BLOG REVIEW: Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista

21y.o. college student would rather read a romance novel than do anything else.
But her best friend managed to convince her to spend Spring Break at the beach. She didn’t expect to be roped in to help at her friend’s brother’s seaside diner or be entranced by the brother’s best friend, surfer Hero. 
She’s surprised at how interested he seems to be with her, 
given the toned bikini babes interested in him while she’s a size-14 clothed in blowsy dresses and always has her nose stuck in a book.  As the spring break week closes in, they get closer together but heroine isn’t sure if things will end when they go back to school. 
When she hears from somebody else that her meeting with Hero was all part of his grand scheme, she doesn’t know what or who to believe. 

The best part of the book was the premise of double-digit girl being secretly pursued by tanned and toned surfer boy.  Unfortunately, the actual storyline wasn’t as exciting. At the very first chapter, I was already feeling lost and bored by inane details outside of the main romance. There was some vague hints about something Hero had planned. These vague hints/details kept continuing throughout the book. After awhile, I stopped caring what it was. The book lacked emotional pull. It failed to engage me in the main character’s life and in their romance. The only exciting thing was the anticipation of virgin heroine’s lauded sexual knowledge from her romance books and how this was going to translate into some sexy times between her and Hero. Too bad it took so darn long for their sexy times to finally get there. I skipped page after page of uninteresting details so we can get to the exciting parts already. Their sexy times were average. Not too bad but not on par of what the book was building up to. The romance was subpar. Neither Hero nor heroine were in love with each other. We got heroine to realize she “liked him” but she wasn’t planning on anything past their spring break fling nor was she heartbroken about it because she just “liked him”. Hero was more into heroine but it started out as more of an ego thing. To prove to himself that this girl who ignored him twice would return his attraction once she took her eyes of her books and finally saw him. And he was right. She salivated after his body and kept salivating over his body. They had a lustful attraction with a bit of caring on the side. That’s why I don’t get Hero’s elaborate and expensive ruse to get her to meet and spend time with him on spring break.  

The execution, though, was a mess.  Instead of letting us understand why Hero became so intent on spending time with heroine so we can empathize with his secrets/motives/suffering, we get vagueness.  The first chapter already had me at a loss, with Hero’s point of view(POV) starting off the alternating POV of Hero and heroine. I got the parts about surfing & his working for his dad but there were those bits about his uncertainty about his plan working and his brother. And I thought “huh”?  When a book starts out with me already feeling like I need instructions to break some secret codes in the book, it doesn’t bode well. And it the vague plot/details did continue through the whole book. I finally got that the vagueness was to cover Hero’s secret plans regarding heroine. I thought it was a poor decision to make it so vague that it was making me the reader feel left out that, after awhile, I stopped caring. I did finish it to see when Hero and heroine would finally get it on (because the book had been building up to it since their first meeting) but I skipped some pages, especially the parts with Hero’s doormat intern and classmate.  I couldn’t take how poorly Hero was treating him and how he was letting himself be treated.

There was a lot about the story I didn’t buy. Hero’s character for one. He was in college, running part of his dad’s business, and surfing like a pro. I could buy the college student and surfing part. But the running his dad’s major company ? Not so much. His classmate-intern was the one doing the leg work, while Hero merely signed the forms and went back to surfing. There was a lot of talk about how he’s supposedly the one who’s held responsibility for his loser stepbrother. But I still don’t know how and why he took that responsibility. They only became stepbrothers about a year or so ago. Most of the book made it sound like it was ongoing for much longer than that. Hero’s major interest in heroine was another matter. His fascination with her was due to her ignoring his 2 attempts to meet her on their college campus. He wasn’t used to being ignored, especially by a woman he’s interested in.  His elaborate and expesnive ruse to get her to spend time with him was about his ego and physical attraction and not about love.  Why couldn’t he just asked her on a date and made sure she listened to his offer? Why not set up an accidental meeting on campus with her best friend along and at a time where heroine wouldn’t be reading a book such as at a restaurant while heroine and her best friend are eating dinner together?  Heroine’s character was another one. There were inconsistencies about her body perception. She hid her body in baggy clothes because she was uncomfortable with her size-14. But we’re to believe she’s confident and proud of her curves. She was not just obsessed with reading romance novels. She lived her life through romance novels. She didn’t remember ever meeting Hero the 2 times he attempted to talk to her but remembered the titles of the book she was reading at those times. She compared her life situations with those from her books too many times to count. It was weird.  Another weird thing was how confident she was about sex (even though she was a virgin) because of all she gleaned from her romance novels.  And the other characters believed her too. She went from her 1st kiss ever to having wild, monkey sex with Hero within 6 days. And she was surprised to realize she “liked” him? That insight was so shallow it confirmed how out of touch with reality heroine was.

This book has an unsure HEA because their romance wasn’t love-based. It was clearly physical with some other interests mixed in. But heroine didn’t seem bothered by their lack of commitment or future together. Hero was a bit more bothered and tried to make things right with heroine. But again it may have been due to him being a caring person. But I didn’t consider him in love with her either.

 I minimally recommend this book

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