Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: "It's Not You, It's Me" by Allison Rushby (Contemporary Romance)

It's Not You, It's Me
by Allison Rushby

Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 1, 2004

(Affiliate links)
Description from Publisher: She's heard all the lines. Now it's time for the truth! Charlie has to keep pinching herself to believe she's leaving Australia for a trip to Europe - a generous gift from her family, who know how tough her life has been lately.

But the last person Charlie expects to bump into on the plane is Jasper Ash, international celebrity, rock-star sex-god - and Charlie's former best friend, flatmate and... almost-lover!

It's been three years since Charlie impulsively jumped into bed with Jas, then a struggling student. But their nearly-one-night stand had just been warming up when Jas began the male "backing off" ritual, practically sprinting out the door with the classic excuse, "It's not you, it's me." Yeah, right. Everyone knows what that means - It is you! Not pretty enough, not successful enough - just not enough.

Charlie has dealt with it - and a whole lot more - but the unanswered questions still niggle. Acting on impulse once again, she invites Jas to join her own European tour! And as they share hotel rooms, play at being tourists and dodge Jas's determined groupies, it becomes clear they're both at a crossroads in life. Before they can move on, they finally have to deal with the unfinished business between them - starting with a serious conversation about that night.

Former journalist Allison Rushby lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she writes full-time, usually with her cat Violet on her lap. It's Not You It's Me is her debut novel for Red Dress Ink.

My Rating:
Heat Rating:

To start, I need to explain that I read this book way back in 2004 around the time it first came out. At this time, I would often go to Barnes & Noble once a month or so and pick up 3 to 5 fiction books, mostly based on their covers. (See, book covers can totally matter!). This was one such purchase. I really enjoyed it at the time and, for whatever reason, it stuck with me for years. About 3 years later, I tried to remember the book so I could read it again, but couldn't find it and couldn't remember! I remembered almost everything about the book, but the title and author! It as a bit excruciating, to be honest. A couple of years ago, I tried googling some of what I remembered (the guy's name... Jax? Jaz?), but had no luck. Until earlier this year when the title all of a sudden came to me. Yes, 12 years later.

So, that is to say two things:
1) This is a fun book that you just might love enough to remember later!
2) This review is based on my second read of this, though with 12 years between reads. I didn't remember everything about the story, but did remember many things.
With that, I give you my review. :)

This book is so FUN! It's got some seriously laugh-out-loud moments and dialogue (the banter between Jas and Charlie, in particular) and what's not to like about a romance set mostly during Oktoberfest and then a CASTLE in Germany?

When Jas and Charlie first meet, you immediately fall in love with the two of them, both separately and together. And they only get better as you go! Their romance is a slow build, but really starts while they are both roommates living with a bunch of elderly people. The eccentricities of their neighbors and the way that both Jas and Charlie embrace those quirks endears you to them from the start. These two characters are built basically from the ground up and are just so darn likeable!

When you meet them again 3 years and one awkward (but sexy!) situation later, they are older, wiser, and a little more hardened versions of themselves. Jas as the Marilyn Manson-esque rock star and Charlie as the girl who has been dealing with some hard times are still a great pair.

The sexual chemistry and tension between them is awesome and sexy as hell, once they finally get their act together!

The misunderstandings and their one big fight are believable and not overly dramatic. I love that they don't have to make grand declarations of love for you to know they are in love. Their bond is just so well built throughout the book.

The Oktoberfest setting is also a lot of fun, as is the castle. You can really see and feel it all like you're there. And the descriptions of Zamiel (Jas rock star alter ego) are just as vivid, as well as entertaining.

There is a bit of action 2/3rds through that has some great tension and isn't necessarily what you would expect.

Overall, a seriously fun best friends to lovers romance.

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