Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book: I Only Have Eyes For You by Bella Andre

Though this isn't the first Bella Andre book I've read, it's the first in the Sullivans series for me. I was able to read it free via Netgalley.

I loved the bits of the Sullivan family I glimpsed, even though there wasn't actually much of the family in this book. It was well-written enough that I kind of got to know the family even without them being there. This particular story did stand easily on its own, and yet I believe that I will get more out of it if I read the first three and then reread this one. There are little subtleties that didn't make or break the story, but made me wonder what I didn't know.

Sophie and Jake have been in love with each other practically forever (since she was five, anyway, when Jake became friends with her brothers), and neither has believed that the other was really right for them despite that. Sophie decides to shake her nickname Nice off after her brother's wedding (her twin sister Lori is Naughty), and goes all out after Jake, who naturally can't resist her. They have an amazing night together, and he skedaddles while she's still asleep, leaving her wondering what the heck happened when she wakes up alone in a strange house.

There were definitely some cons to this story. Most notably, the formatting. I don't know if there was some formatting issue with the file Netgalley sent to my Kindle, but the dialogue in particular was formatted with weird markings in place of quotation marks. This was very distracting, and though I began to tune it out, anytime I put my Kindle down and then picked it back up again, it struck me anew. At location 401, there is a dangling phrase that doesn't belong in the story at all; "foot yacht through rough waters after three sleepless nights" is right in the middle of a sentence about something else entirely. When Sophie breaks down and goes to see Jake two and a half months after their wild, hot night together, they have a conversation in which she is vague about dates and since they only had sex on that one occasion, that stuck out at me as out of character for someone of her intellectual caliber. When something happened to Sophie and she ended up in the hospital, the entire family, including her mother, rallied round her, but I was disappointed that Sophie had apparently not had a conversation with her mother about her feelings for Jake; Mom Sullivan seemed to be pretty close to her kids, and while I understood that Sophie didn't want to share that night with her six very over-protective brothers, I didn't really get why she didn't talk to her mom during that intervening time.

On to the silver lining. The characters are real and individual, and some get more "face-time" than others. I really enjoyed the story - the progression of emotions as Sophie and Jake got to know each other differently than they had before, and as they each learned some new things about themselves in the process. I loved having an alpha male who had what he considered a seriously debilitating problem that instead turned out to be something that could bring him closer to Sophie. The bedroom activity was hot enough without pushing beyond vanilla or into erotic in any way - just two people who loved each other and wanted to have hot, sweaty sex with one another a lot.

I like romance. I particularly like erotic romance. Bella Andre's I Only Have Eyes For You is a sweet romance that didn't leave me feeling cheated by a lack of superhot sexyfun, and did leave me wanting to get to know the rest of the Sullivan family. Thumbs up from me.