(Author: Lynsey James) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
I’d reviewed for Carina UK once before and I decided to check their profile out on NetGalley. That’s how I stumbled upon this book and I was so excited about it when I requested it, that I could barely content myself until my request was approved.
Therefore, I think my expectations were just a bit too high. But look at that spectacular cover, read the awesome blurb and you’ll understand me.
I couldn’t say that Just the Way You Are is masterfully written, but it’s fun and sexy and sweet. If you are a sucker for the romance genre, read it! I distinguish two types of romance: the one a-la Danielle Steel in which there is romance and only romance, lots of “love-making” and insta-love, and the second type: which has romance, but also lots of hilarious scenes, sex, instead of love, many misunderstandings and much more. I think that British authors are more inclined to the latter and that’s exactly the type of romance that I just love.
And that’s Just the Way You Are for you: a quirky main character, who always messes things up but has a good heart and a way of fixing her messes, a grumpy but funny best friend, a hot and nice leading male, a “cow” of an archenemy and sweet recurring characters.
Now, this book wasn’t as humorous as Love, Rosie or as fabulous as Anna and the French Kiss. Ava definitely managed to get herself in many messes, though not nearly as many as what happens in the Shopaholic series. That’s probably the problem I had with the book. It went easy on all of its main characteristics. It’s supposed to be funny, but not funny enough, interesting, but not interesting enough, a comedy of errors, which, however, are not as grave as for the reader to be wondering how is the character ever going to be able to get herself out of them.
That being said, the book was pretty enjoyable nonetheless. I even brought it along to read in uni, even though it’s not something I usually practice.
The writing itself posed some questions/problems for me:
1. The author had the nagging need to mention the brogue of each and every character Ava meets. What for? I, for one, don’t really care if Random character #183912 is from Manchester, Liverpool or London. It doesn’t really contribute to the story.
2. Everyone was calling each other names, among which we see “chick” and “munchkin” the most.
3. I can’t claim that I’m highly familiar with British slang, but “daft mare/cow” seemed very offensive to me. (Not a rant, just seemed strange to me, it might as well be totally normal. In Bulgarian if you call a woman a “cow” you might just get punched)
* * * S P O I L E R S * * *
a) I find it highly unconvincing that Ava, suddenly, after 20 years of knowing him, decided to start falling for Max at the beginning of the book. It really doesn’t seem that she liked him that way before, and all of a sudden, when it was convenient, she started noticing him, just in time to find out that he is Mr Writer.
b) Was it a mystery of ANYONE that Max was Mr Writer? Because I knew it from the moment the two of them talked about him. Actually, before Mr Writer was mentioned, I knew that Ava was going to end up with Max in the first chapter. When he was first introduced, he was too attached and gentle, to a point I thought he was her gay best friend, but then his girlfriend showed up and I was all “So he’s in love with her then”. If it was supposed to be a mystery that he was sending her the letters: mission failed.