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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Bring Back Drive-Ins: A Review of Blue Moon Haven by Janet Dailey

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

Bears waving.
How's everyone doing today?

I’m back with a new book review, baby! I know, it’s been awhile. I wrote a lot of things that weren’t reviews last month, but I have a lot of reviews planned to make up for it. And today’s review is brought to you by Kensington Publishing!

I won an ARC of today’s book in a giveaway all the way back in April. I’ve had this one for quite a while and haven’t had the chance to pick it up. I won the book, looked at my schedule, and realized I had everything planned out through June. So here we are today, July 5, with a review of an ARC of a book that was published April 25, 2023.

Please welcome to the stage Blue Moon Haven by Janet Dailey!

Book cover of Blue Moon Haven by Janet Dailey.

Let’s crack into it! As always, a spoiler alert is in order. Long time readers know I love to spoil most of the books I read so if you’re new here take this as your one and only warning.

Meet Kelly Jenkins, our protagonist and female lead. She’s a little down on her luck. She’s not rolling in money and she’s the guardian of her best friend’s two children Todd and Daisy. Their mother passed away and their father was not in a good place and wasn’t able take care of them. Todd and Daisy are a bit of a handful for Kelly. Daisy doesn’t speak to anyone other than Kelly and Todd, and when she does, she whispers. Todd has anger issues and has caused a lot of property damage at his previous school. So yeah, Kelly has her hands full.

Khloe Kardashian saying "there's a lot going on right now."
Kelly's life in a nutshell.

It's then that she decides the three of them need a fresh start. Thankfully she finds the perfect job. After seeing a job listing online, Kelly moves her tiny blended family to Blue Moon, Alabama to become the caretaker of a rundown drive-in theatre.

Emphasis on rundown. Everything is overgrown, who knows what state the public restrooms are in, there are holes in the movie screens; it’s a mess. Our problems don’t end there though! Naturally Kelly has a neighbor. A neighbor who Kelly doesn’t have a great start with.

His name is Seth; he has a tragic backstory and is obviously our male love interest. Like I said, he and Kelly don’t get off on the best foot. Todd certainly doesn’t like him either. But after getting to know one another, Kelly and Seth reach an understanding and eventually become friends…and something more than friends. Will Kelly and Seth fall in love? Will Todd find healthy coping mechanisms? Will the kids find stability? Will the Blue Moon drive-in be brought back to life? Find out in Blue Moon Haven!

This is an extremely easy read. Which is honestly what I needed. I read Babel by R.F. Kuang for fun right before reading Blue Moon Haven. My brain hurt and I needed something simple and light after that. That being said, I don’t think this book was necessarily good. It certainly wasn’t my cup of tea.

Harley Quinn sipping coffee.
Did anyone expect anything less.

Let’s start with our main couple, the reason we’re all here. We got an enemies to lovers romance on our hands, Book Nerds! Just kidding, they’re enemies for like two chapters. The enemies portion of this book is based on a poor first meeting and questions about property lines. This ain’t a slow burn. It ain’t even a burn!

Seriously, it’s like a flip gets switched in Seth’s head. He meets Kelly and the kids, offers them some basic human kindness, and decides she’s the perfect woman for him because she brings him food in return. Wow, the bar is on the floor. Truly the epitome of romance right there.

Eye roll.

The official synopsis makes it seem like Seth is this ornery man who is going to take a lot of time to warm up to. I was promised some sort of enemies to lovers romance. Nope! Nothing like that at all. He cracks over a bucket of KFC. Talk about some blink and you’ll miss it character growth; cause after that KFC dinner he’s doing practically all of Kelly’s work at the drive-in and bonding with the children.

There is no gradual change. There is no warming up to each other. They just go from disliking each other to liking one another at the snap of your fingers. Listen, this is not a long book. It’s a pretty standard length romance novel. But the author could have drawn things out just a little longer than she did.

Blue Moon Haven is your standard, run-of-the-mill romance novel.

Elmo shrugging.
Can't say much else about it.

There is nothing special about this book. The main characters are woe is me, struggling woman and grouchy, slightly older man coming together to build a blended family whose struggles magically disappear once they band together. I’m sure you can all name countless titles just like this one.

I realize I haven’t even talked about Kelly and how much I disliked her. Kelly is the epitome of woe is me. Listen, I will defend this character regarding her raising two kids deep in grief and who have basically been abandoned by their father, cause she truly is doing the best she can with very little, but when it comes to her job, it seems like she can’t be bothered to do it. Seth is the one to clean up the drive-in, do the landscaping, haul things around, come up with the idea to have a fundraiser; he does everything and he does it for free. Kelly can’t be bothered to do any of that. She has a knight in shining armor doing everything. I’m sorry, Kelly bothers me. She has no agency, no dimension, she’s static, she doesn’t grow in any way, she does nothing. She is the Kendell Jenner of book characters.

Kendell Jenner giving nothing.
Yes Queen! Give us nothing!

Here's the thing. I obviously didn’t like this book. It is not my cup of tea. If you know me then you know I enjoy a good horror novel, I like a good psychological thriller, Blue Moon Haven is on the complete other side of the spectrum. But I recognize there are readers out there who will love this read. It is an extremely formulaic romance novel where you can see the ending from the beginning and it’s also the latest entry of Janet Dailey’s The New Americana series so there’s a built in fan base; I forgot to mention that earlier, sorry! So yeah, I can see others liking this one even though I’ve shat all over it in this review. Honestly, Blue Moon Haven is simply a Hallmark movie in book form.

Bonus review! My mother read this one before I got to it. She is a big romance reader and had the following to say about Blue Moon Haven. It’s your standard uneducated woman gets with richer, more educated, slightly older man and brings him out of his shell. It’s nothing special.

So with that I shall bid you adieu. Thank you again to Kensington Publishing for sending me a copy. I’m very glad you pulled my name out of the giveaway machine. As for you Dear Reader, I shall see you next week with another new review.

Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!

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