Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: "Just the Way You Are" by Lynsey James (Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance)

Just the Way You Are
by Lynsey James

Publisher: Carina
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 8th 2015

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Description from Publisher: Dear Ava, How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can't remember the last time she had a second date. It's a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two - she's in love with someone else. Someone she's never even met.

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she's determined to unmask Mr Writer...and find out once and for all if he's Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!

My Rating:
Sexiness Rating:
>I received a digital ARC from the publisher through for an honest, unbiased review. My opinion is my own.

The beginning of this held a lot of promise, but, unfortunately, the more I read the less I liked it. Don't get me wrong, it was mostly light and fun, but there were just too many things that bothered me that I couldn't shake off.

First, I knew from basically the beginning who Ava would wind up with, and, worse, that he was Mr. Writer (taking all mystery out of the story!). And, if my spidey-senses hadn't been more than tingling, Lyndsey James made sure to make it so obvious that even those not paying any attention would have no doubt. She even had Max say THE EXACT SAME THINGS as "Mr Writer" did in his letters. After I figured it out, I still figured that would be okay since the journey is the point, not the destination. But it just got to the point where I was like "Okay, WE GET IT!"

Ava was also just too hung up on what seemed to be very trivial things, and, worse, she was very aware of it and had to constantly remind us of her hang ups. If you KNOW that you have daddy issues, there is absolutely no excuse for not being careful about letting those issue rule your life. How many times did she have to tell us "Wah, I'm insecure because everyone always leaves me." (Which was also silly because Max had been her best friend for 20 years and Gwen for 6+, proving that, obviously, not everyone she loves leaves her because she isn't good enough.)

Max was also over-the-top insecure, especially for someone who was doing so well for himself both professionally and socially (he was DATING A MODEL and RUNNING A KITCHEN!). His fear of "not being good enough for anyone" seemed as unfounded as Ava's.

It also makes NO SENSE the way Ava reacted to finding the letter in Max's hoodie. None. She had fallen for him and had a night of amazing sex with him, not even thinking about "Mr. Writer" and just enjoying the very real feelings she and her best friend had for each other. The letter she got upset by said over and over again - literally - how much he loved her, but thought that he wasn't good enough for her, so he was going to let her go. Nowhere did it says "I don't really love you because you are a loser."

"Mr. Writer's" letters were basically all the same to me, just lots of "I'm so scared to tell you how I feel, but you are gorgeous and funny and perfect." Nothing much poetic about them.

Most of the Gwen subplot bothered me and felt really unnecessary. The bits at her job mostly seemed unrealistic (the secret of her bosses and how she discovers that secret, twice, was silly!). There was also quite a few times where there was information overload (why does it matter how much her food costs?! Or what type of brogue the smallest of characters spoke with?), and there were several typos and small inconsistencies... Though I also felt like some of the inconsistencies were so big that they were jarring - several times in the last half of this novel I felt like parts had been cut/changed and not updated fully.

Mostly, this seemed a bit all over the place and a bit too contrived. Which was so disappointing because the author obviously has talent and some great ideas. I do realize this was her premiere novel, so have adjusted my response up as a result. I hope that she learns and grows and I would read something of hers again to see if she does.

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