September 24, 2019
William Morrow Paperbacks
The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…
When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.
But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.
But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.
Purchase from Amazon: No Judgments
If you’ve been a reader for any length of time, you have an author, or more likely a set of authors, whose books transport you to the land of reading happiness. For me, it’s the feeling of: yep, I get what you’re doing and I want to go along. Meg Cabot is one of those writers for me.
In June, I read and reviewed Bridal Boot Camp, the novella that began the Little Bridge Island series. (If you haven’t had a chance to read that fun little novella, start now!) At the end, I was so excited to read No Judgments.
No Judgments picks up where Bridal Boot Camp left off: a major hurricane looks like it’s about to hit Florida. Everyone on the island begins storm preparations. For pink-haired waitress, Bree Beckham, who has never been through a hurricane before, her options for evacuation are limited because she refuses to leave her rescue cat, Gary, behind because he’s been through a procedure and wouldn’t do well with traveling.
While helping with preparations, Bree is thrown together with Drew, who she’s been warned about. He’s a player and “he’s crazy.” Having been in a relationship with a man like that in New York, Bree is not exactly thrilled to realize that she’s attracted to Drew.
Besides the inevitable, flirty romance, which Cabot excels at by the way, there are other things going on.
Obviously the hurricane is going to hit. In its aftermath, Bree realizes that many of the islands inhabitants had left behind their pets, thinking that the pets would be safe and that they’d be able to return as soon as the storm passes. That’s not the case. Bree and Drew start taking care of the animals in need. I read an interview in which Cabot mentioned that this part was based on a real-life woman who helped needy animals after a hurricane hit. (It’s always good to read about real life heroes!)
A very subtle thread that Cabot has woven into the hurricane’s aftermath is Bree’s expectation that FEMA/the government would be sending help. Isn’t that something tax dollars go toward?
As if all of this wasn’t enough, Bree’s past includes a #metoo moment. Although Bree describes the scene, I don’t believe it warrants a “trigger” mention. Bree has the opportunity to stand up for herself and have her say, showing that she’s not going to take it anymore. Was this thread a necessary addition to the novel? Meh. It was there. It wasn’t overly offensive. It gave Bree an opportunity to be a kickass heroine (although her rescuing of the animals already put her in that class for this reader).
The big theme running through the novel is the title: no judgments. We will rescue the pets but not judge the people who left them behind. Don’t judge me by my pink hair. Don’t judge me by the names I give my dogs. Do you judge people who fail? Do you judge officials for not helping? We try not to judge but sometimes it’s human nature. And, Bree’s mother just happens to be a judge and a radio personality.
Cabot gives her readers food for thought, but she also gives us adult beverages and dessert. We can laugh and enjoy the flirtation while also understanding the message.
Will you enjoy this novel? Honestly I have no idea. Some of the bad reviews I’ve read have mystified me. I read and enjoyed No Judgments in a day and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies