Sunday, 11 March 2012

22. "I Only Have Eyes for You" by Bella Andre

Page count: Don't know, it was an e-book
Date begun: March 1st, 2012
Date finished: March 2nd, 2012

This is apparently the fourth book in the series, but I haven't read any of the others, and I suspect it works fine on its own.

Sophie Sullivan's been in love with her brother's best friend since she was five years old. She's a twin, and her sister's always been nicknamed "Naughty", while Sophie is "Nice". She's known to be sensible, level-headed and works as a librarian. Her brother's best friend is Jake McCann, a successful business man who runs a chain of Irish pubs. Jake had a sucky childhood, with a mother who abandoned him, a drunken dad, and what is quite clearly dyslexia (although he was never diagnosed with it). Jake's been a bit of a playboy, but has also fancied Sophie for a long time. He just never really thought he was good enough for her.

During her brother's wedding, where Sophie is one of the bridesmaids, she decides to show Jake once and for all that she's not just the sweet and innocent little girl he thinks of her as. She has the stylist make her up all bombshell, and after the wedding is over, shows up on his doorstep and proceeds to take all her clothes off in front of him. Jake can't really resist, they spend the night together, but then he panics, decides that Sophie's clearly made a huge mistake and leaves without saying anything to her. He doesn't contact her for two months and then Sophie discovers that she's pregnant. Can they get over their differences and make the relationship work, or will Sophie end up a single mum?

I bought I Only Have Eyes for You because it was the book club pick for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and several of their earlier selections have been awesome. This, unfortunately, was not. The premise was not necessarily bad - innocent librarian and business man playboy (who hates to read, but can't tell anyone for fear of showing weakness!). However, the author gives us very little chance to get to know either of the characters that much, and most of their romance seems to be focused on having a lot of great sex. As soon as Jake finds out that Sophie is pregnant, he is determined that she will marry him and that they will clearly spend the rest of their lives together without difficulties, despite the fact that after hooking up with her, he left her without a word and avoids and doesn't speak to her AT ALL for the next ten weeks. He seems to think that one week of spending time together will change her mind (and to be fair, it does), but it seems forced, and implausible. Of course, because we find out so little about the main characters, except that they're both sexy and clearly very compatible in the bedroom department, we're supposed to just take the author's word for it.

Romance readers get criticised a lot, and accused of reading romance because they're frustrated and repressed, and it's a more acceptable reading choice than outright porn. This isn't true. Romance readers enjoy good stories and being entertained, and the best romances are so popular not because they feature hot sex scenes (which many of them don't), but because the readers like the characters and care about their issues, and want to see them overcome obstacles and learn to communicate to find their happy endings. I have strong doubts that Sophie and Jake in this book will have a healthy relationship, but most importantly, I don't CARE, because their so-called romance bored me. Frequently, when I start a series, I want to track down the other books and find out what happened before and after. In this case, not so much. I will not be reading any more Bella Andre books.

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