Overruled: Good news, Everybody! Emma Chase is back with a new book series, and I couldn’t be happier. :) (My thoughts on Book #1 in The Legal Briefs series by Emma Chase)
Right off the bat, I have to say that I really wish that I had read Overruled a lot sooner. I got it on Amazon as soon as it was released back in April of 2015, but I didn’t read it until now. That being said, I loved this book so much that I ended up listening to the entire audiobook version of Overruled in less than a day when I read it this past Tuesday. I immediately got sucked into the story, and I quickly became determined to finish the book before I went to bed that night. I’ve seen a number of people who do book reviews on YouTube describe various books as being “book crack” before, and I’d definitely say that this book was definitely “book crack” for me. A line that I’ve used in the past to describe my enjoyment of various books is, “This book is more addictive than cigarettes”, and this is definitely a book that I would use that description to describe what I thought of it.
Emma Chase has definitely become one of my favorite authors, and one of the main reasons why she has become one of my favorite authors is due to the fact that a lot of her books are written at least partially, if not entirely, from the guy’s point of view. That’s one of the reasons why I say Chase’s writing has often felt really fresh to me. Writing romance novels from the guy’s point of view isn’t something that I saw writers doing with romance novels until I discovered Emma Chase’s Tangled series. I’ve been a huge fan of romance novels for years, but there’s no denying that it’s a genre that’s full of clichés and is rather lacking in originality. By writing a lot of her books from the guy’s point of view, I feel like Chase is really offering people something new.
Being a guy, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I don’t fit the target audience for romance novels, but I still love them. I’ve always been a real sucker for romance novels and movies that are romantic comedies, because I’ve definitely always been a bit of a hopeless romantic. However, when it comes to Emma Chase’s books and the fact that she has written quite a few books from the guy’s point of view, it really makes it easier for me personally to relate the protagonists of her books compared to a lot of the protagonists of other romance novels out there. Plus, I feel like she really does a great job of capturing the way men think with her writing.
When it comes to the overall writing for the book, I love this book almost as much as I loved Tangled, which is definitely my favorite book in the Tangled series. If you’d like to read my review for Tangled, you can read that here. That being said, despite the fact that I didn’t like this book quite as much as I loved Tangled, I’m not sure that I would call Tangled “book crack” for me personally. I didn’t get so sucked into it that I decided to devote almost an entire day pretty much just to reading Tangled like I did with this book; that being said, there’s probably always going to be a special place in my heart for Tangled.
The reason I say this is because Tangled was the first book that I chose to review for my blog when I decided to experiment with the possibility of reviewing books on a then potentially semi-regular basis. In the end, not only did Tangled make me fall in love with Emma Chase’s writing, reviewing it is one of the main things that inspired me to shift the focus of my blog away from reviewing TV shows and continuing to focus on reviewing books on a regular basis after I finished reading the Tangled series. Ultimately, the point that I’m trying to make here is that due to sentimental reasons, it might be difficult for Chase to truly top my love for the book Tangled when it comes to any books that she writes in the future. That being said, Overruled definitely comes pretty close to truly topping Tangled in my book, though.
Getting back to the subject of Overruled, there are actually several things about it that I liked more than I liked Tangled. For starters, I’d say that as a character, I actually like Stanton Shaw more than I like Drew Evans. In my reviews for Twisted, Tied and the short story “Holy Frigging Matrimony”, I talk a lot about how after Tangled, I feel like Drew went from being a lovable asshole to just being an asshole who really annoyed me at times. Don’t get me wrong, some of Stanton’s actions throughout the book definitely made me shake my head in disapproval at times, and I’ll explain what I mean by that later on this review, but I still ultimately ended up liking Stanton more than I liked Drew as the Tangled series continued.
My second favorite book in the Tangled series is definitely Tamed, and when it comes to how I would rank all of Chase’s books, I would definitely rank Overruled slightly higher than Tamed. The reason why I rank this book slightly higher than Tamed is because Dee definitely really annoyed me at times, while Overruled is a rare case of a book not having any characters that truly annoyed me on multiple occasions.
One of the main reasons why I didn’t love this book quite as much as I loved Tangled is the fact that I feel like the book didn’t open on an as intriguing of a note as Tangled did with Drew’s whole “I have the flu, but I don’t really have the flu,” shtick. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to Overruled, I was definitely interested and invested in the story right from the beginning, but I feel like the story took three or four chapters before it really got going. However, I will say that Emma Chase did an excellent job of providing the backstory for Stanton and Jenny’s relationship, the birth of their daughter, Presley, and establishing what the relationship between Stanton and Jenny was like after Presley was born, and Stanton went off to college in the first few chapters of the book. I suppose I might have just been antsy for the story to really kick into high gear.
