Review: Frog

Frog by Mary Calmes
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I actually finished the whole book, which I consider a bit of a feat, considering I didn’t like this one. I didn’t hate it to the depths of it’s soul but frankly I find very little appealing about Frog. It’s clichéd, ridiculous, full of perfect Gary Stu characters and the author’s voice is muddled with too many cutesy and perfect moments. There is no tension, no romance, and no real genuine emotion by anyone without even getting into the various situations that simply wouldn’t happen in real life and the story doesn’t even attempt to make the reader buy into them.

I like Calmes’ work when it’s interesting and readable fluff – she has the same problems in every single book though and I’ve read enough to now know she’ll never change. You have to be willing to suspend incredible disbelief because nothing is realistic about her books. Perhaps that’s why I can read her paranormal shifter series easier because it’s not believable to start. When you get into contemporary there is an onus to at least make the story relatable somehow to the reader. Frog doesn’t care about that or creating complex characters. It relies on being super sweet, super cliché, and super obvious. There is no subtly or nuance anywhere in Frog, which I hated. I hated that I knew exactly what these ridiculous characters would do and how they would react, even when all the reactions are over the top and so far from realistic that even knowing this is fiction doesn’t help.

To start with the plot, well there’s not much of one but it has the bare bones of a decent idea. A broken down traveling cowboy who’s finally given up the dream calls his on/off boyfriend for one more fling before heading to the next rancher type job. The boyfriend is overjoyed and spends the whole time trying to convince the cowboy to stay. The premise is clichéd, sure, but it has some internal tension that can work. Unfortunately the story goes right for the easy outs. First the boyfriend is of course ridiculously handsome and ridiculously rich – a neurosurgeon of course. This wealthy, cultured, sophisticated man is obsessed with the broken down, unintelligent cowboy for no real reason. Not to say the two couldn’t work and fall in love but there’s no real connection there, no basis for the overwhelming obsession on the doctor’s part.

The cowboy of course is so perfect he made my teeth ache. All of the characters are stereotypes and so perfect it’s boring but the cowboy (also the narrator) just tips the story into almost unreadable territory. He’s the “ah shucks” character that EVERYONE adores and loves instantly but he doesn’t get it nor believe it. He spends the entire story being complimented at every turn while being actually pretty rude to people. He’ll interrupt conversations and activities to go reprimand kids that he just met and aren’t his. Of course every single kid, parent, and person in the world loves Weber to DEATH the instant they meet him so they don’t care that he’s rude and takes over the kids’ parenting immediately. I can’t think of a single parent that wouldn’t be offended by his over the top actions towards the kids – but then again I can’t really think of a kid that would act like the ones in this book.

I get that it’s fiction but I dislike the way the story portrayed Weber as so perfect yet he just didn’t realize it. It’s not a point of tension and drama, it’s boring. The doctor is no better. Cyrus is one dimensional at best and used simply as another device to show how fabulous Weber is. The supposed sophisticated and introverted neurosurgeon changes depending on what the story needs. On the one hand he’s a loving, caring, obsessive lover to Weber who never shares his private life ever but is happy to introduce Weber around. Cyrus then gets rip roaring drunk at a party with fellow doctors and shouts to the world how much he loves Weber and no one gets to fuck Weber’s ass but him. Then there is the reserved doctor who never even laughs around his family but fawns all over Weber in front of them. Cyrus’ behavior changes so much he’s practically schizophrenic.

There are so many aspects that could work here but just don’t. There is Cyrus’ sister that begs Weber to marry her because she’s in love with him (or at least seems that way) and wants this stranger she’s never met before to raise her kids, even over her successful neurosurgeon brother. None of this makes any sense, nor does any of the actions of the other characters. They’re all used to fawn over Weber’s genius. I got tired of this VERY early on and mostly stuck with the story just to prove to myself I wasn’t missing something.

I like Calmes’ paranormal writing with super hot sex, easy writing flow, and light on any depth. This is certainly prevalent in Frog but the lack of ANY appreciable substance or any believability, which is more important in contemporaries than paranormals, just makes this very difficult to like. I’m sure there is a market for this kind of book but I may be done with Calmes entirely.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Frog

  1. Tam says:

    I can handle a lot more schmoop and sugar than some people, so I didn’t hate it, but I did find the constant “shucks, I’m not worthy” thing a bit irritating. Enough already. I did find that Cyrus’ family expecting Weber to know how Cyrus is usually all crusty and grumpy kind of odd. How would he know that? A little too perfect, but for me it was middle of the road. But I had to be honest, If I was just moving in with a guy, whom I barely knew, the LAST thing I’d want is his sister and her THREE kids living with us!

    Oh and telling the ex she wanted nothing from him, not even child support? Dumb. BTDT, regret it. When those THREE kids are ready for college, you’ll have wished you made him put a few hundred a month in a savings account for them. Whew. Giving fictional characters advice. I need help. 😉

    • I was surprised that a lot of people rated this middle of the road. For me, it was so -bad- I had a hard time with it. I guess it goes to show how different people react. I don’t really get why anyone would love this story though I saw some high marks. So eh…

      I think the sister thing was so ridiculous and distracting. Like the sister wouldn’t have any issues with her husband running off with the nanny. Nope, just shove the kids onto a stranger – cya. She lets her cheating husband off without a penny? Yea I don’t see that as either reasonable, responsible, or intelligent. But emotions are played so I -might- be convinced until you point out all of the above.

      But don’t worry… Richy rich uncle will pay for everything because Weber will decide that’s the way it is. Just watch!

      • Tam says:

        Yes, I never thought about the rich uncle paying for everything. I do think that kids need their father’s in their life, even if they are dickish, so just replacing the guy with her brother’s boyfriend seems a bit selfish. Believe me, there are times I think my life would be easier if the ex just vanished to Vegas with a nanny, but it’s not about my life. LOL I think I just went with the “this is a fantasy like a TV show” with only the slightest hint of reality, rather than a realistic contemporary.

        • I hear you. That part to me is a bit meh, more dreamlike than anything. Like… where would I want my ex-husband to drop off the face of the earth. For me, it wouldn’t be vegas but hey, not a bad gig for them.

          Yea yea I know it’s fiction. I just always expect contemps to be realistic or at least within the realm. My bad.

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