Book Review: I Want You Back by Lorelei James

August 7, 2020 Book Reviews 0

Book Review: I Want You Back by Lorelei James

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I Want You Back by Lorelei James
Genres: Cozy Romance
Published by Berkley Books on April 2, 2019
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: "Schooled", Wrapped and Strapped, Unraveled, What You Need, Just What I Needed, Racked and Stacked, Hang Tough, Spun Out, All You Need, When I Need You

First in the Want You cozy romance series but actually part of the Need You universe (I’m calling it #5) — why James felt the need to break this up into another series I do not understand — and revolving around the Lund family in Minneapolis. The couple focus is on Jaxson Lund, his ex-girlfriend Lucy, and their daughter, Mimi.

My Take

This was definitely a story I wanted told, one that’s about dealing with the past and starting out fresh. And James did it well, making Jaxson so responsible and terrified that he’d screw up. It covers many of the issues men and women have when they split up and there’s a child involved. Those natural fears about one’s child changing. It also explores those issues an alcoholic has.

James flips back and forth from present day to past as she explores the Lucy–Jaxson of now and how they met. It’s fairly easy to know which time period we’re in as we read. I loved their back history, as they got to know each other as people and not what their families represented. We also discover why Jaxson turned into such a jerk, cheating on Lucy.

James uses first-person protagonist dual point-of-view from Lucy’s and Jaxson’s perspectives, so we get the down-and-dirty of what they’re thinking and feeling. I Want You Back does not spare either party in their self-reflections and fears, and James continues with the Need You series’ supportive family schtick — wait’ll you read about Edie’s support of Lucy! It’s what I loved about Need You, and I know I’ll love it in Want You.

Dang, that Lucy is so supportive of her daughter, encouraging her to be anyone she wants to be. She can also put her foot down when it comes to way too many expensive lessons! But I was surprised that Jax had Mimi doing chores but that Lucy didn’t. Totally unexpected. What is Luce thinking? As for how they disciplined Mimi? Oh, yeah. They did a good job there. I particularly appreciated how Jaxson handled Mimi not showing up for practice. Another “discipline” issue was with Walker and his company. Another one that was nicely handled…on both sides.

I did wonder what turned Jaxson around, and it’s monumental. But what’s more monumental is how Jaxson faces up to it and to “getting his daughter back”. It’s unreal, actually. Too many parents prefer to know only the “sweet, shiny, bubbly unicorn stuff” and not the truth of their child’s behavior. It’s usually the parent who has visitation rights who gives their kid all the fun leaving the custodial parent to deal with the negatives. It’s nice to see Jaxson step up. I wonder how much of that approach is a reflection off the give-back programs LI has for its community?

The Lunds are a fun family. Supportive of each other and good with business ideas. Of course, it’s easier when you have the money to play with, which is why so many of us love these billionaire romances. At least somewhere we don’t have to worry about paying the mortgage or that ghastly utility bill!

Ooh, I gotta say I understand Lucy’s philosophy about men and cheating. It’s certainly been my experience too. And all those excuses…yep. I still can’t believe they’d actually believe a woman would accept any of ’em. And it’s that belief that leads to those problems between Lucy and Jaxson back then. It’s too bad she wasn’t interested in giving it a try.

Lol, it’s amazing the “coincidences” that pop up. First Borderlands, then the ghost tours…hmmm, you’d think James knew something, *grin*. Jax steps up, coaching the kids. Yep, sounds like foreshadowing to me…and another Lund romance and another enterprise, lol.

The Story

Jaxson gets pulled up short when he realizes how badly he’s screwed up his life. He has a second chance now, and he intends to make the most of it.

To earn back his girlfriend’s love and be involved in his daughter’s life.

The Characters

Lucy “Luce” Quade, formerly known as “Lucifer”, is a graphic artist at Lund Industries and Jaxson Lund’s ex-girlfriend. Mimi, a.k.a. Melora Michelle or “Meems”, is her well-adjusted eight-year-old daughter whose father is the inattentive Jaxson. Lindsey is Lucy’s sister. Their mother, Jill, survived breast cancer and then met Benny who turned all of her absolutes about men upside down. Their lying, cheating father divorced their mother when Lucy was ten.

