Saturday, February 1, 2014

What I've Read Recently

What I've Read Recently . . .

Just Say Yes by Phillipa Ashley -- Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction

Lucy Gibson is the plant and errand girl at a prestigious law firm on London. She frequently grabs bagels and sandwiches at a local sandwich shop. One day, a Greek god comes running after her and asks her out. She's flattered and attracted so why not? When he stands her up, not once, but twice, she swears she'll never see him again, but he manages to worm his way into her apartment and her bed. Nick reveals he's a contestant on an Apprentice-like reality show and he's convinced he's going to win. In order to win, he needs Lucy by his side. Sure he's irritable and angry at times, but that's just the stress of the show right? When Nick accomplishes his dream, he decides the only thing to make his day better is to propose to Lucy. Lucy isn't sure Nick is the ONE and she doesn't want to make the same mistake her mom did, so she says no. Lucy becomes public enemy #1 with paparazzi chasing her and camping outside her building. She asks her best friend Fiona to help her get away somewhere where no one will bother her. Fiona and Lucy go off to stay at Fiona's retreat in Cornwall. The beach community is relaxed and doesn't seem to have heard of the scandal. Then she meets Josh. Local landlord, handyman, surfer and sex god all rolled into one. At first they don't get along but then she begins to see Josh in a new light. Unfortunately he's seeing Sara, equally beachy and good looking. Josh also can't stand liars and Lucy can't bring herself to tell him the truth about herself. As Lucy falls in love with the beach community and with Josh, she tells him part of her story, about feeling hurt by her dad's betrayal. Josh shares his story of his tragic past but there are still secrets and of course her job and lurking paparazzi back in London. Will she ever be able to find happiness and true love?

This book should be called Just Say No. It would serve a dual purpose: one to tell the characters what to say and two, to warn the reader away. The characters are awful. They're very cardboard people. Lucy claims she refuses to be like her mother and accept a lying, cheating man in her life and then she jumps into bed with a good looking near stranger who fits all her requirements for a man to stay away from. She claims she doesn't like liars and she lies to the hero. Nick is a sleaze bag of the first degree. He's dangerous and somewhat predatory. He uses Lucy for sex and to help him on his goal to fame and fortune. Sure she lets him use her and she says no when he asks her to marry him but she feels bad saying no and convinces herself that it's just because she's not SURE they belong together instead of realizing he's a creep. Lucy has two best friends who are stereotypical characters that appear in many rom coms and chick lit novels: the mad, bitter best friend and the mad gay male best friend. I liked Fiona and found her refreshing and amusing until the very end. I think I like Charlie though he's so stereotypical. He isn't in the book much but I wish he was because he was a good friend for Lucy. I was hoping he would turn out to be the love interest and not the gay bff. The characters in Cornwall aren't much better. Sara is a stock character: pretty, skinny, insecure, witchy, clingy, etc. etc. She doesn't have much personality and appears in the plot to complicate the romance. Josh is a character who sees the world in black and white. He had a rough childhood, became a modern rake and is now ready to settle down but only with someone he can trust. He suspects Lucy isn't telling the whole truth yet he enters into a relationship with her anyway. Their relationship isn't based on much. There's no real connection between them. I didn't care if they got together or not. Actually I didn't think either of them deserved each other. The romance was just not there. . The characters who live there are so obsessed with the beach and can't imagine living anywhere else. We're told Lucy falls in love with her new home but there's no real showing. There are are two graphic love scenes I wasn't expecting. Usually in this sort of novel the love scenes are closed door.

The writing is hit and miss. The descriptions of Cornwall scenery are beautiful. The author knows the location she's writing about and creates a picture of a beach community. I hate the beach and I had known, I wouldn't have read the book. The plot is very thin. It's based on a lot of non-communication, something I can't stand. I skimmed past the love scenes and ended up without much plot. The ending was way too rushed and that was the most interesting part of the book. I liked the direction Lucy was heading in and wanted more of her journey of self-discovery.

I didn't like this book very much and wouldn't recommend it to those who like well written books by Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding.

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