Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Hate Myself For Loving You - A Review of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

(Goodreads Blurb)
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.
So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.
What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right?
Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to who
This is not my first time reading Sarra Manning and once again she did not disappoint.  

Neve spent her life being overweight and buried in books.  After her dream man heads to California for a three year teaching assignment, Neve decides to take the time to improve her health and her looks.  

Neve has lost over half of her body weight, but still feels like a sausage stuffed into her skin.  Especially when compared to her tall, slim sister Celia and the models that she works with at a fashion magazine.  Celia tries to set Neve up with various men from the magazine, but without success.  

Neve is convinced that if she could just have a "pancake boyfriend", one that is just for practice, then she will be ready for a relationship with William when he returns home.  The problem is that Celia's male friends are only nice to Neve long enough to make an impression on Celia and Neve really isn't interested in them anyway.  The only man even remotely interesting is Max, Celia's Editor-at-Large and a complete slut.

Neve makes a reckless decision to attempt a one night stand with Max.  I say attempt, because even right from the start it was doomed to fail.  Max and Neve do work out an arrangement of sorts though.  Max agrees to become Neve's "pancake boyfriend" for reasons of his own and they fall into an easy sort of relationship.

While I have read similar plots before, this one was handled with such flair that I didn't even realize the ploy until I was neck deep in the middle of it.  Sarra Manning has a charming style that is easily believable.  Neve and Max were such authentic characters.  There was no love at first sight.  They didn't even like each other at first sight, but Manning showed the development of the relationship and we watched Max and Neve grow individually and as a couple.

I was very impressed with the way that the author brought William back into the picture.  His role was key and the other characters reactions to his return were completely spot on and in no way contrived.  The way Neve responded to that whole situation with William and Max amazed me and made me love the story even more.  

This is a MUST READ for romance lovers so find it.  Quickly.


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