Jaxson “Stonewall” Lund is/was an NHL hockey star with the Chicago Blackhawks. Now that he’s retired, he needs to discover what to do with his life. Besides Stonewall Enterprises where Chris manages everything. He’s living at Snow Village now that he’s back. Nolan “the Prince” is a younger brother who is a true fashionista. Edie Lund is their mother and is in charge of the Lund Cares Community Outreach. Archer is their father and the CEO of LI.

Borderlands is…
…a bar that Jaxson bought with his business partner, Simone. It’s also the bar where Jaxson and Lucy spent some quality time, the last place he remembers being happy. Seems Ash and Nolan have been screwing up with running Jax’s half.

Axl Hammerquist is a Swedish hockey player and friend of Jaxson’s. He’s also married to Annika Lund (All You Need, 3), who is in charge of the PR department at LI. Brady, her brother, is the CFO of LI, and he’s married to the now-pregnant Lennox who’s out on maternity leave (What You Need, 1). I had to laugh at Lucy’s fear that Lennox might not come back, lol. Walker (whom Mimi calls “Runner”), another brother, has his own restoration company, and is married to Trinity, who is friends with Lucy (Just What I Needed, 2). Liam is their son. Jensen is their youngest brother, and he’s married to Rowan (When I Need You, 4). Calder is their son and Mimi’s best friend. Their parents are Selka and Ward Lund.

Lund Industries (LI) is…
…owned by the billionaire Lund family. Ash, the COO, and his sister, Dallas, are Priscilla and Monte Lund’s kids and cousins to Jaxson and Nolan and Annika, a.k.a. “The Iron Princess”, Walker, and Brady. Now Dallas, a.k.a., the Fair Maiden, now she has her business degree but she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the business-oriented Lunds. She prefers being the idea girl.

Zosia and Zach are cousins whose family had been cut out of LI. Jackson Lund had been the kids’ grandfather and a major jerk.

Britt is Nolan’s admin. Lola is retiring. Jonna works in the graphics department and is the team leader for the social media brand.

Lakeside is…
…an ice skating rink owned by Agnes Lindholm who has a bad past history with Lunds. Margene is the rink manager. Gabriella “Gabi” Welk, a former Olympian, is the underutilized programs facilitator. Oh, man, wait’ll you read her history! Dennis Dyklar is the know-it-all coach who knows nothing — his great-aunt owns the rink. Coach Olin is head of personnel. Flint is another coach and is married to Suzie. Thomas is the biggest boy on Mimi’s team. I adore Sheila, Thomas’ mother!

Dani is Gabi’s sister who’s going to the Olympics.

Snow Village is…
…an apartment complex for professional athletes owned by Jensen. Irina is a world champion figure skater. Martin, a.k.a. Uncle Martin, and Verily are/were Jaxson’s neighbors.

Flint and Lund is…
…Walker’s construction company that specializes in restoration. Jase Flint is his partner. Betsy is the office manager.

Peter had been Jaxson’s agent. Damon is interested in dating Lucy. Jocelyn is a girl in Mimi’s class. The Hockey Grail is a store for professional athletes. Gene had been Lindsey’s dirtbag boyfriend back in the day. Mikey Speerbraaten is a jerk from even further back. Kiley is Lennox’s best friend, a counselor, and a social worker.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a blend of soft blues that makes up the summer sky background with a hazy embrace by a long-haired Lucy in a black tank top and jeans and Jaxson, who’s wearing a white, unbuttoned henley and blue jeans. The very bottom is a blue-tinged Minneapolis skyline. The author’s name is in a deep pink centered over Lucy’s and Jax’s torsos with a tiny info blurb in between her first and last names. The title is in a black script below that with the series information tagged on in the same pink just under the last word of the title.

The title is too true, for I Want You Back is Jaxson’s mantra throughout.

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