Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Book Review: Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas

Anything You WantTitle: Anything You Want
Author: Erin Nicholas
Number of pages: 304 pages
Release Date: 15 March 2011
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Samhain

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!


Goodreads appetizer:

Suppose the solution to all your problems is the one thing you never wanted…


It figures the one time Sabrina Cassidy is determined to do the responsible thing, karma kicks in. After four years on the road chasing her musical dream, she’s stranded six hours from home with no money, a ruined credit history—and morning sickness.

Out of options, she swallows her legendary independent streak and calls the only person who won’t hang up on her. Luke, the man she left behind.

Marc Sterling’s first instinct is to protect his business partner and best friend from another broken heart. That means letting her think she’s talking to Luke, then finding a way to send her in the opposite direction.

When he shows up at her hotel room, there’s something in the air beside their customary insults. Sure, her rebellious attitude, smart mouth—and purple panties—still drive him crazy, but now it’s a different kind of crazy. The kind that has him driving her home instead of to the nearest airport.

And when Luke offers to solve all her problems if she’ll only say “I do”, Marc realizes he’s just crazy enough—about her—to forget whose heart he wanted to protect.

Warning: Contains two people who don’t like each other very much, a Toyota that can’t quite handle the road trip home, and a spontaneous proposal. Or two. Or three. And foreplay with—what else—pie filling.

My Thoughts: Since I discovered Erin Nicholas’ novels I gobbled up all 4 and couldn’t wait for the release of Anything You Want. Finally this day has come and I have to tell you I wasn’t disappointed! When someone starts an Erin Nicholas novel they expect a sweet&steamy, heartwarming and laugh out loud funny story with girl/guy next door characters and Anything You Want certainly delivered.

I loved that the hero and heroine were introduced very early on, and I didn’t have to wait long for them to meet. (Though the hero starts off as Mr. Perfect Guy’s best friend, you soon discover that there is much more between the heroine and Mr. Best Friend than what a secondary character status would warrant.)

Marc (the best friend) is an amazing guy: he is loyal, warm-hearted, generous and honest. His deep understanding of Sabrina and her dreams and character is wonderful and astonishing, especially since they claim they only ever had a superficial friendship through Luke. And yet Marc proves that all this time he was observing and seeing Sabrina for who she is and everything she did throughout the years, like no one else did. I found this even more moving since all through their youth Sabrina and Luke were best friends: in college "they talked 4 times a day, eating at least one meal together" and yet it seems that Luke doesn’t know her at all. During these talks she never did tell him of her dreams and aspirations?

I have to confess I was conflicted with Sabrina’s character. For the first part of the novel she appeared quite spoilt, rebellious and selfish, but then seeing her warped logic behind why she believes she owes Luke his happiness I thought she was selfless and finally mature. Unfortunately with the last stunt she pulled she left me baffled and not a bit confused. At that last twist when she pulled on Luke’s strings and the way she used her influence over Luke to have him at her beck and call disappointed me as she went back once again to the needy, self-centered, egoistic teenager phase I thought she has already passed and outgrown.

When Erin writes about Sabrina’s relationship with music, her passion, drive and life force can be felt through the pages. It is enthralling, passionate and overwhelming in the best possible way!

The highlight of this novel was the nonstop banter between Sabrina and Marc, filled with sexual innuendos and double entendres. Their witty verbal duels were at times laugh out loud funny:

Marc giving a job description to Sabrina on what her position at the bar would entail:
“Get me coffee for instance.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Uh, huh. I hear arsenic dissolves nicely in hot liquid.”

He would not smile. But it was tough. “Wash my apron.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You should know that I have a condition that manifests by spontaneously sewing pink ruffles on things.”

“Alphabetize my recipes.”

“The only letters I know are F and U.”

He moved around the end of the bar, smiling in spite of himself. “How about inventory? I need someone to count my mushrooms.”

“Yeah, once you run out of fingers it gets tough, doesn’t it?”

then at other times left me breathless with the palpable attraction and sizzle between them:
“He doesn’t get it.”

“Get what?”

“What he should be doing to win you over.”

“What should he be doing?” She was very interested in Marc’s opinion on this.

He moved in a little closer. “He should be telling you that you are the sexiest thing he’s ever seen. That he passes by as close to you as possible whenever he can just to smell your hair. That when you laugh it makes him want to French kiss you up against the wall. He should buy you something you’d really appreciate—like cinnamon massage lotion. That he could lick off, slowly and thoroughly, after rubbing it all over your body.”

She swallowed hard. “I don’t think you’re supposed to eat lotion.”

“Edible massage lotion is made to be eaten.”

The chemistry between Marc and Sabrina was so tangible; the metaphorical spark ignited the fire every time these two were together!

As usual, the trademark humour of Erin Nicholas’ novels (and one of the aspects which in my opinion sets Erin Nicholas’ novels apart from the other contemporary romance novels) was there and very present.

He wanted her to leave Luke alone. He didn’t necessarily want her tortured or dead or anything. Miserable was okay. Unhappy, friendless, broken-hearted were all acceptable. But in danger or hurt probably not. Dammit.
The thing that really put Sabrina on Marc’s do-not-go-there list was the fact that he found her to be the most frustrating person in the entire world. If he said the sky was blue, she would argue it was purple, just to annoy him. He’d once complimented her outfit. She’d asked if his mother knew he was gay.
This just made me roar of laughter! Imagining Marc's face at that comment!!! :-D

An added bonus I wasn’t expecting and thus came as a wonderful surprise was Marc’s moving tenderness and sweet moments. Marc’s developing feelings towards another man’s baby choked me up quite a few times and made me tear up:

He wanted to watch her tummy grow, wanted to be able to compare day to day how her body changed. He wanted to watch her change too, as motherhood would surely add to her personality. He was curious how she would react when her child started walking, or when he or she first learned to read. He wanted to tease her and laugh with her and support her and tell her she was amazing. But all he said was, “I’m starving.”

There was an absolutely unforgettable scene in the hospital maternity ward: Sabrina was at the doctor’s for a check up, and both men turned up to be with her. The men’s hospital room who-knows-more-about-pregnancies battle was wonderful, funny, entertaining and sweet. To see that Marc a man who has nothing to do with the baby, the pregnancy still takes all the time and effort to do research and read on the subject to be ready and in the loop for Sabrina was very moving.

For full disclosure I only had two minor complaints: the first being my above detailed problem with Sabrina’s last stunt (though I see why it was necessary for the sake of the plot it still leaves me undecided regarding Sabrina’s character), the other was that when it was revealed Kat (Sabrina's best (and seemingly only) friend) has had feelings for Luke (for more than a decade!). I had some problems believing that she could be a loyal and selfless friend to Sabrina, when Sabrina is the reason she can’t be together with the man she loves...

Verdict: Anything You Want was a delightful read I would definitely recommend to any romance lovers! I love that reading an Erin Nicholas novel always makes me feel as if I just got another bunch of great friends. The palpable and irresistible chemistry, and the chuckle out loud banter between the hero and heroine as well as the general humour makes Anything You Want an outstanding romance.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Cover: 10+/10 - I'm in cover heaven! I could stare for hours at this cover: it is yummy, sweet, sizzling and beautiful. Perfection!!


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