Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Review: Under the Table by Stephanie Evanovich

The New York Times bestselling author of Big Girl Panties puts a modern twist on My Fair Lady in this funny, romantic confection in which a canny young woman makes over her awkward millionaire client . . . with some hot, sexy, and surprising results.

Publication date: April 16, 2019
Published by: William Morrow
Genre: contemporary romance, women's fiction

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Suffocating in a dead-end marriage, Midwesterner Zoey Sullivan fled to New York and moved in with her older sister Ruth, a carefree, vivacious beauty with a string of eligible bachelors at her beck and call. Giving herself three months in the city to clear her head and find a direction, Zoey dodges calls from her ex Derek, and distracts herself by cooking and catering a few private dinners and parties. Pursuing her passion for cooking was never an option when she was with Derek, and now Zoey relishes her independence.

When Zoey’s meets reclusive millionaire Tristan Malloy, she’s blown away by his kitchen—a marble and stainless steel temple worthy of the culinary gods—and charmed by his impeccable gentlemanly manners. But despite his firm body, handsome looks, and piles of cash, Tristan—a computer programmer—is shy and more than a little socially awkward. Zoey is sure that Tristan has all the right raw ingredients—and she’s the right person to spice them up turn him into a delectable dish.

But Zoey’s unprepared for just how well her makeover works. Tristan turns out to be even sexier once he’s gained a little confidence and the right wardrobe. Beneath the gorgeous package, Tristan is a great guy who deserves a woman who really appreciates him. Slowly but surely, Zoey realizes she may have found her perfect match—but does Tristan even know how her feelings have changed? Is that warm look in his eyes gratitude for the new and exciting world she’s ushered him into, or something more? And what will happen when Zoey’s ex comes to town, looking to win her back?

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Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl who began writing fiction while waiting for her cues during countless community theater projects. She attended New York School of Film and Television and acted in several improvisational troupes and a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had, raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she's an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do.

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Under the TableUnder the Table by Stephanie Evanovich
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

As I sit here all I can think of are things that bothered or annoyed me about this book. If there was one thing that was consistent about my reading experience, it was that. It's shocking to me that I'm saying that because the hero is a nerd. If you haven't read my reviews before, let me tell you a factoid about me: nerdy characters are my ultimate weakness. All I have to do is see that word in a synopsis and I'm sold. I like reading about intelligent people who are perhaps a little quirky or socially awkward. Smart people are sexy! In this case, Tristan was certainly awkward and quirky, but that's where it ended for me. Okay, admittedly he was even sweet, chivalrous, and the most polite person you'll ever meet in your life. All things that should have made me like him. Unfortunately he was clueless about so many things beyond his hideous fashion sense, that whenever he opened his mouth he sounded completely ridiculous.

For example:
✒︎Backside, nefarious purposes, and for crying out loud???
✒︎He's never had a piece of pizza before. And he lives in New York.
✒︎His reaction to Las Vegas: "I didn’t expect so many people being rude and drunk and inappropriate."
✒︎Thinking skinny jeans were for skinny people
✒︎Thinking Bermuda shorts were from Bermuda.
✒︎Leaving her alone in his home five minutes after meeting her. "Are you going to steal from me?" "No." Good enough for me!
✒︎ Hasn't the faintest clue what Tinder is or why someone would "swipe right" on him.
✒︎In a shocking turn of events he's heard of video game consoles but was unfamiliar with Guitar Hero. He told her that her guitar didn't have any strings. Because guitars always look like a plastic toy.

I understand that he is supposed to be a sheltered man who was raised by his grandparents on a golf course in the Virgin Islands. He doesn't watch t.v. and he hasn't made any friends since moving to New York that could bring him into the 21st century. But his naivité and child like innocence knows no bounds. As exaggerated as this was about Tristan, he was supposed to be shy and helpless as a newborn foal, and yet when she takes him out to his first club experience he was not only socializing with a large group of people with no issues, but skillfully and sexily dancing.

    The way Tristan was acting, dancing, smiling, and carrying on, no one would believe he was a shy computer nerd.

He was also perfectly fine when throwing dinner parties, in fact, the heroine didn't even know he was shy until he told her. How is that even remotely possible? This is not an accurate depiction of someone who deals with shyness.

The heroine Zoey bothered me as well. She's separated from her jerk of a husband, in limbo while she waits until she can file for divorce. She comes clean and admits to Tristan right away that she's technically married, even though she was attracted to him from the start. To be honest, that didn't make sense to me either. She thought his innocence was "adorable." But to me, it was like watching her teach a child about the world which wasn't exactly adorable.

    She had accomplished breaking Tristan out of his shell. He didn’t have a disability and he wasn’t a child that needed to be babysat. She didn’t need to hold his hand through every step of his journey.

Towards the end she goes completely off the rails and does two things that actually made me hate her. Up until that point I was apathetic at best.

Perhaps I didn't connect to this authors writing style or maybe it was just a bad first impression. I was so excited to read it because it was supposedly a modern twist on My Fair Lady, a musical that I love. Yes, she gives him a makeover, but that does not make it comparable in my eyes. I'm sad to say that this story didn't work out for me at all but maybe you'll have better luck than me.



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