Fed up with a dead-end life and marriage in Ohio, Zoey Sullivan has moved to New York in an attempt to build a new life. She and her estranged husband, Derek, have agreed to a year of separation before they decide whether to divorce or not.
As a self-trained cook, Zoey earns money by catering dinner parties. Everything changes when millionaire computer programmer Tristan Malloy hires her to cook for business associates. Though rich, smart and handsome, he's hopelessly awkward and naive. Raised by his grandparents on a golf course, Tristan is both old-fashioned and sheltered. He's recently moved to New York, and feels that he's not fitting in.
Both feeling lonely and out of their element, Tristan and Zoey become friends almost instantly. She agrees to give him a makeover and bring him into the 21st century. She develops feelings for Tristan just as her year’s separation from her husband is up, and must decide what she wants to do.
I've enjoyed other books by Stephanie Evanovich and was excited to read this. But I was left disappointed. First, the plot was often bogged down by dialogue that didn't advance the story. For example, some chapters were a play-by-play of how to play video games, how to cook, or information dumping on character backstory.
Second, I couldn't connect with these characters. Tristan's awkwardness and backward ways were probably meant to be endearing but I just found him immature and annoying. He wasn't a very consistent character, and it was hard for me to suspend disbelief. For example, he admits to being awkward in groups of people, and yet was really smooth at nightclubs (and a great dancer too). He admits to being sexually inexperienced but was dynamite in bed. It also didn't seem believable that a talented computer programmer would still use a fax machine, or not know how to text.
Zoey wasn't much better. It didn't seem likely that a lonely, awkward cook would do Tristan's makeover. It might have worked better if she had been a stylist or personal shopper that Tristan hired to help him fit in at New York business meetings. Additionally, she seemed to harbour an unhealthy resentment toward her sister, and enjoyed manipulating Tristan into her version of a dream man.
All in all, Under the Table is a quick read, probably good for a vacation. (CK)
Amanda Cole, a successful, full-figured restaurant owner from New Jersey, doesn't believe in happy endings. Better to not believe in fairy tales and Prince Charming - you'll just set yourself up for failure. But when pro baseball player Chase Walker patrons her restaurant, he decides that she's the one he's been looking for. To Amanda, Chase looks like the ultimate playboy: rich, sexy, and completely irresistible. There's no way she has a chance with him. Not in the long run, anyway.
Intrigued and not willing to take no for an answer, Chase pursues Amanda relentlessly. As they fall in love, Amanda discovers that squeaky clean, boy scout Chase has a kinky secret. And to her surprise, she likes it. When a hidden video camera turns their secret into public knowledge, Amanda is humiliated. Will Amanda step up to the plate and handle this curveball? Or is their loved destined to strike out?
I loved this book, and had a hard time putting it down. It is easy to read, entertaining, sexy, and romantic. Chase is ahhh.... so dreamy. Can't wait to read more from Stephanie Evanovich! (CK)
Holly, a 32-year-old, overweight widow with bad hair, is on her way home from Toronto after settling her deceased husband's accounts. To her mortification, she is seated beside the Adonis-like Logan, a sinfully attractive personal trainer. Logan initially brushes her off but is quickly intrigued by her sarcastic sense of humour. They discover that they live near one another, and on impulse, Logan offers to help get Holly back in shape. Holly, feeling lonely and ready to change her life, accepts. Over the course of several months, Holly slims down and forms a genuine friendship with (and major crush on) Logan. As her killer curves start attracting the attention of other men, Logan becomes jealous, though he isn't ready to admit it. The sexual tension builds to a breaking point, and they end up taking their sweaty workouts to bed. Both are over the moon about each other but struggle with their own internal battles. Can they get over their insecurities and hang-ups? Is this real love, or are they destined to crash and burn? I couldn't put this book down! The writing is funny, exciting, and fraught with sexual tension. It was refreshing to have a curvaceous heroine, working towards a healthier mind and body. The book addresses many issues about bias towards weight, and encourages readers to think twice before passing judgment on anyone. (CK)