Blue-Eyed Devil

Blue-Eyed Devil - Lisa Kleypas 3.5 starsThis was my first foray into Kleypas's writing. I was going to start with Sugar Daddy, the first in this series, but after reading reviews saying the first half dragged and could have been omitted entirely, I decided I wasn't in the right frame of mind to kick off a series with a less than stellar book.So, I dove into book 2, and I don't think not reading the first hurt me (though I guess I'll never know, huh?). From what I can tell from reviews, we got slightly more information on Hardy in book one, but I didn't feel like he was that much of a mystery in this book.Told in first person POV, Blue-Eyed Devil is very much the story of growth and development of Haven Travis, the only girl in the Travis family.I'll admit it and say that Haven's character is my least favorite type of heroine. It makes my blood boil when the heroines aren't strong and self reliant, and Haven was definitely neither of those things. My anxiety was spiked through a good deal of this book, sitting by and reading all the things she was allowing people to do to her. I understand it was a process, and by the end of the book, she had grown, just not as much or as quickly as I would've liked to have seen.From the beginning, I was smitten with Hardy. Their first make-out session was whoa-hooooo Hot. And each subsequent encounter with him felt rich with meaning and significance. However, even with all of Hardy's yumminess, things weighed on me through this book. First, her no good, piece of shit husband. The first quarter of this book was painful to read. If you have triggers regarding physical or emotional abuse, rape, or any form of domestic violence, read with extreme caution. I was a pile of sobbing girl while tredging through the first chapters and I have absolutely no triggers to speak of.Second, her father. What an ass of a man. When an author chooses to focus their books around a family dynamic, it's usually one of my favorite plot points. I generally develop a fond affection for all family - immediate and extended - and am interested to learn more about them. Not so in this book. While the brothers intrigued me, I wanted Haven to tell a couple of them to fuck off and mind their own goddamn business. The condescension and patronization they treated her with filled me with such frustration and irritation, I had to put the book down at one point and walk away. While Haven eventually told them to "respect her boundaries", I don't feel she grew enough to get out from under their thumbs.Third, that bitch of an office manager. Some of the things Haven was doing just screamed stupidity. I get wanting to be strong and not running to your family when you need help, but there is a difference between forging your own way and just being a block head. And the thing of it is, she chose the worst possible ways to assert her independence, yet when her family was encroaching on it, she meekly disagreed or stayed quiet.So, yes, frustrated to no end with the heroine. So, then, why did I give it 3.5 stars? Because, above all, it kept me engaged and interested, and made me feel for the characters. If a book evokes enough reaction from me to garner tears, it's automatically bumped up a few notches.Also, the author's writing style took a little to get used to. She jumped back and forth in time a lot, recalling past events with frequency. It was a bit jarring at times. I also thought the book was riddled with instances of tell instead of show. Lots of conversations summarized rather than just letting us be there for them.I think after reading this and seeing the snippets of Gage and Liberty, I might go back and try reading the first book. But I'll definitely give the third a go.