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Thursday, April 08, 2010:
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss (2010) - quickie review
Is Rachel Robinson the only one on campus who doesn't know who Devin Freedman is?

No big deal except that the bad-boy rock star gets a kick out of Rachel's refusal to worship at his feet. And that seems to have provoked his undivided attention.

Devin, the guy who gave new meaning to the phrase 'sex, drugs and rock 'n roll'.

Devin, the guy who somehow becomes wedged between her and the past she's kept hidden for years.

It's up to this librarian to find out first-hand just how 'bad' he really is. Because her secret - and her growing feelings for a man who claims he's bent on redemption - depend on his turning out to be as good as he seems.

Which is really, really good.

I first saw this book reviewed at Dear Author, and thought it sounded like something I'd want to read. (Obviously so much so that I actually ended up buying 2 copies).

Rachel Robinson is the librarian on campus, and can't understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to Devin Freedman. Sure he's good-looking, if you like the unkempt, tattoo-wearing type. Even when she finds out he's a hot rockstar, it does nothing to change her opinion of him.

Devin can't quite figure out what the deal is with the librarian. She's not impressed by who she is, and she dresses in strange, old-fashioned clothes that hide her physical attributes, yet she's got a brain like a steel trap and a luscious mouth that gives him dirty thoughts. He tries to keep his distance, and she tends to irritate him more than anything else. But he also notices he's not bored when she's around.

After much bantering back and forth, the two finally seem to develop an unwanted attraction, and while Rachel is reluctant to explore it further, she does go out with Devin. She finds she is curious about him, especially about his friendship with a young classmate who loves music. But she's not sure where this is leading.

Devin's not really looking for a relationship, having crashed and burned twice in the marriage department. But there's something about Rachel that draws him; her independence, her individuality, and the way she gives as good as she gets. But there are secrets and mistrust between them, and is it even possible to forge a relationship partially based on lies?

My thoughts:

There were many things about "What the Librarian Did" that I liked, but just as many as I didn't like. It wasn't the outstanding book I was expecting, though it did seem to start off that way. But somewhere along the lines it veered off into a unfortunate yet predictable direction that had me rolling my eyes.

What I Liked:

  • Rachel's quick and intelligent responses to Devin. She was smart and not afraid to show it. Most of her comments amused and impressed Devin, who was so used to having people fall over all themselves complimenting him that to have someone less than impressed with his reputation was incredibly freeing.

  • Devin's new-found sobriety and relationship with his mother. He can't deny he enjoyed being a rockstar and lived the lifestyle to the fullest. But his partying days are over, and he's finally come to terms with that. Now when his mother needs him, he comes home and rebuilds their relationship.

  • Rachel's own individuality in how she dressed and presented herself. She didn't need a makeover to get Devin to notice her, and she had her own sense of style that worked for her. She didn't need tight-fitting revealing clothes to get a sexy man to notice her. After all, she had a brain.

  • Devin's friendship with fellow student Mark. Even though he'd left the music world behind him, Devin still could have lived off the adoration of his fans and taken full advantage of Mark's hero worship, but he doesn't. Instead he develops a true friendship with the young man, and is there for him during a very difficult time.

What I didn't like:

  • the numerous misunderstandings between Rachel and Devin. After awhile it made them both seem like immature children. One minute they're friends, the next they are hurling accusations at each other. The back and forth was making me dizzy.

  • Rachel's overly emotional behavior. Granted, she has a huge secret she's kept from everyone, especially the one person that matters most, but the way she goes about it had me wincing. I guess I could see where she was coming from and why she acted the way she did, but her refusal to take Devin's advice and tried to do things her own way only made things worse, and I wanted to shake her for ruining her chance to make things right.

I still liked this book, I just wouldn't put it in the same category as Dear Author has. It's fun, emotional, snappy, but it has its flaws that kept it from being an outstanding read. And I do happen to have an extra copy, so maybe I'll have a contest for it one day....

Rating: *** 1/2 out of *****

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  1. Wow! I think yours is the first so-so review I've seen of this book. It's great to read another perspective.

    I actually have 'What the Librarian Did' on my TBR shelf but I haven't gotten to it yet.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, both positive and negative.

  2. My final grade on this was a "B" because, like you mentioned, after a while the numerous misunderstandings just got tiresome. The constant jumping to conclusions, especially towards the end...oy vei!

    That being said, I still thought this was a good, solid read - and Bliss is now on my category autobuy list.

  3. Thank you Stacy. I'm with Sarah, it's nice to read differing opinions of a book. I agree, numerous misunderstandings are frustrating - were they realistic do you think? What I mean is, would the characters have just talked and sorted things out in RL?

  4. I didn't want to have babies with it either, Stacy. I liked it, but had a lot of issues with it. Both Rachel and Devin were so quick to judge each other, especially near the end when they should have had more trust. Also, I hated that Rachel's whole rush to judgment at the end was because she thought her college-aged son was being offered pot and alcohol. Excuse me, but if pot and alcohol are the worst things he's offered in college, good for him!

    I liked Bliss's voice, so I'll definitely read another one, but this wasn't on the top of my list.

  5. Beware of the over-hyped book, they rarely ever live up to the over-inflated high expectations.

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