Saturday, January 23, 2010

Review: Chasing Stanley

Title: Chasing Stanley
Author: Deidre Martin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Blades (#6)
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I'm surprised I even picked up this book considering the cover...


What do a New York City dog trainer and a pro hockey player have in common? They both love Stanley, an adorable but naughty Newfoundland...

When dog trainer Delilah Gould spots a rambunctious Newfoundland disobeying orders, she can't help but stepping in and teaching the gentle giant to heel. But it's his hunky owner she's really like to teach a few tricks. Too bad he's clearly the untrainable kind.

Professional hockey player Jason Mitchell is thrilled when he's traded to the New York Blades--the team of his dreams. There's just one problem: his pooch isn't adjusting to city life too well. Good thing he crosses paths with dog trainer Delilah Gould. At least that's what he thinks--until he realized he's fallen for her.

Now, with the season heating up, Jason realizes he'll have to score big-time to win the Stanley Cup and the woman who had tamed his dog and unleashed his heart.

I found Chasing Stanley to be a disappointing book. The first few chapters leading up to Delilah and Jason getting together were fun, light-hearted, and amusing. Jason had hero potential- I loved that he was attracted to Delilah despite her being shy and always covered in dog hair. However, once they got together it was all downhill from there.

Neither Jason nor Delilah showed any character growth throughout the novel. Delilah is painfully awkward and shy, interacting better with dogs than people. Whenever she is in a social situation she ends up babbling and embarrassing herself. Neither of these are particularly horrible traits, except that she has no spine. Not only is she socially awkward, but she spends most of the book on the brink of tears about one thing or another. She’s overly vulnerable. She doesn’t have a lot of common sense. She runs out of parties the minute she thinks someone doesn’t like her. She’s been traumatized by her parents fighting and bickering, so it makes some sense that she’s hesitant about relationships, but she literally becomes a nervous wreck just thinking about her parents. The only character who is less mature than her is Jason.

Jason is essentially a little boy now living in the big city playing hockey. He’s impulsive about everything. He buys digital cameras before furnishing his apartment. He goes out to get drunk with his teammates and his brother. And he’s about a zero on the maturity scale. I had major issues about Delilah and his first major public outing. Jason wants to go have dinner with some of his teammates. Delilah was clear she didn’t want to go and that her social anxiety would probably cause some problems. They go, and she babbles. It wasn’t much of a shock, but at the same time it wasn’t a major deal. Yes, she embarrassed herself, but she didn’t say anything offensive or anything that should have embarrassed Jason. Jason, however, gets really angry about what happened. In the car ride home he starts lashing out that she needs to get help about her social anxiety problems at that she hasn’t been doing anything to fix it. Hello! Delilah clearly stated that she didn’t want to go, that it would be hard on her, then Jason pressures he into it and gets mad when it doesn’t go the way he wanted? I was so annoyed by the whole incident I had to put the book down for a while. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to bother to finish it.

Jason spends a lot of time in the book considering Delilah a liability, which makes me really doubt that they belong together. She’s a homebody, and he likes to go out and party the night away. A lot of couples can overcome this, except Jason wanted Delilah to start partying and Delilah wanted Jason to stay in more. They weren’t very good at compromising. For a few months, they take a break from dating and stay friends. They work way better this way, and even though they get back together at the end, their future as a couple appears doomed. I’m not sure what it says about Jason’s character that the moment he and Delilah break up he starts going to Victoria Secret fashion shows and clubbing with models- to “distract him from missing Delilah”. I had trouble seeing him as long-term relationship material. (Why were they together again?)

Jason’s twin brother Eric isn’t particularly likeable either. I know he has a book later on in the series, but I had trouble ever seeing him as a hero. He’s smooth and charming, but mostly uses that to cause trouble for everyone else. During the book Eric starts a fling with Delilah’s father’s fiancĂ©e, which isn’t resolved by the end of the book and feels like a loose plot thread.

Almost every other character was a two dimensional stereotype. You have the high strung Jewish mother. The gay best friend. The father with the midlife crisis, horrible fake tan, and blonde bimbo on his arm. The darling parents from Minnesota who love each other, live on a farm, and don’t worry what people think of them. The list goes on. There are several large group interactions which involve the team, coaches and past players. I could sort of guess which characters were in past book in the series, but consider how uninteresting they were, I doubt I’ll be reading their books. They were generally described as beautiful people with beautiful children who are beautifully happy. Yay.

I think the biggest problem with this book is that there is absolutely no tension. I’m not a sports person, but I really like hockey which is one reason I chose this book. But not even the hockey was interesting. There was no suspense built up. The descriptions of the games didn’t convey at all the adrenaline rush the players would be having. They won the Stanley Cup before I even realized they were in the finals. The sex was basically the same. There was no spark. It would have been better if those scenes were never included- they were so bland.

The only thing I really liked was Jason’s dog Stanley’s connection to everyone. He brings most of the humor to the book with his antics. He’s a very lovable dog and eventually becomes the team mascot. However not even a big lovable Newf could save this book. 2 out of 5 stars, and I doubt I’ll be reading anything else in the Blades series.


  1. I heard horrible things about this book from a friend and won't go anywhere near it. I think it was the derogatory Jewish explitive that had her up in arms if I'm not mistaken.

    Between her and your review I think I'm happier not reading this book. lol Thanks!

  2. The character who used the explitive was supposed to be a nasty jackass, so the comment wouldn't have bothered me except that the conflict didn't add anything to the book. Yes, racists = jackass, but it just seemed like an excuse for Jason to beat someone up... again.