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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista

Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista, AF, 2013, 309p, Rating: 2
Source: ebook copy provided by AToMR Tours in exchange for an honest review
Adult content: language and sex

Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can unravel.

It's spring break, and Tamara Winters would rather stay on campus and read romance novels than flaunt her size-fourteen body on a beach. But her best friend, Ronni, has other ideas. Against her wishes, Tamara is whisked away to picturesque Maverick Bay, where she's wrangled into waiting tables with Ronni at the Shore Shack for its busy week leading to Maverick's Surf Invitational. There she meets fellow schoolmate Xavier Solomon, the Invitational's organizer and campus womanizer by reputation. From the moment Tamara sees him emerging from the waves like a hero in of one of her romance novels, all she wants to do is run away from the feelings he inspires in her.

Little does she know Xavier has been watching her for weeks now. In fact, after failed attempts at asking her out on campus, he's concocted a crazy plan: fabricating romantic situations straight out of her favorite books. Xavier quickly realizes that if Tamara gets a whiff of his designs, he might as well spell CREEPER across his forehead. Yet as they grow closer, he's convinced it's a risk worth taking. What he hasn't planned on, of course, is his drug-addicted, alcoholic stepbrother, who decides to join the fun and put a wrench in Xavier’s scheme.

Spring break is proving hotter than Tamara expected. Will her romance novels be able to compete?

I was so looking forward to reading this!  I think highly of this author's writing skills.  I devoured a couple of her YA books (Taste; Reaping Me Softly).  I figured it would be wonderful to see what she does with adult fiction.  Well, her writing skill is still top grade.  Unfortunately, this new adult novel just didn't work for me.  A potentially good plot turned sordid and flat. 

When I got to chapter 5, I was rolling that my side ached.  I thought that this was going to be a fun read.  Almost immediately thereafter I found otherwise.  It was just carnal-thought-banters between the main characters, Tamara and Xavier.  Back and forth between the two were merely details of their lust for each other.  That took away any semblance of seeing them as a romantic couple finding true love but sole descriptions of their want to get into each other's pants.  Granted it's a normal feeling to desire someone that intensely but as a reader I want to know it's coming from somewhere substantial.  It didn't and I was sorely disappointed.

I saw the YA writing creeping in this novel and I think that's partly where this book went wrong.  Tamara and Xavier were in their early twenties so immaturity can still be a factor but their mindset were very teenager giddiness.  This book is marketed as an adult fiction, so I expect mature characters even if they're young adults.  Yes, adults can find themselves acting immature when a "hottie" comes their way but it's for a moment and they're back to reality.  Tamara and Xavier didn't live in this reality so their "relationship" didn't resonate with me.  The story then became superficially seedy instead of a warm romance I was hoping for.  Even the mysterious "plan" unfolded to a letdown ..that is to Tamara's reaction because I actually thought it was romantic!  Yet with all of this, the ease of finishing the book was there.  I may not be liking where it was not going but the storytelling was fairly engaging enough to see it through so kudos again to Ms Evangelista on her descriptive writing skills.  Next time though, focus more power to the brain instead of down south.

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