Former Navy Pilot. Girl Next Door. She’s been in love with him since she was five. He returns home and sees that she’s grown up. Ah, romance. The blurb sounds really, really good. Let’s just say that I wish that I had left it at that and not spent hours that I can never get back reading Close to You by Kristin Proby.
Disclaimer: I imagine that there some reviewers who salivate over giving bad reviews because they can show how sharp, funny, intelligent or whatever they are. I’m not one of them. I don’t like to write bad reviews, but it seems that sometimes it’s inevitable. I don’t get paid to do this, obviously, but I feel like when a publisher sends me an ARC that I owe them something solid in return. What is frustrating for me is that I have spent time reading a poorly conceived or written novel because I hate DNF’s (did not finish). Fortunately, I think (and you can see from my reviews) that the good books for me far outnumber the bad. So I guess it’s just buck-up and
Close to You is told from the first person point-of-view of both Cami, the “heroine,” and Landon, the “hero.” (Yes, I really mean those quote marks.) I mention the narration because that’s where the trouble for me began. Cami’s story starts the first chapter and Landon’s picks up in the second. And there’s immediately repetition in the second chapter of details that Cami has already related in the first, as if we hadn’t just read it. For me this is a red flag, as if the writer is being paid by the word or has a quota or just can’t be bothered to pay attention.
Then comes a scene where a supposed professional chef and restaurant owner (one and the same) is being apathetic about learning anything about wine, intending to leave it to the sommelier. I suppose it’s meant to be funny or show something about the character, but what it does show is that the author hasn’t researched anything about good restaurants. A chef of any credibility is not going to pooh-pooh the idea of learning about the wines that might accompany a meal; they however will be almost as authoritative as the sommelier because the wines are supposed to enhance the meal. Okay, so that’s nitpicking, but I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed the restaurant/food oriented romance series by both Louisa Edwards (from Amazon) and Laura Florand (from Amazon) and when they take on romances and restaurants, they know what they’re doing; not to mention the fact that I’ve been known to watch the Food Network. Research!
Did I digress? It’s possible. I certainly did when I was reading Close to You because of the action. What action? you might ask. This is what I read: Cami has a crush on Landon. Landon has a crush on Cami. They get together. Who’s going to be the first to say “I love you?” Not her, because what would happen if she did and she didn’t hear it back? It’s definitely the end of the world as we know it, I can assure you. For thirty year olds? Come on! If you say it and he doesn’t feel it, move on.
There is no tension (the only tension exists between Cami and her unwanted cat, Scoots). There is no conflict except for that which exists in Cami’s head because she thinks that Landon is not going to stay. There is no swoon. They have unremarkable sex. No actual drama occurs until Chapter 18 and there are 20 chapters.
Characterization. There isn’t much. We are told Cami is sweet. Landon is a wuss–my interpretation. The cat’s the only one who evolves—he goes from being mean to sweet and having a personality; that, my friends, is character development. Yay, cat! Cami doesn’t wear underwear. This is a “thing” in the book. She doesn’t not wear them to make herself feel sexy; she doesn’t wear them because she’s worried about panty lines. And then she’s unpacking Landon’s clothes that have been shipped from Italy and she’s absorbing their smell because they smell like him. He packed his dirty clothes? Well, that’s what I’m thinking because clean clothes probably won’t smell like him and between her not wearing panties and this, I’m thinking we are into some real hygiene issues here. Yes, this is what happens when a book is dull. You start picking up on things that you shouldn’t because you just aren’t engrossed (maybe grossed out, but not engrossed).
Dialogue. There’s too much of it. If it were witty repartee (see Kristan Higgins or Jill Shalvis), I would love it to bits, but mostly it’s silly (not haha silly) interaction with lots of giggling and “ews.” It doesn’t drive the plot or add to characterization. It’s everyday inane chitchat.
And, lastly, if you like to read a novel and feel like you are there because of description, you’re not going to get it here. The majority of the novel is dialogue.
Heat: ** (Nothing unique here; I kept waiting thinking that maybe something different would happen in the sex department and that’s why the book exists, but you’ve read it all before.)
Who would I recommend this to? People who are very, very, very, very easily entertained and who don’t notice or care about plot or character development. And, instead of this book, I would recommend either Louisa Edwards or Laura Florand (see above).
I’m giving this 1 and 1/2 butterflies and I’ll explain to you why, which I normally don’t feel like I have to. I’m giving it 1 because it’s a finished novel; someone worked on it and got it from beginning to end. 1/2 for the character development of the cat and the author getting me to read it because of the navy pilot and girl-next-door (well-played).
I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: Close to You