martes, 18 de agosto de 2015

Review: BROWN-EYED GIRL, by Lisa Kleypas

I don’t usually review new books, but Lisa Kleypas is one of my favourite authors. Therefore, as soon as this book was published, I had to read it. And then, review it. Now here is a short translation of my longer review in Spanish, which can be found here.
Webpage of the author about the book.

Published: 2015
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating: 2 stars

Part of a series: Travis #4
OK, two paranormal phenomena happened with this book. First, the cover blurb told a story that, I think, could have been Lisa Kleypas’ first idea, but not certainly what it was in the end. While reading the first chapter I was going once and again to the cover blurb because I couldn’t find anything of it on the book. As of today, the old story line is still in, for instance, FictionDB.

Secondly, this book was published translated in Spain in May! I mean, three months before the original was published in August. It’s the first time I see something like that in my ‘quite a long’ life as a reader.

So, I forgot the synopsis and kept on reading a book I really didn’t know what was about. Come on, Lisa, surprise me.

It’s told in a first person narrative from Avery’s POV. Not my favourite, but well, it’s Kleypas’ choice for these novels so, OK, keep-on-reading.

This is the story of Avery, who is twenty-seven years old. Three years ago, her boyfriend left her just before the wedding. So it’s an irony that she works as a wedding planner, yes, just like Jennifer López in The Wedding Planner, o ‘that much stressed woman with the Blackberry’ in Happy For Ever, written by Nora Roberts.

So this story begins with Avery in one of those great weddings she plans. She finds a scorpion. This is Texas, there are scorpions and rattle-snakes, not only tycoons with impressive houses. Damsel-in-distress situation, and Joe Travis to the rescue!

That’s the way they meet. They like each other, but Avery is not interested in men since she was left by her fiancé. But she lets passion overrule her good sense, just for one night.

As I don’t write anything about a book that happens beyond the 33% of it, because I don’t like to spoil anything, I have to sum up this first part of the novel saying that all those pages sounded like a Harlequin Presents for me: ‘alpha males, decadent glamour and jet-set lifestyles’. A common working girl entering in a world of millionaires that welcomes her because they are nice people. Like, I don’t know ‘For the love of a Texan tycoon’, or ‘In the arms of the über-rich sheikh’, or ‘My Greek billionaire and me’. One scene after another was dedicated to show you how the rich live, those people that can spend millions of dollars in a wedding. This is a book about privileged people enjoying their privileges while trying to make you think that they are just like anybody else.

There’s even one of those ‘makeover moments’ in which some new clothes are bought and suddenly the overweight ugly duck transforms herself into an elegant swan. Overweight person? Really? They say is a curvy woman. I was thinking that she was fat, but I in the end, she was just plump.

So, some makeover, makeup and hairdresser, but somehow they forgot that a dress alone does not make a look, it needs shoes, handbag, accessories - and many times, the shoes that-have-to-go with that dress cost more than the dress itself.

So when I reached this point of the story, nothing sounded like a Lisa Kleypas book to me. But that’s something that has happened to me in each of her contemporary novels. And, in the end, a Harlequin Presents story has its charm. So I told myself –again- keep on reading! I did it, trying to forget that the name Lisa Kleypas was on the cover.

Then there’s a dog. And I told myself – ‘A plump girl and a dog? Is this a kind of Cruise’s novel or what?’ Like Vicky Pollard it’s "Yeah but, no but, yeah but..." because said dog suffers the indignity of having its nails painted in pink. So, in the end, it’s a ‘no’.

There’s a secondary love story, Avery’s sister romance, one of those ‘I hate you but I cannot stop thinking about you’ I found it more interesting than Avery & Joe’s story, but it was solved in a very rushed and behind the scenes way.

The only moment of real human emotion I felt while reading this book was given by Hardy & Heaven. Whenever they show up, I forgot that this was supposed to be Joe & Avery’s story.

In the end, there’s nothing wrong about this book. It’s only that –there’s nothing special in it. The main problem I had was that Lisa Kleypas’ name was on the cover. When I forgot that fact, I enjoyed this very simple and charming contemporary novel about ‘love and luxury among millionaires’ with very sexy scenes. If -even for a moment- I remembered the amazingly great stories in Kleypas’ backlist, I wanted to cry! I hope next book is better.

BTW, as any Kleypas’ fan, I wanted ‘Joe’s story’. But the one I had in my mind was quite different. It was a never written fan fiction M/M romance, between Joe and Todd, Haven’s friend. At least it would have been a different novel.

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