Links by Lisa Becker
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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In high school, Charlotte Windham was a typical student going through an awkward phase — glasses and all. She harbored a crush on Garrett Stephens, the teen heartthrob everyone can’t help but fall for during that unfortunate ugly duckling phase of one’s teen years. Flash forward fifteen years later, and Charlotte and Garrett have a second chance encounter at a Los Angeles restaurant. However, this time around, Charlotte has leveled the playing field. She’s a bestselling novelist and no longer “Glasses,” the humiliating nickname Garrett called her in high school. In short, she’s a catch now and, thanks to corrective eye surgery, it’s not just her eyes that see better…so does her heart! Garrett hasn’t fared poorly either, transforming from teen heartbreaker to adult lothario. A now successful professional golfer, he’s recently suffered a major setback in the form of a possible career-ending injury. With the upper hand, can Charlotte forgive Garrett for his past ways, and for his more recent Don Juan lifestyle? Will she even want to? And, can Garrett change his ways for a second chance with Charlotte, who may just be the perfect fit for him?
The romance genre tends to be known for their love of tropes. While I tend to shy away from blatantly tropey romances, there are some I’m willing to read; unrequited love being one of them. (Friends-to-lovers is also a favorite. And I’ve recently joined the bandwagon of marriages of convenience, too.) But back to unrequited love…
That is one of the things that got me interested in Links when I was approached about reviewing it. While there were some things I did enjoy, I found it to be repetitive at times and not a book I read with any urgency.
This is a very typical story of a dorky, (seemingly) unattractive high school girl who has a crush on the gorgeous popular high school athlete. You get a glimpse of their interaction in high school in the prologue, and then the timeline jumps ahead to their post-college life.
Charlotte is now an accomplished author having her debut novel be a runaway best seller. Garrett is a successful professional golfer, currently recovering from a potentially career-ending injury. They have an unexpected run-in one day, which sets off Garrett pursuing Charlotte. (He admits in his chapters that he basically just wants to sleep with her… honestly not the greatest way to get me rooting for the hero).
I do like how they started out as friends. They hang out a lot and build a firm foundation of friendship before ever moving into relationship territory. Charlotte is trying to protect herself from getting hurt because she still has this idea of what Garrett is like from his 14-year-old self. Now, usually I’d say that’s unfair of her, but I didn’t feel that way in this book. However, the reader has an advantage; we get the POV of Garrett. And he makes it fairly clear that he’s only after getting Charlotte in his bed, at least to begin with.
Now for the not so fun part of the review, there were some things with which I had issue. I mentioned Garrett pursuing Charlotte only because he wanted to sleep with her. I think it’s self-explanatory as to why that would make me not root for the hero.
There’s also a lot of talk about Charlotte’s weight. It was said so many times how she was curvy, or not thin, or how she indulged in sweets and it showed. I love seeing all types and shapes of people represented in the books I read, but I felt it was unnecessary to mention it so many times. Garrett even makes a joke about it at one point. I get that it was meant to be a lighthearted joke and that he was supposed to be complimenting her, but it still didn’t sit right with me.
Charlotte giggles… a lot. And it gets old and honestly kind of annoying. There are other ways to express oneself than giggling, and it made Charlotte seem immature.
Look, in the end, this book just wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. That’s the great thing about books; I firmly believe there’s one out there for every reader. If you’re a voracious reader of romance, who gobbles up everything with a love story in it, give this one a try. It’s a quick read, which makes it perfect for helping you reach that Goodreads reading goal too.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I stand but hesitate when I see Tamika’s disapproving look. Fi notices as well. “It’s okay, T. I got this,” she says, motioning for me to follow her back. When we get to her small office, she closes the door and gestures for me to sit on a red vinyl chair, circa 1972. She stands in front of me, leaning against the desk, and crosses her arms in front of her chest. “Spill!”
“Where should I start?”
“At the beginning.” She walks around to her chair behind the desk and pulls out a yellow legal pad.
For the next half hour, I go over my encounter with Garrett, from the moment we bumped into each other and he didn’t recognize me, to the embarrassment of being called ‘Glasses.’
Fi takes notes furiously on her pad and grins, nods, and cringes at all the appropriate times. When I finish, she puts her pen down and asks, “Do you want the ‘best friend experience’ or the ‘brilliant legal mind experience’?”
I can’t help but laugh. “Are they mutually exclusive?”
“They are,” she says nodding.
“Okay. I want the best friend experience.”
She rushes around from behind the desk, wraps her arms around me soothingly. “I’m so sorry, hon. That sounds just awful. Let’s go get margaritas tomorrow and drown our sorrows in tequila and lime wedges.”
“Thanks, Fi. You’re the best.”
“Anytime,” she says, rubbing my back. She pulls away and walks around to the back of her desk. She sits down and puts the legal pad to the side. I can’t help but notice the writing scrawled across it.
“Just for kicks, what would you have said if I had asked for the ‘brilliant legal mind experience’?”
“You sure you want to know?” Her lips pull into a grim line. Honestly, I’m not sure I do want to know, but curiosity gets the better of me.
“Lay it on me,” I say.
“You need to get laid. Not the kind of bland, missionary style sex you had with Alex. You need hot heat, sweating up the sheets, crazy animal sex.”
I bust out laughing. “That’s your brilliant legal advice. Crazy animal sex?”
“Yes. That’s my brilliant legal advice,” she says with complete seriousness. “Listen, hon, it’s been a year since that insecure jerk Keane dumped you. I have no doubt it’s been even longer since you’ve, well, you know.” She wags her eyebrows up and down. “Before that, you only seriously dated Travis the cheater and Alex who, let’s face it, despite being completely gonzo for you, was a cold fish and a bore. It’s time to stop comparing every man to this fantasy of Garrett Stephens and just do it with him to get it out of your system. He asked you out for Saturday night. Go! Enjoy!”
“I don’t compare every man to Garrett,” I snap at her.
“Don’t you?” she asks, looking down at me sternly.
“I’m offended you even suggested that.” She looks at me, her sharp eyes boring into me, like she can read my every thought and knows I’m full of it. I imagine this is how she bears down on witnesses on the stand. I don’t like being on the receiving end of that look.
“Even if that’s true,” I start and she nods her head, “and I’m not conceding it is.” I point my finger at her. “Even if he did mean to ask me out, there’s no way it’s a good idea. He’s a total player. It would only be one night of fun and I don’t think I could get over that kind of hurt.”
“Then you need to get over it now. Sorry for the tough love, hon, but you need to move past the fantasy of this man and find someone passionate and amazing who is deserving to love you for all of the great things you have to offer including your messed-up childhood and your incredible success today.”
About the Author:
Lisa Becker is a romance writer whose previous novels include Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. The books, about a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles, have been called, “a fast read that will keep you entertained,” “a fun, quick read for fans of Sex and the City,” and “hard to put down.” The first in the series was optioned for a major motion picture.
Lisa’s writings about online dating have been featured in Cupid’s Pulse, GalTime.com, Single Edition, The Perfect Soulmate, Chick Lit Central and numerous other book blogs and websites.
As Lisa’s grandmother used to say, “For every chair, there’s a rush.” Lisa is now happily married to a man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach with him and their two daughters. So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for anyone!
Connect with Lisa: Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads – Youtube