Monday, November 15, 2010

Arc review: Christina Crooks - Hands On

Hands On
Christina Crooks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-246-2
Length: Category
Format: ebook
Publication Date: November 16, 2010
Ebook received by author for review


Want to make Fate laugh? Try telling her who’s in charge.

Talented, down-on-her-luck puppeteer Ginnie Anderson’s life seems destined to fall down around her ears. Much like the rented bungalow that’s just collapsed in a heavy rainstorm, endangering her precious collection of marionettes.

Her livelihood in need of protection and repair, she can’t refuse her landlord’s offer of temporary shelter in his magnificent home. Under his roof, though, she finds her hard-won grasp on her independence slipping—and herself falling into his arms.

The hallmark of Harry Sharpe's business success: he never makes the same mistake twice, particularly when it comes to manipulative women. So why is Ginnie, who pulls strings for a living, like a siren’s song in his blood? It’s best to put temptation as far out of reach as possible.

Yet when Ginnie’s past threatens to destroy the life she’s built for herself, Harry must decide which is more important. Holding tight to his sense of self preservation, or letting go to capture Ginnie’s fragile heart—before it breaks into a thousand pieces.

My review:

Ginny Anderson is determined to start her life over; she has left her controlling ex and rented a charming, little bungalow. She has a new job and wants to make a career as a puppeteer, then her charming yet desperate-in-need-of-repair bungalow collapses in a heavy rainstorm and she has no other choice than to accept the offer of her landlord, Harry, to move in with him temporary. She falls hard and fast for Harry even when he tells her he isn’t looking for a relationship, she is setting herself up for more heartache yet she can’t help herself.

Not so long ago Harry Barrett Sharpe was a well-known real estate tycoon, but after his manipulating ex-fiancée tried to ruin him and destroyed his reputation, he retired from the public eye and now lives a solitary-minded life. He lost all faith in women and vowed to never get involved with a woman again, and then fate throws Ginny in his life. Ginny is a puppeteer and literally pulls at strings for a living. She turns Harry’s life upside down and gets under his skin yet his self preservation won’t allow Ginny to capture his heart, now Harry has to make a choice.

Hands On is a short novella of 125 pages and I have said it before in other reviews of short stories; me and short stories are usually not a good combination, the reason why I wanted to read this story was the blurb, I found the fact that Ginny was a puppeteer intriguing and different. Unfortunately Hands On and I are not a good combination somehow; it did not work for me on various levels. I did not have a connection with the main characters and I did not buy into the story completely.

Ginny Anderson is a puppeteer who has left her controlling ex to start her life over again and make it on her own. Determined to be herself from now on instead of how others (her mother and ex) like her to be she has accepted a job elsewhere. The timid and meek girl is gone. I can understand that she feels free to be herself for the very first time in her life and to do whatever she wants but it takes Ginny only one afternoon to fall head over heels for Harry, she reminded me of a giggling teenager with a crush. The giggling teen act irritated me throughout the story; however I did like her devotion and passion for her work as a puppeteer. But I could not reconcile her actions with her past therefore I did not feel a connection with Ginny.

And I felt the same thing with Harry; I could not connect with him. He is a successful businessman and a recluse thanks to his ex-fiancée who destroyed his reputation. But he immediately offers Ginny to move in with him temporarily, mostly because he is her landlord and feels guilty but he had other options to act rightly. He is an honest, hard-working man but emotionally damaged by his past. Yet I could not reconcile his actions with his past either and therefore I never bought into this story completely.

The whole story centers on Harry and Ginny’s relationship. Hands On is a classic love story about two people finding true love, but it felt so rushed to me and therefore at times unbelievable. To me the story’s Achilles heel is that the characters were contradictive and therefore not well-balanced. Hands On fails to reach its full potential because it is only 125 pages and therefore it is not explored in depth enough.

But I loved the grand finale when Harry and Ginny finally get things right. Christina Crooks’ writing is witty, smooth and captivating, and in spite of its shortcomings, Hands On is still an enjoyable, fast read.

3 stars


  1. I've read other reviews that say it is hard to connect with this hero. Don't think this one is for me...nice review!

  2. I was also intrigued by the fact that the heroin is a puppeteer (makes me think of an old Leni Saris book), but after reading your review I am not tempted to try this one.

  3. Interesting review...but I'll at least go check it out and flip through it to see if I want to buy or pass...thanks for the post!


  4. Nice review and going by it I don't think it would be for me as I am not at all intrigued by the heroine being a puppeteer and that seems the hook in the story so though I enjoyed reading your review, it will not make me curse the bookbudget ;)

  5. It’s such a bummer the H/h don't work well in their characterization :( It's so defining in any story but in a novella it has to work for me otherwise the reading becomes a drag :( I first read a review that really piqued my interest for this book but now I'm very much on the fence...