The other reason why I didn’t like Overruled quite as much as I loved Tangled is because I feel like the story itself was rather cliché in some ways, which is a real shame, because when I was reading Tangled, the book all felt very fresh and original, especially for a romance novel. As much as I love romance novels, I’m not going to try and deny that they’re often rather formulaic and lacking in originality. The first time I read the plot summary for Overruled that’s on the back of the book, it instantly reminded me of the movie Sweet Home Alabama. For the record, I love that movie, and admittedly, Overruled ended up being very different from Sweet Home Alabama.
That being said, I liked the part of the book where Stanton and Sofia are talking as they’re driving to Mississippi, and Sofia likens the whole situation with Jenny getting married to JD and her going with Stanton to the wedding to the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding. I felt like Chase, herself, was kind of acknowledging the slightly clichéd nature of this book in that moment. Although, Sofia comparing her involvement in the situation to the character, George, was a kind of weird since he was Julianne’s gay best friend. For the record, I absolutely love the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding, mainly because I’m a huge fan of Julia Roberts.
I should probably mention that prior to reading Overruled I had read several reviews for Overruled on Amazon that mentioned that Drew was featured in this book. Given the fact that this is a book series where various characters are lawyers, the part of me that tends to be kind of snarky at times wondered if the reason that Drew was featured in this book was because he had done something to ruin his marriage to Kate, and he needed to hire a divorce lawyer. If the events that take place in the Tangled series and this book were actually a TV show or movie, and this was a video review, I feel like this would be an excellent place in this review for me to include a montage of all the stupid things that Drew did throughout the Tangled series that nearly ruined his relationship with Kate.
Snarky comments aside, Drew wasn’t in this book because he and Kate were getting a divorce, and he needed a divorce lawyer. It turns out that Stanton and Drew are friends, and they were roommates in college, which we got to see some “flashbacks” of at the beginning of the book. Drew was also briefly featured in the present, and it was established that the events that take place in this book take place eight months after the events that took place in Tied. Personally, I absolutely love that both the Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series take place in the same universe, so to speak. Maybe it’s kind of unfair of me to use the Tangled series as the standard to which I judge Overruled since it’s a part of a completely different book series, but the fact that Drew is featured in this book is definitely making it rather difficult for me to truly separate my thoughts on Overruled from my thoughts on the Tangled series.
The fact that Chase connected the two series definitely reminds me of Emily Giffin’s books, which I’m also a fan of. While I wouldn’t exactly consider the books that Giffin has written to be a series, they do feature cameos of characters from whatever the previous book she had written was, which is something that I’ve always loved about her books. If you do decide to read Giffin’s books, I’d say that you pretty much have to read Something Borrowed before you read Something Blue, since Something Blue really focuses a lot on Darcy dealing with the aftermath of the events that take place in Something Borrowed. If you’re like me, and you read Giffin’s books in order, I think it really helps you appreciate the cameo appearances that the characters from her previous books make. However, if a person were to start off by reading Baby Proof, I’m pretty sure that the reader wouldn’t be confused by the part of the book that Ethan from Something Borrowed and Something Blue appears in. If somebody who’s reading Baby Proof hasn’t already Something Borrowed and Something Blue, I’m guessing that the conversation between the protagonist of Baby Proof, Claudia, and Ethan would simply read as two people catching up on what’s going on in each other’s lives.
Getting back to the subject of Overruled, I’m really glad that Chase decided to alternate back and forth between Stanton and Sofia’s points of view throughout the book. As I said in my review for Twisted, I really think that book would have been a lot better if Chase had alternated back and forth from Kate and Drew’s points of view throughout the entire book instead of waiting until the epilogue of the book to switch to Drew’s point of view. Speaking of epilogues, I really enjoyed the epilogue of this book, because we got to see how Stanton and Sofia’s relationship progressed once they actually became a couple. However, I didn’t like how rushed the epilogue felt. It felt like a montage of various moments in their relationship, and I don’t think that montages work very well in written form. That’s really the only thing that I didn’t really like about the epilogue, though.
One thing that I ultimately really love about this book is the fact that I feel like the story has a lot of plot twists. I honestly wasn’t expecting to Stanton to end up with Sofia. For most of the book, I was really expecting Jenny to end up not going through with marrying JD, and that Stanton and Jenny would get back together in the end. While I’m definitely somewhat of a hopeless romantic, I’m actually really glad that Stanton didn’t end up getting back together with Jenny. While the idea that a person’s first love is also their soul mate is a really sweet and romantic concept for a fictional story, I also think it’s kind of a cliché thing for a writer to do. Plus, I don’t think it’s entirely realistic either.
