Thursday, November 21, 2013

Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis

The Basics:
Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis
Forever Yours
Published November 5, 2013
** Note that this is the ebook version.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mia Appleby finally has the life she always wanted. She's escaped her trailer trash childhood and built a nice life for herself with a marketing job and a cute, little condo. But no matter how much baggage she's ditched from her past, she still hasn't managed to shake her greatest weakness-men. So when her new neighbor turns out to be single and oh-so-sexy, Mia's worried she's playing with fire . . .

Kevin McKnight can't get enough of his gorgeous neighbor, but after one amazing night, she's already showing him the door. Something tells him this is the way she handles most men. But Kevin is far from your average guy-and he's ready to prove it to Mia. When a blast from her past shakes up Mia's life in a major way, will she stick with her self-sufficient solo act . . . or take a chance leaning on Kevin's strong shoulders?

What worked for me:

I have a weak spot for 'hot for the neighbour' romances. Usually these start where the attraction has simmered to a boiling point - well, in this book, that boiling point is pretty much the minute they meet!  There's some sizzling chemistry in this book, and Shalvis doesn't skimp on the sex.

There's a ton of character growth in this novel, and that's surely a good thing. I can appreciate that there were different motivations and directions for people to grow in - whether it was their professional life, and maturing into adult responsibilities, or their personal life, learning to open up emotionally or to relax attempts to control everything. There's some really strong subplots apart from the central romance - particularly the development of a relationship between Mia and her niece, Hope.

What didn't work for me:

I thought this was a really uncomfortable read. Mia was put under an incredible amount of stress - her emotional limits tested by the unexpected bond with Kevin, the arrival of a niece she had never met before who proceeded to act out in a way that put more tension on already tense workplace situation....  There was so much on her plate, and everyone seemed to expect so much from her, I felt really bad for her.

I also didn't like that Kevin was set up as the guy who knew it all. It seemed to be that he was always in the right, where Mia never was. This created a really unequal relationship, one that made me very uncomfortable. Yes, it was good for Mia to break out of her emotional shell and learn to connect to people again, I simply didn't thrill to the way in which it was done.

It also felt a lot like Mia was Kevin's fixer-upper. That he really *didn't* love her the way she was, but instead had to improve her. My heart broke every time she wanted to be enough for him, and wasn't.

Bottom line:

I've read Shalvis before and really enjoyed her work - this definitely didn't live up to my expectations. The discomfort caused by the inequality in the relationship between Kevin and Mia, and the position that Mia was put in really made it difficult for me to connect with this novel.

3.5 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, of fix 'em up plots.

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