WHAT IT TAKES
by Kathryn Ascher
Set amidst the glamour of Hollywood and the quiet of rural Virginia, What it Takes, by Kathryn Ascher, is the first book in the Rocky Creek series and Ascher’s debut novel. Kelsey Morgan finds herself pregnant and alone right before graduating from college and the choices she makes set in motion unforseen events that explode years later just as she’s launching her movie career. Patrick Lyons is Hollywood’s golden boy and notorious for sleeping with his costars. When Kelsey arrives on set as his leading lady, all bets are off as Patrick finds himself smitten and determined to break down the walls Kelsey has built around her heart.
I really wanted to love this book. With touches of suspense mixed in with the romance, it had all the ingredients for a fun read. Unfortunately, for me, the story never seems to take root. Ascher’s story is well plotted, the pace is steady, but I found the details lacking. I’m a detail person and love a well-researched book. With a movie set as the background the potential for scene setting was high. Yet, the scenes fell short and didn’t ring true. A movie set is teeming with people and movement, but we never really see or hear mention of anyone other than the four stars, the director, and a mostly absent crew. Sounds like nitpicking, but it was distracting. I really liked Patrick, who is sweet, steady, and patient as he falls in love for the first time. Kelsey, on the other hand, didn’t start to grow on me until she finally lets go of both her and Patrick’s past and lets herself fall in love while learning to trust herself and him. There is chemistry, especially when they share their first kiss.
The ending is explosive and fun to read, but the events that lead to it seemed improbable in this day and age. Whatever your beliefs, today’s society easily accepts pregnancies outside of marriage. The reactions and handling of Kelsey’s pregnancy are archaic and contrived. That she readily accepts this makes her seem weak, which a reader doesn’t want from their heroine.
Ascher does create a nice cast of supporting characters and their interaction is where What it Takes really shines. Janelle is Kelsey’s older sister and their relationship jumps right off the page, their banter leaving a smile on my face. More importantly, the love they have for each other shines through. Patrick and Kelsey’s costars, Greyson and Veronica, play the perfect role of supportive friends. Ironically, I found that Richard, Kelsey’s brother-in-law and the book’s antagonist, was the standout character. He starts out as that cliche character who drinks too much and is angry with the hand life has dealt him. But, as his motivation is revealed, I realized that his actions, though horrible, came from a place of gut wrenching truth.
What it Takes ends rather abruptly and picks up immediately in On the Line, the next book in the series. These two definitely need to be read in order. Heat Level: 2.5
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Click on the book covers if you’d like to make What it Takes or On the Line part of your library.
What it Takes was published in May 2014 by BQB Publishing.