NOTE: Rhys Ford contacted both Patty and Katie about reviewing her new book, Fish Stick Fridays, which is due out in November. She provided us with ARCs in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Katie: Deacon is badass motorcycle-riding ex-con. He’s been to prison for knowingly receiving and using stolen motorcycle parts at his custom motorcycle shop. In the meantime, his younger sister took a road less traveled as well, and not in a good way. Deanna (I think, I honestly don’t remember her name. She’s not really in the book except as a plot device.) fell in with an abusive drug dealer, got pregnant, had a daughter named Bobo Ziegfried, and eventually killed herself in front of the kid.
Patty: Don’t forget that Deacon is a product of the foster care system. Thanks, Rhys. Really. Haven’t read a backstory this uplifting since…
Katie: Tell the truth: you just wanted to include an Outlander picture…
Katie: Anyway, Deacon is now out of prison, has gotten himself on the straight and narrow, and talks a judge into granting him custody of Bobo. He immediately nicknames her Zig, and thank God, because Bobo is pretty high up on the list of the worst names I’ve ever heard. Zig is a force of nature, and probably my favorite character. She loves to read, bargains like a lawyer with 20 years experience, and curses like a sailor. In short, SHE’S PATTY.
Patty: HEY! OK, yeah. Bobo is almost as bad as my real middle name. Almost.
Katie: Gotta love a girl with an individual sense of style! Untamed hair, combat boots, and a tutu are Zig’s fashion go-tos. I kept picturing Zig as the little girl (maybe a year or two younger) from that terrible Kevin Costner movie, Black or White. Turns out her name is Jillian Estell.
Patty: I have a love/hate relationship with RFord. I love her characters: the way she drops you into a story and lets you know them within the first handful of pages. I love her humor and the realistic way she manages human faults and (sometimes) painful histories.
I hate not being able to snark and I really hate knowing she is going to put her characters through hell before I get my happy ending.
I DON’T WANT THE DAMN CHICKEN
Katie: True that. Deacon and Zig are moving to a new town in northern California in hopes of making a fresh start for both of them. On their way north, the motel they spend the night at burns to the ground. It’s an ominous start, but as soon as they roll into town they meet Lang, the owner of the strip mall their new garage is located in, and it’s like the sun peeks out from a cloud.
Lang seems to own about half the town, but hangs out mostly in his bookstore being bossed around by his two cats, Farfhrd and Grey Mouser. He’s a very laid back guy who has inherited a big enough trust from his grandmother that he keeps the bookstore mainly as a place to hangout. He falls instantly in lust with Deacon, and seems bemused by Zig.
Patty: There was very little prevarication in the jump from meet-cute to hot sexy love times, though there was ample reason and opportunity for the author to have tossed in some angsty self-denial for kicks and plot extension. Personally, I prefer to just get to the inevitable without all of the hand-wringing, but I’m also really, really impatient. It was bad enough I had to read through a shit-ton of violent attacks and near-death experiences; for you see, Deacon, Lang and Zig all have Very Bad Shit in their recent histories and – as we all know – Very Bad Shit never just stays put and it never, ever, needs a restraining order.
Katie: Nice isn’t the word I want to use. Advantageous? That’s better. The advantageous thing about all of them having so much Bad Shit in their pasts is that they’re on an even playing field – no martyrs! Yay! – and it’s harder to pinpoint whom the actual big bad is. Because of course there is one. There always is.
Characters I liked and felt sympathy for, smexy times, and a mystery I didn’t solve on the first try. What’s not to like about Fish Stick Fridays, other than the title?
Patty: That we can’t snark about it. Nonetheless, between that and some of the snarkworthy tripe we’ve had to hold vomit in our mouths for, I’ll take this any day.