-no interaction with outside characters. (The only exception is when the characters are snowed in, because that is ALWAYS awesome!) This … was kinda like that. I wanted to like this one so bad! mostly because it was a SmartyPants Romance and anything associated with Penny Reid has a green mark in my book.

There was Nathan’s mom that he lived with. She was the absolute stereotypical insufferable live-in grandma, saying things like “Nathan, when are you going to bring home good girl? Stop hooking up with the riff-raff.” But she had like only two, maybe three lines. And they were very stereotypical, devoid-of-personality statements And Nathan’s kids? The ones she watched when the kids were younger? (But we never got a full history on.) They were very rarely in the book and only brought up to drive the plot further. Point is, the secondary characters didn’t seem to have real personalities in this one, and merely seemed like strategically-placed window dressing

Not to mention, this woman was in her goddamned 40s. She regularly watches self-pleasure videos. She may have only had sex the one time with Nathan 18 years ago, but there’s no reason she should be the wilting virgin she was acting at. And if she said “I might/maybe bad at this” before every. damn. time. they do something sexual (even kissing!), I could have absolutely slapped her. Like… stop. Please. I would have thought she was 16 years old, not a woman comfortable (if not wholly familiar) with her sexuality. She legitimately asked what morning wood was. What? A big part of the appeal for this was that it followed two adults who were older, not the young-ins we typically see in contemporary romance. But I couldn’t help but feel that they were young characters written with older ages if you know what I mean. 

Can we also talk about how Nathan would get pissed at people for calling his girl a witch? Then, he legitimately asked her if she was. Huh? She got all offended but then brushed it off, and got pissed on her behalf. Like, is he kidding? He knows she’s not a witch. She’s merely Wiccan but dresses very conservatively, with skirt hems to her ankles and her neckline to her chin. And, despite the fact that the author says she doesn’t many times, Naomi completely changed her appearance for her man. Now if it was a journey of self-realization and work, I could get behind it! But it was so sudden, immediately after their relationship reached its climax. 

“Do you think I’m a witch?” I ask, my voice dropping as I step toward him. He steps back.
Is he afraid of me? 
“I’ve heard a few things.” 

Each of the characters just seemed to be manipulated around to move the plot forward, personality, and set characterization be damned. I already mentioned how conservative she dresses, but at one point, Nathan finds her dancing outside (during her Samhain ritual) in a transparent nightgown. Okay, it may go all the way down to her ankles, but it’s utterly transparent and she’s naked under it. Sure… that follows the characterization NOT. Besides the fact that this was only hours after she was abducted out of her home. When I get a scare that bad, I sure as hell don’t frolic outside nearly naked. 

Most of the issues I had with this one was the repetitive writing and the lack of good character development (at all). But even the plot had me baffled. One of (what I thought was) the major plot points was that the library was being threatened with closure by the state, in order to divert resources to city libraries. Okay… now as the library’s librarian for 19-some years, I figured Naomi would be all over this. Not so much. She didn’t even seem to care! She had a moment or two of sorrow or grief for the library when the closure was being discussed, but there was nothing else. She didn’t lobby on its behalf, try to do anything to solve it or anything. At the end, it was saved by some anonymous donor and they celebrated. 

This bleeds into the biggest problem I saw with this one: the lack of layer and intricacy. Was it a bad book? No. Ms. Dunbar clearly knows how to write chapters and follow a basic plotline and has some skill to back it up to show that she’s done it many times before (and I know that she has). But there was no depth to the plot or the very surface-like characters. I was disappointed because I really wanted to like this one. But I just… couldn’t. Especially because it dragged on for so much longer than it needed to

Each of the books in this series are written by a different author, so I will of course be continuing to read the (otherwise amazing) Smartypants Romance releases, as well as the remainder of this series. But this one… I can’t bring myself to recommend it this “romantic comedy” that wasn’t very funny, despite the strong start in the beginning. Read my review of book two (much better!!)…

Thank you SmartyPants Romance for the title, of course, and to Social Butterfly PR for the work you do ?

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Have you read any of Penny Reid books? What are some of your favorite second-chance romances? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! 

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