My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
Reviewed for Wit and Sin
Real world issues meet fluffy romantic comedy in No Judgments. I wanted to like Meg Cabot’s first full-length Little Bridge Island book. And perhaps you can make a rom com set against the backdrop of a potentially devastating hurricane work, but it doesn’t in this story. In another setting, the quirky inhabitants of Little Bridge Island would be fun to read about and I did like most of them. Plus, any animal lover would be won over by the cuteness of the pets that threaten to steal the show (toothless Gary for the win).
Bree Beckham is the star of No Judgments and unfortunately she’s also its biggest weakness. She’s moved to Little Bridge Island for a fresh start and is determined to do everything on her own. This would be great, except Bree is, well, TSTL. She lacks basic common sense, makes poor decisions, is stubborn over the most ridiculous things, and honestly would not have survived this story if not for the rest of the cast. What Bree does have going for her is a big heart and a love of animals. Her take-charge attitude when it comes to seeing to abandoned pets’ needs warmed my heart. But it’s overshadowed by her often immature attitude and stunning lack of common sense. Her love interest is Drew Hartwell, her boss’s nephew and rumored town playboy. Drew is good looking and patient, but is kind of a cardboard hero. The thing that stands out the most about him is his love of dogs and his hilarious choice of dog names. Drew and Bree’s love story was pretty standard and enjoyable, but I can’t say it pulled me in.
There’s a lot going on in No Judgments and none of it is developed well. Sexual assault, family secrets, and mother issues are all thrown in and the way each of these storylines played out was unsatisfying. The first is the most frustrating of all because it’s a very real, relatable issue that is not handled well at all. And though it’s a minor moment overall, I really struggled with Bree’s characterization of an intellectually disabled young man as “slow.” It’s 2019 and we can expect authors to do better. There are also too many convenient coincidences in this book that make suspending disbelief an almost Herculean task. And as I mentioned before, the looming presence of a possible Category 5 hurricane doesn’t go with the fluffy tone of the book. The casual attitude and the way the characters ride through the storm are so wildly different from my experience, friends’ experiences, and what I’ve seen on the news, but I will admit I’m no expert so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
The animals are the best part of No Judgments and I can’t count the number of times they made me smile. The residents of Little Bridge Island were also so warm and welcoming (even Bree’s sometimes grumpy boss, Ed) that the town won me over and in a less dramatic setting they would have been a delight. Ms. Cabot’s writing did keep the story moving along at a quick clip and the secondary characters (human and animal) were charming enough to bump it up a star. But if you’re looking for a heroine you can root for, well-developed characters and plotlines, and a consistent tone throughout the story, you should probably look elsewhere.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.