Edition: Kindle, 201 pages
Published June 13th 2011
(first published January 1st 2011)
With THE LOOK OF LOVE, bestselling author Bella Andre introduces you the Sullivan family. In this fun and emotional contemporary romance series, when a Sullivan bad boy falls...he falls hard. And it's forever.
Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?
As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is—until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love—and protect—her, but will she let him?
Chloe vows never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Only, with every loving look Chase gives her—and every sinfully sweet caress—as the attraction between them sparks and sizzles, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the only exception. And although Chase didn’t realize his life was going to change forever in an instant, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether…for Chloe’s heart.
I’m someone who likes to dip my toes in this genre occasionally, though I'm not a die hard fan and this isn’t my go-to genre but I'm not a hater or someone who detests it either. I'm really excited to be apart of this blog tour and read these books because it's been so long since I've sunk my teeth into this kind of read. I tend to cycle through every genre so I don’t become bored and I’m in the mood for a read that is graphic. Graphic, as opposed to non-graphic aka “clean” reads. This book is short and it's rather obvious where it's going to go before I even started reading. Below there is some spoilers because I didn't know how else to review this book.
(FYI: I hate the term “clean” for novels that don’t go into details for sex, drugs, etc. Often there’s mention two people have or had sex, but to talk about it makes a book “dirty”. I don’t find sex to be dirty. Messy and sweaty, yes. Dirty, and unclean, no. There’s huge “unclean” religious baggage with those words. I’m a sex-positive feminist and it irritates me how people disparage books that talk about sex. I too fall into calling a book “clean” because everyone knows what that means, but I hate doing that and am resolved to make an effort to stop. )
There was some actions by Chase in the beginning to be over the line and his justification of them is stupidly poor (what couldn’t put her in a motel and give her a couple thousand dollars to get out of there?), but he really stepped back a lot. Those first moments have to be forgiven for the story to unfurl. I LOVE how he stopped the sex because Chloe was drunk. I liked all the characters well enough, especially Chloe. I liked watching Chloe blossom, even though I had my issues with completely buying into it. I mean, I bought Chloe as a full person and if the story took longer, I’d have no problem believing it either. I found myself really intrigued by Marcus and wanting to read his story, which is the next book in the series. His story has the instant love but without the baggage of a previously abusive and controlling relationship so I have a feeling I’m going to be into that story a bit more.
Of course, it's cheesy and corny and ridiculously sweet. Like dessert nachos. (Mmmmm.*drool*) There's references to this abundance throughout the novel as Chloe tries to deal with a fairy tale happening. Everyone's taste level for this sort of thing is different. For me, the kind of cynic that clowns around with friends making fun of bad rom cons (when they are bad, they are bad), it strode the line at times but ultimately didn't become a problem for me. For the average romance reader, I don’t think it will be a problem either. The only other thing about the writing is that there is lots of repeating words. I mean besides the nicknames, the codewords and all that, which all have reasons for being repeated,the word choice outside of these incidents is rather stagnant. (Of course, I do tons of repeating myself in writing but then again, I’m not a bestselling author. ;) )
I'm more happy with the how it talks about the man submitting, which is usually so taboo. Then there's masturbation by women which is also usually taboo.
There's a LOT of it - romanticized perfect sex of course. Yes, it's a romance book and everybody knows the sex is impossible (for the vast majority of people anyways). However, this idea that if you're abused in a relationship, the reason why you can't be tied up is due to you not fully trusting your partner is not always right. Now Chloe's was mostly emotional/psychological with one instance of violence so far. But as an abuse and rape survivor myself, this is just not usually true. I'm sure everyone is mumbling "well, duh" right now. However, after talking with other survivors and dealing with this issue myself, it's not universally understood. The assumption that enough time, trust or love magically removes such issues is pervasive and unfortunately, that's not how it always works. Often the triggering of horrifici memories is so strong it is physically impossible to partake in such activities - even if that's what turn them on before. Even after years and years. True Story.
If you can suspend disbelief enough to accept true never ending love in 4 days (that actually occurs at first sight natch), that someone can overcome trust and abuse issues so quickly then yeah, it's perfect. As someone who's been abused and knows/known plenty of other survivors, it did rub me the wrong way a bit. I just don't really see it happening. Of course, there are others I've known that have done this kind of thing for a bunch of different reasons. Which makes it tricky, so just a warning for those that don't want to fight against memories/experiences popping up while trying to enjoy a relaxing steamy read.
In end, I found it to be an enjoyable titillating rom-con romp. Easily readable, and a quick read at that. It only took me a couple of hours to put away. However, there were a few things that kept this book back for me, hence the three stars. One thing was the writing - that strode the line of too much cheesy & cutesy (though never going over for me) with the repeating words/phrases and the other two are simply personal - not buying love at first sight and my experience/actions of an abuse survivor.
The good news is while I found this an solidly average and recommendable book, there's 6 others in this series. All with their own style of falling in love and backstory so I'm hoping to fall head first (causing 5 stars to appear) for one of them.
As far as reading and reviewing the rest of the series for the blog tour, which ends the 20th, I’ve unfortunately hit a snag. My family and I came down with another round of sickness, which is the reason I was in delayed in writing and posting this review. I still plan on reading and reviewing the others, and I wish I could have done them in the timeframe but, well, life happens. I'm still hoping to get another one done before it end, but again, we'll see how it works out.