Inside, it’s kind of blah.

Title: Baby It’s Cold Outside
Author: Addison Fox
Published: Signet Eclipse 2011
Reasons I might actually remember this one: I love the title, the cover, and the heroine, but overall this book reminded me why I prefer categories. This one had TOO MUCH MIDDLE, and never quite recovered from the sagginess.

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In all seriousness, isn’t that a cute cover? That and the title are why I bought it. And I didn’t *hate* it; I liked it enough that probably I’ll get around to reading the two other ones in the series. 
But I was a little disappointed. It felt…too long. It would have been great as a category-length novel. As it was, the middle felt like going over and over the same ground to kill time until there were enough pages for the hero’s asshattery to EXPLODE in a night of drunken bullshit excuses for not living his own life, at which point the heroine kicked him to the curb and he had to grovel and propose.
That part was good.
Also (unexpectedly) vivid and delicious was the brief glimpse, in the beginning, of the heroine’s mother and milieu. I am always deeply amused (and annoyed) by people who’re way, way over-invested in someone else’s relationships or lack thereof, and the author captured that whole situation perfectly. Plus the jackass in the taxicab (I can’t remember his name, but it’s a rich self-absorbed dude the heroine’s mother was trying to set her up with) made me LOL.
But it didn’t deliver on what Blake Snyder would call “the promise of the premise.” There was way too little time spent on the auctioning off of the men, for instance. And the women got to run a mini Iditarod, but…we didn’t really see it. We saw maybe a couple of lines of the heroine talking about the dog, but absolutely no direct experience of what it felt like to DRIVE A FREAKING DOGSLED, and that would have been so much fun to watch. And it’s not like there wasn’t TIME; there was enough dithering around in the soggy middle that surely one of the “he’s watching her talk to guys in the diner and he feels jealous but he reminds himself he can’t commit” scenes could have been swapped out for some firsthand Iditarod-ish action. 

It started out very concrete and real–I shivered for the poor heroine in her rapidly-ruined boots and not-warm-enough dress coat when she got to Alaska. And even some later scenes recaptured that immediacy: the snowball fight, for instance, was good. But by the end I was, well, ready for it to end. The heroine was what kept me reading; she and her best friend, and the new friend they make in Alaska, were my favourite elements.

Active Ingredients:
Sequel-Ready Friends
Heroine Is Unmarried; Town, Family Scandalized
Mother Likes to Introduce Heroine to Eligible Jackasses
Hero Can’t Commit for Stupid Reasons
So Very Cold
Tourism Advisory: Alaska
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