All Shook Up
by Susan Andersen, contemporary (2001)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-380-80714-9


Resisting the urge to rub her hand down her shorts to remove the heat that lingered when he relinquished her grip...

Ooh, linger where? Where's the heat that lingered? Is it there? You mean there in her hand? Oh, bummer. Just when I thought someone has decided to write about a heroine well aware of every inch of her body.

Like that sentence, the rest of All Shook Up is a tease. It's like watching this buff guy wearing a skimpy tong waving his gorgeous butt before my face, but dang, someone tied my hands so I can't take a marker pen and draw a smiley face at each cheek. (Remember, this is a family website, what do you expect me to say?) It tantalizes with possibilities, but instead offers a rather familiar bad-boy mates with good-girl fare.

JD Carver is a tough guy who has never forgotten how as a young boy he was adopted by and cared for by Edwinna Lawrence, only to feel betrayed when the woman accused him of stealing her father's watch. When Edwinna died and left him her holiday lodge, he figures he may as well claim it. Especially since he is having problem with the cops as well as the local gang back home.

Dru Lawrence is the stereotypical good girl who would cure our hero's preference for barflies. She and the rest of her family run the Star Lake Lodge on Great Aunt Edwinna's behalf and are pretty miffed when JD get all the goodies after that old lady croaked. Her one attempt to be independent leaves her a single mother to an incorrigible boy Tate, and now she is a wiser woman who knows the best way to live is by being... well, never one minute away from Aunt Sophie and Uncle Ben, her surrogate parents. Awww. Dru wants to rub all those tinglings in her hands away when she first sees JD, and JD, on his part, wants to rub his hands all over Dru's impressive chest too. But can JD love? Can Dru love? Will JD's past catch up with them?

All Shook Up is fun, sparkling with humor, although I really wish the author has varied the repertoire of repartees in All Shook Up. The banters seem to be most of the time in this pattern: JD baiting Dru because he feels sorry for himself and he dislikes her thinking the worse of him, Dru raising to the bait, JD stomping away in offended hmmmph, and Dru apologizing for hurting that big baby. It is not funny anymore after the twentieth time, and I really wish Dru will get a spine, put her foot down, and tell JD to get a grip and stop acting as if the world and its auntie are out to sit on his face and let loose the mother of all gases.

Other than that, I have no problems with All Shook Up. The secondary characters provide adequate buffering to JD's often grating pity-me-you-all-hate-me (don't tempt me, hon) attitude and Dru's stereotypical characterization. Motherhood, family, and how virtuous, unadventurous ladies redeem bad boys with their Buxom Family Values - ingredients for an unadventurous story with adequate entertainment value. It could use some substance though.

A more appropriate title for this book will be Easy Come, Easy Go.

Rating: 78


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