Just because two people might think they’re compatible and meant to be together when their kids or teenagers, it doesn’t mean that ends up being the case once they’re adults. People grow and change as they get older, which is why I like that Jenny told Stanton that she wasn’t the same person that she was when they were in high school, especially after he discovered that she’s into the kinky kind of stuff that’s featured in Fifty Shades of Grey. Speaking of Fifty Shades of Grey, much like I thought the sex scenes in the Tangled series were pretty steamy, I think the sex scenes in this book are also a lot steamier than the sex scenes in the Fifty Shades trilogy are. Unlike the Fifty Shades books, Emma Chase’s books aren’t even considered erotica, though.
As I said earlier, while I think the writing for Tangled feels a bit more fresh and original than the writing for Overruled does, I ended up liking a lot of the characters in this book more than I liked a lot of the characters in the Tangled series. For starters, I’d say that I like Stanton even more than I liked Drew in Tangled. Even at the beginning of the book that focused on events that took place when Stanton was in high school and college, Stanton still came across as being much more mature than Drew did throughout the Tangled series, but especially in Tangled. Unlike Drew’s immature and dickish behavior towards Billy throughout the Tangled series, even after he and Kate had become a couple and had had a kid together, Stanton’s initial dislike and attitude towards JD was much more understandable in my opinion. Given the fact that Presley lives with Jenny most of the time, JD would be around Presley a lot, so I think it’s only natural for Stanton to be concerned about the kind of environment that Presley is being raised in.
Sure, some of Stanton’s attitude towards JD was driven by the fact that he was upset that Jenny was going to be marrying him, but I do think that some of it might have been about a father being concerned for his daughter’s well being. Drew constantly insulting Billy, both internally and verbally, really made me think that Drew and Ana Steele from Fifty Shades of Grey should get together if their marriages to Kate and Christian Grey respectively either didn’t work out, or both Kate and Christian died. Thankfully, Stanton and JD worked out their issues relatively quickly, which is also one of the reasons why I ultimately like Stanton more than I like Drew. I’m so glad that Chase didn’t drag Stanton’s dislike for JD out for several books like she did with Drew’s hatred for Billy. Plus, I feel like Stanton’s change of heart regarding JD was handled a lot better, writing wise, than Drew’s change of heart regarding Billy was, which came about for rather vapid reasons.
The only thing that Stanton did that really upset me was the fact that he continued to have sex with Sofia when they were in Mississippi. The reason why that pissed me off is because the whole reason that he had wanted to go to Mississippi in the first place was to try and stop Jenny from marrying JD. It just seemed like a really sleazy thing for him to do, sleeping with one girl (Sofia) while he’s trying to win another girl back (Jenny). It also really baffled me that Sofia didn’t seem to have any qualms or feelings of hesitation about sleeping with Stanton, even though she knew why he had wanted to go to Mississippi in the first place. I’m honestly not sure what to make of that aspect of the book. It’s simply absolutely mindboggling to me.
I really enjoyed the parts of the book that focused on Stanton and Sofia’s work as lawyers. While I’m not a lawyer like my brother is, and I’ve never had any desire to be a lawyer, I’ve always been very drawn to TV shows, movies and books about lawyers for reasons I don’t understand. One of my favorite TV shows is Suits, and while I love that show, I definitely get a little overwhelmed at times when the characters start flinging a bunch of legal lingo around on the show. I usually don’t understand what they’re talking about when they start using a lot of legal terminology during their conversations. Watching Suits often makes me wonder how anybody could possibly get through just the first semester of law school without having a nervous breakdown because the pressure to learn everything that they need to know for their classes was too much for them to handle. Thankfully, this book isn’t filled with lots of legal terminology that’s all that hard to follow. When Stanton or Sofia start talking about their work as lawyers in the narration, it’s all very straightforward and easy follow.
All things considered, Overruled is a fantastic start to the Legal Briefs series, and Emma Chase has definitely become one of my favorite authors to read. While this book’s biggest flaw, in my opinion, is that the writing feels rather cliché at times compared to the writing for Tangled, I’d still say that I loved the characters in this book even more than I loved the characters in the Tangled series. Both Stanton and Sofia are really great protagonists, and the story itself is awesome. Despite the fact that this book didn’t feel quite as fresh and original to me like Tangled did when I read it, this is definitely my second favorite book by Emma Chase. I’m definitely planning to read the second book in The Legal Briefs series, Sustained, fairly soon.
That being said, my final score for Overruled is 8.5 out of 10.
Posted on January 16, 2016, in Book Reviews, Uncategorized and tagged book review, Emily Giffin, Emma Chase, Fifty Shades, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Trilogy, Julia Roberts, Legal Briefs, My Best Friend's Wedding, Overruled, Sweet Home Alabama, Tangled, The Legal Briefs series, Tied, Twisted. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.