Thursday, 12 April 2012

Book Review: Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton

Title: Holiday Affair
Author: Annie Seaton
Release Date: 15 March 2012
Number of pages: 210 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: ebook provided by publisher
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Excerpt

Grade: 1.5 stars


Novellus horrendus!
Goodreads appetizer: Staid professor Lissy McIntyre believes that choosing a mate should be based on common sense, not runaway passion. And she would certainly never pick a rolling stone like Nick Richards for long-term love. But a red-hot, tropical romance? Oh, yeah. He’s got a body just made for sinning and his sizzling kisses leave her senseless.

When Nick blows into town, he’s stunned to discover that his no-nonsense new neighbor and co-worker is the same sultry creature he seduced for one night of forbidden island pleasure. He’s unaccustomed to staying in one place for long, but he just can’t seem to keep his hands off the multi-faceted woman. Will Nick break loyal Lissy’s heart or will she be the one woman he simply can’t walk away from?
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: The premise of Holiday Affair sounded like a delightful read: warm sandy beaches, sizzling hoiliday romance, a rational academic heroine and a roguish charming hero, I thought I'd just need a cocktail to feel like I was on vacation. But sadly the characters drove me up the wall almost as soon as their vacation came to an end and though I persevered and gave it several chances, after 70% I was just so frustrated with Lissy (and Nick) that I waved them goodbye.

At first it wasn't easy pinpointing what felt off and why I didn't connect and enjoy Holiday Affair. Until about 1/3 I racked my brain, trying to find the culprit when I realized that it were the main characters: Lissy and Nick, who both separately on their own and then in their relationship towards each other irritated me.

Lissy should be a rational and intelligent young woman seeing as she is a respected academic PhD professor. Despite that the way she behaved in general and towards Nick left me baffled. Even with the recent loss and grief in her life (her beloved grandpa died recently), it was too much for me to comprehend how she teared up at almost every scene ("her eyes tearing up", "swallowing back tears", "wiping tears from her cheek", and I could go on), it seemed that she had no other way to cope with life and handle her emotions than having an almost break down and crying. Whenever she had a confrontation with Nick first she teared up then flew off the handle, became agressive and shouted, it was as if there were two persons inside of her. I couldn't get a hold of her personality, she was like a highly strung, constantly PMSing, hormonal pregnant insecure woman (and believe me I so hate these clichés that women are hysterical due to their hormones, but sadly Lissy really was). I didn't find her to be a strong and independent woman with a backbone, but rather a fragile minded simpering, immature woman. And that was disappointing as I had such hopes for her character.

Then there is Nick who could have been a deliciously dark and carefree hero, but he just wasn't. Not only he couldn't make up his mind regarding his feelings for Lissy, but he kept playing with her emotions as well:
"He looked at her white knuckles and felt a pang of regret for the distress he had caused her."
And still he continues to behave the way he does, one minute being hot for her the next rejecting her and being angry with her. But besides this quite unattractive trait in his character of him being a selfish and egotistical man, there was an even bigger fault in my eyes:

PARTIAL SPOILER ALERT

When Nick comes back from vacation he discovers that his older brother Tom has been seeing Lissy and that he has potentially serious plans for her. Even after this he keeps pursuing her (or rather threatening her one minute to keep away from Tom and not to hurt him, and then kissing her and sleeping with her the next) behind his brother's back. Somehow even in spite of their history (Tom had once gone out with Olivia, who then left him to go out with his little brother Nick and thus hurting Tom), he doesn't find this awkward and potentially hurtful for his brother? (Even if I disregard the fact that brothers sharing the same woman is kind of eww in a romance novel, I could rationalize that Lissy is different as she is special for Nick, however seeing how there was Olivia as well, it seems it's Nick's M.O. to poach from his brother's dating pool...)

END OF PARTIAL SPOILER ALERT

So due to these serious personality faults of both main characters I not only could not connect with them on any level, they irritated me. And besides this lack of personal symapthy I just didn't feel the chemistry between Nick and Lissy.

In the romance scene on the island too much happened too soon, their attraction wasn't convincing. Why couldn't their night on the island be a one night stand about sizzling attraction? No it had to be gentle and about that "special" connection (despite this night being their first and only date...). I just didn't feel the heat, the sparks, the sizzling. Reading the love scenes between Nick and Lissy I just wasn't sold on their romance. I never saw or felt the chemistry between them, and truth be told their relationship read more like an emotionally abusive one.

The writing didn't flow fluently for me, maybe due to the characters' inner thoughts and jumbled up emotions. I just felt that on the emotional front both Lissy and Nick were very chaotic and in the messy way rather than the deliciously confused way.

The highlight of the novel for me were the beautifully evocative descriptions about the exotic location of Lissy and Nick's vacation on the Whitsunday Islands. Thanks to Annie Seaton's colourful and vivid descriptions of these secenes I could wonderfully picture the colours, the beautiful and lush setting, could almost feel that sea breeze.

Verdict: Despite the promising premise of Holiday Affair I just couldn't soldier on when I felt so strongly frustrated by the main characters that I wanted to tear my hair out or conk them on the head with a saucepan. Sadly Holiday Affair just wasn't for me. But who knows, I've seen a review on Goodreads starting this way "Love a story with a strong woman who knows her own mind." made me wonder if we read the same book, but it seems we each have our own definition of strong women and knowing our own mind, so try out the excerpt or take your chances, who knows in which camp you will be.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 2/10
Writing: 6/10
Cover: 10/10 - the perfect cover for a holiday affair :-)

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